Chapter 3

Yes, I copied and pasted.

The young woman hung from the rafters, waiting for the last of them to leave. He took his time, checking and double-checking the vials. Once he was satisfied with them, he left the lab, switching the lights off behind him. The young woman counted to one hundred slowly, even as her blood sang in her ears from hanging too long.

She dropped down, from the rafters, certain now that no one would come in. The alarm came alive just as she hit the ground, so when the beams criss-crossed her, they identified her with the consistent temperature that she had been radiating since this afternoon, so they saw no reason not to think that she was not one of the lab techs. It was one of the better benefits of an automated system.

She ignored the vials and instead went straight to the terminal. With careful precision, she typed in the username and password of the last man, the system only registering a slight delay as it processed her request. Once it was up, she took out a small device and plugged it into the system. Just as she was about to begin the upload/download process, the alarm sounded. She looked up, listened as it died, and then as it flared to life. Three times it repeated the process, and she was already leaving by the time the second alarm died.

The security guards triggered the alarm off when they entered the lab after she had left.

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“This had better be good,” the young woman said as she walked into the debriefing room, looking distinctly annoyed. An old woman sat alone at the table.

“Rikan Alexis…” they only used her first name and title when they wanted to be ’serious’ so to speak, “We have a male,” she used the term in a derogatory tone, “visitor for you in the Rubikon Home. The man claims to be Lady Kaede’s brother. He gave his name as…” the brunette cut the old woman off.

“Kristanto Kaeda.” The old woman nodded as the brunette acknowledged the severity of the man’s offence, or so she thought.

“That man is to be given every care for his wounds. He may enjoy the priviledges we accord the Male Alin’sa, but none of the rights. Tell him I’ll be there as soon as I can,” she turned to leave without waiting for the old woman.

“Wait! Are you saying that you’re going to allow a man stay in the Rubikon?”

The brunette turned to look at her with a steely eye. She did not like having her orders questioned, especially by the Matronic Council. Her voice was cold, her chin was raised, and she held herself in a haughty manner that she knew irritated and intimidated the Council, even if there was only one of them that she had to deal with right now.

“Yes. If you do not accord him the proper respect, Celeste will have your soul, but the process will not be pleasant. Do you understand me?”

“I… I hear and I obey.” The old woman bowed her head.

“Repeat my orders then.” She refused to let the woman go so easily.

“To offer assistance as needed, and to accord him the priviledges of the Male Alin’sa without the rights.”

“Good,” as she turned, and because it was ingrained in her, she paused at the door and said, “Thank you, Matron Ilse.”

The woman was stunned by the Rikan’s manners.