Evelyne Prewitt clenched her teeth tightly and took in a deep breath. She often did this to help mitigate the stress she was feeling inside; a technique her therapist had taught her during one of their many sessions together. She released the air inside her chest slowly and stared at her sandy blonde assistant seated in the limousine across from her.
The assistant had been on the phone for almost the entire deration of the car ride, prattling away with her useless lawyer David Hughes about the mediation for the divorce. Apparently, both parties involved had decided not to show up to the mediation hearing and were now doing everything in proxy over the phone, 36 miles away. Jonathan, here impractical husband of 3 years, was having his lawyer work out all the litigious details with her lawyer; all while laying on a beach somewhere in Huntington California. No doubt the useless moron would be sipping a margarita next to the tramp he was cheating on her with.
“Jonathan wants to know who gets custody over Poopsy?” asked Nicole.
Evelyne fought the urge to clinch her jaw again and waved a dismissive hand in Nicole’s direction “You can tell that sadistic bastard he can keep the cat, and everything else we outline in the marital termination agreement. This doesn’t need to be protracted any longer.”
“David, said it’s a little more complicated than that” said Nicole
Evelyne shifted in her seat and pulled at the end of her gray flannel skirt. She smoothing out the wrinkles that had formed their during the car ride. “How is it more complicated than that? It’s all in writing; signed and delivered the day me and Jonathan tired the knot. It was practically a contingency plan just in case a situation like this arose.”
David’s muffled voice could be heard on the phone, no doubt the fat man had hear what she had said. Nicole sat rigidly with her legs crossed and listened as David explained the situation further. The young assistant was business like and almost emotionless as she took down notes on the lap top in front of her. Occasionally she made an “aha” noise and continued to type.
“He is telling me that there were things that both of you acquired during your marriage that needs to be addressed and allocated. Things that are not in the marital termination agreement.” Said Nicole.
Evelyne let out an exasperated sigh “Those things really don’t matter. If they were not in the termination agreement at the start of the marriage then he has no clam upon them. He can only take what has been allocated to him at the beginning of the marriage contract.”
There was a long pause. Evelyne could hear a group of people talking over the phone. Nicole frowned slightly, “David is saying that there was nothing in the agreement about who lays claim on future assets. That part of the agreement can’t be assumed by any party involved.”
“Just hang up” said Evelyne “I’m done with the madness for today.”
She reached over and grabbed the silver Chromebook out of the seat next to her. Evelyne flipped open the screen and browsed the morning e-mails, wanting desperately to forget the morning’s mediation proceedings already. Jonathan was being a petulant child about the whole things. Across from her, Evelyne heard Nicole end the conversation abruptly and hung up. David would no doubt leave her a long stern message about the ending of the proceedings.
“David didn’t sound too pleased” Said Nicole
“Well, David can work things out.” Said Evelyne “It’s what I pay him for.”
“Have you seen the news this morning?” asked Nicole changing the subject quickly.
Evelyne looked up. Nicole was holding her phone up so that she could see the bright purple headline of the news sight.
“No, what’s going on?” she asked.
“It appears that Malcom James has made a break through on portal technology” said Nicole. The assistant turned the phone around and started reading out loud. “Malcom James, the 51% share owner and CEO of Argus, announced today that their team of researchers and scientist have successfully transported a dog from one end of a room to another using a small aperture no bigger than a common mail box. The dog in question, a little brown Chihuahua by the name of Ruffles, was measured and weighed and then was enticed through the portal with a big juicy stake on the other side. After a few minutes of coxing, the little dog emerged victoriously on the other side of the room to a round of applause by the observing media. When asked if there were any immediate side effects to the instantaneous rate of travel, Edward Nuns, a leading scientist in the field of portal technology, stated that Ruffles was healthy and happy.”
Evelyne jeered at this, “Of course they’re not going to be honest with the media. Malcom James has too much riding on this for him to be spouting out the truth about the negative side effects of portal technology. I bet their scientist know nothing about the catalyst that need to be injected into the blood stream prior to transport. Does the article say anything about the Dog being injected with anything prior to the demonstration?”
Nicole thumbed through the article quickly. The assistance blonde curls bounced slightly as she shook her head no. Evelyne came to the edge of her seat and threw the silver Chromebook to the side “I bet
Argus wouldn’t mention that Ruffles was losing 5% of his overall mass with every trip he took. Hell, I bet there have been hundreds of Ruffles that have passed through their aperture before they even got close to the 5% marker. Does the article say anything about them weighing the dog after it has passed through the singularity barrier? I know the article talked about the weighing and measuring before, but did they do any of the measuring afterwards?”
Evelyne watched as her assistant perused though the article again.
“Nope just a lot of adulation on the part of Argus leading the United States into the 21st century, however, one reporter from Billionaire Weekly did asked Malcom James how he manages to stay so fit, maintain his billionaire complexion, and keep the company going at the same time.” Nicole looked over to Evelyne. Her assistant’s mouth curled slightly into a smile; she was goading her into a response “Malcom James said with a strawberry banana shake from his favorite restaurant, Grottoes.”
Evelyne felt a fire ignite in her chest at this “they’re not being honest and it’s going to cost them in the long run. All the information that we have gathered about Argus’s development of portal technology says that they are nowhere near were we are at. Hell, we fixed the 5% mass problem 5 years ago by introducing a slight edema to the tissues, and no animal were hurt.” Evelyne swiped her hand over her palm as if she were wiping off crumbs “Rolled over that problem like a bulldozer. Now we don’t even need the edema injections.”
“One thing to keep in mind Miss Prewitt, is that they are also not government funded.” Said Nicole “so they can make as many press releases as they wish.”
Evelyne sat back in her seat and folded her arms tightly across her chest; she could feel her heart pounding through her blouse with excitement. Her body leaned slightly as the limousine turned off Sun Crest Dr. and slowed its acceleration down to a crawl. They were approaching the first security checkpoint of the morning. The limousine driver rolled down his window and handed the guard at the gate a military issued ID tag. Evelyne watched patiently as the guard retreated into the booth and scanned their vehicle for clearance. Another guard in the adjacent booth walked around the limousine checking the undercarriage with a small mirror. After a few minute the military ID tag was handed back to the limousine drive and the guard opened the gate. The limousine drove forward and navigated its way to the industrial structure in the middle of the parking lot. There was an unusual amount of cars in the parking lot today, but that was to be expected. Today was the day Prewitt Labs delivered on their promise to the United States Government. Today was the day that Prewitt Labs sent a human through their 8 foot aperture.
Evelyne shifted her gaze to the many men and woman leaving their cars; it was still early morning and Prewitt Labs was beginning to come to life. Scientist and engineers from all fields would be working in advance placement teams for the betterment of humanity. Evelyne relished the thought that all these brilliant people worked for her.
She turned and looked at the towering structure of their research building. The name Prewitt was etched a crossed it in big black lettering. The stucco sided structure took up 60,000 square feet of space and rose up 4 stories from the pavement. Every 10 feet was painted a blue line that wrapped around the building completely. At each corner of the roof stood a heavily armored guard holding an assault weapon. They were stationed there so as to observe the four cornered of the parking lot; if any one breached the fence without authorization the building would go into lock down and the parking lot would be flooded with armed personal within minutes.
Evelyne’s father had built this branch of the company for the advancement of technology; buying out government contracts and working on top secrete projects. It was his own Los Alamos right her in the heart of southern California. He had told Evelyne it was his way of contributing to the American dream; and indeed it had contributed to the American dream in more ways than one. It was here that they had developed the future of “Nand” technology and had paved the way for quantum coupling; which paved the way for the development of the super computer and machine learning software, which paved the way for the A.I. called “Issyk”.
Evelyne clinched her jaw and breathed in at the thought of the sentient program lurking beyond the walls of Prewitt Labs. She was trying to suppress a cold shiver. Issyk who had been more than helpful in the development of portal technology had started acting funny a year ago. The A.I. was speaking to people that weren’t there and referring to the IT department as flesh bags. Greg Ranalds, the head of the IT department, had informed Evelyne that the corrupt program was running diagnostics of systems outside of its jurisdiction. Sometimes firing up the portal prototypes without permission. Issyk was also making suggestions on how to improve the “lights-out” protocol which oversee the UPS stations and aspects of the lock down procedure of the building. The strangest and scariest thing is when Issyk started taking on a human shape and projecting himself into rooms using the holographic interface. Issyk had instantly settled on taking the form of her dead father; only 40 years younger.
Evelyne had ordered the shutdown of the program at that point, but the engineers couldn’t abolish the A.I. completely because of legal reason with the United States Government. General Haze had backed Evelyne into a corner; threatening to end their contract and funding if anything happened to Issyk. Haze told the scientist to isolate the super computer and its servers in a locked room, and implement something he called the promethean protocol. Which Greg informed Evelyne was nothing more than trapping the rogue super algorithm into a complicated nested subroutine which could only be freed though something he called encryption coding?
Evelyne was pulled from her thoughts as the limousine drove under a massive pavilion and stopped in front of a large metal door. The door itself was reinforced with quarter inch plated steal with a multi sheeted titanium core. Armed guards’ stood at attention in strategic places throughout the pavilion. Their eyes watching scrupulously the long black limousine before them. The intercom cracked slightly and a deep voice was heard in the cabin “Miss. Prewitt, we have arrived at the east bay entrance.”
Evelyne pushed the red button on the center console next to her with one of her fingernails
“Excellent, give me a minute and I’ll let us in.”
Evelyne reached into the cleavage of her navy blue blouse and pulled out a government encrypted fob. She kept the thing on a chain around her neck at all times. The fob had two button options; “Open/Close” and “Panic”. Evelyne pushed the open button and watched as the reinforced metal door sprang to life and opened before them. Once open the Limousine pulled through.