A Golden Opportunity

- October 12th, Ironhallow Univertity, Early morning -

<snip>
"It must been done tomorrow night. It must look like a break out and once the procedure is complete you are to set him loose in the Centrum."

"I will need men, and assistance reassembling all of this." She gestured around the room. He waved the concerns away.

"What ever you need, just see it done."
</snip>

“And what’s in this for me?”

Edward was momentarily taken aback by this. It was rare that anyone had the balls to question him.

“I’d have thought not being dragged off to the Black Gallows would have been sufficient?” he said, smoothly.

“That would be a start”

“A start, you say?”

For a moment, Edward was tempted to order the mechan to teach her a lesson, but he badly needed Westley out of the way and this woman’s services were an integral part of the plan. Instead, he elected to humour her “Perhaps you’d tell me what else did you have in mind?”

“I was hoping that we could come to an accord with regards to my research. Parts of it... shall we say, skirt the limits of what’s acceptable under the Elysium Accord?”

“The rest of it simply transgress it entirely” Edward gave a dry chuckle at her stricken expression “We’ve known about this for quite some time; although the powers that be felt that your research was of sufficient value to let you continue”

“You’ll find absolutely no evidence to corroborate these alleged transgressions”

“I’m sure we can extract it”

“That’s what I’m concerned about. Torture is a horribly blunt instrument” Lilith paused for a moment and pursed her lips while she regarded the hulking mechan, standing behind Edward “I would speak to you in private, Mr. Hanton”

“Is this not private?”

“Away from your toy” Lilith sneered “Do you really trust that thing not to be transmitting every word back to it’s real masters?”

“Wh-!?” momentarily on the back foot, Edward turned to stare at the armoured monstrosity behind him. He hadn’t considered that the protection extended to him by Elysium could also be his damnation.

Folding her arms, Lilith regarded him with faint amusement “Well?”

“Wait outside” Edward said, darkly, as he waved the machine away “Professor Dawkins and I are not to be disturbed”

The mechan stood there for a few seconds (too long?), silently processing the command, before it turned and trudged out of the room.

“Sorry to spoil your fun,” Lilith said in mock-sympathy after the thing had exited the room and they had closed the door behind it “I hope you haven’t been doing anything too incriminating?”

“You’re playing a very dangerous game” Edward snarled “What is it that you want?”

“Straight to it then?” Lilith nodded “Fine.

“As you suggest, elements of my work could be seen to be in contravention of the Accord; so in exchange for my work tomorrow night, I want Immunity from the Regent’s purge and a licence to continue my research”

“Impossible!”

“Then you’ll have to manage Mr. Corbet without the benefit of any incriminating memories”

“I do not take kindly to blackmail” Edward said dangerously “You’re not the only one who knows how to use this equipment. Your assistant -”

“-Recently died in an unfortunate lab accident” Lilith’s brow furrowed in poor approximation of sorrow “Terribly sad” she murmured, slowly shaking her head “Tragic, really”

Edward frowned. Perhaps Professor Dawkins was a woman to be reckoned with?

“My work has value.” Lilith continued “I can already implant artificial memories in a subject. Before very long, I anticipate I’ll be able to read and analyse their very thoughts.

“Can you imagine what a man in your position could do with access to technology like that? Interrogations would be one hundred percent accurate. A suspect could be apprehended, turned and sent back to spy on their former comrades in just one evening - All at no risk to either you or your organisation”

“This is just fantasy” Edward shook his head.

“No, Mr. Hanton. This is quite probably within this next month!

“After that: Fine tuned skill and knowledge transferal; loyalty imprinting; full body swapping? - Who knows?

“All I’m asking in exchange for access to these wonders is for you to bend a few rules, and judiciously look the other way once in a while.

“There’s no incriminating evidence here; my notes all pertain to elementary studies into the nature of consciousness; and as for my equipment... Well, if Elysium does come poking around here, they’ll find an a barely funcional death trap that could only just conceivably be converted into something they have no doubt perfected decades ago”

“You think you’ve got this all figured out, haven’t you?” Edward said, slowly.

This represented an amazing opportunity, but what of the risks?

“Mostly...” Lilith smiled “You represent the final piece of the puzzle - Not only are you uniquely positioned to influence our new Councillor Corbet’s audit, but you could hugely benefit from this new technology” she interlaced her fingers “Every just fits.

“Now,” she inclined her chin “Do we have a deal?”


<tag>Edward</tag>

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