Tumbled into the sand, Hanes and Kurita were relieved to feel sunlight on their face, hear the waves. The silence and darkness seemed to last forever, at least now they knew they were still alive. The blind folds were snatched off and the two scientists found themselves staring up at their captors, two women in dark grey fatigues, weapons holstered thank God. Their eyes, they were so cold, shards of ice that gave no hint of emotion or intent. Kurita would almost suspect them as cybernetic. She shuddered and looked away, busying herself with brushing down her skirt, and shaking the sand from her hair. She looked tiny, fragile sitting there like a little girl playing dress up. Demure and beautiful, but soft.
Hanes was more solid, a little older with dark hair and smoothly sculpted features handsome with out being threatening. Sculpted in the literal sense. Looks carried you a long way in the company world. Pulling a pair of silver rimmed sunglasses from his jacket pocket, he slipped them on and took in their captors. Fatigues, masks, loaded for Hell with guns, typical working class bullet catchers. Shouldn't be too hard to impress them with big names and numbers.
"Look, I don't know who hired you or where they got their intel, But Dr Kurita and I are heads of Teridyne Corp's bio research division, you've interrupted some rather sens-" The rest choked off when one of the women thrust a thin metal spike into the sand between his legs. For just an instant their was amusement in those icy eyes.
The top of the spike unfolded, splitting open like a strange metal blossom. An image flickered into existence above it, a man's face. Pale and gaunt-looking he managed to be professional and strangely menacing at the same time. The red cybernetic eye helped, as did the black skull plating covering the left quarter of his head. Kurita sat up, looking closer. There was something familiar about that face.
The image crackled once then spoke. "Dr. Hanes, Dr Kurita, I apologize for the uncouth manner of our meeting but circumstances demanded it." His voice was commanding, powerful without needing volume and just ever so slightly out of sync with the images mouth. Hanes couldn't place the accent but saw the look of growing familiarity on Kurita.
Hanes started to speak, fumbled and recovered with aplomb, "Meeting…I'd call this an abduction. We were in the midst of a private meeting and your hired thugs-"
"Not hired, created," the man cut him off, voice dropping a few degrees, his cyborg eye looking warm and compassionate compared to the look in his real one. Then it was gone, mask of professionalism slipping back into place. "And if you want to argue semantics it was a rescue. You and Dr. Kurita were the target of a terrorist action, one conceived by Mr Hart's own son."
"Nostraum," Kurita blurted, nodding. "Dr. Amos Nostraum." It was his conviction, the reaction to creating these woman. Nostraum, developer of the Life Model Replicant project. The supposedly deceased Amos Nostraum.
"Quite perceptive, Dr Kurita," he sounded genuinely impressed. "I admit I've change quite a bit since my last public appearance so it's a pleasure to be recognized." The image flickered again, now the sound was perfectly in sync. Switching Comsats, not a net based transmission, Kurita thought, using multiple carrier waves for secrecy.
"Forgive my forwardness Dr Nostraum, but…why the charade of your demise?" It wasn't a stalling tactic. If they had wanted them dead, they'd be dead already. Kurita was certain of that. She was intrigued.
Nostraum smiled. The expression was not comforting in the slightest. "That relates to why I have brought you both here. I have launched into a branch of research so profound, so intricate that it requires most of my focus, my concentration and no where offers more solitude than the grave…so to speak."
"And you wish our assistance?" Kurita asked. Nostraum nodded. Hanes wanted to laugh. An extraction? That's what this whole mess was? An botched up extraction… from an extraction. He never knew they were so popular. The entire little cruise with Hart was a set up, top secret with just enough leaks to make it look legitimate. The little genejokes power play was going to make a perfect cover. He and Kurita would vanish for awhile. then show up in Hart's firm later when the heat died down. A miracle rescue or something like that. George was covering things inside Teridyne in exchange for a future position. This old ghost had shot that to hell, but might as well see what Doc Nostraum had to offer.
Talking over Kurita's next question, Hanes spoke up. She went silent with out the slightest protest. Submissive, in business, in labs or in bed. God, he loved that about her. "So, it comes out in the end, eh Doctor? Well we're certainly open to offers. What do you propose?" Nostraum regarded him cooly a moment. He's a specimen, Kurita thought, both of us are. Despite the heat, she suddenly felt cold.
"Dr. Hanes, what I offer is no less than a chance to shape human history, to be among pioneers on the fore front of science…what I offer is a chance to lead a revolution that will change the world as we know it." He paused. "I cannot promise fame or wealth but knowledge, yes…most certainly."
Wonderful, some sort of visionary. A dead man with a messiah complex. Not a lot a potential in that, Hanes rolled his eyes and shot Kurita a side long glance. She looked interested… no, couldn't be, even she wasn't that stupid… They could still go back to Teridyne or maybe even Hart. "Flattered as we are, Dr Nostraum I'm afraid-"
"I accept." Kurita said getting to her feet. "I'm honored that you have chosen me for this endeavor and hope my meager talents are worthy." She tried to catch Hanes' eyes, to make him see but he was shaking his head, reaching for a smoke. For his part, Hanes was stunned, She'd finally lost her little Nip mind. They could have been good together. Oh well.
"Are you certain you won't reconsider?" Nostraum asked. There was something under the professionally genteel tone, something that gave Hanes a moment's pause. But only a moment. He wasn't a crusader, he was a businessman. "No, again I apologize." Nostraum nodded.
"A pity. Faith, would you see to Dr. Kurita, Charity, Dr. Hanes." Kurita stepped up beside the one she presumed was Faith, following her as she headed away toward the hill rising from the beach. She gave a final look at Hanes. He was smiling at Charity, charm on maximum. She didn't seem to be impressed. Kurita hung her head. He didn't understand. Hanes was more a businessman than a scientist. He never observed more than he had to see the bottom line. Nostraum was a scientist, this was an experiment. Scientists follow procedures, failed experiments are terminated throughly.
Charity's pistol hadn't been secured in her holster. Faith's was.
They were carrying Valhalla MK 2s, Teridyne security used them, a rare weapon outside of Europe… Kurita doubted it was a coincidence. When the body was recovered, ballistics would point to Teridyne and a counter extraction gone wrong. It was silenced. At least she wouldn't have to hear it…