Disclaimer: none of the characters are mine, but belong to SyFy™.
Of all the places that Beverly had met her supplier (for the lack of a better word) a fast-food restaurant wasn’t the weirdest one, but one of the most uncomfortable: Beverly wanted a confrontation, and a public place wasn’t very appropriate for something like that. But, as usual, Beverly’s contact had outmanoeuvred her without even trying, adding an insult to the injury.
“Ambroise!” Beverly snapped as she sat down and looked at the older woman. “Why exactly did you do that for? I know that there was no love lost between us, but to purposefully sabotage me? What for? You’re British, for God’s sake – what do you care about our internal American squabbles?”
“I didn’t sabotage you, Barlowe,” Ms. Ambroise replied thoughtfully, even as she took more of her supreme fries’ special. “If I wanted, I would’ve given you the neural clamp instead and observed how you try to utilize it on a human without the others noticing it – even for the colonies it would’ve been too much. But – just for the record – what has happened?”
Snarling, Beverly told her everything, including, unfortunately, the discomfort of invading Allison Blake’s mind. “It was as if I was kicked in the teeth for some reason and didn’t even know why,” she admitted. “And then, that light – did Blake have some sort counter-nanotech defences on top of everything else she has? Is that why you were behaving towards me when I asked for the nanotech the way you did?”
“No, I behave towards I do because your present state is my past,” Ms. Ambroise shrugged.
“Oh? So you have some advice to give me now? How about an answer why I seem to be plaguing with failure when dealing with Eureka and its inhabitants?” growled Beverly.
“Hmm. To paraphrase Shakespeare, who, when it came to English language, was a piece of work bigger than both of us combined, Mark Anthony – that’s you, Barlowe – you have your genius, and it’s a good one. However, Octavian Caesar – that’s your Eureka opponent or opponents, I don’t really care – has a better one, and whatever you’ll do, his genius will overpower yours, An-thony, no matter what do you do.”
“...Okay, have you gone insane?” Beverly finally said. “I’ve failed and you’re telling me to accept it?”
“Yes, accept that you’ve reached your limits at your niche and become a minion, pardon the term,” her interlocutrix shrugged. “Once you accept it, and, preferably, start an account with Wolfram & Hart regarding insurance, you’ll be much happier and will have to experience that kicked-in-your-teeth sensation a lot less.”
Beverly narrowed her eyes. “Our group already has an account with Wolfram & Hart, concerning insurance,” she finally pointed out.
“Indeed? Can't truly say that I'm surprised. However, I was talking about a personal account,” Ms. Ambroise shrugged. “They do that too, you know?”
“Perhaps, but you don’t,” Beverly narrowed her eyes, “do you? Got anything else in your bag of tricks?”
“Admit that you reached your limit in this area and adapt,” Ms. Ambroise’s gaze turned as cold and piercing as the northern wind and her voice became just as serious. “By adapt I primarily mean ‘try something new’ – leave your group and start your own, become just an ordinary psychiatrist, or even a soccer mom – something new. Or else you might go extinct, and honestly? Right now that seems to be the more likely outcome...” her voice trailed away as she focused on something or someone approaching Beverly from behind, and Beverly suspected that she knew who.
Slowly, she turned around, and saw a pair of Consortium thugs – in fact, she probably had used one of them in the past to infect Allison Blake with nanobots – coming straight at her.
“Well now, I’m intrigued,” the older woman said cheerfully, “just at what university did you two get your diplomas?”
“Very funny, ma’am,” replied one of the thugs. “We have no quarrel with you and your forces – let us take Dr. Barlowe and leave.”
“Unless she resists, I don’t see a problem,” Ms. Ambroise said cheerfully. “Are you going to be put into your place, Barlowe?”
“Oh, just shut up,” Beverly snapped in anger – the last thing that she needed to see right now was the Consortium’s leader, literally speaking. And, since she was feeling upset from the time when her attempt to infest Blake with nanobots failed, she did the thing that she wanted to do when the realization of that had hit: she whirled around and punched one of the thugs in the face, consequences be damned!
...Well, admittedly, she didn’t expect her punch to literally sweep the taller and heavier man off his feet and fling him across the floor – that was something new and unexpected. Also exciting, but, if the second thug were to be able to pull out his taser and zap her, that would be the end of that, so she whirled around and punched him as well, trying even harder.
The second thug didn’t stop until he hit a wall and slid down from it, well away from his taser. “Fascinating! How did I do that?” Beverly said, excitedly: she was her own brain and brawn!
“Well, you told me that you asked to be stronger and apparently you got your wish,” Ms. Ambroise said thoughtfully. “This means that you’re already changing – where are you going to go from here?”
Beverly looked thoughtful. “You can help, but your help came with a price, as you said it before. I think I’ll try to do lay low by myself and contact you by our usual method via a blog?”
“Deal,” Ms. Ambroise said cheerfully as she stood up and snapped her fingers. Immediately, two, then four, then eight and finally twelve completely identical men stood up as well and picked up the Consortium’s thugs. “And to show my newfound respect for you, I’ll clean up this mess, okay? My clone army could use some fresh new DNA all the same.” She snapped her fin-gers again and she and her forces vanished in a flare of chromatically white light.
“Well, I just quit working for an alien and my only and nominal ally has a clone army. It’s like I never left Eureka,” Beverly muttered and left the fast-food restaurant herself.TBC