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New York

Malcolm Locklear arrived back in New York in the late evening. His mind torn between his meeting with Lieutenant Colonel Fraser and the teenager waiting for him back at his pad. He still was’t sure if this new arrangement with the Military had been the right decision, but then again it wasn’t as if he had much of a choice with them breathing down his neck as he signed the contract. It did amuse him, however, that they were willing to pay for his Art-GRAV device. Extracting payment from the military was never easy, especially if your product doesn’t have anything to do with killing. Then again… Malcolm had not played too much with his own toy, there always seemed a way for objects to kill, especially when placed in the wrong hands.

“Eve’s going to be mad.” Malcolm said with a sigh as he exited the airport, sure enough his personal assistant and secretary was waiting for him by the car. She took his bag as the chauffeur opened the door for him.

“How was your meeting?” Eve asked as the both settled into the back seat and the car began to move.

“Interesting.” Malcolm replied, “how is she doing?” He asked instead, hoping to shift the topic over to the girl.

“Silent, but observant. She seems to be a fan of yours.” Eve answered. “Keeping her out of your labs may be difficult.”

“If she can get through my security system, I’ll give her a job.” Malcolm said with a laugh.

“Now, what really happened down in DC?” Eve asked casually. Malcolm’s laughter was cut short as he narrowed his eyes on his ever attentive assistant. It was no use dodging her stares now.

“I had a chat with a Lieutenant Colonel from the US Air Force.” he replied, trying to keep his own voice casual.

“Well, I can’t say I’m that surprised. You’re demonstration raised a few eyebrows, it would have only been a matter of time before some military branch contacted us about it. Just be thankful it was America and not China.” Eve said, relaxing a bit.

“There’s more.” Malcolm said noticing his assistant tensing back up at his words. “I’ve signed a contract, they want our first commercial Art-GRAV.”

“What!?” Eve shouted. “If you forgotten, you already signed that contract to NASA. It’s planned to be shipped to the International Space Station next year!”

“Well, it wasn’t like I could say no.”

“What, did they have a gun pointed at your head?” Eve asked, her eyes burrowed deeply in an angry expression.

“Ah, well no, not exactly. They would have taken our prototype.” Malcolm defended.

“So give them the prototype, you said there were flaws in it. It would give us time to work on NASA’s and fix the bugs so that when the Air Force comes back with complaints we can sell them the upgrade.” Eve said.

“Why am I wasting you as my assistant. You should go into sales.” Malcolm joked, but looking over at his secretary’s sour expression his joke, was not appreciated. “This won’t be all bad. They have a project they want my assistance with. So… it’s an give and take.”

“Secret Air Force project? What do they have some alien craft they want you fix up for them?” Eve mocked. “Dam-it Locklear! Haven’t your lawyers told you never to sign anything without one of them present. Hell, without me present. Now I have to smooth things over at NASA.” Eve waved her hands in the air. “This was to change space travel, it was to open the stars like all those sci-fi movies you and Alex watch.”

“Is that disappointment in your voice? I thought you believed all of my future plans to be unrealistic and far-fetched?” Malcolm teased. “It sounds like you’ve changed your tune, or has Alex and I starting to finally wear off on you.”

Eve scowled at her boss. “How are we going to fix the prototype if you’re off flying jets?”

“I… I haven’t thought that through yet. I imagine there will be a lot of back and forth travel, as usual. I’m sure Fraser will want some of her own team working with the Art-GRAV. How else will they get intel on me and my plans.”

“Military scientists here?” Eve sounded doubtful, worried even. “What do you mean ‘get intel’? Are they spying on us?” The car stopped outside of Locklear’s building. 

“I’m sure they’ve tried and failed. That’s why they wanted me to sign up for their project. But two can play at that game.” Malcolm’s upbeat smugness shifted to a more quiet, thoughtful demeanour as the pair entered the elevator.

“And the girl? What’s her role in this plan of your’s?” Eve asked in a low whisper. Malcolm had already forgotten about her. The floors flew pat them as they reached his penthouse suite. What was he going to do with her? Maybe once they sent her to school she would be kept busy and out of his way, though Eve had already warned him that she seemed a bit too curious about his place. Maybe he should have taken her advice and settled her into an apartment closer to her new school.

“To keep her out of it.” Malcolm said after a long pause. The elevator doors opened, and Malcolm took a peek around the living area before stepping into his place.

“She’s not some armed assassin.” Even muttered, remaining in the lift. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Hey, wait, you’re just going to leave me with her?” Malcolm asked, a surprised look on his face.

“You’ll survive.” Eve gave her boss a sly smile before the doors shut between them.

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