Rain was in her lab again.
She studied the package that had shown up in front of the lab. It was a plain brown paper package. She hadn’t ever seen one like it before. Rain couldn’t remember that last time she hadn’t just used replicator for whatever she needed. She ran a black light over it and discovered there were no fingerprints on it, at all. So someone had been careful it the wrapping and delivering it.
Rewinding the security footage revealed that a small and unmarked drone had dropped it at lab at about five in the morning.
She tapped her fingers on the counter next to her, staring intently at the package.
Common sense dictated that she throw it out. It could be anything from a bomb to poison chocolates.
However, common sense had never been Rainbow Miller’s strong point. She much preferred the unconventional paths of the risky, the unexplored.
She took a deep breath and carefully started to open the tape that held the package closed. After it was open, Rain held her breath, listening carefully.
The console next to her gave a beep, making Rain jump. She scowled at the offending machine, and punched the flashing icon.
*Call waiting. Zebadiah Jude Haruka.*
Rain bit her lip, a shadow of nervousness creeping into her mind. How had he found her? This lab was carefully off the grid.
The machine kept beeping, until Rain blew out a breath and hit the button.
“This is Doctor Miller. How may I help you?”
“Ah, Doctor Miller. I wondered if I had the wrong number for a moment.” Zebadiah’s smooth baritone filled the room.
“No. I was merely busy. With an experiment.” She emphasized. “I do need to get back to work, is there something I can help you with?”
“I think it’s something I can help you with. Did you get my package?”
She looked at the halfway unwrapped box. “You sent me this?”
“Yes. Have you opened it?”
Rain looked at it with renewed trepidation. With a sigh, she gripped both pieces in her hands and in one quick moment, ripped it open.
It was carefully packed with molded black foam. In the center was a finger bone.
Rain looked at the console. “You sent me a finger bone? Whose finger is this?”
“Have you seen the news recently?”
“What? No, why?”
“Hmm. It seems there have been a terrible rash of grave robbing.” Zebadiah sounded as if this was a natural everyday occurrence. “Many ancient grave sites have been broken into.”
Rain went cold. “What do you mean?” Her heart raced.
“It seems like an interesting coincident. That bodies are being taken from graves, and a scientist is working on bringing people back from the dead.”
“I haven’t touched anyone’s body! Do you understand me Zebadiah, not one!” Rain snapped at the console.
“Of course doctor Miller. I never said you did.” He was silent as Rain paced across the lab in agitated circles.
“Why did you send me the finger bone?”
“Consider it a thank you present,” Zebadiah finally answered after a moment. “For the information you gave me in the museum.”
Rain sat down. “I’m I going to be arrested?”
Zebadiah laughed. “No, of course not. You can trust me. This is just a thank you for bringing such a wonderful diversion to my attention.”
“Yes. That’s what this is, correct? A diversion, an entertainment.”
Before Rain could say anything else, Zebadiah spoke again. “So I just wanted to thank you. I’ve had very little to do since I was married to Chikara. I appreciate your contribution, and I hope you enjoy me gift in return. Goodbye, Doctor Miller.”
The console beeped at Zebadiah hung up.
Rain sat in silence for a moment, her mind struggling with what Zebadiah said.
“This isn’t a diversion.” She said to the empty room.
It isn’t? You aren’t doing this because you are bored? A small voice, shoved into the back of her mind spoke.
“No. I’m a scientist. I do it for discovery.”
Discovery. Like Darwin. Or Columbus.
Darwin died shamed. Columbus was a monster.
“Shut up. They aren’t diversions,” she hissed to herself. She stared at the finger bone before snatching it up at looking at it. It felt delicate, almost like that of a bird. It was likely extremely old.
She placed it on the DNA scanner. After a moment of being illuminated by green light the terminal blinked.
100% Match Found: Richard Plantagenet.
“Richard who?” She muttered. Typing it into the console came back with a quick blurb: Born in 1452, Richard III was King of England from 1483 until his death in 1485, at the age of 32, in the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His body was found in 2012, under a car park.
She leaned forward, staring at the names, eyes squinted slightly.
Rain looked at the bone, fingers tingly. If you had a whole piece of a person, how much better and faster would a resurrection be? Not just DNA or someone else’s blood but a whole bone.
But wasn’t this what Zebadiah wanted? What he implied, saying that her experiments were a ‘diversion’? A flash of anger hit her like lightening. Rain wasn’t anyone’s tool. She could and would do what she liked. Why have the finger bone if she didn’t even use it?
It was for science.
“An inventor, a politician, and a king.” She muttered aloud. “Okay, you’ll do.”
Robespierre had just joined him in the kitchen when Rain bounded up the stairs.
“I’ll be in my lab. Leonardo, you are in charge. Eat something and sleep. Don’t make anything explode,” was all the explanation she gave before she was diving back down. Leonardo imagined her as a rabbit, hopping from place to place, and darting into burrows. Robespierre blinked after her.
“Does she do that often?” He asked slowly. Leonardo shrugged.
“I haven’t been around her very long. She had an assistant but they argued and she left.”
Robespierre frowned slightly. The scars must have pulled because he winced and relaxed his face back to his neutral expression.
“What did they argue about?”
Leonardo had gone back to his sketches, carefully examining the countertop to his left. When Robespierre leaned over to see, it was a detailed drawing of the germination of a seed, copied from the article Leonardo was looking at. Next to the sketch, he’d made notes, all in his slanted backwards writing.
“I don’t know, but if I had to theorize, I’ll bet that Kamala didn’t agree with what Rain is doing.”
“Doing?” Robespierre asked absentmindedly. When Leonardo looked up Robespierre was staring intently at the sketch. He smiled and shifted to Robespierre would be able to see it better.
“Bringing back men from the dead.”
Robespierre looked at him sharply.
“You think she’s going to bring back another?” The Frenchman demanded.
Leonardo nodded. “Si. I’d wager money on it.”
Robespierre sat back to think on this. “But, what is she going to do with us?” He asked at last, to the room at large.
“That, I do not know.” Leonardo answered.