"Something bothering you, sir?"

Jason removed his glasses, rubbing his face.  "What makes you say that, Dr. Johnson?" he asked sarcastically.

The doctor shrugged.  "I know you well.  Besides, anyone would be stressed in this sort of situation, when something doesn't go according to plan-"

"Not going according to plan, he says.  It's on the brink of collapse!  Nothing has gone according to plan!  Not one single frickin' thing!!"

"Jason, get a hold of yourself, you're blowing this way out of proportion..."

"Not by much."

"...we simply just have to come up with a way to get Ms. Quinn back on track."

"What do you think I've been doing this whole time?  Every single test we've done, from the moment we brought her here, while they've been useful, were to try and persuade her to rethink her choice.  You know she was supposed to have chosen joining the agency."

Dr. Johnson nodded solemnly.  "I understand, sir.  But like you said, the results have proven to be useful."

"That's true.  We understand more fully how she thinks, how she reacts.  With luck, we can use that to our advantage."

The two entered JP-7, Jason flipping on a monitor connected to Swapna.  "Anything interesting yet?"

"No, unfortunately," Swapna replied, annoyed.

"Still sore about the information she downloaded from you?" Dr. Johnson asked.  She merely crackled with fury.

Jason glanced at a few readings.  "You know, she seems relaxed enough.  If you want the files back that badly you can transfer them via your connection with Daria.  Would that make you feel better?"

Her mechanical humming changed noticeably.  "It would, actually."

"Now you can't take anything that wasn't originally yours, remember."

"Don't worry, I wouldn't dream of it."

Within seconds the Campus layout appeared on the screen, followed by formulae and other mundane files.  Jason nodded, pleased, and was just about to turn away when the tiny screen showing Daria's view went black.

"What happened?"

"The connection was severed."

"I see that, but what made that happen?  Can you tap into a camera signal?"

After a few seconds of searching, she locked into a tiny camera in a nearby potted plant.  He was shocked to see Daria's head separate from her shoulders, and... was that the energy weapon prototype from the test lab?  Jason's brow furrowed.  "Stream audio," he ordered, and was only further infuriated when he heard Elizabeth, Anya and Murali discussing the possibility of recruiting others on the Campus to help Elizabeth escape!  The nerve of them!

He was seconds from blowing his top again, but a calming thought passed through his mind.  He took a deep breath, adjusted his glasses, and smirked.  No, I won't do anything yet.  I'll let them play their little game, I'll let them think they've won.  But the moment they hit a snag, I'll be ready.  We'll be ready.  As soon as they screw up, there will be no mercy.

The End

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