MISC: The Girl Who Saved The World Part 59

George Phillies phillies at 4liberty.net
Fri Mar 10 20:47:41 PST 2017

BUNCOMBE AND VERA DURAND-- they do an inteview

  Chapter Eleven

The Lafayette Laboratory

Compere Biological Sciences Building

Rogers Technological Institution

January 15, 2018

Early afternoon

“Pardon me?” The voice at the door to Allison Moreland’s lab came from a 
tall young woman with raven- black hair, conservatively dressed in gray 
vest and trousers.

“Yes?” Moreland answered.Moreland was short, solidly built, her 
sparkling blue eyes being flanked above by dark hair pulled into 
ponytail, and below by a long white lab coat that yielded to blue jeans 
and sneakers before reaching the floor.“May I help you?”

“Sorry to bother you, but I’m trying to find Professor Lafayette’s 
office, and the map says here.” The speaker waved an RTI map.

“She’s in class. She should be out of teaching in a bit,” Alison 
answered.“The office is down the hall. The map is wrong. Oh, I’m Allison 
Moreland, the senior post-doc.Is there something that I can help you with?”

“I’m Krystal North,” the woman in the door answered.“Yes, that Krystal 
North. I need to talk to her about something last night.” Moreland 
smiled politely.Krystal North not in garb looked very little like the 
same woman dressed as a combat persona.

“Professor Wells and daughter?” Allison asked.“Professor Lafayette told 
me about it, in case anyone showed up looking for her, not that it 
wasn’t in the morning Boston Post.”

“The Post?” Krystal asked, sounding a bit crestfallen.

“With pictures,” Allison answered.“Of you and your Grandmaster friends 
and Speaker Ming outside their home.The snow if not the wind had briefly 
died down, and one of the neighbors had come back to Boston to check on 
his house. He took some photos as you left. We need to wait for Morgana; 
I’m sure she didn’t tell me everything. Would you like some 
tea?Fresh-brewed, in the group office, of course, not in the lab.”

“That would be very kind of you.I’ve been running so much I missed 
breakfast,” Krystal answered.

“There are scones,” Allison answered.“I baked them myself, packed with 
raisins and hazelnut flour, and caramel icing.I try to keep things on 
hand, just in case we have another, ummh, distinguished visitor.”

“Distinguished visitor? Me?” Krystal asked.“I’m just a civil servant.”

“You.Distinguished. Also, this Department has six Nobel Laureates, 
fourteen members of the National Academy, a Fields Medalist that Course 
18 keeps trying to steal from us, not to mention on occasion a Lord of 
Eternity.So I keep refreshments available, except when Dr. Ashton has 
baked his chocolate brownies. Well, there is a little baked brownie 
under the chocolate orange mocha icing,” Allison said, “so they are 
brownies.” She led Krystal down the corridor.

The group office had comfortable chairs, a large central table, desks 
facing the sweeping windows, a massive video screen covering most of one 
wall, and at the far end of the room a refrigerator, microwave, coffee 
and tea service, and what was clearly a covered tray piled high with 
scones. Standing with back to the doorway was Morgana Lafayette, making 
final adjustments to the coffee brewer. “Allison, Krystal, good morning. 
I got out of class early,” she announced, not turning around to see who 
was behind her, “and I’m just loading up the Jamaica Blue Mountain, 
fresh-ground. But it’s good to see you, Krystal, even if I have to 
disengage my hands from the machinery before I can face you to say 
hello. Just a second.” She extracted herself from the brewing system and 
turned to her guests. “Krystal, it really is good to see you under 
conditions where nothing unpleasant is likely to happen. I see despite 
the cover of blizzard we managed to get ourselves in the newspaper. 
Fortunately, being someone’s champion is a matter of public record, so 
there won’t be a lot of Nosy Parkers asking questions about who I am. 
Well, someone might wonder why I was Janie’s champion, but there’s a 
good cover story that is even true.”

“Blue Mountain?” Allison asked. “Isn’t that a tad expensive?” Like $200 
a pound? she thought.

“I wouldn’t make a habit of it,” Morgana said, “but I did notice Krystal 
arriving at the Institution teleport stages and figured I should have 
things ready for an honored friend and guest. Allison, I hate to do 
this, but the shared project group meeting is in five minutes in 26-450 
and you are the only person other than me who actually understands what 
we are about to do. As I have the guest, I get to ask you to run the 
meeting. I believe this was the occasion on which were going to tell 
everyone what we are actually doing, since as far as I can tell none of 
them have quite figured it out.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Allison bowed her way out of the office.

“A project so secret that the people working on it don’t know what it 
is?” Krystal asked. “That sounds really clever. What could it be? Not 
that I’m prying if it’s a real secret.”

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