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Changes of Habit or Instinct

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She felt as if she had only just fallen asleep. A quick glance at the alarm clock on her bedside table confirmed this theory. The red numbers indicated that it was a little past four in the morning. She hadn’t turned off the lights until almost three, studying the copy of the book and the part that Rachel translated, trying to come up with a cure for the clone disease. The left side of her bed was riddled with papers and articles covered in scribbles and theories. Somewhere within that pile of paperwork her phone was ringing loudly.

Turning on the lamp on the right side of the bed, she sat up. She quickly found her phone and looked at the screen. It was Sarah. Panicking she pressed the green button. “Sarah, what happened? Is she all right?”

“Delphine, chill. I’m not calling about Cosima, she’s fine as far as I know,” came Sarah’s voice from the speaker. “I’m calling about someone else.”

Delphine let out a breath and leaned back. Looking at her clock she suddenly understood Sarah’s reason for calling at this insane hour, “You found the Castor original in London.”

On the other end of the line Sarah said something to someone else, Delphine couldn’t quite catch what she was saying. She pulled the covers that had slid off her body up, sat back and waited for Sarah to return to the conversation.

After listening to the incomprehensible murmur coming from her phone for a minute. Then Delphine heard Sarah apologizing and asking how she knew they were in London. Expecting this question Delphine explained quickly what Cosima had told her and informed Sarah of the call she received from Ferdinand a few hours ago. “Both Topside and the military wants the Castor original, Sarah. They’ll will both be coming after you and they will find you.”

“Shite, we’re already on our way back to Toronto,” came Sarah’s answer. “We can’t fight of both Castor and Topside!”

Chewing on her bottom lip Delphine took a moment to think, both the military and Topside were too strong for her to fight. Despite the fact that she was ‘director’ of the DYAD institute, she possessed very little actual power. Up till now she had negotiated and bluffed her way towards her goal, keeping Leda safe and finding a cure for Cosima. And she had not been very successful at either.

Sarah’s voice interrupted Delphine’s thoughts, “Coady is too dangerous, the original can't fall into the hands of the military.”

Slowly Delphine nodded, a plan forming. “But we need the original as well, so we can’t hand the original over to Topside for safekeeping.” Scrolling through her agenda the plan began to take shape. “Will you be back in time to meet me at my office at 10 am, Sarah?” Delphine asked the clone on the other end of the line: “I have a plan.”

Ferdinand was scheduled to arrive any moment now. Delphine had discussed her plan with Sarah thoroughly and was assured repeatedly by Sarah that Kendall Malone was save, for now. Despite the fact that she would love to meet and examine the original, Delphine realised that it was probably saver that she didn’t know where Kendall was. Ferdinand was not happy, and he would be even more mad when he found out what they were planning. Delphine had known since she first chose Cosima over DYAD that it would become dangerous. She had been ignoring her own unsafe position, in the hope that nobody would be interested enough in her to seriously harm her. But now she could no longer ignore her lack of personal protection, she was not ready to die a martyr so far from home. Not while she still had so much work to do.

From around the corner she could hear the ding of the elevator, hurriedly she pulled the gun out of her top drawer and tucked it in her jacket. Delphine closed her jacket and stood up just in time as Ferdinand and what she presumed was his bodyguard arrived in her office.

“Dr. Cormier,” said Ferdinand in a stiff tone.

“Hello, Ferdinand.” Walking over to where he was standing Delphine greeted him, “Could you leave your man outside, please?”

This only elicited a sarcastic laugh from the man, the bodyguard did not move from his spot next to the entrance. “I’m impressed, Delphine. You eliminated Rachel, and Sarah’s done what no one else could, found the original.” He said while walking further into her office. “All I found was a council house, burned to the ground. No casualties, thank goodness. No trace of any organic material at all.” He looked right at her in an attempt to intimidate her: “Ever wonder if you’re overplaying your hand?”

A chill went up Delphine’s spine, it took all she had not to give into his games. Straightening her back and narrowing her eyes the tall woman looked down on him and coolly said, “Constantly.”

His cold smile faltered. “Delphine, there is nowhere I like to be more than under the heel of a woman, but sometime it makes me seethe. Rachel was special. She was so… beautifully brittle.” He paused shortly and continued in a more authoritative voice, “I want the original. Once I return her to Topside, I’ll have my own seat at the table. And then you can toil under my heel. How’s that?”

With a smile of triumph Delphine answered quickly: “That’s not how it’s going to work, Ferdinand.” He had told her exactly what they had expected him to say, playing right into their hands. Delphine motioned for him to turn around, where Sarah had appeared from her hiding place.

Ferdinand appeared genuinely surprised, “Miss Manning!”

Sarah grinned at Delphine as she walked towards Ferdinand. “I’m gonna give you one chance at a deal,” she told Ferdinand resolutely. Delphine casually strolled back towards her desk, backing Sarah up.

“You’ve become quite the player, haven’t you? Last time I saw you, you were shackled in the basement,” Ferdinand sneered at Sarah.

“Was I?” Sarah lifted her chin, put on a posh British accent and said, “You’ve come all this way across the pond. Why not try some local colour?”

Delphine noticed Ferdinand’s intrigued look. “Who’s a dirty clone?” he whispered.

“You are,” said the clone triumphantly.

Ferdinand’s eyes narrowed as he inspected Sarah. Then he chuckled at the two conspiring woman and said pointing at Sarah, “You two. That was you? All the time? As Rachel?”

Sarah and Delphine exchanged a quick look, it was time to get down to business.

Ignoring Ferdinand’s questions Sarah said, “You’re not getting Kendall Malone, all you need is biological samples.”

“With her genome, Topside can finally reproduce Duncan’s cloning trails.” Delphine quickly explained to a very confused looking Ferdinand.

“But I want Castor dead,” warned Sarah.

“You’re the lesser of two evils, Ferdinand. Virginia Coady is trying to weaponize their pathogen, but, without her science, without the original, Castor dies out,” added Delphine walking towards him.

“I can get Coady for you. But if you cause any bullshit, Malone is incinerated. Every cell,” Sarah explained to him. If all would go according to plan, Topside would eliminate project Castor for them in exchange for a small blood and tissue sample. A small price to pay in exchange for Coady’s demise.

Ferdinand did not seem to trust them though. “You would not kill Leda’s only chance of a cure,” he said.

“I’m immune,” came the clones answer.

Delphine knew that Sarah wanted a cure for Cosima almost as much as she did. But Ferdinand did not need to know that. And maybe he didn’t, or perhaps he decided to take the opportunity either way, because after some negotiating on the details he agreed with their terms.