‘You may call me Vlad,’ I said to the scientist from behind my sunglasses. She took a moment to adjust to my accent, then smiled at me again.
‘Vlad,’ she nodded. ‘Pleasure to meet you.’
‘Indeed,’ I snorted. ‘Now, you said you had something to show me?’
‘Of course,’ she nodded. ‘Your assistant said on the phone that you didn’t like to wait.’
‘Oh, it is not me that minds,’ I shook my head. ‘It is your kind.’
‘I beg your pardon?’ she asked, sweetly.
‘If I wait, for even an instant,’ I explained. ‘You have a frankly annoying habit of turning to dust, your entire civilisation collapsing into ruin and myth from which only I emerge unscathed.’
She gaped at me, lost for words. After a few moments, I grinned and gestured ahead of us.
‘Hugo said you had some commercial window tinting solutions that would suit my needs?’
‘What? Oh, right,’ she regained her composure. ‘Yes. My lab discovered something very interesting from the samples you supplied. Something very interesting indeed.’
‘Are they fraudulent?’ I asked her, stowing my sunglasses in my jacket pocket as we descended the stairs.
‘That’s just it,’ she said, excitement making her pulse quicken. ‘They’re even better than anticipated.’
‘Better?’ I frowned. ‘How is that possible?’
‘I didn’t believe it initially either,’ she held open a glass door for me. ‘But it’s true. These samples are no ordinary commercial decorative glass. Melbourne simply isn’t prepared for the ramifications of this discovery.’
‘Show me,’ I whispered. She obliged with a nod at one of her assistants, who quickly typed a command into a computer terminal.
The whole room turned dark, then lit by a dull green glow of emergency lighting. A mounted laser system descended from the ceiling, positioning itself in front of a pane of glass. Either it hadn’t been there when I’d first entered the room or I’d been unable to focus on it properly; I wasn’t sure which was worse.
‘Alright,’ the woman next to me said. ‘Places, people. Let’s make history.’