Sequela by Cleland Smith Read Free Book Online

Book: Sequela by Cleland Smith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cleland Smith
settled in and got the measure of his new job.
    'And I get to have fun creating new stuff for my job in the meantime.'
    Then again, perhaps not.
    'It's a stupid fatuous industry,' Dee said. Shocked by the venom in her own voice, she took a breath and tried to temper her tone. 'I mean fashion viruses, really.'
    'It's not doing anyone any harm.'
    'Isn't it? Look at all those young directors that keep dropping dead in the board rooms. Don't you think that might have something to do with the weird disease culture they're building up?'
    'I think it's more to do with stress.'
    'You do not – it was you that pointed it out to me!'
    'Dee, the whole point of my viruses is that they'll be safe. I can make them cool without hurting people.'
    'Great. Just what the world needs you to do with your genius – your genius and your sense of "cool".'
    'But Dee, that's the fun part, that's not the whole picture. I can make a start on the screens, maybe even start testing – think of the limitless resources I'll have.'
    'You think you'll have the time in between making designer diseases?'
    'I'm not stupid, Dee, I've told you, I'm getting private lab time written into my contract.' Kester shook his head.
    Dee wobbled in her seat, the drink suddenly catching up with her. They were going round in circles.
    'Yeah, but they'll own your research,' she said.
    'Better than the research not being done at all.'
    'Hm,' Dee grunted in an unladylike fashion that made Kester laugh at her. 'Shut up,' she said.
    'Show me someone who's going to fund a piece of research at the Institute that I don't have qualms about and I'll stay. Never mind the screens – anything at all.'
    'And what next? Where do you go from there, Kester? Five years' time, seriously, where are you?'
    Betta and Sienna sloshed a tray of shots onto the table and slid back into their seats.
    'Jesus, leave some in the glass,' John said, the life flicking back into his eyes.
    'Come on, Dee, five years' time?' Kester said. 'Christ, this is like going through another interview. I suppose I'm going to have to shag you too?'
    'What?' Dee said. 'Don't be disgusting.'
    'That's what they do,' John said, though it wasn't clear if he was talking to them as he was staring intently at the table.
    'They do not. It's just big City talk. He's just being stupid. He's trying to avoid my question because he can't answer it sensibly – it was a serious question, Kester.'
    'I'm telling you,' John said, 'you have to sleep your way in at the bottom before you can sleep your way to the top.'
    'Oh shut up,' Dee said. 'Has it ever happened to anyone you know? No. So there. Anyway, he wouldn't have been going in at the bottom, they were going to give him his own lab.'
    ' Were going to?' Kester said. 'They are .'
    John raised his eyebrows, impressed.
    'You knew that already,' Dee reminded John.
    He slurped down one of the shots in slow motion.
    'Those are for the game.' Sienna tried to grab the glass from him, too late.
    Calvin arrived back at the table, sat down quietly and closed his eyes.
    'Ah,' replied John, a little behind in the conversation, 'but how many people do we know who've been interviewed at V?' He jabbed his finger on the table in front of Kester. 'Just one, huh? Just Kester. And I know what Kester's been up to!'
    'He's right. It's true,' Kester said, and then laughed, eyes on the table. 'She made the others leave the room, she dropped her culottes and we did it right there on the desk. All part of the process.' He laughed again, shaking his head.
    'What?' Calvin shrieked, his eyes snapping wide open.
    'Stop lying!' Dee slapped Kester hard on the arm. 'You're just trying to shock me.'
    'Just telling it like it is,' he said. 'That's how I roll now.'
    All of them burst out laughing except for Dee. This wasn't going right. He was making a fool of himself.
    'That's how you roll ?' Sienna scoffed. 'You need to sort out your vocabulary. You need to be using words like Target! Achievable! Succeed! Make sure you

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