"They'll pay one million dollars each." Windy reminded herself for the one millionth time as she closed the door to her office with an almost soundless click. "My student loans can finally be paid off. I can buy mom a new house, or a new double-wide if I can't talk her into living in a real building. I can travel the world. I could meet a nice guy!" She placed her pink Hello Kitty lunchbox on the gleaming white work surface and opened it. "Any guys I meet will certainly never hear about this damn thing!"
She looked at the tapered instrument and sighed. It was very delicate and narrow. It wouldn't be like she was 'losing' anything important! "How in the world did I let her talk me into this?"
Windy knew that answer. She thought about the allegedly chance meeting of just yesterday morning. She had stopped at Queequegs for her usual morning coffee and had bumped into a very elegant and sophisticated looking woman. The red business suit she wore must have cost a fortune. It was exquisitely tailored to highlight the woman's equally exquisite figure. Windy was struggling with issues over her orientation, and the stunning raven haired Asian woman made her think wistfully of certain nights in college where her dorm mate Casey had overpowered and forced her into social networking of the bedroom kind.
The woman had smiled kindly as Windy tried not to spill her decaf double tall non-fat extra-dry cappuccino. "Windy Cumulonimbus Cloud, I presume." The woman had asked in a lovely voice with just a hint of a Chinese accent. "I've been hoping to meet you here."
The petite blonde felt her face grow warm. Nobody, but nobody knew her middle name! Windy Cloud was bad enough! It made her sound like a porn star or something! She didn't want anyone to know that she was conceived in the back of a van when mom got picked up by a group of storm chasers while she was hitchhiking cross country.
According to mom, she didn't have money to pay for gas, so she quite willingly offered a much older form of payment to square the deal. The worst part was, there were four of them! Without a paternity test, which mom had refused, there was no way to tell just who her father really was! Windy never had the nerve to ask for one herself once she was old enough. Besides, she cleaned up on birthdays and Christmases since all four had gone on to become very popular TV meteorologists in four major markets. Father's day was a bit of a financial drain though, but she had grown quite used to having four out of state daddies. "You have me at a distinct disadvantage." She finally muttered as she sipped her cappuccino.
"You may call me Jade. Miss Cloud. It isn't my real name, but it will do for now."
"Who are you? What do you want from me?"
"I represent a certain company. We rival the firm you have worked for these last five years since graduating from college. What we want from you is nothing more then a tiny free sample."
"Free sample?" Windy took a deep breath. "You're an industrial spy!" she snapped, but instantly lowered her voice. "No deal! I'm happy in my job, and there's no way I would help you! I'm no criminal! I never broke the law in my life!"
"Never, are you quite sure about that?" Jade placed her briefcase on the counter and snapped it open. "Have you forgotten something?" She pulled out a professionally bound copy of what looked like a thesis paper. "Are you sure you never broke the law?"
Windy's heart did a sudden flip flop beneath her breast. "Uh oh!" she let slip, before she could stop herself.
"Just as you say, uh oh." Jade smiled kindly. "Key elements of this paper were originally written in nineteen eighty-two. That is not really my concern though. How much did you pay for this?"
"You have to understand! I did write my thesis! My hard drive crashed and all my notes, the paper, and everything were lost! I was in a huge bind! I had only two days to produce something, or my scholarship would be history!"
"I have no doubt of that. I have seen all of your transcripts. Aside from this one paper, your studies in bioengineering were exemplary." The woman sighed. "Now answer the question! How much did you pay?"
"Um, five thousand dollars."
"Where did a struggling college girl manage to find such a sum? Our research tells us it wasn't from your mother, or even your time share fathers." The business woman tapped a long crimson nail on the paper. "It is in your best interests to tell me the truth, for you have no way of knowing how much I have learned already."
"I, um, I knew this girl who was, uh, putting herself through college, well, on her back." She giggled nervously. "You know, the world's oldest profession, prostitution."
"This professional girl paid you five thousand dollars out of the kindness of her heart?"
Fear and humiliation made Windy feel like she was about to cry. "I knew about it for some time, but after my drive crashed, I followed her around one night, and shot lots of pictures and video. I told, uh, this girl, that I would email the files to all her friends and family back home if she didn't help me."
"Very good. That is what Amanda Kincaid, now Amanda Anderson has told me. She was quite miserly with the information when we showed her a few carefully selected photographs. Thankfully, she could hardly stop talking once it was mentioned that we would pass ALL the files along to her wealthy young husband." Jade shook her head. "It was very foolish of you to keep that DVD. You should have given it to Amanda, or at the very least, destroyed it. Or, where you planning on turning back to blackmail some time in the future?"
"No, of course not! I wouldn't do that again!" A lump of ice seemed to fill her heart. The one and only copy of that damn DVD was at her house! "You, you were in my basement? What do you want?"
"Like I said, I represent a certain company. We just want a small sample of your company's work. We are prepared to pay you quite handsomely, too."
"If, if I say no?"
"Blackmail, as you know, is a felony. Did you know there is no statute of limitations on felonies committed in the state of Virginia? Are you willing to gamble on my being able to bring enough pressure to bear against Amanda in order to force her to confide in the police her wicked tale of woe?"
"Oh my God, I can't go to jail!" the blonde felt dizzy. "Okay, I, I'll help. What do you want me to do?"
"It's nothing very Earth shaking. In fact, we want only a few microscopic items." Jade smiled again. "My company is very interested in the breakthroughs that Microdyne Genetics has made in the custom engineering of canines."
"Then buy one!"
"Temper, temper, Miss Blackmailer." The beautiful woman slipped the paper back into her case. "Your company's delightfully intelligent and long lived beasts are only sold as males. To date, we have been unable to secure a female for our needs. As you know, the so-called super-mutts will not breed true with a normal everyday bitch. All attempts have produced no offspring."
Windy felt a burst of pride. "That was my doing. I came up with a proprietary chromosomal sequence that changes the characteristics of the canine sperm to a degree that normal dog eggs will not be compatible with them. As of this time, we don't even produce females. That's why you can't locate any. There are no females yet! We rely on banks of force grown ovaries nourished by artificial blood in a closed system. Once the eggs are fertilized, they are analyzed. Any female is separated and cryo-frozen for future projects. All our male pups are then decanted into synthetic uteruses that I helped design. That's why we cornered the market! If you want a dog with an average life span of seventy-five years, that can understand human speech completely, and can even write at a human ten year old level using a special keyboard, you have to pay Microdyne Genetics a quarter million dollars!"
"Exactly so." Jade smiled. "How much did you get paid for all your work in helping to ensure an illegal monopoly?"
That was a sore point with Windy. "Uh, I'm under contract. Anything I come up with while working for Microdyne Genetics, belongs to Microdyne Genetics. They um, they sent me a gift basket with some very nice soaps and scented candles in it though."
"That's all they gave to such a valuable employee? I think we can offer you much more then soap. All we want from you is as many viable ova as you can get to us. We are willing to pay one million U.S. dollars for every finished product you can deliver for us."
Images from the first Jurassic Park movies filled her head. "It can't be done! There's no way I can smuggle anything out of the facility. Sure I can bring my lunchbox in with no problems. Going home is an entirely different matter! If we are carrying anything home, it's visually inspected and then subjected to a blast of ionizing radiation to sterilize any genetic material. There's no way to make shielding small enough to protect something that could fit in a lunchbox or briefcase! Before you ask, there's no way to build such a cryo-device that would fit, uh, up inside me, either! Once in the locker room we have to strip and our scrubs are incinerated! Finally, as if that's not enough, they pat us down, and run us through metal detectors at the exit! We aren't even allowed to leave the building with our company issue laptops. No other electronic devises are even permitted on the property. Even if all that weren't true, the fertilized ovum are guarded better then Fort Knox!"
"But not the unfertilized eggs, correct?"
.... There is more of this story ...