Sebastian | Development 10

Sebastian | Development 10

Sebastian woke up the next day in a fabulous mood. It didn’t matter that he had spent the previous afternoon in a jail cell and yesterday night tossing and turning in Heathrow Hotel’s scratchy sheets. Sebastian hadn’t felt this entertained since he first set foot in Corver City, prepared to transform the dull concrete buildings into his personal empire.

As he slipped into his limousine, he dialed Janelle’s number, hoping the phone call would be short and sweet. It wasn’t.

“Sir, you’re alive?” Janelle shrieked. Sebastian couldn’t tell if she was thrilled, terrified, or disappointed. She talked about how empty the penthouse office felt without him and how scared she was that she might lose her job. Sebastian sighed. One of these days, he was going to give Janelle a fat paycheck and hook her up to the Memory Maker so he could pleasantly suggest that she stop talking. 

“Janelle, two things. First, my absence isn’t a vacation. I want everyone back to work asap. Second, I want you to call the Corver City Daily. Get me an interview by this evening.” Sebastian hung up before she could say anything else, and called the next number on his list. 

“Hello?” said a suave, deep voice on the other end of the line.

“Jack, my friend!” said Sebastian, with the demeanor of a boisterous dad on a beach vacation.

“Sebastian,” Jack chuckled. “Good to hear your voice. I thought you were incapacitated.”

“Rumors spread fast,” Sebastian replied, his mind already on other things. “I’ll be at DarkWinds in thirty minutes.”

“I have meetings,” said Jack. 

“You’ll cancel them.”

Jack paused. Sebastian kicked himself for a moment, wishing he hadn’t acted so confident. This wasn’t Salvador, a meaningless millionaire who answered his every command. Jack Kent could see through all of Sebastian’s plans. That’s why he needed Jack on his side. 

“Of course, buddy. Anything for you,” the owner of DarkWinds said wryly as he ended the call. 

Sebastian tried to shrug off the interaction, and voice-messaged his head guard. After the Malum breakin, Sebastian wasn’t taking any chances on his penthouse security. He needed his best team members to improve the Zone Drones, test stronger window materials, and interview new bodyguards. With that, Sebastian settled into his plush seat. He thought about Agent X. Maybe he’d ask Trent to spy on her. As for Chase… he was a tool, but he was also a wanted man, and Sebastian would let Damien Dart do whatever he thought was best.

On the outskirts of Corver City, the DarkWinds headquarters loomed in the distance: a long, flat, plum-colored building the size of a large airport. It seemed to stretch for miles. Sebastian wasn’t scared of much, but DarkWinds felt more alien than any skyscraper. Sebastian entered the sterile lobby with an aura of confidence. There, Jack was waiting, his bald head gleaming in the orange-tinged light.

Jack Kent seemed like a generous, well-intentioned CEO until you got to know him. He always offered advice for a price, and negotiating with Jack was like walking on a tightrope and hoping you didn’t fall for his tricks. Once, Jack sold Sebastian a drug that cured the Memory Maker’s side effects, but it started making all of the clients know things about Sebastian that they shouldn’t know, including some of his well-kept secrets. 

“How about a tour?” Sebastian said, baring his teeth. He didn’t like Jack, but he did get a thrill from negotiating with the enemy. 

Jack nodded, and they ascended the elevator, making pleasant conversation. On the third and highest floor, they entered the lab, where Jack discussed his newest project. “Snake oil,” he grinned, pointing to a test tube rack full of labeled vials. “My marketing team is having a blast selling the real thing. It works, but you wouldn’t want to be one of those snakes.”

Sebastian didn’t pay much attention, waiting until Jack brought up side effects to ask his question. “About my newest project,” Sebastian said, “I’m running into roadblocks. The calibrations aren’t perfect. How do I stop the kids from getting headaches and nightmares?”

“You care about that?”

Sebastian felt his anger start to rise. “I couldn’t care less, but the lower-ranking officers are starting to notice. I don’t have much time.”

Jack pondered. “Have you succeeded in singling out the neurons that overexpress CREB with the diphtheria-toxin strategy?” 


Jack walked to another lab station and pointed to a small vial of dried plant matter, crushed the size of coffee beans. He peered into the vial and said, “This is salvia divinorum. Illegal in Corver City. At high doses, it causes severe psychotic disturbances, hallucinations, and amnesia.”

“So?” Sebastian asked.

“So if you don’t want side effects to happen, don’t ingest the drug. Simple.”

Sebastian dug his fingernails into his fists. If Jack wasn’t going to help, Sebastian stood no chance of protecting himself against Triumphia’s regime. “So you can’t help me?” Sebastian said, outraged.

“I didn’t say that,” Jack said, his bald head gleaming. “Help comes at a price.”

Sebastian closed his eyes. “What will it cost?”

“The blueprints. Not just for the Memory Maker. I want the Eraser.”

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