<== ==>

“No, no, no and no,” said Snow, the Mater Custodes and the Chief Superintendent of OPTICA. “No! No. Hell no. No, no, no, no- oh, well, no. Fuck no! Absofuckinglutely not. If you were to make a giant no out of a nonillion smaller no’s, each one made of Nobelium from Norway, it’d still not equal how much of a fucking no it is!” A vein bulged in her forehead as she spoke and gesticulated wildly.

How this thin, seemingly unhinged woman ever became the leader of a branch was a mystery. Snow seemed overwhelmed by emotion just standing there. Most OPTICA girls Henrietta had met were slick professionals… why were they led by this spaz? She glanced at Catherine, who was listening to the speech with grim amusement.

“Listen carefully,” said Snow, her voice husky. “Grace and her cronies will trample our independence however they can- don’t let her. OPTICA’s job is to defend TORCH from internal threats. I’ve pushed and pushed for you all to give me a chance to find out who’s behind these attacks, and you won’t let me.”

“Because your branch sucks!” someone yelled from the LUX section. The room exploded into yelling and arguments until Theodora banged her gavel a bunch. Funny… nobody had dared interrupt Grace or Enron with invectives.

Snow’s face was beet-red by the time she could speak again. “Hey smartass, we don’t all have the luxury to sit around picking at our scabs and watching bugs fuck through a microscope! OPTICA hounds have been on the scene of every last one of these attacks, but every time we start to get anywhere we get shut out! I sure as shit am not gonna hand this over to BEACON- I want OPTICA to do it instead. We have the resources and the infrastructure, we just need the will. Don’t pass Grace’s shit. Vote it down- and instead, vote for the antiterror bill we’re drafting.”

At the very least, Grace had gotten one thing she wanted: the rash of terror attacks would be the issue that defined this session of the Sorority. It didn’t hurt that perhaps the most horrific attack yet occurred late last night, on a rainy little world called Porropelin. Henrietta had never heard of it before, but apparently they had found sixty corpses so far.

Snow stepped down. Henrietta glanced at Grace elsewhere in the BEACON section, but the Mater made no moves to make a speech of her own. An OPTICA Superintendent followed Snow’s speech claiming that BEACON could not be trusted with the investigation rights. Generosity, FORGE’s Mater Exitium and the CEO of Ven-Tech, argued that FORGE’s independence would be under attack from the bill. A PLUTO Executive Chairman pointed out (in what Henrietta considered a fair point) that there was no guarantee of success especially considering BEACON’s military police had no more luck catching the terrorists than anyone else.

But everyone in the room knew this was leading to Enron’s speech. The gigantic SPRING CEO sauntered up to the stage… Sapiens, was her ass fantastic. Henrietta didn’t necessarily like big girls but Enron just had this natural sex that poured from her every movement. It made it a little hard to concentrate on what she was saying.

<== ==>

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