‘When will we move?’ Ada asked cautiously. She was unsure if she wanted to hear the answer.
‘Soon, we must wait for more pieces to fall into place,’ Descartes replied, his French accent gliding gently to Ada’s ears. His appearance was that of an aristocrat, more than two centuries out of time. He looked at Ada thoughtfully. He could see through her with ease. ‘You’ve been here a long time.’ It was not a question.
‘Da,’ she nodded, looking into the middle distance.
‘Scotland is your home.’
‘Do any of us really have a home? Our kind exists without such things, I thought.’
‘Perhaps, but I aim to change that, surely you understand?’
‘Of course, but at what cost?’
‘You have doubts now?’
‘I’ve always had doubts,’ Ada’s voice trembled. Descartes frowned. He hated to repeat himself. He’d told her a dozen times, their fight was for survival; there could be no other way. She had agreed. They had all agreed. ‘I need to know if I can count on you,’ he said, forcing restraint into this voice, his hands clasped firmly behind his back.
Ada looked up at Descartes; her eyes were sure. ‘Tell me again what it will be like to live without fear.’
‘It will be life without restraint, it will be freer than what many now call free. Professionals in the suburbs talk of freedom, but dare they leave their gated communities at night? That, at least, is more than we have now, but what we aim for goes beyond this narrow definition. To walk freely at night, without reproach, our thoughts, ideas, and humanity on display,’ Descartes’s hands came forward as he moved closer to Ada; he could not restrain himself. He aimed to inspire her, but his own motivations received nourishment. Ada’s hands trembled, she reached out to his, her eyes focused on him as his pronouncement reached a crescendo. ‘When we are finished, our lives will be defined not by what we fear, but by our desires to achieve what we will, when we please. To live without fear, with true liberte, where you and I can walk the streets with our heads held high and strangers will know not what inspires our smiles, our delight.’ Leaning in, he kissed Ada passionately. She yielded to him, their hands touched, raised, between their bodies. She could smell his cologne, feel his lips firmly against hers. ‘This,’ he concluded after their moist kiss evaporated ‘is just a taste.’
‘Then I am with you,’ Ada stammered, her chin trembling.
‘Good, good.’ Descartes smiled and withdrew, marching to his desk. ‘Then we must be prepared, the others will be arriving soon.’
‘Yes, Taxia as well, she will be here in a matter of days.’ Turning sharply from his papers and disarrayed desk. Again, a creature from another time having shunned technology except when necessary. He looked piercingly at her, ‘do not fear my love, the time to be afraid is nearly behind us,’ before returning to his work.
But Ada barely nodded, her mind turning over and over. Taxia, she is coming? Then there is nothing to be done. Ada drifted from the room as the old noble darted, hands following eyes through the material. His conquests would follow.
To be continued…