Duct work looks different from the inside. It’s tight and dusty, not shiny like in the movies. It’s also fragile, and noisy, and not meant to be used to travel incognito through any kind of laboratory facility. Curiko had never been one for conventional wisdom. Also, she had a certain sort of magic to help her.

A wave of her hand sent an iridescent mist of mechacytes in front of her to disable the security. She paused long enough to listen for alarms, but when none chimed, she continued squeezing herself between the fragile metal panels. It befuddled her that the lab hadn’t bothered changing the security system since their lead researcher had escaped into the night. Christophe had designed the security himself. Because he was her dear friend, he had given her everything she needed to circumvent the system. It really was irresponsible for his replacement to continue using it as if there weren’t a woman using the ducts to wreak havoc among the facility rooms.

She was worming her way past Christophe’s office, a room she had not intended to stop in because there were a lot of people in and out of it. Through the grate she heard voices. Being a curious sort, she pressed her nose against the thin metal bars, and listened to the conversation below. There were three figures standing in the center of the room in front of the desk. She perked up momentarily when she saw the handsome man between two women, thinking Christophe had returned from his sabbatical.

He was tall with dark hair and a smooth clean shaved face. He wore a black suit and tie, and every thread looked immaculately tailored. One woman stood with the man, and the second was sitting cross legged on a white plush couch.

Cold disappointment washed over her seconds later when she realized this must be Christophe’s brother, Lars. She had seen pictures of Droxen Enterprises’s CEO, but this was her first time seeing him in person. He was very similar to Christophe, but where Christophe had a tendency towards kindness and smiling, Lars just looked grumpy and mean. Aside from that, take away the suit, and add a lab coat, and the resemblance was striking.