AERION MACH 2 - CENTRAL ASIA - 2032 A.D.
Eve Zachara holsters her HK G20 7mm caseless machine pistol and thrusts a freshly sharpened K-BAR knife into her tactical vest. She is prepping for a business meeting in the evacuation compartment of an Aerion supersonic executive combat jet. She picks up a Smith and Wesson 20mm hand cannon. It's supposed to be a simple meet and greet, but she likes to be prepared. The S&W is a great last minute equalizer if something goes wrong. It holds six rocket assisted explosive rounds and can stop a medium sized tank. Despite that, it looks relatively innocent as hand cannons go. Still, it’s bulky and she doesn’t want to appear to be packing serious firepower at an informal negotiation. She sets it back down on the prep table. If something goes wrong, she’ll make due with her thermite grenades.
She removes her corporate DNA-ID badge and seals it in a finger print lock box. Standard company protocol requires that executives do not carry identification on covert insertions into hostile markets. Still, if she is captured there will be little doubt what company she works for.
Because she is also carrying two iComs. One clipped on her arm guard like a large wrist watch and the other hidden in the throat of her boot. Only two major tech companies operate in this particular war zone. Agents for one, and their minions, always carry Android Globemasters. There will be little doubt any executive carrying an iCom…
… works for Apple.
The pilot’s voice speaks over the Aerion's intercom, “Dr. Zachara, we’re two minutes from the drop zone.”
Eve straps on her parachute, puts on her helmet and secures her oxygen mask. She presses a button and the entire compartment depressurizes with a sharp whoosh. Wind howls as the jet's rear boarding ramp slowly opens.
A green light flashes over the open ramp and the dark roaring airstream beyond. At the last second, Eve changes her mind and snatches up the hand cannon. She tucks it in her vest and runs out the back of the jet.
She leaps into pitch blackness.
NIGHT SKY - SOMEWHERE OVER UZBEKISTAN
Eve drops out of the unmarked Aerion Mach 2 and the boarding ramp closes behind her. She is executing a HALO (High Altitude Low Landing) jump at eighty thousand feet. At that height she is in near outer space. The black curvature of the Earth frames the dark sky with the sliver of a new dawn rising half a planet away. The Aerion quickly sails off and disappears as she seems to hover weightless in the thin atmosphere. She looks overhead and can see an untarnished view of an intensely bright Milky Way star field and galaxies beyond. These fleeting moments of floating in sub-orbital space are an accidental perk of her work for Apple that she really enjoys.
But she is not actually floating, she is free falling.
As the air thickens and the speed of her drop increases to terminal velocity, the sensation of weightlessness disappears. She instead feels like a human bullet. Which is also kind of fun. She places her hands in front of her like a superhero and uses her palms to channel air and guide her descent to the drop zone. With her parachute still unopened, she falls for about sixty thousand feet before checking her iCom's altimeter.
The latest HALO Pro app is fairly accurate and estimates she's dropping at 126 miles per hour. The altimeter spins down from 18,000 feet to 9,000 in the time it takes for her to glance at it. A heartbeat later it hits 3,000 and its alarm flashes that she needs to activate her chute. But she still waits as she hurls down to the ground.
KYZYLKUM DESERT, UZBEKISTAN
A vast shadowy landscape springs across her line of sight in all directions like a hammer heading for a nail. For a moment it looks as if she is too late. But just before she is smashed to bits, she calmly pulls her rip cord and her parachute instantly unfurls. It wrenches hard through her harness and slows her descent so quickly it seems as if she is briefly tugged back into the sky.
Not missing a beat, she hits the sandy desert ground with bent knees and pulls the pack release. The chute breaks free and flutters off, disappearing into the distance like a blown leaf. Eve tosses off her helmet and oxygen gear. She shakes out her long blond hair. Unclipping her iCom from her wrist guard, she uses the touch screen to switch to the GPS map. She notes with a smile that the pulsing blue dot shows she’s only thirty meters from the red pin in her target spot. She captures the screen shot of her position and sends it with a text message to visicalc82:
A reply quickly comes:
MISSED IT BY A MILE
Eve knows it's a joke, and texts back "BITE ME" as she heads for high ground. She's landed in the no man’s land of the war torn Kyzylkum Desert. She reaches the top of a sand dune and scans the barren scenery. There doesn't appear to be anyone or anything for miles. She texts again to visicalc82:
CLEAR FOR DROP
Eve crotches low and waits. She's about half an hour early for the rendezvous with the rebels, which is how she likes it. She swipes her finger over her app display and checks her e-mail. There's a message from her mother, which she's sure she doesn't want to read, an invite to a club concert and a shipping notice from Zappos for some red pumps she ordered. She switches to a live video feed of her San Francisco apartment and the nanny cams she has set up to keep an eye on her two cats. She finds one sleeping peacefully in the large cat tree and spots the other in the kitchen by the food dishes. Her cat sitter seems to be keeping the dishes filled and everything clean.
Overhead, she can hear the sound of another aircraft approaching from a much lower elevation. She switches her iCom to the SEAL NIGHTSCOPE app and directs her rear camera to the sky. It quickly picks up the moving object and automatically zooms in with an enhanced infrared image. It's an unmanned tilt rotor container carrier. It approaches and passes overhead without stopping but not before dropping its truck sized container from underneath. The container falls for a few seconds and then dual parachutes spring open automatically from each end. It drifts to the desert floor and lands with a heavy thud.
Before heading down to it, Eve detects tiny clouds of dust on the distant horizon. She re-aims her iCom's nightscope and spots some trucks heading her way. Hopefully, it's her rebel contact and his men. She texts him at rakhimovB:
WHATS YOUR ETA?
The reply is instant:
SPOTTED DROP. WE'LL BE THERE SOON.
The lead truck briefly flashes its headlights to signal her. Eve wonders if anyone else saw the drop. This is rebel territory, but unfortunately, there are several competing groups of rebels and Rakhimov's group isn't the most powerful by any stretch. One of her larger goals, if she succeeds with this product placement, will be to get the rebels to join forces against the dictatorship that's currently ruling Uzbekistan. She's not here just as a sales rep, it's critical to Apple's long term industrial strategy that the rebels win. Uzbekistan's vast holdings of uranium are a critical future resource in the new tech version of the Central Asia's “Great Game” war of empires.
The trucks are getting closer. There are six of them with open beds packed with armed rebels and two battered light armored vehicles with heavy machine guns. They spread out in a circle around the drop area. Eve heads down toward the cargo container. She uses her K-Bar to cut loose the parachute cords.
As the trucks stop, surrounding her, the rebels leap out from the beds with guns ready. The two mounted machine guns are swung around and aimed in her direction. Eve's fingers instinctively twitch as she considers drawing her hand cannon. But even if she had a pulse rifle, she wouldn't be able to take out this many before she gets cut down. Instead she sheaths her knife and raises an open hand in greeting.
The door of one of the trucks opens and someone is shoved out hard. He collapses to the sand, his face bloody from a horrific beating. He looks up at Eve, pleading. It's Rakhimov. She has only seen him remotely on FaceTime, and his face is now barely recognizable, but she can tell it’s him from his eyes.
"Eve… I'm sorry… I told them… everything."
Several rebels come up behind Eve with AK-98's aimed at her head. She reluctantly raises her other hand in surrender. A shadowy figure steps out of another truck and slowly approaches with a methodically sinister gait.
"Dr. Zachara, we meet again."
Eve can't suppress an ironic smile as she looks into his beady eyes. "Malick."
"Ah, you remember. Good. You should have killed me in Bora Bora when you had the chance."
"Apple, unlike some tech companies, has rules against killing prisoners. Even Google scum like you."
"That's why you're going to lose this war, Doctor. Apple's romanticized humanitarian delusions can’t compete in today's market place." He draws a powerful Mateba automatic .357 revolver from a shoulder holster. He steps over to Rakhimov and aims down at him. “I guess we don’t need this prisoner anymore.”
Malick fires. The bullet pierces the back of Rakhimov’s skull and explodes out of his face. “One less Apple fanboy to worry about.” Malick says with a sadistic grin.
Eve’s heart sinks as she watches the blood pool under Rakhimov’s body and disappear into the sand. She would be lying if she said she hasn’t had her own doubts about this latest product war. Particularly, the relentless toll on innocent customers like the newly deceased rebel who simply wanted the best tools for his war effort.
In 2022, Google officially changed its motto from “Don’t Be Evil.” to “Yes. We’re Evil. Get Over it.” The second Apple/Google war took place shortly after. (The first was in 2009 with the introduction of the Android operating system.) Five bloody years later, after old Cupertino was wiped out in napalm firestorms, a truce was signed, various patent lawsuits settled, and territories divided. Apple got China, Japan, Central and South America, Google got India, Africa and Europe. They split North America with Apple getting everything West of the Mississippi. But in many ways the war never ended. Apple’s products continued to be more in demand in almost all territories and Google accused it of manipulating the black market. Officially, the “Third War” began last year with a Google bio-weapon sneak attack at an Apple product unveiling that killed five hundred technology reporters.
But while bloggers can argue over the difference between the current declared war and previous cold wars, Google’s propensity for dirty tricks, murder, malware and torture to further their corporate goals never changed. And at times, even to Eve, Apple’s commitment to playing by its often mysterious company ethical code seemed as if it is clinging to an outdated chivalry created in a time of peace that never really existed.
Malick is the perfect Google creature of these dark days. A pointy rat like nose peeks out from oversized glasses under an awkward bowl hair cut. For some reason that kind of haircut seems popular with Google senior sales executives. And a disproportionate number, like Malick, have red hair and freckles over their cheeks and the backs of their hairy hands. Malick wipes a fleck of freshly spilled blood from his nose with a smile.
Of course, there is only thing lower than a Google executive, and Eve isn’t surprised as one slinks from the shadows and takes up a submissive position behind Malick. He looks down approvingly at the dead body and then longingly at Eve. He whispers in Malick’s ear with a faint stutter.
“She has pretty lips.”
It’s a Microsoft sales rep. Balding, hunchbacked, with small boils over its pocked face. Eve recognizes him from the corporate website: William Woag. By the time Google purchased Microsoft in 2025 it was a broken, twisted entity and under Google’s thumb it continued to wither and rot. Yet it still clung to the underbelly of the tech world like some kind of fungus or black mushroom, mostly through Entourage updates and remaining enterprise accounts. Woag’s open hand extends out toward Eve like a zombie drawn to her life energy but Malick slaps his arm down.
“No! She’s not to be spoiled. Not yet.”
“Yes, Master!” The sales rep hunkers down like a frightened animal. Eve isn’t afraid of anything, certainly not any competitors, but Microsoft executives make her skin crawl.
A burly rebel with an eye-patch, Ju-Ju, disarms Eve, quickly taking her HK, Smith and Wesson, knife and iCom. He carefully pats her down, his thick calloused fingers firmly exploring her lean muscles and lingering longer than necessary on her soft curves. He finds most of her lipstick sized thermite grenades and a small bag of gold Kruggerrands, which he clearly recognizes from its heft. He secretly slips the Kruggerrands into his pocket.
Ju-Ju straightens and nods to the others that she's clean. Whether in his haste to appropriate the Kruggerrands, or his thrill in feeling her up, he misses the iCom in her boot and one grenade in her vest. He gives her a passing smile which Eve half returns. She's had worse first dates.
Malick holsters his pistol. The door to one of the armored cars opens and out steps the rebel group’s leader. From her research on the Uzbekistan uprising, Eve recognizes him instantly as Tremalla, the handsome first lieutenant of Granmura, the strongest rebel warlord. Ju-Ju offers him the choice weapons taken from Eve but Tremalla is only interested in the iCom. As he examines it, other rebels push forward and quietly fight over the S&W and the remaining prizes.
“Is this the newest model?” Tremalla admires the fit and finish of the beautiful communicator, taking note of his reflection in the Apple logo on the back.
“Yes. It’s an iCom 6, with iOS 21. And quantum encryption.”
“It’s not true quantum encryption!” Malick objects.
“It is.” Eve says calmly. “The particles are full entangled.”
“Rubidum particles decay over time. The Globemaster will be using Caesium, which is much more stable.”
“The half-life of entangled Rubidum molecules is five hundred years. I think that’s long enough for most personal communicators.”
“It’s a pretty piece of junk!” Malick angrily. “The new Globemaster will have ten times as many features…”
“And bugs. If it ever gets released.” Eve says with a smile.
Malick’s face is red as he looks over Tremalla’s shoulder at the iCom. “We need to destroy it. Apple can trace its location.”
“You can turn off the tracing if you want to play with it for awhile.” Eve offers. “Just go to general settings and switch it to airplane mode and it won’t send out any signal.”
“Oh, like you can trust an Apple rep. Their products are loaded with spyware.” Malick grumbles. But Tremalla follows Eve instructions and changes the settings. He looks through her iPod playlists.
“Some great music here. Coldplay.”
“I like classics. And unlike Android, which can be remotely altered by Google, iOS has solid user controlled privacy protections.”
Malick is growing uncomfortable. He pulls his revolver again and aims it at Eve’s head. “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t think we need to take her back to Google. Better to get rid of her here.”
But the second he pulls his gun, Tremalla grabs Malick’s wrist firmly with his muscular hand. “Put it away,” Tremalla says.
“We had a deal, she belongs to me.” Malick argues, his wrist obviously hurting from the vice like grip.
“You can have her later. I talked to Granmura on the way here. He wants to talk to her.”
“That’s not what he said to me! He said I could do what I wanted with her.”
“Then take it up with him.”
Tremalla releases his wrist, and Malick reluctantly backs down, holstering his pistol again. Tremalla goes over to the cargo container and unlatches the locking bars. He swings open the door. The interior is filled with large white shipping cartons bearing the Apple logo. He pulls down one carton and opens it. Inside are dozens of sealed boxes containing the iPad X.
The rebels go nuts, frantically pulling out shipping cartons and ripping them open. They hold up the iPad X boxes and dance excitedly making war hoots. Malick and Woag look on in disapproval. Malick shouts. “Those all need to be destroyed! Google is the exclusive technology provider for this revolution. I have a deal with Granmura! ”
“Whose going to take them away? You?” Tremalla asks Malick with a smile as he clicks his fingers to his men to take a couple sealed shipping cartons to his own armored car.
“Tremalla, I just want your men to have the best products. The iPad is a closed system. It doesn’t even have access to the dark web.”
“You can access the dark web through dozens of third party apps.” Eve says, shaking her head. “If you can’t find your taste in porn through normal channels.” As always, one of the few “advantages” Google’s operating system has over iOS was its access to the most vile imaginable pornography, and all the malware that comes with it. It’s particularly ironic, because Google was at the forefront of assisting governments in censoring the original internet, which lead to its gradual abandonment and the creation of the dark web, access of which is technically illegal in many countries. This is why Apple doesn’t provide a dark web browser on its own products, but Google designed the browser on the Globetrotter tablet so it could jump between the various internets. To provide a legal fig leaf, the Android user license states that you’re not allowed to actually use the browser for accessing the dark net, but of course, most people do. As a result, Globetrotters are constantly picking up toxic viruses, but it does take a few seconds less to access creepy hard core porn sites.
While Google defenders try to tout the browser as a major advantage, the Globetrotter has little else to recommend it. Like all the previous Apple iPads, the iPad X is more powerful, with a longer battery life, sleeker looks and better interface. It is the computer tablet of choice to anyone allowed a choice. In many Google controlled countries, like the Congo, Saudi Arabia and France, having one is punishable by death.
Almost instantly, the cargo container is emptied as the excited rebels whisk the fresh iPad’s away. Tremalla glances at Eve. “You can ride with me.”
Tremalla leads Eve, more like a guest than a prisoner, to his armored vehicle. Malick watches annoyed. Woag grumbles as drool runs from the corner of his month.
“He seems to like her. She is awful pretty, even for an Apple employee. And they’re usually easy on the eyes.”
Malick cuffs Woag hard on the back of the head. “Shut up!”
ARMORED VEHICLE - KYZYLKUM DESERT
Tremalla sits in the back of the armored car examining the tasteful artwork on a sealed iPad X box. He carefully removes the shrink wrap by cutting the edges with his fingernails. Eve can tell right away, this isn’t your average tech loving rebel. The way he opens the beautifully fitted cardboard shows he intends to keep the box for storage. He checks through the contents, noting each detail, even studying the standard Apple stickers. He then places everything back in the box before he even turns on the iPad X. There is no doubt. He is an Apple fan.
“You were foolish to come here alone.” He says with a trace of sadness.
“I didn’t know Granmura had made an exclusive deal with Google. When did this happen?”
“Granmura is a technophobe. He doesn’t care about computers, except for porn. Google offered him a lot of money. And he said Apple refused to pay anything.”
“We can offer equipment, training and support. We can’t provide cash to one rebel group that might use it to kill another. If you all unite, then there might be some way around that.”
“Well, that’s exactly what Granmura did with Google’s money. He used the money to pay off traitors, kill his opponents, and he now has effective control. Rakhimov’s men sold him out. Now they work for us.”
“And you’re not bothered by the fact that Google also finances the dictatorship you’re fighting against?”
“We’ve been promised, when the time is right, Google will turn on them.”
“Google has a terrible history of abandoning people and technology platforms, without caring who gets hurt. Remember what happened with Wave? ”
“I don’t trust Google, and I hate Android. But I’m not the one making these decisions. I have a war to fight.”
“And you’re going to do it with second rate tablets? Why don’t you get rid of your guns and use bows and arrows?”
Tremalla eyes Eve evenly. “I’m not an Apple salesman. You are. And you better be a good one. I was supposed to hand you right over to Malick. I lied about Granmura saying he wants to talk to you.”
“So what is he going say when we arrive?”
“Once he takes a look at you he’ll want to talk. He loves beautiful women. I suggest you try to charm him if you want to change his mind about Google.”
“And if I can’t charm him?”
“Then I’ll have no choice but to hand you over to Malick. Which I suspect will not be pleasant.”
REBEL CAMP - BATYR-AUL, UZBEKISTAN
Tremalla’s armored car arrives at the rebels main headquarters, hidden in the rocky hills of Batyr-Aul. It passes through a gate guarded by sentry towers and tanks into a dusty barbed wire surrounded encampment. A couple dozen yurts, round traditional Uzbek tribesmen tents, provide sleeping quarters, mess halls and storage.
One yurt, in the center of the encampment, is much larger than the others. It’s almost the size of a small circus tent. As Eve steps out of the armored car with Tremalla she learns that it’s Granmura’s private quarters and meeting area. Tremalla checks in with a guard outside. “I don’t know how he did it, but Malick beat us here. You won’t have much time.”
GRANMURA’S TENT - BATYR-AUL
They enter the tent where a huge feast has been laid out. Rebel’s are eating and drinking heartily. Granmura, a huge fat older warlord, who slightly resembles Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, sits on a pile of pillows being served by several beautiful women in harem outfits.
He smiles as Tremalla presents Eve. “So, you’re the famous Dr. Zachara.”
“I’m honored a great warlord like you has heard of me. Call me: Eve.”
“You’re Senior Vice President of Apple’s Special Sales division?”
“Special Sales. More like department of war.” Malick grunts as he sits on a pile of pillows in an honored spot to the immediate right of Granmura. Behind him is Woag, who sits on a bare rug. Malick continues. “You lied, Tremalla. I was just talking to Granmura and he said he never asked you to bring her…”
Granmura interrupts with a wave of his hand. “It’s to be forgiven. I can certainly see why he thought I might be interested in meeting her. Eve, would you like to freshen up after your travels? Perhaps take a bath. I’ll have one of my harem girls assist you. Maybe even a massage with fine oils…”
“Perhaps later. If you don’t mind, I’m quite hungry.”
“Of course! Sit, sit. Join us, you can watch the show.”
Granmura motions for her to take a seat on his left. A rebel officer moves over to give her and Tremalla space. They both sit. One harem girl brings over a platter of food and another brings a small wash bowl decorated with flowers. Everyone is eating with their right hands. Eve washes her hands in the bowl and then takes a a bite of the meat and bread. She nods to Granmura.
“Excellent tandir and obi non.”
“Do you cook?” Granmura asks.
“No, not really.”
“But you are a woman.”
“There is no man in your life to care for?”
“My work keeps me very busy.”
“Or perhaps you prefer women?” Granmura asks with a suggestive smile. One of the harem girls next to him looks at Eve with smothering eyes. “I’ve heard that all the women that work for Apple are bisexual.”
“No. They aren’t.” Eve takes another piece of meat and places it on some torn bread. She takes a bite. “But I am.” She returns the harem girl’s look with a steady gaze.
Malick sneers, annoyed. “But they are all sluts. Right, Doctor? All you Apple girls are whores. Right?” Woag snickers.
The room tenses. Tremalla gives Malick a stare like he might hit him, and Granmura looks over to see Eve’s reaction. But she casually brushes it off.
“We like to have fun. If that’s what you mean.” Eve says with a bright smile. Eve gestures toward Granmura’s men in the room, many of whom are fiddling with their new iPad X’s as they eat and talk. “I see your men are having fun with the new iPads.”
Malick leans over to Granmura and talks in a low voice. “We need to do something about that, sir. Those iPad’s are a serious security risk. They need to be destroyed.”
“Relax, they can play with them tonight. In the morning they’ll be bored with them and hand them over.”
“I doubt that. They’re like a drug. An evil drug. Why take the risk?”
Eve interjects. “Why are you so afraid of them, Malick? If your tablets are better, why not let the men choose?”
Granmura smiles. “You are a good salesman, Eve, but I am a man of my word. I made a promise to Malick. He paid me handsomely to be the exclusive provider, I can assure you. Besides, as a woman you won’t understand, but my men like pornography. It’s a good relaxation for them. And since the iPad won’t let them access…”
“That’s not true, sir. They can use all the porn they like on the iPad…” Eve protests.
“Bullshit! The iPad blocks access to the dark net. They’re not interested in soft core porn. These are real men.” Malick argues.
“It takes two seconds to download an app…”
“Enough! Enough!” Granmura waves his hands. “I don’t care about these boring technical issues. It is common knowledge that Steve Jobs hates porn and the Google Globetrodder has better hard core porn access.”
“This is my tent, doctor. We shall speak of it no more. The decision has been made. Tomorrow all the iPad’s will be destroyed. Now enjoy your meal and some wine. There is still a chance I might change my mind about your personal situation and spare you from Google.” Granmura motions for a harem girl to pour Eve some wine.
Eve takes a sip of it and considers her next move. As she does, Granmura claps his hands. “Begin the show! We now know a little about the women of Apple. They are tough and beautiful. Much like our own women. You should enjoy this, Eve. A traditional Uzbek sword dancer!”
Music plays and a beautiful young dancer in a elaborate folk dress appears and dances into the center of the room. She is carrying a long scimitar. She dances gracefully as she sweeps the sword through the air.
Malick whispers to Granmura. “If it’s a question of money, I think an extra reward can be provided for the capture of Dr. Zachara.”
“Not now, Malick.”
“I mean, of course, after you’ve had your way with her.”
The sword dancer picks up an apple from a bowl of fruit and tosses it in the air. Spinning quickly, she turns and slices it, proving the sword is quite sharp. The apple is cut cleanly in the middle, and the two halves fall to the tent’s carpet.
Woag laughs and whispers to Malick. “Apple cut in half. Get it? It’s a good omen.”
“A better one will be the Doctor’s head severed from her body.” Malick muses. “And I intend to see that day.”
Woag smiles. “Look, see how scared she is? She’s getting drunk.”
Malick looks over and sees that Eve has finished her wine and motions for her glass to be refilled. She watches the dancer intently.
The dancer balances the sword on top of her head and removes her embroidered jacket, revealing long slim arms. She tosses it to the side and begins to remove layers of her long skirt, revealing her legs in transparent harem pants. It’s a sort of Uzbek strip tease.
Eve gets her wine refilled again as she watches the dancer. Granmura whispers to her. “You like what you see? Her name is Yuliya.”
“She’s very skilled. She makes the sword seem weightless.”
“It’s a real sword, I assure you. Quite heavy.”
“One way for me to find out. With your permission.” Eve finishes off the glass and rises. To everyone’s surprise, she moves out onto the floor and sexily approaches the dancer.
Yuliya, the sword dancer, is unsure at first. She glances at Granmura for permission and he nods excitedly. Yuliya starts to dance close to Eve, who begins moving rhythmically to the music. It’s quite sexy. Eve strips off her tactical vest and then her military style shirt. She swings them around and then tosses them off. Underneath she has on a simple sports bra that shows off her well endowed cleavage.
Everyone is stunned by the sudden change in Eve’s personality. She seems quite drunk and is coming on like crazy as she dances with the sword girl. The fact that Eve is about six inches taller, and leanly muscular, just adds a deviant yang to the softer more curvy yin of Yuliya. There’s no question who is literally wearing the pants. Around the room, rebels are using their new iPad’s to record video of the erotic sapphic dance. What they don’t see, is that as Eve removed her vest, she palmed her thermite grenade in her left hand.
Malick notes with some discomfort how thrilled Granmura is with this enhanced show. “How pathetic. She’s clearly groveling for her life. It won’t do any good. It’s sad, really.”
As the dancer swings the sword around again, Eve’s right hand slides up her arm, caressing her. As Eve’s fingers reach up to the sword handle, the dancer offers it to her. Eve takes the sword.
Eve swings the sword skillfully through the air. It’s clear she knows what she is doing. A wave of panic sweeps through Malick. He whispers frantically to Granmura.
“Wait. All Apple executives are trained in martial arts. She wants the sword. You’ve got to stop this. It’s dangerous!”
“Don’t be a spoil sport. She’s just…”
But before Granmura can finish the sentence, Eve swiftly crosses the tent. Malick grabs for his sidearm, but before he can draw it, Eve spins with the sword and slices his neck clean through. His head rolls off his body and compressed blood bursts upward in a fountain of red.
Woag begins to scream as Malick’s head hits the floor in front of him and he is showered in warm blood. His eyes look up in terror. He screeches, “NO! NO! It was all Google. It was all Google…”
Eve briefly hesitates at the piteous screeching, but then memories of decades of abuse Apple suffered at the hands of Microsoft fill her with rage. She swings again and severs Woag’s throat. His head rolls off and blood gushes.
The room erupts in chaos. Rebels leap for their guns as the bloody bodies flop to the floor. But Eve is ahead of them. With her right hand, she skillfully whips the blade up to the throat of Granmura, not cutting it, but forcing him to attention. As she does, she reveals the thermite grenade in her left hand, loudly popping the sealed safety cap and placing her finger on the trigger button.
“This is a thermite grenade! In two seconds it will burn up everyone in this tent. You want to go to hell together!? I’m ready!!” The rebels pause at the sight of Eve’s fierce, crazy eyes and blood splattered face. They slowly lower their guns.
Granmura looks over at the lifeless bodies of the two tech executives. Blood is pooling around them. The blade of the sword is almost cutting into the skin of his neck.
Eve looks down at him contemptuously. “Who do you think you’re fucking with? Huh? I work for Apple! Apple! Heard of it? You think Google’s going to win this war? We’ve murdered every tech company that’s come up against us. Remember Commodore? DEC? No? That’s because we demolished them. And Dell, Adobe, Microsoft and dozens of others that tried to fuck with us. You think those losers at Google know what they’re doing? They’re a search engine company with crappy software and delusions of grandeur.”
Now that Eve has everyone’s attention, she slightly lowers the blade, so Granmura can relax a hair. She continues: “I didn’t come all the way here to beg you to take our products. I came here to see if you’re worthy of our support. And so far, you look like a bunch of clowns. Give him your iPad, Tremalla. Give it to him!”
Eve motions to Tremalla, who hands his new iPad over to Granmura. “Now, hit the home button to turn it on. Go to the App store. Just hit that round blue “A” button. Yes.”
Granmura nervously works the touch screen. Eve continues. “Now you’re in the App store. There’s half a dozen free dark web browsers. Just type dark… right. There you go. They all work about the same but pick Dark Lord. Fine. See how fast it’s downloading? Boom. You’re done.”
Granmura looks up at Eve, confused. “Done… with what?”
“Hit the Dark Lord button. You’re in search. Type: strap-on amazons. And hit the button. There, all the hard core lesbian porn you want.”
“It’s very fast. That’s all you do?” Granmura clicks through various of hardcore porn websites. “But everyone says the iPad isn’t good for porn. Why is that?”
“It’s Google propaganda. The iPad is fine with porn. Click and twist on any picture and you can pull it into iPhoto for later. You can get anything you want from the dark web.”
Granmura continues playing with the iPad. “It’s very light and thin.”
Tremalla jumps in. “And it’s faster and the battery lasts longer.”
Eve hands the bloody sword back to the dancer, who takes it nervously. She picks up her discarded shirt and vest, all the while keeping her finger ready on the grenade. She pulls her hidden iCom from the boot. She turns it on and makes a call. “This is Doctor Zachara. I’m going to need an emergency evac.”
Granmura looks up from his porn sites. “Wait! Wait! You’re going? So soon? We were just getting to know each other.”
“I thought you had an exclusive deal with Google?”
“I made a deal with Malick, personally. But I have no obligation to a dead man. So… maybe there is still time to convince Apple we’re… how did you say, worthy of your support?”
Eve speaks into her iCom. “Cancel the evac. I’ll get back to you.” She hangs up.
Granmura smiles. “You’re definitely going to have to clean up now. Yuliya, why don’t you show the good doctor to your tent and help her with a bath?”
Yuliya looks over at Eve and shyly smiles.
YULIYA’S TENT - BATYR-AUL
Eve stretches out in a warm bath scented with rose petals as Yuliya gently massages her shoulders. She’s going to have a lot of explaining to do when she gets back to New Cupertino. She certainly broke some company protocol, but in the end, she knows Mr. Jobs is mostly interested in results. And for now, this particular account looks promising. She’ll just have to explain what happened the right way.
Yuliya pauses as Eve’s shoulder muscles suddenly harden. “What’s the matter? You just tensed up.”
“I just remembered something. Something not good.” Eve’s face falls. She just remembered that several rebels around the room were using their iPad’s to capture video of her dance and… probably everything else. Oh, shit.
Eve slowly sinks into the bath, allowing the warm water to cover her face. She’s in a lot of trouble.
To be continued…