Chapter Twenty-Five: John Hamlin
The AI parked the convertible in a vacant lot on the outskirts of town, which made Jenna wonder just how many abandoned lots there actually were on the outskirts of town. The place was little more than some kind of steel bunker and, judging by the number of security cameras around the lot and on the building, it was the bunker of someone very paranoid. The four of them approached the metal door, Jenna raising her fist to bang on it, but she stopped short when the door opened. A man emerged, dressed in loose khakis and an expensive polo. He was big and gorgeous, but he looked haggard and tired, like all the weight of the world rested on him and had for far too long.
“Um, hi?” he said.
Leanna stepped forward and said, “We spoke on the phone.”
The man seemed perplexed and replied, “You… seem a little young. Are you sure this is about… that?”
Leanna nodded. The man nodded back. He allowed them to come inside.
“John Hamlin,” he said, and stuck out his hand.
Kara, Jenna, and Angela all shared a look.
“Hamlin?” Angela said, “Like Stephanie and Tori Hamlin?”
John’s brows raised in surprise.
“My daughters,” he said.
“We go to the same school,” Jenna said, “Er, went. We just graduated, too.”
“Small world. Follow me.”
John Hamlin took the three of them down a short hallway and into what looked like some kind of laboratory, where another man in a white coat peered into a microscope. Angela looked very excited, bouncing on her feet as though someone had just handed her everything on her Christmas list.
“This is Kenny,” John said, motioning toward the man in the coat, who looked up and nodded at the four gorgeous young women, his cheeks flushed.
“Pleasure,” he said.
“You said you know something about this business,” John said, clearly hopeful, “I hope to God that’s true because I’ve been looking for a long time.”
“Did,” Jenna started, “Did it happen to someone you know?”
John looked sad and nodded but didn’t elaborate.
“It happened to me, too,” she said, and John took a step back, his eyes widening.
“How do you… feel… right now?”
“It’s getting hard to think,” Jenna admitted, and it was true. It had been hours since her last orgasm and the feeling had been intensifying.
“Kenny, do you have any of that stuff ready?”
The scientist nodded and opened a cabinet, taking down a pill bottle and dropping one into his hands. He handed it to Jenna, saying, “It’s not a cure. To be honest, you’re the only other person I’ve actually met that it happened to, so I can’t say for sure it’s going to work. If it does, it will help tone down the effects for a little while.”
Jenna swallowed the pill without hesitation, praying that the man was right.
“Were you at NewYou?” John asked, carefully.
“NewYou?” Jenna asked back.
“The clinic,” he said, spitting the words.
“No,” Jenna said, “I’ve never heard of it.”
Angela stepped forward, pulling something from her purse and passing them to Kenny, saying, “This is what I have. I tried to get copies of everything I could find on it.”
Kenny took the papers and began to flip through them, his eyes widening with every page, until finally, he snapped his gaze back to Angela, his jaw hanging open.
“Where in the world did you get this?” he asked.
“More like which world,” Angela said, and then shook her head and continued, “Trust me. If I told you, you’d think I’m fucking crazy.”
Kenny raised one eyebrow and said, “As a scientist, I don’t dismiss anything that sounds crazy at first. I’m working on finding a cure for a DNA-altering injectable that recodes a subject’s genetic makeup to turn them into a constantly aroused sextoy. I work in a bunker in the middle of nowhere for some rich computer scientist. So, yeah, I’m pretty comfortable with crazy.”
Angela looked as though she might be in love.
“Do you have something that can measure quantum vibration?” Angela asked.
“Not really my field,” Kenny said, now more curious.
Angela fished in her purse and handed the man a phone and a couple of dollar bills. He took them, looked at them, and furrowed his brows.
“What is a WozPad?” he asked, turning it over, “The Independent Republic of China?” he asked again, then looked at the bills, “Where… where did these come from?” he asked, finally putting the question and the objects together.
“The same place as the papers,” Angela said, and it looked like some kind of weight had been lifted off of the girl.
“You…” Kenny said, then he seemed to struggle, looking back at Angela, then at the objects he held, then back to Angela, “You didn’t. Did you?”
“I did. If you ask me how, I’m going to say, ‘magic’ and then your cheese is really gonna slide off your cracker, because that’s the truth, too,” Angela said.
“What are you two on about?” Kara asked, voicing the confusion of everyone else in the room.
“If I told you,” Kenny said, smiling at Angela, “You’d think I’m fucking crazy.”
John Hamlin coughed, catching Kenny’s attention.
“Right. Sorry, John,” Kenny said, handing the objects back to Angela before he continued, “It’ll take me some time to go through this, but I think she just brought you a cure.”
Before she knew what was happening, Angela found herself being crushed in a bear hug by the big man. In a voice so sincere that it made her want to weep, John said, “Thank you so much. Tell me how I can repay you, and it’s yours. Anything on earth, and it’s yours.”
Angela shook herself out as John let her go, flushed, looked at the floor, and then asked, “Well, do you think I could help Kenny? I… kind of like science,” she asked.
John nodded, grinning.
“And,” Angela continued, “if you know of somewhere that’s hiring, I’d really like it if my dad didn’t have to work two jobs.”
“I’m sure I can arrange something,” John agreed, then turned to the other three girls, “And you, ladies? While I’m playing the genie, is there some wishes I can grant for you?”
The three of them looked at one another. Jenna opened her mouth to speak, shut it, and shared a look with Kara. Kara gave a slight shake of the head and said, “Don’t trust anyone.”
Jenna flushed, amazed that Kara had read her mind, but there was something about John Hamlin that made her inclined to trust him. She opened her mouth again.
“Jenna,” Kara said again, a note of warning in her tone, “Hush, hush.”
John watched the other two girls visibly pale at the words.
“What?” he asked.
“Mr. Hamlin,” Jenna said, “Can you keep a secret?”
“Honey, I sign NDAs all week long. I probably have more secrets than some governments,” he said.
He watched as the girl removed something from one of her eyes and handed it to him. Curious, he took it, then looked at her with raised brows, asking, “Is this a Halo lens?”
“Where did you get this? I know there’s a public beta happening, but these are years away from release. Forgive me, but I find it hard to believe that one of you, let alone three of you, got into the test.”
“Do you have some time for a story?”
“For this, I think I can make time.”
Jenna began, “It happened to me a month ago…”
Enjoying Edge? You can pick up the full novel, containing 30 chapters in the shop right now! The updated edition also includes the bonus story, The Penalty for Failure.
Curious about Halo technology? Read Love, Lust, and Erin. This story is available as a free read on the site. You can also pick up a copy in the shop.
To learn more about Angela and The Other Side, read Doppelgänger. This story is available as a free read on the site. You can also pick up a copy in the shop.
To learn more about The NewYou Clinic and John Hamlin, read The Second Place Sister.