The stage was set. The pieces had all come almost too perfectly into place -- easily
, even, without a single hitch in the final stages. Then again, all of the players had been hit just right -- hard, fast, blind, each of their strengths reduced to their weaknesses based on the years of data that had been collected. Years of study, years of work, years of nothing short of utter dedication to this one cause.
They never stood a chance.
Competence wouldn't be confused with arrogance. Arrogance made lesser men sloppy, prone to mistakes, a constant error throughout history. Arrogance on behalf of these players had cost them, after all.
Even the strongest of them wouldn't find an easy answer; this compound had been constructed to hold the worst of what they could each dish out, in addition to housing the many challenges they would face. The compound was large, it was deep, it was dangerous; even the famous George Trevor would have been impressed, just as he would have been pleased to know that even after his death, he continued to contribute to a greater cause.
Years of effort, finally about to pay off in what would be nothing short of a spectacular
The data was, in the end, all that really mattered. Each of the subject's DNA had been sampled, saved, and assigned to an appropriate handler. This stage of the project was for reference, a rare kind of field data -- if any of the subjects died in the process, it would be no major loss. The group had what it needed.
Hundreds of cameras watched the compound; dozens of monitors switched between them all automatically, at the moment seeing nothing but long, empty halls of stone for the most part, occasionally areas of brick, wood, and even plaster. Environmental variety was an important experimental factor.
Four of the largest monitors were the main focus of every eye in the conference room. Each screen showed a small room, much like a cell, nearly identical except for the forms that inhabited each. Two per space: one male, one female, all currently out cold.
The drugs had been measured precisely; whatever each individual's tolerance, they would all wake within minutes of each other at the most.
Now there was nothing to do but wait, and watch.