January 13, 2017
Carson glanced at the open files on his computer again, listening as Dr. Sodhi continued his report.
“All of the samples have been received, thank you for relocating them here. I believed we would need to make comparisons between various withdrawal methods – as well as time extracted, and Xiu Son has confirmed my theory.”
“The expense better be worth it, Doctor.” Carson kept his tone mild. Alistair Sodhi was not the type of man who required overt threats. He understood his place in the organization. More importantly, his priority was the continuation of his work. The means to do so did not cause him even a moments’ concern. Which was beneficial, Carson knew. The other three experts that had been contacted to assist on Project Scion had all declined. If Xiu Son was not able to provide results, his replacement would have to be recruited through less pleasant instruments than a large check and unlimited access to rare and powerful materials.
“Of course, sir. Xiu has already begun preliminary analysis, and I am documenting his progress at every step. We are moving at the expected rate. If…” He cut himself off, and Carson shifted his attention from the mission reports on his screen.
“If, what, Doctor?”
“Xiu is a leading expert in this field – and has never been restricted by the same code of conduct as the others we considered for the project…he did suggest that having a fresh sample, or better yet, the ability to extract new material as necessary, would speed up the process significantly. I did explain to him that it was not possible, but the idea is intriguing.”
“Are you suggesting that I obtain a specimen for you, Doctor? One of the four most dangerous people on the planet?”
“Of course not, sir. I was only…you did say to let you know if there was anything that could increase our chances of success. Regardless of expense.”
Carson waited a beat. Eyes skimming through the reports and mind turning over the possibilities. Project Scion, in its own right, would revolutionize HYDRA and bring the world to its knees. Combined with the properties of the recovered stone and he – HYDRA – would be unstoppable.
“You are right about the expense. I suspect I will lose quite a few assets in this endeavor.”
“Then you will consider it?” Sodhi’s surprise and hope were clear even over the phone.
“I already have people in place. They will just need to be re-tasked. Stay on target, Doctor. I will be in touch.”
Carson ended the call and buzzed for his assistant. He scrolled through the photos of the mission brief while he waited.
“Contact the Atlanta team. I have an additional target for them.” Carson forwarded the images to his assistant’s tablet and she nodded before retreating. He sat back in his chair and slowly closed files. The image of a tall man speaking with several soldiers was the last to be left open. His dark blue suit with the white star was an unusual complement to another man in the background, that one dressed all in black.