Twenty seven years ago, Adrian’s grandmother, Lily Jones, top of her medical field, was working frantically in her lab.
She was working on a vaccine for the disease, Sweaty Shivers, that was beginning to show signs of resistance to existing antibiotics.
Because she was a member of the Evil Genius family at the height of her career, she was not averse to trying some controversial methods although her practices were rarely questioned.
Lily’s daughter, Alivia O’Donnell, took over Lily’s research after her death.
She too tried every method she could, including some morally questionable ones, searching for a way to cure the disease.
It's 2028 and the disease is steadily spreading through Simsland.
Granite Falls, 2028
It was late at night. Cas crept outside the Evil Genius lodging where she found Victor, facing the forest.
She walked to his side.
“What are you thinking?” she asked.
Victor jumped. “Cas?” His head jerked to the cabins behind him. “What if they saw you with me? Alex..." he quaked, "your mum - everyone. You'd surely be punished, even killed!”
“No, they’d kill you,” Cas giggled.
Victor shuddered. I'm sure they would, he thought.
“Come,” said Cas breaking into a run. Victor followed her into the forest. He had to pull out a splinter or two on the way, as the ground became more packed with twigs and gorse. Then it cleared, becoming softer, as they entered a grassy area. The wind whistled an eerie melody; the sort it often played in Forgotten Hollow.
Cas turned to face Victor.
"O..kay..." she said, smiling awkwardly. Victor returned the smile.
Both were apprehensive, unsure what to say, yet wanting to say rather a lot, although nothing they would have said hadn't been said by billions of people before them.
“So…” Cas started, but Victor fell into her arms. I'm so glad you're alive, he thought, although gladness was an understatement. It was more an overwhelming feeling of relief that at least someone he loved was still alive after the fight.
“Victor,” Cas whispered, “I think after this battle our two families are going to be at war with each other. That means you and I will be at war.”
“Huh?” said Victor, pulling away... Why would you say that, Cas? You and I don't fight usually.
“I don’t know, I just feel it. I feel...everything that has happened, murder, this strange fight we had, it’s all pointing to more fights to come. Who knows, we might return from this trip straight into a war that are families at home may have already begun.”
Oh, it's about them, thought Victor.
“I’m not fighting you Cas! Your family and my family can do what they like – but there is no way I’m fighting you!”
“Which is why I have a plan,” said Cas. “Victor, run away with me!”
“Run away with me! I’ve been saving up to buy tickets for a flight to Al Simhara!”
Victor raised an eyebrow. Is she joking?
“Have you heard of the company, MorcuCorp?”
“Victor shook his head!”
“They’re an evil company that exploits their citizens and bribes locals to steal relics from the tombs in the pyramids, which they use to sell and trade.”
“Isn’t...uh... that illegal?” said Victor. “What belongs to the pyramids should stay in the pyramids.”
“Duh!” said Cas. “Anyway, the company owes the members of His Evil Services a favour for preventing The Resistance from intercepting a trade between MorcuCorp and some suppliers.”
“Okay,” said Victor. “Do you want MorcuCorp's protection or something?”
“Yes,” said Cas. “I think we could get their protection in Al Simhara. Protection from our families. Of course, we’d have to work for them and really make our offer sweet, otherwise they’d tell our families about us. I think it’s a worthwhile risk. What do you say?”
Victor thought about it. Oh what the plum. “We’re doomed anyway. Worth a shot!”
They sealed the deal with a kiss.