The long black car slid to a stop. As she approached it she heard the windshield wipers keeping time. It seemed out of sync to her, but she had been out of sync with everything since she woke up. The uniformed driver, his rain jacket glistening in the hazy streetlights, opened the rear door for her and closed it gently once she was inside on the broad leather seat. The smell of coffee was delicious.
“Thank you, Jarvis,” she said when he’d retaken his seat at the wheel.
“Of course, Miss Street,” he said from beneath his short-brimmed cap. “There are lemon bars, if you like, to go with the coffee.”
She was already pouring herself a cup. “Thanks,” she said again, “but probably not this morning. This coming storm has robbed me of my appetite.”
Jarvis nodded. “Will it be as bad as they’re saying?”
“Hard to say. I will know more when I study the data that came in while I slept, but it will not be good.”
Jarvis seemed to turn to her without taking his eyes from the road. “I have family in the north arroyo. Should they worry?”
Jasmine Street sucked in her breath, nearly choking on her coffee. She sat her mug in the holder and opened her purse.
“Get them out of there,” she said and handed him a card. “Call this number and tell them you got it from me. Explain your situation. If they seem reluctant, tell them Della sent you. Do it as soon as you drop me off. The main brunt of the storm and its wind will arrive late this afternoon.”
She was more concerned with the lightning than with the wind. The storm surge and heavy rain were deadly worries too. What she had watched from the satellites until she’d fallen asleep at her console was completely outside her fifteen years of experience as a weather modeler. The energy being generated by this superstorm was unprecedented.
Jarvis calmly, but firmly, nosed the limo through the phalanx of media people who had massed at the tower entrance and drove through the gate to the underground garage. All of the news bureaus had so sensationalized the coming storm that the general population was in a mild panic.
That’s not really a bad thing, thought Jasmine and she got out of the car and headed for the elevators. Everybody needed to treat this storm with enormous respect.
“Miss Street!” Jarvis called after her.
She turned to see him holding up the card she had given him.
She nodded and waved, eager to get upstairs and see what she’d missed. The images on her handheld were too small to read clearly. She’d been up, running on fumes, for three days. Last night she’d hit the wall and Carl, technically her boss, but a colleague and good friend as well, had talked her into going home for some real rest. She was glad she’d listened. She felt fresher than she had in weeks.
When she arrived at the 34th floor, it was oddly quiet. She saw Carl Halverson in his rumpled shirt, haggard face bathed in the blue light of his personal 3D monitor, sitting at his desk, directly next to hers. Both desks faced a wall of active monitors. He looked up and saw her.
“Jazz, you have to come see this.”
She went around behind him, briefly resting her hand on his shoulder, and gasped when she saw what he was watching.
“There are three eyes!”