Cara rolled her eyes in dismay at Gloria.
Gloria picked up her drink and took a sip and shuddered with the strength of it.
‘So you don’t question intelligent gas clouds, but you question a simple hack?’
It’s false nails and a set of contact lenses. You’re talking about some fucking Galactus level event and I go up against it with haute couture?’
Cara sighed as Olivia shifted in her seat, added to her ever growing mental list of questions about what or who was a Galactus. Drea wanted to punch the air that something was said that she actually understood. She ached for John and consciousness with a pang of deep, palpable longing that normally ended up in John’s hands getting the good kind of mean with her. Here, she took another drink and listened to the reserved bitching that characterised the failure of womankind to dominate society. Especially smart, white women but she kept that to herself in favour of enjoying the free show.
Cara gestured to the box.
‘Pop them in and on.’
Gloria sneered again but picked out the index fingernail, pearlescent and when she pinched it between her fingertips, it hummed pleasantly like the vibrator that laid gathering dust, hollow without batteries, much like her heart. It changed consistency, a warm plasticity as it looped over and adhered to her fingertip. A low charge ran up her forearm. The other nails leapt from their casings, with a graceful glee and the symphony of purpose used her body as the orchestra. The lenses elongated as they left the casing and attached themselves to her eyes, plasticized tears in reverse.
Gloria, in the healthy spirit of youthful experimentation, had experimented with hallucinogenic drugs for recreational purposes and the earnest, slightly grim spiritual ramifications. Peyote, psilocybin and lysergic acid had formed the river of her consciousness raising. The combination of the lenses and nails made it look like baby aspirin or the candied gummy vitamins that had characterised her sickly childhood.
Gloria had been given access to the operating system of the universe, a drop down menu floated in her vision like sunspots and she sat back in her seat, dumbstruck with a quiet awe. Olivia was fascinated by the shifting spectrum of colours that overlaid Gloria’s eyes even as the trembling posture of reverence unnerved her.
Gloria clicked on a free floating icon marked ‘tutorial’. Cara chuckled and sat back, gestured towards her with her glass.
‘She’s going to be a while.’
Olivia grew pale and gestured to Gloria.
‘What did you do?’
Cara furrowed her forehead and rolled her glass between her palms.
‘She can change things.’
Olivia swallowed and glanced between Gloria and Cara, concerned at what she might be gifted. She liked her own mind, even the distasteful streaks of self loathing and guilt were hers, goddamn it. Cara touched her hand, Olivia experienced a moment of raw satori and smiled at her.
‘I get it. You’ve put us together with the right tools for the job.’
Drea recoiled in her seat. She had seen the gesture, reminded of when John would use the quasi-hypnosis, social engineering tricks that took nervous young men and divorcees back into the dating arena with the confidence of bull studs.
‘Don’t do that to me.’ she said.
Cara smiled at her, eyes glittering as she picked up her drink.
‘Again, you mean. After all, you’re still convinced you’re dreaming.’
Drea gritted her teeth and forced a stoic expression onto her face to hide her disquiet.
‘So, what do we get?’ Drea said.
Cara clapped her hands together.
‘You two get to do something really spectacular.’
Olivia and Drea had grins appear on their faces in perfect symmetry.
Gloria, meanwhile, studied the physics of a falling leaf, the beauty of a broken hip and the pressures of being a good girl with a god’s eye for the sheer gift of it all.