“The oral testing will begin in one hour”, announces Dr. Murdoch. “I will call your names at random and when summoned, you’ll meet me upstairs in the main library”.
Grumblings and mutterings follow as the not-quite-awake brood saunters over to the locked cabinet to take their ‘morning’ meal of synthesized haemoglobin.
“If you screw this test up, Marty, you’re a dead man”, threatens Drew.
“I’m already dead”. “And besides, as I recall I’m the ace student around here in the last five tests”.
“You cheated on four of them”, adds Merrill.  She was already sucking on her morning repast.
“Says who”, challenges Marty.
“I caught you thinking you got away with it”.
Oh, that’s right, Merrill, I forgot you’re the mind reader around here. Well maybe I was thinking that I got away with cheating on our last card game. Ever consider that?”
“Stuff it, Marty”. Essie has lost patience as she partakes of her breakfast while brushing back her long flowing hair with her one free hand.
“What is it with this ‘stuff it’ crap tonight? First Karl uses it on me, now you.  Did I miss getting the memo or something?” Marty is already back to his normally agitated self. “Just everybody worry about your own performance today.  But I’ll tell you one thing, if one of YOU screws up, you’ll have to deal with me.”
Essie looks completely nonplussed.
“Don’t push me Essie” Marty threatens.
Essie throws him a smirk, then turns away heading straight for her favorite mirror to finish her daily cosmetic ritual.
Drew meanwhile has drifted off to a far corner of the main room, the central meeting space for the suite of rooms that constitute the underground school. Sealed from the outside and accessible only by a coded entry system, this bunker is a haven to the chosen five, a safe house in which to conduct the Experiment.

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Mark Shekter & Garry Blye
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