KiKi Layne as
Andrew Lincoln as
Professor Orion Dwyer
Matt Bomer as
Ian Somerhalder as
Chris Pine as
"88 Roosevelt Lane, please?"
Tessa leaned back against the cheap leather of the taxi and stared out of the window, watching the buildings go by.
She tightened her grip on her favorite notebook where she kept all of her ideas.
She still couldn't believe she had been accepted into the famous Professor Orion Dwyer's internship program.
Tessa was a lover of all things science. From botany to astronomy, the young student wasn't happy if her face wasn't stuffed in a book or experimenting with beakers.
A small smile teased the corners of her mouth as she thought about how her father jumped with joy when she read her acceptance letter.
The only thing Tessa loved more than science was her father. It was he who instilled in her her love and passion for science.
"I wanna go to the moon, pa!"
"Then make it happen, baby girl!"
Her cheeks grew hot and puffy from the wide smile that came to her face.
"I'll make you proud, pa..." she said to herself.
She glanced out of the window, watching the landscape transition from the tall skyscrapers of the city to the luscious green of trees and open fields.
She didn't know what kind of man she expected Professor Dwyer to be. Was he kind and gentle? Or was he harsh and strict?
Whatever type of person he was, she knew he was a man who had the same passion as she did: to build a better world.
Professor Dwyer was known for his groundbreaking technology that impacted several fields. Everyone from meteorologists to oceanographers to environmental engineers were lining up at his doorstep for a peek of his work.
When Tessa heard about his internship program, it was a no-brainer that she had to apply.
Though she didn't actually expect to be accepted.
This was the opportunity of a lifetime.
"We're here, Miss," the driver said from the front, interrupting her thoughts.
"Thank you!" she squeaked with excitement as she eagerly opened the door. She struggled to pull her suitcase from the backseat before she closed the car door.
As the car drove off, Tessa looked up at the large building before her. It was like nothing she would have imagined. It must have been bigger than her own university.
She smoothed out her long skirt that fell below her knees and fixed her buttoned-up sweater that felt a tad too warm now that she was actively perspiring from anticipation.
She walked up to the large double doors and went to knock just as the door opened.
"Ms. Tessa Marie. We've been expecting you."
Tessa glanced up at a tall woman with porcelain-white skin. She had bone-straight platinum blonde hair that fell well past her shoulders. Her face looked like pure perfection, not a blemish in sight. Her lips were small and thin with a brush of pink that contrasted drastically with her pale white skin.
"Please come in," the woman said moving to the side.
Tessa stepped inside the building and felt the air leave her lungs.
The place was even more massive from the inside. She felt as if she stepped into Hogwarts.
"We'll bring your bags to your room," she heard the woman say before her luggage slipped out of her hand. She turned around to see another woman with bone-straight raven-black hair wearing the same dress suit as the woman who greeted her grab her bag and start walking down the hall. She barely got to see her face before she was already leaving.
"But-" Tessa started.
"Orientation is soon to begin," the blonde woman started. "Please follow me."
The blonde woman made a 180 and briskly walked down the hall.
Tessa shuffled her feet to catch up, her shorter legs requiring at least 2 steps for every one step from the long slender-legged woman.
Tessa couldn't help looking around the large hall in awe. The building started to feel more like a castle. The ceilings were so high that she had to squint just to see the design. Sometimes she couldn't see the ceiling at all. The windows were oddly shaped as if only to let in a sliver of light from the outside.
She could barely keep up with how the decor of each room changed as she past them. One minute she was surrounded by plants the next she could barely see in the pitch blackness where only the light of artificial stars and constellations illuminated the room.
"Am I the only one?" Tessa spoke up. "I haven't seen anyone else."
"Of course not," the woman said simply without looking at her.
Tessa pouted. "Is there a restroom?"
"You can use the restroom after orientation. Professor Dwyer will not be kept waiting."
Tessa let out a quick breath. This woman was impossible.
Finally she heard the low chatter of people talking as they came to a small auditorium. Tessa followed the woman inside where she saw a small stage surrounded by about 30 other people.
"Please have a seat," the woman said pointing Tessa to an open seat next to another girl.
Tessa quickly walked to the empty seat and sat down in the plush chair.
"Hi! I'm Trish!" the girl next to her smiled brightly.
Tessa looked at the girl who seemed full of life. She had bright red curly hair, pale cheeks tinted pink and a bright smile that lit up her face.
"Tessa," she smiled back. "Have you been here long?"
"Got here like an hour ago! I was so excited to be here and meet THE Professor Dwyer! HOLY SHIT!" she blurted before covering her mouth.
Tessa chuckled at her excitement. She glanced around the room to see a few other students chatting among themselves. All seemed to look around her age.
"Do you know where you're bunking?" Trish asked.
Tessa shook her head. "They took my stuff before I even got a chance to ask."
"Oh. I don't mind helping you look after orientation," Trish smiled.
"Thanks. That's really sweet of you," Tessa smiled.
Suddenly the lights dimmed and a spotlight centered the stage. The low hum of a violin penetrated the still air accompanied by solid footsteps.
Everyone looked up to see a tall man with dark curly brown hair framing his face and a white and grey-peppered beard that was coiffed to perfection. He wore a crisp dark blue suit as he walked to the center of the stage. His hands sat in his pockets, his sharp blue eyes scanning the crowd.
"So these are my interns..."
His deep English-accented voice rumbled in the theater. His presence was beyond intimidating as he made eye contact with each student.
"My name... is Professor Orion... Dwyer. You will refer to me as Professor and Professor only."
He clasped his hands behind his back and started to pace the length of the stage.
"You are the first..." Orion stopped and looked up as if trying to find his words. "...outsiders... that I have allowed into my facilities. To see my research. My work. To... learn from me."
Orion scanned his interns.
"In your time here, I want you to be eager to learn. Innovative. Ask questions. Challenge me. Don't take what you see at face value. Don't always trust what you see. What you hear. You must touch. Feel. Taste. These things are required to get the most out of your time with me."
Tessa swallowed hard as Orion's pale blue eyes fell on her.
He paused for a long, lingering moment as if he were frozen in time.
"Interesting..." he said before turning around and pacing again.
"You will not only learn from me, but you will learn from each other and... from my protégés... otherwise known to you as... the Eternals..."
Orion glanced to someone off stage before three men filed out.
"Holy crap... is it hot in here or is it them?" Tessa heard Trish mutter.
Tessa couldn't agree more with Trish. The three men that walked out look like they stepped out of a GQ magazine and onto the runway.
They looked ever so similar in the eyes, face and build except for small differences here and there from the style of their hair, the color of their suits, the expressions on their faces and even their body language.
"These are my three most trusted protégés... and your mentors for the remainder of this program," Orion said.
He walked up to the first man wearing glasses that complemented his finely chiseled face. He kept his hands folded in front of him as he glanced at Orion.
"This is Cicero," Orion said putting his hand on the man's shoulder. "He was one of my first students. He is the Head of Research. His mind is faster than any other man-made computer. He has a wealth of knowledge that even the most brilliant minds of this world couldn't fathom acquiring."
Orion walked to the next man over. His demeanor seemed a lot more relaxed with his arms folded across his chest. His hair was fairly spiked and the hint of a smirk teased the corners of his mouth.
"This is Cassius. My more... animated student," Orion grinned. "Cassius can recreate and deconstruct any machine within seconds. As my Head of Machinery, he is the sole provider of which all of my technology is made tangible and transmissible."
"And here..." Orion said walking to the last man standing at attention with his hands behind his back, his slightly curled hair dangled in front of his face as he stared out into the crowd.
"Here is... Kal-El... lover of all things living and undead..."
Kal-El looked slightly at Orion to see a look of uncertainty on the professor's face. Orion twisted his mouth before turning to his interns.
"Kal-El is my Head of Testing. He works with all of our subjects to make sure they are safe and free from harm. He's got an affinity towards animals who also seem to love him. You'll gain a wealth of experience and knowledge from him, I'm sure..."
Tessa saw Kal-El's brows furrow as his blue eyes glanced at the floor.
"I advise that you spend as much time with my protégés as humanly possible. Learn what you can when you can," Orion said. "At the end of this internship, each of my proteges will choose an intern to work with them full time. That means 3 out of 30 of you will attain the coveted positions as my employees."
There was a series of gasps in the room as everyone looked at each other in disbelief.
Tessa swallowed hard again as Orion's eyes fell on her yet again.
"Your work will begin first thing tomorrow morning," he said diverting his gaze and looking at the rest of the interns. "For now... enjoy your evening. My staff has prepared a wonderful meal for you all."
Tessa sat at her desk in her rather large room, scribbling away in her notepad. It had been three weeks since she started at Professor Dwyer's internship program.
She had been bunking with 4 other girls including her new red-headed friend, Trish.
Being a part of Professor Dwyer's internship program was not very different from attending regular university. Students had the opportunity to eat together, spend time together, learn together. The group of 30 were slowly becoming family.
There was much abuzz from the students about Professor Dwyer's criteria to become a full-time employee laying in the hands of the Eternals.
It was such a peculiar title to Tessa.
She had no idea what it meant. What it was in reference to.
She had heard several students mention that the reason for the label was because despite working with Professor Dwyer for so long, the men looked as if they barely aged. Their faces were pure perfection. Frozen like a photograph. They never seemed to tire. Never seemed to show any signs of weakness.
Although they had many physical similarities, each Eternal was fairly different from the other.
Cicero was like a human computer. He could speak over 50 languages which seemed impossible to Tessa until he demonstrated to the interns during a session. He seemed to know everything about everything. She imagined it was because he spent the majority if not his entire life researching.
Cicero wasn't very open. Wasn't very talkative. Nor was he very kind. He was factual. That was about it. The most Tessa had ever seen him show any hint of emotion was in how he played the piano before every session as students filed in.
Cassius on the other hand was fairly different. He was incredibly skilled with machines. Each session, the students would watch in awe as he would break down the most complex of machines in a matter of seconds with his bare hands. During one session, he left the room stunned into silence as he broke down the structure of a rocket from NASA and rebuilt it in less than 5 minutes. He made a joke about it being rocket science and it was one of the few times Tessa saw him laugh without mockery.
That was the defining characteristic for Cassius. He was extremely condescending. It seemed he didn't know how to be anything else but contrarian. He spoke to the interns as if they were idiots and not the 30 out of 989,900 students that passed Professor Dwyer's exam. Yet even that didn't seem to sway the girls from fawning over him.
And then there was Kal-El. Tessa didn't have many moments with him as his sessions were few and far between. Tessa assumed that had to do with his responsibility to care for the animals currently living on the facility. There wasn't a time that Tessa didn't see him with either a furry or scaly creature. But Kal-El wasn't just a master at taming animals, he was an expert at studying the human body. And he could read human emotions as if it were writings on the wall. It often made Tessa uncomfortable to stare at him for too long as it always seemed that he was staring into her soul.
But he was the kindest of the three Eternals... though she didn't feel that was saying much...
When the program had hit it's midpoint, Dwyer announced through an email that mid-semester examinations would begin to test who was cut to continue his program and who would be sent home.
This made Tessa very nervous. She wanted nothing more than to succeed. But she had no idea what to expect with these examinations.
She and the rest of the student body spent several hours a day studying for exams they were not prepared for.
The first day of exams was with Cicero. The students filed into his classroom to the soothing sound of classical music.
Tessa traced her steps to her regular seat and sat down at a desk not too far from where Cicero was playing. She fiddled with her pencil but couldn't help her wandering eyes.
She glanced up to see her instructor lost in the melody of his music. His fingers danced over the white and black keys with such keen precision as the music made love to her ears. It was the most beautiful tune she had ever heard. Her eyes traced over his forearms where his button up shirt had been rolled to his elbows. His head moved from side to side as his body swayed to symphony he played.
Tessa's mouth parted slightly as she got lost in the trance of his dance. His eyes were closed and he truly seemed to be in another world.
Normally this would go on for 5 minutes... today was bordering on 10.
The music came to an abrupt halt before Cicero's hands fell from the piano in a harsh manner. He glanced back at the class, scanning his audience before he pushed his seat back and stood up.
He adjusted his glasses that only magnified the beauty of his light blue eyes as he walked up to the chalkboard.
"Your exam today... is a simple assignment..." he said writing on the chalkboard. "Pick a country. Any country. Find a problem that said country currently faces. And solve it."
The students looked at each other a bit stumped. It was a rather broad request. Was there enough time to answer it?
"The human mind is like a sponge," he said turning to face them. "Incorporate what you've learned in this class thus far: your methodologies, your techniques, your skills. Be thoughtful about your choices. Be strategic about your solutions. Be logical in your reasoning."
Cicero looked at the clock. "You have one hour."
The rapid sound of papers turning and pens and pencils scribbling resounded throughout the room.
Tessa nibbled on the back of her pen as she tried to think. There were so many countries with so many problems. Poverty. Famine. Political Corruption. Disease outbreak. How could she choose just one?
She started to jot down a few ideas.
Then the music started back up again.
Tessa glanced up at Cicero to see him playing the piano again.
Lightly. Softly. It was so soothing.
She leaned on her hand slightly as she watched him. There was something so ethereal about the way he seemed to get lost in his own creativity.
Tessa jumped startled at the harsh tone by which her name was called. She looked up to see Cicero looking at her disapprovingly.
"Are you finished already?" he asked.
Tessa blinked at him. "N-no, sir. I-"
"I suppose my question was too simple for you," he said leaning against the piano with his arms folded across his chest.
Tessa shook her head. "On the contrary, sir. It's... rather broad... and depending on the type of answer you're looking for it could be answered via the length of a book... or in one sentence."
Cicero looked at her peculiarly. "Interesting... Ms. Marie, what is this program about?"
Tessa swallowed hard. "Understanding the human experience-"
"Not just understanding the human experience, but mastering it and bettering it through revolutionary technology," he cut her off abruptly. "That includes quick and logical responses to outliers of the human condition. That does not include... daydreaming."
Tessa felt her chest tighten. This was the most he had ever spoken to her and it wasn't at all pleasant.
His sharp blue eyes held her gaze, before he looked at the rest of the class.
"Let's practice an exercise," he said folding his hands behind his back. "An example of the current human condition that requires methodical and logical thought for a reasonable outcome. Let it wet your appetite for your exam."
The students watched as he walked to the front of the room.
"30 years into the future, your planet is on the brink of molecular breakdown due to centuries of unchecked erosion. Billions of lives are at risk," he started. "You are the chief engineer of a mission to attain the molecular compound necessary to save the earth. You are currently in a space hub which has caught on fire and is at risk of killing you and your team. You have 3 other companions. The pilot who is the only one capable of navigating the escape shuttle, the specialist who knows how to initiate the compound, and your partner of 10 years, your backup engineer. There are only 3 spots in the escape shuttle. The shuttle is already set on autopilot and each person in the space hub was given direction on how to initiate the compound in the absence of the specialist. Who leaves. Who is left behind to die?"
There was a low hush in the classroom as the air filled with their thoughts. The scenario was described in a way that any person was essentially disposable. But who? One student raised their hand.
"Yes?" Cicero asked.
"The pilot, the specialist, and myself," she said. "The back up engineer probably doesn't have the same experience as I do."
"Mm..." Cicero pondered as another student raised her hand.
"The specialist, the backup engineer, and myself," she said. "If the shuttle is already set on autopilot, then he's not as essential to the mission."
Cicero nodded when Tessa raised her hand.
"The pilot, the specialist, and the backup engineer," she said.
Cicero raised a brow. "You would choose the backup engineer over yourself... the Chief Engineer?"
"I would rather sacrifice myself than make the decision of choosing whether someone else I've dedicated myself to lives or dies," she said.
"That doesn't seem at all logical, Ms. Marie," he said.
"But, sir, the human condition isn't about just making logical decisions. It's about a sense of self-morale too, what we're willing to do for others..."
Tessa hesitated at the silence. "Isn't it...?"
Cicero looked at her peculiarly. His blue gaze pierced through his glasses and she shrunk back slightly from his intimidation.
"There is no room for emotion when you're held accountable for the lives of billions. Emotion is what provokes humans to make mistakes rather than effective solutions. Furthermore, Ms. Marie, your assessment goes against the nature of the assignment. There were several factors you should have considered before making the impulsive decision to sacrifice not your life, which should not have been the key focus, but your expertise."
Tessa swallowed hard feeling like a scolded child.
"Perhaps... this wasn't meant for you," he said turning away from her.
Tessa lay in her bed staring at the ceiling. That feeling of anguish gripped her chest.
"He's totally going to fail me," she groaned.
Even though she had answered the exam question, she couldn't help but feel she screwed herself over with his hypothetical exercise.
She turned on her side and closed her eyes, hoping to forget about the day...
The soft sound of music caressed her ears. Each key speaking to her soul.
Her small bare feet stepped one foot in front of the other, leading her to the source of the sound.
She could see his back. Only his back. Swaying gently to the symphony he mastered.
"Do you like it, Ms. Marie..."
His voice was soft and gentle and sent a shiver down her spine. Still, her feet led her to him as if she were pulled by some great force.
She got so close she could see the freckles on the back of his neck. His broad shoulders flexed as his hands created waves along the keyboard.
"Come sit with me, Ms. Marie..."
Tessa's feet were already moving before she could process his command. She walked around the piano bench and went to sit alongside him when she felt his strong hands grab her hips.
"Ah ah... not there..."
Heat surged through her body as he sat her down on his lap. His firm chest pressed against her back. She breathed heavily as she felt his arms encase her in his embrace.
"Like this..." he said softly as he gently grabbed her wrists and placed them on the keys. Tessa swallowed hard as she watched his large hands and slender fingers move seamlessly next to hers. She tried to mimic his movements as their songs intertwined.
"Very good, darling..."
His lip teased the curve of her ear as his breath tickled her skin. His hands traced her arms as his fingers danced along her skin.
Tessa shivered as she felt him shift beneath her. His legs widening, consequently widening her own. His fingers teased the hem of her shirt before they found their way beneath her blouse and caressing her warmness.
A wave of goosebumps coated her as his scent invaded her nostrils.
"Your smell... it's intoxicating..."
His fingers drummed along her rib cage, playing her body as if he were playing the piano.
An unfamiliar sensation overwhelmed her when she saw his hands land on her thigh.
"Would you mind... if I touched you..."
Tessa swallowed hard. She wanted to say 'no', but no words escaped her lips. She turned her head slightly and met his fierce blue gaze. There was more passion in them than she had ever seen.
She raised a hand and gently pushed his glasses up. His blue eyes fell from her eyes to her lips.
She leaned in.
Tessa sat up so fast she nearly got whiplash. She rubbed her head and looked to the side to see Trish staring at her with a bright smile.
"Wake up! You're gonna be late for class!" Trish said before she bounced away.
"This exam will not be easy. My sole intent is to weed out the weaklings. Push you to give up. Bonus points if you cry."
Tessa rubbed her head. Her mind still obsessing over her erotic dream about Cicero. She certainly didn't get enough sleep to take Cassius's exam.
"Pay attention," Cassius said leaning over his desk. "I'm only saying this once. Ask me to repeat myself and you might as well walk out the door."
Tessa glanced up at Cassius leaning over his desk, his intense blue eyes nearly shook her to her core.
He wore dark grey pants and a black button up shirt that was opened slightly at the neck teasing a bit of his chest. His shirt was firmly fitted leaving little to the imagination of his fine physique. His black hair was as unruly as his attitude.
His Cheshire grin reminiscent of a predator ready to feast on his prey.
"God, he's hot," Tessa heard Trish groan.
Tessa kept her eyes focused on her instructor, refusing to make the same mistake she did with Cicero.
"This is a basic light emitter transfusion," Cassius said holding a black metal box with a small light shining through a lens. He moved his hands quickly before he broke it down into 12 pieces.
"You will rebuild this," he said moving his hands again until it was broken down into 32 pieces. And then 48 pieces. And then 60. And then 72.
"Until it emits light again," he said placing the pieces on his desk. He nudged with his chin. "You have 72 pieces of this machine in front of each of you. You have 30 minutes."
There was a low groan in the room that provoked a smirk on his face.
"The exit is right there if it's too much for you," he shrugged.
"How the hell do we put this back together in half an hour!" Trish said in exasperation next to Tessa. "I need at least 2! Jeez!"
Tessa looked at the pieces in front of her. She picked them each up between her fingers before she started moving them together.
30 minutes later and a buzzer was going off. Tessa stepped back feeling rather proud of her work.
"Nope. Nope. What the hell is that? Eh... Nope," Cassius said walking down the rows looking at their work.
He stopped at Tessa's piece and stared at her equipment blankly.
"And just what the hell is this?" he snapped. "This looks nothing like the equipment you started out with."
"With all due respect, sir," she said softly. "Your instructions were... to rebuild this until it emits light again..."
She gently moved a piece when a bright light shone that nearly blinded Trish next to her as she frantically covered her eyes.
Cassius gripped the table and lowered his head to eye her equipment. His lips parted slightly in fascination.
"Interesting... you rearranged the metal pieces and the lenses to reflect light..." he said to himself.
Tessa swallowed hard as she watched Cassius stand up straight again. He looked at her work then at her. It made her nervous that she couldn't decipher the look in his eyes.
"Think you need to master listening and comprehension before you can master machinery," Cassius said icily. "You can't even follow proper instruction. You think yourself clever but in all actuality-"
Tessa jumped startled as Cassius crushed her creation with his palm breaking it into pieces.
"You're extremely dense," he snapped.
Tessa stuffed her face into her pillow as she tried to drown out Cassius's mockery ringing in her ears. Trish had tried to comfort her with a movie and popcorn but Tessa just wanted to sleep it all away...
"Can't you do what you're told?!"
Tessa looked down at her destroyed creation and turned around just in time for Cassius to grab her by the back of her neck and slam his lips against hers.
She felt the air leave her lungs as he nearly sucked the oxygen out of her with his ferocious kiss. The passion overwhelmed by his domineering tongue pushing its way between her lips.
She breathed erratically as he wrapped one muscled arm possessively around her waist while the other shoved all of the contents off of the table. He firmly grabbed her waist and effortlessly picked her up, sitting her on the tabletop, his lips never leaving hers.
"You think you're clever..." he groaned against her lips as he tugged at her collar. "Think I should teach you another lesson..."
Tessa heard a loud tear before she felt her shirt fall from her body and a cool chill hit her skin. She instinctively went to cover her chest, mortified by her body, but Cassius immediately grabbed her wrists and pushed her back onto the table. The cold metal shocking her.
"Mine..." he growled, pushing his face into her neck. "Don't hide what's mine..."
Tessa gasped as she felt Cassius's hand sift its way up her skirt and firmly grab her naked thigh. She shivered as his tongue traced along the curvature of her neck, tasting her skin. Licking every bead of sweat that seeped from her pores.
"Open wide for me, baby..." he bit down on her lip as he tore her panties from her waist. The dampness between her thighs intensifying the cool sensation from the breeze that hit her wet core.
"So wet for me..." he groaned.
His fingers made their ways just between her thighs.
Tessa rolled off of her bed and fell on the floor with a thump. She wrestled with her sheets, before she finally escaped their confinement.
She looked around the room to see her roommates were still knocked out.
Picking up her sheets, she felt they were rather damp. She groaned in frustration, looking down at her pajama pants to see they were so wet it looked as if she soiled herself.
"What the hell is wrong with me?!" she muttered angrily to herself.
Tessa stared at the ground as she walked down the hall. She thought something was severely wrong with her. She was raised very conservative. Never wore a skirt or dress above her knees. Never wore revealing shirts. She had never even kissed a boy. Yet not a night had gone by that she wasn't having erotic, wet dreams about the Eternals. Scenarios that she wouldn't have imagined possible somehow manifested in her subconscious.
And she had no idea why considering she was sure they were not only going to fail her but couldn't stand her.
She felt so disappointed in herself. She came here with one intent and was being distracted by another.
Was there any hope? She was certain she'd be among the first sent home.
She sighed as she walked into one of the pantries to grab a drink from the fridge when she heard the low murmur of deep voices.
She turned around around and nearly jumped out of her skin to see all three Eternals sitting at a round table sipping what looked to be coffee.
She wondered how the hell she didn't see them before.
Cicero leaned back in his chair holding his cup that somehow didn't fog up his glasses. His blue eyes unwavering from her form. Cassius arched his brow at Tessa's presence, his muscles flexed for just a second folded across his chest. Kal-El glanced up from his notebook when he saw Tessa standing meekly by the fridge.
"I... sorry... I didn't mean to interrupt," she said quickly diverting her eyes back to the fridge, and quickly grabbing a bottle of water. She closed the fridge, desperate to escape before she felt any smaller.
Tessa paused in her tracks and looked behind her to see Kal-El giving her a warm smile.
"Yes," she said hesitantly.
"Are you enjoying yourself, Tessa?" Kal-El's voice sounded like how soft butter looked being sliced by a sharp knife. There was a gentle ruggedness in his voice that made her tingle.
"I am... learning quite a bit," she said.
"Really?" Cassius scoffed with a raised brow. "Cause it doesn't seem like you listen to shit."
"Cassius..." Cicero said with a hint of warning in his voice. "Be respectful of our students."
Cicero sipped his cup as his eyes looked at her over the rim.
"Some have it. And some... don't..." Cicero said plainly.
Tessa wished she was a turtle so she could hide in her shell. She didn't know what embarrassed her more, their pure disdain for her or the amount of erotic dreams she had had about them.
"Well there is still one final exam left," Kal-El looked at her. "Can't wait to see what you have to bring."
Tessa gave Kal-El a polite smile. She hoped there was a chance yet.
Tessa nervously tapped her pen against her notebook as she waited for Kal-El to return to the classroom. Out of all the Eternals, she was certain he was the most liked. He was her last hope for remaining in the program.
She sat up straight as he walked into the classroom wearing a rather light, nearly see-through white shirt that made all the girl's jaws simultaneously drop.
"He's trying to trap us!" Trish whispered so dramatically that Tessa had to cover her mouth from laughing.
"I hope you all got enough rest," Kal-El said to the interns. "You'll need sincere focus to get through my exam. Please remove the covers from the items in front of you."
Tessa removed the cover from the large box in front of her and was surprised to see a baby koala.
"Aw yours is so cute!" Trish beamed. "I got a hamster. Might as well be a rat," she sighed.
Tessa chuckled as she looked at the baby koala cuddled up in the corner of the box.
"In our time together, we have tested the impact of chemical reactions," Kal-El said pacing the room. "How they can effect mood and behavior. It is imperative that you remember these teachings."
He grabbed one student's animal which happened to be a chinchilla. "Each of you have been assigned a different animal," Kal-El started. "Each animal has a symptom that we've already thoroughly studied. Find out what's wrong with your specimen, write it down and raise your hand when done. You have one hour."
Tessa glanced around the room to see several students analyzing their animals. For many of them it looked rather simple. She remembered all of the conditions they had studied ranging from fatigue, hunger, and illness.
She looked at her baby koala and saw that it had left droppings in the corner of the box so he had already eaten. He was sleeping soundly but every so often made a sound that was rather concerning. She jotted down notes but was stuck between two possibilities for her specimen's strange behavior.
Tessa looked up and nearly lost her breath to see Kal-El standing so closely to her.
"Run into a bit of trouble?" he asked.
Tessa looked down at her baby koala and nudged it with her finger.
"There are two possibilities... however from the way he cries... how his body contorts, I have strong reason to believe his behavior is in reaction to the fact he is held in captivity. Separated from his mother too soon," Tessa said.
Kal-El smiled knowingly. "Interesting... that is not an assessment anyone has made... you do realize essentially all of these animals are, by your definition, in captivity?"
Tessa bit her lip nervously. "Yes. An animal's natural habitat is not in a lab or a crate. He seems to crave freedom. And any warm-blooded mammal pulled from its mother before it's had time to develop is at risk."
Kal-El eyed her curiously. There was a glimmer in his eyes that unnerved her.
"Then by all means, Tessa... Free him."
Tessa knew this had to be a set up. She couldn't afford to fail another exam.
"Nevermind," she said quickly looking back down at her notes. "I believe the issue is-"
"Tessa," Kal-El interrupted. "If you believe your specimen is suffering because of its captivity, then free him. It is part of your studies after all to take risks."
Tessa looked at Kal-El nervously before she looked back at the baby koala. She carefully cupped the furry animal in her palms and carried him to the back door. The students stayed behind, merely watching. But it was Kal-El's gaze she could feel the most.
She opened the door and walked to one of the trees, putting the koala against a lower branch. She smiled as the koala cooed in content.
Suddenly the koala started to squirm and made even more disturbing sounds than before. Tessa panicked as she tried to figure out what was wrong.
"Oh no!" she said reaching for it when she saw another pair of pale hands grab the koala and then her hand before dragging her back inside.
Tessa blinked in shock at what just happened but mainly that Kal-El had touched her. She looked down to see his hand dwarfed her own. Looking up at him she saw him place the koala on his desk as it stopped making the strange noises.
"You see, Tessa," Kal-El turned to her. "This koala was born with a condition in which its lungs severely contract open contact with certain extremes of the outside air. This room was designed to prevent that."
Tessa frowned as her heart started to sink. How the hell did she manage to bomb this too? It wasn't until Kal-El pulled his hand from hers that she realized she was touching him that whole time.
"Sometimes, Tessa... not everything we crave... is good for us."
The way that he looked at her as he uttered those words made Tessa's breathing hitch.
Tessa folded her clothes and stuffed them into her bag. She tried to look at the bright side. She had missed her father dearly and was excited she'd get to see him again.
But he would be so disappointed at the reason why...
She let out a loud sigh as she paused packing for the evening to crawl into bed. She was beyond exhausted. She needed a break.
"Have you had that cough long, Tessa?"
Tessa glanced up from the medical recliner she sat in to see Kal-El approaching her. His signature warm smile was on his face though his bright blue eyes were filled with concern. He had on a white medical lab coat that barely covered his bare chest.
Why the hell was he naked underneath his lab coat?
Tessa wanted to blush but her body merely reacted as it always did.
"Let's examine further..." he mused.
Tessa's breathing got shorter as Kal-El reached for her throat and gently stroked the side of her neck with his thumb.
"Does this hurt?" he asked looking into her eyes.
Tessa swallowed hard as she shook her head.
Her lips parted in shock as his fingers descended to her blouse and quickly unbuttoned each one until he had exposed her.
"How about this..." He palmed her bosom and a gasp escaped her lips as his lips met her clavicle. Her hands pressed against his bare chest, sparking a wave of goosebumps from how good he felt against her fingertips.
The dampness between her thighs spread as his lips scoured down her chest and tugged at the clasp at the front of her bra.
"Look at you... so perfect..." he groaned as he pulled one of her nipples between his lips.
Tessa panted as his nimble fingers hiked her skirt up to her waist and palmed her sensitivity through her panties.
"So soft... so wet..." he muttered as his lips continued their descent down her stomach.
She instinctively lifted herself as he peeled her panties over her hips and down her legs.
"Not everything we crave is good for us, Tessa," he said parting her legs. Her panting grew heavier as she felt his breath against her dripping core.
"But oh... how I crave you..." he said seconds before his tongue claimed her.
Tessa's eyes popped open before she scrambled out of bed and ran to the bathroom.
"Today's the day!"
Trish had way too much excitement for Tessa to tolerate. She just wanted the day to be over with. She was already packed. She twirled her pen between her fingers thinking about what other jobs she could take to help finish paying for her university. She refused to have her father work to pay off her tuition at his age.
Perhaps she could work at a bookstore. Or maybe a museum. Anywhere she could be surrounded by learning.
"Good Morning, interns."
Tessa looked up at the sound of Professor Dwyer's voice coming from the speakers in their rooms.
"It's been a rather rigorous couple of weeks as we near the end of the first part of the program. My protégés have already made their decision and results will be posted momentarily."
Tessa sighed as she leaned on her hand and scribbled away at her notebook.
There was a knock at the door that Trish quickly rushed to answer.
"Is Tessa Marie here?"
Tessa looked to the door to see the blonde woman she had met her first day standing at the door.
"Yes?" Tessa asked.
"Professor Dwyer would like a word with you," the woman said firmly. "Follow me."
She barely gave Tessa a moment to respond before she was walking down the hall.
Tessa scrambled to her feet as she quickly followed. She assumed the Professor wanted to tell her how badly she had done and was in fact confused how she entered the program to begin with.
She followed the woman down a large corridor before she stopped abruptly outside a room.
"In here," the woman directed.
Tessa cautiously stepped inside an all-white room surrounded by bookshelves and screens. Not a window in sight. There was a large desk at the center and a man behind the computer screens on top.
She heard the door slam behind her and jumped to see the woman had disappeared.
Tessa turned around to see Professor Dywer standing to his feet. He wore a crisp blue suit and a white tie that nearly matched the room.
"You are... quite the fascination," he said perching himself on the edge of the desk.
Tessa looked at him nervously not knowing how to respond to such a comment.
"Come here, Tessa," he said motioning with his hand.
Tessa cautiously walked up to him before he grabbed her wrist and pulled her forward.
She looked at him startled as his pale blue eyes took their time roaming her face. She felt rather unsettled by the way he stared at her.
He reached his hand up to touch her face and she instinctively pulled back.
A small grin came to his face. "Do you really think I'd hurt you...?"
Tessa swallowed thickly as the back of his hand gently stroked the side of her cheek. His finger tips caressed down her neck and her breathing picked up as they fell across her bosom.
"Professor..." she said hesitantly.
"Mhm?" he hummed nonchalantly as his eyes roamed down her chest, his hands gently groping the underside of her bosom before he firmly gripped her waist. "Hmm... small waist..."
"What-... what are you doing?" she asked.
"I'm examining you," he said simply as his hands roamed the curved of her hips. "Impressive hips..." he said to himself.
She felt his hands wrap around her hips and grab her backside before she quickly shoved him and stumbled backwards.
She looked at him wide-eyed and covered her mouth. She didn't know whether to be offended, turned on, or apologetic.
"Sorry! I mean I'm not sorry! Why are you-" she stammered flustered.
He chuckled amused as he clasped his hands together. "Do you remember the consent form you signed on your first day here, Tessa?"
Tessa blinked at him unsure where this question was going. "...yes."
He looked her in the eye as he put on a more serious expression.
"Are you willing to offer your body to science, Ms. Marie?" he asked.
Her brows furrowed in confusion. "I'm sorry. What?"
Orion smiled. "Have dinner with me tonight, Tessa. I'd like to discuss the terms of your employment."
Tessa's eyes bugged. "Employment?! You mean-"
"Dinner is at 6," he smiled. "Don't be late."
Tessa smoothed out her pink teacup dress that fell towards her calves. She buttoned her cropped sweater all the up to her neck to avoid any sort of strange repeat encounter that she had with the professor. She still didn't understand why he took it upon himself to examine her by feeling her up.
What did he mean by offering her body to science?
She shook her thoughts from her head as she walked down the hall. She could hear light music coming from the room.
Tessa slowed her steps when she turned the corner and the music immediately stopped.
She lost her breath when she saw Cicero turn his head slightly from the piano bench he sat on. His bright blue eyes peering through his glasses immediately landed on her. He wore dark brown pants and a white polo that strained slightly against his firm chest and tight biceps.
She leaned against the door pane when she caught Cassius leaning back in a wooden chair a few feet from Cicero, his legs clothed in black slacks propped up on the table and a 7x7x7 rubik's cube in his hand. One of the most complex of them all. His sharp blue eyes immediately rose from the device between his hands and stared intently at her. It was her first time seeing him in a casual shirt and anything but his professional button-up.
Feeling overdressed, Tessa hesitated and even debated turning around and leaving when she heard another door open with Professor Dwyer and Kal-el walking through.
"Tessa!" Orion smiled brightly as he clasped his hands together. "I'm glad you're here! And on time! Please have a seat."
Orion walked to an abandoned table and pulled a chair out, waiting for her.
She looked up at the professor who disarmed her with his friendly smile. He was a bit more dressed up than the Eternals in a black button down shirt with sleeves sleeves rolled to his elbows, and black slacks.
She glanced at Kal-El who kept his eyes on her. An unreadable expression on his face as he sat down next to Cassius.
Tessa cautiously took her seat at the table before Orion sat down as well.
"Do you know why you're here, Tessa?" Orion asked.
Tessa played with her fingers as she looked at the Professor.
"Are you offering me a job, Professor?" she asked.
Orion smiled. "You're here because out of 989,000 applicants, you were of the 30 that stood out. Because out of 30 students, you were chosen."
Tessa couldn't believe her ears. One of the Eternals chose her? But who?
"May I ask who, Professor?" she asked daring not to look at any of them.
Orion's smile only widened as he leaned back in his chair. His fingers drummed on the table as he took a minute to assess her.
"All of them, Tessa. All three of them chose you..."
Tessa felt her heart skip several beats as her stomach hollowed. She wasn't sure she was hearing correctly. All of them? All three of them? But why?
"Your examinations weren't the main factor of determination," Orion said folding his hands together and reading the confusion on her face. "The moment you first walked through those doors, you were being assessed. I told my Eternals to choose someone who didn't just do as they were told and answered the question, but who went further to challenge them, even anger them, if necessary. To question the status quo. Brilliant minds that impact change always go against the grain."
Orion leaned back and smiled at her. "Plus I needed that... human element. And you provided that... for each of my Eternals it seems."
Tessa could feel the Eternals' eyes on her but couldn't find the courage to look at them lest she fell apart. She kept her eyes on her Professor who was intimidating enough as is.
"When I informed them that they had all chosen the same student, I asked them if any of them were willing to change their choices for another. They all denied the offer. For it seems each of them have already established a mental link into your subconscious where they had already... claimed you..."
Tessa blushed at the words though she had no idea what he meant. Mental link? Claimed her?
Orion clasped his hands together and looked at her.
"You're a rather conservative girl, aren't you, Tessa?"
Tessa cocked her head to the side slightly. "I... I'm-"
"Ever kissed a man? Been touched by one?" Orion asked.
Tessa felt her cheeks get hot with embarrassment. "Is that really appropriate or necessary to ask, Professor?"
Orion chuckled. "I see my Eternals have not behaved..."
She had no idea what he was referring to as he stood to his feet and walked towards them.
"Cicero... play something for me," Orion said.
Cicero immediately turned back towards the piano and started playing a rather tense melody.
"Do you know why they are called... The Eternals... Tessa?" Orion asked leaning on the piano.
He looked at Cicero's fingers moving before he glanced at Tessa.
"Because they will live for all eternity."
Tessa blinked at him with a blank stare.
"Cassius," Orion nodded with his head.
Cassius swiftly removed a pocket knife from his pants and sliced across his forearm without blinking.
Tessa gasped in shock by the abrupt act of violence. She covered her mouth to stifle her scream.
But she was more shocked that he didn't bleed red.
He bled blue.
"I... what?" Tessa blinked in confusion.
"Fix him, Kal-El," Orion said staring at Tessa. "They are biological humanoids, Tessa."
Tessa stared in awe as Kal-El removed a closed tube from his pants pocket and applied an ointment to Cassius' wound that immediately sealed.
"They're... they're not human?" she asked.
"They're better than human," Orion said. "They're genetically enhanced, biologically modified without any of the weaknesses of an average human."
Tessa could hardly believe what she was hearing. The music that Cicero played picked up speed as he moved fluidly to the symphony.
"You...created them?" she asked.
"In my likeness, originally," Orion nodded. "I wanted them to have some similar traits: my eyes, my skills... my mannerisms."
Tessa noted the similar way they would all say "interesting" when thinking. It was definitely a trait of the professor.
"This planet has less than 30 years before mankind is extinct," Orion shrugged. "Fault of their own. It's what they deserve. And yet still... there are aspects of mankind that are too valuable and too precious to let die out."
Tessa's heart rate sped up with the intense melody from the piano.
"I created many humanoids, most were failures. These three were my successes." Orion put his hand on Cicero's shoulder as he continued to play.
"Cicero was my first. Named after one of the world's most brilliant philosophers and orators. It was imperative that he capture the way the human mind absorbed and adapted information. And thus he has been able to learn the span of what an average human learns in 10 years in a millisecond. He speaks 3,400 languages... not 50. But... though he is my most trusted, he does everything that I say... he rarely challenges me."
Cicero didn't bother glancing at the professor as he continued to play.
"So then I created Cassius. Meant to be as oppositional, contrarian, and challenging as the Roman instigator he was named after," Orion continued.
Tessa shuttered from the intensity of Cassius's gaze.
"With the strength of 300 men twice his size and the skill of every craft known to man, Cassius is a living, breathing weaponized tool. He met my needs and pushed my expertise but still... he's not exactly a 'people's person'," Orion chuckled. "I still needed that... human element."
Orion sighed as he looked at Kal-El whose light blue eyes had softened with Tessa in his line of sight.
"Kal-El is my latest creation. Perfect in every way. There is nothing he can't do except..." Orion trailed.
Kal-El suddenly looked at Orion to see the look of disappointment on his face.
"I seem to have made him too human. He's softer than I had hoped for. Extremely reactive to my emotions which can be quite irritating. His tendency to find the good in the flaws of humans has proved most challenging. Even moreso than Cassius. His sense of morality is severely limiting and often gets in the way of what I need to accomplish. In fact, he rejected the original name I had for him and named himself 'Kal-El' after watching one rather plain Superman movie in the first stages of his birth. Claimed he was the hero the world needed and one he aspired to be... much to my disdain. But he insisted..."
Orion shook his head and looked at Tessa. "As you can see, none of my creations are perfect. That's why I created this internship. So that they may have a choice. I expected them to each choose one, but instead... they have collectively chosen you."
Tessa still couldn't wrap her mind around everything being said. She looked from Cicero to Cassius to Kal-El then finally at the Professor.
"...chosen me for what, Professor?" she asked almost afraid of the answer.
A wide grin came to Professor Dwyer's face.