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Sinead stared at the screen, engrossed in the message Dr. Shallit had sent her. She rubbed her eyes once more to make sure she wasn't hallucinating. She wasn't, which was a relief. This was a major breakthrough for a cure for blindness, as well as stem-cell research.
Sinead's mind raced. Her brother's disability could be ridded of after all. If it could, it would be wondrous. He would be back again; the same old Ted as before the clue hunt. In the midst of her thoughts, Alistair burst into the command center.
"Sinead! Did you receive the message from Dr. Shallit?"
Sinead nodded joyously, her face breaking into a wide smile. "I did!"
"This is wonderful! We have to inform your brother right away!"
"Of course." Jumping out of her chair, she raced down the stairs to her brother's room. "Ted!" She flung open the door.
Ted was perched on his chair as usual, reading. His fingers moved swiftly across the Braille code. "Geez, haven't you ever heard of knocking Sinead?"
"Sorry about that." Sinead apologized. "But this is incredibly important!" She took a deep breath. "Dr. Shallit said your blindness has a possibility of being cured!"
Ted stopped in his reading. "What?" he said in disbelief. "But how? I thought he said it was nearly impossible."
"He did, but there was a recent breakthrough in stem-cell research. Scientists removed tissue from the patients' eyes with regenerative stem cells, and then multiplied them in the laboratory on a contact lens. Afterwards, they placed it on the patient's eye and the stem cells began multiplying and 'patched' the injury. A few weeks later, they saw the light again. Isn't that incredible?" Sinead exclaimed.
Ted nodded. "Quite impressive."
"The thing is," Sinead began, but she trailed off.
Ted caught on right away. "The thing is, is that there's only a possibility right?"
"Yes." Sinead sighed. "Dr. Shallit said it's only a twenty percent chance."
Ted set aside his book. "Tell him I'll agree to this process. I'll give it a try."
"Good. We should remain optimistic!"
Ted shook his head. "No, we shouldn't."
His sister's smile wilted. "Why not?"
"Because I don't want to get our hopes up. There's an eighty percent of the process not working Sinead. That's more than three fourths of the possibility."
Sinead crossed her arms. "So? I don't care if it's twenty percent or one percent Ted. The point is, it can work. If you don't want to believe it, fine, be that way. But you can't tell me what to do, and if I want to get my hopes up, so be it."
"You can't argue against statistics Sinead." Ted replied calmly, unperturbed by his sister's cross voice.
Sinead's eyes narrowed, frustrated by how Ted viewed the situation. She stormed out of the room, but not before stating, "We're Cahills Ted. Statistics don't apply to us."
Atticus sat on the couch in their house in Boston, with his knees drawn up to his chin. He stared absentmindedly at the Aztec architecture documentary, his blinking the only thing that gave away that he was in fact human, and not a robotic contraption. He was so engrossed in his thoughts he didn't even notice his brother had walked into the room.
"Hey Atticus?" Jake called warily from the doorway. When Atticus didn't respond, Jake shouted into his ear, "Atticus!"
"Whoa!" Atticus flung one of his lanky arms up in surprise, which connected with Jake's jaw.
"Ow!" Jake shouted, stumbling and colliding with the lamp behind him.
"Oops." Atticus helped his brother up. "Sorry about that."
"It's okay." Jake rubbed his head. He had bonked it on the floor. If it hadn't been carpeted, the injury would have been much worse. "What were you thinking about anyway?"
"About how it's his trial tomorrow."
"Right." Dave Speminer's trial was set tomorrow.
Jake put his hand on his younger brother's shoulder. "Don't worry Atticus. No one is going to believe he's innocent. There's too much evidence. He'll most definitely be found guilty of all charges."
Atticus sighed. "Yeah. Dad said he was coming too right?"
Jake nodded. "And then we have to go to McIntyre's funeral the day after."
"I still can't believe McIntyre's dead. He always seemed untouchable."
"Everyone is Atticus. The one thing we know is that the Vespers can get to anyone."
Atticus drew his knees up to his chin again. "I hope it's all over soon."
"It will," Jake reassured.
Los Angeles, California
The bang of the gavel resounded across the court room.
"Camille Wizard, you are hereby sentenced to fifty years in prison on accounts of burglary, being an accomplice in a homicide, espionage, and perjury. Case dismissed."
Broderick and Leila Wizard watched as their sister was led down the center aisle past all the spectators.
Phoenix had wanted to attend the arraignment of his aunt, but his mother had deemed that the experience would be too traumatizing for him seeing that Camille was the one who had coordinated his kidnapping in Tokyo.
As Camille was led down, she made eye contact with Broderick. Broderick couldn't be sure, but he had thought the look had said, "This isn't over yet."
He shook his head, clearing his mind of the thought. It seemed that the Vespers would forever haunt his mind.
"What is the meaning of this?" Arthur Trent shouted at the screen. "Why was Vikram not sentenced to prison?"
"Arthur, calm down," Nataliya called sharply. "I told you I would explain."
"There is no explanation for this Nataliya! How dare you interfere with the due process of court! You paid off the jurors! You set a murderer free!" He jabbed his finger at the elegant woman, whose image was blown up on the ceiling to floor screen.
She held up a hand, interrupting his rant. "Let me explain first."
Arthur fumed. "I look forward to this so called explanation."
Nataliya tapped something on her computer, and a map appeared with rates of Vesper activity on it.
"There has been a rise of Vesper activity around the globe recently."
"Disturbing, but I don't see how this is related to the matter at hand."
"Arthur, there hasn't been such a rise since World War Two, when they were looting treasures all across Europe. Need I mention they almost achieved world domination during the war?"
"Hmmph." Arthur crossed his arms. "The Axis Powers were fools."
"The rates indicate something's brewing, something malicious." Her Russian accent made the words seem more formidable. "And I don't like it one bit."
"That is why I have set Vikram free. If it were any other time, I would enjoy watching him be found guilty, but I sense that we will need all the help we can get for this upcoming...situation." Nataliya pulled up a copy of an invitation.
"This is an invitation I have created to the world's most talented and knowledgeable Cahills. I advise you to distribute it to them at the memorial service."
The printer hummed to life, a copy emitting from it. Arthur lifted it up to eye level. "The Cahill leaders hereby invite you to a conference at the Grand Hall beginning at six P.M." He read.
Nataliya laced her fingers together. "I have already spoken to Cora, Alistair, Ian, Fiske, and your daughter. Mind you, it wasn't an easy task getting hold of that Janus. Branch leaders have been enemies for decades, and yet this group all reached a mutual agreement that this is a good idea."
Arthur threw the paper aside. "Fine, but if you are wrong, it will be on your head." His tone was menacing, but it didn't affect Nataliya. She had faced far more dangerous people.
Citation for blindness cure:
Hough, Andrew. "Eye Implant Breakthrough: Scientific Advances towards Blindness Cure." . . The Telegraph, 3 Nov. 2010. Web. 26 June 2012. . .
To The Telegraph: Please don't send your lawyers after me. I cited it, though it wouldn't show up properly.