AN: Yup, more Birkin-Family centric fiction from me. This story was inspired by a conversation about the roles that Excella and Annette traditionally play in fanfiction... I originally intended to write it as a romance, but it just didn't happen.
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under't.
Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 5
"Miss Gionne. I've been looking forward to this." Annette Birkin extended a hand across her desk to meet the young woman facing her.
In the past few months, the young Miss Gionne had come up on her radar more times than Annette was comfortable with. Annette was of the opinion that lab technicians were like children: to be seen, not heard. And she had heard plenty about Excella. Twenty years old: fresh out of some prestigious European university with her master's in genetic engineering, extremely competent, stunningly beautiful—see how long that lasts, dear—and fiercely ambitious. Everything about her was irritating, but it was that last one that had Annette seeing red. There was no room for usurpers among her staff.
Technically, Excella was a member of her husband's staff, along with a gaggle of other similarly educated young women, but Annette handled all personnel issues. It really wasn't worth bothering William with.
She preferred staffing the lab with women, because it was easier to play the alpha-bitch. Men looked at you like you were a piece of meat in a white coat. That game was fun five or six years ago: teasing your way to the top with subtle suggestions and side eye, but it was ultimately more satisfying to come storming on in to the lab and watch six or seven pony-tailed heads duck in fear. She knew exactly what they said about her when they thought she wasn't listening.
Bitch, cunt, poked a hole in the condom.
She never corrected them. The stories of her cruelty they concocted were far more creative and fearsome than anything she could have dreamed of doing.
Excella though, Excella wouldn't dare speak a word against her. She was the very picture of compliance. No matter what sort of ridiculous challenges Annette could pose to the lab, Excella always had an experiment written by the end of the day. You wanted to splice the gene for frost resistance from a fish into a strawberry? Ask Excella. You wanted the regenerative properties of a starfish in a t-virus infected human? Excella already had a hypothesis formulated.
"Oh, it's just something I was thinking about a few days ago over dinner," she would offer up, almost apologetically, in that absurdly thick accent of her's.
"Bullshit, you spent days coming up with that." Annette wanted to say, but there was a fine line between being feared and being considered psychotic. The main difference was that no one would listen to you. So, she would force out her best smile and praise Excella's ingenuity.
"We need more of this kind of thinking around here," she would announce, chewing the plastic cap of her pen into oblivion. She pretended it was Excella's head.
Excella was all big hair and kohl covered eyes, with a few too many buttons open on her lab coat. It was a clever disguise. She might have looked like a porno parody of a real scientist, but she was smart. Too smart for her own good.
The latest news about Miss Gionne was that she was cozying up to a few higher-ups of the male persuasion. Had it been anyone else, Annette would have assumed they were simply in it for the commitment free sex that Umbrella was famous for, but Excella wasn't so nearly simple.
She was plotting something, and while it may have had nothing to do with the G-Virus, Annette would be a fool to rule out the possibility that she was a spy.
Excella returned her handshake, firm and smiling, all her good Italian blood on display.
"Now then, down to business… you can take a seat." Annette flipped open a black binder with the label Personnel embossed on the front in three inch high lettering. "We seem to have underestimated your abilities in placing you in the G project. Today, we're looking at transferring you to another department, where your full potential will be utilized."
Translation: We need to find a place for you where you can't touch anything. "
"Now, in order to find the best match for you, could you give me some information on your scientific background?"
Translation: Are you a spy?
Excella crossed and uncrossed her legs. Oh-so-coy. Annette searched her desk for a pen to take out her frustration on.
"If I may be frank with you, Dr. Birkin, I find it odd that you keep so many empty-headed girls around in your unit, given the reputation of your husband's work."
Annette stopped dead in her pursuit of a writing utensil, and put her full attention on Excella.
"Well ,have you considered that perhaps you just find them to be so empty-headed, because you yourself are much more… precocious?"
"What is the expression again? I don't buy it. You have an entire lab full of dumb little girls scared shitless of you, playing scientist and running the same experiments over and over again so the company doesn't catch on to what you're really doing."
"And what do you think I'm really doing, Miss Gionne?"
Annette felt her pulse quicken. Excella was damn clever.
"I don't care what your husband is working on, to be truthful. And I agree, that a transfer is in the best interest of both of us."
Annette pursed her lips. She hadn't been spoken to like this since she was in Excella's position: right out of school, and poking her nose where it didn't belong.
"I'm not concerned with getting you into a lab with your flavor of the week."
"Neither am I." Excella matched her stare. "I think you're frightened by me, Dr. Birkin."
Annette laughed at that, but there was some insecurity behind it. She wasn't used to being challenged on her own turf.
"And, why is that?"
"Because I know how you got where you are now. And I could still do it if I wanted to."
"Are you suggesting that I married my way to this position?"
"I'm suggesting that you did a lot of things to get to your position."
There were several ways to deal with a colleague. The first was to scare them, the second was to sleep with them, and the third was to dispose of them. The first option was her typical approach and had failed marvelously; the second option wasn't very viable (not that she wouldn't lower herself to it if circumstances dictated,) which left the problem of deciding just how to get rid of Excella.
"You know, I really admire you, Dr. Birkin."
"Oh, is that so?" Annette said, only paying half attention. She was largely occupied with a fantasy in which a Hunter tore Excella's pretty little head off.
"Everyone outside of this lab thinks that William is running the show, but you and I know differently, don't we? It's all you. You learned the secret. While I'm sure your husband is a…wonderful man, he doesn't know a thing about running a company. So he does the research, but you keep this place in operation. And it doesn't even bother you, because it's not about the recognition, is it? It's about power."
Annette cut her off mid monologue.
"What do you want, Miss Gionne?"
"I want power," Excella replied, a serene expression across her features.
Annette raised an eyebrow.
"Why are you telling me this?"
"I don't want your power. Send me to another facility. You'll see what I can do in a few months."
"You're an ambitious girl, Excella."
"You were once too."
Annette smiled at that.
"And you're either very smart or very foolish."
"Let's find out, shall we?" Excella challenged.
Annette logged into her computer.
"There's a man named Albert Wesker who's currently reclaiming a former Umbrella laboratory in Africa. He's a good friend of my husband. He's also single."
"Is he looking for a lab assistant?"
"Not yet. But, I'm sure you can convince him otherwise."