Everything ran smoothly in Sherdan’s world for the next couple of days. Anya didn’t try to escape and all the plans for his organisation progressed. He put several measures in place just in case the mayor didn’t react favourably to their discussion in a few days. Sherdan also did a few more news interviews, mostly local, but each time they gained even more applicants to their program.

On the third of the new year Hitchin came to find Sherdan late in the evening. This was very unusual for Hitchin, especially without warning. Sherdan’s first thought was something must have gone horribly wrong.

“I’ve just had a new vision,” Hitchin said as Sherdan poured them both drinks. “Anya was in it.” Sherdan smiled. Just what he wanted to hear.

“Go on friend, tell me all about it.” He fetched a paper and pen to make notes.

“Well, you were standing at the top of a great flight of stone steps outside a very grand building. Anya stood beside you, though ever so slightly behind. She wore a white dress and was with child.” Sherdan raised his eyebrows but didn’t interrupt Hitchin.

“Then the vision moved on. You sat on a throne and were placing a small silver crown, that was a small delicate version of your own, on the head of someone blonde. I assume it was Anya, but she was bowed at your feet so I couldn’t see for sure.”

“Anything else?”

“Yes. The child grew up. It was a boy. He was being taught by his mother, about all the child’s abilities. She had one and the child had several. He was the first child between two parents with abilities.”

“And you’re sure of this?”

“Positive. It was just like the previous visions. Anya is to be the mother of our great nation. You will crown her to be your queen and she will submit to you. It even explains why you stopped the guards when you did. She is to remain pure for you and you alone.”

“Very well, thank you Hitchin. I appreciate you telling me this. It makes things much clearer.”

“What do you plan to do with Anya now?”

“I will need to think about that very carefully.”

“Of course. Rash decisions are not wise. Let me know if you have any questions at any point regarding the vision. I will do everything to help it come to pass, assuming it’s what you wish?”

“Of course. I wouldn’t try to defy one of your visions. Anya will give me a child and heir.”

Hitchin left and Sherdan sat for some time, thinking this over. He had hoped Hitchin would see something concerning Anya. Now he had to get her to see that he was following the same force that had brought her here. The same force that had helped her escape only to send her back to him, to be his wife, and queen.

She did belong to him, he had been right all along. He smiled as he thought of all the implications of Hitchin’s vision. Saying he was pleased would have been an understatement. He couldn’t deny that he found her attractive.

He had a few nagging doubts. It did seem a little too convenient but he knew Hitchin had never lied to him and he truly must have had this vision. It would just be a matter of time before it came to pass.

Getting up, he hurried to the security camera’s to check on Anya but she was already asleep. He frowned. He had hoped she would be awake and he could talk to her. Nothing else was in his thoughts except his desire for her. At that moment very little would have stopped him showing her their future in a very practical way.

After a few minutes of gazing at her on the camera his brain kicked back in and he went to take a shower of much cooler temperature than normal. Sherdan didn’t want to frighten her. He wanted her to develop feelings for him as strong as the ones now blossoming in him. He could court her with the assurance of knowing his success was guaranteed.

He vowed to let her know of his intentions as soon as there was a sensible opportunity. She would be his wife and wouldn’t resist him or anything he wanted.

Sherdan’s sleep that night was filled with images of Anya. The smile as she looked up to him at the altar and they kissed. The ability she might gain from the drug and, of course, the enjoyment of making their son. His focus was kept by this last part for so long that he awoke finding he would need fresh bed sheets. It only made him grin as he realised that hadn’t happened since he was a teenager.

When he noticed what the date was he groaned. He was snapped from his indulgent thoughts back into cruel reality. He hardly had time to say hello to Anya when he took her breakfast. He needed to help Hitchin with the new residents until the mayor arrived for their afternoon meeting.

Greeting the residents, however, kept him busy enough that he didn’t notice the time passing. There were many new eager faces ready to take the drug and start their new lives. All of them had signed the non-disclosure agreement before coming. It was just the first step in making sure the enzyme stayed a secret.

Sherdan stood at the front of a packed lecture hall and told all the new residents about the treatment. He had members who had previously taken the drug show off their new abilities.

There were gasps similar to Anya’s when James took the slide-show buttons from Sherdan’s hand from across the lecture hall. Nathan then popped in to say hello and introduced himself while not even opening his mouth. This talent achieved a round of applause.

By the time Sherdan had finished his warm up speech everyone was enthusiastic about having the drug. They’d been chosen by Sherdan because they would get excited. He left them all in the care of Hitchin and went back to his home. The mayor was on his way over.

Sherdan had barely finished lunch when the mayor was shown into his study. He offered his visitor a drink and seat before sitting down himself.

“Jeremy reassured me that you’re a very reasonable man Dr Harper.”

“I try to be.”

“Then you’ll understand that I wasn’t happy to find a large area of my city closed off to the public without me being informed.”

“I’m sorry to hear that you were uninformed. I hope someone has since corrected their mistakes and shown you all the relevant paperwork I filled to reclaim the roads between the buildings on the land, collectively owned by me and all the residents here.”

“They did, yes.”

“Then what can I discuss with you Mayor?” Sherdan asked, gaining the upper hand in the conversation. He wanted to be the one steering the meeting, not the mayor. For the moment there was an awkward pause.

“You do realise that although the roads are now privately owned, something I’d never have approved had I been aware, you cannot change them without attaining planning permission?”

“I am aware. The residents here and I simply wish to control who passes through the estates we own.”

“That is something I am meant to control.”

“As you controlled that incident with your secretary?”

“Is that a threat?”

“I just want to have my say on how the land I own is protected from the outside world. The people here want privacy. I’m merely giving it to them.”

“I do not think it’s healthy and will be doing everything I can to have your rights to do so revoked. You will be opening these roads again shortly Dr Harper.”

“I don’t think so. I have plans for this land, plans the residents approve of. I will only warn you this once. Don’t get in my way.”

“You do not have the power you think you do Dr Harper. Good bye.” With that the mayor got up and Sherdan had him shown out by the security guard.

He sat in thought for some time before he radioed the same security guard.

“Have the next layer of our defences put into place around the entire perimeter, as it’s detailed in section three of the defence report I put together.”

“Yes sir.”

“Also, schedule in a full program wide announcement for tomorrow evening.”

Sherdan spent the rest of the evening in the command bunker, ensuring that the plans for the next line of defence were put into place properly and swiftly. He was using technology that hadn’t been tested in any real situations yet and wanted to make sure it was deployed correctly.

He also wasn’t sure how quickly the mayor would have his claim to the roads overturned. Legally he knew that he was on dodgy ground but there was no going back on their journey now, the residents wanted this as much as he did.

Over the last three years several abilities had been combined to make an emitter that blocked anyone without the drug in their brain from being able to pass through. To anyone else the emitters would act as a barrier, sending the person dizzy as well as making it impossible to walk forwards.

Each little device only worked on a very short range because they weren’t electrically powered. The last thing Sherdan wanted was an electromagnetic pulse killing their best line of defence.

A large number of these devices would be needed, however, and they would need to be deployed so that there were no gaps in the perimeter and they would all need to be out of sight.

He had drawn up a map with suggested locations but it would need to be tested before confidence in it was necessary.

Anya was fast asleep by the time Sherdan finished in his duties for the day. He watched her sleeping on the camera feed for the second night in a row before heading to sleep himself. He would have to tell Anya of their future the following day. One day’s delay wouldn’t hurt.

When the following day dawned he rushed to Anya’s room with breakfast. He’d had a small table placed in one corner so they could eat together. She joined him at it and smiled at his chirpy greeting, but they only talked of inconsequential things while they ate.

He waited until she had finished her scrambled eggs on toast and put her knife and fork down. He stared into her eyes as she sat opposite him making her fidget uncomfortably.

He would normally be tidying up their breakfast things and hurrying to go now but he sat still. Now that it came to telling her he hesitated. Even with the assurance of success he felt a little nervous.

“I’ve had Hitchin approach me recently about you,” Sherdan began. Anya raised her eyebrows. “He’s had another vision of the future. One involving you.”

“He’s the person who came up with your prophecy as well, isn’t he?”

“Yes, and I know you don’t believe it but I do.” Anya sighed but Sherdan pretended he hadn’t heard her and continued, “He saw us marrying and you carrying our child. Not only that but you had an ability and as a result our child had more than one ability himself. I knew you were part of the future here but I didn’t know how.”

Sherdan beamed at her while she sat with her mouth open.

“You’re not happy?” he asked her.

“I don’t know what to say. I didn’t expect you to say all of that when you said there was a vision of me.”

“Say yes.”

“Uhhh… I’m not sure I can.” Anya couldn’t look at him.

“I’m not giving you a choice.”

“You’re used to getting your own way aren’t you?”

“Yes I am.”

“Well you can’t force someone to love you.”

“I’m not asking you to love me.”

“I’m not sure I can do what you ask without loving you.”

“Well I guess you should start thinking about that because we will get married and we will have a child.” Sherdan finally got up to leave. His excitement had quickly turned into anger.

“Wait, please.” She got up and went over to him, “Please don’t plan anything yet. I will want to think about what you’ve told me and process it. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t rush this.”

“You’ll consider doing this willingly then?” His anger dissipated in an instant.

“I will consider anything at this point, I’ve not been given any other reason by God for being here but I really don’t want to feel pressured. It won’t help me decide.”

“I will let you think then.” Sherdan bent down and kissed her on the cheek before going.