Leticia Dos Santos: Countdown to Zero – Part VII

Higgs Boson, Inc.

Leticia Dos Santos, the Earth’s smartest woman had no time to be a mother. “It’s a waste of her talent,” her colleagues and employees said. Only one had the courage to say it to her face: Martina Graff, Chief Financial Officer at Higgs Boson, Inc.

“I can’t believe that you of all people can’t contain your primal instincts. Have you thought about how this will delay our research? We need your leadership. You know that. We need you to connect the dots. Billions of women can have babies. No one, I mean no one on this planet can think the way you do. Maybe Kosoko Bello, but that man is socially inept, a lab rat and a stone wall. Not leadership material, not a Higgs Boson man.”

“I find him rather charming, actually,” Leticia interrupted, her fingers dancing around her keyboard as she composed a letter to her employees at Higgs Boson, Inc.

“I am of course happy for you, but seriously, Leticia, what were you thinking? Is it too late to get an abortion? Of course you’re not. Never mind. How long will you be gone once it’s born? A week? Two?”

“Today’s my last day.”

“You’re not due for a month.”

“I’m resigning.” Leticia Dos Santos double-flicked her finger right index finger, letting her computer know to send the email. “Effective immediately, I am no longer CEO or President of H-B-I.” Leticia did not just want to have a baby; she wanted to raise her child, an archaic, uncommon practice in all but the poorest countries.


Agent Red was not surprised by how much Leticia already knew about the Singularity threat. Between her genius circle of friends, her backdoor (and illegal) access to the Commonwealth’s top-secret servers, and her own nearly unquantifiable intelligence, Leticia had arrived in Houston well aware of the “secret” agenda and points of conversation. She even had some recommendations on how to slow the artificial super intelligence, for which Agent Red had to interrupt their meeting —rather apologetically— to get the security team working on the advice.

What surprised the agent, given the circumstances, was how quickly Leticia ended the conversation when he offered her a ticket onboard the ISA-001.  Still, he pleaded,

“We’re not going to beat this thing. I’m asking you to help our species survive.”

“I don’t care,” Leticia said. And she meant it. There was no time to waste. She would go back home to Malibu on her private jet. She’d have a helicopter waiting at Los Angeles International. Whatever time was left (weeks, days, hours?), she’d spend with her husband and daughter.

“Please think about it.”

“Go to hell,” Leticia said before slamming the door behind her.

Before takeoff, and again midflight, Leticia called her husband. He didn’t answer. She tried to log into their security system but it was offline.

Leticia jumped out of the Higgs Boson helicopter before it had touched down and raced inside her house. “Alex! Walt!” When no one answered, she checked every room in the small mansion.

Finding no one, she brought the security system back online from her office and watched the last half-minute of video:

Alexandra hugged Walter’s leg by the front entrance. She seemed happy, excited, a large backpack (far too big for her small, seven year old frame) strapped around her shoulders. Next to Walter, on the floor, lay a large duffle bag, his shotgun, and rifle. Walter held an envelope and a couple of loose papers in his hands. First he held the envelope up to the camera then placed it on the wooden stool by the front door. Next he held up the loose papers, one-by-one. They read: (1) You should go. (2) You won’t find us. (3) Love you forever. Walter then placed the large notes over the envelope on the stool, pulled a small tablet from his back pocket and shut off the security system.

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