Tried to regain the high ground. Tried to exert his strength. He reached out and caught her by the ankle. His right hand clamped around her right ankle as she turned to leave. His intention was to stop her, pull her down onto the floor, climb on top of her and make her listen. Make her see that what he was doing, he was doing for her. For them. For their future. Grab her ankle and give it a little pull, he told himself. Get her down to the floor and then, go from there. “You’re not going anywhere, bitch,” he said. Even to his ears the word bitch was awkward and put on. It didn’t flow. It labored out of his mouth and spilled to the floor. Like a bad actor trying to play street tough. It was hollow. He tried to pull her to the floor when he spoke but, he had no leverage. He slipped and fell on his face. She stood strong, planted and turned slowly. She looked down at him, her anger now gone, replaced with the cruelest of looks. Pure, unadulterated, pity. He raised his face to her and he caught the full force of the look and almost threw up. “Sorry,” he whispered and the look changed. The pity flooded away and the anger returned. “Pice of shit,” she said and then, she kicked him across the face. He flew backwards and his head slammed off the wall. He dropped to the floor and saw her feet walk out of the room, heard the front door open and them slam shut, just before he blacked out. “Here you go, sir,” Phil Watson said, sliding into a chair and placing another cocktail on the table in front of Briggs. Watson was one of the scientists who now worked under Briggs. One of the team that was working on the auto-driver software. Making it better. Making it more reliable. Watson was a cartoon of a scientist. Thick glasses, balding, pale, analytical, socially awkward. The perfect foil for Briggs. “I …um … Forgive me for saying this, sir, but, I hope you’re not driving tonight.” “Why’s that,” Briggs asked as he downed the cocktail. His third jack and coke in a matter of twenty minutes. He was feeling the effects which was good, but, he was still feeling, which was bad. “Well, sir,” Watson stuttered, not wanting to offend the captain, a man he so admired, “you’ve had a few … um … drinks, sir and it would be dangerous, not to mention … um … sir … illegal if you were to operate a motor vehicle. Sir.” Briggs swirled the ice in his glass and tipped it back into his mouth, trying to suck every last drop of alcohol out of it as possible. “Motor vehicle,” Briggs said in a very sharp, mocking tone, “why can’t you just say car?” “Pardon, sir,” Watson said, sipping at his drink, sensing that the captain was somehow angry with him. “Car, Watson,” Briggs snarled, “why can’t you just say car.