Friday, April 1, 22:50 The sprig of mistletoe lay on a sheet of clear glass, now a crisp golden-brown hue from the lack of moisture. A tiny bud and its corresponding stalk had been removed from the cutting three months ago, for analysis within the ACME laboratories that Doctor Sophie Conrad personally performed. When the branch began to wilt, only three days ago, she had sliced a larger part of it off for further investigation. Now, as numbers and words were strung together upon the monitor of her desktop computer, her fingers paused their typing. A frown crossed her features as she tilted her head, the light reflecting upon her sapphirine eyes as they flickered over the document again. Then, she exhaled. She had spliced such a chemical formulation before--only once, two years ago. But, something was wrong. Packing her mobile phone and ACME communicator into a nearby tote bag, then carefully sliding the dehydrated mistletoe into a nondescript brown paper-bag, Sophie slipped her feet back into the red-soled high-heels that sat neatly adjacent to her chair. As the report onscreen completed its upload across her devices, she turned to put on her coat and secure the office. Beyond the glass windows of Accolade, slate-coloured rain drizzled into the pale San Franciscan fog. The scent of humidity permeated the air, even within the corridors of the ACME Headquarters. Four minutes after the lights dimmed in the office of Doctor Sophie Conrad a Chili Red MINI exited the underground carpark into the drench of precipitation.