The whimsical noises of tagalog drifted along the golf course, distorted by a cool breeze and the thrash of transplanted oil palms. Tag-lamig, or “winter,” if indeed it could be considered such, was never so bad as people might expect were they not native to the region. At worst it was a nippy breeze that necessitated a light jacket, and at best it was a cool, comfortable caress. The distinct absence of humidity made the season superior to the two others known to the region.

Czes, as usual, wore a brown wool sport jacket, and laughed inwardly at others’ concern with the weather: in this case, the native help, who busily sculpted bushes and scrubbed lacquered brick walkways. Biting wind or no, to him, this fifty acre patch of manicured turf a mile or so away from central Bacolod was something that approached paradise.

Of course, the basis of his opinion was the lack of humans within sight or earshot. The help didn’t count. Everyone in the know understood that those who worked as service slaves were, and would always be, rather harmless subhumans.

Then again, he wasn’t there to play golf—or even there at all. The only thing that stood on the golf course was a projection, that of an aristocratic adult male, and the person he was there to meet, who would mar his perception of perfection, was to appear shortly. He wasn’t sure why they wanted to meet with him, except that they wanted money, which he had in droves, and that they wanted to secure it through non-traditional and untraceable methods.

Until they arrived, he would entertain himself with Mario Kart from the safety and security of an underground bunker in Bern, Switzerland, built as an extension to the LHC facility.

Those bitches still hadn’t found the Higgs!