A great mist begins to form across the surface of Lake Constance. A wind begins to ripple the water of the lake sending it towards the shores where Friedrichshafen waits. Electrical activity sparks in the deepest part of the mist, never visible unless one is much too close to the center. And at its heart one of the lake's three islands...an island returning from places unknown.
A thunderous roar sounds across the lake pushing the mist before it like a vanguard before the main host. The citizens of Friedrichshafen weathered the army of storm and sound as they always did. These sudden freak microbursts of fog and thunder were a common enough occurrence only the tourists and other visitors were caught off guard. Street-smart hawkers swooped in to take advantage of such innocents immediately offering water-proof gear in advance of the evident "rain" the mists announced while the residents and those in the know merely protected their tea and food with the covers always handy at the outside tables then resumed conversation and eating once the mist dispersed.
Adamo Mancini, Dottore di Ricerca checked the gauges on the shift panel before giving the nod to release the airlocks and reconnect with the glass tube which led under the lake. Without any preamble, the intercom produced the sound filled with static of a female's voice repeating "Hail, Docktor Mancini," with a sultry yet bored tone.
"Ah! Eccellente! He is here," the Laboratory's chief scientist says with a wicked smile. Pointing to one of his many experimental minions, he barks an order.
"You! Vai! Open the airlock and see our benefactor to a waiting room. And take a route to avoid il passaggio filled with distruzione!" The minion wobbles quickly out of the room, its misshapen legs carrying it much faster than one would expect, its arms gangly and swinging almost as if keeping them controlled was more difficult or simply forgotten.
Dottore Mancini sniffs angrily at what the interlopers had done to his beautiful facility. But not to let that deter him, he checked his impeccable grooming in the mirror polished shine of a bulkhead in the control room. Then gathering his files and papers for presenting, he quickly exits the room.
He moves past the various research areas on his way, the wondrous beauty of the information being learned as beings from other places and locations are being dissected and in some cases reassembled making him want to pause and get involved. But not today! The Benefactor could not be kept waiting. He was not a man to tolerate delay.
Breathlessly, Dottore Mancini stopped himself just outside the door and took a few breaths to regain his usual calm. Fixing a delighted smile on his face, he entered the visitation room. His first sight was one of a voluptuous female with dancer's legs so very exposed as the slit of her skirts had fallen open from the almost feline pose she held on the chaise where she lay almost prone. Her languid smile and the half-lidded appearance of her sultry eyes made her seem as one high on any number of drugs, but the dottore knew better. Trois-C Sollier always looked this way because the benefactor desired it so. And whatever he desired...
"Il mio magnifico patron! I have so much to tell you about our resear-" the dottore burst out, but stopped as the man in the red coat before him raised his hand. And the benefactor smiled that maddening smile and said...