All at once, the eggs rolled out of the pan and landed—splattered!—onto the floor.  Scrambled!  The floor, of course, was cleaner than any plate could ever be.  Cleaner than any surface either of us had ever seen before.  Titanium levitation did that—separating dirt and grime and—essentially—any impurity from its charged surface.  Any impurity, that is, except the shoes and socks and feet inside them, the table and carpet and kitchen around them—pre-approved and pre-engineered to sit atop its charged surface.  We were, after 27 months, standing here in this place—this particular kitchen in this particular home—the home of the Ambassador’s sister—for exactly one purpose and one purpose only: to test if the legend we grew up on was true.  To test if the only chemical substance to scramble their pre-programmed engineering defenses was as simple as the simplest scramble of scrambled eggs.  For two decades no genuine eggs had sizzled in this space—for two decades chickens had been banished from the face of the known Earth.  That’s how powerful the legend had become—to warp even the minds of the mind-controllers, to strike fear into the griddles of the most elitist elite.  And now—today…  “Today,” I said. “We make our breakfast and we eat it, too.”  

Macie snatched a forkful of eggs from the floor, took one long pause, and then—with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen, tasted her breakfast.  

“Well?!”  I demanded.  “How is it?!”  

She looked around. Worried?  Paranoid?!  

“What is it?”  I asked.  “Is everything—”  

“Taste it,” she said—shoving a forkful down my throat.  And suddenly I knew.

“Pepper,” she said.  

I nodded.  “It needs pepper.”