Huddled around the table in a tight circle, a small group awaits the words of the leader. A lone light bulb hangs above the table, casting shadows on faces. Eyes gleam in the semi-darkness, feet shuffle nervously. The room is strangely quiet, except for the sound of the leader tapping the table. He clears his throat.
“We meet here today on a momentous occasion. It is a day we have been waiting for expectantly for several months,” he speaks. He pauses long, stares through each person in the room. Heads nod in approval, voices murmur in agreement.
“Our work is delicate. We will proceed slowly, according to the plan already agreed upon. Please, please do not stray from the plan. It could affect the outcome of our mission.” The leader’s voice is urgent.
The members glance at one another. Would anyone dare to do otherwise? Nervous glances and twitching fingers reveal uncertain hearts. Will the circle of trust be broken? Will one in this seemingly innocuous group jeopardize the success of the mission and seek control for the sake of his own glory, injecting the poison of betrayal?
The leader points to the object in the middle of the table. His face softens and he smiles.
“Here it is, comrades! As you can see, a most beautiful specimen!” He beams admiringly at the object.
The professor then picks up a scalpel. The medical students follow suit, grab their instruments and instructions, and eagerly begin their first eye dissection, under the watchful eye of their fearless leader.