Is it Tuesday already? The days until Nemesis releases are just rushing by! There’s about a million things to do between now and then!
But, as for your teaser…
There are tons of different problems to solve when it comes to the Maven Initiative, and this week, I’ll give you a peek at one of them.
* * * * *
He wandered back into the Tech Center, ignoring his grumbling stomach. As he reached for the handle on the door to his office, someone tapped him on the shoulder. Brooke Turner stood behind him, shifting her weight from foot to foot nervously. The girl was usually shy, but this was odd even for her.
“Can I talk to you for minute?” she asked, clutching a wireless drive.
“Sure, come on in,” he said.
Brooke closed the door behind them. “I need to show you something. I’m not really sure what to do with it.”
Daniel sat down behind his desk. “Okay. What is it?”
Brooke slid the drive across the desk to him, but didn’t sit. She pushed her brown hair behind an ear. “It’s one of the documents. Can you take a look at it? I need to know if it means what I think it does.”
“Is it one of the files from the raid?”
Daniel frowned and connected to the drive. He opened the file she pointed out, running a quick scan on the contents first, in case she’d missed something.
***Coded message from secure channel***
To: Barrier Reef
Subject: Re: Stonefish Compromised
Be advised. Stonefish has become a liability and must be neutralized. Dismissal in progress. Screening replacement candidates, but will unlikely be an asset. Top applicant unsuited to the Initiative and could become a problem. Unable to find a competitive nominee to deny application as it would raise suspicions of command counterpart.
Daniel sat in stunned silence. This message not only confirmed the suspicion that others aboard the Endure were involved in the Maven Initiative, but that one of them was at the highest level of command. Even worse, if this person was someone who oversaw applications for Endure positions, it meant it was one of two people: Dr. Gerardi or his father.
He couldn’t believe either of them were capable of something like this. Both of them were far too kind and good and dedicated to their work. Still, if this came from the raided documents, it had to be true… didn’t it?
“So you reached the same conclusion I did?” Brooke was still standing there, looking anxious. Daniel’s face must have betrayed his thoughts.
“Have you shown this to anyone else?”
She shook her head. “I only now found it. What do we do with it?”
Daniel stared at the message, rereading it for any clues he might have missed. “Hang on to it, but don’t include it in the compiled evidence, okay?”
“You mean, ignore it?” She froze, her mouth gaping a little. “But I thought…”
Daniel shook his head. “No, we’re not ignoring it. Hang on to it. We need to know more. Have you found any other mention of this Stingray person?”
“Not yet, no, but I’m still going through files.”
“Okay. Good. Make sure you’re on the lookout for any other mention of them. If you find something, separate it out and bring it to me. We need to have all the information before we make an accusation. We might even run another search, either tomorrow or the next night. I’ll talk to Lydia about this later, so she may ask to see what you found.” He looked up at Brooke, trying to hide his internal conflict. “Whatever we find, I promise you I’m not trying to sweep it under the rug, okay? I don’t want to destroy anyone’s life over a single piece of message traffic.” In truth, this revelation would destroy more than one life, and not only the one belonging to Stingray. Already, his own heart ached with the implications.
She seemed satisfied at the explanation. “I’ll put anything I find on that drive.”
“Back it up in another location, too.”
Brooke smiled wryly. “I always do, in at least two other places. It keeps people honest.”
Daniel nodded, barely registering her words as she took the wireless drive and saw herself out.
* * * * *
And that’s your teaser for this week! There’s one more still to come, so hang on to your hats!