Today is a continuation of Day 27.
The house is dark when I get back, and I curse under my breath. Johns is sitting in the living room, playing with the holodeck I’ve been using to convince the house I’m still inside
“Nice trick,” he says without looking up from the puzzle. “Three years we’ve been partners and you still manage to surprise me.”
I stay quiet, waiting for him to look up, glad I washed Krex’s blood off my hands before sneaking back. He runs out of time, the puzzle only half complete.
“Damn,” he says, finally meeting my gaze. “Games were easier when I was a kid.”
We play the waiting game, each holding eye contact, waiting for the other person to make a move in this dance of words. His eyes are frosty, that piercing blue looking straight into my soul. I hope he likes what he sees, that he likes the rage and desperation I know is apparent. They’re my family, Johns. What would you do?
He finally sighs, setting the holodeck aside and rubbing his neck.
“Yeah, I’d do it too,” he says, motioning for me to take a seat. “What have you found?”
“You first,” I reply, slouching into the chair.
“Fair enough,” he says, grinning. “Phosphorus, but you already knew that judging by the dealer. And I’m guessing you found whoever it was he really sold it to since the buyer on the books is currently serving.”
“I might have,” I say, checking my nails and smirking. “What else do you have?”
“Mathus dug into your parents’ background to find motive. Turns out your mother was involved in some sensitive research with Ameritech. They’re refusing to cooperate with the investigation, so we think your parents are being held somewhere. Without knowing more about what your mother did, we can’t narrow it down any further.”
“How much of this visit is courtesy and how much is you needing help?”
I mull it over. Having Johns could help, but he won’t approve of my methods.
“I’ll help, but there are conditions,” I tell him, crossing my legs.
“There always are,” he replies, grimacing.
“First, you share everything you find, no matter how inconsequential you think it might be.”
“Of course. Will you do the same?”
“Yes, which brings me to my second condition. You don’t ask how I got this information nor do you investigate it.”
He blows out the breath he’d been holding.
“How messy?” he asks.
“Nothing will be traced back to either of us,” I reply, holding his gaze.
“That doesn’t answer the question.”
“Do you really want to know the answer or are you asking because you think you have to?”
He rubs his neck again, a nervous gesture. I can see the battle in his eyes, the desire to do good after the bad he did as a corporate lapdog.
“Johns,” I say quietly, “they’re my parents. How far would you go?”
He nods, his shoulders slumping.
“Nothing back to us,” he says, keeping his eyes downcast.
“Nothing,” I say, squeezing his shoulder.
I pull up all my data, all the information I have on what happened to my parents and all my theories on where they might be.
“Now,” I say, “Let’s get started.”
This story is continued on Day 31.