Chapter 58

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I looked through the stack of crime scene photos, not really sure what I was looking for.

We’d set up base in one of the conference rooms in the warehouse. The actual crime scene was off-limits to me. Top secret. So I had to rely on the crime scene photos to try to figure out what happened.

It seemed like the only way I could actually help would be as bait. If those hunters wanted to lure me away from The Lab, they got their wish. We’d be staying in a cheap motel tonight, completely unguarded.

I wasn’t worried. It’s pretty hard for anyone to get the drop on me, even if I’m asleep. My senses are too good. I hear them. I even smelled someone trying to sneak up on me once. Granted, he’d been wading in the sewers for a while, but still…

“It’s hard to tell anything from these photos,” I said, “Wish I could see the actual scene.”

“Yeah.” Zack sighed. “It’s crazy. They don’t even want to let me in, and I probably have higher clearance than a lot of their staff.”

“That’s odd. If you have the right clearance, they shouldn’t have any problems with letting you in.”

I returned my attention to the crime scene photos. Not much to see, really. Some pictures of empty boxes, a footprint, and the note I saw earlier. The footprint was the closest thing we had to an identification. The perpetrator had spilled some kind of powder on the floor and then stepped in it, leaving a partial imprint of their foot. From that, we knew that they had to have been either a ‘cubus or an angel. The avian species have scaly, dextrous feet intended to grasp branches or hold objects in flight. The same kind of feet you’d find on a chicken or a parrot or most other types of bird. We almost always go barefoot, so the perp’s footprint was an actual print of their foot, not a shoe. Unfortunately, the powder didn’t really maintain much detail, so we knew general shape and size of the foot, but that was it. Couldn’t even tell whether it was from an angel or a ‘cubus.

“Take a look at this.” Zack handed me a packet of printouts. “Access logs for one of the items they were storing.”

I glanced through it. A list of times when the storage box was accessed, along with a column of notes on what was taken out and why. The notes were almost entirely redacted, though. “What am I supposed to be seeing? There’s a lot here.”

“Exactly. That printout only covers the last month or so, but it’s full of entries. That box has been accessed almost daily, which doesn’t make sense. If they’re just storing it, they shouldn’t need to open that box at all unless they’re transferring something to a new location.”

“You’re right.” I blinked. Analyzed the sheets a little more. “It’s not just one person, though. The ID numbers keep changing. And from the notes… I can’t read what the reasons are, but they don’t seem to be trying to disguise it. Which probably means…”

“That whatever they’re doing, it’s official.” Zack clenched his fists. “The samples in that box… I’m supposed to be in charge of it. Anyone who wants to study it is supposed to notify me first. Get my approval. That was the deal.” He stood up. “No wonder they didn’t want to let me in. They’re researching my stuff without even telling me about it. Time to find out what the hell this research is about.”

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