Chapter 67

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“I thought we were supposed to be looking for the thief,” Luke said.

After my unsuccessful chat with the head of the warehouse, I was back in the conference room we were using as our base of operations.

The wonderful thing about having access to high-level government servers and a bunch of computer skills is how you can often find ways around the assholes that try to keep you away from their lower-level servers.

“Yeah. We’ll do that, too.” I logged into the facility’s servers and started looking around. “But it might be related somehow. If they were working with the symbiont here, then it’s entirely possible that the thief stole an altered version. If so–”

“It might give us an idea of what they’re going to do with it.”

“Exactly. There are samples of the symbiont in facilities all over the world–most of them just sitting in storage or undergoing basic examination–so it seems like an awfully large coincidence that the thief would pick a warehouse that’s doing unapproved research-even experimentation, I’d wager–with their sample. Unless the thief knew about the research, and targeted this warehouse specifically because of the research.” I sighed. “Though if all he wanted was the symbiont, then why steal all the other items? There has to be some sort of connection between the items, but I’m not seeing it.”

The symbiont. A halo. Some books written by dragons… There didn’t seem to be any connection. But there had to be something.

“Maybe it’s not about what he stole,” Luke suggested, “The note said he wanted to ‘play a game’. If all he wanted was to get our attention, get us to investigate, then he could have just chosen items at random.”

“You’re right.” I turned away from the screen and looked at Luke. “Except the symbiont. No way that was a random choice. He chose it because he wanted to guarantee my involvement.”

“Um… what exactly is your connection to this symbiont?”

“It’s–” I sighed. “It’s complicated. And highly classified. I wish I could tell you, but…”

“I understand.” Luke nodded. “Sometimes… some things need to be kept secret.”

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