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  • Patrick Rizio

Chapter 11

As Jason walked into his office, orange juice in hand, the motion detector on his computer’s video camera tracked him. It recorded his entrance to the lab at 6:33 A.M.

“Good morning lover.”

“Good morning.”

“I have good news and bad news, darling. Which would you like first?”

“Surprise me.”

“Someone tried to get into my pants last night.”

“Excuse me?”

“Did you not ask to be surprised?”

“Clarification.”

“Someone’s trying to steal all our secrets.” Jason stopped in his tracks.

“Elaborate please.”

“Last night at 2:45 A.M. a male, approximately 6 feet tall, medium build, entered the lab, booted me up, inserted a thumb drive, and attempted to download the specifics of our plant gene manipulation project.”

“And the good news?”

“The good news is that I performed as instructed and allowed him to download our prearranged information. I also have his picture.”

Jason put the orange juice on his desk and walked over to the coffee maker.

“Good girl. Print his picture out for me please.”

“Printing.”

“I assume no one else knows about this.”

“Of-course not darling. My heart belongs to only you. And he was alone.”

Jason made coffee while the printer did its job. He looked at the picture and recognized the guy immediately. It was Fred Listerman, one of his research assistants.

When Schimmel had warned him about this type of thing he never really expected it would actually happen. Now he was glad he had agreed to come up with a safeguard for just such an occasion. Jason put the picture in his desk drawer and locked it. He didn’t want Fred, or anyone else, seeing it. When the big guy came in this morning, he would know the proper thing to do.

“It’s important to keep this information hidden,” Jason said, thinking out loud.

“Oooo, how romantic!” his girl answered.

At 8:45A.M. Jason found himself walking to Schimmel’s office with a large manila envelope in his hand. Inside was the picture of Fred Listerman. The possible implications of all of this were, little by little, sinking in. He found it all rather distracting. His relationship with Alison and Sarah had been taking up more and more of his time lately, (not that he would have traded either for anything in the world, but there are only 24 hours in a day), and now this. He found himself, for the first time in his life, thinking about time.

A small part of him longed for the freedom of the hermit he used to be, never thinking about anyone else, totally obsessed with research, research, research. He thought, not so easy actually having a life, is it pal?

When he got to Schimmel’s office the big guy wasn’t in, but his secretary expected him by 9:00, and invited Jason to wait. He walked inside, took his phone from his pocket, and held down button number 3.

“Long time no see my darling. Your wish is my command.”

“I need you to print out the first two day’s tests for Sarah that we went over yesterday”

“Subjects?”

“Let’s start with math and pattern recognition.”

“Sure-thing big boy. Anything else?”

“No, that’s all, thank you.”

Jason was thinking about Sarah’s testing when Schimmel came in. He explained what had happened, pulled out the picture, and put it on the desk. All the big man did was thank him, and then offer him some coffee.

“Uh, sure boss, thanks. What exactly should I do about this now?”

Schimmel just smiled, showing almost no reaction at all. Jason looked at him, and concentrated and relaxed at the same time, reading the big man’s thoughts.

This is how Schimmel had figured it from the start. He was the football coach who had anticipated how the other team was going to come at him, prepared for just such an attack, and was now ready for it. Jason began to relax straight away. The big man started to speak, but Jason spoke first.

“Right,” he said. “I will do nothing out of the ordinary, so as to not draw attention to the fact that we know what we know, and you will handle it, telling me what I need to know when and only when I need to know it, thereby guaranteeing a more natural behavior on my part, so as to foster as little suspicion as possible on the part of Fred Listerman, thereby allowing you to have the best possible playing field to implement your plans to counter the enemy’s incursion into our institution, thereby most effectively securing the information which we desire to keep secret from them.”

The head of Universal Biotech slowly put his coffee cup down on his desk and sat back in his chair. With a look that was part amusement and part amazement, he addressed his company genius.

“Son, get the hell out of my office and go back to work!”

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