Chapter 8: The Devil You Know – part 14
After an undignified amount of bowing and scraping, Shane was granted an appointment with Gibson with less than 24 hours notice. Wrapped in his alien calm, he strode into the penthouse office feeling healthier than he had in months. Gibson’s assistant closed the door behind him. Ignoring the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows on the far side of the room, Shane focused on his superior. “Dr. Gibson.”
Gibson looked up from the triple monitors atop his gargantuan desk. “Dr. Myers, come in.” He nodded at the pair of chairs in front of the desk. “Have a seat. Would you like anything to drink?”
“No, thank you,” Shane replied as he moved to the nearer of the chairs. He sat down, resting his hand holding a foot-long steel canister on the armrest.
Gibson frowned at the metal cylinder. “A present?”
Shane half-smiled. “Yes. Before we continue, turn off any recording devices.”
“Done.” Gibson hadn’t lifted a finger. Hoping that was the truth, Shane handed him the canister. “An unlabelled aerosol can. Just what I’ve always wanted.”
Shane ignored the sarcasm. “The former contents of that can are why half of the facility thinks I’m a junkie.”
Gibson met his eyes. “Are you?”
Gibson set the canister on his desk. “What was in here?”
Even in the emotionless void Shane didn’t want to continue. “A genetically engineered virus that modified my dopamine receptors.”
“So that only certain hormones could get through.”
Gibson’s eyebrows raised. “And those would be?”
“Pheromones.” Gibson’s eyebrows climbed even higher. Before he could comment further Shane pressed on. “Joon Ri’s pheromones.”
Gibson frowned. “You two have been sleeping together for years.”
Surprise shook Shane’s inhuman calm but didn’t break it. “We… I stopped eight months ago. Ri had other ideas apparently.”
Gibson’s gaze strayed to the canister. Other than a flicker of a smile his expression was pure neutrality. “So you’ve been together when you needed to be with her.”
“That’s right.” Shane’s face flushed red despite the void. He despised needing to take this to Gibson, but he didn’t see any other choice. “I’m sure you see the value in this technology.”
“I do,” Gibson said, steepling his fingers. “The question is, why have you brought this to me? Why not deal with Ri yourself?”
“Because Ri has information that could be damaging to my career.” Gibson nodded for him to continue. “That information must be eliminated.”
“I’ll have Addison—”
“No!” His calm shattered, Shane scrambled to compose himself.
Gibson, the heartless bastard, was the picture of diplomacy. “The information involves her.”
Shane nodded, desperately gathering his alien calm. “I want this to stay private.” His voice wasn’t as even as he’d like, but he continued anyway. “You have technology that will allow me to remove the information from Ri’s mind. Let me take care of this, and I’ll develop the bioweapon for you.” He left “you” deliberately vague.
A slow smile spread across Gibson’s face. “This is important to you.”
Shane willed himself to not grind his teeth. “Yes.”
“Depending on how the information is removed, I could lose a valued scientist.”
Shane had anticipated this line of reasoning. “You may be better off. Ri can’t be trusted.”
Although Gibson nodded, Shane knew it didn’t necessarily mean agreement. They sat quietly for a few long minutes before Gibson broke the silence. “We have a deal.” As Shane suppressed a sigh of relief, his superior slid a keyboard tray out from under his desk and typed as he talked. “One of my people will deliver a device to your quarters at 9:00 this evening. Instructions will be included, as well as one charge. Use the device for only the removal of the information you’re concerned about. Once discharged, the device will render Ri unconscious.” He looked up abruptly. “You’ll do this in her quarters?”
“Good.” He scribbled something on a slip of paper and handed it to Shane. “When you’re done, dial this number and leave. My people will collect her and the device. A psychic–not Addison–will confirm that you’ve left her mind and personality intact. Are we clear?”
Shane nodded again. Gibson had made arrangements with frightening efficiency. “If I may ask, what do you plan to do with Ri?”
“Transfer her to another facility,” Gibson said. “We can’t afford to lose her.” He gestured at the canister. “That’s proof.” Shane scowled, but said nothing. “When will the weapon be ready?”
“Initial trials will begin in a month. If the timetable changes I’ll let you know.”
Gibson nodded. “If that’s all…?”
Shane recognized the unspoken order to leave. “It is. Thank you.” He stood and headed for the door.
“Myers,” Gibson called. Shane stopped and faced the older man. “The device records the extracted information. It’s encrypted. Only a few trusted people have the translation key.”
Shane’s hands balled into fists. “We agreed to keep this private!” he hissed.
“Chances are it will be. Besides, I probably already know the information.” Gibson smiled politely and gestured at the door. “Good afternoon.” He turned his attention to his computer monitors.
Shane didn’t move until he’d reined in his temper. As much as he wanted to inflict bodily harm on Gibson, he didn’t dare. Thankfully the man didn’t seem to know he was there.
Thirty seconds later Shane stalked out of Gibson’s office.
Three hours later Joon Ri lay unconscious on the floor of her quarters with one less memory.
Five days later Shane held Jake in his arms.
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