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The Last File

the last file


Estimated reading time — 21 minutes

The following is a highly classified, transcripted document. Any Agency personnel below level five clearance caught with this file in their possession without explicit and signed permission from authorized personnel will be terminated without hesitation.

The briefing room was more full than usual, all sorts of agents armed to the teeth just like me with advanced rifles, body armor, grenades, and sidearms. But I had a hunch as to why.

“However. While you will have the assistance of Subject 16A on this particular operation, that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. But that should be something you’re all used to at this point. Any questions?”

I raised my hand, instantly regretting it as Ted looked my way. He was shall I say… Not that kind of guy you wanted to piss off. And it wasn’t due to his physical prowess necessarily, but he was cold. Verbally and emotionally ruthless, which is probably why they made him the Director of Operations. This organization is quite picky about the sociopaths it puts in charge.

“Yes, Agent Parker?” He inquires, that dead, void of life stare that he practically trademarked locked right onto me.

“Who will be leading this operation?” I asked, hiding my deep rooted disdain for the man.

“Agent Ivory will be in charge, although she will still be answering to me. We don’t actually know what the particular threat is yet. But a whole factory’s worth of men doesn’t get found dead on your average day. Something got in there, cops and the feds are too scared to investigate it themselves. So it’s up to us to wipe out whatever the hell this thing is.” He went on, pausing for a second to take in any reactions from us agents.

“But don’t worry, I have special plans for you since it seems like you need a little extra attention today.” Ted teased, mocking me with an overly condescending tone.

A little backstory in case you’re lost.

A week ago. A factory belonging to the company known as Northwell Industries was operating like any other day. Materials were being shipped and manufactured, other company representatives were coming into to discuss asset orders while the floor workers worked until their last drop of sweat evaporated for a solid paycheck. Same old same old.

Regardless, the factory had suddenly and inexplicably gone quiet. Corporate had heard no communications from supervisors or lower-level management. Which was apparently extremely unusual. So they sent a couple of executives to check it out and see what all the commotion, or rather lack thereof was about.

And when they got there? Well… Let’s just say they weren’t expecting to find a bloodbath. Bodies contorted and bent in ways they shouldn’t have, flesh, muscle tissue, and organs torn, bitten, and ripped to shreds. Some men were even missing entire limbs. Let’s just say they got out of there quickly without doing too much digging, although I was sure that something would have chased them out anyway.

This is what The Agency told us anyway. I hadn’t see it myself up to this point, or anything besides printed word and verbal sources. No pictures, videos, or anything of the sort.

And of course, when the company contacted traditional law enforcement, they then passed it on to us. It was a problem above most of their paygrades anyway.

“Armor-piercing rounds, ammo bags, and extra body armor As well as Ecto-Magnets will be provided, in the event, you end up encountering more… Spiritual opponents.” Ted continued, his eyes piercing through those dark aviators. But something about his tone and delivery felt off. I’m not gonna say he knew something we didn’t, because that’s quite literally his job. But I definitely feel like we weren’t getting the entire truth here. Not quite.

But we finished the briefing, all got something to eat and prepped ourselves. It wasn’t long before we were ready to head out.

So the technical six-man team finished loading up and headed out to the transport truck. All in all, I was somewhat morbidly excited. One because there hadn’t been very many incidents lately and because of that. Things had become a little slow around Site 12. And two because I was gonna be finally getting to go on an operation with Subject 16A.

I hadn’t met him, not up to this point. I had only read his file and had spoken to Ted and Doctor West about him. Apparently, he was really something out on the field, so I was excited to see if he lived up to the legend. Although Ted was seemingly not nearly as geeked over him as West was.

Me and the four other agents boarded the truck, waiting for 16A to arrive before we headed off.

“Looks like the freak’s tagging along again.” One announces crudely before following up with a chuckle.

And part of me was convinced his insult did not go unheard. Because just as he finished his rather self-contained show of enjoyment at his own joke. 16A himself, turned the corner.

He stood tall, and I mean freakishly tall. Around eight feet at least. He was rather thin though with smooth, midnight blue skin running along what I guess I could call his skeleton. But despite the inherit smoothness, his skin wasn’t without scars, his many battles with cryptids over the past near two decades had definitely shown themselves.

He was also hairless from head to toe, bipedal in his stance. I looked up at his face, two large, glowing lightbulb-shaped eyes staring right back at me. But those didn’t make me nearly as uncomfortable as those long, slightly blood-stained claws. His teeth appeared just as deadly. And although I hadn’t seen him in action yet. He definitely looked like a killing machine.

He stepped passed all of us and headed to the furthest corner of the truck, Despite his massive size and terrifying appearance. He didn’t appear to have much pride in his stature, not around us anyway. But I could tell he still wasn’t thrilled about what The Agent had said about him.

Regardless, we set off and it didn’t take us very long to make it to the location. Despite its great separation from nearly any other man-made structure. Not that its weird for a factory to be somewhat isolated.

“Feel like there’s a bit more to this than what Ted told us,” I spoke up, attempting to break the long-maintained silence on the way.

“Always is, did you forget who we work for?” A female agent replied.

She seemed uninterested in conversation, all my so called fellow agents did. So I turned to an unlikely subject for discussion, a discussion that would only last for mere moments before the doors to the trailer opened.

“What about you big blue? You thinking something’s up?” I inquired, shifting my neck to see his head perk up at the question.

He was standing there at the end of the truck, so quiet and almost unnoticeable. Which was odd for someone of his size, but he replied nonetheless. His voice a low, yet booming one. One that put the vast majority of even the most masculine human men to shame.

“Innocent humans are dead, something killed them. It appears simple to me, we kill the monster that did it.” He declared proudly, a sudden and sharp contrast in his tone and mannerisms. That lack of confidence from earlier seemingly fading.

The doors to the trailer were then opened by the driver. All of us quickly checked our gear, made sure our rifles were loaded, and headed off.

“Let 16A lead the way, he definitely isn’t the brightest, but that nose of his is more useful than you could ever imagine.” Ted ordered all of us over our earpieces.

When I stepped out, I was finally greeted by the sight of the large, abandoned, and eerie factory. It had a ghostly vibe to it, which made sense given the context. But this was different, I was confident in saying that I could almost feel the evil radiating off of it.

It had an old, beginning of the industrial revolution feel. A large, rectangular shape made of brick with a curved roof at the top, with multiple large chimneys on the roof of the main structure.

The beaten-up dirt path leading to it had bits of dried blood scattered on it here and there. Enough to be noticed, but not enough to backup the so called blood bath Ted had described during the briefing.

16A stepped forward in front of the rest of us, sniffing the air and attempting to get a reading on what may or may not be lurking inside the building. Both of which sounded like unsettling prospects.

He waits a few seconds, seemingly processing what it is he had sensed. After which he turns around, looking down at all of us to speak.

“There’s something here, its scent is unfamiliar but I know that we are not alone. Move with caution.”

I could tell Agent Ivory was a bit annoyed with 16A seemingly calling the shots. But what was she gonna do? Run her mouth to the eight foot tall cryptid slaying beast? Not that I really think he’d retaliate violently, not towards us anyway.

All of us simultaneously shoot each other curious glances, some appearing more worried than others. But nonetheless, 16A dropped down onto all fours, crawling forward towards the building.

We raise our weapons as we follow him, preparing for an unpleasant encounter with whatever it was that was residing within the building.

16A reaches the structure, quickly latching on and beginning to scale the side of the building like colossal spider. He quickly closed the distance between the ground and ceiling height window in mere seconds. Looking inside and listening in for any movement.

Us agents on the ground made it to the main door, turning on our under-barrel flashlights and peaking inside the beginning of the interior.

And at first, there was nothing. Despite the blood on the path earlier and the reports from the police. I didn’t spot anything that really constituted the definition of a complete and utter slaughter-scene like it was made out to be.

And although there were bits of blood here and there, it wasn’t enough to even say or determine if anything or anyone was anything beyond wounded.

I jumped a bit as I heard 16A shatter the glass from the window above and proceed to crawl inside. Scaling his way along the roof as we marched forward. I radioed back to Ted as to what had transpired thus far.

“This is Agent Parker, we haven’t found the target as of yet, still on the lookout. Subject 16A has entered the location and we aren’t far behind him.”

There was a few seconds of silence as the team waited for Ted’s response. All of us hesitant to keep going without any direct orders.

“Just keep pressing forward, don’t radio me again unless it’s absolutely necessary. I don’t need an insignificant status update every five seconds.”

So much for being engaged with the team.

We entered into what I assumed was the main area of the factory. Not really sure what the proper term was, I had worked decently cushiony jobs before I was more or less forced into this one. The pay is nice, but it’s not like I wouldn’t like a salary raise when I’m nearly getting killed on an almost monthly basis.

The darkness made it a bit more difficult to navigate inside, but we moved forward regardless, all sorts of conveyor belts, hooks, and assembly line-esk contraptions surrounding us. I’m not sure why they hadn’t given us night vision goggles this time around.

However, from what I was told by Doctor West. 16A possessed efficient night vision naturally, or whatever you would call that. So, moving through this was not even an inconvenience for him. And speaking of which, I could hear him scurrying around on the ceiling far above us. Continuing his own hunt for the supposed threat.

But all of us stopped dead in our tracks and turned our heads at a sudden, violent, and earth-shattering thud and snap. A snap that resembled that of bones being horrendously broken.

16A even quit what he was doing and sat still on the ceiling, although with his advanced hearing I could imagine it was almost painful for him.

I and the other agents pointed our under-barrel flashlights forward, spotting what appeared to be the mangled body of a human man laying on the cement ground between some equipment stands. His arms and legs bent in sickening ways. We tried to look around for where it actually came from, or what might’ve… Dropped it per say, but there was not a source in sight.

“Make sure to watch my six,” I told the others as I crept forward slowly, my fingers inches away from the trigger, I’ll admit I was a bit nervous, despite all my training and all the things I had seen. There was something off about this particular operation, and it wasn’t just from the potential threat.

I moved in on the body, noticing a disturbing lack of proper pigmentation and smoothness in the skin. It was like the man had been drained of all his fluids as if he were an empty tube of gogurt.

“This is Agent Parker, we’ve discovered a body, severely damaged. The target is still yet to be located.” I radioed back to command.

“I can see that.” Ted replies, almost uninterested.

I heard the sound of 16A intensely sniffing out the air from above us, like he had finally detected something out there. I looked up seeing him with a rigid stare forward into the darkness of the building.

“It’s here.” He announced in a half-whisper. Only putting me further on edge.

And as if on cue, the loud, ear-shattering screech of whatever the creature was rang throughout the building. All of us immediately gritting our teeth from the high-pitched pain that had been sent up our ear canals.

We looked forward, I caught somewhat of a glimpse of the thing with my flashlight. A sort of avian creature is the best I could do to describe it, a large, scaly yellow-mucus-colored wing flying right past my line of sight.

It attacked 16A, violently knocking him right off the ceiling after catching him off guard with a fast and vicious blow.

The agents and I that were directly under him all backed up as fast as we could, not wanting to be crushed by his accelerated mass. He slammed clean through a conveyor belt just before hitting the floor, the metallic structure snapping clean in half due to his impact.

We pointed our weapons up at the ceiling and began to fire off as many rounds as we could to take down the still mostly unseen entity.

It screeched yet again, although this time it was much louder, and even more mind numbing. I pointed my flashlight and caught a better glimpse of the thing flying downward right at 16A. It resembled what I could only explain to be a mutated pterodactyl. It’s skin a light, almost magma orange, complete with sickening cracks and patches as well. It’s beak was freakishly long and appeared chillingly sharp, sharp enough to pierce flesh with ease. And I wasn’t sure if I can actually make out any eyes on this thing. But it had talons though, long, piercing ones that resembled small swords in their scale. They were even a bit shiny.

But 16A was prepared for this attack, he quickly recovered from his admittedly harmless fall he had taken just seconds ago, standing back up and waiting patiently for the creature to get in range.

Once it does, 16A reaches out and quickly slashes the creature across its wing with a claw, causing it to release its signature screech yet again. This time out of sheer agony. It quickly flies back into darkness, seemingly preparing to strike again.

16A’s claw was covered in a strangely and sickly green colored substance that I’m sure was the creature’s blood anyway.

“The hell is that thing?” Another Agent bellows before firing a few rounds off in the direction of the creature.

The creature, despite being mortally wounded, did not give up its attacks specifically for 16A. He flew up into the darkness and dived back down, attempting to grab 16A with its long talons, but 16A simply reaches up and grabs the creature by the throat and violently slams it down right through a conveyor belt.

The creature wails as 16A follows up by grabbing it once again, this time directly by the beak with one claw, and the back of the head with the other.

We all watch in utter and rather morbid, amazement as 16A pulls with little effort and tears the creature’s beak right from its body, chunks and bits of flesh coming off with it. But it was what he did next that was beyond brutal.

He lifts the creature up, still barely just alive while in the grip of his claw. And to put an end to the beast’s suffering, 16A takes the dislodged beaked and rammed its into the creature’s head, presumably stabbing him clean in the brain and forcing him to meet an instantaneous, but much less agonizing death.

16A then tosses the creature to the side as if it were nothing more than a child’s play thing.

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A couple of the agents moved forward in order to get some samples from the creature and inspect its body while the rest of us and 16A turned and made our way down the left side of the factory.

While walking, I absent-mindedly shined my flashlight on the wall to my left. And in most circumstances, I wouldn’t have hesitated like I did.

In blood, the phrase “they lied” was written. The letters still dripping down the material. Not the most intense thing I’d ever seen, but it was enough to let my imagination run wild as to how it came to be.

16A simply ignored the messaged and climbed the wall to begin scaling it and crawl along the ceiling as I marched on with the remainder of the team. Now pointing my flashlight forward and spotting what appeared to be a small collection of wires and metallic bulges running along some sort of support beam.

It had a bit of smoke coming from the sides out of air vent like slits, but only an amount that was just enough to be noticed in the beam of the flashlight. I came to the conclusion that it had to be a generator of some sort, but if that was the case, why was nothing in here working properly?

“Object of interest up ahead, stay alert.” I announced to the rest of the team.

But just before I could take even one step towards the generator. I picked up the sound of a blood curdling shriek of something that sounded extremely similar to the strange creature 16A had fought and killed earlier on.

It wasn’t alone.

But instead of trying to fight these things in what was mostly the dark with the exception of our flashlights, I made a mad dash for the generator as gunfire began to ring out.

“On me!” One of my fellow agents called out in a distressed cry before firing his assault rifle into the darkness above.

The number of intense shrieks increased as I heard the rapid flapping of wings, I didn’t know exactly how many of these things there were, but it was for sure a small group at the bare minimum. And that’s being generous to us.

The gunfire continued as the shrieks and screeches increased in intensity. I had turned around for a brief second in my journey over to the generator and fired off a couple shots into the airspace above my fellow agents. One of them being nearly snatched up by the flying cryptids.

16A had leaped up from all fours and grabbed one of the beasts on his way. Slamming it head first into the ceiling and destroying a pipe running along it. The loud metallic thud being practically nothing more than just a whisper with all the brain-melting chaos unfolding around me.

It had been clear that in this fight we had been winning, but not without a bit of bloodshed thrown our way. One agent had been caught off guard by a Flyer. It dashed at him in the air and sank the tips of his talons right into the agent’s eyes before any of us could get a shot off on it. His visor was useless in protecting him against the attack.

He let out a truly chilling, distressed cry before falling to the floor, blood running down his face as he groaned for mercy. The creature flew off into the darkness with a following screech before being quickly snatched up and having his right wing torn from his body by 16A.

“Put him down, he’s no use anymore.” Ted radioed in.

“Sir, I-.” I tried to interrupt. Fighting the urge to call him something that would probably get me thrown in the hole.

“That’s an order, and unless you’d like to join him in his fate. You’ll obey it.” He fired back with a no nonsense growl.

This was not uncommon, not in this organization. Once you’re of no use, you go six feet under. It was something that I had seen happen a few times. But now, now I actually had to be the one to pull the trigger.

As the dust began to settle and the last of this particular batch of the creatures were being taken down. I raised my rifle, lining my eye up with the scope and pointed it right at my fellow agent’s skull. My crosshair lined up perfectly with his forehead.

But before I could even guide my finger to the trigger, a bang erupted from behind the man. A long stretch of red being projected out from where his forehead once was. It had appeared someone had already done the job for me.

Agent Ivory. And it looked like she almost enjoyed it too, a smug smile spread across her face.
Despite everything that I had seen over the years, that was the most stomach churning. But I knew that I’d be allowed no time to dwell on it. So I continued on with the mission.

I turned around and finished my mad dash to the generator. Leaning down and seeing what I could do to get the dang thing working. From what I could tell after lifting up a certain hatch near the top, it had plenty of oil inside, I shined my rifle’s flashlight to see if I could chip away at the inner workings.

And although I was no expert, I had worked with oil generators a bit in the past. It was actually apart of our training funny enough. But due to what I heard were budget issues, it wasn’t nearly as long of a course as it used to be. Pus, most of it was dumbed down nowadays.

I toyed around some more, connecting a couple wires and turning what I thought was a knob before the generator began making a strange, almost humming-esk noise. It rattled a bit as well, going side to side in mere inches of distance. At first I thought I had gone ahead and broken the thing.

I stepped back and clutched my rifle, waiting for what would happen next. But soon enough, after a loud, metallic crunch. The lights in the factory suddenly came on.

And as they did, I looked around. Seeing nothing but blood splattered walls and the mangled and shot up corpses of the flyers. Their wings, beaks, talons etc all laying around like pieces to a board game. And yet, I didn’t find a single other corpse of the factory workers besides the one we had first discovered when walking in.

But, all of that was to be expected. What wasn’t, however, was what appeared to be a large, rectangular void in the wall behind the generator. It looked like a typical doorway, just without the door, and some sort of flickering light coming from deep within the room at strange angle it led to.

“The hell?” One of the agents blurted.

“Agent Parker, I’m talking to just you now.” Came Ted over my earpiece. “Go down in that room, there is a black binder with some highly classified data inside. Under NO circumstances are you to open it or view any of the contents inside. Do you understand? If you do, I will have you terminated on the spot.”

“Wait, data? I thought we were just here for a simple extermination mission. Why do we have data in a random factory?”

“It’s not your job to ask questions, it’s your job to follow orders given to you. Go get the binder, or I’ll have someone more competent do it for you. If you want that promotion so bad, then you’re gonna need to learn how to perform your most basic duties.” He said in a berating tone.

All in all, I obeyed. Telling the other agents to stand back and scout the rest of the factory while I went in to retrieve this so-called data.

Nearly everything you could think of went through my head, including thoughts of The Agency being involved in some sort of cover up or conspiracy. What were the higher-ups so worried about us finding out? After all the shady stuff we had done, this is where they had to draw the line huh?

Anyway, once I passed the initial outline of the door frame, I realized it was actually a staircase that led downwards into what seemed to be a basement. That same light continuing to flicker strangely.

It was immediately cold and dreary when I stepped past the frame, like something out of a horror film. But most of this job was if I was being brutally honest, the concrete stairs felt unstable with every step. I almost felt like it would take one wrong move before I ended up falling into the center of the earth and right to hell itself.

Finally I made it to the bottom, the source of the flickering light being a couple of old lightbulbs that were strung up on the ceiling. Giving this lifeless cement basement room an even more eerie feeling.

The expanse itself was no bigger than the basement of your average american home. But this definitely wasn’t all there was to it. There were doors on the far left wall leading to what I presumed were other areas.

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Towards the right corner of this particular room was what looked to be an old, rickety table. And atop it was what looked to be like the black binder that Ted was telling me about.

I pressed forward, keeping my eyes peeled and my ears open for any signs of trouble. My hands firmly on my rifle as I cautiously took my steps.

Once making it to the table however and staring at the binder, I couldn’t help but let my mind race yet again. And it did plenty, even as Ted came yelling over my radio earpiece.

“What are you doing? Pick the damn thing up and!-”

And that’s when I grabbed my ear piece, and threw it across the room like it was nothing more than an action figure. I then proceeded to follow that up by taking off my visor and helmet, not allowing Ted to have visual or auditory comprehension of what I was doing.

I reached down and picked up the binder, which, despite its circumstances and conditions. Wasn’t very dusty, meaning it was handled recently. And as much as I knew I was screwed from this point on, I knew it couldn’t get any worse. I had already made the most damning choice I could have.

I opened it up, the first page already making my heart sink as my jaw dropped to the floor.

It was some sort of examination report for something classified as Subject 13A. Although that “something” quickly became obvious as it was the classification for the flying creatures. Confirmed by a literal picture and labeled diagram of its body structure on the very next page.
The document was lengthy and a bit difficult to make out with such small text. But I knew this was ours, it had to be. But why here of all places? Was anything they told us in the briefing true at all?

I looked further down the document before seeing a line with a signature written on it. A signature that belonged to someone with a lot of authority at our particular site. Nearly as much as Ted. The Ice Queen herself.

Dr. Athena L. West.

So I turned, darted over to one of the doors on the left wall and swung it open as quietly as I could. And not because I was afraid of the other agents hearing it. No, they wouldn’t be able to pick that up. But 16A surely would.

On the other side of the door was a maze of long stretches of hallway and corridors, bathed in an eerie orange lighting, some of which looked like they went on for nearly a mile or more. There was definitely more to this place than I thought was possible. But this would be my only chance of escape.

I then went around the room, awkwardly rubbing up against as many walls and objects as I could in order to get my scent on them. Because when they came looking for me, I just know they would use 16A to sniff me out, and if I could confuse him for as long as possible, then it would buy me some time, and a chance to hide and then get out of here once they searched the area.

I dropped my main rifle but kept my side arm with me, otherwise it would’ve been far too much to carry. Afterwards, I began carefully clutching the binder in my hands and then slipping inside the door and starting to head down one of the corridors as quickly, but as quietly as I could, shutting the door behind me with the lightest bit of force possible.

I ran and ran wanting to get as far away as I could. From the moment I cut my comms and visor off to Ted, that was it. If they find me now, the consequences will be a lot more severe than just a demotion or write up.

But why send me down here? Why not Agent Ivory?

Unless it was setup, this is what they wanted. They need someone to take the fall, to frame me and make it look like I was attempting to throw the higher ups who were the actual masterminds of this horror show under the bus. They released those things on purpose, killed those workers and probably made up the whole backstory. Now all they needed was a lower level idiot agent to pin the blame on, probably give some BS story about how I forged the documents as well as Doctor West’s signature and made up the diagram. And if anyone questions it, they’ll point out how I somehow knew to go down here alone. That’s why Ted was sure to only talk to me about going down here.

I was the scape goat. Not to the public, no. The public will obviously never hear a word of this. But the rest of agency, the members who truly matter will. They couldn’t possibly know that their whole purpose of killing the boogeyman and keeping normalcy afloat had been completely flipped on its head. Instead, they unleashed the very thing they work so hard to stop.

The truth is I never wanted a promotion, I never really ever cared about this organization or anyone in it anyway. The horrific nature of what goes on in here needs to be exposed. And if I have to spend the rest of my life running, then so be it.

It wouldn’t be long before they came down to search the basement area, so for the time being I had to find a place to hide. Pray that they would overlook it in time for me to copy down this binder and hopefully escape.

I found what appeared to be a sort of diverging path away from the main corridor, so I ran a bit further ahead, rubbed my scent along the walls for the next two hundred feet or so to throw off 16A, and then doubled back around into the diverging path.

There’s no way I’d be able to get out of the factory the way we came. Not now, not anymore.

This was all purposeful, this had all been planned and constructed meticulously, this wasn’t just some random factory. And that was more than apparent to me now. And it was slowly becoming clear to me that I was trapped. But I couldn’t die doing just nothing. I’ll take a couple of those meatheads with me, but they’ll of course use that to strengthen their argument of me being nothing more than a crazy traitor. No matter what, I was utterly screwed.

There’s some blank pages in the binder. I need to write everything down. I don’t know how much time I have left but it can’t be much. If you’re reading this, I’m probably dead. But The Agency needs to be exposed for what they are. But I was apart of this horrid system too. And I take responsibility for the role I played. Whether I was forced into it or not. I was too complicit.

Site 12, April 7th, 2009.

I looked over the transcript. I couldn’t help it but I knew the consequences of getting caught doing so. My orders were to deliver this to Ted and be done with it. But Agent Parker’s story was as fascinating as it was confusing and terrifying. I know his fate, I know that he didn’t get as far as he had hoped, and while I do want to keep my job here… For the most part, I couldn’t help but feel guilty, like I had a part to play in his termination. Despite lacking the ability to truly do anything to help him. Especially since he had been long dead by now.

As to why they had me, just a second rank scientist in the facility doing the delivering? Who knows. Perhaps they thought I wouldn’t be interested in the contents. Boy was that a mistake on their part.

I made it to Ted’s office, knocking before being given verbal permission to come in by the Director himself.

“Ah, Doctor John. Right on time.” Ted pronounced with an obviously fake smile, standing up and retrieving the folder from me with his large grubby hands. His index and middle finger stained with pen ink.

“Anything else you need me to do? Or can I head back to the lab?” I asked, not wanting to be there any longer than I had to.

“You’re free to return to your work, but be careful. Not everyone in this organization is someone you can trust. I’ve learnt that first hand.”

I didn’t come up with much of a response other than a bit of nervous laughing and a head nod of agreement. Which I’m sure he saw right through. Had he seen me snooping in the folder? Only God himself could help me if he did.

But I wanted to get out of there before the awkward, tension-filled silence set in, so I turned around and went for the doorknob before being stopped yet again by Ted’s low voice.

“Oh and John, could you keep an eye on Doctor West? She’s becoming a bit obsessed with that little science project of hers. Don’t get me wrong, he’s useful when he needs to be. But my god she acts that thing is her literal child sometimes with the way she talks about it.”

“16A you mean?” I ask without turning around. Not wanting any further eye contact to be had.

“Yes. Now go on, I’ve got some important things to take care of in here.”

Credit: mrmills45

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