From Divergent Suns (April 2019)


Agent Laura Patterson of the Magentan Investigation Bureau – the Tesseract, as everyone calls it these days – sits in a quiet office. She’s alone and it’s late. Everyone else has long since gone home.

<EX>Summary Progress Report: Suspect: Chase Hunt</EX>

Case notes. Nothing official. A report in progress. Unseen, Instantiation One watches her read.

<EX>Primary suspect in the killing of Walter Becker outside Mercy hospital. Associated data theft from Mercy. Arson. Abduction, assault and imprisonment of Kamaljit Kaur. Post-mortem mutilation of Doctor Nicholas Steadman (bullet in the head several hours after death – same gun as Becker).</EX>

On the desk beside her is a small, sealed evidence bag. Inside is a single hair. Attached is a DNA analysis.

<EX>Evidence suggests a well-resourced and experienced professional intelligence operative with excellent fieldcraft and marksmanship. Intimate familiarity with operational practices and procedures of the Tesseract and with the Firstfall surveillance network. Clear connection to Darius Vishakh: recommend bringing this up in Vishakh’s questioning.

Query: Becker fits for the Steadman and Kettler murders. Sadly too dead to interrogate. Did Becker do it or did Hunt set him up?

Query: Is Chase Hunt a real person or a shell?</EX>

Patterson deletes the last line and types new words in its place.

<EX>Query: Chase Hunt is one of us? Or was?</EX>

She pauses and thinks, looks at the evidence bag and hisses between her teeth.

‘Alysha Rause.’ But everyone knows that Alysha Rause died six years ago.

Agent Patterson files the report in her personal workspace where no one else will find it, pockets the evidence bag and goes home. Through the cameras in the Tesseract, through the Servant in her apartment, Instantiation One watches.

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