Need to Know
By: T.G. Browning
6: Data Mining
The wolf padded confidently, picking shadows here and there, avoiding the street lamps and pools of yellow light in an intricate dance as he trotted along. He kept an eye on Kevin who followed along obediently enough, on the surface. Both of them knew that Kevin would get no more than ten steps before the wolf would pull him down and that would be the end of the matter.
Inside, Kevin calculated. Profit and motive, he summed them mentally and could come up with nothing in the black. Hell, he didn’t know enough to figure out if an item was in the red or black column, if it came to that. Except.
Marcus has said he could use Kat owing him.
Kevin decided to use that as a starting point.
Kat apparently knew or could do something Marcus either wanted or wanted done – or perhaps not done. That at least implied power of some kind. A second item came to mind. Kat was on his side. Kev was sure of that. So, make the most of it.
Kev stopped suddenly, looked around and found a low retaining wall conveniently placed. He sat down as close to a street lamp as he could get without appearing to attempt escape. Marcus turned around quickly and stalked toward him, a low growl coming from deep in the throat.
“Give it a rest,” Kevin remarked. “I want to talk and you’ve made your point. Since it’s not a full moon, I assume you’re something other than the classic werewolf I’ve read about. Save us both some time and change back to a form that can at least hold a conversation.”
Marcus sat down and grinned, again, at him, before his form began to shimmer and reshape, collapsing into a much smaller shape, a bird of some kind… a parrot. Beady eyes regarded him and then he distinctly heard, “pieces of eight” before the form abruptly shifted to Marcus, now sitting on the concrete walkway. He still grinned. “You weren’t as specific as you could have been; I couldn’t resist.”
“Well, if you’ll pardon the term, just ducky. Cute, too. You want to explain what the hell is going on?”
“Not particularly. I’m curious, though, what you think is going on. You’re much brighter than I expected. I frankly expected a good science major like yourself to be just the shy side of gibbering. Your whole world view must have shifted.”
Kevin almost laughed. Clearly, Marcus had a dim view of science and scientists. “It’s shifted some. I’m making adjustments as I go.”
“Wise. Perhaps Kat has a purpose here I’m not aware of.” Marcus seemed to ponder that for a few moments before he abruptly got to his feet and joined Kevin on the retaining wall. “Well, I suppose a little information is unlikely to make any difference. I need you to do something for me. You have some clearances that I don’t have and there’s something I need to get. You’re going to help me get it.”
“And me helping you is going to put Kat in debt to you. Doesn’t scan very well, I’m afraid.”
“No, you coming out of this alive leaves Kat in my debt. I don’t have to, you know. In fact, I might even be able to accomplish what I want without you. You’re just convenient.”
Kevin thought for a moment. Clearances. That meant something in the physics labs probably, or possibly access to the physics office since he could get in there as well. Both could be managed by key or by punching in a code, depending upon which doorway one used. Now why would… there was a time factor here, wasn’t there?
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