The Report

Timeline: November 29th, 2008, late evening

Lyla was alone in her office. She put down several pages she was reading and pressed play on a recording. She didn’t like what she heard. Not at all. Her mood from early that day was gone, replaced now by one of somber horror. She listened to the voices on the tape for hours, hearing taped conversations, reports and information she both wanted and dreaded at the same time.

Ever since she had the conversation with Agent Thindle almost six months ago, she hadn’t wanted to believe it. A month later, she’d called him back and asked him how she could help. He’d told her, and she’d accepted it just as she might any other job. She saw a potential for profit and a way to keep her hand in, so to speak.

But this was a lot worse than she had anticipated. She really hadn’t believed him when he told her what the scope of this really was, assuming he was pumping up his story so that she’d help him with his little pet project. She kept asking herself why she really cared about this? It was just another job. She was helping him because she knew in the future she’d be able to get favors from him in return, maybe get him to get the agency to look the other way in certain matters.

The bastard was good, she told herself. He must have been counting on the fact that once she started she wouldn’t let it go. Fuck, she cursed inwardly. She hated being manipulated or handled. And he’d really handled her well.

The trouble was that she thought she’d be able to handle all of this by proxy. She was more than happy to sit behind the desk in Eldon Well running things many miles away. The less she saw of most of her clients, the better. And the less she saw of Thindle’s little project, the happier she would be, she knew.

In the past five months she’d made excellent progress. But if she was going to get further than she was right now, she was going to have to get out there and do some of these things personally. She’d made good money so far, but this damnable project was going to slurp away all her capital, she just knew it. She already made well over a million dollars, sunk into mostly untraceable assets.

But damned if she wasn’t going to turn right around and blow the whole frickin’ wad bit by bit because she couldn’t just walk away. It wouldn’t be right. No, she wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing what she did now.

And that’s what really ticked her off. Thindle had managed to get her to work with him on this and she wouldn’t want it any other way. Rot-sucking bastard. He’d managed to find the one thing she would really take personally. One thing she could let go.

Soon she’d have to make some travel arrangements. Ramiel would ask questions. So would Chaska. They were the only two she might consider talking to. But the one she had to talk to was Tara Honeywell. She had something she needed, and the only way she could think of to get it was to tell Tara what it was for.

Lyla slipped the papers and the tapes into a secure mailer and sealed it. She walked it down to the post office at the hub and mailed it personally. This was too important to her. Agent Thindle needed to see what she’d found.

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