"He didn't do it."
The folder that had been in my hand hit my superior's desk with a thunk, making the papers around him billow up with the minor breeze it had caused.
David Carter did not look up from his legal pad but kept writing in that spider scrawl that characterizes all the memos that cross my desk. I think he does it just to irritates me to no end. I know he knows how to send email. The man can crawl through the computer without making a blip of even the best hacker's screen.
Still he didn't look up and I refused to sit down and wait patiently. Everything with David was a game of who could out wait who. It wasn't that he had a measure of patience that a saint would envy, he just enjoyed the other person squirming and being uncomfortable. It was a power thing with him. It's always a power thing with David Carter.
I bit back a sigh and forced myself to keep a relaxed-looking pose. I may not have been fooling David but it made me feel alot better.
"Okay, than why, exactly, are we pulling in a guy who has nothing to do with stealth tech disappearing from our intel banks and into the intel banks of our 'competitor'?"
Competitor in this business is lingo for whoever we are mad at most at the time. Right now the middel east was high on the list though they were not, by far, the only ones on that list.
Finally David looked up and gave me a look with those cold, ice-blue eyes of his.
"Do I have to spell everything out for you, Kearns?"
I did squirm a bit then. And then I got angry. The fact that my boss kept everything close to his chest and expected us to worm it out of him because it made him feel superior to us was not my fault. It was, however, my problem. An every day problem.
"Okay, let me work this out then. A week ago we get notice that the Halo Scramble Stealth stats has been hijacked from our computers."
"Computers," David pointed out,"That have the best national security programs wired into them. Computers that should be uncrackable."
I snorted. An unladylike thing to do but it made me feel better.
"Come on, David. We both know that if one person can make security software, another can crack it. It's the human factor. It's why new software is created all the time."
"So," I continued. "The Halo goes missing and, weeks later, we get a call from one of our agents detailing a factory in the mid east producing what appears to be a prototype of the Halo."
"Now you are roping in the second half of Halo's creative team because you can't find the first half, one Steven Keller who seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth."
"Go on." David's tone had a challenging edge to it and I could tell I was getting close to where he wanted me to be.
"My guess is that Hutton not only doesnt know what happened to his brain child but doesn't care. His wife has been admitted into the hospital and, right now, is being induced due to medical reasons. I've checked the records, Hutton is a family man. One of a dying breed I might say."
David didn't even blink at my dig about his own many affairs, me being one of them. Damn the man.
"So, if you are dragging an innocent man into this it means you think he can be used for some purpose. Something that would get the Halo back."
David raised an eyebrow at me, encouraging me to continue.
I paused for a moment, letting my mind shift around to try and follow the thought process that was David's mind. After eight years of working under the man, I had a good idea where this was going.
"What am I missing, David," I narrowed my eyes at him. "What are you keeping from me."
David gave me a cat-ate-the-canary grin and leaned back in his chair, a smugness about him that made my hand itch to slap it from his face.
"Our agent was able to send pictures of the prototype."
"There are...things missing. Vital things. And, from what we can gather, they don't have that part of the blueprints."
My brow furrowed. "So...that means that either the data from our banks were wiped out or lost before they could get all of the data or they were getting the data from Keller or someone close to the project and he has either stopped cooperating, has escaped or is dead depending on whether he was a willing participant or not."
My mind made a lightning fast jump to the conclusion David wanted me to make.
"Meaning you need to dangle a bit of carrot in front of whoever has the prototype. Your going to use Hutton as bait."
"Exactly," David was now grinning ear to ear and I had to ball my hand into a fist not to wipe that grin from his face.
"He could get killed."
"I'll make sure that doesn't happen. At least not until we have whoever stole Halo."
"You are such a bast......"