Chapter Twenty-OneMature

“He’s not a bad guy really.”

Devin told me, referring to Rick.

“He had a bad life as a kid, and it
didn’t really improve. He’s only twenty-five, but he’s done all sorts of things like
solvent abuse, cocaine, heroin, meth. I seem to recall he had troubles with
alcohol as well. Got beaten up a lot as a kid, at home and at school. You can’t
really blame him for having a bit of a hot temper. It’s a pity that Steve
deliberately riles him. It’s not as if he doesn’t know how bad things were. Just
when he was starting to improve and all.”

 

I just nodded in agreement and
followed him to the corridor of research labs.

“We should try the engineering lab if
these are mechanical.”

Devin said, looking at the metal
beetle.

On entering the lab, we saw Clara
from the engineering department working on one of her new inventions, which
aren’t always successful, but the ones that do work are invaluable.

“Hey!”

She greeted us, slightly distracted
with trying to figure out what was going wrong with her newest device, one that
she’d started the rough plans for six months ago, and was in the process of
perfecting now. She’s a total perfectionist and every detail had to be designed
and built to the best of her ability.

“Hi Clara. What’re you working on?”

I asked, as Devin went to find the
things he needed to investigate the beetle.

“Right now I’m just trying to put
other settings on this little attachment that will clip onto the collars of the
dogs in the canine unit, so it can determine what sort of activity they sense,
and whether it’s paranormal or if innocent enough human or animal activity has
triggered a reaction with the dogs.”

She informed me.

“Cool.”

I answered, trying to look
enthusiastic, when I really didn’t understand it at all.

“Tara, look at this!”

Devin called.

He had found an infinitely tiny
switch on the beetle’s diamond-encrusted back, perfectly manufactured to look
the same as all the other diamonds.

“So we’ve established that they’re
definitely mechanical, man-made objects.”

(I was doing that ‘sounding smart’
thing again.)

“Yes. They’re definitely not real
animals. Now we need to find out how they were made.”

Devin replied. I was half-hoping that
he’d comment on my seemingly newfound intelligence, but no, nothing.

The End

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