Zeus and Io - Books 1 and 2
Chapter 6

Copyright 2012,2013 by Harry Carton

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Melody A. was now officially pissed off. As a woman of breeding and class, she would never have used such language. A situation would rarely get past the level of 'annoyed' – occasionally it would rise to 'very annoyed.' She pushed a buzzer that sounded on El L.'s desk and his room. It was 3:30 a.m. and El was in bed. He staggered into his uniform – no summons to Melody's presence could be without uniform for the 'little people' – and walked in to her office seven minutes later.

Melody had been prepared to enjoy the capture of her new asset. That had been denied to her. Apparently he could see farther into the future than she had hoped. If so, he would not be an easy target to acquire. If Melody was 'very annoyed, ' she saw no reason that El should not suffer along with her.

"That damned freak was ready for us. He got away from Motel 6 and then disappeared. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?" Screaming clearly indicated that this situation had moved into the 'very annoyed' category. That was one semi-rhetorical question that El couldn't possible have an answer to.

"I don't know ma'am. I guess he just knew we were coming."

"He couldn't have known. I didn't give the order until earlier that day. HOW COULD HE KNOW? Maybe we have a leak."

"Highly unlikely, ma'am. He knew because he knew. That's all we can say."

It went on for several minutes.

"Get out. OUT!" she eventually said. "I don't need another somebody who doesn't know anything."

El snapped a salute and returned to his apartment on the second floor. 'Damn bitch woke me up just to do nothing.' He added it to the long list of reasons he did not like Melody.

Melody looked at the computer screen where Alpha 1 had sent an email just a few minutes ago. "Room rented at 6.41 local to Jefferson Thomas of East Memphis, TN. Client entered room approx. 6.45. Room is now empty and has been since our arrival. Must assume our appt with J.Thomas is aborted. Have not searched for fingerprints since we have no way to record or search on them." She read it twice more, and then pounded her fist on the desk.

(When this message was trapped by Io, she immediately began to eliminate Zeus' fingerprint records from the various databases they might be in. Matching fingerprints was a digital approximation of an analog process, not something Io was particularly good at. She decided that she would merge two real fingerprints, thus creating a false third print, and substitute that for Zeus', thus avoiding any issue with creating an analog image of a print or of someone accidentally finding a duplicated print.)

In a fury, Melody A. punched the buttons that activated the non-internet monitors on her desk. They showed the medical feeds and an image of her 'source.' Her source once was a tall, fairly plump gentleman by the name of Peter Melthorne. Peter has been in a drug induced coma for nearly eight years, and was now approaching death. He was only 47 years old, chronologically, but if you could examine his liver, it would appear to be about 90, and it was failing.

Officially, Peter had died several years ago in a car crash. The body of a homeless person had been in the car and the medical examiner had been malleable. His family, a wife and three children, had mourned and then gone on with whatever it was that grieving families did after the loss of a father/husband, Melody was immune to caring. That they played soccer, little league or gymnastics with a trace of sadness at the father who was no longer there to enjoy it, was something that Melody would not give a thought to. Peter had been a good man who had used his talent for seeing the future to pick an occasional winner in the stock market, making his career as a stock broker semi-successful – he hadn't even been aware that he was a psychic. A long weekend in Melody's hotel suite, when he was supposed to be at a business meeting, convinced her that her cocktail of psychotropic drugs could persuade his subconscious to look into the future. Peter was the eleventh person that she had 'entertained' in this manner. Most of them had gone back to their normal lives with only a dim memory of a lost weekend – one had completely melted down and had to be disposed of. When she thought of it at all, Melody A thought this was an unfortunate sacrifice to the greater good.

Melody pressed a few keys and the display showed that she'd increased the flow of the psychotropic drugs that activated Peter's psychic visions. In a half hour or so, he'd begin to hallucinate. Guided by Melody's pointed questions, his fevered visions would tell of terrorist activities, or next week's baseball games, or the location of another person capable of having visions of the future. Peter was picking up a trail of visions of the future, like a bear passing through the woods leaves his scat and trampled grasses in his wake. He didn't have a name to give; his visions rarely came with names attached, just pictures and descriptions of places.

She looked down at the 'source, ' lying in a hospital bed, his arms and legs strapped down, it would have been very uncomfortable if he was ever awake. The nutrition, which kept him alive, and the drugs, which were killing him, were fed into a 'port' that was implanted in his chest, the kind of port that was typically used for chemotherapy or kidney dialysis. The drugs she was feeding into Peter were destroying his liver. He could die any moment – or go on for several more months. Melody needed a replacement source, and she was going to get one, even if it meant Peter's death. He could be sacrificed, after all, for the good of the cause. And the cause was defined by Melody's obsession.

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