American Chimera – 9.3

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Agent Ivanov scrolled through the interrogator’s list. “Excellent…there’s fifty names on this list. Excellent work, given you’ve only had these people for about a week.”

The interrogator bowed her head. “Thank you. I gave it my best effort.”

“Obviously not, seeing as you’ve also managed to spend time on Dr. Smith’s frivolous nonsense. But I’ll cut you some slack.” He signed the page with his finger and closed out of the document without another look. “Did you find out what the good doctor wanted?”

The interrogator shook her head no. “Unfortunately, I think it’s locked in the brain of Mrs. Janie Huffman, and she’s utterly convinced that she shouldn’t speak with me. Until I get some leverage from another interviewee, I don’t think I’ll be able to find what Dr. Smith is looking for.”

Ivanov chuckled. “I told you it was worthless to do Dr. Smith’s bidding.” He smoothed his graying hair back and regained his usual, static composure. “But that’s neither here nor there. I’m getting on a plane back to Washington in the morning, and I doubt I come back here in person for several months. Is there anything we need to work out now, before I take off?”

“Just a few things. I’m curious if I’ll be reassigned once the initial push is done and everyone who can be released has been released. This place…” She shook her head. “It gives me the creeps. I had Dr. Smith give me a tour of the veterinary facilities, and I saw one of his creations die. The basement has this awful aura about it.”

Ivanov looked over his bifocals. “It’s filled with giant spiders. It’s supposed to feel that way.”

“I supposed you’re right.” She nodded her head and cleared her throat. “Either way, I’d like to request a different job when this one’s done. I don’t like it here.”

“No one does. It’s a pretty crappy post, all things considered. Though…I’m told by some of the aides here it’s not so bad if you get in good with the scientists. Not sure why.” He tapped his fingers on the table. “So, uh, I’m not sure what’s going to happen when you’re done here. If, as the capture of specimen 803 indicates, the chimera project is turning into a success, this post may become more important. Having an agent stationed here would potentially be necessary.”

“I’d request it be someone else, then. My specialty isn’t in this scientific gobbledy gook.”

“Not very many agents’ specialty is.” He cleared his throat. “I’ll look into it. For now, though, is there anything you need in the near future? Questions?”

“The prisoners being released – when’s that going to be accomplished? That Reverend Hinkley, there, needs to be released as soon as possible. I think his release can be used as leverage in some of the future interrogations.”

“They’ll probably be put on the same plane as me. Washington’s a whole lot closer to their home than this hell-hole, after all, and the government is sending me something much bigger than I expected. Only so much jet fuel made per year, so they don’t want to burn it on unnecessary flights.”

“Was taking them all the way out here necessary, though?” the interrogator asked.

“Government works in mysterious ways. They had to act fast in response to that newspaper article, and I guess someone just made this decision on a whim. It didn’t turn out terribly, and now the permanent prisoners are already where they’ll live out the rest of their lives. We were always going to have to bring Dani and her parents here.” He stood and motioned to the door. “Well, it’s getting late, and I need to get to bed now if I want to start adjusting to Eastern time. So easy to lose track of what time it is when underground, isn’t it?”

“Yes, sir,” the interrogator answered. “I hope you have a pleasant trip back, and thank you for releasing all these innocents so quickly.”

“My pleasure. It was your work that made it possible, though, so I should be thanking you.” He offered her a firm handshake of approval. “You’ve been doing a great job here. See you in a few months.”

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