1: Love Affair
“Phew!” Shaan threw his pencil down and leaned back in his chair. “Finally. No more of this dumb scutwork. I’m done. Now I can concentrate on what I really want to do.” He glanced at his cell-phone. He hadn’t had to charge it in 48 hrs. Yes! The goddamn thing is working! He pushed his chair back, and ambled up to the single window of his office cum lab. Not a single celestial body marred the inky black sky. Even if he screwed his eyes, it was tough to decipher the outline of the spruce grove that surrounded the cottage.
I wish Rich and Spacegenics had capitulated earlier, he thought. They should’ve realized long ago I wasn’t the one they were looking for. It was someone higher up. Someone with the ways and means to infiltrate the entire network and manipulate it to suit her ends. They compensated me pretty good though. I’m not complaining. But why the public apology. That must’ve cost Rich something. Humility doesn’t come easily to that bastard.
As Shaan wrestled with the puzzle just like he’d done an infinite number of times in the past, the powerful motion-sensing exterior lights snapped on suddenly, blinding him. Something or someone had triggered them. Shading his eyes, he scanned the perimeter. He couldn’t see anything beyond the white arch of the lights. He’d installed them this past Spring at the behest of his neighbor, Bob. For a man of few words he’d been very insistent. “To keep the bears away,” he’d said. Bob had also made Shaan install a heavy duty chain link enclosure in the back for the garbage cans. Shaan had thought it was going a little overboard yet he’d humored the older man. After all he had much experience living in the mountains just like Andy Sr. had with women. The thought evoked certain memories making Shaan smile.