Tatter: Chapter 24

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Weber closed the door to his apartment in the central sector with a sigh and stretched.

“I’m home. Stopped by the store. Picked up some of that chocolate fudge mix you like.”

He walked to the kitchen and placed a parcel of instacake on the counter, furrowing his brows as silence returned his greeting.

The subtle sound of sobs mutedly reverberated from the adjacent chamber. Low and muted and female.

“Honey?”

He turned, peering into the living room where his wife sat upon the couch, shoulders slumped and dejected.

“Cynthia?”

Weber dashed into the room and froze as he spied a figure sitting silently on a chair in the left corner, obscured by shadow. The man was of average height and build, distinguished by stark white plate, inlaid with glistening vermeil and wore a full-helm tactical mask that completely hid his face, characteristic of Kryos’ special reconissance operators.

Weber drew his cutter and aimed the weapon at the intruder’s head and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. The trigger wouldn’t budge. He tried pulling the trigger once more. The back-panel flashed the words ‘Invalid target.’ The masked man looked towards the weapon and then to Weber’s face and spoke, his voice hissing and crackling with distortion, as from a distant loudspeaker.

“Civilization is an act of trust. Where the latter is sufficiently absent, so to shall be the former. Your wife realized this. I wonder, Mr. Weber, do you?”

Weber lowered his weapon and looked to the woman, whose eyes were streaked with tears.

“Is it true?”

Weber looked over his shoulder and discovered a man in white armor standing at the threshold of the kitchen. He turned to the stair directly across the room that let up to the half-finished nursery and beheld a third man, silent and still as statuary, upon the landing.

The officer sat slowly down upon the couch beside his wife and set the cutter upon the table and looked up at the masked man before him.

“What do you want?”

“Its useless to question when you already know the answer.”

Weber was silent a long moment, his face wracked with indecision until he beheld his wife’s pleading expression.

“Grazen. Professor Eric Grazen.”

“He worked with Soriya Haldeck. I induce this is how he came to be aware of the DS project?”

“Yes. She told him everything. He’s the one who offered up the hide-out for Haldeck and Vangr. When they botched the job he put the word out to me and a few others.”

He looked to his wife’s tear-stained face. She only shook her head and looked away.

“I require the names of these ‘others.'”

The masked man fixed Weber in the onyx sheen of his lenses, as he did, the officer sagged his head and began to weep.

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