Part 23

[Shorter one today; who knew New Year’s week would be full of grogginess and distractions?]

*

He didn’t have an answer. He sputtered a bit, waved his face. Everyone else sat with questions and in some cases, bitter wine on their tongues, waiting.

Everything I have, he waved to the hut and surroundings. Everything you have. If it’s reproducible, it’s worth as much as any cure has ever been.

Right, said Graham. And you let two pissant kids come and nab it from you because, even though you knew its supposed value, you had to tell someone, even a stranger. He got up, visibly calmed himself, and stepped outside.

Três had fixed her eyes on me, heavy-lidded as they were. What would it take to get us to find them and the documents? she asked. I do not believe it is all true, but we can kill the two birds, as they say.

Enzo himself drained off his cup and leaned forward. I can return to the camp and make some calls. To Jennings, to others. I have assets. There can be arrangements. If you are already searching for these two-

One, I thought.

-then it can only be to your favor, whether you believe my claim or not. I can’t afford to leave here while I try to recreate the trials, nor do I think anyone else already on the same trail will be soon coming.

He sat back, gesturing low, about his belly. I would do it myself if I could. He stopped and cleared his throat. Please. If you can retrieve my folio and stick drive with my notes… I will pay your way, and more upon retrieval.

Lena shook her head and excused herself. She looked at the room and told us we should rest.

Três looked at me and raised an eyebrow.

It’s not often you have to make ridiculous choices like this, and truth be told, I’ve always struggled with being decisive. If only I had family, old friends around, people to bounce ideas off of. Time and tide, unfortunately.

We agreed to sleep on it and pick back up in the morning.

Most of us looked ready to stay awake, minds filled with spinning thoughts and scenes of uncertainty filling the space. Our bodies disagreed.