Information was much harder to contain. It wasn't just a person or an object. Those were easy to quarantine. Information spread quickly from host to host, and we were the hosts.

Every time I went in, I had to be careful. Headquarters was always updating me on the latest state of the situation, how volatile Rain might be on that particular day. Fortunately for me, she was usually pretty controlled, though we could never be sure.

Her mind had a way of processing much faster than our analysts. I guess that was the reason they had to contain her. The fear of course was that her mind would infect everyone that came in contact with her, myself included.

"Always be ready to call for backup," I was told. "And always have a plausible excuse for making a hasty retreat."


"Christa Wood... shouldn't it be obvious?"

"Shouldn't what be obvious?" I asked, intentionally playing dumb.

"Christa Wood," she repeated. "You know, don't you?"

I didn't want to reveal anything. Not without first figuring out how much they knew.

"Am I supposed to know this person?" I wasn't sure if I was already giving away too much by assuming this was a person. Maybe they thought it was the name of a patch of forestry or something.

"I know you know," she said. "I think it's time you come clean and tell me about her."

So they knew it was a woman, or at least they thought it was a woman. I had to be careful with the words I used to respond, lest I give away more information than I intended.

"What can I tell you besides what you already know?" I asked.

"I know you talk about her," she said. "I want to know what kind of contact you've had with her."

That was a bit shocking. There was nobody I talked to about Christa. In fact, Wood wasn't even her last name, yet somehow they had picked up on the fact that I used it as a stand-in for her name. How much surveillance were they doing anyway?

I needed to probe the extent of their intrusions. "And why do you think I have some kind of contact with this person?"

"That does not concern you," she said. "I want you to answer my question. Who is Christa Wood, and what is she to you?"

Seemed she was trying to be careful too, trying not to reveal exactly what they knew as they attempted to gather information from me. I couldn't tell just how far up this went. Just a few local officials, or beyond levels that were typically considered possible.

If I revealed too much of my hand, that would give them the ability to limit the scope of their own revelations. And I wanted to reach as high up as possible. The less I knew, the less of an advantage I could gather.

"I can't tell you. How do you even know this person is known to me?"

"Alright, I'm authorized to tell you we've bugged your vehicle," she said.

I expected at least that.

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