BioQuest: Seeking

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She stood over Suchong’s body, mangled and covered in reddish-brown stains. The sight should have made her nauseous. Instead, she examined his body for a place he’d store the formula for Lot 192.

Nothing so straightforward as a pocket, although… Elizabeth went to the supply cabinet and pulled on a pair of surgical gloves with a delicate snap of the elastic band around her wrist.

She found herself approaching his corpse with calculated steps, not just for the blood pooled on the floor. There was a chance the formula wasn’t here, and then– They would find another way. With a tear or Tenebaum’s help, somehow they would make this work.

Elizabeth peeled open the left-hand coat pocket on the corpse’s jacket, peering inside. “Too dark,” she whispered to herself. Slipping her hand inside, she wrapped her fingers around a small box.

Turning the side not soaked in blood to the light, she made out the phrase ‘NICO-TIME’ and dropped the cigarettes into the trash. “Now for the other pocket.”

Reaching in, the right-hand pocket came up empty. She set both hands on the table, looking over his facedown body. “Suchong… Where would you hide it?”

Nowhere Ryan or Fontaine might come across it and nowhere that he couldn’t readily access it in an emergency. Dr. Suchong needed to be indisposable to any political power to ensure his safety at all times, after all.

Not that it helped him in the end.

Elizabeth crouched to eye level with the desk, looking for any pockets he may have had on the front of the coat. Keeping it on his person made the most sense for him to do, and… “Wait, is that…?”

She reached for an edge of photo paper sticking out from the seam of his shredded lab coat, pulling it out as she tore the corner pinned by the drill. The secret pocket protected it somewhat from the pooling blood, and with the overhead light, Elizabeth could make out the picture.

It was Jack, staggering out of the Vita Chamber after– After the fight. Turning it over, she saw a notation in the center, L192, and a chemical formula she could only partially understand.

But Tenebaum would know exactly what to do and Elizabeth breathed a laugh. Finally, a bit of luck. She tucked the photo into an inner pocket of her coat, peeling the gloves off and tossing them into the trash.

None of the security staff so much as glanced her way as she left and only the small chirp from the camera made it clear she was there at all.

She walked down the short hallway, past two couches, and into the panicked crowd on their way to someplace they hoped would be safe or to arm themselves with plasmids or take their money out from the banks– all contributing to the growing chaos.

Except for one person. He was at the edge of the crowd, calm and certain as to where he wanted to go. His black button down with white cuffs ended at his forearm, baggy and poorly fitted just like his black vest.

Something about him was familiar, but she didn’t recognize the crew cut he had– not until he glanced over his shoulder before ducking down a passage deeper into Apollo Square. And she knew it was Jack, going out again when she asked him to stay. Towards Hestia Chambers, if she remembered correctly…

She looked to Bathysphere waiting the in dock, then down the hall with a flickering light where Jack made his way towards… Whatever he sought.

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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