Chapter 7

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chapter 6

Eladio’s meeting with Sam and Tina broke up. Tina headed back to Ops to see what else she could learn from the video, particularly where Granger might have gone and how he disappeared from the Hydroponics lab. Sam had some maintenance issues that needed handling, so Eladio tried contacting Lanie. She did not answer the call, so he went to her last known location: Dorm-C. Lanie, or, more properly, Elana Sokolov, also worked in the Hydroponics lab. Her specialty was plant biology. Her quarters were in Dorm-C, which primarily housed the Russian contingent. He was unsurprised to run into Anatoly Volkhov leaving the dorm. Short and stout, Volkhov filled the hallway. “Director! The very man I wish to see!”

“Anatoly. What can I do for you?”

“I have heard a most disturbing rumor just this moment. Is it true?”

Dios. “I fear you must be more explicit, Anatoly.”

“Coy, Director, very coy. There is only one notable piece of news today. Mr. Granger, he is no longer with us?”

“Who has said so?”

“Oh, how do you say, a little bird spoke to me? So, it is true?”

“Unfortunately,” said Eladio. “I am looking for Elana Sokolov. Have you seen her?”

“Yes, just a short moment ago. She was in the cafeteria. But I am afraid you have missed her. She left before I did.”

“Do you know where she was going?”

“At this time of day, I would expect she heads to the exercise facility.”

“Thank you. And, Anatoly, may I request you not share what you know? This situation is already difficult; I hope not to worsen that.” Unlikely, but worth trying.

“Of course, Director, of course. I will seal my lips,” Anatoly said, smiling.

Eladio nodded to Anatoly and reversed course, heading for the gymnasium. He was sure Anatoly would not keep it to himself. The man, he is a harbinger. Always gleefully sharing the bad news.

The gymnasium had several people in it, but none was Elana. He asked whether she had been there, but no one remembered seeing her. He dropped by the cafeteria in case she had returned for a post-workout snack, but did not find her there, either. He spent another hour working to track her down, checking her quarters, the showers, and the recreation rooms. He had no luck. He finally returned to his office and tried a system ping. The system now had no location for her. Which should be impossible.

chapter 8