The next few days were a blur for Sebastian. After spending several hours at the silo with James, they eventually left and Sebastian was dropped off at his home. After all that he had been through, he had never been more relieved to be home and just feel a sense of normalcy. But he knew that his life would never be normal again, no matter how hard he tried. He checked his answering machine, expecting to hear from Alex and Stephen, but was surprised to find that they hadn’t called or left a message at all. He didn’t know quite how to feel about that. On one hand he was relieved that he wouldn’t have to explain where he had been for the last week or so, but on the other hand he had to admit he was a little disappointed.
As upset as he was at those two for misleading him, he still had a lot of respect for them and would at least like to know that they were okay. He thought about asking James what their plans were for Alex and Stephen, but thought that might not be such a good idea. He figured he would run into Alex at some point, seeing as he still had a few weeks until he was finished with school.
Sebastian had one of his friends picking up his mail while he was gone and leaving it on his dining table, using his spare key that was hidden under the doormat. It was mostly junk mail that had been piling up along with a few magazines that he subscribed to. He threw most of these into the trash until he noticed a copy of National Geographic tucked at the bottom of the pile. He picked it up and studied the front for a while, not knowing what to make of it. On the cover was a story about the Nazca lines in Peru, which made him immediately think about the lecture from Alex. Then he remembered that it was that same subject that Stephen had written a story about that led to him and Alex meeting in the first place. Sebastian would have written this off as a coincidence if not for one thing.
He didn’t have a subscription to National Geographic.
He quickly forgot about the other pieces of mail in his hand, and took the magazine with him to his sofa. When he opened it, a small envelope fell out of it. Sebastian looked around the room instinctively to make sure no one could see him. Not letting his paranoia get the best of him, he opened the envelope to find a handwritten letter, along with what appeared to be a newspaper article that was cut out. He set the article to the side and began to read the letter:
We haven’t heard from you in a while and hope that everything is going well. If you’re reading this I guess that means that you are okay. I guess we can also assume that since we haven’t heard from you, that you have made your decision and it does not include us. I can’t say I’m not disappointed, but I understand that you think you are doing what is best. If we haven’t convinced you by now, we probably never will, but there is one last thing we want you to see. You’ll notice that there is an article included in the envelope. It was not a big headline, in fact it was hidden away on page 7 of the business section. But I believe it would be of particular interest to you. We just want you to know the people that you are dealing with. We hope you take this along with everything else we shared with you into consideration, although I have a feeling that you’re in too deep now. Whatever you do, please be careful. And more importantly, TRUST NO ONE.
A & S
After re-reading the note one more time, Sebastian turned his attention to the article. It was folded in half to fit inside the envelope, but he was immediately drawn to the headline.
SandCorp Inc. buys small division of Win Tech Industries
Sebastian wasn’t surprised that he hadn’t heard about this, seeing as he was still just an intern at Win Tech and these types of deals happened all the time. But as he read more of the article he grew more concerned. According to the writer of the article, he had received information from an unnamed source that the acquisition was due to SandCorp’s interest in surveillance technology that was being developed at Win Tech. At first he thought they had to be talking about another project at Win Tech, since his own surveillance project was more or less a school project that he brought with him when he started his internship. No one at the company ever took an interest in it as far as he knew, but they let him use their labs and tech center to work on it during his down time. Surely his little project wasn’t enough to make a major corporation like SandCorp make an acquisition like this. But when he unfolded the article and saw the picture at the top he nearly lost his breath.
Pictured in the article was his supervisor and Anna’s father, Greg Taylor, shaking hands with the representative from SandCorp.
Senior Vice-President James Ellison.