Donald Lydecker drummed his fingers lightly over the black computer keyboard, his eyes not focusing on the screen. He was supposed to be working on a letter to the Committee, asking for more funding to continue Project Manticore-mainly which now included running across the country to attempt and capture his kids. Yet, his mind couldn't concentrate on the glaring screen, and he averted his eyes elsewhere.
It had been too long. Too long since a success. With the recent loss of X5-656, Tinga, and her family, a new cloud hovered over him. He had believed that by having two X5 soldiers on his side, the chances of capturing more would increase.
And the death of X5-493, Ben, was also a rather big setback. It would've been nice to have another X5 back at Manticore-where they rightfully belonged-even if that meant an anomaly. Anomaly or not, it was still an X5.
Now, Lydecker was left with only one, X5-734, Brin, and even he had to question her motives. She was hiding something from him, but he wasn't sure how to get it from her without having his neck broken. He had trained her well, but far too well, for she would attack anyone-even the captain-if provoked.
As he realized that the loss of Madame X, formerly known as Renfro, would also be a disappointment, the doors to his office slid open.
A young soldier walked in, gun carried proudly across the crook of his arm. "Sir?" he questioned after saluting.
"Yes?" Lydecker responded, making no move to get up from his comfortable leather chair. He did, though, remove his glasses to see the soldier more clearly.
"We have reports as to the location of X5-452…Max…I believe…" the soldier pondered.
Lydecker nearly sprang to his feet. Max! Certainly one of the better X5s, and a chance to finally bring her back! "Continue," Lydecker said placidly, struggling to contain his near excitement.
"We were testing out some of the new hoverdrone prototypes today downtown, and we noticed a girl talking to a man in a wheelchair. She seemed strangely close to your description of X5-452. We followed both her and the man after they parted. She, suspecting something, lost us, but we were able to track the man."
"And how does this do any good?" Lydecker bit, angry again that yet another possible X5 was gone. "Besides," he continued, sitting back down. "How can we even be sure it's her?"
The soldier paused, switching the gun over to his opposite arm, before reaching into his breast pocket and removing what appeared to be pieces of paper. "We have pictures."
Four black and white photos, blurry and unfocused, lay in front of Lydecker. Putting his reading glasses back on, he picked up the two pictures of the girl, and felt his needed air clench in his throat. It was her.
Then, picking up the pictures of the man, he looked closely at these. Something was so familiar…but what was it?
Dismissing the soldier, Lydecker fed a picture into the scanner, producing an image on the computer screen.
Clicking madly with the mouse, he modified the picture until he realized what he was looking at.
God, it was the eyes. Those damn eyes.
Without the glasses on the other man, Lydecker could clearly see those eyes that had stared blankly at him during Ben's murders.
It was the man from Eyes Only.
Picking up the phone, Lydecker madly punched some numbers in. "Hello? Yes, I need the address of the man in these photos."