Irrational Fears—

"Why are we out here?" Colby whispered.

"No reason," Charlie whispered back.

"Charlie, we're hiding in the bushes outside your office!"

"Well, um, I thought I saw a rare butterfly."

"A butter—Wait, someone's in your office!" Colby reached for his gun.

"Whoa," Charlie said. "It's just Penfield."

"Penfield?" Colby squinted at him. "As in Marshall Penfield, your nemesis?"

"I wouldn't say nemesis …"

"So why are we hiding?"

"See, well … I've, uh … developed a deep phobia to, um, set theorists from Princeton."

Colby folded his arms and leaned against the building. "I see. You've developed an irrational and unexplainable fear of set theorists."

"From Princeton," Charlie added. "Completely sudden and debilitating."

"Nothing to do with how much he rattled you last time?"

"No ..."

"Or that recent editorial attacking your work in Cognitive Emergence as 'Fluffy Math'?"

"It's not even published yet and he's already criticizing it!"

"Or that since you've last seen Penfield, you've ditched a girlfriend and gained a boyfriend."

"Nothing to do with that. Though he'd find a way to criticize that, too."

Colby eyed Charlie then moved a little closer to the window. "What is he doing in there, anyway?"

"Don't let him see you!" Charlie hissed urgently.

"I think I can hide from a 'set theorist'. He's snooping around!"

"Probably looking for something he can rip apart in a journal article."

"Maybe, but …" A slow grin spread across Colby's face. "Do you ever keep classified material in your office?"

"Well, I try not to leave it there when I go, but occasionally, yes."

"Your office door was locked?"

"I think …"

A wicked gleam shone in Colby's eyes and he pulled out his gun. "Let's see if I can cause Dr. Penfield to develop a few 'phobias' of his own …"