He had said he didn't have secrets. That wasn't true. He had a very dark secret he carried with him every single moment of every single day. It was intangible, for the most part, but it had mass, weight. It pressed down on him day in and day out, and every day he somehow found the strength to carry it around his neck. If he was ever caught, there would be no need to torture him. All they would have to do was let its weight crush him down. And it would be easy.
He buried himself in work to keep it from the immediate forefront of his mind. It was never totally out of his thought, but he could usually push it back far enough to focus on the task at hand. The other three had no idea. Or, at least, they didn't seem to. If they did, they were good at hiding it. And if they didn't, they would probably find out very, very soon.
He had never taken on such a frightening intensity when investigating a story. This one lashed out at the little black splotch on his heart, and he knew it. This was personal. This was right from that murky spot in his past, and it was showing, badly. The others had asked him, but he had done his best to shrug it off. But they lived together. There was only so much he could hide, if anything. They could all read each other better than open books. It was more like they were psychically linked, which wasn't surprising for him.
Since the day he had crawled out of that damn tank, he had always had that effect on people. They trusted him. They liked him. But it was more than that. It was just who he was. He was idealistic in the face of a very cynical world and experience. He was open while confronted by a world that would hurt if it got in. The cynical world had hurt him. He had the scars to prove it. But he remained idealistic and open.
He had been the perfect person for the Fides Project.
They had found him and woven a picture that he could not say no to. It had its dark side; he saw that now. But its potential for light had been what had sold him. It could help people. It could make a difference.
But it had been scrapped three test patients in. He had been the only one It had embraced completely. The experts had speculated psychology was a very large part of it. It didn't need to rewrite anything. All It had to do was smooth out the rough edges and polish it off.
It had changed his body chemistry, his pheromones. It had also expanded his mind into areas he still hadn't fully explored. In part, he was scared to. He had experimented a little with it with Carol Strode. That had resulted in a momentary direct connection. Everything she was had funneled into him, and everything he was had funneled into her. That had scared them both, him most of all. They had decided to just put it behind them and pretend it had been some kind of hallucination. They just didn't talk about it.
It would probably have to come out into the open. No. It would definitely have to come out into the open. And he would have to be the one to drag it out into the light. If the others found out through other channels, it wouldn't be pretty.
He walked up to the computer where Langly and the others were working.
"Guys," Byers said. "There's something I need to tell you."