Armagnac

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"We found another document in the shredder," Peter said, handing the kid a folder as he sat down by his desk. "It's addressed to an unnamed foreign intelligence agency to arrange a meeting in the next month and a half."

"The trips he's been taking," his pet convict got the picture at once. "Kent knew he wouldn't win the defense contract from our country in time."

"So, he decided to sell his device to another government."

"It's treason for profit."

"Hayes didn't want any part of that. That's why Kent killed him." It was a guess, but Peter was sure of it. It all fit.

"And corporate espionage is the perfect cover," Neal nodded in agreement. "He made it look like a competitor stole a working product," he added with distaste.

"Company saves face... if a foreign government turns up with it later— "

"Kent's in the clear, and Hayes stays silent," the kid finished the sentence. He leaned forward. "How do we prove it when Kent hasn't committed treason yet?"

"But he has committed murder," Peter reminded him. "The C.E.O.'s concerned about anyone finding out what he's really up to. Maybe Hayes talked to someone before he died."

He rose and looked at Jessica sitting by Jones' desk.

"You want to use Jessica as bait?" Neal said as he did not believe what he was hearing.

"I'm meeting Kent in the afternoon. Maybe I can hint to him that she knows something."

"He'll come after her."

"And when he does, we take him down." What did the kid think? That they would just leave her dangling to be eaten? Well, it was not up to Neal to decide. "Think she's up to it?"

"She's certainly driven." Neal rose from his chair too, looking at her through the glass wall.

"Yeah, that's what worries me," Peter admitted. "I'm not sure if she wants revenge or justice."

"Can't blame her either way," the kid mumbled.

Peter sighed.

"You have empathy for that woman." It was not a question. Neal had his story with Kate, Jessica hers with Hayes. Of course, they would connect.

"What if I do?" Neal turned and faced him. There was a defiance in his voice that Peter was not a fan of. It foreboded a slippery and muddy path from which he might not be able to save the young con-man.

"There's a right way to do things and a wrong way," he told the kid as if he was actually talking to a child. "Revenge is the wrong way. It's short-sighted, and it's dangerous."

"What's justice, then?"

"It's restoring order, not furthering chaos." This was not about Jessica. This was about the man he was the handler for. "You kept that recording data from me. I hope you don't have any more secrets."

"Likewise," Neal shot back without blinking. Peter frowned. "You talked to Diana lately?"

Peter kept a straight face.

"Not today." It was not a lie. It was a nealism.

"You trust her?"

What had the kid found out and why? Whatever it was it was too close for comfort.

"As much as you trust your friend. Is there a problem?"


"You have empathy for that woman," his handler noted.

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