Chapter Thirty-Two

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Today

 “How am I still alive?" Lionel Desmond said. "It's a long story, son.  So let me take it back a bit. I know enough about your investigation into my death to determine you know I wasn’t always out on fishing trips all those times.”

“No.  I figured out that much. You’re working for CSIS or some government group like that, aren’t you?”

“Something like that,” Scott’s father said.  “It’s a secret group. A spin-off of CSIS.  We work collaboratively in unison with an offshoot of the CIA in the US.”

“Holy shit. What’s the name of the group called? How long has it been around?”

Lionel Desmond looked down at the floor and pursed his lips together. “I have been cleared to let you know the type of work that I do, particularly since your investigation, if it continues, could compromise the security of this operation. But I’m not authorized to explain further details about the group I work for.”

“But I have been very careful, Dad. I haven’t left any trail, any breadcrumbs.”

“I know. You’ve done very well, Chief, and I’m proud of you.” 

Scott couldn’t help but feel a warm glow at those words. It had been ages since he’d heard his father utter anything like that.  And he couldn’t be sure if it was the pride his father expressed or just the fact he called him “Chief” just like he used to when Scott was young.

“How did you get started working for this group, Dad?”

“It related to my own father; but I can’t get into that right now. There isn’t time. There’s a lot that’s more pressing that I need to explain to you in a very short time.”

“Why?”

“Because I need you to understand this quickly and make a decision right now.”

“About what?”

“When the group I work for began following your investigation, they knew you would keep hacking until you found something. And you were getting close.  Really close.  In fact,” Lionel continued. “Your adept investigation techniques and hacking skills are what led me to convince them that you should join me.”

“Join you?”

“Yes. Fight the good fight alongside me.”

“Hold on, Dad. Back up for a second. This is all coming too fast.”

“It’ll continue to come fast, son. There’s a lot more. So, please, just give me a few minutes to lay it out as quickly as possible.  Let’s back it up for a minute, okay?”

“Back it up?  Sure.  Can we start with you explaining why you’re not dead? Why your death was faked the way that it was?”

“Yeah,” Lionel said, pinching the bridge of his nose between his fingers as if staving off a migraine.  “I was going to explain that. It wasn’t easy to do, but it was my only choice. You and Mom were in jeopardy if they thought I was still alive.  You see, I knew too much. “

“About what?”

“About a top secret security project. A project run by a small faction of the secret offshoot of CSIS.  A group that became convinced of their own power, their own invincibility, their own belief that they knew better, had the answers, and could take control.  Few people knew about this group that was going rogue. But I found out about it, and I protested. So they needed to get rid of me.”

Scott got up and walked over to the window.

Lionel stood up, maneuvered in front of his son and closed the blinds.  “Stay away from the windows, son.  As far as they are concerned, you’re dead now, too.”

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