Quoth the Raven

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Toby had started taking his evening meals with Dr. Guro at the end of the long afternoons they spent together in the laboratory, poring over specimens.  When they finished for the day, they walked in silence through the haze of heat that hung over the campus, the dust of leaves filling their noses as they wound their way through a maze of brittle shrubs.  Their skin was damp from the swelter by the time they reached the double doors leading into the Student Union, the chill of the air conditioning raising goose bumps along the damp sheen that covered their flesh.  There were several quick service restaurants clustered on the basement floor of the student union.  After ordering their food, they sat in a corner booth somewhat removed from the dinner crowd. 

Toby noted that the professor increasingly picked at his food, seeming so engrossed in his thoughts that he found it unbearable for his concentration to be broken, even for the time it took to take a bite.

"What do you make of the fact that there was no trace of the amoeba in the water sample we took from the victim's building?"  Toby asked, blinking slowly.

Dr. Guro closed his eyes for a moment, his lids twitching against the forced rest.  "I am straining to keep my mind from fixing on possible outcomes.  Otherwise, every thought and action could become an unintentional endeavor to prove or disprove my own expectation, and nothing distorts reality quite like viewing it through the lens of expectation."

"I suppose that's why they say hindsight is 20/20."

Dr. Guro nodded vigorously.  "But then there's the problem with memory.  Memories are filtered through the emotions surrounding them, which makes memories on the whole more reconstructions than recollections."

 "You sound philosophical this evening," Toby said.

"Philosophy and science share the same goal, if not the same methods."  Dr. Guro sighed, stabbing at the food on his plate.

Toby nodded.  When they finished their dinner he walked slowly back across the campus alone, to where his bicycle was locked on a rack in front of the science building.  Unlocking his bike, he walked with it awhile, his thoughts turning to his recent meeting with Leah.  His brow furrowed, he continued thinking even as he climbed on his bike to ride home.


Cass was surprised to see him when he arrived home that evening.  It was still light out when he came in, and flashing her a warm grin, walked back to his bedroom to put his bag away and change clothes.  When he came out of his room, he was wearing a Norborne High t-shirt that Cass had never seen before. 

"Are you hungry?"  She asked him.  "I was thinking of ordering Thai food."

Toby said, "I ate earlier with Dr. Guro, but could probably go for something light.  If I didn't eat with him, he probably wouldn't eat at all."

"Is he sick?" Cass asked, concerned.

Toby shrugged, "Is obsession an illness?"

"In my opinion, almost always."  Cass said, cautiously.

Toby studied his hands for a moment.  "I've been meaning to ask you if I might be able to access some of the funds you said my father left me."

"Of course."  Cass said quickly.  "Let me get your key card."

"Key card?"  Toby asked, surprised.

Cass nodded as she walked over and pressed her foot against what appeared to be an ordinary grate, near where the wall met the floor.  It swung open, revealing a safe concealed where one would assume there would be an air vent.  She opened the safe and collected a small envelope made from high-grade linen cardstock, which she handed to Toby.  He pulled a slender graphene key card from the envelope, identical to the one he had retrieved from the envelope he found in Dennis Moore's home office.

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