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9: A Deal With The Devil

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 "Sometimes a deal with the devil is better than no deal at all." 

~ Lawrence Hill

~**~~**~

The taillights in front of his cruiser blazed an alarming red, knocking Jack back into reality.

His mind was still trying to catch up to what had happened fifteen minutes earlier in the parking lot of Jameson & Kirk.

As soon as the steel elevator doors parted, V.C. had scurried out and away, leaving him behind to follow in her wake.

She was quick, he would give her that.

By the time he had navigated through the lobby and revolving doors, she was already halfway through the lot.

Jack dashed across the pavement, weaving through the parked cars in an attempt to apprehend the doctor before she vanished again.

He finally caught up to her, while she was in the process of wrenching open the door to an onyx Charger.

Jack whirled around her and blocked her entrance to the driver's' seat.

He propped one elbow on the roof of the car and the other on the open door, staring her down.

"Don't even think about it!"

She had stopped abruptly, flipping her long mane over one shoulder, accidentally or on purpose, Jack had no idea.

"Is there something else I could do for you, Commander?" She questioned innocently, arching a single eyebrow in response to his command.

"That stunt back there." Jack sucked in a breath before he continued, " That stunt back there, what was that? You can't do stuff like that! Think about what would have happened if we got caught? We could have been arrested!"

He ran a hand down his face in exasperation and pressed his lips together. "And don't think I forgot about that evidence you stole."

V.C. tilted her head and scrunched up her delicate nose.

"Oops. But in my defense, I didn't plan for you to follow me. That's on you."

He responded sarcastically,"Oh, well that makes it okay then."

She leaned past him, down into the car to retrieve a bag. Raising back up, she handed the plastic to Jack with a shrug.

"Here, take it. I don't need it anymore."

Jack, still cornered between the car body and the open door, examined the metal sliver and held it up to the sunlight as V.C. continued speaking.

"It's made of unprocessed rhodium ore, by the way. Rare, but not rare for a town like Rinshawn. There weren't any prints and the only particles on it were classic dirt minerals." She shrugged one shoulder. " Nothing much."

Jack stopped rotating the bag in the air and look down at her.

"How. . .?"

She gave him a cheeky grin which highlighted her youth. "Oh Commander, even you know I can't reveal trade secrets."

After Jack gave her a deadpanned look that left no room for negotiation, she relented. "Okay, fine. You know Kingmaker labs rival even the FBI's forensics team. . . I may have had it analyzed last night after I left. No biggie."

"It doesn't matter. You broke the chain of custody. It can never be used in court. It's worthless." He lowered the bag and met her gaze. She didn't even have the decency to look even the least bit ashamed.

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