I kept hitting dead-end after dead-end in my search. Trails that just stopped suddenly, with no clues. Until the unexpected happened. I was contacted.
I was told to meet in a local mall of the city I was in. I got to the meeting point and waited. It was becoming empty as people were leaving and business was dropping. Then a man sat down behind me.
"Mr. Carter, I presume?"
"Who are you, and how did you know how to contact me?"
"We have a mutual friend. This is for you." He turned and handed me a small package that had papers in it. I noticed that he was wearing a red glove on his right hand. Immediately, I became suspicious, but when I looked at his eyes, I could see that he wasn't Jack.
"He's breaking our deal? I was to be left alone."
"I was told to tell you that there are loopholes to every deal." He paused for a beat. "I was told to emphasize that there are loop-holes. To. Every. Deal." And with that, he stood up and walked away.
I opened the package and looked around. Curious as to if Jack was there. If so, I wouldn't be able to recognize him. He probably had at least one agent watching me. Inside the package were papers. The first was a handwritten note for me. My first thought was how the handwriting was a new handwriting from the last time, so Jack must have a new host. It looked oddly familiar though, but that's just probably previous hosts' influence on it. Anyway, it read:
"My dearest friend, Carter:
I trust my agent will return home relatively unharmed. He's a good lad. Reminds me a lot of you when I first met you. So young, naive, innocent. I bet he won't last another year, however. What a pity."
At that point, I absentmindedly spoke outloud about how I know better than to make a bet with Jack. Anyway, the letter continued:
"Before you become upset with me, know that our deal still stands as is: I will not break it. I know how you're search has been fruitless, and I can't help but feel sorry for you, even if you have an eternity to chase your own tail. Irregardless, I sent something for you that I "happened" across. I trust it will serve you well in your hunt, it came from a black market dealer, if you were wondering. And worry not, my friend, this favor is absolutely free of charge. No strings attached, as they say. I'm putting that down in writing as, that way, you'll know to put faith in it.
I hope to see you again soon, my friend. I have missed your company greatly.
Attached to it was a report. Written by Sam. I know how she writes. It was her. It described some sort of issue with an Agency base needing more funding. And it was dated for this past February. It's not possible though. I know which site it was describing. I was just there a few weeks ago, and I know I was the first person to step foot in it since Calvin shut it down.
There's something odd going on here, and I don't like it. I have a report that should not exist. And I know that Jack is watching my movements now. Of all of them...Jack is the first one I come into contact with in months... It could be worse, I suppose. Certainly better than dodging the Archangel's rifle, right?
I plan on making contact with a black market connection of mine. I need to track down the source of this report. If I can find where it came from, I can find what remains of the Agency.