San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Source Point Sequence 8

Agent Zhou was supposed to be conducting the physical portion of the investigation; however, Forrester decided to give him an introduction to software hacking as well so he could see the “crime scene.”

“How many times did Damon Wade hack you?” Zhou inquired.

“Twice,” Forrester said. “The third time he was having a conversation with one of our admins on an encrypted channel. Then he threw our requisition service into chaos. We locked our building down, but there are no leads. It’s possible that it was offsite, but I wasn’t able to pursue it.”

While the two walked through the virtua, her pursuit footage played from her POV, down to the last frame of his smirking face as she saw him. Forrester’s fists clenched, causing the video to break up into static.

The gesture was not lost on Zhou.

Walking forward, he decided now would be a good time to change the subject and get a little virtua practice in. Spreading his arms, he began forming a virtual video screen, concentrating harder than ever.

“What I don’t understand,” he began, “is how a mid-level scientist in robotics theory became so adept at corporate hacking.” He chuckled as the screen finally formed. His success wasn’t long-lived, however.

With a flick, Forrester formed a chair before hurling it through Zhou’s screen, shattering it. Virtual pieces of glass flared and vanished.

Ice permeated every word she spoke.

“I taught him.”

She began walking away.

Ignoring the damage, Zhou began following.

“What happened?”

“I thought he was a decent guy when we were together. Always talking about his big project. My job at the time was just to maintain security of the building and our cyber protocols.”

Zhou glanced around the room as he walked. Forrester was unconsciously creating the world of her old life, complete with copies of herself and Damon shimmering in gold, young and in love.

“We’d go anywhere we wanted to. He was a wiry type, but that determination in his eyes could stop a train. He loved his work.”

The two figures now smiled at each other, interacting as she remembered it. As she continued, her voice became noticeably regretful.

“But his work caught up to him, and not just physically. Mentally, he was under tremendous amounts of stress. The head of Research and Development was particularly hard on him, always pushing for results. He and his team were very bright, but the stuff they were doing was pushing the boundaries of their knowledge.” The scene transferred to Damon, alone at his research table, visibly upset. “But toward the end, something happened.”

The scene began to unfold. Damon now came in through the door. Forrester attempted to embrace him, but he brushed her off, locking himself in his study.

“One day after he met with the head of R&D, he was a little off. He made a lot of calls.”

The copies that had been once shimmering gold now turned an icy blue, drifting apart slowly. As the scene dissolved, they were transported to the smoky remains of a building.

“From what I could tell and what we learned from the media, they had stolen the technology from the Antares Project, the one they had been working on, but had been trapped and killed.”

“How did you know?” Zhou cautiously asked.

His question fell on deaf ears, as Forrester walked through the wreckage in a daze.

He began to reach for her shoulder but was interrupted.

“I would advise against that, Agent Zhou. Ms. Forrester’s telemetry suggests she is not in a stable mood.” Joan the V.I. quipped, materializing beside him.

“So what happened?”

Displaying news captures and articles on her screen, Joan began:

“Human remains were found in the building, too charred to identify.  However, a man of the director’s resources and experts would have determined very quickly that the remains were plants, and that Dr. Damon Wade and his team had fled the country with stolen technology. Publicly, it was declared a failed espionage attempt, allotting all the blame on the now deceased Dr. Wade.”

“Deceased? I wouldn’t be too sure about that.” Zhou snorted.

“Indeed. Dr. Wade was declared dead 13 years ago, falsely as we now know.”

Zhou blinked as the room flared and reverted to normal as Forrester ended the virtua, striding wordlessly past him.

“I think Ms. Forrester is coming to terms with that, Joan.”

Entering the office, Zhou pulled his gloves off and sat at his desk.

“Faust lied to you, then. This entire time.”

Forrester leaned back and wordlessly shook her head.

“He didn’t even act surprised. But whatever his reaction, he must have had reasons for withholding that information. He must have had a reason,” she mused cynically.

“Damon or Faust?”

Forrester raised her head.

Zhou cleared his throat.

“Are you saying Faust had a good reason to not tell you that he didn’t buy the remains story? Or that Damon had a good reason for not reaching out and contacting you after all these years?”

Forrester closed her eyes and massaged her temples.


Zhou leaned forward.

“Whatever you’re feeling right now, you need to stay focused. I know there’s a lot happening here and Faust is putting the pressure on, but you have to stay on point. Let’s bring Damon in, and then you can get his story.”

Forrester glared at him.

“What makes you think I want to hear anything he has to say?”

Read part seven here.

Read part nine here.

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Source Point Sequence 8