Dragonflies: Shadow of Drones
forgetting her keys, into some outdoor cubby hole down the way to enjoy a puff; she would be back, embarrassed, in a couple of minutes. But in the few weeks they’d been working together, he’d spotted no sign of such a habit.
    His gaze came to rest on a thin strip of sticky paper that looked like it had torn off and fallen between the couch cushions. He reached down to pick it up.
    Sticky to the touch, it looked like a piece of a label that been torn on one edge. But the typed wording was still readable: Diisopropylpheno .
    Tye had no idea what the word meant. But it sounded like a scientific name. Was it some kind of medication? Maybe Raina was dosing herself for pain–she wouldn’t be the first vet addict to come down the pike. There was that faint antiseptic smell again. Could something have gone wrong? Could she have accidentally OD’d and wondered off down the complex or into the woods? He shuddered to think of the possibilities.
    But something didn’t add up. Why had her door been closed and locked tight when he arrived? Her keys still lay on the desk. That meant someone else besides Tye had a key.
    He sat down at the desk, pulled out his smartphone, and opened up a search engine, carefully typing in the letters from the label. It didn’t take long to find what he was looking for. Only one letter was missing. Diisopropylphenol –more often known as Propofol, a common general anesthetic agent.
    He turned and looked over the couch cushions again, seeing in his mind what must have happened. The faint leftover smell wasn’t from the drug. He’d smelled it often enough–it was from the alcohol rub swiped over the skin in preparation for an injection. Maybe someone careful and well trained had drugged Raina. Maybe they’d opened the box containing the medication, begun the injection, and she had struggled for a moment, which was when the piece of label was knocked free.
    Was Raina all right? Was the mission blown?

    Raina awoke to near darkness. She was lying on a narrow cot in a small, dimly lit room. Above her was a concrete, bunker-like ceiling, and on every side painted concrete walls with no windows. Her body still felt stiff and heavy, her throat as dry as parchment. She felt her wrists. Her hands no longer seemed to be cuffed.
    “Glad to see you’re awake, CWO Sanchez.”
    She turned her head slightly to see a handsome, dark-haired man in expensive looking clothes–tailored khakis, oxford shirt, and stylish sweater–standing over her.
    “How do you feel?”
    “Like someone hit me over the head with a fence post. What is this? Who are you?”
    “My name is Lance Murnell, special advisor to Homeland Security.”
    “Homeland?” She massaged her forehead, still feeling a little woozy.
    “That’s correct.”
    “Since when is DHS into abduction?”
    “Uh…yeah. Sorry about that. It wasn’t my call.”
    “Got anything to drink in this place?” She felt like she was about to die of thirst.
    “Sure.” He reached toward a table behind him and came back with a Styrofoam cup filled with ice chips, which he held out to her.
    She took the cup from him, put it to her lips, and began to suck on a mouthful of ice.
    “Take it easy. You don’t want to induce vomiting.”
    “What are you, a doctor?”
    “Not a medical one, no.”
    She looked him up and down. He could have easily posed for the cover of GQ . Not that she ever paid too close attention to such things. He seemed like a nice guy, too–nicer than the kidnapper cyborg-types who’d stuck a needle in her vein anyway, although that wasn’t saying much.
    “Why am I here?”
    Murnell smiled. “You get right to the bottom line, don’t you? That’s one of the reasons we picked you.”
    “Picked me? Picked me for what?” She already had a new job and a stark righteous mission with Tye Palmer, thank you very much, she also wanted to say, but figured she better keep quiet about that. Maybe they already knew.
    “It’s for a new type of

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