Jael sat for a moment, appearing to weigh his answer. Finally, he spoke.
“His son became ill. He lost weight. Couldn’t even walk. His wife and I told him to get his son out of that human shell. It was the only option.”
Lena was taken aback by the sincerity. She saw the vain, synthetic, womanizer exposed as a real human with real human problems.
“No, we eventually convinced him. I fronted him the money for the transfer and the new cell. However, less than a year later…” Jael trailed off. A long pause built between them.
“He killed him.”
Lena sat there in silence.
“He actually murdered his son. Destroyed the cell. Afterward, he fled.”
The bass from the club below pounded the overlook window. Lena hadn’t noticed before, but in the heavy atmosphere it was deafening. Seeing this grown man so torn caused her gut to wrench.
“You want justice,” she said finally.
Jael got up from his chair and walked over to the window. He peered down through it.
“I honestly don’t care if he’s alive or dead. What’s done is done. The things he did to me...to his own family.” He looked at her. “I need this organization dismantled. I can’t let them tear apart more families with their lies and disregard for life.”
“I do have one more question,” she added.
He stood, silent.
“Where did you get the resources for this? An android guide? A 3D map? Just seems like an elaborate operation for one person to handle.”
He smiled at her.
“Lena, I think you’ve stolen my heart.”
Lena was baffled. She was unsure if she should laugh, so she sat there with a wide, blank stare.
He laughed again at her reaction as he walked back to his desk and sat down.
“There are other people who share my interest. Business owners, entrepreneurs, investors.”
“Probably. But this job is private.”
“Good. I’m not trying to get hunted down by government agents.”
Lena sat back in her chair, somewhat more confident. She could do this. It was the right thing to do, after all.
“So,” he briefly paused. “When can I tell Shel to meet you?”
She looked up at him. “Shel? The guide?”
The window opposite Jael revealed that the rain was falling much heavier now.
“I take it you have your own means of travel?” he asked, trying to regain her attention.
Lena’s hands rested in her jacket pocket. She kneaded the smooth leather of the black, riding gloves between her fingers. The rain pounded the window.
“As long as it’s nice out.”