The sky over Pinnacle City was a deep blue. No clouds in sight. Dana Gear was getting some important business done. Adam Greyloch, one of Dana’s few friends in the city, offered her a ride to her destination.
Dana pulled on the passenger-side door handle, to no avail. Adam unlocked the door from the inside.
“Make sure you‘ve got a seatbelt on.” Adam said.
“Mind if I smoke a cigarette?” Dana asked.
“If you think it’ll get you through it.” Adam said.
“Huh?” Dana asked, lighting an unfiltered cigarette.
“Never mind.” Adam started the car and got out of the partially-blocked intersection.
“Arcast Tech is about five miles to the north of us.” Adam said.
“What do they do there, anyway?” Dana asked.
“Everything. Arcast does everything.” Adam said.
“Consumer tech, military contracts. The works. Your father and I used to work there, back when my wife and I were still dating.”
“Yeah. I was wondering about that.”
“You’ve never told me what my father did for a living.”
“Colin and I worked for Arcast, testing their products.”
“So, you were lab rats?”
“You could say that.”
“What was he like, Adam?’
“Yeah. What was he like?”
“Honestly, he was a lot like you. I guess that makes sense.”
“He didn’t take any lip from anyone. And I worried about him a lot.”
“He had a habit of leaving the city every week or so. He told me a few times that he was flying out to Chicago every week.”
“Any idea why?”
“He told me he was meeting a therapist.”
“Yeah. I didn’t buy it.”
Adam pulled into the Arcast Technologies parking lot. He parked in a reserved space near the front of the building. The sheer size of the Arcast Tech building took Dana by surprise as she got out of Adam’s car.
Adam pointed to the automatic doors, leading into the building.
“I’m going to need another cigarette.” Dana said.
“If you must. I’ve got to meet my wife in her office. I’ll be here when you’re done.” Adam said.
Adam walked away and entered the building while Dana stood at Adam’s car and lit another cigarette. Dana held the match between her thumb and index finger until the flame got to the bottom of the matchstick. Dana didn’t flinch as she calmly tossed the burned-through match to the ground.
After finishing her cigarette, Dana walked into the Arcast Tech building. The white walls and metal-colored furnishings hurt Dana’s eyes. She slowly walked to the reception counter.
“Hello. Welcome to Arcast Technologies. How may I help you?” A nearby receptionist said.
“Yeah. A friend of mine came in here… He doesn’t seem to be around.” Dana said.
“Sorry about that. Are you waiting on your friend?” The receptionist asked.
“Nor really. I’m here to see Leah Arcast.”
“I’m sorry, but Leah Arcast’s schedule is full today-”
“I have an appointment.”
“Oh. Your name?”
The receptionist looked up from her computer.
“What was that?” The receptionist said.
“My name. It’s Dana Gear.”
“Would you be related to Colin Gear, by any chance?”
“He’s my father.”
“Colin was one of our best employees. We haven’t seen him since he left for, uh…”
The receptionist thought for a moment.
“Come to think of it, I don’t quite know where he went.” She said.
“Never met him. Wouldn’t know.”
The receptionist gave a puzzled look.
“But you said that-” she was interrupted.
“It’s a long story. A little much to get into here. Is Ms. Arcast ready?” Dana asked.
“I’ll check.” The receptionist said.
The receptionist pressed a three-button combination on her desk phone. Dana could hear the ringing dial tone from her place in front of the receptionist’s desk.
“Ms. Arcast? I have a young woman named Dana Gear here to see you. Alright. I’ll send her up.” The receptionist hung up the phone.
“Take the elevator to the 10th floor.” The receptionist said.
“Thanks.” Dana said.
“Thank you, Ms. Gear.”
“Please, don’t call me that. ‘Dana’ is fine.” Dana said as she walked towards the nearby elevator.
Dana entered the elevator and pressed the “10” button. As the doors closed, Dana took a piece of paper from her jacket pocket. It was a death certificate for a woman named Corey Hollett. Dana sighed as she looked at the various details on the paper.
The elevator doors opened to the 10th floor. In the hallway stood a woman with short blonde hair who wore a grey business-style dress.