"So tell me, what are we doing again?"
Mel turned to Paul in despair. "As I've said, I think - uh - quite a few times already, we're searching for a girl formeme."
"But why would she be here?"
She wondered whether to even gratify such a stupid question with a response then remembered that he worked in admin. Of course he was an imbecile. She should pity him.
"Look!" She shot a glare at him. Paul dropped the craft-tracker. "You're going to break it!"
"That's because you aren't grasping the gravity of the situation-"
"-I do grasp it. I'm just not that interested by it."
"Weren't you listening in the briefing?" She picked up the device. It was indicating to head down the left track towards the woods and marshland. They followed unsteadily. "Kragg, you know him?"
"Sure. The hit man."
"He's not a - he - he deals with formemes after their data has been archived."
"Yeah with a lethal injection."
"Well, yeah, that's just it shit for brains. This one escaped. With her original chip, and Kragg was in on it."
"It's true. I asked Kragg for the memechip. It was meant for artificial craft fabrication. It was ground-breaking stuff. And that's the one that happened to 'go missing'. Seems like a big coincidence."
"Maybe, but then how did she escape?"
"Oh I don't know. He claims that he delivered the injection just like he was ordered."
"What did he do when Mr Francis interrogated him?"
"Apparently Mr Francis showed him the list of post-download bodies, but Kragg claimed that it was an administrative error."
"Now he's disappeared."
"You want my opinion? He helped her get away. Maybe she gave him a sob story. I dunno."
"He's going to get wiped when they find him."
Something in the way he said this subdued her. She frowned. "I hope not. I like Kragg. We were good friends once."
Then they were both quiet. They had driven over a hundred miles South of HQ. Now they stood at the edge of woodland. The path was getting stony.
"Well I have to admit, you wouldn't come to a place like this unless you had something to hide."
Mel turned and nodded in agreement. Then swallowed. "Do you have a good torch?"