Harry called back a few hours later, but the news he gave the group did not provide them with all the answers they were hoping for.

"Okay, I got some more," he said when Winterhawk answered. "It's hit the papers now, so people are a little more willing to talk. Looks like they're still up in the air about what killed Hoenberg. They haven't got all the test results back yet, but so far everything's inconclusive. No sign of foul play, though. Like I said, the forensics boys have been over that place with a fine-tooth comb, and they ain't turned up a thing."

"What about us?" Ocelot asked. "Anything?"

"I checked into Medical Arts," the fixer said. "All I found out was the deal Johnson set up with you guys, and why they knew the blood would be there. Seems that MA is the lab used by Torval Blake's personal physician to do bloodwork analysis and that kind of stuff. Blake had some kind of viral thing, so he went to his doc, who took a blood test. Nuance—oh, by the way, it was definitely Nuance who hired you—had one of the nurses at MA on their payroll. When she let them know that Blake's sample had come in, that's when they hired you guys to go in and get it. Sounds like you trashed that lab pretty good, so they never did figure out exactly what you took. Naturally, the nurse wasn't talkin'. From what I'm finding out, it looks like they were playin' a little CYA by not reporting that the samples had been taken. Either that or they figured they just got destroyed in the fight."

"So Blake didn't know that his sample was missing?" Winterhawk inquired. "Interesting..."

`Wraith looked at him and raised an eyebrow, but didn't speak.

"But are they still gonna come after us?" Joe asked. "Did you find out anything about that?"

Harry sighed. "It's hard to say, but like I said before, my gut is that you're off the hook. Both Nuance and APS are in tizzies right now, tryin' to plug all the leaks in their organizations, fill the positions that are open now—and believe me, they ain't gettin' too many people who want `em, especially with all these mysterious deaths floatin' around—and just generally tryin' to dig out of this whole nightmare. By the way, APS is fallin' over themselves sayin' that they didn't have anything to do with Hoenberg's death, for what it's worth. There's a pretty strong rumbling that there's gonna be some—uh—escalation of hostilities between the two o' them, and that some of the other corps are gonna have to get involved to prevent those two from eating each other alive. Does that sound like the kind o' climate that's gonna leave much room for vendettas against shadowrunners?"

"Not really," Ocelot admitted. "You'll forgive me if I keep my eyes open, though."

"Smart kid," Harry said. "Listen, I gotta go. I been lettin' a lot of stuff slide to keep on top o' this for you guys, and I gotta get back to it now. I'm guessin' this is probably over, so maybe you could only call me if somethin' big comes up. Okay? I'll catch you later, with the tab for all this." He clicked off.

"So that's it," Ocelot said. "Most of it actually makes sense after all."

"I almost hate to bring this up," Winterhawk said, "but there's something that still doesn't make sense." He'd been sitting back staring pensively out the window as Harry had spoken, but now his attention turned back to his teammates.

"The hallucinations?" Joe asked.

"Those too," the mage said. "There's something else, though."

"Blake didn't know," `Wraith said suddenly.

Winterhawk nodded. "He didn't know the sample was missing, according to Harry."

"So?" Ocelot looked confused. "He didn't have to, did he?"

"How did Mortenson know, then?" `Wraith asked.

"Exactly." Winterhawk sat up and leaned forward. "How did Mortenson, the security chief for APS, know to hire someone to try to kill us for stealing the sample if he didn't even know it was missing?"

"Blake didn't know," Joe mused. "But maybe Mortenson did." His tone was a bit tentative, as if he was trying out the hypothesis for the first time.

"Wait a second," Ocelot said. "So you're sayin' that maybe Mortenson had something to do with gettin' his boss killed?"

"It's possible," Winterhawk said. "Remember, we never did get to talk to Mortenson personally. The only contact we had with him was indirect, when T. C. planted our false appointment in his schedule."

"Didn't talk to Jenner and Magnum either," `Wraith said.

"You're right," Joe said quickly. "Remember, they said there was no video. Winterhawk was insulting them about taking a job without seeing who was hiring them."

"Yes," Winterhawk said. "Absolutely correct. One of them had his LTG number in his pocket."

"So nobody saw Mortenson," Ocelot said. "You guys are thinkin' that he didn't make that call at all, aren't you?"

"We'll never know," Winterhawk said. "Since the only three people who know are all dead."

"Convenient," `Wraith commented.

"Isn't it though?" Winterhawk said. "Almost as if someone planned it that way."

"But who?" Joe spoke up.

"That's the big question," Ocelot said.

Winterhawk settled back on the sofa with a disgusted sigh. "I'm wondering if we'll ever get the answer to it."

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