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Limelight

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Kirsten was startled awake by the sound of a phone ringing. She groped at the nightstand blindly and smashed at the “accept call” button.

“Hello?” she asked groggily.

“Kirsten, we have a situation. We need you and Cameron at the lab immediately.” Maggie’s stern voice said and hung up before Kirsten could respond.

Kirsten sighed and rolled over to face Cameron, who was slowly starting to wake up.

“Cameron,” Kirsten said softly. “They need us at the lab. Something’s happened.”

Cameron groaned and shoved his face into the pillow. “Can’t that ‘something’ wait until after breakfast?”

Kirsten laughed and got out of bed. “Apparently not. Let’s go.” She started getting dressed and ready for work while Cameron groaned again, and she could hear the bed creak as he dragged himself out of bed.

“Listen up everybody, this case is unlike any case we’ve ever done before. This is of the utmost importance, and I suggest everyone cancel any plans you may have until we finish this case.” Maggie said as they sat around the conference table.

A picture of an adult white man flashed up on the screen. He had a soft jaw, brown eyes, and no hair. Overall, he was plain looking, but everyone in the room knew him instantly.

“That’s the Secretary of State.” Kirsten deadpanned.

“Yes, his name is Michael Royce. He is the Secretary of State, planning on a presidential run in 2020 and has been very vocal on what issues he wants to address.” Maggie confirms and clicks to another picture of Michael’s campaign signs and a slogan.

Let’s Fix America?” Linus scoffed. “I’m sure tons of people are happy about that one.”

“They were. He is the top candidate for 2020, beating every other candidate by 20% in the polls.” Maggie confirmed.

“Why are you telling us this? This can’t be some big campaign to get us to vote for the guy.” Camille said sarcastically.

“I’m telling you this,” Maggie snapped back, “because Michael Royce is currently laying in our corpse cassette, ready to be Stitched.”

“I’m sorry what?” Camille asked incredulously.

“Michael Royce was found dead in his hotel room this morning due to a suspected poisoning. We’re here to find out why he was killed and who did it.”

“I need a go-no go for Stitch Neuro sync. Sub-bio?”

“Go.”

“Life-sci?”

“Go.”

“Engineering?”

“Go.”

“Medical?”

“Her vitals are strong. Go.”

“Communications?”

“We are mapped and ready.”

“Comm check 1, 2, 1 2.

“I hear you.”

“Ready princess?”

“Ready.”

“Induce Stitch neuro-sync on my mark. In 3,2,1...mark.”

Kirsten felt the pull into Michael’s consciousness and willingly let herself be taken along for the synaptic ride. She ended up in a car with Michael, but she was in the back seat, listening to him.

“I don’t care what she says, I want it put in the campaign!” Michael yelled into his blue tooth speaker.

“Okay, he’s yelling at someone on the phone about the campaign. Someone doesn’t want something in it.”

“Camille, can you look up the campaign staff?” Cameron asked.

“On it.” She replied, typing furiously on her computer.

Kirsten focused on the road, but suddenly she was pulled to another memory. This time she was in a very expensive hotel, with a king-sized bed, champagne on ice, and a flat screen TV. Michael was standing at the window and looking outward towards the city.

“I’m in a hotel room, Michael’s here. It’s very expensive.”

“Well he is the Secretary of State.” Linus pointed out. “He’s not going to stay in some cheap motel.”

Suddenly a girl walked through Kirsten and wrapped her arms around Michael. “I’m so glad we could do this.” She said sweetly. “I’ve missed you.”

Michael turned around and took the woman in his arms, kissing her deeply. “I’ve missed you too.”

“There’s a woman here, and they’re sleeping together. He says he missed her.”

“He is married, they’re probably just taking a vacation.” Cameron pointed out.

“Brown hair, brown eyes, young?” Kirsten asked.

“Uh, no, blonde, blue eyes, and around his age, why?” Cameron answered.

“Michael Royce was having an affair.” Kirsten explained. “That’s who this woman is.”

“Okay, so jealous wife has him killed for cheating on her. This is an open and shut case.” Camille said. “Great, I have a date tonight.”

“A date? With who?” Linus asked.

“Can we focus here people?” Maggie snapped at them. “This is not just a case of jealous love.”

Cameron grimaced at Maggie and then turned back to the Stitch. “We’re moving you to the death memory Kirsten. We don’t have much time left.”

Kirsten closed her eyes in preparation for the pull of another memory. She was in the same hotel room, only now the bed sheets were a mess, clothes lay where they were obviously thrown, and the same woman was now only in a bra and underwear.

“Michael, come back to bed!” the woman giggled, trying to pull him back.

“McKenna, I can’t do this anymore.” Michael said gruffly.

“W-what are you saying?” McKenna whimpered.

“McKenna, I am trying to be the next president of the United States. I can’t see you anymore. It could ruin my whole campaign!”

“So that’s what I am to you? Just another toy you can throw out when you’re done playing with it?” McKenna yelled. “Fine, whatever, but you’ll be sorry.” She hastily threw on her clothes and stormed out of the hotel room.

“Michael just broke up with her. Said she was going to ruin his campaign, and she left afterwards.” Kirsten explained to the team.

Kirsten watched as Michael walked over to the bottle of champagne that was still sitting on the table. He opened the bottle and poured himself a glass, and almost as soon as the liquid touched his lips, he stumbled back. Kirsten felt and saw his confusion as the poison coursed through his veins.

“I’m bouncing!” she said, typing in her username and passcode quickly.

The real world came rushing back as she opened her eyes and sat up Cameron was there instantly, along with Maggie and Camille.

“I don’t think McKenna did it. The champagne was sitting in the room all night, and she never once mentioned it. Anyone trying to poison someone else would’ve at least offered to pour them a glass since it would speed up the process.” Kirsten said as she got out of the tank and into a towel Ayo had waiting for her. “But, she did say he’d be sorry for leaving her.”

“Okay, we need to find out who this woman is. Camille, did you get any leads on the person Michael was talking to on the phone?”

“Well, the person he was talking about was probably his campaign manager, Krystal Lee. She apparently has been running some high-profile campaigns, from governors to presidents and runs them with an iron fist.” Camille swiped on the tablet and Krystal Lee’s drivers’ license covered the closest TV screen. “Whatever Michael wanted in the campaign, she obviously refused to do it.”

“Okay, Kirsten, get changed. You and Cameron are going to talk to Ms. Lee and see what she knows.”