Hale stopped halfway to the Node 3 pantry and stared at Susan. “What’s wrong, Sue? You look terrible.”
Susan fought her rising fear. Ten feet away, Hale’s monitor glowed brightly. “I’m . . . I’m okay,” she managed, her heart pounding.
Hale eyed her with a puzzled look on his face. “You want some water?”
Susan could not answer. She cursed herself. How could I forget to dim his damn monitor? Susan knew the moment Hale suspected her of searching his terminal, he’d suspect she knew his real identity, North Dakota. She feared Hale would do anything to keep that information inside Node 3.
Susan wondered if she should make a dash for the door. But she never got the chance. Suddenly there was a pounding at the glass wall. Both Hale and Susan jumped. It was Chartrukian. He was banging his sweaty fists against the glass again. He looked like he’d seen Armageddon.
Hale scowled at the crazed Sys‑Sec outside the window, then turned back to Susan. “I’ll be right back. Get yourself a drink. You look pale.” Hale turned and went outside.
Susan steadied herself and moved quickly to Hale’s terminal. She reached down and adjusted the brightness controls. The monitor went black.
Her head was pounding. She turned and eyed the conversation now taking place on the Crypto floor. Apparently, Chartrukian had not gone home, after all. The young Sys‑Sec was now in a panic, spilling his guts to Greg Hale. Susan knew it didn’t matter‑Hale knew everything there was to know.
I’ve got to get to Strathmore, she thought. And fast.