Story Excerpt
Operation Delta

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I typed in the last of the equation I'd been working on, saved the file to my remote access cloud, then closed down my computer. It wasn't perfect yet, but it was close. I didn't think it would take me too much longer to figure out exactly what I was missing to make the formula work.

The university would be happy with that. They weren't expecting the finished project for another few months. I really hoped it didn't take that long. I have a list of other projects I wanted to take on as soon as this one was done.

I pulled on my jacket and heavy knitted scarf—it was winter after all—then headed out. I would much rather work at home, but the university had some stupid rule that said I had to work on my project here in their lab. I didn't understand it, but whatever. They didn't need to know I could access the cloud from home.

"All done with your work, Mr. Jenkins?"

I gulped as I turned to face the professor. "Yes, sir. I'm heading home now."

"Did you leave that report on your progress for me?"

I had left a report. It wasn't the one Professor Bradley wanted to see. No one saw the full scope of my work until I was done. The report I had left in the professor's in-box gave the basic scope of what I was trying to do, with a few notations on different theories I was working with. It did not give away any information that could either be used against me or used by someone else.

Yes, I was paranoid.

"Yes, sir," I replied. "It's on your desk."

"You know, Daniel." The older man smiled as his gaze roamed down my body. "If you'd let me see what you've accomplished so far, I have no doubt I can assist you with what you are doing. Everyone needs a little help sometimes."

"Thank you for the offer, sir, but I'm okay. I'll figure it out."

The professor's lips thinned.

I pushed my glasses up my nose then turned and hurried away. I wasn't running exactly, but the professor gave me the willies. I made me feel as if I needed to take a hot shower and scrub myself down with a brillow pad.

I slowed as I passed one of the other students. Michael had his head in his hands and he was mumbling to himself. I glanced at the computer screen in front of him. My mind raced as I quickly scanned what he had written. I found the problem almost immediately. I pushed him to the side, grabbed the keyboard, and quickly corrected the code he'd written.

It took less than thirty seconds.

"Danny, what are you doing?" Michael asked. "I've been working on this forever and—" Michael gasped when he looked at the screen. "That's it. That's what was missing. How did you know?"

I shrugged, pushed my glasses up my face yet again, and walked out of the lab. I knew I was smart. Anyone who looked at my I.Q. scores knew I was smart. Like, off the charts smart. Certain things made sense to me, like code and formulas.

People did not.

With the exception of a very small group of people, I didn't understand ninety-nine percent of the population, and sometimes, I didn't understand that small group. People were weird. They said one thing then did another. They stabbed each other in the back for their own personal gain, and the purposely hurt other people, and some even enjoyed it.

I probably should have been a dog, but people hurt them, too.

Most of the time, I understood my friends, or maybe it was that they understood me. They went out of their way to make sure I was never put into a position I couldn't handle. When I was, they stayed glued to my side to keep me safe.

Living in my brownstone on the Harvard University campus had been my one bid for independence. It worked to a point. I lived there on my own, but I very rarely left. Going to the university lab to work was one of the few exceptions, and then only because I was required to in order to keep my grant money.

I didn't really need to money. I made plenty on my inventions, but it was the principal of the thing. While the University only saw a sliver of some of my projects, I wasn't going to give my inventions away for free. They were mine. 

A cold wind slammed into me the second I stepped out of the main doors of the computer department building. I shivered then pulled the collar of my jacket off and wrapped my scarf up over my nose, mouth, and ears

I should have brought a hat.

I started trudging toward home. I walked a little faster when snow began to fall. There was a light covering on the ground already, so I knew I needed to be careful or I'd slip and fall and someone would laugh at me as they passed right by me.

That's the way it always happened.

Just once, it would be nice if someone actually stopped to see if I was injured. It never happened of course. Which was just another reason why I didn't like socializing or even speaking to other people. But it would be nice if it did.

I was about half way across the campus when I realized I'd forgotten my gloves. I could always go home without them, but with the way the snow was coming down, I was pretty sure I'd need them in the morning and I had no idea where my other pair had disappeared to.

I'd have to go back for them.

My heart sank.

I huffed then turned around and headed back to the lab. Maybe I'd luck out and Professor Bradley will have left already. I knew as soon as I swiped my keycard to get into the building, headed inside then climbed the stairs, and walked to where the hallway leading to the lab was located, that once again luck had left me.

I stopped at corner when I heard people talking.

Professor Bradley stood in the hallway outside the computer lab talking to another man. He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place him. I was pretty sure from his fancy black Armani suit, that we didn't socialize. My friends tended to wear jeans and T-shirts.

Their discussion seemed rather heated. Professor Bradley was gesturing wildly and he had a glint of desperation in his eyes. The well dressed man was simply giving him an angry looking glare. A larger man stood behind him. He was dressed similarly, except he had a suspicious bulge under his suit jacket. Having hung around Hank and his fellow soldiers, I knew it was a gun.

Who would need a gun in a computer lab?