Sexton looked uncomfortably at the hologram of Dr. Fox, which was looking out the window at squirrels playing in the motel parking lot and muttering about the quantum causality loops inherent in acorns. “You were not lying about the insanity problem,” he said.

“Sanity is a social construct,” Fairburn replied, his voice jumping an octave for a split-second as the quality of the call wavered–probably thanks to the power drain of Dr. Fox. The E-Z Inn/E-Z Out Motel was not going to like their electric bill. “As long as she can do what is asked of her, the rest is of no concern.”

“So what do you need me to do next? You said there were three targets.”

“Yes, your next target should be ready for recruitment as we speak,” Fairburn said. “He is Captain J. Oran Kostler III. Are you familiar with him?”

“Never heard of him,” said Sexton. “Boat guy?”

“He is currently serving a life sentence without possibility of parole in the Armed Forces Disciplinary Barracks Annex,” replied Fairburn. “You will be expected to extricate him from this predicament.”

“How the hell am I doing that?” Sexton cried.

“You were able to recover Dr. Fox from a similarly secure location. It’s why I recruited you, after all. Refusal is not an option, but it is also not needed; my analysis says that you are more than capable of such an assignment.”

“I just…fine, fine,” Sexton muttered. “What is he serving life for, anyhow?”

“His unit fired into a group of unarmed protestors. I’m not surprised that you haven’t heard of it, the incident was largely covered up.”

“Is he…is he guilty of that?” Sexton said.

“It is absolutely immaterial to our endeavor,” said Fairburn. “You can ask him yourself, if it matters that much to you, once he is freed.”

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