Hamm blinked, squeezed the steering wheel. It made sense, now that he thought about it.
“She wants her critter back,” Hamm said.
“She wants it destroyed,” the man said. “But she is adamant, it must be she who does the destroying. She wants the Zanyo Gazi’i brought to her alive.”
Hamm nodded. It made perfect sense. The creature was proof, evidence against her, what she had done. Get rid of the creature, get rid of the evidence. Exhibit A. The smoking gun. And Avni Natarajan would need a man on the inside, a stoolie. So what, then? You hire a team of private investigators, dig up all the dirt on everybody at WEBWATCH, everybody involved with the project. You got more skeletons in your closet than anybody else, Phil, old boy. You win the prize. A man could choke on the irony.
“So how long you been working for the bitch?” Hamm asked.
The man sighed. “Too long.”
Hamm looked at him. “What? She got somethin’ on you, too? Blackmailin’ you?”
“No. She and I have the same goal, the same end in sight. Otherwise I would not assist her.” He exhaled. “The Zanyo Gazi’i must be destroyed. That is all that matters.”
Hamm thought about the gun in the glove compartment.
*This guy ain’t even the one responsible.*
Phil Hamm at least wanted to kill the person responsible, if he himself had to die.
But Phil Hamm didn’t want to die.
“So how in hell does she expect us to find the thing?” Hamm said.
“Madame Natarajan offered no suggestions on that point.”
“An’ how are we supposed to catch it without killin’ it, even if we find it?”
“These are questions we must answer for ourselves.”
“Right.” Hamm shook his head.
“I confess,” the man said, “I had rather hoped you would have an idea what we should do next.”
“Yeah? In that case, we’re both outta luck, Leroy.”
“Kimboro,” the man said. “My name is Kimboro.”
“Can’t say I’m glad to meet ya.”
The man smiled again. God, Hamm wanted to knock that smile off his face. *No. Save it.* “Only one thing I can think of,” Hamm said.
*Use it. Use it on the one responsible for all this.*
“Maybe one way we could draw the bastard out of hidin’,” Hamm said. “But the odds are shit.”
“Shit is better than nothing,” Kimboro said. “So what is this way you speak of?”
“Simple,” Hamm said. Again he thought about the gun in the glove compartment. But this time he had a different use in mind for it. “We use bait,” Hamm said.