Call Cortez

You pull up Cortez’s information on your overlays and tap Call. After a moment, the doctor’s face appears in front of you. He looks as tired as you feel.

“Specialist,” he says.

“Hey, Doc. Any news on the autopsy?”

He sighs. “I’m still reviewing the data. Cause of death is what we thought. I was hoping to get a clean engram off Umesh’s implants, but the data storage unit was totally wrecked. My technicians are working on it, but so far, we’ve only been able to retrieve a single image.”

“Just one?”

“Yeah. A frame from his visual cortex, right before he hit the wall.” The doctor looks at you with a drained expression. “It’s not good. Here, see for yourself.”

A link appears in the corner of your vision. “Thanks, Doc. You’ve been a big help. If you find anything else, let me know.”

Cortez gives you a salute and signs off.

You open the image. It’s a blurry frame, dark and half-lit, but just clear enough to see the outlines of the room and . . . and what sure as hell looks like a tentacle swinging through the air.

A long sigh escapes you, and you sag back in your chair. Shit. You have no love for the Jellies, but you don’t want to see the situation blow up in everyone’s faces either.

“Come on, don’t give up,” you mutter to yourself. A deep breath, and you straighten in the chair, focus on your overlays again. There has to be something you’re missing. Some piece of information . . .