Insecurities: Part 7 – Encounter

I’ve stopped writing the Insecurities series now, but this seventh part was still unpublished – so here it is.

I do have a plan for the next few parts, so ask me if you want to know what was going to happen next.


Jim was almost happy. Now he had a job again. It wasn’t a particularly interesting job, but it gave him something to do.

He didn’t think it would be particularly interesting, at least.

It was approaching midday and he was thinking about getting up from his little office cubicle and going to find something to eat. Something came to him instead, although it wasn’t to eat.

“Jim? Jim Laming?”

A voice. A voice calling his name. He hadn’t heard that since… well, since he applied for that temporary accommodation.

Someone was coming over to visit his cubicle. He decided to look up from his desk. Should he say something?

“Jim, there’s a man here who wants to talk to you.”

Was that a bad thing or a good thing?

“He says his name is… Gregory McFly. You are to meet him in a private room.”

He still wasn’t sure. He followed the secretary to the room, though.

It was a small room, pale green, and with a curved desk. It seemed to belong more in a juice bar than an office.

He sat down on one of two little curved chairs and looked at the man sitting opposite him with his arms on his desk. His expression could have been concerned or angry. He seemed large, or maybe Jim just felt small.

Good or bad?

The secretary left the room. The man looked around the top of the room, with a more concerned (or angry?) face, but a more relaxed one when he saw that it was blank.

“Hello, Jim. My name is Martin, and I represent a group called the Catalyst.”

Jim wasn’t sure what to make of this. The secretary had said his name was Gregory, not Martin.

“I’d just like to know… has anything significant happened to you recently? In the time since the encryption ban was put into place, that is?”

Jim wasn’t sure what to make of that, either. He didn’t much want to repeat his story again.

“There was an… accident,” he began, shakily. He didn’t want to say “fire” after what he’d found.

“I lived in a block of flats, but… but… the block of flats was destroyed.”

“Destroyed? How do you mean?” asked Martin, or maybe Gregory.

“I… I don’t know. My wife and- and- my son… they died.”

Now he wasn’t sure about anything. Had they really died? No, they must have, or they’d be here now.

“Was it a fire?”

“That’s what they- they said. But I found this…”

He wasn’t sure if he should show the man what he’d found, but he did it anyway. The fragment of metal.

“Do you know… what it’s from?”

He wasn’t sure if he was quizzing him, or genuinely asking if he had any idea. He wasn’t sure whether it really was from a missile.

The man was intrigued. Jim was still wary of him.

“You asked… about the- the encryption ban? I lost my job to that… I worked for… for TinCan.”

“For TinCan? Now that’s interesting. That gives a connection. Say, Jim… Do you know who Richard Webb is?”

“No… I’ve never heard of anyone… anyone called that.”

He wondered if the man thought that sounded like he actually did know someone called Richard Webb, even though he actually didn’t.

“Do you mind if I keep this?”

“Yes…”

Now he wondered if he was rude.

“Fine.”

The man took a photo of the shard and the writing on it, and tossed the actual one back to Jim.

“You can go now, Jim. Thank you.”

Jim opened the door and left the room, but paused a moment.

“Nothing solid, damn,” he heard the man mutter, even though he was now alone in the room, “The TinCan link could be something, I guess.”

Jim went back to his cubicle, and thought about getting something to eat.

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