He moved quickly through the galleries absorbing the intensity of the work lining the walls. In half an hour he would meet the woman and rid himself of the weight he’d been carrying. The tourists around him stared at the pieces listening to some over educated voice tell them why they should like what they saw. Arch had no such filters on his mind. Every second was crystal clear, illuminated by the adrenaline surging through his veins.
They were following him. The watchers in the galleries would pretend to take no notice of his passing, but he would see them discreetly hit communicators at their belts and whisper as he passed. This made him feel comfortable. He wanted to lure them into complacency. Wanted them to feel secure that they had him under control, knew his every movement. He wanted them to feel that way right up until the moment he lost them and made his move to meet the one who had been chosen to receive the truth.
He allowed himself a moment to wander back to the days his mother would drag him through these very galleries in her endless quest to raise him up with culture and knowledge. She had instilled in him a boundless curiosity, and it was that curiosity that led him to this day.
Seven months ago it had just been some random streaks on his plates. Satellites were always crossing his plates and at first he took no notice. But then a pattern emerged. His scans for other planets that might have the conditions that were right for life to exist had instead exposed a network of satellites in geosynchronous orbit over the major cities of the world. A network that the government claimed didn’t and couldn’t exist. And yet it did.
They had made it clear that they would stop at nothing to protect their secret. First his privileges at the observatory had been curtailed. Then his grant had been revoked. Now they stalked him day and night.