HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 94

“Good morning, Fred,” Magh said. “You look tired.”

Frederica scoffed.

“That’s putting it mildly.”

“Has… has something happened?” Magh asked.

“It’s nothing you have to worry about,” Frederica replied. “Probably. Just… do me a favor and keep an eye on your surroundings. You never know who might be watching.”

“You’re in trouble, aren’t you?” Magh asked.

She fixed her gaze on Frederica as if she could read minds too. Frederica looked away.

“I don’t want to drag you into it,” she said.

“If you are in it—whatever it is—then so am I,” Magh said, crossing her arms. “Let me help.”

Frederica sighed.

“Well, the TL;DR version is that City Hall hired an investigator to blackmail me over my corruption story.” She dug Virginia’s camera from her bag. “I managed to snag this off her last night but I’m still no closer to tracking her down. And then there’s this….”

She scrolled through the photos. Magh clenched her fists when she saw the shots of herself and Tommy.

“Who is this person?” she said. “I must break her.”

“You and me both, buddy,” Frederica said. “I’m still working on identifying her, but when I do—”

“Oh, I haven’t seen one of these in years.” Marie Gilmour, Frederica’s photojournalism instructor, came over to Frederica’s desk and picked up the camera. “It really was their best model all around. I recommended it to my students even after it was discontinued. They’re hard to find now, though. Wherever did you get this?”

“Borrowed it from a friend,” Frederica said, then a thought occurred to her. “Hey, I don’t suppose you’ve ever had a student named Virginia, have you?”

Marie shrugged.

“Possibly, but I’m terrible with names,” she said. “That’s why I specialize in photography. If you had a picture of her, though….”