Tempted as she was to tell Gotcha to, ‘Get the fuck over her, already; it’s been thirty one years, for fuck’s sake,’ Kitty bit her tongue.

She could think of no reason why he would be faking his pain. The empath in her could feel enough of his anguish to know it was genuine. She couldn’t relate to it, and hoped she’d never be able to. But at that moment, what was most important was that they move along, so she shocked him out of his self-pity party by asking, “Where did the virus come from.”

Gotcha’s eyes locked on Pinky’s. Neither of them said a word. Neither of them so much as twitched a facial muscle. Feeling her eyes on him, waiting for an answer, or at least a response, Gotcha turned to Kitty and said, “We don’t know.”

“You don’t know where it came from, or you don’t know how it originated?” Kitty asked.

“We are not certain. There is a consensus that it came from Wuhan. The majority of those who believe that to be true also believe it did, indeed, start with a bowl of batshit crazy soup. A small minority of my colleagues give credence to the allegations that the Americans brought it with them for the World Military Games, back in November.

“Almost no one believes the virus originated in the virology lab, and was released from there, accidentally or otherwise. Almost none of us believe the virus came from the lab because one of us is inside that lab, and is close to the top of the power structure. And that is why I should know that the lab was evacuated today.”

“Maybe your guy got dead today.”

“Gal. Maybe so. That would partially explain it, but she was not our only ally in Wuhan. Is not, I should say, I hope.”

Gotcha looked at Pinky again, but Pinky was staring across the universe. Kitty took note of this, and wondered if Pinky was deliberately avoiding Gotcha’s eyes, before he felt them on him. ‘What the fuck kind of game is this?’ she wondered.

“How many people do you have n Wuhan?”

“Just the two of them.”

“Maybe they both got dead today.”

“Maybe they did,” Gotcha admitted. Looking at Pinky, once more, and finding him still preoccupied with the cow jumping over the moon,  Gotcha turned his back to his friend, and asked Kitty, “How do you know the lab was evacuated?” Gotcha spun quickly to see if the question had drawn Pinky’s attention back from the celestial bovine high jump. Sure enough, it had. He didn’t know exactly what to make of it, so he turned his attention back to the girl.

No way in Hell was she going to tell Gotcha how she knew about the lab evacuation, so Kitty smiled, and answered, “Pinky was rigt; I am a witch.”

Clearly, Gotcha was not impressed with Kitty’s smart-assery. “We need to be able to trust each other, if we are going to work together, Kitty,” he said.

The girl wondered if he had said the same thing to her father, a long, long time ago. She wondered if her father had trusted him. She wondered if her father’s death, his murder, his assassination came as a result of him placing his trust in Gotcha. She wondered if she would ever know the truth of that matter.

She had already vowed, to herself, that she would get the truth out of Gotcha, even if it came on his last breath, as she strangled the life out of his naked body, while he lay spazming on a floor somewhere, or a beach somewhere else.

She looked at Pinky, winked, then looked back at Gotcha, and said, “A mystic, named Thunder Babe, met one of Pinky’s long ago abandoned characters, in a tunnel, today. They went to Wuhan, and came back, and told me.”

Gotcha looked at Pinky. Pinky grinned from ear to ear, but said nothing. Gotcha turned back to Kitty and said, “Okay. Fair enough. Trust is earned, not given carte blanche, on a first meeting.”

“Correct,” said Kitty Kaboodle. “Now, if you would like to earn a little more of my trust, by telling me what your theory is about the origin of the virus, I would be appreciative, please and thank you.”

Once again, Gotcha was impressed. She had noted that he had never said that he was included in any of the cabal’s consensus theories about the COVID-19 virus. Somehow, she had also detected that he, in actual fact, had his own ideas, or at least suspicions, about where, when, how, and why the virus came into the world. He could almost fee her inside his head, scanning, decoding, analyzing, millions of files.

There was no point lying to her. She would almost certainly know he was lying, and there would be no way to come back from that mistake.

Conversely, if he told her what he thought, she might, at some point, be instrumental in verifying it as actual fact, or dismissing it, for lack of credible evidence.

“It’s little more than a hunch,” Gotcha prefaced. Kitty and Pinky made no indication that they were averse to entertaining his hunch, so he told them, “I think COVID-19 came from the Gates of Hell, in Turkmenistan.”




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