Chapter 8: The Devil You Know – part 5
“Here you are, Captain.” The commissary clerk handed Teague his usual Irish Breakfast tea in the largest to-go cup they offered.
“Thanks, Sydney,” Teague mumbled. He sipped the hot liquid as the heavyset woman swiped his ID card. “What time is it?”
Teague shook his head at himself. “You think I’d be used to this shift by now.”
Sydney gave him her friendly smile. “Give it another week, sir.”
“I’ll do that,” he grinned back. “See you tomorrow.” Sipping his tea, he left the nearly empty commissary and teleported. The bright white of the hallway softened to a dimly lit office with dark wood furnishings. Despite spending most of his waking hours there for the past month, the space didn’t yet feel like his.
“–what I call starting the day off right.” Del Rio’s muffled voice carried through the door from the outer Security office.
“You can say that again.” Woo agreed. “It can’t get much better than that kind of early morning pick me up.”
Teague padded to the window beside the door and peeked through the blinds. Woo and Del Rio sat before security monitors with their backs to him, engrossed in the images on the screen. Although he couldn’t make out the details, a female employee seemed to be enjoying the ministrations of a scantily clad bleached blonde in one of the data centers. The other officer on duty, Kraus, looked up from her laptop. Grinning, she rolled her eyes at her coworkers.
Teague eased the door open and leaned in the doorway. “You two can get it up in the morning?”
Del Rio and Woo jumped. “Christ!” Woo exclaimed, swiveled his chair around. “Morning, Captain Mackenzie.”
The other man flipped a switch on the control panel, replacing the racy scene in the data center with one of the hallway feeds. “Mornin’ Captain,” Del Rio said, flushing red. “We were just–”
Teague nodded at the monitors. “Living vicariously?” Alarm surged from both men, and Kraus stifled a laugh. Inwardly Teague sighed. He was still building rapport with his officers. Even at Triptych’s Alpha site you had to know when to look the other way. “Relax. Save it to your personal folder for when you’re off-duty. Surely you lot have something better do.”
The men turned to their laptops with a stereo “Yes, sir.”
Kraus crossed her toned legs, drawing Teague’s attention. She looked up at him through half-lowered lashes. We could try a few of those things. The equipment’s different, but we can improvise.
The desire rolling off her raised his temperature a few degrees. Teague kept his expression neutral. “Let me know if anything more pressing than a peep show comes across.”
With all three of his officers actually working, Teague flipped on the lights of his oversized office. The room was triple the size of his old one in the UK facility. He’d been hesitant about accepting the promotion to Alpha facility. The stories he’d heard from colleagues who’d worked there were hair-raising. So far he hadn’t seen anything outrageous, and the pay and perks made up for his long hours.
Seated behind his desk, two fingerprint swipes, a ten-key passcode, and voice authorization gained Teague access to his system. He browsed through supposedly-urgent-but-not-really emails, then turned his attention to open case files. In some respects the Alpha site was easier than his former facility–there were few unsolved murders, mostly robberies and stupidity–but the open cases were open for a reason. Crimes involving magic, advanced technology, or psionics were harder to track, even with Big Brother surveillance.
We weren’t hired because of our pretty faces, Teague thought, opening the first file. Then someone rapped on the door. He looked up to find Kraus holding out a data pad. “Tell me that’s something I really want to see.”
“Depends.” Kraus shrugged, making her ponytail bounce. She walked to his desk, scrolling through the data with a fingertip. “It’s Hastings.”
Teague groaned. “Of course.” He rubbed his forehead as Kraus perched on the corner of his desk. Her skirt hiked up a bit, showing off more of her fantastic legs. Teague dragged his eyes up to her face, but let his hand wander to her calf. No stockings, and her legs were silky-smooth. “What’s he done now?”
“What he always does.” Kraus crossed her legs, give Teague a glimpse of her knickers. Ignoring the heat in his groin, he motioned for her to continue. “A security team picked him up last night in the District. Tested positive for Purity. Again.” She scowled, and Teague frowned. The designer hallucinogen caused nothing but problems. “Paid for services, freaked out in the middle and…“ A flurry of images flickered across Teague’s mind. He perused them briefly, then blocked them out. The report would have the details. “If she lives, it won’t be much of a life. If she dies, it’s murder. But Hastings’ll probably get manslaughter and transferred to another facility.”
Teague nodded. “He’s a renowned physicist.”
He gave Kraus a warning look before turning back to his terminal. Moments later the Hastings case glowed on dual display monitors, with photographs, timelines and priors. A green dot blinked beside the initial complaint. Teague smiled, pleased. “It’s out of our hands. He’s flagged for Modification.”
“What?!” Kraus’ exclamation prompted Woo to crane his neck and look in.
Teague closed the door with a thought. “We’re not prosecutors, Juliet. Modification might be what’s best for him.”
“They creep me out.” Her statement wasn’t a surprise; they’d had this conversation before. “Bunch of power hungry psychics reaching into your brain and doing whatever they please.”
“There’s a program. They follow parameters.”
Juliet studied him briefly, then slid off the desk. “You could do it.”
Teague shrugged. “I’m not trained for Modification.”
“We see lots of people doing things they haven’t been trained for. Would you do it?”
“It’s not in my job description.” Weary of the subject, Teague gripped her wrist and pulled her into his lap. He plucked the data pad out of her hand and set it aside, running his other hand over her blouse to cup a breast. This conversation is putting a damper on my morning, and Del Rio’s porn show got me a little worked up. Feel like taking a break?
Juliet straddled him, tugging off the band holding her brown hair back. Always, Captain.