Chapter 8: The Devil You Know – part 6
“I am not wasting my time filling out any bloody forms. Now give me the bleedin’ data!”
Teague looked up from Hasting’s transfer form. Before the shouting started he’d thought that Kraus and Woo were bickering again. Now there was no mistaking the female speaker’s British accent.
Del Rio began, “Ma’am, please–”
“I have a doctorate, thank you very much…”
Tuning out the rest of the diva’s tirade, Teague looked through the blinds near his office door. An attractive woman of African descent lectured his officers with her hands on her hips. Woo, Del Rio, and Kraus stood near their stations looking like they’d rather be anywhere else. Teague didn’t blame them. Dr. Gibson had briefed him on Dr. Harris’… quirks. There are so few of us, he thought as he shored up his mental shields. Shame she’s such a bitch.
After donning a polite smile, Teague stepped into the outer office. “Good morning, Dr. Harris. What can I do for you?”
Harris stopped in mid-sentence. She rounded on him, raking her eyes over him. Her nose crinkled with disdain. “Who the hell are you?”
“Captain Mackenzie.” Teague deliberately turned to Del Rio. “What’s the trouble?” Harris radiated indignation, and Teague suppressed a smile. As much as she may believe it, she wasn’t the center of the universe.
Harris took a step toward him. “I’ll tell you what the trouble is.” She swept an arm toward the officers. Woo flinched. “These so-called officers are not taking my report seriously. This is a matter of utmost importance, and these prats insist on busywork.”
Despite the irritation and worry rolling off of Woo, the young man maintained his composure. “Captain, Dr. Harris came to report a theft. She wants to view the video feeds for the past three days. I asked her to fill out form–”
“This isn’t a bloody wallet!” Harris glared Woo, her eyes flashing. “It’s an untested off-world lithic that was stolen from a vault. Do you have any idea how difficult that is? Do you have an inkling of the value–”
“We’re security, Dr. Harris, not anthropologists.” Having the woman’s angry gaze directed at him didn’t bother him in the least. “Nevertheless, the item is clearly of great importance, to you and to Triptych. Why don’t we discuss this in my office? The sooner we have the pertinent information, the sooner we’ll recover the item.”
After a moment of consideration, Harris stalked into his office. Teague nodded at the flustered officers, then followed after the prima donna. He heard Kraus’ voice in his head as he closed the door. Good luck.
“Where’s Saxsma?” Harris demanded. Teague turned around to find her leaning against his desk with her arms folded under her breasts. “You must be new. Saxsma doesn’t make me jump through hoops.”
Teague gestured at the visitor’s chair in front of his desk. “Please, Dr. Harris, have a seat.” The woman didn’t budge. With an inward sigh, Teague moved to his desk and remained standing. “Saxsma’s been promoted to Major. I was given his command, so whatever you want, you have to get from me.”
Although Harris’ surly expression didn’t waver, Teague felt her mind probing his. He sat down, then smacked the woman’s telepathic fingers. She withdrew with a startled hiss. Grinning, Teague leaned back in his chair. “Find anything interesting?”
Harris sank into the visitor’s chair. “Typical arrogant Scotsman.”
Teague feigned offense. “Ach, Dr. Harris! I thought a beautiful, educated woman like you would have more class. Isn’t right to resort to ethnic slurs. After all, I’m not calling you an imperalistic British bitch.”
Harris’ full lips formed a small smile. “I believe you just did.”
“Perhaps.” Teague leaned forward, resting his clasped hands on the desktop. “Now, Dr. Harris. Tell me about this ‘off-world lithic.'”