A warm and tender strength slithered between the pains of the future and my being’s scattered parts. Slowly, it drew my pieces back together, pushing, pulling and gluing me whole. It wasn’t Rebecca’s fierce approach. It felt more like a lover’s caress, soothing my soul with surgical precision.
“It’s good to hear you breath, Cass” spoke a rumbling British accent. Daniel’s relief washed over me in soft, controlled waves. This connection with my boss weirded me out, not quite an intrusion but more intimate than our relationship usually was. I was ill at ease and simultaneously glad I was myself enough to feel that way.
“Becky is worn out and pissed but she’s fine,” Daniel answered my question as I thought it. The Ocean was timeless, that’s why psychics could make predictions. I couldn’t feel the passage of time but she would. She must have been tired physically when the emotional wave hit me. She had flinched and Daniel had been the closest telepath who could take over. She’d be mad at herself for days for leaving me stranded.
“Thanks for saving me, Daniel” I breathed out. He emoted something loosely translatable as “my pleasure” mixed with “I did because I care” and “it’s my job”.
“I’m pulling you out.” He gently started to reel me in.
“I have to stay.” I broadcasted. A thoughtful silence answered – which is anything but silent when you’re smack in the middle of the thoughtful person’s mind. I knew every arguments as Daniel went through them. He concluded there was nothing I could say to outweigh the “against” pile. He was wrong.
“I can find the bombs, now.”
His brain froze. For a few seconds, he stopped thinking altogether.
He didn’t know. I thought it was obvious that blowing up Times Square meant all of Times Square not just one building. Apparently, I hadn’t made myself clear.
Daniel scanned my mind to find proof of my claim. When he found the hold I had on Ron’s future, he was puzzled.
“How can the security guard help?”
“He knows where one of them is. His pain is all over it. If the bombs are a network, they might register as one entity here.”
“You can use his death to track each bomb through the detonator?”
“If there’s a unique detonator for all of them, yes. I might even be able to fish the original plan out of the criminal’s mind. It’s all emotionally and physically linked. It’s about knowing where to look and now, I know.”
“I’ll put someone on it. I’m pulling you out.”
“No. It’ll take too long for someone else to pick this trail up.”
He sighed at my stubbornness. He wanted to protect me but he knew he couldn’t. Not by pulling me out anyway.
“I haven’t partnered for a while. I’m rusty and you’re half dead.”
“Thousands of people, Daniel. Thousands.”
A moment passed. Then, his presence pushed three times, signalling me I was good to dive. I wordlessly thanked him and immersed myself in Ron’s stream.
Riding a death is like swimming in a furious river; every instinct tells you to fight for air but the best tactic is to let the flow bear you. Every ounce of my will focused on muting my survival instinct.
I tasted soot and copper with an undertone of cement and fear. The kind of thing you want to cough out until you’re sure no residue clutters your throat. I didn’t have a body in here so the only thing I could do was run with it.
Ron’s death was coating almost every piece of the basement, whether they had been blown a mile away or not. The dark aura brought every thing clear into view. The bomb was gone, obviously.
I concentrated to go back to the moment before it exploded. Daniel mentally winced.
“Yes, I have to go through it again.”
He buckled both of us in a strong, confident hold. Ron was speed dialling his wife. I braced myself.
The tsunami rushed over me, hammering on every sore spot I ever had. I held on, and then started pushing. Fighting against the wall of suffering, I hacked my way toward the source. I wanted the source. I wanted it now! I bellowed my rage, my pain and my unwavering will all in the same cry. Like a warrior yelling his way through the enemy line, I finally broke the wave.
I relaxed in an oasis of calm in the harshness of the events. This was the past. Approximately one week ago, the criminal set up her charges one by one. She had memorized the plan of every building and worked a ruse to get in them.
“Look them up one by one. I’ll draw them for the FBI.”
I executed Daniel’s request. His presence blinked when he wanted me to switch to the next blue print. We were finally through with the tenth when he started reeling me in.
“This is getting tiresome, Daniel. I am staying.”
“There is no time, Cassidy. It’s ten in the morning. The bomb squad is moving in on Times Square.”
“I can find more. We still haven’t got her.”
“You’ve been up for over 24 hours and you’ll have a hell of a backlash when you reintegrate your body. You did your job. Let me bring you home without a fight.”
“No.” I fumed. So did he.
“It’s an order. I’m done arguing with you.” Damned his paternal demeanour!
“So am I! You know I can be more useful here. I can hear it in your head. Act in the situation’s best interest.”
“You don’t know if what I’m thinking is the best interest. You haven’t seen that.”
“It can’t hurt.”
“Bollocks. Let me save your sanity while I can.”
“You haven’t seen that it’s in danger. As a matter of fact, you can’t, even if you wanted.”
He drew back, bitten and hurt. He saw in my mind that I wouldn’t be moved, no matter how scared I was. If he forced me out, I’d hate him for it. His rational side knew I could help. He just did want to admit it.
“Alright, I’m putting you in charge of the hive mind.” He reluctantly broadcasted.