Casey called a few minutes after I got home from work.
“Hey Square! How was your second day?” His joyful tone made me smile.
“You’re worried about me, aren’t you?” I meant it as a joke. The seriousness of his reply threw me off balance.
“Yes. That’s a lot of changes in a very short time.” His answer only told half of what he meant. Somewhere under it, he thought something along the line of “Are you sure doing your mom’s job is a proper way to grieve?” His worry made sense with my cover story but not with what I was actually doing in that bank.
“I can handle it.”
“Can you handle dinner tomorrow?” His question sparked laughter.
“Another dinner? What for?”
“I used to see you every day. We’ll do every other day for a while. Then, maybe, I can get used to seeing you just once a week.” He paused. I wasn’t sure what to answer. “We can do it at my place if you don’t want to go out.”
“I feel better when you don’t cook. Come over at seven.”
“Rude! It’s a date.” We hung up after a few minutes of idle chat.
I ate alone, thankful for the calm. The last few days drifted by too fast for everything to truly sink in. I ran behind a criminal, trying to diminish the distance between us. Today, we managed that and the surge forward lightened the weight on my shoulders.
Despite my long nap in the afternoon, I gladly slipped into my bed around ten o’clock. I woke up eight hours later, ready to tackle the next step of our investigation. I jumped when Rebecca walked in the house.
“What are you doing here?” We normally planned the times she picked me up for work.
“My cell phone reminded me we weren’t working today. I was pretty sure you’d forget with all that happened recently and it was faster to come here than to call you first.” I smacked my forehead. We had an appointment to prepare next week’s trial. The prosecutor for Nadina Perez’s case wanted to talk to us directly before calling us to the witness stand. “I figured we might as well have breakfast together before heading there,” Rebecca concluded when my facial expression indicated I caught up with the reason of her presence.
We went to my favorite breakfast restaurant. It was a small, homey place with fresh fruits and tasty pancakes. The owner acted as friendly as usual which reassured me. In fact, the normality of the process was incredibly refreshing. Even more so than my last dinner with Casey and Rebecca. The dinner had been pleasant but the stress of Casey finding out about the secret ops haunted me before and after the meal itself. This morning, I had nothing to hide.
The meeting with the lawyer was as long and boring as one could expect. She flew in from New York to review our statements.
“The trial should be over quickly.” She explained. “Apparently, the higher ups are eager to produce something to distract the press. This case moved to the top of the priority list.”
I definitely understood the strategy. What better way to reinforce the positive reputation of readers than by showing our heroism against the villainy of a non-reader? Stirring up the Times Square bombing story would distract the press and remind people why my face was so often on TV.
“Thanks to you, Miss Perez was caught red handed. I doubt the jury will take a long time to decide. As far as I know, the defense hardly has a moot point or two to leverage reasonable doubt.”
“I bet labeling her as a terrorist like the press did will speed up the process as well.” Rebecca added. She fidgeted for the past thirty minutes, eager to go back to what she considered more pressing matters. I agreed with her.
“Indeed. It’ll also make it hard to plead insanity.”
Becky and I swung by the office after lunch. James briefed me on the dives following the list of our adrenaline inhibitors lead. The team filled a report on each item of the list and forwarded it both to my inbox and to the FBI. So far, nothing especially interesting came up but they investigated only half the list.
“The FBI informed me we might receive a secondary list regarding this. They are reviewing our facts and cross-referencing with information they have. It brings other possibilities to their attention.”
These dives were mostly routine, boring observations. The drug lords led more action-packed life than pharmaceutical CEOs but it still wasn’t all that exciting. I was pretty sure the FBI would use some of our information to dismantle cartels in the future. They may pass part of it along to the DEA. We already helped stop organizations that threatened the US directly but never focused on gathering as much intelligence on international drug dealers. The personnel at PSI were too few to focus on one area of investigation. Since civilian crimes were the most unforeseeable ones, most of our resources worked in that department. Drug cartels could be investigated the old-fashioned way.
I thanked James for his report and encouraged the team. I did some dives myself. I didn’t want to be the desk agent who led without knowing what the field looked like. Daniel informed me that the FBI agreed to bring a few more ex-PSI agents into the fold. That was fantastic news.
The inter-agency secret force proved to be a well-oiled machine. Who knew that dismantling PSI would build up the trust the Bureau had in us. For the first time since we proved we weren’t charlatans, they actually treated us like equals. Partners. The common foe at least strengthened us in some way.
Rebecca dropped me home after a second satisfying day. I prompt dived to my dinner with Casey as I promised my partner. What I saw completely surprised me.
I ran away from my house as fast as I could.
Unforeseen Dives – 35a – Target
Casey called a few minutes after I got home from work.