Unforeseen Dives – 41a – Guests

<< 40b – Pursuit

Casey whistled when he saw the oversized flat screen in the common living room.
“So that’s where you’ve been hiding.” He gently punched my shoulder. “Nice place, Square!”
After much deliberation, Aaron and Daniel agreed the safest place for Casey was by my side. Aaron doubted he would handle the deception well; after all, Casey had been fired by PSI while some of us continued working undercover. I lied to him. Daniel, on the other hand, had faith Casey would adapt and wouldn’t hold any grudge.
“Your bedroom is over there.” I said. Without a pause, I led the way to the room that once was my painting refuge.
If anything, Casey was thrilled to be in the know about the secret government task force and happy to spend some vacation time with me. They forbad him to leave this place and I was under the same restriction. My presence on the field for the rescue benefited more than it endangered but other outings didn’t share those odds.
“Where is yours?” Casey joked as he took in the small room where his suitcase, packed and brought by an agent, rested on the single bed.
“With me,” Rebecca answered. She leaned against the threshold. “And I’m a light sleeper.” I laughed at Casey’s exaggerated sadness.
The familiarity felt good, like a piece of home salvaged from the hurricane. The lightheartedness served as a cover for fear but I preferred the masquerade to the outright worry. The betterment of my situation lied all in the sugar coating’s thickness.
“I understand that I’m meant to be a guest,” Casey said. “Anything I can do to help. I used to be an agent, you know.”
He wasn’t offering because he wanted to be part of secret ops. He offered because he needed to fight back the nightmares. He didn’t talk about it and carefully guarded his thoughts but his tiredness and nervous jitters told it all. Besides, I knew him. Unfortunately, no matter how hard he wanted to lend a hand, his fragility ruined his value as an agent.
“Will you cook for us?” I hoped I didn’t sound insulting. I certainly didn’t wish to rub him the wrong way. No matter how ridiculous it sounded, good meals helped a lot. A cook would save us time and maintain us at top productivity and concentration.
Unfortunately, my efforts at putting a positive spin on cooking were ruined by Becky’s snicker. Sometimes, her nagging of Casey really got the best of her.
“Sure.” He didn’t exactly sigh but came very close. I hugged him. “If that’s the pay, when can I start?”
“Daniel’s calling,” Rebecca said. I disengaged from Casey’s embrace and wished him a good day. I didn’t like leaving him alone while I worked but he risked worse than boredom by being outside and I couldn’t afford the distraction.
When I entered my office, a little crowd waited for me. This type of informal morning meeting was becoming a habit. I greeted the known faces – Daniel, Aaron and James – and was presented to the new ones – two FBI agents from New-York. One looked like a toothpick and the other was very average Joe. Apparently, both strangers were the best the bureau had in term of interrogators. They were authorized to use a drug specifically designed to disorient telepaths so they couldn’t maintain a mental wall against another telepath’s reading. Developed out of fear that telepaths could too easily lie during interrogation, it was only used on special occasions.
“Nadina had an affair with one of the non-readers who were killed by the telepaths.” James handed a hefty report to the agents. “That’s probably the biggest leverage we found but I compiled every pertinent facts just in case.”
Both interrogators ogled the dossier before one finally took it. The other one held the case file the FBI compiled; it was a lot thinner.
“It’s our understanding we’ll need Agent Parker and Lowes for the interrogation of Nadina Perez.” Average Joe fidgeted a little. I almost laughed; he didn’t think he needed our help. Maybe he should read his files again.
“Affirmative,” Daniel confirmed. “Nadina thinks in Arabic. Cassidy is the only translator available.” Some surprised light bulb lit up behind the agents’ eyes. Good!
“Alright. We’ll get you when we get there. She should be here tomorrow.”
“We’ll have a duo keep a psychic eye out on the process to ensure security and see if we can speed things up.” James looked at me for approbation. I nodded.
“A couple of them need to spread the whirlpool to encompass Casey and these two agents.” I added. It was his turn to nod. We made a good team.
They spread out, leaving Becky and me alone in our office. There wasn’t much left to do. The drug trail narrowed down to the manufacturer for the adrenaline inhibitor. The team sifted through his business and associates to link the Colombia-based criminal with our troublemaker. So far, nothing turned up.
The team monitoring the stir against the reader community reported a slight diminution of negative feelings. The return to calm might incite the bad guys to trigger another major attack. We kept a close watch on the creation of new whirlpools.
“Are you feeling up for a dive to supervise the team?”
I looked at Rebecca for a few seconds while my mind refused to provide an answer. Was I still scared after that menace within the Ocean? Could diving again be a bad idea? An unnecessary risk?
Becky followed the twists and turns of my mind for some time then picked up a book on my desk and dropped it in my hand. I recognized my anthology of Japanese haikus.
“I’ll keep company to Casey. You sort your feelings out.”
“Again?” It seemed like I spent a whole lot of time sifting through feelings I pushed aside for the good of the investigation.
“Those are emotion-heavy times.” Becky headed for the living room. “And don’t think I won’t ask you to return the favor.”
I smiled to myself. My pain hit me like a bullet on a regular basis. Hers was dormant which didn’t make it negligible. Her husband has been missing for quite some time.
And the morning sickness began two days ago.

41b – Guests >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

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