Scott Mitchell rolls his chair back over toward Mikhail. “No, no, go ahead. This could be an important item for us. Besides, you look like you could stand to get out of the office. I think we can hold out without you for an hour, and I’d rather have my money going toward something that gets us closer to resolving this.” Mikhail positively leaps from his seat, causing Jill to roll her eyes at his eagerness to join on what was to her a routine call. “I must say though that you understand you are acting as an agent of a law enforcement officer of the United States government as soon as we walk out of this room. Do you understand?” Mikhail had many questions, but figured that it was better of him to just state his agreement. Tamano senses the hesitation, her voice calming. “Just do as I say and you will be fine.” Mikhail gets into the agent’s car with perhaps the most enthusiasm anyone has ever had when they entered a police vehicle. To his delight, he immediately notices that not only is the Dodge Charger one of the more sporty models, it also was a manual transmission. He had loved those when first learning to drive even though they then were a dying breed, but with the introduction of the assisted driving modes across all major manufacturers having a manual was almost unheard of. “Whoa, nice car!” he exclaims. Jill laughs. “Yeah, this close to the border they sometimes have me chase moose smugglers.” “Really?!” Jill cannot quite tell whether he is completely serious. Completely deadpan, she replies. “Of course not. The government has an agreement with Dodge. Part of the ongoing efforts to support American manufacturing. Long as it works, if you ask me, I could care less.” Mikhail becomes enraptured by the sights and sounds of the city as Jill deftly pilots the car toward their destination. It is a period of much needed silence for her. Her car was hers, damn it. She needed these drives to get her thoughts and mental notes in order before arriving at the crime scene. She was clearly unhappy about the passenger she was asked to carry along. Thanks, DC. Really, if she ever got the chance to speak with the Director… Putting up with these public-private partnerships was by far the least favorite part of her job. Why did he have to say yes?! Nobody liked working with the FBI! And yet, this guy had pretty much jumped into her car like an expertly trained police dog. This case had quickly gotten the attention of the national politicians, so of course any chance they had to network they had to take. And building a bridge between the Seattle field office and the Texas delegation to Congress was not to be wasted. She had read as much online. The Director desperately wanted the Lopez-Cardona bill passed even if he would never go on the record saying as much, and any opportunity to raise his profile would happen. It was well-known that he wanted to go to Congress one day not as a civil servant, but as one of the illustrious members, and what better way to show the New Columbia electorate that he could get things done on that level? New Columbia she scoffs. Jill remembers the time when it was still just DC. Sure, she supposed giving those residents a formal voice was fair, but ever since that extra level of government was added, it was far too common for Federal officials brought in from elsewhere to see it as a potential prize to win. Ah well, if she had to babysit this civilian to get back on the Director’s good side, so be it. Ever so reluctantly, she flips the assisted driving switch to full control and breaks the silence. “Okay, kid, we are entering the suburb known as Clyde Hill,” she says as the city scenery around the car steadily gives way to a more verdant region. As the car ducks off of the 520 highway, Mikhail can see Lake Washington spread out before him, stretching almost as far as he could see. On the opposite bank he could just make out the spires of the University of Washington through the fog as well as the Seattle skyline itself. “It’s more than just another upper end suburb to me, by the way. It’s home.” Jill continues, sternly. “You better be on your best behavior.” “Yes’m.” Mikhail replies automatically. Growing up in Texas had that effect on him. Not that he would dare cross this FBI agent, of course. “Earlier today Clyde Hill Police got a call about a burglary alarm going off. I wish it weren’t common, but it is this close to Seattle.” Jill explains, going into full on briefing mode for her passenger. “What they got was far more than they were expecting. They got on the batphone to Seattle for aid, Seattle brought us in when the officer surveying the crime scene found something that we might be interested in. That’s all I know. Scene is secure and officers are on-site, but I have as much information about the actual scene and the crime itself as you do. Do not touch anything unless I tell you to. That includes walls, stair railings, anything. I took the liberty of pulling your prints from the Homeland Security database in case I needed them, but I would really appreciate not having to need to put you in the file. Lord knows I have enough paperwork as it is. Any questions?” “What are we looking for, exactly?” “I don’t know. All I know is they found something that could be plausibly tied to Megasys. I’m working the Megasys case. They have the warrants already. I don’t particularly care what it is. Let’s just get it and go. Anything else?” Her tone is short, clipped even. It is no longer a conversation, but rather a tactical briefing. Special Agent Tamano had spent some time in the military, and it was showing in this moment. “Can I hit the lights and siren as we get there?!” Mikhail asks excitedly. Jill rolls her eyes. “Look, kid. We need to have a talk about your enthusiasm. Not now, when we’re done.” She adds before he can interject. She sighs. It needed to be done, for the optics anyway. Might as well let him have his fun. “Fine, you can press the button when I tell you to press the button.” Mikhail claps his hands once, giddy about his entire situation. Special Agent Jill Tamano disables the assisted driving function as the car turns onto a tree-lined street filled with stately homes. It was a fairly typical suburban neighborhood, all told, except for the multitude of flashing lights and police caution tape in the distance. Mikhail had several questions come to mind, but felt rightly that he should not ask them just yet. Specifically, if the FBI agent lived in a place like this, what was it like? This whole area felt like one of those dreams he shared with that one girlfriend he had been serious with. Jill nods, and Mikhail hits the button to trigger the lights and sirens just as the car rolled past a stately cul-de-sac.
About Charles Herrera
John Doe's true identity is unknown. Maybe he is a successful blogger or writer. Nobody knows it.