A(nother) Year in Seattle
Sunday – October 19, 2059 – Beta Testing
I have to admit– I had a lot more fun last night than I thought I would. And I was relieved that all my worrying over Gabriel had been unnecessary. Still it’s in my nature I guess. Ethan wanted to hear all about the Gala, and Bri wanted whatever her brother wanted.
There wasn’t really that much to tell– lots of people and food… How do I explain the nervousness I feel in that large a crowd? There were too many people and too many opportunities for trouble.
Like I said– I’m not much fun at parties.
I think Ethan was let down by my lack of descriptions– which was when I thought about the program/utility PC had made for me. I drew him pictures and then downloaded that part of the journal to a reader for him.
At some point he went from looking at the pictures to analyzing the utility that created them. I really should work with it more. PC warned me that it takes time and only gets better with practice.
What can I say, I’ve been remiss in my Beta-testing duties.
Monday – October 20, 2059 – Never boring
Well– it looks like my shift change came at just the right time. McKennic held the week’s record for the most calls taken within a 10-hour shift. Not a record I envy.
Fortunately, he was primed for it. He told me that he’d been bored and last week was anything but boring for him. Ethan actually kept Bri entertained with my maps and charts while I filed and collated a week’s worth of incidents and their outcomes. I’m not sure when I started it, but I started putting a purple tag on ‘suspicious’ occurrences, but there were a lot more of them this week than last– and most of them downtown– near the arcology.
I figure when I have the chance I’ll compare the police reports to the calls we’ve logged… I’ll bet there’s a very interesting pattern there.
I was so absorbed in my musings that I hadn’t noticed that Bri had fallen asleep and Ethan was focusing on the briefing maps from last week.
“Is this a typical week?” he asked me.
I had to smile. “There’s no such thing as a typical week,” I answered. “Last week we had a run on traffic calls– this week, who knows.”
“How do you deal with it?”
I smiled. “I don’t know sometimes– but not knowing what to expect helps keep you prepared for anything.”
He thought about it a minute and then nodded. “I hadn’t really thought about it that way.”
I chuckled. “At least its never boring.”
I raised my eyes innocently. “Except for the paperwork.”
It’s true too. I’d much rather be out doing the job than writing it up– but we need the data if we’re going to find a better way of doing our jobs.
Tuesday – October 21, 2059 – Law of the street
First call of the shift, pretty much killed the rest of the day for me… Bank robbery with multiple gunshot victims inside and outside the bank. I took care of the ones outside while the police tried to convince the guys inside the bank to either release the hostages or let the medics in to treat the victims.
When they finally agreed, the ambulances that had arrived had already left with the other victims. So, of course, you know who went in…
It was priceless when the Star officer in charge offered me a vest– I unbuttoned the top button of my uniform and smiled.
“I got that covered…” I assured him
He was just staring at me when his second in command leaned over and whispered something. The officer’s eyes widened and then he just nodded and let me do my thing.
I was still chuckling over what his second had said as I headed over towards the bank.
“That’s Jess Miller.”
Like it explains everything. Still– I was the one who went into the bank– so I guess it does say everything.
I only wish the robbers had heard of me… Two very nervous kids. Kids with guns, I had to keep reminding myself.
They weren’t even after money– at least not directly… they were there for the data terminal.
I’m not sure what they were after, I don’t think I want to know– that’s for the Star and the courts.
I do know they wanted me to treat their guy first– they were insisting on it as I started triage.
Three gunshot victims, one to the chest, one shoulder and their guy had gotten shot in his cyber.
“Denny first,” their leader told me insistently.
I shook my head. “Your friend needs a mechanic– no immediate danger– the chest wound is first…”
He started to threaten me and then thought the better of it– this was nothing like they’d planned– nothing like they’d been told it would be– I could see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices.
They were hired to steal some data with some ‘wiz tools’ their Johnson had given them… Can you say setup?
Star Computer Forensics found the real job in the ‘tools’… Trojan Horse… When they realized that they’d been used and were facing rather heavy duty charges– they rolled over.
One officer muttered something about “no honor among thieves.”
I just shook my head. “Paybacks are a bitch,” I corrected. “They’ve got honor– but they were used…”
It’s the law of the streets… everybody against ‘the man’, unless you sell them out.
Wednesday – October 22, 2059- Dark cloud on the horizon
Nothing happened today– I mean nothing!
Two calls, but they were the least complicated I’ve ever dealt with… ever!
I kept waiting for chaos to break loose– but it never did. I was so tense by the end of the day you wouldn’t believe it– but still, nothing happened.
I know I should be happy, I mean everybody came home– but… I can’t help but think that something really big is brewing…
Thursday – October 23, 2059 – Witnesses aren’t us
Have I mentioned how much I hate people using our services as a cover-up or a diversion? Well, add using us as ‘witnesses on order’ to the list.
It all seemed so innocent and or coincidental, the first call came in around 1400 and it was a common enough call. There was the report of an accident on one of the exit ramps… Only nobody could find the car or the victims.
This has happened in the past– especially on some of the more ornate exit ramps. There was no sign of trouble– but you can never tell, so you investigate.
As we started the search, a second call came in. This one was for a man collapsed downtown.
Since the ambulance was only a few minutes away and we hadn’t found the victims yet, I headed for the second call– it was only a few minutes away, as the bike flies.
I should have noticed how convenient it was– the first call put me into position where the second call meant a bike call and I was ‘in the right place,’ to take the next call.
That’s when everything went down. I arrived at a courtyard where the man had supposedly collapsed, but there was nobody there– except for two men playing go in the far corner. As I approached them, the first man stood and dumped the stones onto the ground.
The second man stood, eyes blazing and said something I couldn’t quite understand. The first man glared at him and then at me… and then snarled something about ‘next time’ and stalked off, along with about five other people I hadn’t seen when I first entered the courtyard.
The smile on the second man was… smug– satisfied. He picked up the stones, and a small velvet bag and quickly left the way I’d come.
We never did find the accident or the collapsed man– but I saved the mental pictures of the men and added them to my report.
Just another day in the city.
Friday – October 24, 2059 – Everone comes home
After yesterday, today seemed rather straightforward. We had the usual run of accidents, nothing really spectacular.
Okay, one rescue would have been spectacular– if it had been real…
There was an accident on the freeway– three cars and a pickup, in the height of rush hour… The passenger in the pickup had been ejected from the truck and managed to get tangled up in some workman’s lines under the bridge. The truck’s driver was out cold, but stable– he was the worst of the victims still on the bridge, so our main concern became getting his passenger to safety.
His passenger turned out to be a dummy he’d been using to gain access to the HOV lanes…
I, of course, didn’t find this out until I’d lowered myself over the side wall of the bridge and inched my way over to where ‘she’ lay helplessly entangled in the lines…
I was not amused. Neither were the Star officers when they arrived. Part of me feels sorry for the guy– but he deserves whatever he gets. I don’t mind risking my life to save another– but to waste my time and put me at risk like that…
I know it wasn’t his intention, but that’s what happened, and like I said– I was not amused.
The folks with the news helicopter and the remote flying cameras were… That made a great ‘B’ story.
To me the great ‘B’ story came when I got home and found out that not only was Therese back in town– she was there to stay, at least for a while: she got the local news anchor position.
Ethan seemed both happy and sad by the news. I guess he’s gotten used to traveling. I know Case was happy. She was there, with a safer job, more regular hours– and it meant he could see more of Ethan.
I think we all won on this one.
Saturday – October 25, 2059 -Celebration
Its funny: by most people’s reckoning– Therese and I should be at each other’s throats. Case’s ex and current– but then again, I think its true that you keep falling for the same sort of person.
We’re a lot alike, Therese and I– the big difference being that I can take his job and I can accept the risks. Personality wise… I think we compliment each other. Under different circumstances we’d have been friends– being the people we are, we are friends.
I was happy for her– she’s a hard-working woman, and I know that Case never stopped loving her. The love just changed…
The thing is– Therese and I are closer than Jenny and I ever were– at least that’s changing. Jenny and I have been getting reacquainted these past few years– the whole family has.
My family in Baltimore are closer than we’ve ever been, but that’s still not saying much.
My family out here– you’ve never seen a more mismatched group in your life– but we all work together and we all manage to make it work.
Take Therese for example. Not only were we happy for her, but Mom Walker arranged a celebration in her honor– congratulating her for her promotion and celebrating her safe return.
Truth be told– I enjoyed the party so much more than the Gala– this was… Family.
I guess I did actually get what I came out here for all those years ago. I have a family here that cares about me. We have our differences, but unlike my real family– it doesn’t pull us apart, but somehow makes us stronger.
I’m glad I’m here.
Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker