Go back to Day 1 here.
Libby Wade was just as confused about why they couldn’t find her in the system as they were.
He’d learned a long time ago, to trust his gut. His gut said she wasn’t trouble, she was in trouble. He didn’t leave a job half finished, but he damn sure didn’t leave a job half finished when it left a civilian in trouble.
The nurse and doctor walked out of the room, nodding to him, and he dithered in the doorway. If she wanted to be alone he could easily sit in the waiting area until EMR showed up.
“It’s Brody,” he interrupted.
“You said Captain the other night,” Ms. Wade said, struggling into a seated position.
She blinked at him. “I was only unconscious for twelve hours.”
He smiled, shaking his head, and pulled up a chair. If she was going to talk to him, he could sit down so he wasn’t towering over her. He didn’t have any reason to be intimidating, and a lot of reasons not to be. “I’m not actually part of the PacIC S ‘n R. Their commander is a friend of a friend, and he wanted me to come in for a job interview. My leave time ran out and I was officially retired about an hour after we got you to the hospital.”
“And you’re still here because?”
Brody had decided he was going to try this radical new thing called honesty. His life was officially, weirdly, his now. “I don’t like a mystery.”
“And I’m a mystery?”
He leaned back in the chair, aware the longer they talked the calmer she seemed to be. She was bright, and more honest than she needed to be, he’d been able to tell that from her interview with Inspector Hussein. “Well, either you were in on a plot and didn’t get out of the way in time, or you were a complete bystander with no records, or…” His new stance on honesty didn’t stretch to voicing the sudden thought that she was supposed to be the fall person.
She looked down at her hands, folded neatly on the hospital blanket, and sighed. “They said I could get up if I wanted to.”
“Don’t you want to?”
Brody couldn’t escape the feeling that Libby Wade had entire conversations in her head. She looked at him, and put whole seconds into thinking through the words that were going to come out of her mouth. He didn’t think he needed to tell her how unusual that was. Normal people didn’t employ that much forethought.
“Where am I supposed to go?”
Brody leaned back, folding his arms over his chest. He hadn’t thought about that. If her name wasn’t in the system for the police it wasn’t going to pop up anywhere else. If she had assets, or a place scheduled to stay, or a job, none of those things were going to happen right then. Even being slow to get out of the hospital bed—she could feign needing another nap to sleep the rest of the sedative off, he could tell she was tired so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch—they’d turf her from the room in a few hours at most.
“If you want to leave me a card, too, I’ll let you know before I try to leave town.”
Brody sighed, and told the voice in the back of his head saying this was a horrible idea to shut up. “I’m retired, I don’t have a card to leave you.” He watched her for a long minute. “And if you feel up to getting out of the hospital bed, or when they don’t give you the option of not, I’ll vouch for you at the temporary housing. That’ll at least buy you a week to figure you where you’ve gone in the system.”
“Oh…” Ms. Wade gulped, and nodded. “Okay. Thank you.”
A dark figure appeared at the door, and Brody intentionally relaxed in the chair. “This’ll be EMR then.”
The door hissed open, and a man in black pants with a zippered plastic jacket, complete with shield on the chest and—he was sure—the giant letters EMR on his back leaned into the room. “Ms. Wade, I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time, just to answer a few questions.”
She nodded, and he stepped in and let the door shut behind him.
“Excellent. I’m Investigator Bakker,” he said smoothly, flashing a badge at her. “And you must be Captain Halliday.”
Brody offered him a friendly hand, and decided the smoothest option here was to pretend he was infatuated with a pretty face. “Just Brody now.”
“Ah yes, the twenty year track.” Bakker nodded. “Do you mind—”
“Hope you don’t mind if I sit in, there’s been some records mishap, I’m going to escort Ms. Wade to temporary lodgings when she’s done here.”
“No, of course not.” Bakker pulled out his note-taking device. “I’m sure you remember the Official Information Act still.”
Which a stick like Bakker was going to imply meant Brody couldn’t share anything he learned in any circumstance. In reality, if he shared information with the media or un-involved civilians his ass was grass. There wasn’t, actually, any way to keep him from sharing anything he learned with Inspector Hussein. Just like he could have shared anything he learned from Inspector Hussein with Bakker.
He probably wouldn’t, but he could have.
“Now, when we finish determining exactly what happened during the explosion we’ll have more questions for you regarding that.”
“I don’t really remember much about it.” She shrugged. “I was getting the luggage off the transport and James was doing something else and then he freaked out and told me I had to run before it depressurized.”
Brody filed that away for later. The bay hadn’t depressurized, it was built to keep that from happening.
“And this James, did he have a last name?”
“Smith. I don’t have any of my electronics, and I don’t remember his contact information off the top of my head. His name was James Smith and he was starting a job at the PacIC Consolidated Bank. I work for GIG LLC and we met a couple of years ago at a work function.”
“Mr. Smith said he was in banking?”
“He didn’t talk about what he did. He said it was boring.”
Brody didn’t need to be an expert at reading people to tell Ms. Wade was starting to have second thoughts about James Smith. He couldn’t blame her for that, but he did consider telling here they were probably premature. Just because they couldn’t find James Smith in the system wasn’t any more reason to assume he was problematic than the fact they couldn’t find her was.
Well, except they hadn’t as of yet found a body, either.