You can find A here.
They’d found James, and he’d called Inspector Hussein immediately, and then glanced at the time with a self-satisfied smile.
“You found him.” Detective Hussein leaned close to the monitor, eyes narrowing. “What’s he doing with his face?”
More accurately, they’d found James’ jacket and shirt. His face was a weird clutch of sparkles on the screen. Which wouldn’t seem like enough, but what was the possibility that more than one man walked into that particular building, on that day, wearing a blue suit and a purple shirt, and had a reason to hide his face.
“Light diffusion.” Brody leaned back in his chair, sighing. “Whoever James is, he has connections.”
The inspector cocked a brow at them. “Oh?”
“It’s not cheap. It’s not rare, he could get it almost anywhere on the black market. But you have to pay. A lot.” He rubbed his face. “Like a lot a lot.”
“More than some kid pretending to work at a bank should have?” Inspector Hussein asked.
“Especially because this was the business function he introduced himself at,” Libby said, sighing. “Doesn’t that sort of mean he did it all the time?”
“Probably all the time he was with you,” Brody answered.
Inspector Hussein grinned. “Still, good job you two.”
Libby cocked a brow at her. “How is this good?”
“It’s a direction I didn’t have before,” Inspector Hussein said brightly. “I’ll call Seattle and ask if they know who he might have bought it from.” She slapped Libby on the shoulder. “The more we know the closer we get.”
“I was just going to see about checking any other times, if Libby could remember what he was wearing.” Brody leaned back and stretched his arms. “Do the same thing again.”
“What about the Tamerlane?” Libby asked. “I mean it wasn’t on the audio logs but shouldn’t there have been video of the docks?”
Brody at Inspector Hussein both stared at her, wearing equally incredulous looks.
Inspector Hussein huffed, and rubbed her face. “We never asked you what the name of the transport was.”
She frowned. “I thought I said it when I was at the hospital.”
“Nope.” Brody turned back to the computer. “Alright. Was it printed on the side of the ship?”
“No. I think it had been, he said it was being redecorated.” Libby snorted. “It was on the inside inspection ticket and I recognized the word.”
Inspector Hussein grinned, excitement building. “He never told you it was named the Tamerlane.”
Libby shook her head no. “He didn’t say anything about it.”
Brody typed into the system, and they had a return almost instantly. “Tamerlane, coastal class, reported stolen six months ago from repair dock in San Francisco.”
Inspector Hussein made a happy noise. “What’s its case number?”
“T-23498J4,” Brody read off. “The case is still listed as active.”
She scribbled something on her personal device, looking over their shoulders. “I could kiss you both,” Inspector Hussein said seriously. “Finally, a lead.” She clapped them both on the shoulder and practically spun out of the room.
“It’s almost like she wants to solve this thing,” Brody muttered wryly, stretching his back.
Libby nearly reached out and rubbed his shoulders for him. He’d been hunched over the system for more than an hour, and he was starting to shift like he was uncomfortable. He smelled the same he had last night, when he’d opened the door to his room and the scent had practically smacked her in the face. It wasn’t as strong now, and she thought it must have been his soap. She’d probably caught him right after his shower.
Libby cleared her throat, and tried to focus. “Is a stolen boat that much of a lead?”
“Criminals are a weird lot, there’s not always a lot of honor amongst thieves.” He went back to the search they’d been doing before, but added the not-face portion of their previous return in. “Never know what you’ll find until you start kicking over rocks. Now. Give me another date and place and an outfit you remember.”
It got easier as the afternoon went along, and by the end of it they’d stacked up four different shots of James, going into buildings or areas where he’d met her ‘by accident’ with light diffusing stuff on his face.
“The light diffusion is less helpful if he’s carrying it around with him,” Libby muttered.
Brody sighed. “Well, maybe, but he’s using a lot of it. If he’s buying it in large quantities I promise someone else is already curious about why. Even if it’s only so they can get in on the action.”
“What action is does blowing up a city dock get them? There aren’t enough casualties, and it’s not impacting the city and—”
“Trial run.” Brody sighed, and dropped his face down in his hands. “It buys them a trial run.”
Libby stared at the sparkle-faced man on the screen and felt like someone walked over her grave. “Because if I was dead the trail was cold.”
Brody reached back and grabbed her hand, standing. “Come on.”
Libby let herself be pulled along behind him, until they were walking into the office of a very happy Detective Hussein.
“Hey, SF is sending over their file, and…” She died off as Brody shut her office door. “You’re going to spoil my good mood, aren’t you?”
Brody sighed. “Yep.”
“Libby made half a connection for me. She asked what blowing up a dock gets them. There aren’t enough casualties, and it doesn’t impact the city enough, it doesn’t gain them anything, and given the amount someone spent on light-diffusing tech for at least one persons face—”
“They have an end game.” Inspector Hussein finished, voice soft, face drawing in horror.
Brody nodded sadly. “So the most likely thing they’re getting out of blowing up the dock…”
“Is a dry run,” the inspector finished softly.