Penumbra is most easily defined as the shadowy edge around an eclipse. And from my perspective that sort of makes sense to this scene, but it's probably more of a stretch than I'd like it to be.
Also, the next couple of days are going to be rocky because I officially don't really know where this is going, plot wise, but I'm trying to keep it from languishing until I figure it out.
If you'd like to go back to the beginning, when I had a direction, you can find A here.
He didn’t doubt in the slightest she was capable. He didn’t doubt she could come up with something, some connection, they hadn’t found already.
If he’d had a valid reason to say no, he might have tried it with Inspector Hussein. She seemed to respect him, and she’d certainly generally listen when he had an objection. She wasn’t willing to cut off an area of inquiry because of a feeling in his gut. He didn't expect her to, but he was going to have to keep reminding himself of that every couple of minutes. They'd barely stepped onto the connecting section, the area that was closed until the reconstruction was completed of what was left of the section that used to be the dock, and he'd already considered grabbing Libby and leaving three times.
"Why are you so tense," Libby whispered, standing next to him while they cleared another section of walkway.
Each one took a few minutes, while they reprogrammed the security bulkhead. They were already closer than where he'd found her, just coming at the scene from a different direction than where she'd run. These were maintenance tunnels, with open pipes on the walls and a metal drain grating running down the center.
Brody shrugged, he didn't have a valid answer to give. They'd had robotic workers through since the explosion. PacIC needed its private craft dock back. They'd stabilized the region almost immediately after the evacuation, but Inspector Hussein had put off finishing the clean-up and any more rebuild work than ensuring the structure was going to hold together.
He might have answered if it'd just been himself and Libby, or just the two of them and Inspector Hussein. EMR had a team with them, rumbling between each other on their communication systems and banding together in a little clutch of dark suits. City Systems had sent a team with them too. There were three uniformed officers from PD following along behind them.
Which was about twice as many people as an operation like this could ever possibly need.
"Your bad feeling about this is infectious," Inspector Hussein grumbled, walking along on Libby's other side.
Brody shot her a look, dropping behind Libby just a bit. Much as he might have liked to tell her verbally--in his experience bad feelings were only contagious if they were valid--the last thing he wanted to do was make Libby feel like she was in danger. At least not before he was absolutely sure she was in danger.
Inspector Hussein wrinkled her nose, her shoulders shifting. Clearly, she'd gotten the message.
Libby sighed. "Well, it's not like it's going to—"
"Don't finish that," he and Inspector Hussein insisted at the same time.
Libby blinked at them.
"Just...don't." Inspector Hussein sighed. "Seriously. As soon as you say something insane like 'at least it's not going to blow up again' it will and I don't have the overtime clearance to deal with us all winding up at the hospital tonight."
They crossed over into the more damaged area of the tunnel then, and one of the EMR men walking in front of them called Inspector Hussein up to them. She waved them to a stop, and Brody moved Libby to the side of the tunnel by habit.
"Is that your problem, too?"
"No." He took a sip of water from the canteen he'd brought, shifting the weight of the rescue pack they all thought he was stupid to be hauling around.
Inspector Hussein was having a hissed argument with the EMR guys, and he could tell by their body language and the way they all kept looking back, that particular issue was about them. It was sort of even odds whether they didn't want Libby having access to the crime scene, or if the fact it wasn’t just Libby was the problem.
Libby cleared her throat softly, and he turned to find her watching him with her arms folded over her chest.
"It's not...If I had anything actionable you wouldn't be here."
She watched him for a minute, and her head cocked to the side. "But you would?"
Inspector Hussein stomped over, grumbling. "They're going through first, we're waiting here with PD until they decide it's...safe."
Brody cocked a brow at her. They weren't looking to see if it was safe, they were trying to keep control of the scene. Given the look on her face, Inspector Hussein knew that.
"If I could override them, I would."
Libby dropped back against the wall, next to him, and folded her arms behind her. "I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here anyway."
The inspector frowned. "Like I said, you—”
"Might remember something new," Libby finished. "You did, and they seemed to jump on that and I'm not stupid enough to dig my heels in just for giggles." She sighed. "But we're not going to make it to anything that looks like what I was in before it blew up, so it's not really the scene, and therefore probably not particularly useful."
"But you came anyway?" Inspector Hussein asked.
Libby shrugged. "You might have taken 'no, I don't think it'll work' for an answer. They clearly weren't going to." She frowned. "And given the fact one minute they seem to think I'm making things up, and the next I'm still a suspect playing along might not be my best idea..."
Inspector Hussein huffed softly. "Well, your boss has friends in high places, and he's clearly attached to you. You're not a good candidate for a government stitch-up."
"Would Matt make noise?" Brody asked, glancing at Libby. He didn't have a good bead on her boss. The only time he'd seen him was when he'd answered questions for records.
"Matt," Inspector Hussein said, voice dry, "has called me every day for an update and some sort of assurance that Ms. Wade is reasonably safe and not in need of assistance or protection."
Libby rubbed her face. "I've told him twice to stop. He worries."
"Well, I see his point. I made it pretty clear if Captain Halliday wasn't sticking around I'd be much more concerned about it."
The inspector's radio crackled then, and the sound echoed around them. "We've got a problem, the—”
An alarm klaxon sounded, sudden and grating, and the emergency lights flashed and turned the whole area red and yellow. The emergency bulkhead slammed down over the last door they'd cleared, and water started to rise through the grating in the center.