Well, this morning we were supposed to be airlifted out of the training area, but one of the towns down the valley from us was still having problems finding all their people.
And so our little adventure became a real life application of what we'd been covering in training. Case tried to get me to go home, but there was work to do... and I can search with the best of them, I'm just not in much shape for rescuing.
On the bright side, I got my workout yesterday without doing the assigned exercises. We found four out of the seven missing today and the director is figuring we'll find the other three in the morning.
I was able to treat two of the people we found, the other two were beyond anything I could do save pray. Considering how bad it was, I think we got off rather easy.
Its going to take some time to rebuild the damage done here, but every one seems intent on building right back where they'd been hit in the first place.
Red Cross and the Crow rescue units arrived by mid day, and by five we were all headed back to the city.
So much for a week in the country. I think I'll stick with the city.
Since I have proven myself unsuitable for dispatch and unable to even keep a simple assignment simple, Citywide has placed me on administrative leave for the duration.
Basically it's a paid vacation. Case tells me I should take it as such, but - you know me, I need to be doing something. I ended up stopping by the Star to try and get back to the way things were, but it wasn't the same. Andrews was gone, and there was no getting around that. At least the other officers aren't looking at me like I crawled out from under a rock.
Then again, they aren't going out of their way to apologize either. Some of these people considered Darringer a friend and a boon to the department. I proved him a menace. He may have been good, but he forgot two little rules- 'innocent until proven guilty' and something about protecting and serving.
Other than that, the man was a saint.
Case came with me- I'm really glad he did. I don't think I could have taken everything without him being there. I can deal with glares, I get them often enough, but that and seeing the empty desk where Andrews always sat-- it would have been too much.
Case introduced me to the detective taking over the boy's case. Saying the man was brusque would be like saying I seem to attract trouble. He felt that civilians involved in police cases were either a simple pain, or they were trying to confuse the matter. He even went as far as to insinuate that I may have had something to do with my brothers' disappearance.
I almost said something, I almost said several somethings, none of which would have been charitable- but Case knew it was time to take me out of there and see about finding me something less stressful to do in my new found free time.
He ended up taking me to the clinic and leaving me in Trina's care while he took care of a few things. Yeah, great- my friends are babysitting me.
Ah well, there's always tomorrow.
Today I ended up helping out at the clinic until around 2:00, when Casey came and picked me up. I have to admit, I was being a bit peevish.
I'm really not used to having people take care of me- shuttling me everywhere. I'm the one who's supposed to be taking care of people. I would be a lot better if I were cleared for riding, but the therapist says that my attempts at white water body surfing have set my progress back at least a week.
It didn't help that my shoulder was killing me.
Case almost just dropped me off at the condo and said forget it, not that I'd have blamed him. Still he finally said something.
"Look Jess- I'm not the enemy here. I care about you a lot, but you keep pushing people away. Its okay to need help from time to time... you might even find that people like taking care of you."
There was something in his tone that got through to me. I looked at him for a long time and I realized how much I liked having him there for me- and that maybe... maybe there was a lot more to it than just taking care of a friend.
Yeah, after all we've been through I realize it now. What can I say... I'm a little slow on the uptake.
"Do you think we can make this work?" I finally asked.
He looked away from me for a minute. I think he was preparing the infamous 'my job is very dangerous and stressful' speech, but he stopped. I mean- he's talking to a paramedic - a motor-medic at that.
"I'd like to try," he said.
He ended up having to go down to the station around 7:00, but at least we got a few things straightened out.
Casey dropped me off at the condo this morning so I could spend some time with the cats before they forgot what I looked like. Found a note in the fridge.
I hope Fin hasn't been waiting long- I haven't been home much lately.
I took a walk over to the diner and had breakfast there, caught up on the neighborhood gossip. It seems Case and I are quite an item.
Sheesh! They figured it out before I did.
I wanted to tell them he was just a friend helping me over a rough spot, but I couldn't even kid myself about it anymore.
Fin caught up with me on the way home. True to form instead of telling me anything, he handed me a piece of paper and then walked on by. Sometimes I think the boy's way too freaky for the rest of the world- but I'm beginning to realize that he fits right in- in Seattle.
It was a node address. Guess he's figured that it beats leaving information in the fridge- one can always hope.
I didn't get to check it out until after Case got back. He took me over to Blue's so I could find out what Fin was getting at. The information was vague, but at least it was something about the boys. Nothing specific, just a list of a few job's they'd done for a local fixer... and his name.
Case told me what he knew about the man on the way back to his place. It wasn't much, but it confirmed that he was probably somebody I wanted to get to know if I ever wanted a lead on what the boy's had been up to. If anybody knew, it was probably this man.
He went by the name "Felix Leiter." Case explained that it was the code-name of a CIA agent in a series of old flat screen movies. The man worked in the 'gray' market, brokering services that weren't exactly legal but weren't exactly illegal either- shadow work. According to Fin's files, he'd hired the boys on more than one occasion.
I finally took a deep breath and met Casey's eyes. "You knew the boys didn't you?"
He froze for a minute and I could see it in his eyes. He knew them alright, and he didn't like my use of the past tense. "They're fine," he finally told me. "You have to believe they are..."
I could tell that part of that was hopeful thinking on his part and trying to keep my spirits up.
"Felix Leiter, I presume."
I could tell by the way he winced, I'd hit the mark. He knew them all right, and he knew that they were in some pretty serious trouble.
I waited patiently until he finally told me... most... of the story.
He and two other agents worked as 'Felix.' They'd hired the boys on several occasions to handle cases they couldn't 'officially' be involved in. The boys, for their part, would feed information to Case and the others when they came across something too important not to handle.
That was the official part at least. He couldn't tell me how they got started, only that they were good, well polished and they came highly recommended. They'd sent him some information on AZT and Atzlan recently... about a month before they vanished.
He had no idea what they were working on, but the information they'd sent hadn't been good. Something was brewing down south, and it looked like it was about to erupt here as well.
It was a lot to digest... all this time he'd known. He knew I was searching- knew what it was doing to me.
I wanted to be angry at him, to walk out- but it was also the last thing I wanted to do. I felt betrayed-- and yet I knew Case- at least I thought I did. I didn't know what to think anymore.
He could see that too, and I could see the self recrimination in his eyes. It took me a long time to calm down... to.. accept what he'd told me, and what he hadn't told me.
I asked him to take me home.
I grabbed a cab to Blue's in the morning. I needed to be alone, get away from everyone, especially Case. So much has changed, and so much is unknown.
I needed more information, I needed Fin.
It took him almost two hours to respond to my note. He finally agreed to meet me in person. Talking, what a novel concept. I wasn't in any shape to ride anywhere, so he picked me up and took me home.
I started with the hardest thing I needed first. I needed a blood mage. More to the point, I needed a blood mage I could trust.
"Jess," Fin told me shaking his head. "That's what we in the business call an oxymoron. Can't you talk to Mario... or to Mrs. Walker?"
I shook my head. "They've already done what they can," I explained. I needed someone who could explain what Raz and her people did to me.
"I'll see what I can find, but..."
I could tell he was trying to prepare me for the worst possibility. "Just do what you can," I told him. I knew it was a long shot, but if I knew what I was up against... or maybe... could undo what was done.
I stopped. That was getting ahead of myself. We hadn't even found someone we could trust, and trusting doesn't mean they can help. It's a longshot, but- I'd feel a lot better knowing what we're up against.
There were a few other things we discussed, but that was the important one. After he dropped me off at the condo, Fin headed out. Thankfully he didn't ask me about Case.
Once inside I checked the machine. Case had called me 5 times.
I don't know what I'm going to do.
Trina stopped by this morning. She told me that Case had called her, tried to explain what was going on. He was probably counting on her to talk some sense into me. Bet he was surprised when Trina told I had every right to be angry with him-- You don't keep something like that secret especially when its somebody you care about.
There's something to be said for trust, and right now... I can't trust him.
It didn't take Trina long to figure out that there was a lot more than Case bothering me. I finally confided in her what's really been bothering me- I'm not getting any better.
It's taken me this long to admit it, even to myself. Its like I hit a plateau and everything just stopped. I'm still exhausted and I' still having nightmares. For the most part it isn't even images... just - feelings.
Terror, pain- hopelessness... despair - mostly but there's also a very unclean feeling to the nightmares. They healed the wounds they'd made, but it's almost as if they're still there on some level.
That wasn't the end of it either. My energy levels were still way too low. I admit, it could be that I'm just not sleeping right because of the nightmares but the nightmares have Raz written all over them and maybe my subconscious is screaming at me that something is still very wrong.
Trina checked me out and said I looked fine, asked me if I wanted Mario to take a look at me. I took a deep breath and finally nodded. If it is what I think it is, he's not going to be able to help me... Mrs. Walker either- what was done is definitely not their style.
He looked at me and patted my shoulder. He couldn't see anything really, but he could see the effect things were having on me. He made me go to bed and stay there. I slept, but again I may as well have been out playing squash for all the good it did.
Last night Trina stopped by and brought some sleeping pills for me. I'm not sure what she gave me, but it definitely knocked me out. Go directly past sleep and immediately into comatose.
I was still tired when I woke up around 3:00 but at least I hadn't had any nightmares. Mario and Trina had been taking turns checking on me. When I finally woke up, they both wanted an explanation.
Mario was definitely unhappy with my prognosis, and even less pleased that I was looking for a blood mage to deal with it.
"No good can come of blood magic," he warned me. "Not that kind anyway."
I looked at him for a moment, but he wasn't telling me anymore.
I looked at Trina questioningly.
She shrugged; there were times even she couldn't fathom her father.
It was very quite, and I could feel a chill in the area as Mario stood and glared at me. "No good can come from blood magic," he told me again. "None! If you choose this path... there is nothing I can do for you... Nothing any of us can do for you."
He walked out after that. How can I tell him its already too late, that Raz and her friends have already put me in the middle of something and the only way out- is to go deeper in.
Still, there isn't even a guarantee that Fin will find anything. Its like he said, trustworthy and blood mage don't seem to be things that are used in the same sentence.