Today I at least got to send Bri my message– compliments of one new news anchor. When Therese found out what had happened, she made sure they covered the story.
She was very careful not to do anything controversial or accusatory– just a simple ‘people story' about a mother and her message to her daughter.
I hope it got through– I'm not sure if I'm going to make it–
Tomorrow can't come too soon.
Today was– trying. I think that's the nicest thing I can say about it.
Even with all the paperwork, all the evaluations– police, lawyers and everything else– it still took 4 hours to get everything straightened out. It would have taken even longer if I hadn't agreed to report back in for the next three weeks for ‘counseling.'
I could have fought that, but after two days of waiting– anything that drew things out any longer...
I have Bri back. That's all that matters. And from now on– she will be supervised on Council Island where the Star can't come and take her away.
I tried not to think about the possibilities of other mistakes that had been made– but I couldn't help but wonder– if they made this sort of mistake with me, what about others? People who don't have the support group I have behind me... people who don't know they can' fight back...
Bri seems none the worse for the wear– but... she was a bit more clingy– not that I really noticed, I was too busy being a bit clingy myself.
This will not happen again.
I took the day off: I'd come too close to losing what was really important and I was not going to forget that. I wouldn't have been any good to anybody anyway– all I could think about was Bri.
Bri didn't seem worried– it had been an adventure for her, and she was home safe and sound now. I showed up for counseling and was signed in and then sent home. The people at the center had been briefed on what had happened, but we still had to follow the letter of Bri's release.
Otherwise the system would kick in and we would have a fight on our hands. Not that they could have taken Bri this time.
I'm not taking any chances on that.
Another visit to the counselor, another waste of time. I'm going to have to fight to have this removed from my record, but I don't care right now. Bri is back where she's safe.
She told me a little about the couple that cared for her– as much as a two year old can. Okay a twenty-two month old can. Judging by her description they lived in the Arcology– not the sort of thing I expected. As near as I could tell there were a lot of other children there.
I don't understand it. The Arcology is corporate territory– protective services is supposed to be staffed by normal everyday citizens. Ah well, I guess folks who work for Renraku still qualify– it just doesn't sit right with me.
I stopped by the house after work last night– just a quick stop to check for messages and pick up a few things. There were people from Protective Services waiting for me– it seems that surprise inspections are also part of their standard service at this point.
They weren't happy with the fact that Bri wasn't with me. They were about to read me the riot act until I gave them my lawyer's card and informed them that Bri was being watched by her god parents.
"If you want to know anything– talk to my lawyers."
They said something about obstructing justice– I said something about obstructing bureaucracy... It wasn't all that pleasant and they decided that I needed to be arrested.
Citywide and Lone Star thought otherwise. They were convinced that I was hiding behind my contacts– I told them to read the medical reports and then try and think.
I wasn't in the best of moods, but I figure I did the right thing leaving Bri with the Walkers. Nobody can take her off that Island without extradition proceedings– or my permission.
It was late when I got to the Island– but Bri was waiting for me. She was afraid they were going to take me away from her.
That is not going to happen.
This morning when I reported for work I was flanked by Citywide lawyers and instructed to follow them. I was nervous at first, I mean– they were so serious. They looked like the secret agents on those late night trids... dark glasses, twitching jaw muscles-- no smiles.
Once we were in their car, they briefed me. It was a tactical operation meant to take child services out of my life - permanently.
Armed with briefs, hospital reports and eye witness accounts they stormed the offices of child services and presented my case, petitioning them to drop the BS and clear my record. It took about 4 hours to cut through the red tape.
I hate to think how long it would have taken without their help. They were Citywide's legal shock troops, and worth every penny they were paid.
I'm glad they're on my side.
After that– after that, I was ready for anything and it was just as well– I needed that boost.
Its great when the pieces fall into place and everything seems right with the world– messed up though it may be!
Everybody was relieved that our latest crisis was over. I surprised Mrs. Walker by beating her to the warning about how things change and how its best to keep our guard up– especially when Case isn't around.
She laughed and patted my shoulders announcing to all present that, "our little girl is growing up!"
No respect I tell ya!
It was a nice peaceful day– right up until the fire.
Things had been dry, for Seattle mind you– meaning we'd only had a few squalls over the last few weeks. It was in the city– south side... Redmond.
I had enough time to gather my gear and head back in.
No rest for the wicked I guess.