I got in late last night. The new crew is shaping up. Seems a lot of them read not only the prospectus, but also the logs on what the motormedics have been able to do. Emmory's seen it first hand.
I've noticed we tend to attract the younger crowd. Its new, its flashy- or if you ask the old-timers, its just plain crazy.
Thing is it isn't new: it's just new to Seattle.
Our simulator session turned into a graduation ceremony for our first class, and an induction ceremony for the second. Turns out- they've been waiting for me to get back. In addition to the other celebrations, Ray presented Emmory and me with caving lights for our helmets. 'Just in case.'
Its good to have friends. Even if you want to throttle them sometimes.
It was good to see Case- especially after Tuesday. Of course he's still got the rest of today and tomorrow to fight through. I think I'm just going to take it easy. Maybe read a good book- or even a bad one.
I think I've earned it.
I felt wonderful after a day's rest. Sometimes I think you need that: a day with nothing to do, nowhere to go- and nobody shooting at you.
I think Case could use some of that about now. Last night he was dead on his feet, and uncommunicative. I knew it wasn't me-- he even told me as much. But its never really all that easy.
On top of everything else, he couldn't tell me about it which made for more tension than he or I really needed. I ended up giving him a back rub and making him watch stupid comedy re-runs on the trid. I think it evened him out a little, but this morning, he was headed right back into the meat grinder.
After he left for work, I headed back to the condo. I figure if I'm going to be worrying over things I can't control, I might as well get some house cleaning out of it.
I ended up dusting the statues again, inspecting them, looking for loose pieces, hidden compartments anything I could think of. The conquistador was solid bronze. If I wanted to I could probably make a modest profit selling it . Same for the Indian shaman. The Crusader was different-- heavier. I pulled out a polishing cloth and started going over it with some jeweler's rouge. The statue itself was the same hue as the other statues, but as I polished I realized that there was something coating the base. I started scraping it off and noticed that the base was changing. It wasn't bronze. Or copper... or silver...
I stopped, pulled out my multi-tool, switched to the blade and scraped off some more of the dark matterieal. I gasped, what I first thought was oxidized metal, wasn't. It was more like paint, covering what could only be... gold. My hands trembled.
If the base of statue was indeed gold and not just a nice burnished brass... this changed everything. It was an indicator of just how big the boy's trouble really was.
I held the shavings up to the light. I'd have to take it to a lab to be sure, but I was pretty sure what the results would be.
I gave the other statues another swipe with the jeweler's rouge, revealing only more bronze. Tales of Conquistadors and cities of gold filled my mind. It fit-- somehow it all fit.
I could feel it, but I was still missing the key piece-- the one that everything else hooked into. So far I had the Contquistadors, the Mayans, a date... and a statue made of gold.
Case tried to keep me on an even keel about everything, but it was hard. I know that I still didn't have all the clues, that the time is running out on the clock. But I'm finally beginning to believe that the boys were all right.
It's obvious that they'd planned this all out in advance. That it was important enough for them to put me at risk.
I'm realizing that too. They'd known I'd come- known that I'd do everything I could to find them. Known that they could use that to their advantage, so that if anything did happen to them, I'd be there as a back up.
I know they didn't plan everything. How could you plan Aaron, or Aztechnologies, or Fin for that matter.
Fin's another piece of the puzzle. He seems to be watching over me a lot more closely these days. It's almost as if he knows that something's up. I've never really asked him directly about his involvement.
I mean, he knew that there was the tape of the boys. He knew what I needed when it came to dealing with the blood magic.
That whole thing still brings shivers to me. The boys had planned this whole thing out, knowing I'd come after them, and Aztechnologies had taken advantage of that.
I hope I figure this out in time.
Case came back to the condo with me after brunch. I had to get a few things before I started shift. When I got there... everything felt wrong. It felt like somebody had been there, might still be there.
Maybe I was just being paranoid, but if I've learned one thing since I got here- If you're paranoid, there's usually a reason.
I showed Case the statue and he agreed that it looked like gold When he was inspecting it, he found the next clue. The base was detachable. The top of the base, that had been hidden by the statue, was a Mayan calendar.
Case wasn't sure, but I was. I pulled out a chip reader and showed him my notes. He gave me an excited smile and hugged me. "Looks like you got something there," he said happily.
I nodded. "But I still have no idea what it is."
He winked. "You will. "
I looked at the statue and then at Case. "Do you... have any ideas?" I asked.
Case looked at me, then hugged me. "Jess, if there's one thing I learned- its to tell you everything I know. No games, no secrets-- and I'm afraid, no answers either."
I returned the hug and nodded. "Just checking," I teased.
He looked at me a minute his eyes very serious. "Just promise me- if you find anything let me know. I don't want you alone on this."
I took a deep breath and kissed him.
It was a nice thought to carry me through the day.
I have a new problem in Tacoma- I'm bored. We've got the major areas covered and its time for me to move on. I can tell.
I know our stationing here is political: take care of the most affluent area first- then move to the most populated. I wonder how long it will be until the barrens are covered. Sometimes I wonder if I'll see that in my lifetime.
I had to force myself to concentrate and that's a bad sign. I ended up checking with HQ and confirmed the status of the project. They're pleased that we finally have at least one area covered completely.
We also agreed that downtown was next, and that I would be moving back there 'in the immediate future.' I was tempted to ask for a couple of weeks off while I had them on the line, but I still have no idea what or where I'm going to need to be. Instead I thanked them for the information, and started studying the maps again.
Now that I knew I was going 'home' I dealt a lot better with the sedate pace of Tacoma. Five Motor medics in the same area is a bit much- still it's a lot safer for all concerned.
Things are getting weird again. My tail from Aztechnologies has faded back into the woodwork. I'm not sure if they're still there, or that its been long enough since I was... uh... trapped in a cave... that they figured I'm no longer a hazzard.
I swear twice during the day when I was on call that I saw Fin. I can't explain it. I never saw him directly, just out of the corner of my eye as I tried to intubate a victim and once when I was starting an IV.
Its almost like he knows something's up. But why won't he just come out and tell me what it is. Oh, never mind, I forgot, we're talking about Fin here.
I figure I'll ask him when I see him.
I checked the stats from our calls for the past month, from the start of the program here in Tacoma to date. Our response time is up, and with it our survival rate. It's a wonderful feeling when a plan comes together.
At least it keeps my mind off of what's coming down. Nineteen days and counting- dammit guys, what were you up to.
Its funny. I've been here almost a year, trying to find anything and now- now I'm on the verge of learning what this whole thing was all about and I'm starting to go to pieces.
I think it was easier knowing I might never find out.
I'm trying to keep up with my job, to make things as normal as possible, but the clock is running down. And that is quickly becoming the only thing I do know.
Case called me today, just to see how I was holding up. He didn't ask about the boys directly- he never does on the phone. Funny that I'm just noticing that now. I knew what he was asking without him saying it. Its kinda nice knowing he'll be there for me on this. I just worry about endangering him.
I wish I could protect him from this, but I still don't even know what it is. And looking at the ring on my finger, I know that leaving him out of this would be the worst thing I could possibly do.
No, he's as much a part of this as I am- maybe more.
I'd like to say that I concentrated on my job, that I didn't think about anything else. But I couldn't. Not this close- not when I'm seeing Fin every time I turn around. I don't know if its my imagination, or if he's really there.
Kinda nice knowing that he's still watching over me- but why won't he just come out and tell me what its all about. Sometimes I think he's taken his reputation as a shadowrunner a little too seriously.
I wanted to ask Case about it, but he was still in the middle of preparing a disposition. I'll see him tomorrow night. For now, its just me, the cats and a nagging feeling that the roller coaster's about to start up again.
Eighteen more days.