jody stood looking out the window as the t-squad took apart the apartment, including jody's own room and nikki's with a fine tooth comb like a tornado to beat the band like there was no tomorrow.
molligan, the oldest human detective on the t-squad, was in charge.
"i thought connie might come over herself," suzi said to him, as they watched the carnage.
molligan just shrugged. he had seen and done it all. he had seen and done things too terrible to be written down. despite the best efforts of his cohorts to bait him about connie being in charge, he never flinched but just took it one night at a time.
"do you need us?" suzi asked him.
"what? no, you can go. we know where to find you."
robbie had been waiting beside the door to the hallway. suzi nodded to him, and turned to go.
"wait," molligan told her.
"you know you are completely off the case now, right? we will now handle every thing connected to it."
"sure, we understand that."
"just wanted to make sure. and don't mention the case or anything about it to anyone, not even other officers."
"right. we know."
"it would be a good idea if you two did not even discuss it among yourselves, in case - well, just in case."
molligan looked over at robbie to see if he had heard, and the robot raised his arm to indicate he had heard.
suzi shrugged. "okay, no problem."
suzi and robbie left the apartment. suzi took one look back at jody standing in front of the window and closed the door behind them. they walked down the hall to the elevator. they were empty handed. the bag of bottles and the two books that they had intended to take with them had been left behind with the t-squad.
it was very quiet in the hallway. the other tenants, if there were any, were making no noise - as if this would keep the t-squad out if their rooms if the t-squad wanted to get in them.
robbie pressed the down button on the elevator. he looked over at suzi.
she just raised her eyebrows.
benson was second in command to molligan, and oversaw the actual work of the t-squad.
benson thought molligan looked a little lost standing in the middle of the room as the activity. but he almost always looked lost.
"what do you think," benson asked him. "evacuate the building, tear the whole thing apart?"
"no, not yet. let's talk to the suspect first." they both saw jody, standing at the window, flinch.
jody turned to them. "am i a suspect?"
"everybody is a suspect," said benson. "for everything. don't take it personally."
molligan smiled at jody. "well, young feller-me-lad, why don't we sit down and have a little chat, eh?"
"the suspect is not a feller-me-lad," said benson. "the suspect is a new human."
"i'm aware of that, benson. humor me, all right?" molligan smiled at jody again. jody did not appear to be reassured by this. "why don't we sit over here at this table."
jody moved back to the seat at the table where the previous interrogation by suzi had taken place, and slumped resignedly into it.
molligan sat across from jody, in the same seat suzi had taken earlier.
everything happens in threes.
jody wondered who or what the third interrogator would be.
"would you like something to drink?" jody asked molligan.
"sure. what have you got?"
benson interrupted. "there are beer and soft drinks in the refrigerator. but i think we should send them to the lab."
"of course. you are right," molligan answered. he thought a few seconds, staring at jody. "why don't you have one of the techs go out and get some coffee for myself and my young friend here?"
"all right," benson answered.
"how do you like your coffee?" mulligan asked jody.
"uh - black." jody didn't really like coffee.
molligan turned back to benson. "and why not have one or two of them go through the other rooms in the building - just to see if there's anybody in them."
"i was just about to do that."
"good. are they through with the targeted item?"
"it's been scanned and double-scanned."
"let me have it then."
benson hesitated. "if you insist."
molligan looked around the room as benson went over to one of the techs who was examining the targeted item as it still lay on the counter above the drawer where suzi had found it.
jody was glad molligan did not smile for the third time.
molligan still did not smile when he took the item from benson and showed it to jody.
"do you know what this is?"
"a gun. actually a handgun. is that all you know?"
"isn't a handgun a gun?"
"are you being smart with us?" benson asked jody, but mulligan held up his hand in an i'll do the talking gesture.
benson moved away, to find a couple of techs to get the coffee and search the rooms.
"indeed it is a gun," molligan told jody. "have you ever seen it before?"
jody started to say, "you've already asked me that a hundred times," but instead answered, "no, i've never seen any gun before."
"that's good. it shows that we police are doing our job. so you are not familiar with guns at all?"
"no. i hate violence."
"so do we. that's why we are here." molligan held up the item. "this is a rubberized 95-ved automatic with a sub-atomic-pressured chamber loading any magazines in the a, c or y classes. with a customized 786 grip. giving it a quick look, prior to its analysis at headquarters -"
"at p j?" jody asked
mulligan laughed. "no, p j is just for living creatures. as i was saying, it looks like it has not been personalized except for the grip. what does that tell you?"
"of course. your name is jody, right?"
"and your roommate's name was bonney. nikki bonney."
"yes, that's right."
"kind of interesting."
"what? what's interesting about it?"
a couple of rookie old human techs were scanning the walls and floors of jody's room. the door was open.
benson came up behind them. "you haven't finished that yet?"
the younger one, a male, turned. "yeah, we did. but the regs say to do a second - "
"i know what the regs say. stop and go out and get some coffee. get molligan whatever he usually gets, and black for the suspect. think you can handle that?"
"can i get some for myself?"
"sure, if you want to pay for it yourself. and then i want both of you to start going through all the other apartments in the building."
the other tech, a female, asked, "asking them what?"
"not asking them anything. just seeing if there is anyone in them, and how many of them there are."
"all right. so should we break the doors down if nobody answers?"
benson stared at the young woman. "no, if nobody answers we want you to write a note on pink stationery, and slip it under the door. do you have some pink stationery on you, goldberg?"
"uh - no."
"how about you, dooley? do you have any pink stationery on you?"
"then i guess you will have to break the doors down."
"yes, lieutenant." dooley and goldberg exchanged a brief glance.
"good. goldberg, you can start now, on the ground floor. make it the basement, there might be apartments down there. dooley, after you get the coffee, start on the top floor and work down."