Thursday, November 21, 2013

12. cruising

by jeremy witherington

illustrated by rhoda penmarq and konrad kraus

to begin at the beginning, click here

for previous chapter, click here

goldberg found the single squad car parked outside. the other two had gone back to the station.

she had driven the car over so she knew the codes. she opened the door with one code and got in and started the car with another. it felt strange being in the big car by herself.

she pulled away from the curb.

she didn't think it made much sense to just drive around looking for abdul, or that there was much chance of spotting him. but she was in no position to argue with molligan, and she was grateful that he had not been upset at what had happened.

she drove slowly past a couple of alleys. the wide car would not fit down them if she saw anything. she would have to stop, lock the car and go down the alleys on foot.

did this make sense? she didn't want to call molligan again and ask for advice.

she decided to make a wide circle, fast, around two or three blocks . and if she didn't see any sign of abdul, come back and cruise the streets and alley entrances more slowly and methodically.

yes, that was the best plan she could come up with. for now.


dooley had rapped on a couple of doors on the top floor without getting any response. there were a total of seven doors, three on each side of the corridor and one at the end.

he did not see any light or hear any noise from any of the rooms.

like goldberg, he was not thrilled by benson's order to "knock down" the doors he did not get responses from.

he decided to try a couple more. maybe if he got one person, that person could tell him if the others were occupied or empty.

he hesitated in front of the third door. his phone rang.

it was molligan. dooley hit answer. "dooley here."

"any luck?"

"no, but i just got here."

"no problem. listen, benson put three of you checking rooms, right?"

"right. me at the top, morris on the sixth floor working down -"

''that's all i need to know. listen, here's what i want you to do -" molligan explained what had happened to goldberg in the basement and that she was now out in the cruiser.

"so you want me to do what?"

"just go down to the apartment this guy left from and keep an eye on it. the door will be open, just go in."

"that's all?"

"for now."

"i think i can handle that."

molligan clicked off. dooley looked around the dark corridor before heading back to the elevator.

it was still completely quiet.


for molligan, that was the easy part. he thought about calling benson and telling her to turn around, but she and the techs with her were probably back at the station already. he might as well call connie.

he called connie. there was, of course, no question of connie being "up" and available.

connie did not express any annoyance, but she never did.

"so what we have," she said when molligan finished his account, " is one new human disappearance -"

"an apparent new human disappearance. not confirmed as deliberate. "

"right. followed by the discovery of a weapon, and then, in the same building, a second disappearance. of an old human. is this correct?"

"the tech thought the second was almost certainly an old human. but it is not absolutely confirmed."

"all right. just sit tight. i will have the whole area cordoned off and shut down. i will probably have to request outside help to do that."

molligan knew that that calling for outside assistance would annoy connie more than anything else. just as he knew that there would be more than one investigation into the whole night's proceedings.

"will you be coming down here yourself?" he asked connie.

"i most certainly will. don't go anywhere until i do."


connie didn't like disappearances.

it was bad enough that humans still occasionally raped and murdered each other. but that they would deliberately try to escape from surveillance, that they would deliberately try to withhold their information - that struck at the very heart of the system.

she called benson and told her to get back to the crime scene, leaving only enough officers and techs to keep the station open.

she called two more of her stations that were close enough to give quick assistance.

she called central. she gave a low estimate of the backup she needed. if central felt the situation was serious, it would send more. that would be good.

if central did not send more, that would be good too. it meant it did not think it was that serious.

after holding her for a full thirty seconds central said it would send "what was necessary".

good enough. now she would have to download herself and get down to the scene herself.

she decided to use body number 4. she seemed to remember molligan seeming a little uncomfortable with it. and she wanted him to be uncomfortable.


goldberg swung the car around another dark corner. what a waste of time.

when she got to the end of this street she would turn around and head back to the apartment and start again, more carefully.

the street was longer than she thought. what street was it exactly? she flicked on the street map on the dashboard.

she saw a human ahead. with a wide body. he was the right size.

she speeded up.

it was him! it was abdul!

she dimmed the headlights to come up behind him.

mistake. he turned as if he had noticed the dimming.

he started to run.

he wasn't very fast.

then he was gone.

she braked in front an alley.

a really narrow alley.

13. arrival and departure

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