Brad had to smile when he saw the image staring back at him via HUD. The tall lean and healthy body of Amber Ryenstall would put a smile on anyone's face.
Brad ‘had’ to smile for a different reason. Brad smiled because it was habit when answering a HUD video chat. You just never knew who would pop up in front of you. His grandmother had raised him to have the good etiquette of always answering with a smile.
"Smile when you answer and the person contacting you will be more inclined to smile back and that just makes a conversation easier." She would repeat. She had been a State department diplomat for twenty years and she knew what she was talking about.
Despite his grandmother's good advice, Brad smiled mainly because every time he saw Amber he instantly thought of her as 'the Rookie'.
Years earlier Amber had been a new police officer on the force. Brad himself had only been on the job a few years himself. Several of the other police officers, especially the women on the force had gone out of their way to test Amber. Practical jokes, in the field quizzes, things designed to prove to Amber that she was a Rookie and needed to accept that and learn from her superiors or the closest bully available.
Despite the fact that these on the job training episodes sometimes got a little out of hand, they did serve a legitimate purpose. It was indeed important for rookies to look to more experienced members of the force so they didn't get someone killed with their book learning. Everyone knew it was just another type of socialization, but it did work if a bully didn’t take it too far.
Amber had responded, well, differently. During a very embarrassing encounter, she had managed to allow a handcuffed suspect to not only escape from inside the police interview room, but also to handcuff her to the chair and take her uniform, leaving her dressed in the suspect's clothing.
All of this was on video, and that video was used at trial. Everyone got to see a lot more of the Rookie than was typical. Two senior officers had been somewhat complicit in the situation. They had attempted to set up Amber in a less dangerous and revealing way and Amber's response had been atypical.
But Brad had been amazed by a follow up situation. After the first event, conventional wisdom in the office had it that Amber probably wasn't cut out for this line of work, and a couple more episodes like the first would help the brass see this and turn her loose. Amber, however, had other ideas. She deftly handled the next few curve balls thrown her way and even managed to save Brad's life during a high speed chase on an escalator involving a genetically modified Lyger, a cross between a Lyon and a Tiger.
Brad attempted to take Amber under his wing and offered to mentor her, partly out of gratitude and partly out of respect for her work. Ironically, after helping as her mentor for a year, Brad and the rest of the department learned that Amber was actually with internal affairs and no rookie at all. In fact 2 years later Brad was working for Amber, who as it turned out was Brad's senior by 8 years and far more experienced.
Amber was now his official mentor! That irony always made Brad smile, he loved nothing better than irony mixed with a little paradox if he could get it.
"I hear you are up to your armpits in stiffs." Amber said smiling with a devilish grin.
Brad glanced past his HUD display and said, "It is about half and half, stiff and not so stiff." He figured half the department was laughing at the crime scene predicament he was working on by now as his video feed of the crime scene was uploaded and processed in the station.
"All joking aside Brad, pay attention on this one, Political Attention. Your victim is the nephew of one of the Joint Chiefs and the son-in-law of a serious defense contractor. Your guy there was very, very connected."
"Shit, the curve balls keep coming on this case, and I've barely even started in on the crime scene yet. As far as I can tell the only thing this guy was connected to was some extra twisted sex games. Should have guessed there would be politicians close by." he replied.
"Yep, you should have. Seriously, now put that brain of yours into Aderol mode and focus. This case needs to be closed fast, preferably before tomorrow night. That same Joint Chief just finished up a troop review and is flying back to the States tomorrow afternoon after a meeting with the new Shah of Iran. We need, you need to put a lid on this quickly. Otherwise the department is going to start looking for scapegoats."
"Thanks for the friendly warning and heads up on the time line. Anything else?"
"That's it for now."
"I'll stay in touch" Brad said and watched her image fade out replaced by a penis hanging from a hook stuck in one of the carton containers.
Continue to Next Chapter 011 – The Base Falls Off <-8