“Is there a reason you’re following me?” The tall man in the scuffed brown shoes directed his question at Agent X with the sharpness of a thrown dagger. The words, which might have sounded casual coming from anyone else, were full of tension and suspicion and his body language matched that energy. The muscles of his arms underneath the long tan trench coat were tightly coiled and ready to spring into action, and one hand had slipped underneath his coat in the direction of his left rib, where Agent X was sure he kept his firearm.
She knew better than to respond in kind. At the Citadel she and the others had been trained to handle any and all situations, and she knew that when someone was in defense mode, the worst thing to do was exhibit aggression. Besides, she had wanted him to notice her.
“What makes you think I’m following you?” Agent X slowly raised both her hands up, palms out, and took two small steps back.
“Because this isn’t my first rodeo” He scoffed, removing his hand from under his jacket, revealing not a gun, but a badge. “I have a gun in there, too”, he added, as if reading her mind.
Agent X furrowed her brow, trying to process this new information quickly so as to not miss a beat. She shouldn’t have been surprised. During her research it had become very clear that Bash Industries had almost everyone in Corver City on the payroll.
“So, you’re one of Sebastian’s crooked cops” she lowered her hands and shook her head in disgust. She had hoped for a more interesting and less predictable turn of events. She had hoped that this person could have provided information that she didn’t already know. She started to turn to walk away until she caught sight of his eyes.
Some people might associate heat with the color red, most likely due to idioms such as “red hot”, but Agent X knew that the hottest flame was not red, but blue. Blue flames can burn at temperatures of up to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, and that was what she saw now in the eyes of the man standing in front of her. He was angry. No, he was livid.
“I should arrest you just for saying something stupid like that” He put his badge away and crossed his arms over his chest, his fiery eyes taking her in from head to toe. “Who are you?”
“Who are YOU?” She shot back, also crossing her arms and squaring up with him. “If you don’t work for him, what were you doing in his office? You certainly weren’t there to arrest him”
In truth, Agent X didn’t care about what Sebastian was doing in Corver City that made him so powerful and so protected, she didn’t care who he blackmailed or manipulated, who he stole from or pissed off. She was there to do a job, but in order to do that job she needed to get close. A cop who wasn’t living under Sebastian’s thumb might prove useful to her.
They stood staring at each other for a full minute, neither one wanting to volunteer any information to the other first, but also not wanting to walk away from a person who potentially could provide them with what they both wanted the most; to get at Sebastian. Finally, the tall man with the fiery blue eyes broke the silence. His taut shoulders relaxed, the flames subsided from his eyes, and he stepped forward closing the gap between himself and Agent X.
“My name is Chase, I’m a detective with the Corver City Police Department” He stuck out his hand for her to shake.
Agent X took his hand and he squeezed hers firmly briefly before withdrawing. His skin had felt dry and warm, like desert heat. She knew that he was waiting for her to introduce herself, but before she could say a word an alarm from within Bash Industries began blaring, a loud mechanical voice announced that the building was on lockdown and asked that everyone please stay where they were and remain calm.
A frenzied looking security officer ran by them, a radio on his belt. The static and voices coming from the radio was a chaotic orchestra of pops, hisses and snaps, like a field of dry grass igniting in a sudden storm. Chase snatched his badge out of his jacket again and caught the arm of the security guard as he passed.
“What’s going on?” Chase asked, flashing the badge at the panicked guard who couldn’t have been more than 20 years old.
“I…I… don’t really know” the youngster exclaimed, his cheeks red and flushed. He rotated between staring up at the towering Bash Industries and looking at Chase’s hand, clasped firmly on his elbow.
“You know something” Chase purposely evened out his tone of voice until he sounded almost soothing. “I’m a cop, I can help”
“Yes, sir” The young security guard visibly calmed and took a deep breath. “All I heard was that the CEO of Bash Industries has been abducted from his penthouse office, that’s all I heard”
“Sebastian?” Agent X exclaimed. She and Chase exchanged one quick glance at each other and without saying a word they both ran back into Bash Industries, leaving the confused security guard alone with the crackling static of his walkie talkie.