Sunday, May 21, 2006
I feel ill, literally and figuratively
Well, I don't feel sick any more. "I felt sick" just doesn't sound right as a title. But the figurative part is still true, even if I got over the literal part fairly quickly.
Basically, everyone on the investigation from the FBI was working overtime last week and I was along for the ride, as was Gertie and Telly and everyone else who could swing it. It was the last week of undergraduate classes and finals at Harvard, and half the suspects would be heading out of town as their classes finished up, and who knew what would happen then. That meant a lot of trying to get to work early so I could get out early and help spy on college kids, and then doing that into the night. You almost inevitably eat like crap when you try to keep that sort of schedule, so by Friday afternoon, I was completely wiped out. I wasn't the only person at the office who thought something was up with the climate control - the guy in the next cube had his jacket on when I walked past - but I seemed to be the only one who couldn't find a happy medium. I'd be shivering with a chill, but a couple minutes after I put my coat on, I'd be feeling almost feverish, centered right behind the eyes.
I'd have bailed early, but I spent all of Thursday being questioned/debriefed after what happened Wednesday night. And, of course, any sort of incident with the nano stuff just makes me even more hyper-conscious of any sort of headache or feeling weird in general. I think it freaks me out more than everyone else involved because I've more or less accepted my new life and thus have a harder time looking at it like "oh, I'd still be me in a new body" if that happened. I know better.
But I think I'm more angry than freaked out. We had her! We were in the right place at the right time and we still stumbled. Gad, it pisses me off.
I'd grabbed a seat in the back of the Harvard Square Boloco, having a burrito while watching kids study and come in and out for studying fuel. Or just food because their fridges are cleared out and who needs to go grocery shopping for just a few days? Anyway, I'm trying to look like most of my attention is on my laptop when I notice that someone else has left their laptop unattended for almost twenty minutes. This strikes me as weird, since I generally don't leave mine around at all. I remembered it was a college aged girl, and I'd seen her get up to go to the restroom. I squinted a little and saw that what I'd assumed was a Wi-Fi card didn't actually have any stickers or brand-name or marks of any kind. Oh, hell, I think, it's like the one at the hospital.
I pull out my cell phone and speed-dial Agent Jones, saying I think I've found her and she's got the equipment out to switch. He says to stay put, but I say we may already have lost her and the only female agent on the team is across the river at the med school, so who's going to follow her into the ladies' room? Besides, she's tiny and there's no way I could have won a fight with a bigger girl three years ago - a month and a half is long enough to get everyday stuff down, but trusting your reflexes and instincts in a really physical situation? Uh-uh. Jones reminds me that I hadn't planned to be in a new body while Korpin most likely had, says he knew involving civilians was a bad idea, and says just to be very careful and that agents were on the way.
I grunt, get up, and keep him on the line. As I'm walking past the girl's laptop, I snap it shut, figuring that this will put it into hibernation mode. After a couple steps I double back and pull the card out of its slot and drop it into my purse. One of the girls at the counter yells "hey, you can't do that" and chases me to the ladies' room, which is empty.
I look around, and I'll be damned if I know where she is. The counter-girl grabs me, and I shake her off, pissed, and start yelling like I actually have some authority. I ask if she knows where the girl who this thing belongs to is. She doesn't know, and asks who I thought I was, and thankfully that's when the FBI comes through the door with their badges out.
Jones walks over to me, asks me to point out the laptop. I bring him over and show him the show him the PC card I swiped. He tells me it's good thinking, and I smile a little. He opens up the laptop, and the Windows desktop shows up. That's weird, I say, I didn't know you could disable entering your password there. He stares at the screen, and then says we've been set up. A second later his phone rings. "Yes?" "Can you get a location?" "And the other?" He listens for a second, says to keep doing what they can, and hangs up.
He shuts the laptop and calls the other agents over. "That was the listening post; they just detected the switching signals. They could only find one location, within a couple hundred yards of here, so either they're both in that area or one's out of range. In any case, the clock is ticking, so let's get looking."
I start to follow, but he stops me. "We're not talking about a ninety-five pound girl who doesn't know how to handle herself anymore, Marti. You'd better go home; we'll debrief you tomorrow."
I protest, but it's not like there's much anyone can do. They're looking for a new needle in a haystack without a search warrant.
Damn it! We were so close!
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