|Red Cell One
Author: Tajjas PM
Apparently when Cooper had said that he was putting together an experimental team with the blessings of the FBI Director, he'd really meant experimental. Chronicles the start of Cooper's Red Cell team from the perspectives of Mick and Prophet.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Friendship - Mick R. & J. Simms/Prophet - Chapters: 15 - Words: 38,145 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 01-07-13 - Published: 07-10-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8305588
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thanks to everyone who read and narwhayley for reviewing.
Prophet threw himself down on his couch with a sigh. Today had not been a good day. To put it mildly. Of course, it could have been worse, but that wasn't saying much considering how close he'd come to cracking Mick's jaw. Fortunately Mick had accepted his apology easily enough—and more fortunately he hadn't actually broken any bones—but he didn't need his temper getting away from him like that again. He couldn't afford to let his temper get away from him like that again.
He ran a hand over his face. He'd known that cases involving kids would be an issue for him, he and Cooper had talked about it more than once, and it had come up quick in the decidedly-less-than-comfortable interview he'd had with the director too, but up until a little while ago he'd been holding it together pretty well. Right up until they'd not found Emily at Mrs. Addison's house.
He grabbed the remote off the coffee table and thumbed the television on. Hopefully there would be a game or something on to help him get his mind off things. Not that he expected it to help much; the hum of the radio in the background certainly wasn't doing any good.
At first, when they'd gotten the case, he'd told himself that she was dead and there was nothing that he could do except try to catch her killer. He hadn't liked it—who would?—but he knew the odds as well as anyone, and that done is done and that some things couldn't be fixed were concepts that he'd learned a long time ago. But then there had been hope, damn it all, and losing it again had hurt.
He shook his head. Mick was right. If Mrs. Addison had kidnapped Emily, and Prophet still thought that she was the best suspect, it made sense that she'd be keeping her somewhere besides her house. They just had to figure out where that somewhere was.
He groaned and flipped the television off again without even a glance at whatever had come up on the screen. If they were going to get many cases like this, he was going to have to pick up a punching bag somewhere. He should have done it already. Would have, if he'd thought about it. For now, though….
He shoved the coffee table out of the way and rolled to the floor, dropping into the pushup position. It wasn't the first time in his life that he'd needed to burn energy and had no equipment available. Besides, while Mick had clobbered him on the rifle range this afternoon—completely expected, although Prophet appreciated the fact that when Trevors and a couple other guys there had made comments about it, Mick had promptly kicked their asses too, even if he didn't doubt that Mick had just been looking for an actual challenge when he'd done it—that didn't mean that he was going to let the guy get a leg up on him when it came to hand-to-hand. He'd probably never beat Mick for speed, the fact was that he was almost forty years old and his reflexes were never going be those of a twenty-some year old kid again, but he had more muscle than most people realized and didn't plan on losing it anytime soon. And maybe if he did enough pushups, he could wear himself out enough to sleep tonight.
Prophet took a deep breath. The chalkboard hadn't magically filled itself in any more, but that wasn't exactly a shock, and he was as ready to give it another go as he was going to get. He and Mick had been filling items in individually yesterday, but maybe comparing notes would let them check off a few more squares.
"Okay, we've only got three pieces of chalk left, so try not to go smashing them to dust before we get this all sorted out, yeah?" Mick said.
"You're funny. Really."
"I've always thought so."
A reluctant grin escaped at Mick's smirk—if he was at all worried about Prophet's temper, he was showing no sign of it—and Prophet shook his head. "So what have we got?"
"Well, we've got the quilting society Monday from ten-thirty to noon. Looks like both of us put names in that one."
Prophet nodded. It might have been a good idea to use different colors of chalk or something, but as it was, they had distinctive enough handwriting that it wasn't hard to tell who had written what.
"And then needlepoint on Wednesday from one to two." Mick shook his head. "I didn't know people actually did needlepoint."
"I'm not totally sure what needlepoint is. But then again, I can't sew much beyond patches, and that's only if you aren't too picky about it looking pretty, so I don't think I'm the person to talk to there."
Mick shrugged. "I guess it's an option when you're seventy and looking for something to do in your free time. The Ladies' Tea is Friday at noon…are those the only morning and early afternoon activities we have for her?"
"Well, she used to read to kindergarteners, but that's only during the school year. Eleven to noon on Tuesdays."
Mick scribbled it in but put a light line through it afterwards, and Prophet didn't object. If only because it made the chalkboard look the smallest bit less empty.
"And at night we have bingo six to eight on Tuesdays and then bridge at the same time on Fridays. Usually following dinner. Or…wait." Mick took a step back, frowning at the chalkboard. "Why did you put Bingo on Thursdays?"
"Because Bingo is on Thursdays."
Mick set the chalk down and started digging around in his notes. "No, I'm almost sure Mrs. Williamson said…yeah, here it is. Bingo is Tuesdays in the basement of the church…." He trailed off with a frown. "Well, the church something, I'm not totally sure what I wrote there, but it's the building next to the church. She hasn't played in a while because of her hip—in fact Mrs. Addison has been visiting her on Mondays after the quilting thing, I guess I should have written that in—but she was pretty clear about the day."
"I think that says 'annex,'" Prophet said, leaning over to look at Mick's notepad. "Possibly with a couple too many ns. Seriously, man, where did you learn to spell?"
"Shut up. Anyway, Tuesday."
"Except that they moved out of the church annex because of flooding a month or so ago." Prophet scanned through his own notes quickly. "Yeah, right here. A sprinkler got set off accidentally somehow, and by the time someone figured out how to shut the thing off it had flooded the entire basement. They ended up moving into the back room of some café, a room that they could only get on Thursday nights, and apparently haven't bothered to move back."
"Hey, if it was me, I'd pick a café over a basement," Mick said with a shrug. "But you're absolutely sure that they're there on Thursdays?"
"According to Mrs. Henderson and Mr. and Mrs. Kyle."
"Great, because we don't have enough blank spaces." Mick retrieved the chalk and put a line through the Tuesday night Bingo notation quickly. "All right, well, then from Coop we've got her working in the office at the church after church on Sundays—that's already on there—and on and off during the week depending on what needs doing. Fundraising or bookkeeping or something like that, but she apparently didn't have a regular schedule for it."
"She used to volunteer with one of the youth groups too," Prophet put in, "but she hasn't done that in a while so I didn't put it in. That was Saturdays, usually after the afternoon service."
"Think she stopped volunteering or got un-volunteered?" Mick asked.
Prophet rocked a hand. "I'm guessing got un-volunteered based on what her neighbors had to say about her, but who knows. She definitely didn't mention it, though; I heard it from one of her bridge partners."
Mick stared at the board for a moment and then gave one last cursory glance through his stack of papers. "And that's all I've got."
Prophet flipped through his as well, but to his absolutely lack of surprise nothing new jumped out at him. "Me too, I'm afraid. So Saturdays and apparently Tuesdays are totally empty, with lots of blank spaces left on the other days too."
"We know she claims to watch the news in the morning," Mick offered.
"Yeah, great. You want to go ahead and put the terriers in as references?" Prophet shook his head and pushed himself up from the table. "Look, I'm going to give Garcia a call, maybe she's got something new on Mr. Addison. And maybe I'll try the Kentucky PD again too. The guy's got to be somewhere."
"Hey, Prophet, do you know what time the janitor comes in?"
"What?" Prophet stuck his phone back in his pocket and dropped back down at the table. "Sometime late afternoon, I think. Why, what'd you do?" He hadn't heard any crashes while he'd been in the office making calls and didn't see anything that looked broken.
Mick shook his head. "Nothing, I was just wondering how long it takes to clean up a flooded basement and figured he'd be the guy to ask. No new leads?"
"Nothing from the police—although I had to run through the whole thing from the beginning just to get them to look him up in the computer so I'm thinking there hasn't been a lot of searching going on—and Garcia pulled Mrs. Addison's phone and credit card records but nothing strange jumped out. She's going to email them over, just in case, but I don't think there's anything there for us to work with."
"Are we supposed to have access to those?"
"No comment." He'd heard a rumor while he was at the academy that one of the FBI techs was so good they'd been given the option of FBI or prison for some stuff they'd done pre-FBI, and he was starting to wonder if that happened to be their tech. "However, on the upside, she does think has a line on a rental car Mr. Addison might have taken. The name it was rented under was totally bogus, but it's a bogus name he's used previously, and she's waiting for them to send her the security feed to see if we can get a positive ID."
"Well, if he's in a rental car, that's good news. I mean, those have trackers, right?"
"Yeah. She'll call me back as soon as she has something. But as far as cleaning up flooding, a lot depends on how much water came in, what equipment—pump, wetvac, fans, whatever—is available, that sort of thing. You generally want to get it done as soon as possible, though, because water messes stuff up pretty quick. Why?"
"Well, if the basement of the church annex flooded over a month ago, shouldn't they have cleaned it up by now?"
"Definitely. At least if they didn't want to get stuck having to rebuild most of it." He frowned, leaning over to look at what Mick was reading. "Wait, they haven't?"
"I don't know. I mean, we know they moved the Bingo games to the café and haven't moved them back, but I was looking through the rest of my notes and there are comments from some of the people she worked with about doubling up offices in the church itself, moving the religious classes they teach to the church as well after services…there's no mention of anyone using the annex after the flood."
"Oh. Well, that doesn't mean they didn't get the flooding cleaned up," Prophet said after a moment. "If they had to rip out drywall or insulation or flooring or whatever, they might still be waiting for money to replace it." When he'd been in construction, his job had always involved actually doing the work not finding the money to get it done, but that didn't mean that he hadn't heard plenty about the joys of waiting for insurance payouts. He paused as Mick's words set in. "Wait, you're saying that building has been sitting unused for the last month?"
"The basement for sure. I don't know about the upper level, I know some people said they moved offices, but I guess there might be others still there." One shoulder twitched. "Either way, we've got at least an unused floor that probably isn't flooded anymore, that we know Mrs. Addison has access to, and that no one has used in a month. I don't know what kind of soundproofing it might have, but…."
"It's a basement, it wouldn't need more than standard building material if no one else is using the building." Having offices still in use on the main floor would make it harder, but…. Prophet drummed his fingers against the desk. "You know, if they were using it for offices and classes and Bingo and whatever, it has to have a bathroom too. Maybe even some kind of break room or mini-kitchen. They said they turned the water to the sprinkler off to shut off the flood, but unless they did it from the main—which is unlikely—the rest of the building should still be fine."
"Plus, since Mrs. Addison volunteers at the church, no one would think twice about seeing her in the area no matter what day it was." Mick pulled out his phone and raised an eyebrow, and Prophet nodded.
"Call him. But tell him to be careful." Prophet gestured at the chalkboard.
"Right. It's Tuesday." Mick tapped the screen and then put his phone to his ear. "Coop? We might have something. Do you think you could convince that priest to let you and some officers take a look in the church annex?" A pause. "Well, it looks like the basement, at least, has gone unused since it flooded—which was before Emily disappeared—and Prophet says they should have cleaned up the flooding even if they haven't replaced stuff yet. And Mrs. Addison has access."