A/N - This story takes place during 1x04 "Gravedancing".
GDD Assembly Point
5 Miles from the Athena Academy
The spires of the Athena Academy could be made out poking through the treeline in the distance. I stood with my partner, Agent Claire Ratliff, beside our car as we waited for the rest of the team to assemble. Claire had brought a flask of shockingly strong black coffee with her to help wake her up after what appeared to have been a late night on the town, later than perhaps she should have and we drank it as we waited. Surprisingly it was Special Agent Jordan Duram who was keeping us waiting even though he was running the show.
"Well this is a first," said Claire checking her watch on her right hand before sipping some more of her coffee the steam from which twisted and turned into the cool and brisk morning air.
"He must have pulled some serious strings to get a warrant for this," I added as I pondered on what we were about to do.
"Oh I would love to know what kind of deal he made to get this one," she chuckled. "When he thinks he's right he always puts that scrawny ass of his on the line to prove it. I'd love to see it booted back just once."
It was no secret that Claire had a strong dislike for Duram although I would have liked her to have been more discrete about it since I was her partner. I was pushing close to thirty five years old and I had no interest in spending the rest of my career with the GDD on some BS assignment because I'm tied to Ratliff who pissed off one of the department's 'golden boys'.
Despite her third cup of coffee she continued to yawn and her eyes looked very heavy indeed.
"Rough night?" I asked half amused and half irritated with her.
"Big night," she replied grinning.
"I'm afraid to ask."
"Come on, Bowman, you were young once," she teased.
"I was never young," I replied dryly. "I was born in my thirties complete with receding hairline and mid-life crisis. Oh here we go!" It was at that moment that I saw Jordan Duram's car coming up the quiet country road. Following behind him was a large white van with a portable satellite dish on top. It was followed by a similar looking van but with a different livery emblazoned on the side. "I don't believe this."
Claire smirked and shook her head in amused disbelief. "That arrogant bastard! He's only gone and invited the press."
I watched Jordan pull up on the side of the road before climbing out. The media vans stopped also and the reporters clambered out carrying a host of cameras. They quickly began filming either pointing the camera at us or at their own reporters. As the frenzy began to unfurl and Jordan was swamped with questions he took a look over at me as if wanting some kind of approval for what he was doing. I wasn't going to give him one and I think he knew it. Me and Jordan went way back. We both had dirt on the other and we had both come to a mutual understanding that we would keep quiet for the others sake but the result was that what was once a strong friendship had now deteriorated into mutual dislike and often loathing of one another. I think his desire for my approval was his way of pondering back to a less complicated time when the STO where all but a memory and Caprica was not so chaotic but above all frightened. As I looked back at him holding my expression firm I saw for only the briefest of seconds that he too, like the rest of the general population, was angry and scared.
It is a long proven fact that fear turns wise men into fools..
30 Minutes Later
"Global Defense Department! We have a search warrant! Please step away from the lockers!"
Clutching the bolt cutters firmly in my hand I entered the main building with Duram, Youngblood and Claire along with several of the 'dogs' - members of the GDD who didn't hold 'Agent' rank - in short the GDD's muscle. Duram ordered the press to wait outside while we began tearing open the lockers that lined the walls. One after the other we opened each locker and began a search for explosives, wires, detonators or anything that could be fashioned into some kind of bomb or Improvised Explosive Device (IED). At first the press cooperated but after a while they became anxious to film and photograph what was going on and were soon pushing their way in further and further through the front entrance. Teachers were screaming a whole host of insults at us as we went about our search while many students either wept or tried to retaliate only to be restrained outside for questioning before release.
It was chaos!
After an hour we had finished destroying the padlocks and searching the lockers. I had never felt like such a bully in all my life. I knew it had to be done but I couldn't help but feel there was a better way of going about it. And after all this what was the result - we found nothing.
Duram was looking positively enraged. The press were now buzzing around the school like swarms of flies interviewing crying school kids and angry teachers all of whom were cursing our names. The line between us and the students had now deteriorated and finally Duram gave the order most of us were silently praying for.
"Alright! That's it, let's go!"
As we tried to leave through the front entrance we found ourselves trying to move through a sea of people. Most of them were students trying to get to their lockers to inspect the damage or try and get hold of their things before some would-be thief took advantage of the situation and helped themselves to whatever was inside.
Duram had it worst of all. The reporters thrust microphones in and tape recorders into his face hoping he would admit he was wrong but instead he only gave them a very diplomatic, "No comment at this time. A statement will be released later today."
As the door came in sight over the flowing heads of busy people I felt someone crash into my right side. I looked down to find a blond girl about seventeen years old trying desperately to pick up a bundle of books she had dropped from the impact. Perhaps I was looking for some kind of repentance but I felt I couldn't just leave without helping and so I leaned down and helped her gather up two rather neat looking exercise books that had landed by my feet.
The girl saw my hand picking them up and her startled eyes shot wide open in surprise and horror. It was as if my simple act of kindness was in someway an accusation. She was afraid of me. I can't say I blame her. This had just been one huge fiasco. If we had found something, anything at all, then we would have been justified but we found nothing and had only alienated the students and staff. Worse still it had all been caught on camera by the media.
"Sorry," I said handing her back the books. I don't know if I was apologizing just for the collision or whether it was for this whole sad affair. The girl rather sheepishly took the books and nodded a silent appreciation before quickly disappearing into the crowd.
"Bowman!" called out Claire from the door. "Let's go!"
Seven Hours Later
I stared at the blinking display of my personal computer trying to write my report regarding the Academy for the written record. The words failed to produce themselves despite several attempts to get started. Duram had taken most of the heat for the raid. He had spent the better part of the day in his office with Youngblood going over everything they had in case they had missed something first time round from the Academy or later at the Graystones. I had never seen him like this before. He was extremely stressed and short tempered when he was usually quite calm and controlled. Only Claire seemed to be taking pleasure in all of this. She had enjoyed watching Duram take such a big fall even though the truth was that it was a big hit against all of us. Somehow she didn't see it that way.
"Could you try and enjoy this a little less please?" I asked after having had enough of watching her smirk out the side of her mouth. "Don't you have a report you could be doing?"
"I did it earlier," she replied smugly.
"Then find something to do would you?"
"I am doing something," she replied. "I'm waiting for you to give up and drive me home."
"Ever heard of the bus?"
"Well I've recently taken a strong dislike to using public transport. There's something about the possibility of getting blown up that really makes me feel uncomfortable. Besides I was thinking that you and Emma might fancy a drink tonight? You look like you could use one."
"I don't really feel up to it," I grumbled truthfully realizing I was in no mood for an intoxicated Claire Ratliff. A sober Claire was often tiring enough. "Anyway didn't you drink enough last night?"
"For last night I did but today is a new day," she replied as my cellphone stated ringing.
"Why don't you give your liver a chance to recover?" I said before pushing the answer button and holding it up to my ear. "Bowman!"
"Hey Bowman it's me!" declared a rather agitated sounding voice.
"Care to be more specific?" I added in a somewhat overly cynical way. I have always hated people who announce themselves on the phone like that.
"It's me, Jacob! Jacob Ellis."
That suddenly caught my attention. Jacob Ellis was known by us as being involved in the monotheist movement but was not directly involved with the STO. A few weeks ago we had chased him down and put the fear of the Gods into him in order for him to become a snitch for us. So far it hadn't paid off as well as we had hoped it would. The only really valuable information we had obtained from him was that the Maglev bombing wasn't ordered by the STO hierarchy but rather was an independent act carried out by Ben Stark in their name. It seemed that Jacob Ellis was out of the loop on a lot of the STO's business despite him embracing monotheism.
"Hello Jacob," I said snapping my fingers to get Claire's attention. "What can I do for you?"
"I need your help," he replied in a hushed voice.
"Are they onto you?" I asked immediately thinking that he had been discovered.
"No! No, at least I-I-I don't think so. I know someone you might be interested in talking to. I need your help to get her off the streets."
"I see. And is this person belonging to a certain group who are very particular about the deity they worship?"
"Yes! She's STO. Or at least was, she wants out. I said you could help. Meet me at Toby's in about half an hour."
"Alright, I'll be there," and with that I hung up the phone and reached for my jacket on the back of my chair. Claire rose to her feet knowing something was up. "Jacob Ellis says that he's got an STO member who wants to defect. He wants us to meet him at Toby's Bar."
"Are you frakking serious?" said Claire in open mouthed shock. "Are we going to tell Duram?"
"No," I said taking a moment to think. Looking at Duram working with Youngblood in his office I felt that now wasn't the time to go to him with this. He might think that the harder he works the closer he will get to the goal he has set himself but the truth was that his mind had become closed. He was losing his objectivity and his judgement was becoming impaired as a result of set back after set back on this case. "No, let's see what we got first. With any luck we can toss him something useful for a change."
"We're ging to miss the Graystones on Sarno," she uttered. "Damn, I wanted to see that."
We went down to the parking lot located underneath the building to retrieve my car. As we drove out I saw that the sun had disappeared behind the horizon and the clouds were a rather heavy and murky looking, a harbinger for a night of heavy rain. Already the first few drops were beginning to sprinkle on the windscreen of my black Scorpia Sedan as we passed through the exit gate and onto the main road. It was then that I noticed the time and realized I was going to be much later than usual getting home if this paid off. With my right hand on the steering wheel I reached for my cellphone once more with my left hand and selected the number for my house.
"No using your phone whilst driving!" chanted Claire mockingly as I waited for my wife to answer.
"Hello," replied a young voice.
"Archie!" I said recognizing my twelve year old son's voice. "Where's your mom?"
"She's in the shower. Want me to go get her?"
"No that's ok, buddy."
"You're going to be home late again aren't you?" he asked before I could even get a chance to say anymore.
"I'm afraid so, mate," I replied with a hint of frustration as I sensed the disappointment in his voice.
"Mom's going to be pissed at you," he threatened.
"Hey what have I said about you using language like that? Huh?"
"Sorry," he recoiled his voice betraying the fact that his face was screwing up in disbelief that he had blurted it out to me. I hate children swearing.
"I don't care how you talk to your friends when you use that Holoband but here in the real world you watch your tongue."
"Ok, sorry!" he repeated with a rising tone wanting to emphasize his point.
"Alright then, well let your mother know when she gets out of the shower."
"Well what time are you going to be back?" he asked.
"I don't know yet. About eleven," I replied picking out a time at random that seemed to fit what I was doing.
"If mom changes the locks before then do you want me to call you?"
"Smart ass!" I replied as I heard him chuckle down the phone. "Alright take care, buddy."
"You too, Dad."
There was a clicking sound and the phone went dead. I tossed it down into the well in the door and returned both my hands to the steering wheel. I do genuinely love my job but the hours are a nightmare to work around with family. Any promise I make to Emma and Archibald can be broken with a short phonecall from the office. I like to think they understand and on some level I'm sure they do but people can only take so much.
With that particular unpleasantness behind me I switched my brain over to the task at hand. Just who would I be meeting with at Toby's Bar?