It was a icy day when I arrived in Washington D.C. Not my haunt of choice, but it made for an okay vacation spot if that was the kind of thing you were into.
I'm a forensic anthropologist. That usually doesn't mean much to anyone unless you're in the field, but what I do is simple enough to comprehend. When a body is found so decomposed or past the stage of recognition through finger-prints and flesh and all that what-not that coroners and medical examiners deal with, I get called in. I look at the bones. And usually - well, lets face it, practically always - I can learn things from them that can make or break a case. Identity. Cause of death. This is my realm. This is my kingdom.
Now, back to the point: While D.C is home to the White House, the National Museum, and any other number of monuments that Americans are proud to call their own, it is not such a fun place to work. Especially not in the winter.
The one plus I had to look forward to: five star hotel.
Normally, I work half my time in Quebec, at the Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de medecine ledgale, where I get to regularly brush up on my chunky French, and sometimes brush up with my slightly more than friends partner, SQ detective Andrew Ryan. That is, when he isn't too amused with his brand new, 19 year old, party-going daughter.
The other half of my time is spent in Carolina, where I grew up, where the summer is warm, and the air is filled with flowers. Even in winter, it hardly ever snows, and you can never, ever, be trapped in an airport.
This, as you probably have already guessed, is where I was then.
And like most things that hold me up from my job (however unpleasant it can be), it pissed me off.
I have this thing. The cops I usually work with take it in their stride, but the first responders - the rookies that arrive at the scene and call in the appropriate personnel - think it's a personal thing I have against them. It's not. Really.
I just like to have my crime scene fresh. I don't trust rookie's with avoiding contamination. Cops have a habit of turning over the body to find ID, or digging through a pile of bones for any kind of jewelry or clothing. I like to arrive before anyone's been within fifteen feet of the thing, and the surrounding is pristine since it was found. It's easier that way. Nothing can escape notice; nothing is obscuring the evidence.
But here, trapped in Ronald Reagan Naitonal Airport, I couldn't get to the crime scene. To top it all off, my blackberry had conveniently lost all charge, so I couldn't even call up the precinct to tell them to keep the area clear. In all, it seemed I'd lost my crime scene.
I'd collapsed onto one of the horrible plastic chairs lining the walls and carefully placed my luggage beneath my seat when I remembered my laptop. I'd carefully packed it in my carry-on, but I'd neglected to take it out during the flight. Maybe it still had some charge.
I rested the Mac on my lap, flipping the lid and pushing the on button. The harddrive whirred upliftingly, and the start up screen raised my spirits a bit. Hopefully it would last long enough to send a hasty email, with some possible rude words included.
I quickly opened my Mail and typed a message to the precinct. I didn't head it with a particular name. When I got called to this job, nobody had bothered to inform me about the detectives I would be working with. Instead, I got a troupe of bodyguards to the airport, and I was told another troupe would be there to pick me up. I'd managed to avoid these guards without little trouble, by changing my clothes on the plane.
My email sent, I closed my laptop and slipped it back into my bag. I stood up and paced across the corridor.
I'd managed to find one of the few secluded corridors in this airport since they closed the doors. Apparently there was some kind of snow blockage, and the vehicles usually brought in to solve this kind of problem were conveniently broken. So we were all stuck here till they could some Zamboni's or something from another airport.
In the food courts and near the doors, people were milling and crowding, but I - unlike my fellow travellers - was smart enough to know that becoming part of the crowd was pointless, so instead I was in one of the corridors that led to the aircraft themselves, and where very few people currently felt they needed to be.
My only problem about these particular spots, was my ability to be sought about my posse if they only looked.
It was at that moment that I spared a glance up to the end of the corridor, where to my disappointment, I saw the guard in black already milling at the end. With a call they saw me and started running in my direction.
'Hi,' I said calmly when they stood in front of me.
'Would you like to be taken into custody for evading arrest?' they asked me.
'No,' I replied. 'Not particularly. All I've been doing is sitting in this corridor.'
'You switched clothes. You purposely deceived us.'
'I don't really know why you're here in the first place. I don't normally have a guard when I travel. And if you haven't already looked up my frequent flyer stats, I tend to travel a lot.'
'It's for your own safety, ma'am,' the guard in front said.
'My own safety from what?'
I coughed, sarcasm oozing into my tone. 'And I don't already have high-level clearance? It's my own safety for god's sake!'
The two men in front looked at me, then at each other. One gave a small nod, and the other turned back to face me.
'There's been a threat on your life.'