Chapter One: Where getting back to normal isn't easy...
Myka stood shaking her head slowly. Pete stood chair raised in his arms. He looked from Myka to Artie and said- 'Are you sure about this?'
'No. Not at all.'
A dull bang made the two men turn look at Myka.
'What did she say?' Artie said looking to Pete.
'She said- People in glass houses...'
'Artie... Can I speak to you for minute?' Myka Bering bit her lip and hovered uncertainly behind Artie.
'Hmmm...' He was staring at the computer typing the odd letter occasionally.
'Can I speak to you...?' Myka began again.
'Yes. Go ahead.' Artie hit the enter key and turned to face her removing his glasses as he did so.
'I've been back for about five weeks now... and again, I'm so sorry for leaving... however I feel that recent assignments...'
'I know you have a whole prepared speech going on here Myka but I'm a busy man.' Artie interrupted sighing.
'Are you punishing me?' Myka blurted the question out quickly, her voice rose a little in pitch and she looked uncomfortable.
'What are you talking about?'
'You have sent Claudia, Steve and Pete out on four different cases since I got back. I've done ONE case! And whilst things didn't go quite to plan in Seattle... But Pete and I sorted things out! And the regents let me back! But since then I've been stuck with research, making coffee and my favourite pass time of all- inventory. You're still mad at me for leaving. You're punishing me Artie!'
'If you've finished telling what I am or am not doing Agent Bering...' Artie reached for his glasses, sighing.
'You chose to leave. You walked out of your job... However if you had stayed there would have been some quite serious consequences...' Artie paused to look firmly into Myka's eyes. 'But please... Please don't think that your mistakes are wiped out completely by your running away. I am still in charge here. You will do as I ask and until I see fit to change my mind. That will be inventory.'
Myka stood shaking slightly in the face of Artie's raised voice. She bit her lip, eyes wide and wet. Slowly she nodded once and turned heading out into the warehouse.
Getting back to normal was not easy. Especially when so many things had changed. It seemed to Myka that she wasn't the only one who hadn't forgiven her what happened with H G Wells... things with Artie are awkward and things with Pete felt... well, different.
A minutes after her conversation with Artie, Pete watched Myka from the balcony; she was a small dark dot moving up and down an aisle clipboard in hand. Artie hadn't let her come on an assignment since she had returned from the Tie Clip and Cuff Links case. Pete knew it was more to do with making sure she was okay than punishing her... but he doubted whether Myka knew that. With Steve proving himself more and more he hoped she wasn't feeling replaced.
She wasn't. Whether she felt that way or not. There was not another person on the planet who could replace Myka Bering. It just was not possible.
Myka, back in the office, with the others drinking coffee, heard the bleeping first.
'Artie!' The group turned to look at the bleeping computer.
'Pittsburg.' Artie looked at the screen and paused for a few moments coming to a decision. 'Pete, Myka, go get packed and I'll let you know your flight details.'
'Really?' Myka said looking excitedly from Pete to Artie.
'What did I just say?'
'Yes! Pete and Myka- together again!' Pete punched the air and grinned at his partner.
'Go!' yelled Artie. Pete and Myka hurried away.
'What about us?' Asked Steve Jinks gesturing to Claudia and himself. Claudia was looking after Pete and Myka- clearly torn between being happy they were going to spend some time together- she knew that things between them had been strained... There had been no late night conversations, or arguing or even practical jokes since Myka had returned. But whilst pleased for her friends, Claudia was sad not to get an assignment.
'You two are staying here- researching.' Said Artie looking after Agents Bering and Lattimer, there was concern on his face.
Usually the beginning of an investigation was exciting. Pete and Myka would spend the two hour journey to the airport talking about the case so far that meant: joking, bickering and generally talking things over. This time they'd started talking the details of the case over and then there had been silence.
And more silence. They'd been on the road for 20minutes.
'So... your folks okay?' Pete asked desperate to make some sound.
'Yeah...' Her voice was weak and trailed off quickly. Myka pulled a face in annoyance with herself at the passenger window, where Pete couldn't see. One word answers were not helping the awkward atmosphere.
'How are things with the new guy?' Myka asked over brightly turning to look at Pete.
'Jinks... good...' Pete tried desperately to think of something more to say. 'He has this weird thing where he can tell-'
'If people are lying... I know.' Myka finished.
'Oh yeah.' Pete bit his lip in annoyance. Why was it suddenly difficult to talk to her? It was Myka for crying out loud they'd spent over a year getting into a habit of talking to one another!
'Still pretty weird...'
The dull silence that began to fill the car again was shattered by the buzzing of the Farnsworth.
'Oh Thank God!' said both agents together.
'Hey Artie.' Myka pulled the Farnsworth out of her bag and flipped it open.
'Hey- I've got some info for you. There have been several reports of people being disappearing from their homes.'
'Abducted?' Pete asked glancing across the car.
'Hmmm... Well. It's actually several young women from the central Pittsburg have vanished. They are all blonde and in their early 20s.'
'How do we know this is artefact related?'
'Well, a few days after the girls disappear their families have received snow globes.'
'Snow globes?' Myka and Pete exchanged a puzzled glance.
'The people inside the snow globes, the families claim, bear a remarkable resemblance to the missing women.'
'Oh... so we're looking for something that puts people into snow globes...' Pete said tapping the steering wheel thoughtfully.
'Joseph Garaja made the first US snow globes in Pittsburgh in the 1920s... right?' Myka asked.
'1927.' Artie confirmed.
'How do you know these things?' Pete said shaking his head. 'So we're looking for this Garaja-guys blow pipe or something?'
'Something like that. I'll try to have more info for you when you get to Pittsburgh.'
'Thanks Artie.' Myka snapped the Farnsworth shut and leaned back against her seat, thinking deeply.
Despite the welcome interruption the silence came back in full force. Pete, trying to focus on driving, felt the tension rise in shoulders. Things just weren't back to normal.