The first time I met Jess Mastriani was in a grocery store.
I was picking up some necessities for my apartment, even though I wasn't completely moved in yet (I still needed to eat, right?), and all of a sudden, I got a flash. It wasn't a big one, one that would clap a sharp pain to my temple and leave me dreading the vision that always followed, but a small one that gave me a sudden, dull, pounding ache behind my eyes, enough to make me stumble and was over in a second. Problem was at that exact moment I was turning, giving me the momentum I needed to knock myself into a shelf, dumping out my groceries along with me. Damn those half-visions, they don't give you enough of a picture to do anything with it; all they do is cause trouble.
The pretty red-head was just passing by when she heard my meeting with the jutting wall. She crouched down as I shook my head, trying to reassert my thoughts after an unintended reuniting with the floor.
"Are you ok?" She asked.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," I said. I looked at her and gasped. I knew I saw her face in the flash. This was huge. A flash never gave me anything specific.
"Is something wrong?" She asked.
"No, no, I just…" I looked around, searching for an excuse to why I gaped. Then I spotted everything I just knocked over, and groaned. "Was looking at the big mess I just made!" I cried.
Then the girl helped me pick up all the stuff I dropped and put everything back on the shelves. I thanked her warmly, payed for my things and left. I didn't think much of it. I thought the flash meant she would help me. Oh how wrong I was.
I unlocked the door and flopped down onto my new couch that I bought. I looked around and grinned. After years in foster care, moving around even during college, I finally had my own apartment, I place I knew I could stay for a few years. The F.B.I had even given me some moving expenses since I had none of my own and no parents to give me some. They said they could take a small portion of my salary each month in repayment. Life was going good.
I didn't notice the man behind me. I didn't notice until he grabbed me and pressed a sweet smelling cloth to my mouth: Chloroform. Crap.
But before going into unconsciousness, I was able to send a ping. A single call to 911, something I knew they wouldn't be able to trace unless they were very, very good and willing to believe in special gifts. So as soon as I heard "911, what's your emergency?" I thought, "My name is Solstice St. Clair, I live at 1477 Raoul Wallenburg Place, in Appt. 335, and someone…is….trying…to…kidnap…me," Thinking became difficult, talking and squirming had become impossible moments ago. Finally knowing I had gotten enough of a message so they could start looking for me, I stopped fighting it and let myself fall into that limp state that always meant unconciousness.
"Mastriani! Scott! Cortez! Meet at the board! Now!" There was no reason to say much else. He was speaking loud enough for people across the street to hear, so no need to relay the message. And the tone in his voice was urgent: This was an emergency.
The team ran to the board. Polluck never talked like that about a case. This had to be serious.
A tape recorder was up on the board. "Play it," were Pollock's only two words. They obediently pressed the button. As the message played, Jess found the girls voice slightly familiar. Than it dawned on her; the girl who she helped at the grocery store that day. The girl had sounded calm and collected, but delivered a terrifying message: the young teen was being kidnapped. Nicole clicked off the loop, looking slightly disturbed.
"Our first move should be to call the parents," said Nicole, "We could get a hit off the name. She sounds young,"
"No can do, Scott," Pollock said. "We already searched the name. She doesn't have any parents and recently was emancipated from the Foster System here in California. No, your first move is going to Solstice's apartment and trying to collect evidence. You…" He spun and turned to Jess, "Are going to try to connect with her the whole ride over. I better hear some good news when you get back here,"
"Yes sir," Jess replied.