|janecarnall (janecarnall) wrote,|
@ 2008-11-16 06:54:00
|Entry tags:||keptverse, players|
The Players: Giles
This is part seven (the last part) of the second section of the story (part one, part two, part three, part four, part five. part six) that began with The Games (six parts) and continued with The Network (one part).
The story may be regarded as fanfic set in poisontaster's Keptverse. It is being written as part of wrimowrimo. I also updated the cast list here.
The Players: Giles
Ray Vecchio had once offered a kind of meant-to-be-friendly sympathy to Giles, that the recruit Gerard had really wanted was Willow Rosenberg. It was impossible to explain that Giles had been trained all his life to be support for someone capable of doing things he could not.
But when George Cowley rang up at twenty five minutes past six in the morning to wake Giles so that Giles could drive Willow to Gerard’s house, so that Willow could rewrite a report that Cowley wasn’t happy with, – that got Giles a little irked.
“I love it when you use words like ‘irked’,” Willow said.
“I thought you were asleep.”
“I nearly am. Oh, there’s Krispy Kreme. Can we stop for doughnuts?”
The lounge door was firmly closed. No one was in the armoury when they racked their guns. Dana was eating breakfast in the kitchen with Adam, and Richard was sitting still, arms folded, head down.
“Where is George?”
“In the lounge with Sam,” Adam said. “Why are you here so early?”
“George wanted us, supposedly.”
Adam raised his eyebrows. “Another exciting day of checking Commerce reports and contacts.”
“Something like that,” Giles agreed.
“Hard to stay awake.” Adam was looking at Richard.
“There’s always coffee,” Willow said brightly.
“Wonderful,” Giles said.
Dana yawned. “I’m going to bed. Tell Sam I’ll be awake again about noon.”
Gerard appeared in the doorway. He was smiling. He looked exhausted, Giles noted. “Yeah, you get some rest, Dana. We’re going to need you later. Willow, George is in the lounge, he’ll explain what we need from you. Giles, thanks for driving Willow here.” He put a hand on Richard’s shoulder. “Come on, Richard, on your feet.”
Through the week, Richard had been cooperative – if silent – about fetching coffee and food, and clearing away empty plates and mugs.
The report that Giles had thought was finished with got argued over apparently line by line: Dana joined in once she woke up again, and Cowley left them to it for an hour or so. Reading Commerce reports and checking contacts with Adam, Giles watched Willow and the others more often than his eye was drawn to Gerard at his desk, Richard sitting on the floor with his head back against the wall, in Gerard’s field of vision. But as far as he could tell, Richard never moved.
During a break that he and Adam took in the gym, Giles asked: “Of course one doesn’t want to engage in prurient speculation, but… do you have any idea why Richard isn’t being as cooperative today?”
“Prurient speculation is my favourite thing,” Adam said. “Right after beer. But there’s not a lot to speculate about.”
“Well, one presumes Gerard is…”
“One would, wouldn’t one?” Adam was amused. “One would be wrong. Every night this week that I’ve been awake to hear it, Richard gets shut in the holding cell for the night. By himself.”
“Oh,” Giles said, and then, feeling himself rewriting a lot of assumptions, “Oh.”
“But this morning, before I came downstairs for breakfast, Richard asked Sam if he could stay in the holding cell all day. Said he was tired. Benton and Ray said he sounded really exhausted.”
“And Gerard said no. Told me to keep Richard awake during his meeting with George. Sam’s been keeping him awake all day.”
The prisoners: Giles had not seen them arrive, and did not see them leave. Three freight cartons with living contents. Dana had doped them “With something better than they arrived”. A larger carton with five dead bodies, three acquired by Ray and Benton, sent direct to the local disposal unit for slave and animal corpses. Adam, Benton, and Ray were the escorts.
Richard had never been told about the prisoners. Giles wondered if he could feel the the tension in the room, if he couldn’t understand what it was about.
Cowley was the only one in the room even making a pretense at working: his laptop was open on his knees, and his hands moved over the keyboard, though he was clearly not writing anything: , just like everyone else’s, his gaze kept drifting off the screen to stare at Gerard, where he sat with Richard on the floor at his feet.
Gerard’s phone rang. Giles leaned back, consciously telling himself that all was well. Gerard picked the phone up, and barked “Gerard. Yeah. Yeah.” A pause. “Good work. Get home safe.” He clicked the phone off, and said to the room at large, “Pick-up made, they’re all okay.”
Giles took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes. He was smiling. Beside him, Willow literally bounced: Giles felt the couch go up and down. Across the room, Dana leant her head back and stretched her arms and was grinning a wide tired smile. Cowley tapped his keyboard three times, but then shut down his laptop and sat still, his eyes on Gerard.
“God damn,” Gerard said. “Dana, you want a drink?”
“Sure,” Dana said. “A big one.”
The printer in the corner of the room began, almost silently, to run. Cowley stood up. “Sam, I think Richard should go to his room, don’t you?”
“What?” Gerard was pouring bourbon into a glass with a generous hand. His voice gave the word more syllables than it should have. “Anyone else want to send Richard upstairs?” He handed Dana the glass. “Well done, Doctor.” He glanced round. “Any of you other bastards want a drink?”
“I think he should go,” Cowley said, and Gerard looked at him.
“Okay,” Gerard said, after a moment. “Okay. Take him upstairs. Don’t go to sleep, Richard.”
Giles was startled when Cowley tapped him on the shoulder as he passed, but he got up and followed them out.
“What – ?” he asked, but Cowley had already, with smooth expertise, turned Richard, pulled his arms behind him, and snapped cuffs around Richard’s wrists. “What?”
“I’m not happy with the security here,” Cowley said. “Richard’s going to a secure cell through the security wall. I’ll discuss this with Sam later.”
Richard hadn’t even struggled. He was standing in the grip of the cuffs, with Cowley’s hand gripping his upper arm.
“You’re not going to leave him in handcuffs?” Giles asked. There was something appalling about the way Richard was standing in them.
“Not if he’s a good boy. Come on, let’s go.”
“Sam said – ”
“I know what he said. I’ll discuss it with him later.”
The nearest ground floor holding cell was in the corridor off the second security door. It hadn’t been used in weeks: it was completely bare. Giles opened the doors for Cowley to escort Richard through: he expected Cowley to take off the cuffs, as Richard seemed perfectly compliant, but Cowley stepped back and slammed the door shut again.
“Let’s go,” he said.
“What?” Giles stood still by the cell door. “He hasn’t done anything.” Cowley was walking away down the corridor. “George, we can at least take the cuffs off!”
Cowley turned round and stopped. His face was cold. “I lied,” he said. “Come on.”
Through in the lounge, Cowley picked up the papers from the printer, and handed them to Gerard.
“Take a look, sir.” His voice was as cold as his face.
“What?” But Gerard was looking at the sheets, his face intent, frowning,
“We had a leak,” Cowley told the rest of them. “On Deputy Gerard’s instructions, I pulled the phone records and the record of Internet access from this house, and examined all of them. Doctor Scully, your iPhone was used to make four hours worth of calls yesterday afternoon to numbers with no possible relevance to your work. Miss Rosenberg, your laptop has been used in Internet searches yesterday morning and Tuesday afternoon that were not related to the work you should have been doing.”
Willow’s eyes were wide: her skin looked white as ash. Giles opened his mouth to protest Cowley’s bullying tone, and was cut off.
“Mr Giles, your phone was made use of four times between Monday afternoon and Thursday morning to numbers I consider suspicious.” Cowley added, “Fraser and Vecchio’s phone and iPhone have also been made use of, as has Pierson’s laptop. Deputy Gerard, you wanted to know who was responsible for the leak, and my report to you is that it was this bunch of bloody amateurs.”
Gerard’s hands clenched into fists, scrumpling the paper. “Son of a bitch,” he said. “It was Richard.” His voice held a depth of rage.
“He played us for fools,” Cowley said. “He played us for bloody idiots! We let him roam the house unescorted while he fetched us coffee and sandwiches and picked up dishes, and you all left your laptops and your phones and your iPhones lying about for him to pick up and make use of at will. He has had practically unrestricted communication with the outside world for the past five days, and we didn’t even guess it.”
Giles sat down. He wanted to kill something – slowly, and Richard would do, if they had to run, if there was nothing left –
“What,” Gerard said – Giles thought he looked grey – “What the hell are you wasting time for? Who has he been in communication with, and what can he have told them?”
Cowley shook his head. “We’ve been lucky. Doctor Richard Kimble spent his time trying to get back into the hospital nets. I checked the numbers he called. Unless he was deliberately placed here as a mole with safe numbers to call – which I do not believe is at all likely – I think he was concerned with communicating with his world, not with leaking secrets out of ours.”
“You think?” Gerard’s voice bit. His teeth showed in a snarl. “You think, do you? It was your job to tell me as soon as you knew what he was doing – What if he’d leaked about tonight’s delivery?”
“If he had, by the time I knew the extent of what had happened, it was too late to save the delivery – or any of us,” Cowley said. His voice was colder than anything Giles had heard. “And if he hadn’t, it’s too big a risk to cancel. As soon as I knew the foreign delivery had been made and our packages collected, I knew we were right originally in assessing that the threat-level from this security breach was low. But we need to eliminate it, and for future reference, sir, if you think of buying another canary, make sure the next one can’t sing.”
“Jesus Christ,” Gerard said. He sat down.
“Sam?” Willow said, in a small voice.
“What?” Gerard said, after a pause. The word was a snarl.
Giles glanced at her. Willow looked appallingly young and fragile and scared.
“I’m sorry about my laptop,” Willow said. Her voice shook. “Really sorry. But – ”
“Don’t worry about it,” Gerard said. “Done’s done.” He sounded beyond exhausted. “Don’t waste my time.”
“I meant – can I see the records? Maybe I can figure out what Richard told – find out who he talked to?”
“Yeah,” Gerard said, after a moment. “Probably a good idea. George. Give her the shit. Where did you put Richard?”
“In a secure holding cell. In cuffs.” Cowley’s voice was hard on the word secure.
“Yeah,” Gerard said, slowly. “What the hell. Did you tell him why he was going in?”
“’I’m not happy with the security here,’” Cowley quoted himself.
“That’s all?” Gerard looked at Giles.
“That’s it,” Giles said. “I had no idea what was going on.”
“Yeah,” Gerard said. “And you leave your phone lying about, too.”
Dana had taken her iPhone out and was looking at it. “Sam?”
“How could he possibly have expected to get away with it?”
“Well, he did, didn’t he?” Gerard dropped his head to his hands and began to massage his forehead.
“But he wouldn’t,” Dana said. “He didn’t. He didn’t wipe the browser. I didn’t look up these medical records at Cook County Hospital. I wouldn’t have known about the phone calls until I looked up my billing record, but I would have seen this as soon as I opened the browser again – ” She looked across at Willow. “He didn’t even try to cover his tracks.”
“No,” Willow said. She sounded much more confident. “He really didn’t. We would have known about what he was doing …by Sunday, anyway. I would have noticed when I scanned my computer then.”
“And what the hell use would that have been?” Gerard dropped his hands and looked up, glancing from one to the other. He stood up. “Okay. Willow, you find out what he looked at, how long he spent looking at it, what his exit and entrance points were, everything about his activities on the Internet over the past five days. Pass all the hospital information on to Dana. Dana, you figure out for me who Richard was communicating with and why. Giles, I want you to search the upstairs holding cell. Take everything in it to pieces if you have to. George … I need IDs on those phone numbers.”
It was past eleven at night, a day that had started before seven, Willow looked shattered, and Giles did not feel the least inclined to start taking apart the holding cell. “Fine. But why do we have to do this tonight?”
Gerard looked at him. “Got a better time?”
“Is there any reason why this shouldn’t wait till tomorrow morning?”
“Because I said so, Giles, you need a better reason?”
Giles was on his feet, and it felt as if his head had gone incandescent. “You started this! You bought yourself a man to use as a – a dangerous dildo! You let him roam around this house! You – let your gonads make you stupid – and when it goes wrong you let him – ” Giles jerked his hand at Cowley – “blame us and you make Willow cry!”
The main reason that Giles tried to avoid losing his temper was that it always seemed to leave him standing by himself in the middle of the floor with his mouth going dry, feeling like an idiot.
“Okay,” Gerard said.
Giles took his glasses off. It was an instinctive move when he expected to have a fight. “Okay?”
“Yeah, Giles. Okay. Put your glasses back on.”
Without thinking, Giles obeyed, and Gerard was standing far too close. “
“Yeah, I started this. Yeah, I let Richard have the run of this house. Turns out we should have had a conversation about ground rules for laptops and phones as well as guns, and we didn’t, and that was my mistake as well as yours. But my gonads do not make me stupid, and Jesus Christ, ‘dangerous dildo’?” Gerard stepped back. “But, okay. Here’s a good reason why you’re going to go upstairs and search the holding cell, besides because I said so: until you do, I’ve got to leave Richard in cuffs in a secure cell on the other side of the house.”
Giles stared. “But surely you’re going to kill him?” The question came out without second thought. He heard Willow make a noise behind him – the same kind of appalled noise she’d made the first time she’d seen him kill someone.
“No,” Gerard said, shaking his head. He was smiling joylessly. “I bought him for my own good reasons, and those reasons are still good. I’m keeping him.”
End of The Players
The first section of the next part, The Gambler begins here.