|janecarnall (janecarnall) wrote,|
@ 2009-01-03 14:44:00
|Entry tags:||keptverse, pieces|
The Pieces: Ray
This is part 2 of a 7-part sequence. (Part 1). Part 3 is written and will be posted when I'm done with Part 4....
The previous stories in this series (my Keptverse) began with The Games (six parts) and continued with The Network (one part), The Players (seven parts), and The Gambler (seven parts). The whole series will terminate with the next sequence, "End Game", which is planned but not yet written.
The story may be regarded as fanfic set in poisontaster's Keptverse. There is a species of cast list here.
Part 2: Ray
It was odd how everything could still look the same. Even after they knew. The Devlin-MacGregor site was out on the east side. People died there every day, in the ordinary way of business, he and Benny had more cause to know than most.
Ray counted faces for a while. But two thousand. He could not get up that far. How were they planning to dispose of the bodies? The practical problems made him feel sick; counting faces gave him a headache at the back of his skull that no aspirin would touch. He hardly wanted to let go of Benny.
This morning, Giles was interrogating the four girls – the two runaways, the two silly rich kids who'd helped them. Adam was working with George on the numbers for the next set of arrests. Dana was over in the clinic working up a death report for each subject. Benton was assigned to Giles, and Ray to do the arrest records – in the kitchen, where Willow was going to be interrogating ... “Richard?”
“I had a second offer for him,” Sam said.
Once Sam had explained what he wanted, though it still sounded like a way to give Willow a few days off without admitting that she needed it, Ray mostly felt guilty that he was getting a light day in the kitchen catching up with routine paperwork while Benny got to stand in silence looking menacing as Giles got some scared kids to talk.
“Another thing,” Sam said. “Richard needs maintenance access to some kind of exercise routine. Would you two be okay, locking down the armoury, escorting him there and back for supervised exercise? It's okay to say no,” he added – which was the nearest Sam would ever come to admitting he was asking a personal favour.
Benny glanced at Ray: his face was handsomely unreadable, but Ray knew damn well what he'd think – and what he'd say, later – if Ray said no. Save time to give in now. “Sure, okay, Sam. If you're sure about putting him next to the armoury,” he added as a dig.
Sam grimaced. “If it's all locked down before Richard gets into the gym, and he can't get anywhere on the other side but the gym, it should all be fine. I'll work out a schedule. Thanks,” he added, in a constrained voice.
Ray shrugged, uncomfortable. “Richard’s in the holiding cell?”
“Yes, he is. Willow’s in the kitchen.” Sam turned away. “You need me, I’ll be working in the office.”
He and Benny stood and looked at each other. I don’t want to let go of you. As if in answer, if Ray had said it out loud, Benny put his hand on Ray’s shoulder. He gripped briefly, before his arm fell to his side again. “I’ll see you at lunchtime, Ray.”
They turned away from each other at the same time; Ray went into the kitchen, hearing Benny walk away down the hall. Ray still felt like shit. But Willow looked as if she had been flattened out. She was sitting at the other side of the kitchen table, notebook in front of her, looking more like a piece of scrumpled paper than a federal interrogator.
Are you all right? Ray thought of asking, and thought better of it. Devlin-Macgregor would begin the slaughter of two thousand people tomorrow because of a report Willow wrote, of course she wasn’t all right.
“I’ll go get Richard,” Ray said. “You okay to start when we get back?”
Richard didn't look much better than Willow did, actually, but Ray didn't give a damn about him. It was odd: Richard had never looked anything but completely subdued to Ray, a wife-killer beaten down to his knees, and while Ray accepted as gospel the report George had put together tracking Richard’s exploits with other people’s phones and laptops, it was damn near impossible to reconcile that with the obedient, cooperative ex-arena slave.
Richard got to his feet obediently, and walked down the stairs ahead of Ray. In the kitchen, Ray put Richard in the chair that had its back to the door, and sat down in the chair at the far end, nearest the door to the utility room. He put his own laptop on the table, opened it up, and began the routine work on the arrest records, half his attention on Willow and Richard.
Although Willow was listed as an interrogator, she'd never to Ray's knowledge actually done an interrogation before. And this was taking place across a kitchen table, and Willow's voice sounded at times more shaky than Richard's. But Willow's first groundwork questions were textbook.
Literally. “Favourite colour?” Willow asked.
Ray glanced up, interested to see how Richard would react. He was looking at Willow with an expression that said, clear as print, Oh you're kidding me.
“Blue,” Richard said.
“Okay,” Willow said. She looked disconcerted, but Ray supposed he wasn't here to protect Willow from how Richard might look at her. “Whose login did you use at the Chicago Hope website?”
“Kath's,” Richard said.
Willow hardly glanced down at her notes. “That would be Doctor Kathy Wahlund. How did you get her password?”
“Kathy cycles through three or four passwords. She always has. I got the password she was using last week on the third try.”
“Which laptop were you using when you tried the passwords that didn't work?”
“Yours, I think,” Richard said. He sounded almost easy with all this, but there was the tell-tale pause between one word and the next, an odd distancing – Benny had first pointed it out to Ray, but it was unmistakable once he'd heard it.
“What did you do when you got access to Chicago Hope?”
“I used Kath's e-mail to set up a guest account for Cooks.” Richard paused. “That's Cook County Hospital. I checked her schedule. I did it when she was teaching a practical. I deleted all the e-mails. Kath had no way to find out what I'd done.”
“Doctor Wahlund was aware you were using her e-mail account?”
“No,” Richard said. “I didn't tell her. I wasn't in contact with her. I haven't spoken to her.”
“But she would have noticed the e-mails you sent from her account.”
“I deleted them,” Richard said. “And deleted them again from the trash folder. They would have been recoverable from the server, but she had no reason to look for them.”
“You would have left a record on her browser,” Willow said. She sounded casually interested. “Activity in her account when she wasn’t there. How do you know she didn’t follow that up?”
“I deleted the browser records,” Richard said. “I don’t know how to delete the record of a deletion, but I didn’t think Kath would notice that. I haven’t been in contact with her.”
“You tried to page her from here on Sunday afternoon,” Willow said.
Richard’s head moved backwards sharply. Ray caught the movement in his peripheral vision, and looked up. That reaction had looked like Willow had hit Richard, but she hadn’t.
Richard said without a pause, “I didn’t page her.”
“I have the record of the numbers you tried to use in the locked pager Sam gave you. One of them is Doctor Wahlund’s.”
“I couldn’t get through. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through. I already tried to page Chuck. I didn’t page her,” Richard said. He was still speaking without a pause, and Ray hoped Willow had noticed. Richard was out of control; this was a good set of questions.
“Doctor Charles Nichols,” Willow said. “You tried to page him?”
“Yes. Didn’t work.”
“You’d already spoken to him on the phone.”
“How many times did you speak to him?”
“Just the once.” Richard was breathing faster than normal, and shifting in his chair, not sitting still.
“You called the number for Doctor Nichols twice.”
“Yes. I tried to call him on Tuesday. I think it was Tuesday,” he added, after a moment. “I got his voicemail. I hung up. I didn’t speak to him on Tuesday.”
“You also tried to page someone else.”
“Doctor Alec Lentz,” Richard said.
Willow glanced down at her notes. It was a slip in the rapport, but it was her first. She looked up and shook her head. “Is that who you intended to call?”
“I paged him. He’s in pathology. He has one of those easy numbers, 4114. I knew I wouldn’t get through on the pager, it was locked. I was just trying all the numbers I could remember. I didn’t expect any of them to work.”
“Why did you try those three numbers in particular?”
“I knew them.” Richard was shifting in his seat again. His voice sounded uneven. “I didn’t speak to Lentz. I haven’t spoken to him. I talked about him to Chuck. I didn’t speak to him myself.”
“When did you talk about Doctor Lentz?” Willow’s tone of voice was good. Just a little curious.
Ray glanced up from his screen. Richard had that Oh you’re kidding me expression on his face again, but masked by eagerness; he was leaning forward, as if he wanted to be questioned. His hands were no longer out of sight, but resting flat on the table, clenched into fists. Ray shifted in his seat, his full attention on Richard: out of control was good for answering questions, but this was beginning to make Ray uneasy.
“When I called Chuck.” Richard took a breath. “On Thursday. I’d used Kath’s access on your laptop to look at some liver samples at Chicago Memorial Wednesday night.”
“They were samples I’d sent Lentz five years ago. For a drug he was testing. I didn’t think the drug worked. But the samples stored online looked wrong. I told Chuck about them. I told Chuck about Lentz. And Sykes.”
Willow glanced down at her notes again. Her fingers moved, evidently paging down. She looked up, clearly bewildered.
Richard was really leaning forward now, angled against the table. Willow leaned back against her chair, folding her arms. She looked as if she were trying not to look intimidated. “Lentz falsified his data,” Richard said. “He was one of the patentholders for RDU90. I told Chuck about it. Sam said you know everything I looked at, everything I did, so you know everything I know. You know about Lentz. You know about Sykes. And Chuck Nichols knows it all too.”
Willow glanced down at her notes, up again. The interview had gone out of control: Ray wondered if she had the sense to know it and close it, or if he would have to get up and do it for her.
“I didn’t kill my wife,” Richard said, not loudly, but with such intensity that it resonated through the room.
After a moment, Willow stood up. Her voice sounded quite calm, and only a little uncertain, but she was still hugging herself. “All right. This interview’s over. Ray, would you take Richard back to the holding cell? I need to work on my stuff.” She scooped up her notebook, backed off, edged away round the table, got to the door –
- Richard was already slumping forward. He had gone, in the space of thirty seconds, from someone who looked as if he might leap to his feet and attack, to the beaten slave Ray had dismissed earlier. He folded his arms and put his head down, not moving even when he must have heard Ray standing behind him. Sam had said Richard was insane.
“On your feet,” Ray said.
After a moment, Richard obeyed. He was taller than Ray, but he stood slump-shouldered, his face blank and passive. He didn’t look like someone who needed to be put in cuffs.
“You going to give me any trouble?”
After a long moment, Richard shook his head. He swallowed. “Do you think I could have some water?”
There was the tap by the commode in the cell, but come to that, even if he was crazy, Ray supposed he wouldn’t have wanted to drink out of that either.
“Sit down,” Ray said.
Just as obediently, Richard sat. Ray filled a cup with water and gave it to him. He watched as Richard drank it. Insanity explained those switch-back changes. It might even, if you wanted to make a case for it, say something about why the scumbag had killed his wife when he couldn’t have hoped to get away with it.
to part 3