Displaced - Day 9

Charlie stared at the photo for a long moment, then narrowed his eyes as he returned his gaze to Sandra. “What’s this about? I don’t take kindly to threats.”

She stared right back at him levelly. “There’s no need for threats here, Skeeve. I just want you to know that we know who and where she is. There’s any number of ways we can use this information, but the one I’m most interested in right now is how we can use it to help her, if you’re willing to help us.”

If there was one thing the life of a skimmer had taught him, it was that preparation was key to success. He carefully schooled his face to neutrality, willing his heart rate to slow to normal levels, to not give in to the immediate fight-or-flight instinct the veiled threat had triggered.

Of course he also had to assume that, good as she must be to be standing here, she was prepared too.

“I’ll hear you out.”

“I’m so glad to hear that. Shall we?” She gestured at the entrance to the building.

Did she know this was where I was going, or is this coincidence? Is coincidence even possible when time travel is involved? He couldn’t decide. She said we. It’s most likely that she’s not alone in this time, and so they’ve probably got people at the most likely places I’d choose. Probably got someone back at my old place, too.

They passed through the entrance and several halls of the building, staying toward the front end. Charlie’s distraction aided their passage immensely; he carried the occupied air of someone going about his business rather than someone sneaking into a place he didn’t belong. Nobody challenged them.

The room they finally selected was a bit larger than a walk-in closet, but not by a whole lot. It had the look of an office space to it, though it was empty, and had the singular flaw of a large support column dropping down through the limited space, awkwardly close to the door. It was unfurnished; apparently whoever was using the building hadn’t been forced to consign anyone to this room.

Sandra closed the door and turned to him, a half smile playing over her face. “Since we’re being so cooperative, why don’t you go ahead and establish your ‘net connection while I call off the others?” She turned away and pulled out her phone, fingers tapping out messages rapid-fire.