Jonathan thumbed the ID-card Case hand handed him and then looked back at the card's owner. ‘Lt. Commander Harris Pendergast, UCAS Navy, Retired' He thought, ‘No wonder the man goes by Whisper.'
There was no doubt in Jonathan's mind that there was a lot more to the man's career than the ID indicated, but with communications limited to the essentials, that information would have to wait until dispatch could get through to the Navy.
Looking back through the observation room, he was surprised at how nonchalant the man seemed about the whole thing.
Part of him said to be suspicious of the man. He was too good to be true– too calm, too smooth, too confident. But he had military grade hardware with regularly maintained encryption routines– he knew how to deal with combat situations, and he'd kept a calm head throughout. That meant pro, the only question remained was one of whose side was he on?
Case came back and dropped a handful of papers on the table next to Jonathan.
"So– what's the story?"
Case shook his head. "Milo passed away at 9:47."
"Which means all we have are the members of the hit team."
Case nodded, then looked through the window into the interrogation. "And a stranger– and hopefully a boss who doesn't know his man is dead."
"Have you heard anything back on him yet?" Jonathan asked indicating the man in the interrogation room
Case shook his head. "Of course not– and we probably won't until long after we give up on it."
Jonathan looked back into the room and sighed. "Well, he's very calm and accepting of the whole situation."
Case nodded. "I think your accepting his word instead of insisting on a mask helped."
Jonathan looked at Case. "I know what those things can do to a person– and I'm not going to use them unless it's absolutely necessary."
Case studied Jonathan for a long time then looked away. It was something he could pretend to understand, but he knew he never would. According to Jonathan, the link between spirit and shaman was very strong and to be deprived of that link, even for a short period of time was like being plunged into full sensory depravation. Worse, the feeling of completely helplessness could drive a man mad.
"Lets go talk to him."
Jonathan stood without saying a word and followed Case into the interrogation room.
"Mr. Pendergast," Case began as he sat down.
The man smiled. "Please, either Lt. Commander Pendergast or Whisper... and of the two– Whisper is most likely to get a reaction that doesn't involve saluting."
Case looked at him and tried to keep a straight face. There was something about the man that just seemed to compel people relax around him.
"Lt... Whisper... "
The man smiled and nodded as Case adjusted to his request.
"Could you tell us again how you fit into the whole mess at the airport-- and why you just happened to have both a vest and a gun?"
Whisper looked at him, and then at Jonathan, and nodded. They'd been straight with him– it was time for him to do the same.
"Some friends of mine were coming into town," he began explaining, a slightly mischievous smile crossing his face. "If you knew my friends– you'd wonder why I was meeting them, not why I was wearing a vest– or carrying a weapon."
He looked at them for a moment and chuckled. "One of them– well, lets just say we have a running bet on how long you can leave her alone without something ‘happening.'... only they never arrived."
"Still doesn't explain why you were getting back to your car so late," Case told him.
Whisper shrugged. "There was a plane landing right after the blackout– nearly missed the mark. I helped out– you can check with the rescue units on that."
"So... if it hadn't been for the blackout, you wouldn't have been involved?"
Whisper shook his head. "No– if my friends had gotten here as planned, we probably would have been more involved."
Case watched as Jonathan sat forward in his seat. It was clear by his reaction that the man wasn't lying, but....
"Would you care to explain?"
Whisper sighed. "My friends are military buddies, they would have sensed the setup, just like I did– only they would have reacted differently."
Whisper's shoulders shook slightly as he laughed to himself. "Well– either there would have been a lot more gun fire... or..."
Case looked as the man tried to keep himself from laughing.
Whisper looked at him, his eyes sparkling. "Or you'd have come out to your van and found the entire hit team zip-tied together inside."
Whisper looked Case and nodded. "I'm not kidding– I've seen them do it. I couldn't tell you how they did it– but I've seen it."
Case looked at Jonathan who merely nodded, the man was either telling the truth, or honestly believed what he was saying.
He was about to ask a few more questions when the Watch Commander entered, followed by a Naval Officer with enough gold on his sleeves to set off every metal detector in the building.
"Gentlemen," the Commander greeted them.
"Lieutenant," the officer said in a crisp even accent as he looked at Whisper and gave a slight nod.
The Commander sighed. "I'm sorry, but this interview is officially over."
Case started to object, but then sat back down, he could tell by the commander's expression, he wasn't pleased with it either.
The officer gestured towards the door. Whisper stood, gave Case and Jonathan an apologetic smile, and followed him out.
"Let me guess, we never saw him?"
The commander looked at Case for a moment, then shook his head. "Never even heard of him."
"Heard of whom?" Jonathan asked.
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