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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 89: Brown 137
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 88: Slade 118
Derek kept checking on Sammie, particularly at times when he thought it likely she would have shaken her security detail and met with her boyfriend. He often listened to their conversations--a sort of audio voyeurism which he justified to himself as keeping a watchful eye on her for her own safety. After all, she was assigned a security officer because there was always a danger that a diplomat’s family might be kidnapped for political leverage. The video was not much use, as the camera was moved rather randomly, but he did get a look at the boyfriend and tried to be unimpressed.
It wasn’t as if he were completely ignoring his real job (or his fake job, either, as he thought of the menial data entry work he was doing for the embassy six hours per day six days per week). He kept looking deeper into the lives of everyone he could, seeking some clue that they might be passing information to someone outside the embassy, and finding nothing. Of course, with so many people in the embassy, and the fact that whoever was doing this was doing his (or her, he reminded himself) best to hide the fact, it was not surprising that he had not cracked it. It was obviously not simple or they’d have figured it out already.
Turning his mind back to Sammie, he noticed the cute things. They had pet names for each other (although they were Romanian words and he did not know the language). She always brought him his favorite British candy, a Cadbury Crunchie--she had asked her security detail for it often enough that he knew to have one ready for her to take with her, and he apparently thought it was her favorite.
He pursued a lead, someone in housekeeping who abruptly had money and went through it fast, and on investigation seemed to have done so fairly frequently in the past. However, once he tracked it down Derek found that the man had received a bequest of a regular income from what they called a maiden aunt, and figured that his regular salary was enough for his regular expenses so the extra was for splurging, which he obviously enjoyed. It was another dead end. Derek considered whether there was a way the man might be obscuring payments from a foreign agent in that apparent bequest money, but he dug into it rather deeply without finding any suggestion of anything of the sort. If it was a cover story, it was a very good one.
So he was no further along, really, unless you count the negatives--he had a growing number of people he was pretty sure were excluded. He spent time listening to recordings of Sammie and Dorin as one listens to music or has a television show in the background, letting his mind wander.
Then he realized what he had missed, and that there was a very serious problem here that he was going to have to handle very carefully.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #257: Verser Relationships. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: