Jodie nervously drove the car through the back streets to the hospital, while Suvarin reclined peacefully in the passenger seat. Jodie had pleaded again with Suvarin not to go into work today, but Suvarin insisted on the grounds that it would raise too many questions. Jodie eventually proposed she would wait in the car near the hospital and Suvarin would let her know if she got sent straight home so Jodie could just pick her up and take her back again.
Suvarin agreed and fifteen minutes later she was hobbling into the hospital on her crutches and reporting to her nurses’ station on the sixth floor. The other nurses immediately mobbed her and asked what had happened.
While she was relating her prepared line of falling down a muddy ditch in the dark on her way home she noticed the unmistakable visage of Peterson walking through the ward towards the nurse’s station. What was peculiar about Peterson was that he was dressed as a policeman, right down to the badge. Unbeknownst to her he had just minutes before left Oriana’s house.
Suvarin shivered but did not panic because she assured herself that Peterson had no idea that she was actually a member of the Aeshir. Her attempt at calming herself was quickly thwarted when out from around the corner Nix appeared nicely dressed in a suit with a name badge describing him as a security consultant.
Nix pointed her out to Peterson and within moments the two Tyranni were closing in on her. Her first thought was to run, but on account of her leg she wasn’t likely to outrun Nix down the staircase this time. Instead, she frozen pretending not to notice them approaching her. However, it didn’t matter, Nix asked gruffly for her to come with them to the security office. Deciding the best approach would be to play dumb she obediently hobbled with them to the security office. Neither of them bothered to ask why she was using crutches. Once inside the security office Nix ordered the guard on duty to leave and once he was gone Peterson pulled out some handcuffs and proceeded to cuff Suvarin to a water pipe running down the wall.
“They can’t know that I am Aeshir,” she repeated to herself, “they’re only suspicious of me because of the blood missing from last night. I just need to play dumb and they will let me go.”
Nix glared at Suvarin sitting handcuffed to the chair in front of him.
“What’s going on? Why are you handcuffing me?” Demanded Suvarin in a voice that she was hoping sounded more confident than she felt.
“You are injured nurse, what happened to you?”
“I was walking home last night in the rain and I fell down an embankment into the river and struck my leg on a rock.”
Nix leaned into her face while Peterson observed carefully from a distance.
“How do you figure that out?”
“This hospital has 24 hour video surveillance everywhere.”
Suvarin’s heart sank and her confidence genuinely evaporated. How could she have thought this wouldn’t happen? The hospital security guards might be incompetent, but the Tyranni were experts at hunting people down. They would have found the camera footage of her running down the stairs and stealing the blood. She braced herself for what was about to happen.
“Ok,” she said this time her voice sounded slightly squeaky, “what really happened to me last night?”
“Last night you entered a stairwell on the sixth floor, just after leaving me in the elevator, and proceeded to run down every flight of stairs to the basement. Where you stole several units of blood from a freezer and a kidney dialysis machine.”
Suvarin had been feeling herself shrink into herself with terror as Nix spoke all the until the last three words which were so obviously incongruous with her actual lived experience she realised all what not lost.
“Kidney dialysis machine?” She repeated baffled, then quickly added, “stolen blood?” in case they noticed she wasn’t denying that crime.
“Yes, that’s what you did. Isn’t it? If you confess now the police here can be a lot easier on you.”
Suvarin closed her eyes and took a deep breath. This was going to be a long shot she thought, but worth a try.
“When I reached the sixth floor I remembered that I hadn’t checked the blood supplies in the basement like I had in emergency. My shift was already finished so I didn’t bother wait for the lift I went straight down to the basement to check. I hurried through the counting. I dropped some by accident. Maybe I didn’t pick them all up? Then I left and went home.”
Nix looked at her sternly his face betraying no emotion or reaction to what she had just said. Suvarin was instantly encouraged by this, the fact that he didn’t immediately contradict her implied he didn’t have the footage he was claiming he had. She also noticed that behind him was the computer that operated the security cameras. She decided to play the card Nix had just given her unwittingly.
“I don’t know about any dialysis machine. I certainly didn’t steal one. What do the cameras say about that?” indicating with her eyes to the camera computer.
Nix’s oversized nose twitched just perceptively. Suvarin’s confidence returned to her. They don’t actually have any footage of me, they’re trying to get me to confess, she thought.
After a long pause, Nix stepped back and walked over to a shelf and picked up a small rectangular shaped piece of electrical equipment. He brandished it before her.
“Do you know what this is?”
“No,” said Suvarin so honestly that Nix appeared to twinge with embarrassment.
Peterson who had been quiet until now spoke up.
“We found dozens of these devices coupled into the hospital’s security camera system today. Have you ever seen one before?”
Suvarin admitted she’d never seen one before.
Nix spoke again, “Nurse, over the last few months millions of dollars of equipment has gone missing from this hospital and are you saying that you know nothing about it?”
“I knew about the missing equipment, but I am saying that I had nothing to do with the theft of any of it.”
There was another pause while Nix and Peterson started murmuring to each other and Suvarin used this time to study the screens showing security footage of the basement behind them. They were showing a lot of activity in the basement just now. Peterson and Nix were so busy conferring with each other that they hadn’t noticed. Suvarin figured that whatever that device was it had somehow blocked the security cameras last night and therefore they had no evidence she had been up to no good down there. Those devices were probably the reason why so much equipment had gone missing underneath the security guard’s noses.
Sensing an opportunity she called out to the two men, “hey, maybe those shady looking men in the basement right now know what happened to the dialysis machine?”
Nix looked at the screens and quietly breathed, “sons of bitches.”
“They’re in the basement, stealing equipment right now,” exclaimed Peterson, “yet we can only see them on one camera, nothing’s happening on these two cameras.”
“I haven’t finished removing all the looping devices attached to the security cameras. So this is how they do it. They installed the looping devices and activate them whenever they come in and steal something. Right under our noses!”
One of the men, dressed in work men’s overalls, walked right up to the camera so his face could be clearly seen. Nix grabbed a screenshot and moved it onto another monitor. It was a dark haired man with a swarthy complexion and a large hairy nose. Suvarin didn’t recognise him at all.
“What are they stealing?” Asked Peterson.
“Looks like cryogenic equipment. Used by the path lab…” Nix punched the desk furiously, “the payload. Peterson they’re taking the payload Deaspara has been working on.”
Suvarin watched as the two men drew their guns and exited the room in a furious frenzy.
Whatever this ‘payload’ was, it was important to the Tyranni thought Suvarin. Also, they just let slip that there are more Tyranni here than just Peterson and Nix. “Spara, Clara, Darah?” Repeated Suvarin, trying to find the correct name of the third Tyranni agent she had just heard.
She slipped her hand into her pocket and fished out her phone. There were a string of texts from Jodie anxious to know if she was staying for her full shift or not. Concerned about the limited opportunity she had she just hit reply and sent Josie a photo of the man Nix had taken a picture of.
She then quickly replaced her phone back in her pocket as a security guard ran into the office. He looked at her handcuffed and then sat down at the desk and started talking into his radio, obviously to Nix who appeared on the screen in the now emptier hospital basement.
Suvarin remained a prisoner in the security office for close to an hour before Nix came back and released her while giving an insincere apology. Whatever had been stolen from the hospital this time it had greatly upset Nix and Peterson.
Once released from security she returned to her station where her bewildered supervisor was asking what had happened to her. She briefly explained that security had been questioning her about something and how her leg had been injured. Her supervisor told her to take the rest of the week off and Suvarin remembered Jodie waiting in the car. She looked at her phone to see a string of messages from Jodie:
“Why are you sending me a photo of some random man?
“Oh? Do you want me to ID him?
“Sending to Laneg to check the Aeshir database.
“Laneg says he’s not a known member of the Tyranni.
“Laneg called me and said the Rangers have contacted him. Apparently that man is wanted for murder. He said that the Rangers want to talk to you as soon as possible!
“Where are you Suvarin? That man Anthony is a serial killer and thug, what’s happened to you? Are you safe?”
There were five missed calls from Jodie, Suvarin quickly messaged that she was ok, but to meet her outside in five minutes. Ten minutes later Jodie was driving them back to the base so worked up about what had happened Suvarin couldn’t finish her account of what had just happened. Deciding to just leave Jodie to talk herself out she messaged Kent:
“Urgent development. At least one other Tyranni agent present, name sounds like Dara or Sara. Third faction involved, Rangers are coming here. Meeting with Laneg in 20 minutes.”