“Don’t bring me excuses why you can’t tell me what is going on.”
Mulholland slammed his scarred fist down on the desk stop, making everything jump and a huge wad of ash fall from the cigar which burnt untouched by the telephone. He glared at the nameless agent who had been sent to give him this useless update. “I want you to tell my WHY you can’t find Joseph Pullen.”
“Because it seems, Sir… he’s just disappeared.”
“People who work for the agency don’t poof – disappear into a cloud smoke never to be seen again. Stop treating me like I’m an imbecile.” The agent cowered near the doorway, hoping Mulholland wouldn’t throw the ash tray at him like he had the agent before him. he could see the indent in the door, close to his head. “Where is his chip tracking?”
“There is no signal on his chip, Sir.”
“What did he do – cut it out.”
“Quite possibly, Sir, we can’t rule that out.”
“I want you to retrieve every byte that man touched while he worked here and I want you to find out what the fuck has happened here. Do understand me?”
The agent put his hand on the door handle ready to escape.
“And you, what’s your name agent?”
“It’s Lewis, John Lewis sir.”
“You come back Lewis and tell me what’s going on, no more of that short straw drawing out there.”
Lewis paled but nodded his head, and threw himself out the door.
Mulholland turned to the scenario screen lit up behind him. The high tech flat screen took up the entire wall. He stood, flicking through the collection of windows, dragging certain windows to different locations on the screen with the movement of both fingers and arms, looking like a futurist phone exchange operator.
He tapped the window with the field photographs of Jamieson, Booth, Colbert and Kravin, picking the one of Jamieson and enlarging it. The other three had been shot in the head, Colbert and Kravin at a close range, Booth from further away. But Jamieson…
Mullholland enlarged the grainy photo of Jamieson’s corpse. The retrieval team, at his behest utilised an on the spot DNA test to confirm it was indeed the Unit’s top agent, given the deterioration of the body and the fact no signal could be found from the Identification Chip implanted at the base of his skull. The corpse was Jamieson aged forty years, as if the aging process had been vastly accelerated, or, and Mulholland shuddered, the life had been drained from him.
He had read the classified files about what had happened at the heart of the city twenty-five years earlier. From his life before the agency, when he was an overworked and underpaid civil engineer and town planner, he knew how it was connected to the rest of the city at a subterranean level. Only four blocks from, what they now called, The Dead Zone Mulholland knew it wasn’t a case of who had killed the agents, but what, and how Pullen and the midwife fitted into the picture. Tapping at the screen he brought up a secure window with an old map of the sewerage system for the entire city. He drew a circle around the centre of it and stared at the network of tunnels and pipes leading out.
He glanced up at the clock. It was 4:44am and he had to have something other than a hunch to wake the Director and request a Code Black.
Incorporates Constantine’s challenge (heart of the city).