Back in a Cell.
They found themselves at the police station, exhausted, separated and imprisoned. The police had not believed their story since the contents of their bags had been pretty damning.
The police had been alerted by the alarm at the laboratory, but as Dave had planned, they had been busy elsewhere. Too late to make any arrests at the laboratory, they had been annoyed by the attitude of the guards, who had claimed it was a false alarm, but the gap in the fence contradicted this story too. A brief search of the immediate vicinity had produced nothing, so they extended their search to the surrounding roads. The trio of Dave, Debbie and Scott were unlucky enough to be seen as they entered the field.
Unaware that the laboratory were denying the break-in, but hoping so, they maintained their innocence. Scott wanted to tell them about the people being kept in the cage, but this would have confirmed their guilt, so instead he asked them to contact Inspector Hargreaves.
The night passed with no news of Hargreaves, no release and no contact between the three held in custody.
Scott was not unduly worried about his own situation. He had been through so much in the last few days that he was starting to take such hardships in his stride, but he was concerned for Debbie. She was already in pain, and if the police put too much pressure on her, she might decide to confess.
The morning brought a fresh round of questioning, with nobody budging an inch. Scott asked after Debbie but they would not tell him how she was, or allow any contact between them. He was returned to his cell and started another long wait.
It was near mid-day when they pulled him out of his cell again, taken to the room where he had been questioned twice already, but this time Hargreaves was there too. The out-of-town copper was accompanied by one of the local inspectors, a D.I. Brown. Scott sat down and waited.
The local officer started by asking the same questions over again.
“Where we you last night?”
“I’ve already told you, we were out walking when..”
“What were you doing at the laboratory?”
“Why were you carrying dark clothes, stockings, masks?”
“We were going to surprise our friends, who...”
“With pepper spray?”
“We found that by the side of the road.”
“So, where were you headed?
“We left the car back in this village, and got lost, so we were looking for somewhere...”
“And where are your friends?”
“Probably back at the car.”
“Perhaps you can tell Detective Hargreaves why he’s here.”
“I can’t say.”
Eventually he sat back, shrugged and looked at Hargreaves, who took over the questioning.
“OK, if you have nothing to say, why have you dragged me down here?”
“Can we speak alone?”
“Tell me why you’re here. We know that Blue Farm Research is connected to Gladwell Health and that you work for Gladwell. There’s a break-in at the laboratory, you’re caught nearby with incriminating evidence, with another Gladwell employee, and in the company of a very dubious character.” He paused as he gathered his thoughts. “So, what’s so special that these guys can’t deal with it?”
Scott was about to leap to Dave’s defence. He had taken him to be something of a yob, but his leadership and support over the last 24 hours had been impressive. He might come over as a bit of a thug, but if his skills could be channelled in the right direction he could go a long way. Scott could even say he was starting to like him. However, it was not the right time to be disagreeing with the one man who could help him get released.
“If you give me a few minutes, I’ll explain, but I need to speak to you alone.”
D.I. Brown waved a hand, and stood up, opened the door, and waited as Jones came in. He then went out closing the door as he left.
Scott realised that they were probably being watched. There was no mirror on the wall concealing a window, so he assumed that there must be cameras. Jones sat down next to Hargreaves, and they both turned to him, expectantly.
He started by summarising what the police already knew..
“There have been some very strange things happening since I started work at Gladwell Health. We know that the real Francoise never arrived at the Gladwell offices, and that some chicken was pretending to be her, but we don’t know why. Someone, and I believe it was probably a gang of chickens, attacked my girlfriend in order to scare me off. We also suspect that the chickens are being helped by one or more people.”
“So you broke into Blue Farm to try and find out what’s going on.” Jones interjected.
Scott resisted the temptation to be drawn on that subject.
“I have been suspicious of Blue Farm since I started investigating the financial records relating to the intercompany transactions with that subsidiary. When the owner of the van outside Francoise’s flat was traced to this area my suspicions were reinforced.”
“So, what did you find?” Hargreaves was assuming Scott’s guilt, but he avoided falling into that trap.
“Supposing, that someone had broken into Blue Farm, and found that Francoise and some of the staff, were being kept prisoner. If that person couldn’t admit to being there, would the police be able to act? Could you go in there and rescue them? Hypothetically speaking!”
“Kidnapping? False imprisonment? I’m sure we could find a reason to pay them a visit. It’s not our jurisdiction, so we’d have to talk to the local boys. However, I do know they were very disappointed at not being able to prosecute anyone over a previous break-in. They would still like to get you chaps for this one though.”
“Which one?” Scott asked cheekily. “I thought that they were denying the break-in?”
“Blue Farm has denied that a break-in took place, but they reckon they can make a lesser charge stick. You were caught loitering and were equipped with all the right gear. I know it’s a minor offence, but these boys would rather have you for that, than let you get off with nothing. They had a busy night last night, and suspect that you guys are behind it all.”
Scott went quiet, things were looking bad, regardless of whether Blue Farm pressed charges.
“The locals believed that Blue Farm have something to hide, and would love an excuse to go in there mob-handed. They could probably get someone in there over a technicality, but it would be difficult to go in with force, unless you were prepared to come clean and face prosecution. A sworn statement from you would probably get us in there with a search warrant.”
“Can I talk to the others?”
Hargreaves was becoming more helpful and understanding. “I’ll see what I can do.”
He and Jones got up and left the room. Scott paced the room for what seemed like ages, before one of the local officers returned. He held the door. Scott walked over believing that he was being taken back to the cells. Just at that moment, another officer led Debbie into the room, turned and left. They closed the door, so Debbie and he were alone. The space between them vanished as they both embraced each-other. He picked her up and she grabbed him and held him with all her strength. Scott responded by squeezing her as hard as he dared. They fused together, so pleased to see each-other, not wanting to let go. Eventually their grip relaxed and they looked into each-others’ eyes. He saw no pain, no fear, just happiness. The concern left him and he smiled broadly.
Then they were kissing. It was full-on and exciting, both of them hungry for each other. They temporarily forgot their surroundings, desperately making up for the hours they had been apart. They were focused entirely on each-other, trying to please while also seeking pleasure. Their hands moved down each-others’ bodies as they oneness became a cauldron of desire.
Scott suddenly remembered they were still being watched, and had to bring the moment to an end.
“Woa!” He said “We’re on camera you know.” She tensed and started to look round the room. He released her and looked her up and down, once more enjoying her form with his eyes.
She was favouring her weak leg, but it had become an unconscious move. “How is your leg?”
“It doesn’t look very pretty. I’ve got some nasty bruises, but I don’t think there’s anything broken.”
“Have you seen a doctor?”
“No, but I’ll get it looked at as soon as we get out of here.”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
He explained that he had seen Hargreaves, and told her that it would probably take a signed confession for the police to be able to enter the Blue Farm laboratory. For the first time since they had been reunited, her shoulders slumped and she looked drained. He explained his hypothetical discussion with Hargreaves, being careful not to say anything incriminating. At the same time he put his finger over Debbie’s lips to indicate that she should not say anything either.
Finally he told her his plan.
“If one of us had been involved in the break-in, without the knowledge of the others, and was otherwise of good reputation etc, then if that person were to admit to it, and sign a confession, the police would be able to get the warrant they need. If the local police were to prosecute, then that person being of good character might not even get a prison sentence.”
She was frowning. “THAT person...that person, meaning YOU I guess, can get stuffed. If there were three PERSONS that broke in together, they all knew the risks, and they should all face up to this together.”
“You’re not listening.”
“And neither are you.” They sat and stared at each-other for a while. Her indignation was being seduced by his pleading expression.
“I missed you.” He confessed, as much to himself as to Debbie. “I’m not just doing this for you, or Dave, but for everyone, including me. I want this to be over.”
“Me too, but we’re in this together, all the way, remember?”
“No. I know that’s what I said, but I want you to do this for me. You’ve still got all your life ahead of you, and I’ve had most of mine.”
“That’s stupid, you’re not that old. If you start talking like that, there’s not much of a future for us, so let’s just get on with it eh?”
“Look, my life’s been turned upside down, I’m not sure if I’m coming or going, but I know I’d like there to be an ‘us’. I owe you and Dave a great deal, especially you, and this is a perfect opportunity for me to repay you both.”
“Are you always this stubborn?”
“No, but on this occasion, I want you to understand. Please?”
“If you get put away, I might not be able to wait.”
He wanted a witty come-back, but realised he was finally winning the argument. “Thank you.” Seemed the most appropriate response, and he hugged her again. “Tell Dave ‘thanks’ too.”
She put her hands round his neck and kissed him again.
The door opened, and Hargreaves came in with one of the locals. Debbie was taken away, and Scott sat down. Hargreaves was not looking as happy as Scott hoped. He sat down opposite Scott, and a few seconds later Jones came in too, sat down next to Hargreaves, took out his notebook, and waited.
“What’s going on?” Their mood told him something was wrong.
“The local boys aren’t happy, and if they’re not happy, then I’m not happy. They don’t think that the local judge will grant a warrant based on your evidence.”
“How come? Can’t you convince them?”
“It’s not that easy. You see, you broke into the laboratory, with the intention of releasing lab animals and causing damage, something that is taken very seriously. So, it’s obvious that you don’t have good intentions towards the laboratory. And, one way to cause them even more trouble would be to get the police to break in on your behalf.”
“They are understandably suspicious.” Added Jones.
“They need something more, more than just your word”
“A few scratches from some rather vicious chickens. I’m afraid that’s it.”
Hargreaves and Jones got up together. It looked like the discussion was coming to an end. Jones opened the door, but Hargreaves hung back and leaned close to Scott and spoke in a very low voice.
“As soon as you get out, call me.”