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Iron Angels: Chapter Seven

       Last updated: Friday, July 14, 2017 20:14 EDT



    Temple and Vance stayed at the animal control scene long enough to see the coroner’s van arrive followed by a black SUV. A grumpy looking man with round spectacles exited the van while two women wearing cargo pants and dark blue shirts emblazoned with FBI and ERT exited the SUV and marched purposefully over to Jasper and his cop friend, Pete.

    “Hold on a moment,” Jasper said to the two women and focused on Temple and Vance. “I’ll see you later?”

    “Fine,” Temple said. “But don’t be late — we have work to do.”

    Jasper rolled his eyes. “Yeah, sure.”

    “Let’s go.” Temple motioned for Vance to get in their rental. She started the car but kept the air conditioning off and lowered the windows. Jasper was pointing and gesticulating like a madman as he appeared to lecture the two women who were Evidence Response Team members. The rental was far enough away that she couldn’t make out the words but she imagined what the man was thinking and could probably guess what he was saying. Agent Jasper Wilde was probably thinking the women loved their “chick SWAT.” Bureau women didn’t typically join the tactically-minded and typically knuckle-dragging group known as SWAT — Special Weapons and Tactics — but preferred the more cerebral ERT, the Evidence Response Team, known as “chick SWAT” by a few women Temple had known on ERT.

    “Hey boss –”

    Temple’s grip on the steering wheel tightened and her head snapped toward Vance. “What?” she demanded. Then she took a deep breath and relaxed. “I’m sorry. It’s just that –”

    Temple nodded toward Jasper. “That annoying man out there is going to be trouble. He’s already gotten under my skin and we were with him for what, five minutes?”

    “I don’t know, he’s probably all right.” Vance stared through the windshield and not at Temple. “When you were in the field didn’t you resent having HQ show up?”

    “HQ never showed up in the field, except for maybe meetings at the office, but –”


    “No, you’re right,” Temple conceded. “The field hates it when HQ butts in. But if he’s the agent we have to deal with out here, Lord do I hope it’s only for a day or two.”

    She swung the car around and headed for the Euclid Hotel.

    “So, Temple, what’s the plan? Where are we going, not our hotel, right?”

    “No. It’s too early to check in, but we are going to drive by another hotel, the Euclid, maybe we can sweet talk the police they left there into allowing us in, and then we’ll head over to Merrillville and the hotel, see if we can get an early check-in.”

    Vance yanked his neck to the right, then the left, cupped his chin in his right hand and shoved to the right and then to the left, filling the car with pops and snaps and cracks. Temple’s stomach grumbled — now she wanted some cereal, Rice Crispies.

    “You done? If so, how does that plan sound to you?” Temple asked.

    “I’m hungry, but yes, that sounds good.”

    As they drove by the Euclid, they spotted two police still watching over the abandoned hotel, so they didn’t bother stopping or even slowing up much for that matter. Temple swung into the first greasy spoon she spotted, hoping to soak up some local color, or perhaps overhear some gossip about what happened the evening before. But the place was close to empty and the few people who were in there kept to themselves, so they just ate and left.

    They drove by the FBI office in Merrillville and farther down the road found their hotel. It was a decent looking place, part of a major chain but certainly no Hilton or Marriott. She was glad Vance hadn’t chosen the Express, since he’d be cracking that silly joke about knowing how to do everything since they had stayed there. Temple smiled. Vance wasn’t perfect, but he was easy to work with and willing to put in crazy hours in the name of science.

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