<img class="graphic" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/MtC_Ch02.png" />
(set: $kitchenObj to "mug") (set: $infoCount to 0) (set: $b to (text-style:"blur"))(set: $dt to (transition: "dissolve"))(set: $st to (transition: "shudder")+(transition-time: 0.5s))(set:$isInfoCover to false)(set:$isInfoCrime to false)(set:$isInfoVictim to false)(set:$isInfoSuspects to false)(set:$isInfoContest to false)
The mug in Roz's hands was warm, even though the dregs of her coffee(click-append:"the coffee")[, the third of the evening, ] had gone cold. Her phone was charging by the office's (link-reveal:"microwave")[(show:?microwave)] and (link-reveal:"coffee machine")[(show:?coffeemachine)].
|microwave)[The microwave's clock said it was 1:18. That was... //AM// right? Roz rubbed her eyes.(set: $kitchenObj to "microwave")] |coffeemachine)[The office provided the coffee machine, but not the coffee. The employees had to pay for that. And the cream. And sugar. Roz figured the budget must have been tight that year. (set: $kitchenObj to "coffee machine")]
|gage1)[$st[Roz jumped in her seat, blinking and looking up from the $kitchenObj to her partner(click-replace:"partner")[**supervisor**]'s face. Gage was frowning at her. "Are you (link-reveal:"falling asleep?")[(show:?sleepy)]" ]]
|sleepy)[$dt["Uh..." Rosalyn said, she blinked. It didn't help. So she squinted at Gage, //which sort// of helped. "...no?"
<img class="picture" alt="Working" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/files-1614223_1280.jpg" />
Between them on the small kitchen table were piles of documentation, forensic reports and pictures of the crimescene and JDoe(click-replace:"JDoe")[ JDoe Designs(click-replace: "JDoe Designs")[ Jane Doh]]'s social media accounts.
Gage frowned. Nope. He wasn't buying it, nor should he. Roz had //definitely// been falling asleep. She bit her lip and winced.
"I mean, I was trying not to," she corrected, and rubbed a hand over her face. "I'm (link-reveal:'sorry.')[" It had been a long, exhausting, day and there was no end in sight yet.
"] I //was// paying attention. Until I started to fall asleep. Where were we again?(set: $infoCount to 1) (link-goto:'the crimescene', 'theCrime') or (link-goto: 'undercover information', 'theCover')?"]]
(set: $isInfoCover to true)
"We were talking about the importance of not breaking your cover story," Gage said, reaching up to rub a hand over his eyes. "If you break cover, you put the entire investigation at risk. More than that-"
"I lose my job," Roz said quietly, curling into herself slightly. Despite how long they'd spent talking about the case, the image of Stonewick promising to blacklist her was still fresh. "I know."
"I was going to say, you might get hurt. But, yeah, (link-reveal:"that too")[(show:?continue1)]," Gage said, rubbing at the stubble on his chin.
|continue1)["Stonewick's approved a surveil and report operation," Gage said, pulling up a message on his phone to read from.
<img class="mugshot" alt="Phone" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/business-924902_1280.jpg" />
"Hart is to observe, report on her observations, and collect evidence that is in plain sight and public space. Agent Hart will regularly check in with her superior officer. If she witnesses a civilian in immediate danger, she is authorized to use non-lethal force to restrain a suspect only until her superior, Senior Agent Deon Gage, is notified and can arrive. At no point will Agent Hart be issued a weapon, nor be the arresting officer." He paused, looking up at her. "Do you understand and (link-reveal:"agree")[(show:?continue2)] to these terms?"]
|continue2)["Yes," Roz said with a nod. What other choice did she have? Just... give up? Maybe that's what Stonewick wanted her to do, but she hadn't worked this hard to just hand in her resignation over //one// (link-reveal:"bad day.")[
It might be the worst first day of work in all of history, but no one had (link-reveal:"//died//.")[ (link-reveal:"That she knew of.")[ A twist of guilt in her belly made her feel ill at the thought of Donny. She hoped he was alright.]]]
"Good." Gage set his phone down and looked at her straight in the eye. "Look, Hart. I don't think you're a bad cop. I just think you fucked up. Unfortunately, it was a bad situation, and things got out of hand."
A woosh of breath slipped out, and Roz felt her throat get tight again. She nodded.
"Thank you, sir," she said.
"That said," he continued. "I will not tolerate any dangerous hero bullshit on my operation. Are we clear?"
But-(click-replace:"But-")[She hadn't-(click-replace:"She hadn't-")[Donny had been the one to- (click-replace:"Donny had been the one to-")[ She swallowed her protests and straightened her back.
"Yessir," she said firmly. "Understood."]]]
"Good," Gage said. "Now that we understand each other, I'll be at your handler, supervising but at a distance. Your goal is to get into the Academie and see what you can find out about the other competitors. We can talk about //how// you plan to do that without getting caught tomorrow. When you're (link-reveal:"not falling asleep")[(show:?aPlan)] mid-sentence."
|aPlan)[(if:$isInfoSuspects is true)["Actually..." Roz said. "(link-goto:"I have an idea.","RozCover")"]
|nextInfo)[(if: $isInfoCrime is false)[(link-goto: "Let's go over the crime itself.", "theCrime")]
(if:$isInfoVictim is true)[Can we go back to talking about Doh? (click-replace: "Can we go back to talking about Doh?")[ Gage frowns. "No. Not right now."]]
(if:$isInfoSuspects is true)[So who are the competitors again? (click-replace: "So who are the competitors again?")[ Gage stared at Roz for a moment.
"We don't know yet. I told you that."]]
](set: $isInfoCrime to true) (set: $b to (text-style:"blur"))(set: $isInfoVictim to false)(set: $isInfoSuspects to false)(set: $isInfoContest to false)
"We were discussing the matter of a young woman being murdered," Gage said. "Before you started to //snore//, you said you knew her. That won't affect your ability to work on this case, will it?" He asked, arching one very unimpressed eyebrow. Roz wondered where men like Stonewick and Gage learned how to convey so much disapproval with the smallest of expressions. Was there a class they offered when you became a senior agent?
<img class="picture" alt="Working" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/writing-828911_1280.jpg" />
"It's more that I know //of// her," Roz said, bouncing her leg to try to get her blood flowing. It would help keep her awake, and even after they were done here, she'd have to drive home. Ugh. If she didn't have to pack, she could just sleep in the backseat and– wait.
|focusRoz)["I've followed her for years on social media," Rosalyn answered. "I was really into sewing and her work was always really beautiful. The most that I've personally interacted with her was that I asked her a question or two and she replied." She shook her head, rubbing a hand against her face.
It wouldn't be an issue.(click-replace:"It wouldn't be an issue.")["No, no sir. No issue." This wasn't like (link-reveal:"Donny.")[ Roz bit the inside of her cheek, wondering if he was alright. She hadn't had a chance to call the hospital, and neither Gage nor Stonewick had told her how Donny was doing.
] There was no history between her and (link-reveal:"Ms Doh.")[(show:?continue1)]]]<!--focusRoz ends.-->
|continue1)[Gage watched her for a long moment, then nodded, either satisfied or too tired himself to press the issue further. He knew that //she knew// what was at stake.
"Alright, you said she posted about her new clothes right before midnight-"
"New collection," Roz interrupted. "They weren't really clothes yet. But," she shifted through the papers on the desk and found the screen shots she'd taken of the Instapic story before it (link-reveal:"disappeared.")[ Although she had reached out to the company to ask for the source files and records about the post, she hadn't heard back yet. Companies like Instapic weren't exactly known to be friendly to Agencies like CRIME.
] "11:58pm, and it was viewed about twenty thousand times before it went away."
"Did someone delete it?" Gage asked, looking at the paper Roz had found. "Or is that one of those auto-delete videos?"
"The Instapic stories stay up for twenty four hours, then they're supposedly deleted," Roz said, handing the paper to him. "That's what the company says, but I haven't heard back yet." The customer service reps were probably all asleep like sane people. Not up on three coffees, trying to (link-reveal:"solve a murder.")[(show:?timeline)]]<!--continue1 ends.-->
|timeline)["So we know she was alive just before midnight yesterday," Gage said, frowning. "The body was found at eight in the morning when the victim's mother arrived and found the door open." He slid over the reporting officer's debrief. This one was typed, and unlike Roz's from that morning, wasn't covered in blood. She'd already read it twice, but maybe a third time she would remember what //some// of the details were.
"The coroner's report said the time of death was around 3 am," Roz said. She frowned. Then flipped through a few of the pages. "Where's her phone? Are they going to send it over with the rest of the evidence?" There'd been a list of what was being shipped from the local PD.
(link-reveal:"Where had that gone?")[ Aha! Underneath the (link-reveal:"toxicity report")[ which, other than an //obscenely// high level of caffeine, had come back clean].
"That the evidence list?" Gage asked, getting up and starting to make more coffee. Bless him.
"Mhm..." Roz said, running her fingers down the (link-reveal:"list.")[(show:?invList)]]]
Inventory of Evidence in Jane Doh Case found below:
* one (1) set of victim's clothing incl.
** leggings, black
** sweater, grey
** shirt, blue
** socks, white
** slippers, brown
* three (3) boxes of fabric and clothing
* two (2) notebooks
* one (1) sewing machine
</span> Roz skimmed the rest of the list, and (link-reveal:"frowned.")[
"There's no phone. No computer. Someone like Doh, her entire business was online. Social media. Her phone and laptop would have everything she was working on." looking up at Gage, she handed the inventory over to him. "If they weren't at the scene of the crime, that means whoever killed her must have taken them." He nodded, taking the papers and looking over the list himself.
"I'll contact the phone company and get them to send us the GPS coordinates then," Gage said. "Good catch, Hart."
The smallest bit of praise after a day like hers was almost enough to make her cry. Nodding, Roz reached for the stack of printed photos of the scene.
"It might be worth checking her cloud," she added. "These days everything gets backed up somewhere." They were making a plan of attack, and Roz felt better about that. Having a plan was always better than none, but still. There were some things that (link-reveal:"weren't making sense")[(show:?nextInfo)].]]<!--progression of investigation -->
|nextInfo)[(link-goto: "About Jane Doh though...", "theVictim")
(link-goto: "Who would want her dead?", "theSuspects")
(link-goto: "You think the contest would be the motive?", "theContest")
(if: $isInfoCover is true)[(if: $isInfoSuspects is true)[(link-goto:"I have an idea.","RozCover")]](else:)[(link-goto: "What about our cover story?", "theCover")]]
(set: $isInfoVictim to true)
"Jane Doh," Gage said, pulling out yet another file. "Father was a Vietnamese national before immigrating to Canada as a child, mother is Canadian. Divorced about six years ago. One brother, and all three family members have been cleared for that night."
Roz listened as Gage spelled out the woman's life. She knew some of it anyways. Jane was never one to get in trouble, she started sewing as a young girl, and after high school Jane attended a fashion design program.
<img class="picture" alt="JaneDoh" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/janeDoh-e1514777937590.jpg" />
"Until she started making a name for herself," Gage said, tossing the file down. "The closest thing to an enemy this woman had was an ex-boyfriend from a few years ago who is now happily married with a baby on the way. Jane made the wedding dress for the ceremony, so I don't think there's much hard feelings there."
Roz pursed her lips.
"But we're still investigating him, (link-reveal:"right?")[(show:?continue1)]" She asked.
|continue1)[Gage looked up at her, the corner of his left eyebrow ticked up.
"Of course we are," he said. "Until he has a solid alibi, he's as much a suspect as anyone Doh had met. The only reason Stonewick is allowing //you// to work this case after you admitted you know her, is because you understand this... sewing business." He paused, and Roz narrowed his eyes.
"(link-reveal:"And?")[(show:?continue2)]" there was more. Gage was just not saying what.]
|continue2)["And he had your phone's location checked. You were nowhere near the home of Doh at the time."
Roz sat back in her chair and thought about that, lips pursed.
"I don't think he likes me," she muttered.
"I'd say it's nothing personal, but I'm not an idiot," Gage said. "You should have mentioned you were involved with Agent Reeves. Instead you embarrassed the Agency."(click-prepend:"Reeves")[Donny ]
(link-reveal:"Right.")[ That //would// be a legitimate frustration. Roz sighed.
"So no current partner?" she asked. "For Doh, I mean. Just the ex?"
"We'll know more once we find that phone and laptop. Right now, our best guess for suspects are her fellow competitiors."
"Her what?" Roz asked. Things were getting hard to focus on again. Words were blurring on the papers in front of her. "For... the... Competition?" She said, pulling half-remembered facts together.
"Yes." Gage looked like he was getting tired too. (click-replace:"too")[ of explaining things to her] "Do you want me to (link-reveal:"go over that again")[(show:?nextInfo)] with you?"]]
|nextInfo)[(if:$isInfoSuspects is true)[So who are the competitors again? (click-replace: "So who are the competitors again?")[ Gage stared at Roz for a moment.
"We don't know yet. I told you that."]](else:)[(set: $infoCount to it + 1)(link-goto: "Who are the competitors?", "theSuspects")]
(if:$isInfoContest is true)[What was the contest? (click-replace: "What was the contest?")[ "Hart, we covered that. Please at least //try// to pay attention."]](else:)[(set: $infoCount to it + 1)(link-goto: "You think the contest would be the motive?", "theContest")]
(if: $isInfoCover and $isInfoSuspects)[(link-goto:"I have an idea.","RozCover")](else:)[(link-goto: "What about our cover story?", "theCover")]](set: $isInfoSuspects to true)
"So, why the local PD call us?" Rosalyn asked, looking up from the debrief.
"At the scene they found out that Doh was supposed to leave for France in two days for some... fashion competition. I think that whoever did this was hired by, or //is// one of the other competitors. Apparently it's a lucrative prize to whoever wins first place. And hell, people have killed over less."
<img class="picture" alt="Scissors" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/scissor-1794088_1280.jpg" />
"I think I've heard about it before," she said then shook her head. "But I don't know more than 'it's a big fucking deal'." Whoops. Swearing pointlessly in front of the man in charge of the rest of her career was probably not a good move. She winced. "I mean, that it's a big deal. Sorry sir."
Gage ignored her slip-up. Whether he was too tired to bother, or actually didn't care, Roz wasn't sure. She wasn't sure it mattered either.
"So the immediate suspects are the other competitors," Roz said. "Who... uh, are they?"
(link-reveal:"Had she missed those sheets?")[(show:?continue1)]
|continue1)[Gage watched her rifle through the papers for a minute before he leaned back in his seat.
"We don't know. All we know is that there's five. We've tried to contact the organizers of the contest, but they say that it's privileged information. Without a warrant approved by the French, we can't compel a list from them."
Roz lifted her eyebrows, (link-reveal:"looking up at him.")[ Super nice of him to wait until after she'd started to panic, to tell her there was no information. Ass.]
"Even though one of them has been murdered, they still won't share the list?" She asked. "That's... not a good look."
"That's why we're going undercover. They won't send us a list, but they can't stop us from being there."
Roz was confused. She was pretty sure, yes they could stop the CRIME Agents from being around. But surveillance //was// allowed on French soil, (link-reveal:"part of the European coallition treaty against Organized Crime.")[ That had been on her final exam on International law, last month.]
"So," she said. "(link-reveal:"Who are these organizers")[(show:?continue2)] that are so up their own butts that they can't help out a murder investigation?"]
|continue2)[Gage pulled a pair of printouts from underneath one of the piles of information.
<img class="mugshot" alt="Lady Epherma" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/mugEpherma.jpg" />
"The main organizer is a former model, or a current one. I'm not really sure how that works yet," Gage admitted. "She goes by the name-"
"Lady Epherma," Rosalyn said, instantly recognizing the woman's high cheekbones and icy blue eyes. "She was the most-super of super models when I was growing up. I remember watching her on TV wearing all the most stylish and haute couture of fashion."
"Sure," Gage said with a shrug. "Her. She bought the Fashion Design school that's hosting the contest, and has been extremely unhelpful."
Roz was sure the model had been //more// than (link-reveal:"unhelpful.")[(show:?flashback1)] ]
|flashback1)[ <div class="flashback">Rosalyn was supposed to be doing her math homework, tucked away from sight in the back corner of her mother's studio. Today's photoshoot was very very important, and she had been warned to not get in the way.
Rosalyn had immediately pointed out that she was ten and not a child, thank you very much. Unlike Cara, still only six, Rosalyn was practically a pre-teen and promised she would stay out of the way. It wasn't like she hadn't been at the studio before. She knew better than to touch the expensive lights. Not like Cara. Cara was still a little girl.
Now, watching from the dark corner with only a little desk lamp to see her homework by, Rosalyn gasped as she saw the tall woman walk in the door. Cheekbones so sharp they could cut, and eyes that looked like ice. It was Lady Epherma, and Rosalyn was sure that she had never seen a more beautiful or powerful woman.
Roz wanted nothing more to be able to be like Lady Epherma. Lady Epherma would never get bullied at school, or called names. Even if someone tried, it wouldn't bother her.
The model wrinkled her nose as she strode into the middle of the studio.
"I smell children. Philo, //darling//, is that **yours**?" An elegant finger pointed in Roz's direction. "Can't you get rid of it?"
Philomena Hart(click-replace:"Philomena Hart")[Rosalyn's Mother] had jumped at the request, and Rosalyn had been sent home. Like some... little girl.
"Yeah," Roz said, wrinkling her nose. "Epherma has a reputation for being difficult.(click-replace:"being difficult")[being a bitch]" Roz looked at the other photo and blinked.
|continue3)[<img class="mugshot" alt="Matteo Sauvage" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/mugMatteo.jpg" />
"Her ex husband, Matteo Sauvage," Gage said with a nod. "You know about (link-reveal:"him too?")[(show:?flashback2)]"]
<div class="flashback"> Rosalyn was trying not to sulk in the back of the car. The driver was a fancy looking man with a curled moustache and was wearing a suit out of bright colours. She didn't care.
She didn't **want** to go home.
"You know," the driver said to her. "We could stop on the way to your mother's appartment for a treat if you'd like."
Rosalyn squinted at the man from the backseat. She wasn't sure if he was telling the truth.
"You're Rosie, right? I'm Matteo. I need a coffee if I am to deal with Epherma's attitude after I return, anyways."
Reluctantly, Rosalyn nodded.
"Please don't call me 'Rosie'," she said. "That's a little girl's name. And I'm ten. My name is Rosalyn."
Monsieur Matteo had laughed, then called her Rosalyn.</div>
Roz rubbed at her cheek, feeling the small scar on her cheekbone. That had been (link-reveal:"right before-")[ (link-reveal:"//**No.**//")[ Now wasn't the time to dwell on the past. She had to (link-reveal:"focus.")[(show:?continue4)]]]]
|continue4)[ "He was a designer, famous at the time, but after they divorced he dropped off the fashion stage," Roz said. She shook her head to clear cobwebby memories. God, she was tired. "I don't know what happened to him, but if he's working with her again, he must be in some serious debt. It was as messy as divorces can get, from what I remember reading."
There had to be (link-reveal:"more to this.")[(show:?nextInfo)]]
|nextInfo)[(if:$isInfoVictim is true)[(link-reveal: "Can we go back to talking about Doh?")[ Gage frowns. "No."]](else:)[(link-goto: "About Jane Doh though...", "theVictim")]
(if:$isInfoContest is true)[(link-reveal: "What was the contest again?")[ "Hart, we covered that. Please at least //try// to pay attention."]](else:)[(link-goto: "You think the contest would be the motive?", "theContest")]
(if: $isInfoCover and $isInfoSuspects)[(link-goto:"I have an idea.","RozCover")](else:)[(link-goto: "What about our cover story?","theCover")]](set: $isInfoContest to true)
"Right," Gage pulled out a series of printed images: a large envelope made out of expensive-looking cardstock that had been opened, the embossed seal broken. It was addressed to (link-reveal:"Jane Doh, of JDoe Designs.")[There was no address though. No postal or Zip code. No return address either.
<img class="picture" alt="Letter" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/letters-2742643_1280.jpg" />
"It must have been delivered by courier, or by hand since there's no address. But who delivers things by hand?" Roz said, pointing at the envelope. Gage nodded.
"The PD didn't find any packaging at the scene to give us a tracking number, but that's what I thought too. Most likely courier since it's from France."]
Pulling the other photos toward her, Roz looked over the rest. There was a scanned image of the promotional booklet for L'Academie du Couture, the kind of brochure that (link-reveal:"all post-secondary schools had")[: 'Attend here, become successful! We're the best for you for reasons we will list in vague terms! We offer financial support but you'll still be broke afterwards'].
Flipping through the pages, Roz realised that the scans were only of the front and back of the booklet. Who would look at a booklet that was relevant to a murder investigation, then //only scan the cover//? She made a face and skipped ahead to a (link-reveal:"scan of the contract.")[(show:?continue1)]
|continue1)["They're going to send us the actual items, or better scans, right?" She asked, looking up at Gage. He had crossed his arms, resting them on the table. She wasn't the only one who was exhausted.
"Yeah, they're processing everything for fingerprints beforehand. Then they'll send over more complete information. Priority is on the contract. The brochure we'll look for online, see if there's anything we can gain from the public information."
"If they have social media, I'll see who's commented and followed their accounts," she said, flipping through the contract scans. The first few pages had been included, and the final one, with the signature and date of Jane Doh accepting the offer."Might include some of our mystery competitors."
Roz frowned, and rubbed her eye as the words blurred and flattened oddly. She either needed a nap, coffee, or both. Probably both.
"Hey Gage, it's the fourth today, right?" She asked, looking over to where her phone was still plugged into the wall.
|continue2)["She signed this over two months ago..." Roz said, handing the sheet back to him. "Why now? Why didn't the murder happen when she was offered the position?" Roz pursed her lips, thinking. (if:$isSuspectInfo is true)["And if we don't know who the other contestants are... how did anyone find out Doh was one?"
Gage studied the contract, then looked over it at her.
"I'd assumed she told someone. But without her phone or laptop, we can't know for sure."
Roz tapped her fingers against her lip, brain struggling to work. God she felt so stupid when she was tired. Like she was thinking in molasses or something.]
"I'll see what I can find in the social groups she was part of," Roz said. "Maybe she mentioned the contest there, or hinted at it." She had to stifle a yawn in the middle of her sentence. Hopefully they'd be done soon, or she'd need to call a cab to get home.
"So," she said, trying to stifle a second yawn and failing. "We're going to surveil the contest?"
"That's the plan, the Academie is remote and it's a small town. That's why we'll need to have our cover stories down."
Oh. Right. (link-reveal:"Undercover.")[(show:?nextInfo)]]
|nextInfo)[(if:$isInfoVictim is true)[Can we go back to talking about Doh? (click-replace: "Can we go back to talking about Doh?")[ Gage frowns. "No. Not right now."]](else:)[(link-goto: "About Jane Doh though...", "theVictim")]
(if:$isInfoSuspects is true)[So who are the competitors again? (click-replace: "So who are the competitors again?")[ Gage stared at Roz for a moment.
"We don't know yet. I told you that."]](else:)[(link-goto: "Who are the other competitors?", "theSuspects")]
(if: $isInfoCover and $isInfoSuspects)[(link-goto:"I have an idea.","RozCover")](else:)[(link-goto: "What about our cover story?", "theCover")]]Gage raised his eyebrows. He didn't look impressed, but Roz was sure that she could hand the murderer over that very instant, and he wouldn't look impressed. First impressions were a hell of a thing, and she had //not// made a good one by shoving her way into his case. Especially after bungling her own.
<img class="picture" alt="Top Secret" src="http://makethecut.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/secret-3037639_1280.jpg" />
"My... uh, mother, used to know Lady Epherma. Professionally," Roz said. She noticed Gage's eyes squinting and she soldiered on, speaking quickly to get the idea out (link-reveal:"before he could pre-emptively shut her down.")[
"My mother's a photographer, if you read my file you know about that whole... mess. Anyways, so, Epherma might be willing to do my mother a favour... a favour like letting her recently-fired daughter enter a contest, (which is now short a designer) very last minute. Then I'd be in the thick of the competition and in the best position to find out who's who."
Rosalyn winced, waiting for the blowback.
"So." Gage steepled his fingers and rested them against his lips. He was taking an awful long time to speak. "Is there //anyone//, in this world, that you aren't compromised in working with or (link-reveal:"to investigate?")[(show:?continue1)]"]
|continue1)["Um." Roz swallowed. "You. (link-reveal:"I don't know you?")[(show:?continue2)]"]
|continue2)[Gage closed his eyes, squeezing them tight. That wasn't a good sign. Not at all. Roz shifted in her seat. She'd just ruined the very last shred of her career. That was it. Goodbye career. Mom was right. Mom... who... would pull this favour for her wayward daughter if it would get Rosalyn back into the arts. And if Roz was fired... for real...
"(link-reveal:"Normally,")[(show:?continue3)]" Gage said slowly.]
|continue3)[ "//Normally// I would immediately have you removed from this case. Not doing so would risk my career, the Director's career and the integrety of the CRIME Agency itself. I shouldn't even be considering this."
Roz leaned in, eyes widening.
"You're (link-reveal:"considering this?")[(show:?continue4)]" She asked, breathlessly.]
|continue4)[Gage opened his eyes, and the suspicion there sucked out some of her excitement.
"If I do have you removed, Stonewick (link-reveal:"//will// fire you")[(show:?continue5)]."]
"And if you're fired, you wouldn't have (link-reveal:"any oversight")[(show:?continue6)]."]]
"Which means you would be free to insert yourself into this investigation as a civilian," Gage continued. "Which could put the (link-reveal:"entire operation")[(show:?continue7)] at risk."]]
|continue7)["I probably would," Roz agreed.
"So," Gage paused. He took a deep breath and let it out through his nose, causing his (link-reveal:"nostrils to flare. ")[(link-reveal:"It was a Lion's breath. ")[(link-reveal:"Roz recognized it from Yoga.")[(link-reveal:" Did Gage do yoga?")[(show:?continue8)]]]]]
|continue8)["So...?" She asked hopefully.
"Officially, I'm asking you to turn in your badge. //Unofficially//, place that call and do whatever you can to get that spot in the competition. You do everything I say, you step out of line, and I disavow ever sanctioning this. (link-reveal:"Do you understand?")[(show:?continue9)]"]
|continue9)[Roz sat bolt upright.
"Yessir! I understand, sir."
Gage nodded, and rubbed his temples with his thumbs. Another de-stress technique. Roz knew that one too. She did it often while speaking to her mother.
"Good. Go home, Hart. Leave the badge here. I'll inform Stonewick. I'll contact you when you get to France."
Roz hopped up and pulled her badge from around her neck.
"Here you are, sir. Absolutely. I'll do everything I can, sir. Thank you, sir." That was too many Sir's. Now she was going to look like she was as desperate as she (link-reveal:"//actually// was.")[ She was VERY desperate.]
"Oh," he said, as Roz turned to unplug her phone from the counter. "And Hart?"
Roz paused, holding her (link-reveal:"phone")[(show:?phoneMsgs)] to her chest. |phoneMsgs)[10 notifications, 2 Missed calls from Cara.]
|continue10)[Gage began to gather the papers she had left on the table.
**"Don't fuck this up."**]