Kiss Me Twice draft – 3

This entry is part 3 of 36 in the series Kiss Me Twice

revised draft 12/16/2012

Delarosa scowled at the door after Huang left. Damn it. The man had the potential to be a good detective if he weren’t so goddamn lazy. Half the department was crippled by their reliance on that infernal machine. If it hadn’t been bluntly obvious from the way they all mumbled under their breath in meetings, the fact that Huang was the only one who asked for a visual would cinch it.

Of course, Delerosa hadn’t asked for a visual either. He scratched behind his ear and glowered at his paper. He hadn’t even known something was happening at first. He’d sitting at his desk, without his VR glasses and had his desktop turned off. Metta had instructions to text alerts to him if anything needed his attention because he didn’t see any need to have the distraction of constant access. First he knew of the break in was watching Oakes jump up and pull his gun.

Delarosa pulled off the cap on his Namiki Falcon and put the silver nib on the page of his moleskin. The fine tip flexed as he drew a circle around Oakes’s name. Next to it, in tight, neat letters, he wrote: Reconstruct timeline.

Someplace in the basement, the old white board had to be around. They could haul it up and start assembling the case there while Metta was offline.

God. This was the first time that he felt like being old was a positive advantage. He’d started in the force before AI were even invented, much less normal. Now most cities of any real size had an AI “on staff.” He was willing to admit it made paperwork a helluva lot easier, but it made people lazy. Relied on a machine to do their remembering for them.

Sigmundson entered, carrying his interview setup. He had the legal pad Delarosa had given him under one arm. “Got a minute?”

Delarosa grunted an affirmative and gestured him to a chair. Folding his lanky frame into the chair, Sigmundson referred to his legal pad. “We’re looking for three people. Huang said they were wearing clothes that disguised gender. Black baggy thick shirts and trousers, like sweatpants but more padded. Hooded, too. The tallest was approximately two meters. Skinny. He guessed 60 kilos. Another was approximately 170 centimeters. Huang described him as dumpy. 90k. Didn’t have a good angle to guess anything about the third.”

Quickly, Delarosa jotted down the heights and weights. “That’s it?”

Sigmundson shook his head. “The rest is the stuff we all heard.”

Glowering, Delarosa just waited until Sigmundson told him about the machine’s attempt to establish a perimeter and the call for Amado. God, if he’d been online then, he might have gotten there fast enough to help Fitzgerald. He drew a square in the corner of the page and crossed it, filling the squares with ink. “Good. Good… that’s something then. The outfits will make the distinctive outside the headquarters so hopefully someone saw them.”

“That’s what I was thinking.” Sigmundson nodded and riffled through the pages of the legal pad. “I’ll write up a description and we can circulate it to the beat cops. Get them canvassing the neighborhood.”

“Ask about vehicles. They must have had one to get the chassis out.” He tapped the back of the pen on his Moleskin. Private vehicles were taxed heavily enough that there weren’t that many on the road in downtown. Ought to be able to review the traffic footage to see what was close to the station at the time. He stopped and swore. “That goddamn machine housed the traffic footage, didn’t it?”

“I— I don’t know.”

Delarosa capped his pen and stood. “Never mind. Just get that circulating and see what we can dig up.”

“Where are you going?”

“Talk to the chief. I want to get into the building before they start letting people back in.” Delarosa pulled his pen case out and tucked the Falcon into the empty slot. “Good job with the interview.” Even if it had taken him an hour.

#

Delarosa found the chief in the park opposite the station trying to keep an eye on the scene and coordinate the police forces. The chief towered over most of the other officers. Save for Sigmundson, she was likely the tallest officer on the force. Basil Banks had her hair pulled back in a tail that hung down past her shoulders. She had gone grey at the temples years ago but had never used die to cover it.

Seeing Delarosa picking his way through the park, Banks turned slightly away from the officer she was talking with to indicate that she was nearly finished. Delarosa stopped and waited until she finished with the officer and turned to face him. Rumor had it that she had been a runway model in her youth, though she refused to confirm or deny it. The angry sulk of a model narrowed her eyes into a focused glare when she was working.

She turned it on him and Delarosa had to fight to keep from stepping back from her. He hadn’t seen her this pissed since Hobson got caught in a corruption sweep. “Report.”

It wasn’t a request by any means. Delarosa pulled out his moleskin and flipped to the notes he’d take from Sigmundson. As quickly as he could, he told her about Huang’s visual of three suspects. Banks’s lips pressed hard together and a muscle pulsed in the edge of her jaw. “That may be the only lead we’ve got.”

“You’re kidding.”

“We got nothing on these bastards because all the surveillance footage ran through Metta and our guys were all clustered in the wrong areas. Still waiting for CSU to finish their sweep, but so far there’s damn little. This was carefully orchestrated.” The white collar of her dress shirt was buttoned tight around the sagging skin on her neck. “We only know what hallway they took because of where they shot Amado and Fitzgerald.”

That made Delarosa tilt his head in surprise. “No one saw them? No fingerprints… blood?” He’d expected someone to come forward by now.

“No.”

“How long before we get the AI back online?”

“Working on it, but with Amado down I don’t actually know.”

“We’ve got a backup though, right?” Hell, when lightning had taken out the Rose Quarter precincts electrical system and fried their databases, they’d been back up on reserve power in less than an hour. And that was twenty years ago. Surely technology was better now.

Banks’s mouth turned down at the corners. “AI require a specific chassis to run. Metta’s data has off-site backups but her personality needs a chassis. We have to get that from Tovar industries and rebooting from a backup requires special permission.” She held up her hand to stop him. “Oh, believe me. I have had words with them.”

He could only imagine how choice those words had been. It was a load of crap as far, as he could tell, designed to control their monopoly on the market. Can’t restore from a backup without special permission… Just forcing sales was all.

She looked past him, surveying the swarm of officers. “What about the rest of your team?”

“Huang, Cole, and Patel were out on calls when it happened. Huang and Patel came in. Haven’t heard from Cole yet, but he may not know anything happened.”

Banks raised her eyebrows, still jet black, at that.

“If he was out of service range when the AI went down, he may just think the radio isn’t working.”

“So long as you’re sure he wasn’t in the building.”

“Positive. Anyone else unaccounted for?”

“Half the force. Seemed like a good idea at the time, when we set up all communication to route through Metta.” She jutted her chin toward the building. “Come on. Time to tour.”

She led him across the park with long, ground-eating strides. Delarosa almost had to trot to keep up. Damn, he hated getting old. The officers they passed seemed torn between asking Banks what was happening and staying the hell out of her way. She swept up to the police caution tape and ducked under it.

He followed, pulling the special issue gloves out of his pocket. Snapping them on as they went up the stairs to the main entrance, he scanned the steps for anything untoward. “This the way they came in?”

She shook her head. “I don’t want the jackals in the media to see us paying special attention to the garage though. We’ll go down to the chassis room and then work backwards.”

The precinct had an eerie echoing quaility — quieter even than a holiday weekend. No one was on this floor. Banks pulled her own gloves on as they walked. She skipped the elevator and took the stairs down to the sub-basement where the chassis for the AI was housed. An officer turned as she came out of the stairwell and visibly relaxed when he recognized Banks. “Chermkovsky is in the far stairwell. Asked to see you when you came.”

Banks clapped him on the shoulder. “How are you holding up?”

“Fine.” He tapped his earpiece. “Weird not having radio contact, but we’re coping.”

“Good man.” She nodded and strode down the hall leaving the officer standing a little taller behind her. Delarosa wasn’t sure if it was because she was a woman or just had been at it long enough, but she was damn good with people.

Outside the chassis room’s door, a man with curly red hair crouched with a tablet connected to the ID reader by a cable. He glanced down the hall at the sound of their footsteps and stood when he recognized Banks. He didn’t stop working with the tablet though, just nodded.

Banks murmured to Delarosa. “Dave Kennedy with IT. Give him a minute.”

“It’s okay. Y’all can talk while I’m waiting for this to finish running.” His voice twanged with something from the southern US. “Ran it once already, just double-checking an alternate setting.”

“What did you find?” Delarosa studied the door while the kid — couldn’t be older than twenty-five — kept working. It was a reinforced firedoor, thick enough to be in a bank. The door hung open.

“Metta keeps a log of entries throughout the station, and can override the reader. So’s she can keep people out if need be, or let them in if their card’s malfunctioning. Anyhow, each reader also keeps a local log, which is what I’m checking.” He grimaced, his nose wrinkling as he stared at the screen. “Last recorded use of this reader was at [time] by Metta.”

“[time]?” Delarosa pulled out his pad and flipped through the notes he’d been making earlier. There— Shots reported fired at [time]. So she opened the door after that. When had Huang reported seeing people in her room? [time]. Delarosa went cold. “She opened the door for them.”

Kennedy shook his head. “Maybe. The use right before that was a card. Amado Weir’s ID at [time] but it was denied because the station was in lockdown. To me, it looks like she overrode the lockdown and opened it because she thought Amado was standing outside.”

Delarosa stared at his notes, at the timeline he had from Huang’s testimony. “They were in the room before Amado was shot.” Could they have used his ID? He lifted his head, looking for the camera that would have covered the door. There were two at either end of the hallway. “Do we know how they got past the cameras?”

“Not yet. Schwimmer is working on that. She’s looking for a ladder right now. Be back soon.”

Banks nodded, looking at the camera’s as if she could just reach up and pull it down for the IT team. “Thank you.”

Grunting, Delarosa stepped past the tech and into the machine room. He hadn’t been down here since the orientation when the machine was installed seven years ago. The room had been painted a pale blue-green, like a Robin’s Egg ink, since the last time he’d been down here. There was a comfortable wingback chair in one corner and a Maxfield Parrish print. Why the hell would a machine room have a copy of Parish’s Daybreak? They were supposed to be sterile clean rooms to keep things from getting over-heated or something. “What the hell?”

“What are you seeing?” Banks asked it like he’d spotted a clue or something, but it was just the decor that caught him off guard.

He shrugged and stepped farther into the room. “Wasn’t decorated last time I was down here.”

“She’s had it this way for the last couple of years…” Banks had a little line of doubt between her eyebrows.

Oh hell no. She wasn’t going to doubt his ability because he hadn’t made housecalls to a computer. Delarosa stepped farther into the room. Now that the paint wasn’t taking his attention, the square indention on the floor where the chassis had been took his focus. The tile floor had been kept scrupulously clean by someone, probably Amado, but there were four dingy round circles where the feet of the chassis sat. It marked a square about as big as a filing cabinet. He turned and looked for the camera that Huang had mentioned.

In the ceiling, a security camera was aimed at where the chassis had been sitting. It could swivel, but the current angle meant that there was a blind spot right inside the door. He stepped back into the hall. “Where was Amado shot?”

Banks said, “In the south stairwell. Chermovsky’s on it.”

Nodding, Delarosa followed her down the hall to the far set of stairs. Banks pushed the heavy metal door open onto the utilitarian concrete walls of the stairwell. It had the grimy look of a space little trafficked. Banks looked around, frowning. “Chermovsky?”

“Up here.” The CSU tech leaned over the edge of the railing up a story. He gave Delarosa a little nod by way of greeting.

Banks took the stairs two at a time. Delarosa hauled ass to keep up with her but was still four steps behind by the time they got to the next landing. She jerked her head at him. “I’ve put Delarosa as lead on this. What have you got?”

“Well, this is where Amado was shot.” Blood spattered the wall. A smear showed where Amado had slid down the wall to a pool of blood on the floor. He’d left a smudged handprint on the wall where it looked like he’d tried to stand. The spatter pattern indicated a shot from a high angle, as if they got him while they were coming down the stairs.

Delarosa frowned at the smear and the pattern. They were only about a third of the way up the wall. “Why are they so low?”

“Won’t know for certain until we can talk to Amado, but my guess is that he ducked when he saw them.” Chermovsky gestured up the stairs. “The crappy part is that the stairs makes it damn unlikely any of them got blood on their cloths.”

Delarosa rubbed his mouth, considering. “Do we know what they were shooting?”

“Looks like it might have been .40 caliber, but they took the shell casing with them.” He rubbed his nose with his arm, keeping his gloves well away from his face. “Gotta say, these guys knew what they were doing.”

To cover his reaction, Delarosa took out his moleskin and uncapped the Kaweco Sport that was his utility pen. He jotted down some notes, but the main thing he was thinking was that he shouldn’t read too much into the fact that they knew their way around the station. It was way too soon to think about anything like that.

But it gnawed at him anyway. How had they gotten in without anyone seeing them?

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34 Responses

  1. DavidK44

    No significant issues with flow or characterization. Delarosa’s fleshed out now, and doesn’t come off as stereotypical. The pen and ink bits work nicely as a character touch, although it took me a moment to realize that ‘Noodler’s Robins Egg ink’ was referring to inks for his pen collection. The place and movement descriptions provided a reasonable spatial sense for the building layout. Was the ‘Cam’ in the third paragraph a first name/surname relic a la your comment in part 2, or is it a character we haven’t met yet?

  2. Mary Alice Kropp

    Nice additions. Seeing more of Delarosa is good. Helps to make him more real and less the stereotype mentioned before. One thing- when we first see Delarosa writing with his pen, he ” pulled off the cap on his Namiki Falcon” and when he leaves, he “pulled his pen case out and tucked the Faber Castel into the empty slot.” I didn’t see him change pens between?

  3. Atrus

    As the others said, it’s nice to see Delarosa more fleshed out. He and Banks make a fine addition to the story and I hope we’ll get to see more of them.

    By the way, this chapter completely answers my questions from the previous one. :)

  4. Grant Gardner

    Overall
    Good to have a new view point. The change was unexpected as we had had two chapters of Huang’s, but nothing beyond a moments confirmation.

    The transition from computer room to stairs was a bit tough to follow. When Banks called out to Chermovsky and the response was “Up here” I thought he was up in the ceiling tiles of the computer room. I had missed that bit where they were back in the hall way.

    The only other thing that bothered me was all of the pens Delarosa has. It felt just a bit too gimmicky. I like that he has them, but using three different pens in the chapter was a bit off-putting. It makes Delarosa feel too one dimensional to me. The first time it was great – very stylized, very defiant. But each one after felt less like a characterization.

    Of course, there’s the fact that everyone seems to have a fascination with the past – Metta’s starlets for Huang, the quote trivia, the argument about colorizing – maybe this is just Delarosa’s way of doing the same?

    Just my thoughts.

    Stream of reading below

    ———————–

    Delarosa scowled at the door after Huang left. Damn it. The man had the potential to be a good detective if he weren’t so goddamn lazy.
    >>Ooo! New view point! And here I was all prepared to dislike Delarosa.

    Of course, Delerosa hadn’t asked for a visual either. He scratched behind his ear and glowered at his paper. He hadn’t even known something was happening at first. He’d sitting at his desk, without his VR glasses and had his desktop turned off. Metta had instructions to text alerts to him if anything needed his attention because he didn’t see any need to have the distraction of constant access. First he knew of the break in was watching Oakes jump up and pull his gun.
    >>So, I wonder if part of Delarosa’s dislike, especially right now, is guilt that he could have done more to prevent the attack.

    Delarosa pulled off the cap on his Namiki Falcon and put the silver nib on the page of his moleskin.
    >>So old school that it’s almost ritual, it seems. The specificity really makes it for me.

    Delarosa pulled his pen case out and tucked the Faber Castel into the empty slot.
    >>Just wondered if this paints Delarosa as a bit too neurotic. Almost Will Smith in I Robot?

  5. Sally

    I didn’t get the specific ink name thing at first either. My brain made a record-scratch sound. Maybe something to clarify that it’s fountain pen ink that he bought last month or something?

    I’m liking Delarosa’s traditional cop-ness. He reminds me of my old lieutenant.

  6. J.W. Alden

    I was pleasantly surprised at getting a peek under Delarosa’s hood. This chapter already has me liking him much more as a character. In the last chapter, I wasn’t even sure if he was going to be a major player in the story or just serve as a bit of a foil for Huang, so I think it’s a great choice to use his POV here after their first interaction. The pen collection is a very nice touch, and enhances that old-school feeling that Delarosa has about him.

    BTW, when referring to the paper he was taking notes on, did you mean to write moleskin, or did you mean Moleskine (brand of notebooks)? I assumed it was the latter, but I’m not a pen and paper junkie like Delarosa, so maybe I just don’t know my stuff.

    You also answered more questions about Metta and her infrastructure and why it’s not easy-peasy to just plug in another one. Sprinkling those details in while visiting the scene of the crime works great, I think. You’ve got my own detective wheels turning already as well with Del’s reluctant suspicions about the thieves and how careful they were.

    All in all, I didn’t really have any pauses or stumbles while reading this one. Smooth ride to the end.

  7. Jennifer England

    That Delarosa has a pen collection makes it feel like a hobby of his, almost like it’s his substitute for fishing or a gun collection. I like that he thinks of colors in terms of ink.

    I like the switch of Banks from being a man in the novella to being a woman here.

    The mumbling under their breaths line was nice with the subvee to Metta. It gives an outside sense of the activity, that is, outside the person who’s doing it. It would be Delarosa who would notice something like that.

    Is Amado the only guy who watches over Metta at the precint 24/7/365? Or would there be an IT department that he’s part of? Would it be a small department of at least a few people or is Amado on call all of the time?

    The change to following Delarosa from following Huang feels natural to me.

  8. Sara Glassman

    Yay! The pen get’s fleshed out, if that makes sense. It makes my detail oriented heart happy that I now know what kind of pen Delarosa uses. And he references inks! And has a ‘utility pen’ I’m doing a happy dance in my seat about that.
    I like the perspective shift. It’s a really cool way to keep things balanced. Right now, I’m still much more sympathetic to Scott and Metta, but I like the way you’re fleshing out Delarosa. He’s not just a stick in the mud reactionary. He’s got reasons for the way he feels about the AI system.
    The forensic info at the end worked for me. I could picture the set up very well.
    I love that Metta’s room has been paintied and that she hung a print.

  9. Julia Rios

    I’m glad to see Delarosa’s point of view, and I like that the chief is a woman. I also like the details of pens and so forth, but am a little overloaded with branding, and personally would opt for cutting the Noodler’s ink line (because I think it says a lot about him that he has a collection, and keeps a utility fountain pen on him at all times). I like the idea of him thinking of colors in terms of ink, but here it distracted me from the story. I like that he’s noticing and reacting with discomfort to the fact that the room’s been painted and decorated (and that we’re seeing a glimpse of Metta’s personality), and I don’t want to be distracted from that.

  10. Kat

    Hi Mary,

    The switch to Delarosa’s POV made sense to me. He appears to be a dedicated, if slightly pedantic, cop with a lot of experience. I liked that he isn’t as prejudiced about Huang as Huang seemed to be about him.

    So far all the characters have clear markers and ‘tags’ that individualise them, which I find invaluable. The techie Huang, the viking, the luddite, the giant chief – all gives us solid handles to grab onto them until they become people.

    Would a man notice if a woman didn’t dye her hair? This paints Delarosa as very perceptive, but then he is a detective, so I guess that makes sense. And the other details he notices about his chief – the black eyebrows, the way she has with people, support that. The dye threw me the tiniest bit though.

    I’m glad we got some solid and plausible reasons that the AI can’t be immediately restored and that she does in fact have a backup off site. My inner geek sighed in relief! :) And the size of a filing cabinet is a nice touch – gives us a solid picture of how big the chassis is.

    The picture and personalisation in Metta’s room hinted to me that she might be more than a ‘mere’ AI. I really liked that. Subtle and raises questions.

    I like the addition of the concrete walls to the second stairwell. I, like a previous commentator, had a problem seeing it at first, but now it’s clear.

    And a nice ending too. In fact, this flowed very smoothly for me, with no confused moments or boredom.

  11. Hilary

    Well I guess Delarosa isn’t part of the conspiracy. I really like his POV and his interaction with the cheif. I’m interested to find out more of his back story. What is a Luddite and why he decided to become one.

    I’m still enjoying the read and am also wondering about Banks back story.

    So can Metta read? Is Daybreak a book she is reading or Armon was reading to her?

  12. Suzanne

    First, observation from a beginning writer, I was fascinated that I could “feel” that this chapter, as all new content, was definitely “rougher” in terms of sentence level flow and word choices, etc, than the previous chapters. I’m also horrified that the sentence I just wrote is so clunky, yikes. Fascinated in a good way: a reminder that it doesn’t all come out polished and perfect, but it has to start somewhere!

    MOving on: I think it’s interesting that so many commenters have liked the specifics of the pen, because that specificity of detail of branding pulled me right out, I think someone above said they thought it felt gimmicky and I think I agree. Maybe it was because at the time there were 3 names, but even still, that bothered me. But that might be personal, since so many others liked it.

    I’m glad Delarosa alludes to what I was thinking: it was so easy for them to get in, was it an inside job??

    It’s nice to have the switch to his perspective, and understand why he is so against the AI. After the previous chapter, this fleshing out makes him more sympathetic. I still like Huang best, he is very appealing to me, I want to give him a hug or something.

  13. Vera

    Oo! We get to see Delarosa’s perspective, too! I love that he considers his age and experience with detective work before AI’s and decides he’s not useless after all. I love that he doodles.

    I really love that Sigmunson can’t function without Metta.

    I was wondering at the end of the last chapter if Metta was kidnapped/stolen by former police and now Delarosa is wondering it, too. Also, you alluded to a prior corruption sweep. Could these be related?

    I was also confused by the Noodler’s Robins Egg ink reference, but I liked the discussion of Metta’s painted room.

    I find myself wonder, how long has Metta been with this precinct? Huang mentioned that AIs can develop personality over time…

  14. Serge Broom

    Today’s bus ride to/from work sure went fast, thanks to “Kiss Me Twice”.

    Comments? I was going to suggest that putting all memory ‘eggs’ in a single AI basket would be a disaster waiting to happen, but someone already said something about it. It’d be good to point out in the writing that this was the brilliant idea of a penny-pinching fool, like VR glasses not having a built-in recorder because those are cheaper.

    Besides that? The story switched from saying ‘CSI’ to ‘CSU’, but that too may have already been pointed out.

    Anything else?
    Yes.
    Where is Chapter Four?
    We *are* waiting.
    :-)

  15. John Devenny

    Two things that I liked about this chapter:
    As we learn more about Delarosa he is becoming much less of a stereotype.
    Having a female police chief, especially with Delarosa’s obvious animosity towards her, sets up the possibility of more interesting conflicts as the investigation goes forward.

    One nitpick:
    The reference to Noodler Robin’s Egg ink really bothers me . It just seemed to pull me out of the story.

  16. Ell

    Hi–just read the three chapters, enjoying it. I’m also an end reader (I know it bugs people who aren’t end readers, but it works best for me), so I’ve now read the end of the novella.

    The thing I keep coming back to is Banks. First, Banks and computer banks? I initially expected Banks to be another AI.

    Second, I have this thing about introducing a character about whom one would make a default assumption (in this case, police chief -> male, once I got past the police chief -> AI thing) and finding a couple of chapters later I’m wrong. It’s a valid choice, of course. (Also, Basil Banks doesn’t help with that.) But just to give you some background….

    In the late 60s/early 70s, there was a TON of that kind of stuff going on. At first, I was all “Oh, wow! Confronting my prejudices! I totally never would have thought that the surgeon could be a woman!” etc. After the gazillionth time, I’m all “I hate feeling like a bigoted moron when I’m just reading a story.” Not long ago, a young SF writer wrote a story that played with confronting hidden prejudices and posted it on her blog, and I found it interesting that while younger people thought the story was amazing, people of around my age were kinda bugged by it. I hadn’t at that time worked out exactly why it bothered me, so I may be misremembering. But this trope *does* bug me just enough to take me out of the story and go “Is the writer playing with me or is this just happenstance?” Anyway, I thought I’d mention the trigger in case it wasn’t something you intended.

    So far, good stuff!

  17. Katie

    So this is maybe just me (reading at work with some noise in the background), but I had to read the section with the initial blood spatter twice. I think it’s the juxtaposition of him sliding down the wall and then trying to stand in the next sentence. I couldn’t get a clear picture without reading twice, but since no one else has mentioned it, maybe it’s just me.

  18. Charlotte

    I’m confused by the first paragraph. It feels like you’re going between 2lines of thought; the fact that Scott would make a good cop and that the department is crippled by their dependence on technology.
    Still enjoying your descriptions; the pen tip flexing, sigmundson folding his lanky frame into the chair, Delarosa doodling. All good stuff
    Woah. I was pleasantly surprised about the gender of the chief since you had set her up as towering over everyone else. Nice one
    Oh yeah, I’m with Delarosa in thinking this might be an inside job. Another great chapter; kept me engaged throughout

    1. Charlotte

      A side note after reading other comments… I didn’t see the decorations in Metta’s room as being her preference, but rather that someone (like Huang) does hang out there a lot, and the they are her visitor’s preferences . or maybe she encourages people to hang out there?

  19. Ian Miller

    Pen details! Making grouchy Luddite more sympathetic! Aaand then he is grouchy and clearly hasn’t visited the computer room, making him less sympathetic. I like the balancing act quite a bit.

    The chief also seems intriguing, though I hope to see more of Scott soon.

    Metta’s chassis room just makes me want to spend more time with her…

  20. Yvonne

    Oooh Delarosa’s POV. Totally didn’t expect that. Very cool. Reading it now, I think he was a fantastic choice for another POV. The way you’ve written it is excellent as I actually empathize with him even if he has issues with Metta and Huang. He’s not such an ass afterall.

    Just a question though, and maybe I read it in an earlier chapter and missed it, but if Metta was such a big ‘security breach’, as Delarosa described her, shouldn’t she have some flesh and blood cops as guards outside her chassis room? Or was that Fitzgerald and I just missed that? And if Fitzgerald was her guard… really only one? It just feels like there should be tighter security around her hardware since she stores evidence for some many cases. Maybe you address this later on.
    Still loving it, eager to see what you have in store.

  21. Peter E

    —He stopped and swore. “That goddamn machine housed the traffic footage, didn’t it?”—
    Even Delarosa is having problems

    —“Report.”

    It wasn’t a request by any means. Delarosa pulled out his moleskin and flipped to the notes he’d take from Sigmundson. As quickly as he could, he told her about Huang’s visual of three suspects. Banks’s lips pressed hard together and a muscle pulsed in the edge of her jaw. “That may be the only lead we’ve got.”—

    For some reason I though it was Delarosa who said “That may be the only lead we’ve got.” as the last sentence of his report.

    It is interesting to me that Delarosa is such a Luddite. Since this story is set in the future then Delarosa would actually be born after you and me, and would have grown up with cell phones and the internet. Most people I know who like Moleskine paper are creative/artistic types. Why would a cop be a fan of materials that were archaic when he was a kid? At least you didn’t make him a fan of manual typewriters. ;)

    Also Delarosa recognizes the work of Maxfield Parrish? Did he study art before becoming a cop?

  22. Michael Jennings

    Not much to say for this one, enjoyed the POV switch, Banks reminds me a little of the Captain from Castle (maybe that’s because she’s Captain Gates). The ink color and pen things were nice touches; I do that with colors, but agree with those who think it could get tedious.

  23. Elin Lindberg

    I am starting to like Delarosa a bit more. It is nice to get a viewpoint from him to really highlight the struggle between using AI to help with everything vs. doing it the “old” way.

    This chapter doesn’t seem to have that much more plotrelated but is a nice little breather. If you want the pacing to be quick though, this might slow down the movement a bit more, I am not as hooked as I was in the first two chapters.

  24. Laura Christensen

    Notes as I read:

    Delarosa scowled at the door after Huang left. Damn it.
    >>Woah! New point of view! Was not expecting that.

    If it hadn’t been bluntly obvious from the way they all mumbled under their breath in meetings, the fact that Huang was the only one who asked for a visual would cinch it.
    >>Mumbled under their breath… As in, talking to Metta?

    Metta had instructions to text alerts to him if anything needed his attention because he didn’t see any need to have the distraction of constant access.
    >>Understandable.

    Delarosa pulled off the cap on his Namiki Falcon and put the silver nib on the page of his moleskin.
    >>Not going to lie, this guy’s got style. (Nooo I don’t waaant to like him.)

    Quickly, Delarosa jotted down the heights and weights. “That’s it?”
    >>Efficient note-taker. Another +1 for Delarosa. :D

    God, if he’d been online then, he might have gotten there fast enough to help Fitzgerald.
    >>At least he realizes….

    He drew a square in the corner of the page and crossed it, filling the squares with ink.
    >>Ah! He’s a doodler. Okay, I like him even more now. (Despite myself. Nooo.)

    “That goddamn machine housed the traffic footage, didn’t it?”
    >>Hmm. Internal alarm is dinging.

    Even if it had taken him an hour.
    >>Um, yes. At least the report didn’t take an hour? *wince*

    Rumor had it that she had been a runway model in her youth, though she refused to confirm or deny it. The angry sulk of a model narrowed her eyes into a focused glare when she was working.
    >>Huh. Interesting.

    Banks’s mouth turned down at the corners. “AI require a specific chassis to run. Metta’s data has off-site backups but her personality needs a chassis. We have to get that from Tovar industries and rebooting from a backup requires special permission.” She held up her hand to stop him. “Oh, believe me. I have had words with them.”
    >>Wow.

    “If he was out of service range when the AI went down, he may just think the radio isn’t working.”
    >>Huh, interesting.

    Banks clapped him on the shoulder. “How are you holding up?”
    >>Oh, good. This humanizes her.

    “Metta keeps a log of entries throughout the station, and can override the reader. So’s she can keep people out if need be, or let them in if their card’s malfunctioning. Anyhow, each reader also keeps a local log, which is what I’m checking.” He grimaced, his nose wrinkling as he stared at the screen. “Last recorded use of this reader was at [time] by Metta.”
    >>Uh oh. She opened the door for them.

    Delarosa went cold. “She opened the door for them.”
    >>Yeah, chills.

    Kennedy shook his head. “Maybe. The use right before that was a card. Amado Weir’s ID at [time] but it was denied because the station was in lockdown. To me, it looks like she overrode the lockdown and opened it because she thought Amado was standing outside.”
    >>So, it was opened twice. Once for the intrudors, THEN Amado tried to come in and she overrode the lock and let him? Did I understand correctly?

    “She’s had it this way for the last couple of years…” Banks had a little line of doubt between her eyebrows.
    >>That’s… rather awesome. :D

    The spatter pattern indicated a shot from a high angle, as if they got him while they were coming down the stairs.
    >>But…he was shot when they were already in the building, when they were leaving with their get-away, correct? Which means they were going up the stairs at the time of the shot, not coming down. And Metta had seen Amado (though granted she’s got the all-seeing eye so he could’ve been anywhere) but there’s a trace of him coming into her chassis-room after the intruders had entered. So… was he chasing them back up the stairs and got shot? Hm, not quite adding up. Hmm.

    He jotted down some notes, but the main thing he was thinking was that he shouldn’t read too much into the fact that they knew their way around the station. It was way too soon to think about anything like that.
    But it gnawed at him anyway. How had they gotten in without anyone seeing them?
    >>Uh yeah. Nothing gives chills quite like the idea of an inside-job. *wince*

    – – –
    Wasn’t sure how I’d like being in Delarosa’s head, but I ended up really liking this chapter! It’s great to meet the rest of the force and see what they’re doing, as well as get a contrast to Scott’s personality, the things he notices, and the things he cares about. I’m actually rooting for Delarosa, too, which I definitely wasn’t expecting.

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