A Good Friend


alice_icon.gif claudia_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title A Good Friend
Synopsis Squeaks once again tries to make contact with Claudia Zimmerman and finds herself intercepted.
Date January 24, 2020

Dim and quiet are the two best words to describe the small apartment that had been assigned to Jac Childs nearly six months ago. With blinds and curtains drawn closed and none of the electrically run amenities turned on, very little of the late afternoon light manages to filter into any of the rooms. The only noise is the everpresent ambient hum, the air and electricity that constantly runs throughout the Ziggurat, that everyone learns to ignore before they can even smile.

The living room and kitchen are empty, the doors that lead from the apartment or onto the tiny balcony are both shut right and locked. It would seem that, by all normal accounts, the young teenager had left for the day.

Praxis Ziggurat, Executive Residential Level

Praxia, California Safe Zone

January 24, 2020

5:11 pm Local Time

Except she hasn't. With another teleporter around, and one without the manners to knock first, Squeaks has gone to great lengths to make sure she's alone and she stays that way. It's still hard to guess if visits happen when she's really not home, but there's only so much preparation she can do to ensure alone time.

Curled into a corner of her bedroom closet, she watches the glowing screen of the stolen cell phone. Her toes dig into the spare blanket she'd brought with her because it's her become her favorite when she needs some extra comfort. She also brought it partly to help muffle her sounds and block the light from the phone’s display.

The girl searches through the recently made calls for a certain number. It doesn't take very long to find, since very few calls had been made. For a long minute she stares at it, wondering. Claudia Zimmerman hadn’t answered before, never called back. It makes her hesitate and question if she should bother trying again. Squeaks’ thumb hovers over the number, teeth press into the corner of her lower lip. She sighs and squeezes her eyes shut.

And her thumb taps the number.

The response is almost immediate.

«You’ve reached the phone of Claudia Zimmerman, SESA public relations director Alice Shaw speaking…» The voice is one unfamiliar to Squeaks, an older woman with a tone that makes her feel immediately condescended to. «To whom am I speaking?»

A flurry of reactions courses through the girl at such a rate it becomes almost physical. Hands shake for a second, and her breath catches out of confusion instead of to answer. Squeaks nearly disconnects the call without replying at all. No doubt it would be the same… Alice Shaw? who answers if she called back.

Instead she eases out a soft breath and uses the lengthening pause to gather herself.

“Yes, hello, Ms. Shaw this is…” Squeaks hangs on the word for less than a heartbeat. Maybe Alice will just figure there was a distraction that hadn't fully cleared. “Bailey.” The first name she lands on, her middle one that only ever gets used on important papers. “Bailey Morrison. Is Ms. Zimmerman available please?”

«I’m sorry, no, she’s in a meeting at present,» Alice says quietly, «but if you leave your number and your reason for calling I’ll make certain that she calls you back at her soonest convenience. Ms. Morrison.»

It's almost progress, but the answer still makes Squeaks roll her eyes. In a meeting, it's practically almost nine o’clock on the east coast, who goes to meetings that late? “Oh, that's my bad timing,” is what she says instead, and hopefully with none of the grumping.

“If you would tell her, it's about the documents that were found in Fort Irwin.” The girl makes a face, like a cringe. That's dangerously close to giving things away she probably shouldn't to someone she doesn't know. But she plows on anyway, following with the number that should be connected to the phone she's calling from. “It isn't an emergency and I know she's very busy, but it's important that she calls back as soon as possible.”

«Fort Irwin, of course.» Alice says with a clipped tone. «I’ll be sure to have her return your call as soon as possible, thank you for your patience.» And the line goes dead. There’s a sense of defeat that’s hard to shake, and as Squeaks finds herself no closer to getting in touch with Claudia, she has to wonder how many more times she can get away with something like this.

She has to wonder why Claudia doesn’t want to talk to her…


The Clocktower Building
Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

Staring down at a phone held in hand, Alice Shaw’s expression is a flat line of neutral disinterest. The truth of the matter is far more complex, as she swipes her thumb across the screen and drags the call record into the trash. The phone is set back down on the countertop in the kitchen, just as Claudia comes in from the sitting room.

“Were you on the phone?” She asks Alice, picking up her own phone from where she’d left it, checking through her messages.

No Missed Calls

“I had to take a call,” Alice says with a nonchalant tone, “it was about some leftover work from Fort Irwin.” Claudia raises one brow. She’d thought she heard that from the other room. “It didn’t turn out to be anything. Someone thought they might have seen Tracy Strauss, but it was a false lead.”

Distracted by the mention of Tracy, Claudia nods and tucks her phone into her purse. “Thank you, Alice… you’re a good friend.”

“I know,” Alice replies with a mild smile.

I know.

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