Collateral Damage


caliban_icon.gif linderman_icon.gif

Scene Title Collateral Damage
Synopsis Caliban delivers his report to his employer.
Date July 2, 2009

Linderman Building — Linderman's Office

Robert Caliban doesn't know what it’s like to lose a daughter, but he knows how it feels to lose a son. As he studies the back of Linderman's chair in reverent silence, gloved hands clasped behind him, he reflects on the shadow memories that belong to the man he used to be.

Emma, his wife. Thomas, their boy. Enough years have passed that their voices elude him, but the sound of a child's fingers wandering across the ivory keys of an antique Blüthner piano is as timeless and as clear as the Swarovski figurines that Emma used to collect. He supposes he remembers because Blüthner was his wife's maiden name before she took his — the piano itself had been a gift from his father-in-law the Christmas before their family buried him.

If Robert had known that Thomas would follow his grossvater into the ground a scarce few months later, he would have declined the opportunity to travel. Would have spent the summer with his family instead. Would have been the one behind the wheel when the 1980 Toyota Camry pulled out of the driveway. Would have seen

"Is it done?" Linderman's voice is hoarse and raw, either from too much drinking, not enough sleep or some hackneyed combination of the two. In the same instant, Caliban's blue eyes snap to the back of the other man's head and resume their quiet study of his suit-clad frame, which sits hunched with its shoulders squared in the office's solitary leather chair.

"That depends," he says at length. "As far as I'm aware, Zarek hasn't offered him your ultimatum, but if it's the Dagger you're asking after…" Caliban trails off, lapsing into the same uneasy silence that has been hanging between the two men for the past five minutes and counting. He suspects that Linderman already knows the answer to his question; why he insists on asking only leads to more speculation.

"Was anyone killed?"

Caliban hesitates. "There may have been some collateral damage," he concedes after a short pause in which he allows his gaze to wander past Linderman and out the window overlooking the city's Financial District and the waterfront beyond, "but nothing we didn't anticipate when the fire was set. Torres and Barnes suffered some minor burns and are recovering comfortably at home. No one at St. Luke's is asking any questions about how they received their injuries — I've made sure of it."

"No women?"

"Not that I'm aware of, sir."

As Linderman breathes out a slow sigh — either through his nostrils or an open mouth, Caliban can't tell which — his body appears to deflate in its seat and the elder of the men makes a sound like wind rustling through a pile of dry leaves. "Thank you," he says, finally.

"Will that be all?"

Ultimately, it's the absence of a spoken response that gives Caliban his cue to leave. He takes a step back toward the door, the toe of his loafer scuffing against the Persian rug that adorns the office's marble floor, but something causes him to stop and stiffen as his hands fall back to his sides.

"I'm sorry about Miss Porter," he says, and he knows it's a mistake — even before the words have left his mouth, he knows.

"Get out," Linderman hisses.

He does.

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