Things actually seemed to calm down in the following weeks for the couple, and for everyone at BEAR. There was no apparent backlash from the group the man had passed the flash drive to, and Azar was beginning to wonder if it had been Greer or someone else, all along. Maybe she had been wrong and Greer truly was out of the picture. Had it actually been him, she was convinced; there would have been some retaliation.
Azar was wrong; it had been Greer, and there would be payback. Greer was a ridiculously patient man.
Root had granted Shaw’s wish and began wearing a special earpiece that kept her in touch with the machine. “You know what they say about being an analogue interface,” she teased Sameen soon after wearing the device.
“No, what do they say?” Shaw asked, still not sure how comfortable she was even though she asked for this.
“Once you hook up with a machine, you never go back,” Root said and Sameen stared at her.
“That’s not funny,” Shaw said and meant - on so many levels.
It was weeks after Martine was shot and in spite of the fact that she was not cleared for active duty, she was back at BEAR against her girlfriend’s wishes. The press had lost interest in the story of the man whose apartment blew up and no one seemed to be looking for Martine or Reese. In fact, it was eerily quiet. But Root could at least assure Sameen that Azar was not interacting with the machine and if she was looking for Greer, she was using Google.
Janine may have seen to getting everything Martine needed at work, but it was Shaw who would be a better dose of medicine.
“You want to see the scar?” Martine asked Sameen when she welcomed her back.
“You have a scar? How big?” Shaw asked, enviously.
“I don’t understand this at all,” Janine admitted.
“Oh, well, that is big,” Root admitted when Martine pulled open her blouse and pulled back the bandage.
“Wow,” Shaw said, thinking of all the stories her friend would get to tell over that mark. “That’s a beauty.” Root turned to stare at Sameen who gave her the ‘what’ expression in return. “It is,” she declared.
“I don’t recommend getting one,” Martine finally said, but only because Root’s expression implored her to do so.
“Right,” Shaw said, still regretful that her own injuries healed so well.
“Show time over?” they heard Fusco call out from the hallway, outside of Martine’s cubicle.
“For a cop, you’re a real chicken,” Shaw prodded her friend.
“For a cop, I walk a fine line with all of yous,” Fusco reminded her. He walked into the small space and sat down. “While I got you all here,” he continued and pulled out his reading glasses to look at his notes. “I just got an update that I thought might be of interest. Forensics found no prints or any other evidence on the explosive device in that apartment bombing a few weeks ago. So far, it’s a dead end.”
“So far?” Root asked.
“Yeah, so far,” Fusco repeated, knowing fully well that they had the means and motive to make evidence disappear. “Apparently, our guy was a hacker for hire who did time in prison awhile back. Might have been working for someone he met on the inside.”
Fusco wanted to give them what the going theory was, so they understood.
“Okay,” Shaw said, grateful that nothing was coming back to her sister.
“Even security cameras were offline around there,” he confirmed because there were many that they had to go through.
“Wow,” Root said, aware of just how that happened.
“Yeah, so that’s the update. Shaw, you can take me to breakfast,” the detective said, thinking it was a small price to pay.
“Fine,” Shaw agreed. “I don’t have to watch you eat though.”
“Well, good to see you,” he said to Root and slipped a piece of paper in her hand. She waited until he was on his way to lunch with Shaw before she opened it. ‘Evidence Room B; Box 455.’
“Everything okay?” Martine asked her boss.
“It will be; I assure you,” Root smiled because they had the capability of keeping the evidence trail away from Ayala.
Shaw had said little about the incident after it happened. She had promised her friend that she wouldn’t act on her feelings of setting her family straight. “It will serve no purpose,” Martine told her and while Shaw couldn’t say she agreed, she didn’t argue the point.
That didn’t mean she didn’t wonder what was going on in the townhouse blocks from where they lived.
“Are you surprised my mother has been so quiet?” Shaw asked Root that night as she played with Root’s hair. She was sitting on the couch as Root lay with her head in her lap. The dogs were asleep on the floor.
“No, but I think you are,” Root noted, looking up at Sameen.
“Yeah, I am, but she’s been so low key, I don’t have anything to explain that feeling,” Shaw noted.
“I’m more surprised that Greer hasn’t wielded his ugly head,” Root admitted. “It’s like radio silence out there.”
Sameen played with Root’s locks, touching her ear. “It’s a good thing I’m not the jealous type,” Shaw admitted. “I heard you talking to her this morning.” She was referring to hearing her wife speak out loud to the machine. “Is that new?”
“Sort of,” Root said, but didn’t look up.
“Sort of… how?” Shaw asked.
“Well, in tapping into her to monitor your mother and things, she’s been able to tap into my surroundings,” Root explained.
“Your surroundings… like where?” Shaw asked, gently pulling at Root’s chin to look at her.
“Like here, for example,” Root said, sweeping her arms across the room.
“Anywhere else? “ Shaw asked, eyebrows raised.
“I turn it off in the bedroom, if that’s what you mean,” Root smiled.
“That’s exactly what I mean,” her wife confirmed.
“I had to,” Root said, trying to sound very somber. “She complained you were making too much noise.” She tried to finish on a serious note, but started laughing.
“Not funny,” Sameen said, taking advantage of Root’s horizontal position to reach down and tickle her.
“Sameen! Stop!” Root gasped between fits of laughter, which woke up the dogs, who insisted on joining it. “No!” Root yelled, but Sameen encouraged them to join in and nuzzle her with their noses. “It’s cold!”
“That’s what you get for lying,” Shaw said, holding Root in place as they all teased her.
Azar was clever enough to know that her daughter and daughter-in-law had retrieved control of the machine. She made no attempt to access it because she was interested in seeing what Root would do when she realized just what the program was capable of. The machine was, in part, designed to follow someone; alert if they were in danger. She wondered if Root would soon understand what the implications of that could be. Azar didn’t want to interfere with that.
Instead, she relied on her former training. Ayala was spending a lot of time helping Martine recover and even renewed her contract with BEAR as a consultant. This gave the older woman plenty of time to plan her next moves. Without the machine, she had to be more creative; but that had never been an issue for Azar Morin.
It might take her longer than she expected, but she was going to execute her plan in spite of that. Her motive was simple; Greer had hurt her family… and now he would pay.
Plan B was almost in place.
The challenge was that Azar knew she couldn’t do it alone. She needed someone who was specially trained for situations like this. Someone who could carry out their part quietly, effectively, and not look back when it was over. Fortunately for her, she had found just that person.
They had spent hours together now, working out the details. She told them she was open to any suggestion they had, except one; don’t do it. Her accomplice had only one thing they needed clarified.
“You know what the consequences of this might be, yes?” they asked the woman. “She may never forgive you.”
“Yes, I know,” Azar said because she had given that a great deal of thought.
She knew more about Grier than anyone understood; about the way he thought about the potential power he could have. And she knew there was only one way to stop it.
She was going to cut the heart out of the other machine… if it killed her.