Faetown Pt. 5

Trace pulled her car into the parking lot. Jove had been uncharacteristically quiet on the way in to work. He had sat there staring into the middle distance leaving Trace to listen to her music on the way in. Jove usually argued to listen to the news on the way in. He was endlessly curious about the world that he was no longer free to journey into. She worried about his mental health but she also worried about her own mental health. Something had to give. She loved him but they had been bonded close together by the accident for far too long already. She hoped work would prove distracting.

“Are you okay, Jove?” she asked. “We’re here.”

He made no response and did not stop staring through the windshield.

“Earth to Jove,” she said, waving her hand in front of his face. “We have arrived at our destination. It’s time to get to work.”

Jove slowly came back to himself. “Sorry, how long was I gone?” he asked.

“Gone?” Trace asked. “You were staring and keeping to yourself the whole ride over but you didn’t go anywhere. Did you think you went somewhere?”

“I’m not sure,” Jove said. “I definitely did not feel like I was here. It felt more like television static.”

Trace tried to keep the horror off of her face. “Is that something we should be worried about?” she asked. “I mean, what if you ‘go away’ and don’t come back? Should we talk to Hari about it?”

“We’re at work,” Jove said. “Let’s do work things right now. We can always talk to Hari later. I’m not going anywhere.”

Trace narrowed her eyes at him and then let it go. He was an adult. “Alright, game faces on then,” she said. “Let’s do the damn thing.” They bumped fists or at least the nearest equivalent that a ghost could achieve. 

The two of them walked toward the office side by side. Trace opened one of the double doors and Jove floated through the other one. The office was bustling with people either going to their desks for analyst jobs or gearing up to get out into the field. Trace walked over to check the duty roster and found that she was scheduled for a briefing. She headed over to the analyst bullpen with Jove in tow.

They approached Calton Mirra’s desk which, as usual, looked like it was devouring the bespectacled redhead whole. She was bordered on one side by a three-monitor display and was tapping away at one of two keyboards. She was also surrounded by precariously balanced stacks of binders. The young woman seemed to sense their arrival even though Trace approached from behind and Jove made no sound.

“Trace and The Ghost approach,” she said without turning.

“I’m not a ghost,” Jove said. “You know I’m not a ghost and yet you persist in calling me that. I have a name.”

“I call you ‘Ghost’ because it is a fun button to push and pushing buttons is what I do,” Calton said. “Also, ghost is just shorthand because I know you are not a ghost but also I do not know what you are. Tell me what you really are and I will change your designation.”

“And you won’t just use my name?” Jove asked.

“By Jove, I think he’s got it,” Calton said. “You’ve got a weird name.”

“You’ve got a weird name!” Jove said in retort.

“I gave myself this name,” Calton said. “What’s your excuse?”

“Children,” Trace said, putting up a hand in between the two. “Stop arguing about stupid stuff.”

Calton shrugged and then nodded. “Agreed. Can we get to the business at hand?” she asked.  “It’s exhausting talking so much with my mouth.”

“Give us the information we need to hit the road and we’ll get out of your hair, Callie,” Trace said. “Strictly business.”

“A fair trade,” Callie said. “Thi is what we have.” She brought up an address on her center monitor. “This is where you will be going. 2532 Gwydion Street over in Faetown. That’s not a problem, right? I’ve read your file.”

“It’s fine, Callie,” Trace said. “Nowhere in Baltimore is off limits.”

“I’m not super happy about it but I’ll do it,” Jove said. “In case anybody was concerned.”

“Mildly,” Callie said. “It looks like there was a disturbance there. Not enough for the police to bother with but it has the Mayor of Faetown’s office concerned. They have hired us to investigate.”

“Don’t they have their own people for that?” Jove asked.

“Jove!” Trace said as a way of reprimanding Jove. “But I guess he actually does have a point. You would think that they would handle these sorts of matters internally.”

“There are many reasons why that’s not true,” Callie said. “They may not trust their own people with this. There’s also been a renewed effort for transparency from Fae leadership. They may want to make sure they have nothing to hide.”

“Everybody has something to hide,” Jove said. “Everybody.”

“Cliched dialogue. Check,” Callie said. “Your contact will be the Executive Assistant of the Mayor, Elicia.”

“There’s no mayor of Faetown, Callie,” Trace said. “Baltimore has a mayor, Faetown is part of Baltimore.”

“A figure of speech,” Callie said. “The duly elected council member and ambassador of the Fae. Enodia, spirit of the crossroads. Your attempt at a correction tires me even more.”

“We get the idea, Callie,” Trace said. “We’ll let you stop peopling and get back to your research. Come on, Jove. The game is afoot.”

“Cute,” Jove said. “See you later, weirdo.”

“See you later, Ghost,” Callie said. 

Trace walked out of the office before their argument could start up again and Jove was forced to follow her. She walked over to her locker to grab the keys to her SUV and her sidearm. The pistol was a state-the-art model with electric stun ammunition. Employees of the firm were not allowed to carry lethal ammunition unless they received authorization from an official law enforcement officer. Not that Trace was itching to use the firearm even though she had trained thoroughly. She left the body armor in her locker. This was a discreet detection job at best so armor seemed like overkill. She led Jove out back to the garage and they got into her official work vehicle.


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