Cranston stopped at the doors to the precinct’s central office. John Rhinehold knelt beside Cranston’s desk. Rhinehold was the latest edition to the BPD’s undercover cybersecurity squad. Undercover Cranston could get. Rhinehold, too-thin for that tall a frame with an unruly, bushy black beard and always in a tshirt and jeans no matter the weather, looked like an early to mid-twenties heroin addict desperate for his next score. But that’s where the undercover aspect ended. That thick, long braid got caught in drawers, doors, was long enough to strangle him and was the perfect handhold for someone wanting to do damage to Rhinehold’s head.
His head popped up and watched Cranston’s screen light up. Rhinehold smiled, stood, and his head fell back as some cables came up with him, his hair snaked in among them.
Cranston shook his head as Rhinehold extricated himself. Leddy’s ring sounded from his mobile. “POPS?”
He TXTed back. “K U?”
The precinct’s wall mounted blues flashed ON-ON-off ON-ON-off. Chairs screeched across the hardwood floor.
Leddy TXTed “C THS?” and Cranston’s attention returned to his phone. Leddy sent her video through. “SIMON GOT IT ALL!”
SIMON. Situational Intelligent MONitor. She sent him pictures at every stage of SIMON’s development and he had them made into a tshirt collage with the heading “Leddy’s Little Project.”
She loved it.
But “SIMON GOT IT ALL!”?
She had it working?
He needed to pay more attention during dinners.
Its cameras moved through hazy clouds flecked with ash. He wasn’t sure what he was seeing until the drone cleared the clouds. It flew just above street level and revealed the clouds as billowing smoke.
“BPL Johnson w Pen.”
Cranston’s jaw tightened briefly. He didn’t like to interfere in Leddy’s friendships. Getting into that special high school MIT-Harvard thing really made her blossom. She hadn’t been able to focus on anything since her mother passed five years back. Cranston knew his daughter was special, used his connections to get her time with top grief counselors and therapists, but it wasn’t until Penny Lane and her father, Briggs, that Leddy got into the program.
She didn’t make the cut and the reason infuriated him more than her; she didn’t meet their BIPOC or LGBTQ diversity requirements. “Was that a requirement for all the white kids who got in?”