“In the old days, we had these things called ‘pick-up coils’. Stick it on the side of the phone and…”
“Shhh. Just get it back, Nolan,” barked Barbara through the in-ear comm.
Nolan didn’t really understand why they had to use this super-expensive technology. As it happened, the suspect had made the incriminating calls in his own office, and it would have been better to plant a cheap, disposable bug. But, no, they had to swap his phone with a replica, connect the real phone to a device that replicated his hand gestures and transmitted the screen images, which meant that the tech people wanted the super-expensive replica back.
He did like the pick-pocketing part of this investigation. His life had turned around thirty years ago when he had been caught snatching the wallet of an off-duty…
The elevator door opened. “OK, here we go.” Nolan walked into the executive suite, and smiled his winning smile at the assistant.
“Hey, Mr. Iwu,” the assistant greeted him with a flirty smile. “He’s expecting you.”
The security guard nodded and opened the door to the office.
“Thank you, Mr. Han.” Nolan flirted back as he entered. “And, thank you, Mr. Ralston.”
The guard nodded resolutely.
Nolan was surprised to see that the suspect was not at his desk. He was not anywhere in his office. “Mr. Beigi? Are you here?” The executive bathroom door was open halfway, and the light was on. Nolan moved closer and peered in. “Mr. Beigi?” He was not in there.
Turning back, Nolan was surprised to find the suspect sprawled on the floor by the desk. He ran over, and found a pool of blood by the head. He crouched down to take a closer look. There was a bullet entry wound. Probably a 9mm, and he saw the gun as soon he made this guess. “Shit!”
“What’s the matter?” Barbara asked.
“Get the phone.”
“You’re cold, man,” Nolan acknowledged, and, as he did so, found the replica in the suspect’s hand. He picked it up, and reached for the real phone in his inside coat pocket, still mated to the replicator.
“Freeze!” said the authoritative voice of the security guard.
Nolan knew not to get his hand out of his pocket. He slowly turned his head around to look at the guard. “Hey, look…”
“I said, ‘freeze’!” He was visibly nervous. He wasn’t sure if he wanted Nolan to move his hands where they could be seen or keep them where they were.
“Look, I’m a Federal agent. If you let me…”
“Shut up!” He wasn’t listening.
“Let me just get my…”
The barrel of the .45 was now shaking. Tense. Nervous. Frightened. “Another word, and I shoot!”
A shot rang out. Nolan had failed to appreciate how much of a threat he would appear to have been in the surveillance footage.
“Nolan? Nolan? What the…” Barbara’s voice faded away.