Brian arrived at Susan’s apartment a little early and circled the block, slowly and casually, looking for anything suspicious. He was looking for both cops and mobsters. What a weird situation he’d created for himself. Once he felt comfortable with the scene, he approached the door of the apartment building. As soon as he reached for the doorbell, the door buzzed, so he grabbed the door handle instead. As he walked in, John greeted him, “Good afternoon, Brian.”
“Hi, John,” Brian replied. “How are you today?”
“Very good, thank you,” John replied. “Feel free to go on upstairs.”
“Thanks, a lot,” Brian replied.
As he rode up the elevator, he replayed the kiss in his head. He was still unsure what it meant to him, since he was preparing to leave and didn’t want any obligations, and especially wanted to avoid romantic relationships. But he had grown fond of her. As it stands now, it will be tough to leave her, even if they never have a romantic relationship.
The elevator opened and he made his way to her apartment and knocked on the door. A moment later, Susan opened the door. “Hi, come on in,” she said stepping aside to let him in. She closed the door. “Liz is already here. Do you want something to drink?”
He saw Liz in the living room and she was holding a beer. “Hello,” he said to Liz. “Um, sure, I’ll have a beer, too, please,” he said to Susan.
Liz said, “Hi,” and waived her beer at him. “Susan has been filling me in on more of the details about you,” she said. “She says you won’t tell her why you needed this device but says you weren’t planning anything bad, but also that it is really important to you.”
“Um, yeah,” he replied. Susan handed him a beer. “Thank you,” he replied.
“So, if that’s the case,” Liz continued, “and you really are the good guy she says you are, we just need to figure out a way to keep you out of the spotlight until this blows over,” she said.
“Um, OK,” he replied, “but something…”
Liz cut him off “You know this isn’t going to blow over any time soon. Right!? This little stunt was a big deal and regardless of the outcome, you are going to be hunted intensely, even if you didn’t get what you wanted. I have to link you to both events and then they’re going to be crawling all over Brooklyn, not just staking out a storage center.”
“So, one thing…” he said again.
She interrupted again “So, when I do connect these two events with your phone number, your face is going to be all over the news, for a while. All because you attempted to steal a nuclear device.” She was pacing back and forth. “You’re going to be hunted as a domestic terrorism suspect. Are you going to try and steal another one? Is that why you came back to the scene, to attempt to steal it again?”
“No,” he said “I won’t be trying again. I succeeded in getting what I wanted.”
“What are you talking about?” Liz asked.
“The device. I have it,” he said. “The device your guys found on site is a decoy, a fabrication.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” she asked. “The guys from NASA picked it up. They would know if it was the wrong one.”
“Well, I don’t think they looked closely,” he said. “I have the real generator.”
“Then it’s only a matter of time until this thing really blows up in our faces,” Liz said.
“Well, Liz,” he said, “what kind of options do we have? I think the best option is for you to do your job, and I walk away from the both of you and take my chances.”
“No,” said Susan. “We can come up with something. What if you come clean and just return the device. Tell them what it’s for, maybe you can come with another option.”
“I have no other options,” he said.
Liz replied, “It doesn’t matter anyway. He committed a serious crime, and in a dramatic, highly visible way. And what is it for?” She turned and looked at him, putting her hands on her hips.
“It’s a power generator. It generates a lot of energy and lasts a long time,” he said.
“Yeah, but what are you going to use it for?” said Liz, maintaining her posture and glaring stare.
“It is of no use for me to tell you because you wouldn’t believe me,” he replied.
“Try me,” Liz said. “I’ve heard a lot of wild stories on this job.”
Brian shook his head. “I’m not going to tell you. You’ll think I’m crazy. But one day, I’ll show you both. Then, you can decide if you want to tell the world about it and take the chance that everyone will think you’re crazy.” He laughed a little. “Susan, you can even bring a film crew.”
Brian got up and finished his beer. “I’m going to take off. Liz, connect the dots whenever you feel the time is right. I’ll lay low and take my chances. Susan, please don’t come over. It’s too big of a risk, but you both have my number.”
“No,” Susan said. “There has to be another way.”
Brian turned and looked at her, then Liz and back at Susan. “If you come up with one, let me know. I’ll be in touch.” Then he walked over to the door and walked out.
Susan turned to Liz. “There has to be another way. Do you really have to connect him to both events?”
Liz replied “If I don’t, someone else probably will. And then I’ll look bad for not making the connection. I can stall for a little while, but I have to cover my ass. Why are you trying to protect him? He’s done some pretty bad stuff. Stealing from the mob is still stealing and against the law, and buying nuclear material on the black market is highly illegal and bordering on treason.”
“But he has his reasons and he tried to get this thing legally, but couldn’t because of nuclear regulations,” Susan said.
“Well, there is a reason for that!” Liz said.
“Listen, he is a good guy,” Susan said. “All throughout, he has tried to legitimately get what he needed, except for the mob money. But he also never intended for anyone to get hurt.”
“But people did get hurt,” Liz said. “One of our guys almost died in that building last night.”
“Yes, but he was shot by one of his own teammates. I heard Brian saved his life,” Susan said.
“Yeah, but the point is, that whole thing shouldn’t have happened,” Liz said.
“Yes, you’re right,” she said nodding. “But we have to figure out a way to minimize this.”
“I don’t see a way,” Liz said. “So, are you sleeping with this guy?”
“No” Susan replied.
“Why go to the trouble?”
“He’s just a good friend. And he’s a good guy. I don’t know what he’s doing with this generator, but I’m sure it will make sense, given time. Look at this.” Susan picked up an iPad and started swiping and tapping to get to a list of bookmarked web pages. Each tab contained a news article. “Stranger saves child in fire”, “Good Samaritan pulls man from burning car”, “Unknown hero pulls woman from car in Hudson”, “Families pulled from apartment fire by anonymous hero”, “Fireman pulled from electrical wires after ladder collapse”, “Office shot, rescued by stranger during shootout”, “Stranger saves child from bus accident”, “Bank robbery foiled by unknown hero” and the list went on.
“What is this?” Liz asked.
“These are stories I’ve found from the past eight years, where someone was rescued by a stranger who left the scene. They all sound like the same guy and they all sound like Brian,” Susan said.
“Email those to me, OK?” Liz asked.
“Sure,” Susan replied. “He’s a good guy. I promise.”
“I’ll do what I can,” Liz replied. “No promises. I’m not putting my career on the line for this guy.”