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 Post subject: Incarnation, by C. Taylor, Ballard/FBI Agent, PG
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:16 am 
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Incarnation
by Chris Taylor

Paul Ballard stepped out of the elevator into the parking garage of Henry M. Jackson federal building. His left hand clutched the handle of a hastily packed hard-sided carry-on luggage case. In his right hand he carried a set of brand new RFID-style electronic keys for the G.S.A. issued vehicle he would be using while in Seattle. He looked across the parking structure, held the key aloft, and pressed one of the buttons on it. A double chirp sounded and one of the white SUVs halfway down the row in front of him flashed its lights.

As he headed toward the vehicle his mind was completely preoccupied with trying to figure out how he was going to take advantage of this lucky break while he could and what information he needed to get from the local police. He double clicked the “open” button on the key as he approached the SUV, then grabbed the rear gate latch with his right hand and jerked it open. At least that's what he tried to do. Instead his hand slipped off the handle as he jerked it, the rear gate remained firmly closed, and the SUV's theft alarm began wailing loudly at his attempted entry while brake lights flashed on and off. Paul's clumsy fingers stabbed urgently at the tiny buttons on the car key for a long three seconds until he managed to get the alarm turned off.

The batteries on the remote must be low, Agent Ballard thought to himself. He punched the "open" button a few times in rapid succession, and the SUV's doors all unlocked simultaneously with a resounding "thunk." He opened the hatch, tossed his suitcase in the rear, and shut the hatch firmly. With a single chirp of its horn and flash of its lights the SUV relocked all the doors. Must be some new kind of safety feature, he supposed. Probably one dumb kid somewhere locked himself in a car trunk and the D.O.T. had to make a useless, stupid regulation for it.

He pressed a button again as he approached the driver's side door and the theft alarm screamed in protest. Several more seconds of frantic button pushing followed while the sound of horns and sirens echoed throughout the concrete walled garage until finally the SUV calmed down again. Why do they have to make these buttons so small? Agent Ballard carefully pressed the “open” button and was rewarded with a single “thunk” as the driver’s side door unlocked. He opened the door, slid into the driver’s seat, and buckled himself in. He inserted the blunt square end of the electronic key into a matching notch on the dashboard and turned. Nothing happened. He removed the key and inspected the end to make sure it wasn’t damaged or covered in lint or grime. He reinserted the key and turned again. For a moment nothing happened. Maybe it’s some kind of security feature where if the alarm goes off the car won’t start unless you reset it somehow. He had just reached over to the glovebox to find the driver’s manual when the piercing cry of the theft alarm filled the SUV. SonofaBITCH!

Agent Ballard jerked the key out of the ignition, threw open the driver’s door, and was fully ready to storm back up to the offices and demand a fleet vehicle with an inert metal key like God intended cars to have. He stopped in his tracks halfway out of the SUV when he heard school-girl giggling emanating from behind the next vehicle over. A tall Asian beauty stepped out from her hiding place. She moved with the grace of a panther and a distinct bulge on the right side of her conservatively cut jacket betrayed the presence of a large-caliber handgun, but what caught Agent Ballard’s eye was the set of brand new RFID-style electronic keys in her right hand. By now she had moved past giggling into uncontrollable spasms of laughter. She held her side with her left hand and leaned on the rear of the SUV with her right as she fought to catch her breath from her sudden and unprofessional attack of mirth.

“I… I’m sorry,” she managed to say between guffaws. “But you… you should’ve seen the look on your face.”

Dark brown hair framed her delicate Oriental features. There was radiance in her smile that suddenly made Agent Ballard happy to see her laugh even if he had been the butt of her joke. “I take it this is your car?” he asked, unable to resist smiling now himself.

“Yes,” she confirmed as she stood upright and tugged at the hem of her skirt and ran her hands along the side of her coat to try and recover a more proper appearance. “I guess we must’ve hit the button on our keys at the same time. When I saw you walking over to the SUV I was assigned, I couldn’t help having a little fun at your expense. I hope you’ll forgive me.”

“Of course,” he said as he stepped forward and extended his hand to her. “Special Agent Paul Ballard, F.B.I.”

“Oh, then I guess we’re related,” his attractive tormentor replied as she pulled back her coat to reveal a badge clipped to her belt. “Special Agent Liz Carver.”

Paul studied her easy smile and the mischievous glint in her eyes, sure that they seemed familiar somehow.

“Were you at Quantico last March?” Liz asked.

“No, maybe we met at the International Counter-Terrorism conference in New York back in ’02.”

“Before my time, I’m afraid,” the pretty young special agent admitted. “Are you in town for the Illicit Trade Symposium at the Maritime Industrial Center? Maybe we could ride over together.”

“No, I’m in town to follow up a lead on a RICO case. Will you be in Seattle long?”

Agent Carver shook her head. “I’m flying back up to Toronto this afternoon after my presentation is over,” she said as she helped him get his suitcase out of the back of her SUV. “But it’s a small bureau; I’m sure we’ll run into each other again.”

“I’ll watch my back. Listen… I’ve got to get to police headquarters…”

“Oh yeah. Good luck with your case…”

As Paul Ballard walked away, he could not shake the feeling that he knew the alluring Asian prankster from somewhere before. After ten paces he stopped and turned to look at her again. She was standing beside the rear of her SUV looking back at him. There was a curious expression on her face that she quickly hid behind a grin and wave then she disappeared between the rows of identical parked vehicles. Special Agent Paul Ballard held his key aloft and pressed one of the buttons on it. A single chirp sounded and one of the white SUVs on the far side of the elevators flashed its lights.


Thanks to Rebellious Rose for the beta. (And just because I am awesome, I fixed your format error, too.- Rose)

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 Post subject: Re: Incarnation, by C. Taylor, Ballard/FBI Agent, PG
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Leaving the garage, Paul heard the Asian goddess speaking in a high-tech looking phone. Her eyes had probably caught the light of an "exit" lamp, because they had a reddish glow, as she was saying: "I told you not to worry. I found them."
:silly:

Surprising encounter, eh?

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 Post subject: Re: Incarnation, by C. Taylor, Ballard/FBI Agent, PG
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:24 pm 
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Imagine another series with Grace and Tahmoh in it! :cheer:

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