Cards Close to the Chest

Who Killed Walter Carton? Chapter 21

Pavelec squealed the car’s tires around a corner as she pushed the engine to its limits. SMS held on to his headrest with his free hand to keep his balance.

“Where are you headed next?” asked Innis.

“I… don’t know for sure,” said SMS. “We’re coming back to Victoria, I think.”

They’d reached a straight stretch, and Pavelec reached back with one hand. “Give me the phone,” she said.

SMS hesitated. She didn’t know he was the phone, of course, and he preferred to keep it that way.

Give me the phone,” she repeated. “I have to talk to him.”

“Er,” said SMS.

Brenda turned and looked over her shoulder, smirking. “I don’t know why you’re always so private about this,” she said. “It’s really no big deal.”

“About what?” said Pavelec, a hostile edge creeping into her already raised voice.

“His special ability,” said Bailey. “He’s pretty much a human cell phone. The one he’s holding is just a dummy because he gets self-conscious.” She laughed to herself.

Pavelec snuck a glance back at SMS. There was fire in her eyes. “Seems like I’m not the only one with information I prefer not to share,” she said.

SMS sighed. He didn’t like people knowing about his ability if he could help it, but as long as she didn’t find out about his private conversations with Cyber it would probably be all right.

Innis was still on the line. “What’s going on?” he asked.

“Pavelec wants to talk to you,” SMS told him.

Pavelec said, “Can you do any kind of speaker phone thing?”

“Not that I know of,” said SMS.

“Okay, whatever. Just relay the conversation between us then, I guess. Tell Innis I need him to send everyone he can spare to the warehouse on Lampson. Olivia may be in trouble.”

SMS relayed the instructions to his boss.

“Lampson, eh?” said Innis. “I had just narrowed it down to either Lampson or Glanford. Give me a second.” Rustling noises came over the line as he pressed his phone to his shoulder. SMS heard his muffled voice say, “Cyber, it’s Lampson. Get ’em going.” Innis picked up his phone again. “Ask her how far out you guys are.”

SMS said, “He wants to know how long it’ll be until we get there.”

“Tell him about 15 minutes,” said Pavelec.

SMS passed this on.

“Perfect,” said Innis. “We’ll see you all there.” He hung up.

“Well?” asked Pavelec.

“He said they’re on their way,” said SMS. “Seemed like he knew more of what was going on than I did.”

“Probably a little more, yeah,” said Pavelec. “But hopefully not too much more.”

“Maybe it’s time you filled me in, too.”

“We all have secrets,” said Pavelec, as she down-shifted, stomped on the gas, and swerved through a small gap between two trucks. “Olivia is one of mine.”

“And you think these Laurentian people are after her?”

“I’m sure of it,” Pavelec confirmed. “If they’re the ones that killed Walter Carton, then they’d love to get their hands on Olivia, too. Carton was always too public, too vulnerable. There was nothing I could do for him. But I can still protect her. I just wish I hadn’t been so stupid about that phone number…”

“The one you gave to Jovo?”

“I figured Jovo would call, Olivia would say she wasn’t taking any new clients, like I told her to, and that would be that. But then the attack happened, and whether they found the number before the cops came or whether someone fed them the info from inside the crime scene, I’m sure they got their hands on it somehow. Even if they didn’t know what it was, as soon as they called they’d find out it could lead them to her. If they haven’t tracked her down already, they will soon. I just hope we make it there first.”

Letting this explanation sink in, SMS fell silent. He’d begun to form a certain opinion of Pavelec, especially after she’d shot Pavit, and it hadn’t been a very favourable one, but maybe she really was just doing all of this to protect someone important. If Olivia was that big of a deal, though, why was she involving Innis in all of this and not calling in more help from the rest of the Specials Unit? Then again, she had made that comment about someone feeding the Laurentians info from inside the crime scene, and earlier she’d mumbled something about “someone inside,” so maybe she thought the Specials Unit was compromised…

There was so much going on, so much to think about, and SMS couldn’t keep it all straight. What he really needed was a few hours just lying on his couch with his eyes closed, sorting through everything, tying together all his observations and suspicions, and figuring out what to do about it. How was any of this going to help him bring Innis down?

At least he had someone on his side for that part of things now. He hadn’t checked in with Cyber for a while, either. This was probably a good time to touch base, while both he and Cyber were still in transit.

“are you guys on your way to the place pavelec mentioned?” he texted to Cyber.

“Just leaving now,” came the response. “This is the most specials I’ve ever seen all in one place. Must be two dozen or more. Everyone’s been trickling in over the past three or four hours.”

“that long?” said SMS. “but pavelec only just asked for his help a minute ago.”

“I guess he saw it coming,” said Cyber.

“pavelec says this is all about protecting olivia, the special she mentioned while we were talking to jovo,” said SMS. “she thinks the soldiers who have been after us are trying to kill olivia like they killed carton.”

“Ian’s been muttering to himself about someone named Olivia ever since I got here,” said Cyber. “I’m guessing there’s been more cooperation going on between him and Pavelec than we thought.”

“seems like it. i’m sure we’ll find out more when we get there. could be a fight, too, if pavelec’s right and the laurentians have been tracking this olivia woman down.”

“Could be,” agreed Cyber. “Keep your head down and your ears open. We can compare notes once we’ve both made it out the other side.”

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