Dex was never going to pay the kind of money that was required to replicate his virtual outfit of a charcoal pinstriped suit and dark grey fedora, but he did allow Annabelle to buy him a couple of very nice dark shirts of some kind of shiny soft material that went reasonably well with the black striped trousers he favoured. He slipped the shirt on and marvelled, not for the first time, in Annabelle’s good taste. In clothes, at least. He still wondered every day what she saw in him.
“What’s on tap for you today?” Annabelle called from the lav when the blower stopped.
“I’ll head home when you go to work,” Dex said, heating up a cup of the tea Annabelle was currently fond of in her stainless-look zapper. “I’ll probably go into the office later. I need to go over the Light of the Simulacrum case again.”
“Did something else happen over there?”
“Not that I know of,” Dex said. “But I’m just getting started. That menace from the M City squad only sent the files over yesterday.”
“What’s wrong with Mack Larsen?” Annabelle chided. “Last I heard he was trying to get you to go work over on his squad.”
“That’s part of the problem,” Dex said. “If Larsen wants detectives on his squad, well… fine. Maybe there should be a D division just for M City cases, I don’t know. But it doesn’t have to be me. I’m happy where I am.”
“I know,” Annabelle said, “but that doesn’t mean you have to be nasty to Larsen.”
“The man just rubs me the wrong way,” Dex said. “It’s obvious he wants to be a detective himself and this is just his way of trying to go about it.”
“Well,” Annabelle said, changing the subject before Dex got into a proper snit, “my offer still stands, if you want me to help out.” Annabelle walked out of the lav, dressed in her uniform. Dex wondered how she managed to make the tan and cream one-piece look like something that would cost a week’s wages at a boutique on the waterfront.
“I’ll take some copies of the code,” Dex said, “and if I can’t get anywhere the old fashioned way, you can have a go at it.”
“Those poor people,” Annabelle said, sipping her tea. “I can’t understand why anyone would want to destroy a religious space. I mean, it’s just a place for people to gather. Ruining the building doesn’t stop anyone from meeting. It’s just stupid.”
“We don’t even know if whoever did it even knew it was a church,” Dex said. “It could just be some budding cracker practicing.”
“Oh, please,” Annabelle said. “No one needs to prove their chops by ruining someone else’s work. Not to mention that it’s a hell of a lot easier to wreck something than it is to make something. That’s the same in M City as it is out here.” She waved her now empty mug toward the small window. Annabelle’s eyes took on a faraway look and Dex knew that she was online, checking something on her personal system.
After a short moment, she refocussed on Dex and smiled. “Gotta go, old man,” she said. “I have an early meeting this morning and it’s going to be a killer. The plans for the new Eastern tracks are getting out of hand. You’d think by now they’d realize that spending a million euros today to save four million over a couple of years was obvious. But it’s still a fight every time.” She sighed. Dex started chuckling. “What’s so funny, smart guy?” Annabelle asked. “Just because you’ve gotten out of the corporate machine doesn’t make you so special, pal.”