Present day – Detroit
Six hours after the first call to the Towers, Tom Cort settled into his chair back in his office and closed his eyes. ‘Why me?’ he complained to himself. And then, realizing that he did not have the answers, he prayed ‘Why me, Lord? What do you want from me in this situation? Please give me Your guidance and wisdom. Help me to do Your will in this and in all things. Amen.’
Tom gave the matter to the Lord and felt the instant release from much of the pressures that had been building for the last few hours. His Division Leader had been in constant contact with him for the past two hours and had succeeded in slowing down the investigation and increasing Tom’s anxiety and frustration. And while Tom had given the problem to the Lord, he kept some of the emotion to himself. He fretted at his desk and rubbed his eyes and the back of his neck.
He brought his mind back to the task of solving the murder of Schaller and opened his computer. Tom’s computer was designed to take input from implants as well as speech. It also had the old glove and eye connections. Tom had not yet gotten the implant and resisted the attempts by his department to do so. He felt that they were precursors to the Mark of the Beast, and actually feared them. His co-workers gave him a hard time about it and teased him of being afraid of the small amount of pain involved in the procedure. Tom repeatedly explained what the Bible said about the Mark of the Beast and those who took it. He didn’t believe that the implants were the mark because they did not require a choice of allegiance, nor were they used as limits to commerce, but Tom knew that they were preparing the way for the Anti-Christ, and he could not support them in any way.
Tom put the gloves on and pulled the goggles on over his head. They were bulky things that blocked out the wearers vision while giving them a screen view in 3-D. The gloves had sensors in them that tied into the view in the goggles and allowed Tom to manipulate data by selecting, grabbing, and moving the data against the backdrop of the computer. It was slow, compared to the implants, but ten times faster than the computers he grew up on.
Tom opened his files after signing in and verifying his I.D. He still cringed when his fingertips felt the tingle of electricity flow over them. The technology that used the combination of multiple sources of electricity to generate a unique, recognizable pattern for identification purposes was dated but very efficient. Tom just never got used to it. As he was getting his first one set up for him several years ago his partner described the feeling as three spiders marching across your fingers. That image came to him every time he verified his I.D.
After checking for messages, he put blockers on his system, tuned in the motion sensors in his room and went to work. Blockers were little programs that slowed down access by other users into his area and gave low-key security alerts to the one who set them. They were mostly for convenience to the user since computers had been developed to such a high level that they could absorb the user and make them unaware of the things happening around them. The room sensors kept him from being surprised when someone came into the room while he had the goggles on.
He began downloading the notes he had put into his travel memory and ordered the events and categorized witnesses. He listed out the witnesses and ascribed validity to their accounts. Tom listed out the evidence that had been picked up at the scene, including the debris that had been the computer module in the victim’s apartment. He also listed the cards that had the downloaded video from the Towers’ security cameras. He didn’t mention the fact that he had a second set made for him.
He began listing and organizing the information, eliminating possible theories for the murder. As he sat at his desk contemplating where this case would be heading, he heard a voice tell him that Jerry had the answer. It was as plain as if he had been talking to his boss. It didn’t make sense, but there it was. ‘Jerry has the answer.’ Right now, Tom wasn’t exactly sure of the question. Or even who Jerry is.
Tom finished forming his reports by 6:00 am. He filed a copy with the archivist and forwarded a copy to his boss, Henry Cooper.
Henry was….well, he was a punk. He was a kid fresh out of college with a degree and no experience. In his way of thinking, all murders are solved in one hour (including commercials) and he just didn’t grasp the reality of life and death in Detroit.
He was good at playing up to the boss, however. You’d think he majored in ‘Suck-Up’ at college the way he found ways to manipulate people. He found the thing that worked in each person he could use, and when the time was right, he pulled on his game face and went after his target.
Fortunately for Tom, Henry despised working outside of the 8-5 range. Tom could duck Henry for month at a time if things went well.
Tom finally pushed away from his desk and left the building, heading for home. Hoping that the home front was peaceful today. His wife usually ran a tight ship, but the children had a way of upsetting the best plans and schedules that could be made. He just needed some calm. Some time to reflect. Tom realized as he reached for his car key, that he needed some solitude. ‘How long has it been since I was quiet enough and still enough to reflect on You, God?’ He couldn’t remember the last time he took the time for solitude. Tom decided that this would be a great time to work that little neglected item into his schedule. He called his wife and let her know that he would be a little later than usual. After explaining why, he pulled into a parking lot that faced east. Nothing obstructed his view across the river that separated Michigan from Ontario as he waited for the sunrise. Here I am, Lord. I’m listening. Please, speak to me.
Tom waited in the stillness of the early morning. He reflected on his knowledge of God, the wonder of His Creation, and the mystery of salvation. He didn’t wait with expectations of angels visiting him, or of celestial shows or wonders. He waited and listened for the quiet voice of God.
Tom enjoyed the quietness of the morning. He enjoyed the play of gray and pink across the sky. He enjoyed the verses that came to mind as he sat in his car. He made himself available to God, and didn’t demand that God notice or respond to him. Tom was ready to listen. And he was amazed at what God said.