Lev.DN.....Index.....Identity Crisis, page 7 (c)1996 Lee Skidmore.....Lev.UP

Johnny hid in a back booth at a nondescript fourteenth floor lunchroom in a downtown corporate tower, collecting his wits, along with a belated breakfast. His stomach settled, his thoughts following. He wished the police comp looked more like a suit's ultra-thin briefcase-shaped comp, but he pulled it out anyway. He stroked it into re-play mode, then set it aside, to return to the breakfast plate, sponging up the rapidly hardening yellow remains of his third fried egg with a folded piece of synth-butter soaked toast.

The miserable morning played back on the palm comp's holo display. Johnny hadn't liked it when they handed him a blob to replace his partner. He had complained that it was just a damn tattle-tail. Now, he wished it had been activated all that night.

The scene shifted, showing him Shary's white-draped stillness. "Geeze, she does look dead," breathed Johnny, "she looks just like she did when we met."

His somber mood dredged up memories he had long ago let sink to the bottom of his brain. He had first seen Shary years ago, on an OD call as a uniformed sergeant. She had been very young. And, very beautiful. But, her pimp had pumped her full of uncut crap because she had tried to get out. It had been the Narcon in his cop's med kit that had saved her life. He had used his 'for use on insured personnel only' medkit instead of waiting for the parameds arrival. Transferred, he hadn't seen her again for years.

Still, it seemed that fate had been determined to bring them together. Two hard-cases, too hard-boiled to easily admit their love for each other.

Johnny relaxed as he drifted on his sea of memories. Then, the mind that made a rebellious man a good detective went to work again. Johnny started to make the connections. Mumbling to himself, he said, "If the codes are secure then I had to have been there when he got shot. No matter how much I want to deny it. My gun can't lie."

Hand to forehead, holo re-play forgotten, he knew he had been there. He just didn't remember it because he had been drugged. Shary too, just like when he had first seen her. That's why he hadn't been able to wake her. He guessed that they must have been gassed. He knew they couldn't have gotten to him otherwise. His uncommonly high level of physical training, as well as greater body mass let him shake it off sooner.

"Swat team siege gas would do it, or a home brew version. That's probably why I still have this damn headache," he concluded.

Lev.DN.....Index.....Identity Crisis, page 7 (c)1996 Lee Skidmore.....Lev.UP