He had been in custody for nearly 24 hours and was huddled in the corner of the room. Loud music was playing through the speakers. No one had talked to him in hours in the hopes that by now he’d be desperate to tell us what he knew.
I entered quietly. The moment I closed the door the music turned off; Peter looked dazed by the absence of noise. He looked around until he registered that I was there.
“I didn’t do this thing” he whispered.
“Now Peter, let’s not start there. I want to get to know you.” I sat down in the only chair in the room. “Tell me about yourself.”
“I – I didn’t do it.”
“Oh, Peter, of course you did. The investigation was very thorough and we’ve eliminated every other possibility.”
“Why would I do this thing?”
“Money, I expect. You’ve been at the same company for more than two decades and only received cursory raises and promotions along the way. How did they approach you?”
“I haven’t met anyone new; I never talk about company business to non-company people; I know all the rules and I haven’t broken any!” His words picked up speed and volume. He climbed to his feet and shouted “I didn’t do this!” Then, more quietly “Please, I didn’t, just let me go home.”
“Then help me solve this puzzle, Peter. Important company information has been showing up publically for months, never in the same place twice. We narrowed down the suspect pool to six people; the only ones who had access to everything that has leaked. On Monday each of you had a brief meeting with Mr. Todd. That room was clean and guarded, and everyone was scanned on their way in. Mr. Todd told each of you about a classified document. Of course they were made up, and all six people heard something different. Guess whose version was found on the internet yesterday?”
Peter looked at me horrified, shaking his head no.
“So you see, Peter, you absolutely did it. But we need to know who your buyer is, or at least the name of your contact. Why would be nice too, but isn’t strictly necessary.”
Peter slumped down into a crouch, his eyes darting around the room. “But ma’am, I really didn’t do it. I didn’t tell anyone about the hot air balloon delivery system Mr. Todd shared with me.”
“Do you talk in your sleep?”
“I’m single, I don’t sleep with anyone. I don’t have much of a life outside work. After combat, it’s what I wanted; something quiet and steady without huge demands. But I guess that’s unbelievable.”
“It does seem unlikely, that a man with your accomplishments would have settled behind a desk so calmly.” I continued to stare at him. The evidence really was airtight; Peter was the only possible source. I thought when faced with the facts he’d stop playing games, but apparently I was wrong. I sighed and stood up.
“Wait! I – oh hell – I think I might know what happened.”
I turned to face Peter, who had dropped to his butt and appeared to be stretching.
“You have all my records and you missed it. The other thing combat left me with, the reason I’m perfectly happy with my quiet life behind a desk, and probably the solution to this whole thing.”
“What are you talking about?”
Peter contorted and pulled at himself, and then something let go which he threw at me. I caught it on instinct and realized that I was holding a prosthetic limb.
“In the last year I’ve had to regularly see doctors and physical therapists because that thing has been uncomfortable in a way it never used to be. I thought I was getting old, but instead someone must have found a way in. You want to find out who is leaking your secrets? Sweep the leg.”
***Yup. Here's my entry for this week's LJ Idol topic, 'sweep the leg' others can be found by following the link. Also if you've been reading along and thinking that maybe this crazy game looks like fun there's another chance to jump in available right now. Come on, you know you want to do it.***