Swamped Chapter 22 Page 12

You thank Shorty for the story, and move on to see who else you want a report on.

Hang on. Starling’s talking to Dean? You feel like you should take a closer look there.

“You mean Rider’s caught a blue muckdiver? I’m surprised, they’re much more vicious than the more common brown variety.”

“Out in the wild, sure. But that’s because they’re pickier eaters. They can’t digest most plants as well as their cousins, and when they’re hungry they get fiercer. We’ve got a supply of plants that go down easier for ours, so it’s really quite calm. Most of the time, anyhow. They’ve all been agitated since last night.”

“That’s enough, Starling,” you say. The prisoners have probably heard of Rider’s disappearance already, but if they haven’t you’re not going to be the one to let it slip. “I need a report on what happened while I was gone.”

Hang on. Rivers suddenly looks annoyed. Was she listening in on that conversation?

“Oh! Yes, sir, right away. Ah, what do you want to know?”

Hmm. You recall that you asked Rivers and Starling to look for escape routes.

Of course, that was before you found out what happened and got orders to keep the escaped prisoner safe. Still, might as well go through the motions.

“I asked you to find potential escape routes for our missing prisoner,” you say. “What’d that turn up?”

“Well, um,” she says. “All I found was the broken lock. I asked Rivers if she found anything, but all she said was ‘maybe’. Then she asked Ringer to look at something with her, and I don’t know what happened with that. Is there anything else?”

Hmm. Well, you did promise Jackson a meeting with her. Maybe now you can start working towards that.

But then again, this may not be the best time. Perhaps you should ask her about something else, or move on and question another of your squad.

What are you going to do?

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Suggestions:

With the prisoners in unlocked cells, nows a good chance to take a few into the interrogation room, and the search for Marshall is the perfect pretense. Feldspar hasn’t gotten to Jackson’s cell yet. Looks like Jackson got those shackles on. Let’s bring Dean and Jackson into two different interrogation rooms, have Rivers and Ringer take Dean into one. (Use telling them about it as a chance to ask what they had found) Dean’s a martial artist so you want Starling in there, but Ringer could take him easily. Rivers might be interested in asking Dean about swamp creatures, so she may go along with it.

You’d take Starling with Jackson, he’s tied up but if Rivers objects have Shorty come with you. When you’re in the room with him, You can send Shorty out. He’ll be confused but he’ll go along with it.

Then you can let Jackson say what he wants to Starling.