Cami had driven past the FBI Boston headquarters on Beech Street, Chelsea, many times. But until now, she’d barely taken notice of the tall, glass-fronted building behind its black palisade, with its black-on-white signage.
The couple of times she had noticed, she’d glanced scornfully at it, because they were law enforcement. Glorified police, nothing more.
She had no love for law enforcement. She despised them. When she’d needed them in her own life, they hadn’t been able to help. Six years ago, when her older sister, Jenna, had disappeared, they’d been unable to help. The police had gotten nowhere, despite the fact that her dad, who was a local cop, had been on the team. Cami thought he hadn’t tried very hard; he had assumed the rebellious Jenna was a runaway.
The FBI hadn’t gotten results, even though Cami, fifteen years old at the time, had tried to call them herself and plead with them.
Law enforcement had let her family down, and she didn’t want to think back on that time of sadness and loss. She’d never forgiven her dad, or any of them, for failing her and Jenna.
Now, six years too late, the FBI was suddenly taking an interest in her, that was for sure.
She was actually heading through the main gate and into the parking outside the building, trapped in the back seat of the gray Ford that was being driven by the other agent. In the passenger seat, Connor kept glancing back at her as if to make sure she was still there and hadn’t vaporized herself along the way.
Cami hadn’t vaporized. She glowered at him every time he looked. She was pretty sure, in fact certain, that the locks on the back doors couldn’t be opened from inside. That was a no-brainer, she guessed. So, when the car stopped in the parking, she didn’t even bother to touch the door handle.
She just sat and waited, and after a moment, Connor got out, walked around, and pulled the door open. He looked slightly disappointed, as if he’d been anticipating Cami would struggle with the door.
She climbed out and walked with the agents to the building’s front entrance.
“Bringing in a suspect,” Connor muttered to the guard, who looked at her like she was a criminal.
“Put your purse, your phone, and any other personal items in the tray,” he snapped at her.
Cami complied. Then she stepped through the metal detector. A siren shriek filled the air.
“Ma’am, remove your shoes.”
She stared at him. “Remove my Docs?”
“Yes, ma’am. They’re triggering the metal detector.”
“But they have steel toecaps. Isn’t that obvious? Of course they’ll trigger it. I don’t have any weapons on me! Can’t you tell?” she asked angrily. They took ages to lace up and unlace. These people were seriously standing here, staring at her boots, instead of being out catching real criminals.
“Remove your shoes, ma’am.”
Cami sighed. Bureaucracy at its finest. She bent down and unlaced the Docs, passing them to him. He ran them through the X-ray machine, and she stepped through the metal detector in her socks.
Then the agents stood and waited impatiently, as if their systems hadn’t been the issue causing this delay, as she got her shoes on and did them up again.
“Come this way,” Connor said. He strode across the lobby, heading for the elevators, while the other agent walked in step with Cami.
They rode up to the fourth floor, and then headed along a tiled corridor to an office near the end. Only it wasn’t an office, Cami saw when she walked in, feeling surprised and a little intimidated. This was more like an interrogation room.
There was a desk in the small room’s center: one chair stood on the far side, two chairs on the near side. There was no window, only the hiss of aircon through the vents.
The pale gray walls were blank apart from a couple of laminated official notices in small print.
“Sit,” Connor told her.
Cami walked around the table and sat. Her mind was accelerating ahead, fueled by a surge of adrenaline. She felt firmly on the back foot, which wasn’t a familiar or a comfortable place to be. She couldn’t take action. She didn’t even have her phone with her. It was still in the tray, which was on the shelf behind Connor.
They’d disarmed her, taken away her weapon. Now all she had to face them with was herself.
The two agents sat down opposite her.
Cami waited to hear what they said, while at the same time, going through strategies in her head. She really hadn’t thought what she’d done was traceable. That was the whole point of hacking, right?