Chapter3: A cold chip.


                As the night passed over into morning, Anna was released from the Earth government's custody. Upset and exhausted, she stormed out of the front doors of the government's office. Expressing her understanding that they had made a mistake,

                "Yeah, you can take that apology and stick it up your ass! I'm out of here!"

                Anna glanced down at her watch and noticed something was wrong.
               "6:30 pm? You got to be kidding me. Damn this place. First they arrested me and now break my equipment. What else could go wrong?"
                Anna felt a cold drop of water striking her hot tempered head. She looked up toward the sky to see more drops of water falling from the cloudy redish sky.
                "Ahh...Just great. It's now raining on Mars. Thanks guys, for thinking that up."
                 She ran over to a covered sidewalk to get out of the rain. A newsstand was on the corner and had today's paper on display. Anna bought a paper and looked through it to see if there was any news about last night’s disturbance near Valhalla's Point. Nothing was said, only a blurb about power outages on the outskirts of the city. The main news was the new weather control system on Mars.
                  "Since Mars was nearly terraformed, the scientists here at the terraforming project, implemented a new recycle process to help create a rich environment outside the city borders. Water and oxygen are not so scarce on Mars anymore; the Earth government has given their approval to proceed.
The rain will help newly seeded areas around New Denmark city and hoping that nature will take its course. If all works out the way it should, other cities will soon follow our lead. Here are the scheduled showers..."
                  Anna crumbled up the paper and threw it into the trash can. She thought it was weird that there was no coverage of this incident and now she was going back to the station empty-handed. Anna stepped back out into the pouring rain. The chill from the water coated her body, helping her to calm down, "Well at least I got a shower....."
                  Just as soon as she said that, a truck came by and splashed her with muddy water. Anna just grinned and wiped off the mucky water from her face, she continuing her way to the police station. Anna arrived at the station twelve hours late for her duty, soaked from head to toes. She walked to her desk as quietly as she could. Each time she passed by her fellow officers, she started to notice that some of them were snickering. It wasn't because she walked in soaking wet but that she was a cop who had been arrested. Anna tried to ignore them while she walked by, trying to keep her dignity intact. Once she got to her desk, there was a doll in the shape of a little red bird, dressed in a prison clothes. It was sitting on her desk right beside her computer screen. The bird was holding a note that said,"Jail bird."
                Anna had an annoyed look on her face as she flicked everyone off,

               "Okay you guys, very funny."
                Sitting at the next desk right beside her was one of Anna's team mates, Jack. Waiting for her to come back he propped his feet upon her desk with a cocky attitude,
                "Ah, what's the matter Anna? Are you missing the big house already?"
                 Before she could respond, the chief of police called over the intercom for her to come to his office.
                "Ah, great! What now? I just wanted to type my report up and go home."
                  Anna got up from her chair to walk toward the chief's office. She stopped right beside Jack's chair and placed her hand on his shoulder. She leaned forward with a smile and said, ”Oh, by the way Jack. Kiss my ass."

                  As she walked away, Anna lightly pushed Jack's shoulder back and since his feet were propped up on her desk, he fell back. Jack looked at her with a smile, "What, was that an invitation?"
                  Anna flicked him off while walking away. She thought, "I needed a drink."
The chief was waiting outside for her with his arms crossed and a stern look on his face.
                 "Enjoy your little vacation?"
                 Anna wasn't too amused about the comment. "Please sir, not you too. You won't believe the crap I had to deal with and those idiots at the Earth's facility……"
                  The chief gave her a funny look and held his hands halfway up to stop what she was saying, "Well that was funny Anna, but it is not over with the people from Earth."
                "Sir, what are you talking about?"
The chief said nothing, trying to motion her to stop talking about the Earth's government.
                "Chief, what's going on? All I want is to go home after this and take a long shower to clean off the Earth's scum."
                   The chief sighed and opened the door because she wasn’t getting the point from his hints. Anna walked through the thin oak doors. She saw her commanding officer, Sgt. Simms, and two of Earth’s government agents dressed in black suits sitting on the leather couches in front of the chief's desk. Anna stopped, halfway through the door and turned to the chief,

                  "Huh, Chief...........What is going on here and why are they here?"
The chief strolled back around to his desk and sat down, "Anna, before you overreact here, our friends at the Earth’s government will explain. But first, I would like you to meet Lance Storm, the head of the Earth's government security forces here on Mars and your...well… partner, Johnny Reed.”
                 "Partners!" screamed Anna. She turned and went over to Simms, hoping to get some support from her commanding officer.

                “What the hell Sarge?”
                Simms calmly replied back, "Well Anna, you see…….the Earth government's ambassador had assigned one of his field agents to the police force. They are here to help with the investigation about the incident that occurred yesterday."
                 The chief continued, "Since you were......well, there at the incident, they have chosen you to team up with their agent."
               "Speaking of that Chief......" Anna turned to the men in black, “What the hell happened back there? I had the perps in my grasp and you idiots had to kill them, and blame me for the distraction."

                Johnny leaned over to Lance and asked, "Sir, what is she talking about? I read the report and there was no..."

                   "It is was a big misunderstanding ....." Lance was cut off by Anna's impatience.

                  "I don't want to hear that crap. I want to know what was so important for your government to do that."

                   The chief quickly jumped in before she got any louder. "Anna we can't disuss it. All we can do now is to try to help...thats all..."

                      Anna crossed her arms and sat back on the chair. With a show of displeasure on her face, she looked out from the window of the chief's office, "What if I don't want to have a partner? What then?"
                    "We'll haul you back to our jail. Plus, we will revoke your license and your job will be terminated," said Lance with a small grin.
                    "Oh, is that all."
                    "No, you will be exiled from Mars, but not before we interrogate you. Anna, we don't want to make any idle threats. We are here to help your government's police bureau in this investigation."
                "Well, it sounded more like a threat to me or is there more to it?"
                 "We at the Earth government are very concerned about the relationship of our two governments working together. Since all parties were involved, we feel that a corporation in this case would benefit both worlds."
                 "Please Anna, play ball with them, okay?"

                   She did not reply back, just sat back looking out the window. She knew what she must do, but then again, making them sweat a bit for her to answer was somewhat amusing. It wasn’t much, but after what she was in it helped ease into answering their request. Johnny just stood there in silence. He did not want to jinx his first assignment by say anything to her. The tension in the room was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Both the chief and Simms knew of Anna's behavior. and hoped that she wouldn't do anything radical. Just then Anna quickly got up. The chief and Simms looked at each other with worried expressions. Anna brushed her hair back and had a small sarcastic grin, "Well looks like I don't have much of a choice in this."
                    She felt like telling them all to go straight to hell, but she didn't. Sergeant Simms wiped his forehead in relief, Anna had accepted.

                   She turned around to the chief, "Is that all, sir?"
                    The chief nodded. "See it wasn’t as painful as it could have been."

                   "Speak for yourself, boss."

                   Anna walked to the door and gave Lance an icy glare as she passed by.
                   "I hope she knows I was just kidding about the exile part," he thought. Just before Anna left the room, she stopped in front of her new partner. Johnny was hopeful and somewhat happy to meet her. But after Anna's dismay, his hopefulness became a little bit apprehensive, apparent on his face. Johnny tried not to show it as he glanced in Anna’s cold steel eyes.
                    "I am pleased to meet….. you. I hope our part.."
                    She turned to walk and stopped a few feet away. She closed her eyes in frustration and thought better of her rudeness because if she didn't play the game, this could go badly for her and her friends. Anna tilted her head in Johnny’s direction and said, "Are you coming?"
                  "Uh.. yeah."
                  Looking like a lost puppy dog, Johnny followed Anna back to her desk. Sgt. Simms looked at the chief and sarcastically said, "I'll give you five days before she kills him."
                     The chief laughed, "Only five, I see that you're giving him a chance, huh?"
                     "No, not really. Since she had to enroll in the anger management course, she seemed a little bit calmer."
                      The chief pulled out her files to remember what Simms was talking about. Anna's files were thick as a book. Her most recent file was on top, attached with city's damage assessments and the list of witnesses of the event that she was in.
                     "Oh, you mean the Su-wascly incident a few weeks ago. That was messy, poor guy."
                     Lance was still there with a curious look on his face as he overheard their conversation,
                      Sgt. Simms turned to him, "Oh, you haven't heard?"
                      Lance shook his head, "I just got promoted and transfered in from Earth a week ago. What did she do to this guy?"
                  The chief laid the files down, while sitting back in his chair, "Officer Tim Su-wascly was Anna's last partner. "He...."
                   The chief paused for a second. "Well, let's just say he over-stepped Anna's authority in a drug bust south from here, just out side the city's walls."
Lance looked on his global tracking device on his cell phone,
                   “Wait a minute, the only thing that is down south from here is a big crater…..Wait you don't mean?"
                   Both Sgt. and the chief nodded their heads. The chief said, "Yep, because of what he did. Anna's temper went off and let’s just say when she gets mad, things seem to go from bad to worst."
                   "Well, at least she got him out in time."
                   "True, but he is eating through a straw right now."
Lance had a blank stare on his face as he looked at Anna going to her desk and thought that the ambassador was making a big mistake to team that rookie with her. This situation that he was placed in felt all wrong even from the start.

                 “Wait a second, why is she still on the force? Shouldn't she be..”

                 “Hold on,” said Simm, “ She’s one of my officers and a damn good one. She was given suspension pending the investigation of that incident and was acquitted. What happened then, wasn’t her fault.”
                  Lance apologized and then quickly left without saying a word. Sgt. Simms glanced at the chief, "I wonder if it was something we said?"
                  Anna sat down on her chair and propped her feet up on the desk. Johnny sat right beside her at an empty desk. That desk had a name plate on it. Johnny curiously asked, "Su-wascly?" Does he still work here?"
                 Anna kept her eyes closed and cracked a smile. Johnny looked around with an uneasy feeling. She was giving him the silent treatment.
                 "So.. Hmm, how do you.. Want to start on the case? I have some info if you want to exchange or."
                  Anna sat up and looked right at him, "Look, I haven't got the first piece of evident. I was stuck in a goddamn jail of yours. Plus the person, who put me in that predicament, was here with you. So you're not scoring any brownie points with me right now. I am tired and hungry. All I want to do is to take a hot shower and sleep for two days. But no, I can't. I have to babysit a rookie."
Johnny looked like a deer caught in front of head lights. Anna took a deep breath and realized that she was being too hard on him.
                  "Look, I am sorry. I didn't mean to dump on you. It's just I was on a case when all this happened."
                   Johnny gave a nervous laugh, "Its okay, I guess. Uhmm, so do you want some coffee?"
                  "Sure, but I'll get it. The last time one of my partners said that, he ran out and I never saw him again."
                   Thinking that Anna was trying to break the tension with a joke Johnny laughed, "Ha, that's was a good.."
                 "I wasn't joking. Stay here, ok."
                  Anna got up and left her bewildered partner. He was waiting for her to return, when another one of Anna's teammates walked up to Johnny with a big smile on her face, "Hi! I'm Officer Stacy Mitchell."
                 Johnny got up and shook her hand, "Uh.. Hi, I am Johnny.....Agent Johnny Reeds."
                Stacy sat in Anna's chair, with an unnerving smile still on her face, "Wow, are you really Anna's new partner?"
                Johnny was confused, because no one should have known about this, just yet.
                 "Yes, but how did you find out so quickly?" 
                   Stacy looked over at Jack and slapped him lightly on the back of his head to get his attention, "I told you he was."
                  Jack turned around with a big laugh, "Damn, you must be very brave or very stupid."
                  Johnny was a little bit annoyed by that comment, "Hey wait a minute, what do you mean?”
                   Stacy patted him on the shoulder, "Oh, that's Jack. Don't mind him. He can be a real ass at times."
                    "So why did he say that I was either brave or stupid?"
                     Jack leaned forward toward Johnny and looked around to see if Anna was coming back to her desk, "You see Anna, well... She has bad luck with partners. In fact, if you look at that name plate, you'll see why."
                       Johnny grabbed the name plate and looked at it. The name that was on it said "Suwascly". 
                     "That name doesn't sound familiar to you?"
                     Johnny placed the name plate back, "I asked her just a few minutes ago and she just smiled......Why?"
                    He thought about it and remembered hearing something about it on the news, just before he left from Earth. His eyes brightened up as a tear of sweat came down from his brow, "You don't mean the Su-wascly incident a few weeks ago?" Both Stacy and Jack nodded as Johnny continued, "Wait a second. You mean he was Anna's partner?"
                   Stacy laughed, "Oh, Anna isn't what you think. She is a good girl, just misunderstood. I think you should give her a chance."
                 Jack smirked, "Yeah, I remember him screaming, Ahhh!!! Help, help me she is the angel of death." 
                   Stacy threw a magazine on top of Jack's face, "Don't listen to him. He's just trying to scare you."
                  Johnny thought that he was doing a good job. This was his first assignment on Mars and they teamed him up with the queen of the damned. Stacy laid down a piece of paper that had something written on it.
                 "Say, after work me, Anna and the sergeant go out for drinks. Why don't you meet us up there later on? Here is the address and you'll see Anna isn't the way Jack makes her out to be."
                "Thanks. I'll try to come."
                Stacy got up and left. She passed by Anna on her way out of the door. She grabbed on to Anna's arm, nearly spilling the coffee.

                  "Hey watch it, Stacy I’ve got hot coffee here."

                  Anna notice a big grin on Stacy’s face and knew she was up to no good. Before she could walk away, Stacy tugged on her arm and whispered, "This one looks like a keeper, Anna. Please try to keep him longer than the others."
                 "Yeah, yeah, whatever. Don't you have some paperwork to do?"

                  Johnny was playing with the name badge that was on the desk when Anna came back with the coffees.
                  "Hey Johnny, here you go…Opps."
                   Anna tripped and spilled hot coffee on his lap. Johnny screamed and ran to the bathroom. Jack laughed at them both, "Uh-Oh! Looks like another victim."
Anna place one hand on her hip. With the other hand she slapped Jack on the back of his head. Johnny without haste ran to the bathroom and locked the door. He started to clean his pants off, when his cell phone rang.
                "Ambassador Jefferson is on hold for an Agent Reed. May we speak to him?"

                "Yes please, put him on."
                "Agent Reed, how are you my dear boy?"
                "I'm fine, sir. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to do this assignment. But, are you sure I am the right person for this job?"
Johnny could hear the Ambassador breathing heavily. "I hand picked you, because I know you have the abilities to succeed. Or am I wrong in this?"
                Swiftly Johnny replied,
               "No sir. You have the right man for the job. I ..I won't let you down. It's just."
               The Ambassador cut him off, "Let me guess, your partner is Anna Matrix, right?"
                "Huh. Yes sir."
                 Johnny wondered how much he knew about her. "I have heard that her partners end up dead or in a mental institute."
                "Just remember, Agent Reed, she is an important part of our investigation. But if it does become necessary, she will have to be eliminated. Especially if she gets too close to what I am trying to do."

               Johnny unenthusiastically responded, "Yes sir. I'll, do my best."
                "No, I don't want to hear that you'll do your best. Someone who says he will do his best, sets himself up to fail."
With sweat trickling down his back, Johnny could tell the Ambassador was getting irritated with his response.
               "No, no, I am sorry. What I meant to say was Yes sir, I will follow the orders. If it comes to that."
               "Good, that's better. Just remember, I'll be watching you."
                "Okay sir."
                 The Ambassador hung up as Johnny placed the phone down beside the sink and looked in the mirror. Johnny said to himself, "Okay Johnny, you can do this. She is only one person..."
                 Just then, he imagined Anna with the grim reaper's outfit and stepping on top of him while she laughed. "Get a grip here, you can do this."
Johnny finished cleaning his pants and opened the door. He came out and went back to Anna's desk. He noticed that her jacket and the files on the desk were gone. It looked like she had left, but he didn't believe it and decided to stroll up stairs to find her. But when he went upstairs, his partner was no where to be found.

                 He saw Stacy walking by the communication room to the left of him, "Excuse me Stacy, have you seen Anna?"
                Stacy looked up to remember, "Oh....Yeah, I think that she left already."
                 "What? Why, didn't she say anything to you?"
She shook her head, "Hmm, nope. But don't worry, she does this to all of her partners."
                Johnny sighed, "Just great, first day on the job and I lose my partner."
Stacy giggled as she patted him again on the shoulders with friendly affection, "Johnny, that was so funny! You have to meet up with us tonight, Okay."
              Johnny placed his hands in his pockets in frustration and took a deep breath to calm his nerves, "Sure, why not. I think that a good stiff drink could help."
                 "Oh my god, Anna thinks the same way."


Chapter 4