"What are heroes for?" Patrick Adams smiled widely and gesticulated at the plasma screen. Rowan and Jason were now chatting about computers and Jason looked a healthier shade than his previous zombie hew. The audience were somewhat placated by this overall picture. "Although they did spoil our poll." Adams raised a touch of the titters among his audience.
"Why they think it's terrorists?" The large lady in the hat was back. "Just because of those hairy men that jumped the van?"
"Sadly, that's all a prejudiced person like Rowan Hall needs." Adams said with a sigh. "To judge a person solely by his appearance is a woeful outlook to have.
"Well she didn't judge Jenkinson." A bespectacaled man spoke up and his very appearance irritated Adams. "She was under the impression he was a toerag but she still didn't judge him for it."
"I hardly think that's her impartial personality coming into play." Adams smiled enigmatically.
"I'm sorry, I don't understand." The man persisted.
"I don't expect you to. Nor did I until I heard the backstage chatter." Adams wandered into the audience, a microphone following him. He stopped infront of a young woman of around twenty years old who had the vacant expression of a stunned sheep. "Tell me miss, can you see any factors up there on that screen that may affect Rowan Hall's opinions of Jason Jenkinson?"
"Yah!" The girl brayed a laugh that made the entire population over the treble figure IQ mark, cringe horribly. "He's hot!"
"That about sums it up." Adams laughed. "How could we put that to the test?" He sauntered back to centre stage. "If Rowan Hall is unprejudiced and looks at Jenkinson with an impartial eye, that would explain her tolerance, and even her occasional dependency on him. If she thinks he's ... 'hot' ... then that would also explain it." He mused, casting an eye over his studio audience.
"We need to test one or the other." The hat lady said firmly.
"Viable suggestion." Adams nodded slowly. "Testing the former would be difficult. Testing the latter, however ..." He left the sentence hanging.
"Make her jealous!" The stunned sheep bleated. "I'll volunteer!" The rest of the ovine audience laughed on cue.
"And a grand job you'd make of it too, I'm sure." Adams laughed jovially. "I think a snapshot of our Superstud with a lovely lady should do it." A full sized picture filled the giant screen of Jason holding hands with a stunning blonde and sitting on a park bench, both looking enormously happy with each other. In the bottom corner was stamped, Police Department: Jenkinson, J. Personal Item #4. Obviously it had been on Jason's person when he was arrested.
McManus wandered over to Stewart and Alan. All three had tried to radio the station but the reception was non existent. None of the officers carried personal phones on duty and the only other contact to anywhere was via Brian Charlton and his techies, all of who were under orders from Patrick Adams not to 'clutter up the lines'.
"What are you doing?" McManus asked conversationally.
"Oh taking in the scenery, relaxing, you know?" Alan said sarcastically.
"He's adding that Personal and confidential item on there to the list of screw-ups." Stewart answered bluntly. "Before you say anything, I don't really care which officer actually handed it over. It's your station."
"It's only a photograph." McManus heaved.
"A photograph that's covered by the Data Protection laws as long as it's in police care. Christ they even plastered the station name and the item category number on the bloody screen! There'll be legal eagles out there rubbing their bloody hands together over that." Stewart stated.
"And while we're on the subject of screw-ups, me, Stewart and that technician have all expressed objections to being here, on camera. We're here against our will, sir. We were brought here against our will."
"You know, I really did expect more support from my officers when the going got rough." McManus snapped. "This was not what I was lead to expect. I've said that over and over. It was out of my hands as soon as you were brought here."
"Fair enough." Stewart shrugged. "So that leaves that photograph, handed over before we were brought here, hijacking a police vehicle, before we got here, threatening two officers, two civilians and a remand prisoner, before we got here, unlawful imprisonment of myself, Alan and the techie outside, as soon as we got here. Oh and there's deliberately lying to my family, also before we ..."
"You can't press this." McManus said. "Patrick Adams will rip you apart and the whole force with you."
"No, he'll rip you apart. We've all expressed the wish not to be involved, remember? You contrived this, you sir. You're in it up to your neck just as much as that prick over there and that egomaniac on that screen." Stewart said flatly. "You shit in your own nest, you can sleep in it."
Jason drifted in and out of sleep with varying degrees of nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and downright pain from everywhere. Rowan did her best to make herself, and Jason as comfortable as anyone could get in a derelict torture chamber. She picked at a sandwich while Jason seemed to be resting, then stood up to massaged her aching muscles. They'd agreed not to wander off from each other if they could possibly avoid it, not even for toilet breaks. Rowan looked at Jason, then peered through the shattered glass door. There was a big double doored cupboard right outside with both doors hanging open, half off their hinges. Going ten feet behind a cupboard couldn't possibly be classed as wandering off, especially given the condition of Jason. Rowan crept out of the torture room and sidled behind the cupboard door. Her blood ran cold, thirty seconds later, when she emerged and saw someone tip-toeing up the corridor, away from her. The figure was dressed in dark clothing and was wearing a peaked cap but Rowan could tell by the size that it was either a woman or a young teenager. Jason's crash-in tactics last time had been disastrous, so Rowan flattened herself against the shadowy wall and crept along it. She actually managed to overtake the figure, just before a turn off in the corridor. It was definitely a woman, dark haired and dark eyed. Rowan couldn't go much further than the turn off for fear of getting lost.
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