Disclaimer and Notes: Not mine, just playing in the sandbox. Thanks to Rhiannon Shaw and Nevada for the beta.
Down the Road
By Raine Wynd
Just past the Eureka town limits sign, Jack pulled off onto the side of the road. He'd told Jo he was going to set up a speed trap, but he didn't think his new deputy was fooled. He'd been back in town two days, and he wanted — no, needed — to look back at the road he'd been on.
Literally, in this case. He stepped out of the vehicle and leaned on the side of the truck, not even bothering to turn on the automatic speed detector, ignoring completely the radar gun on the passenger seat, and stared down at the highway. Some part of him goggled that the police SUV was so pumped up on technology, it even had a built-in radar speed sensor, and the radar gun was more of a prop than anything else. That didn't even begin to count the assortment of gadgets that made Jack's head spin just thinking about them. He still had a headache from the overly paranoid, government paper-pusher's wet dream of a process that Allison and Jo had put him through that had enabled him to even climb into the driver's seat of the SUV, much less hold the keys.
For a moment, he thought about getting back in the SUV and just…driving off. Some inner voice that sounded suspiciously like Allison's told him he'd probably be arrested for theft of government property, assuming of course that the scarily smart vehicle didn't somehow immediately notify some government security somewhere and start tracking his movements. They'd find him in less time than it would take to think about it. Then Jack would likely never see a badge again, much less be able to work at picking weeds, and he couldn't quite imagine life without a gun strapped to his hip and a badge to back up the authority and responsibility he'd become quite accustomed to having, thank you very damned much.
It didn't help that he'd finally read the full description of his job. On the one hand, he had an amazing opportunity, a chance at some stability, and a house that was not only able to talk back, but was programmed to deliver anything he wanted. On the other hand, he was surrounded by Things He Wasn't Yet Cleared to Know, and that bothered him.
It was one thing to know there was stuff he didn't know yet, and quite another to be told firmly that he didn't need to know it yet, and someone would inform him when and if he was deemed ready to receive this knowledge. From where he stood, he was policing half-blind: at any given time in this crazy town, he was guaranteed a high chance of something blowing up, someone dying, and someone breaking the laws of physics -- possibly the same person who was dying.
Worse, given the population, “someone” could be almost anyone living here, or even visiting. It wasn't like he could eliminate anyone from his list of possible suspects, or say with any certainty it wasn't the butler in the pantry with the noose, because it just might be, in ways he hadn't yet dreamed. Outside of this town, he had a number of things he could reasonably expect to eliminate as possibilities for any given crime; inside…well, clearly, he had a lot to learn, if anything he'd seen so far was a predictor.
Jack sighed. He'd signed the five-year contract, with its on-penalty-of-death-do-not-disclose clauses, and given up the whole chasing-federal-criminals-around-the-country, which, if he was honest with himself, he'd grown weary of, but would never admit aloud. Right now, that thought was a cold comfort. It didn't change the fact that he didn't know as much as he would have liked, or that his office held weapons he'd only dreamed of handling, or that any number of things in this town had the potential of exploding, starting with his career if he didn't do his job.
Something told him Eureka was going to be the biggest challenge he'd ever faced, and he had only just begun. Still, it was nice to know that, given what he'd seen so far, he wasn't in danger of being bored.
Maybe he should check on Sheriff Cobb, see how retirement was suiting him. And maybe take along a pizza, some beer, and a notepad….