The first thing Commissioner Mac Scorpio noticed that morning about his police station was the unusually large number of people moving about the hallways. Most of them were unfamiliar to the Commissioner, but they moved with the confidence and self-assurance of people who belonged there.

The second thing Mac noticed stopped him dead in his tracks. Overnight, interrogation room number two had been converted into an office of some type. The clear glass observation windows were outfitted with custom blinds that blocked the view of outsiders attempting to look into the room. A gray-haired workman applied the finishing touches to an etched black plaque that read ‘Agent Larkin'.

“I hope you don't mind my borrowing a little space for myself,” Larkin said over Mac's shoulder. “It was getting a little tiresome not having a regular place to work from.”

“I can imagine,” Mac responded drily. His face was expressionless. “Was the name plate necessary? You guys should be heading back to D.C. any day now.”

Larkin smiled an oily smile. Mac was reminded of the patently false grin flashed by the character ‘The Grinch'. “Yeah… you'll probably be getting a call about this, but I don't mind letting you in on the news.” Larkin paused dramatically. “Your mayor has made arrangements for me to head a Bureau office here out of your squad room.”


“He thinks the citizens of your little city will sleep better knowing that they are being protected by the big boys. No reflection on your department, of course,” Larkin added. “Sorrell's presence here changes the rules, that's all.”

Mac clenched his teeth and counted to ten. It was the memory of the surprising conversation he'd had the previous night, though, that enabled the Commissioner to respond calmly to the other man's smug taunts. “You are absolutely right, Larkin. A change of rules can be the best thing in the world sometimes.” It was Mac's turn to flash an oily smile.

Larkin stared after the police commissioner as he strode confidently down the hallway to his office. It was glaringly apparent to the agent that Mac Scorpio possessed information that he thought would affect Larkin.

Mac's certainty left Larkin uncertain. And that was an unfamiliar feeling for him. In his career Larkin had been spectacularly correct or dismally wrong, but had never been uncertain. He didn't like being unsure now.

Back | Next