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Chapter 3: A Family in Hiding

The job was reminiscent of working with Max, but the current transgenic at Logan’s side wasn’t old enough, or pretty enough. Mellon had been deemed in good enough health to return to the mail duty with Brentwood. Ransom was assigned the task of being Logan’s bodyguard while he ran Alec’s errands. Logan didn’t know how much Alec had told Max, but Logan was not sharing any information with those in his residence. The secret was safe. Part of him was relieved that the X-6’s didn’t go snooping and part of him was very annoyed that teens of that age followed their orders so well.

Though Ransom was Logan’s bodyguard, she was not able to ride in the car, but in a special compartment near the engine block to hide her heat signature from the sector police. Since the siege, all sector stations were equipped with the monitoring scanners to catch any transgenics trying to leave. Since then, the battle was basically one of PR. In that case, Logan (Eyes Only) was the most valuable ally of the transgenics, to the point where the residents of Terminal City went out of their way to help him.

That could be part of the reason that the X-6’s tried to follow Logan’s lead to the spirit and the letter of the law. He had just figured that Max… or Mole… or Alec had threatened them into submission.

Logan finally arrived at the Berrisford mansion and was dismayed to see a somber procession entering and leaving the premises. Everyone was wearing black. On the plus side, it should be easy to talk his way inside; he was wearing a suit and Ransom was already wearing black. The original plan had been for Logan to leave the transgenic hidden outside the house for some nighttime snooping. Now that would change.

Logan tapped on the secret door to the secret compartment. After a thoughtful pause, Ransom climbed out curiously.

“We’re walking in the front door.”

Ransom blinked and waited for more information.

“Get rid of your cap and finger comb your hair,” Logan directed as he reached to the glove compartment and dug through.

Ransom obeyed and watched as Logan pulled out a jewelry box and a long leather string. The necklace had been for Max, but she would understand if it was previously used (if she accepted it at all). Logan eyed the youngster critically. He wished that they had other shoes for her, since she was wearing her combat boots.

Oh well. “Turn around.”

Ransom presented Logan with her back. First, he put the necklace on her and then he asked, “Do you have a knife?”

Ransom held up a knife and gave Logan a smirk at having asked such a stupid question.

Logan chuckled to himself and used the knife to cut the leather sting into two, unequal portions. The longer one he handed to Ransom. “Wrap this around your wrist, artistically, leave some string hanging. Oh and untuck your shirt and have your pants hang over your boots.”

Ransom’s face revealed that she didn’t like being that much out of uniform, but again she obeyed. Meanwhile, Logan finger combed through her hair again. She stiffened slightly at the intrusion of her personal space and waited as Logan French braided her hair and tied it off with what was left of the leather.

“Let me see you.”

Ransom turned around and faced Logan, almost at attention as she sat there. It wasn’t perfect, but she didn’t obviously resemble a mini soldier, or a cat burglar now.

“That will work. If you get the chance, you can find someplace to hide, but I’m hoping to be using you as a lookout while I snoop.”

Ransom nodded once.

“Let’s go.” Ransom followed him out of the car and didn’t stiffen as Logan placed a gentle hand on her shoulder for balance and to offer subtle directions. Logan considered Ransom’s acceptance of him as a minor victory, just as he did his ability to talk his way in the door and into the main living area. To his great consternation, he had been correct in his guess: Robert Berrisford was dead. A quick glance of memorial literature revealed that the man had died before the package had even been in transgenic hands. Eavesdropping on others’ conversations revealed that he had been ‘under the weather’ for quite some time.

“The poor man never recovered from his daughter’s death,” one woman whispered to another.

Logan made his way to the study. Ransom saw his goal and ‘accidentally’ knocked over a server passing out coffee to the mourners. While everyone was cleaning up the mess, Ransom included, Logan slipped into the empty room. He quickly made his way to the computer. Logging on, he simple downloaded the files onto a transportable drive to future viewing. Then he disconnected the drive and hurried toward the door. He knocked once, quietly and waited.

Finally, Ransom knocked back, indicating that the coast was clear. Logan exited the room, still pocketing the information. He adjusted his suit jacket and glanced around at the people milling about. “I don’t suppose you can ID the housekeeper,” he whispered.

Ransom turned her head, most precisely and Logan followed her line of sight to a woman in uniform, bustling around, directing the servers and stopping every so often to wipe her tears.

Logan cornered the woman in the hall. “Mrs. Linstrom?”

She looked at Logan warily.

“My name is… Alec McDowell. Mr. Berrisford sent me a package that just got to me yesterday. I was hoping to fill in the blanks.”

Linstrom brightened. “Oh, yes. That was the last task Mr. Berrisford requested. He was so pleased to send that out.”

It was something about her singular nouns that made Logan hopeful. “Did he send out the package to anyone else?”

“Oh no, just the one to you.”

Logan smiled and relaxed slightly. “Do you know the location of Dr. Ono, or Dr. Berg, or Dr. Wick?”

The housekeeper shook her head at each of the names. At least she recognized them. “I know that Dr. Ono died last year and Dr. Berg received a job in France. Oh, Dr. Wick also died. I remember reading that in the paper.”

“What about Nurse Laity?”

Linstrom frowned. “I don’t know where she is. I do know that she had some problems with the police. I think Mr. Berrisford paid for her to leave the country. I’m sorry I can’t help you more.”

Logan was disappointed but he still smiled and said, “Mrs. Linstrom, you don’t know what a great help you have been today.” He considered all the people wandering around and who could overhear his conversation. He decided to push the housekeeper for more information. “What can you tell me about Rachael’s son?”

Mrs. Linstrom turned cold and stern. “How did you come up with that?”

“That was what Mr. Berrisford sent me in the file,” Logan admitted, with self-conscious smile. Anything to relax her and to get more information. “Information about the boy. I assumed that he wanted me to look after the child since he couldn’t any longer. He knew he was going to die, didn’t he?”

Mrs. Linstrom relaxed since the Master of the House –though deceased- had already taken Logan into his confidence. She wiped her tears on her apron and gained control of her emotions. “He knew, yes. He was dying and he wouldn’t do anything the doctors suggested to lengthen his life. Once his daughter died, he lost his will to live.”

“And the baby?”

“The doctors said that the change in body chemistry might wake Rachael up. They were grasping at straws, of course, but it was all the hope they had. It didn’t work. Rachael never woke up.”

“What happened to the baby?” Logan asked again.

Mrs. Linstrom thought about it. “I don’t know. I went home hours after the birth, when there had been no change in Rachael’s health. When I returned the next morning, the baby was gone and no one ever spoke of him.”

“Surely you thought about it and maybe discussed it with others?” Logan prompted hopefully.

She shook her head. “No, oh wait. There was that girl. She had helped Mr. Berrisford with some of his legal problems from that awful time when some rather nasty people were upset with him. I don’t know where the girl came from or where she went, but she disappeared the same night as the baby and never returned.”

“Do you remember her name?”

“Pearl? No, that wasn’t it. It wasn’t Diamond. But it was a jewel. Ruby. I think her name was Ruby. I never heard a last name.”

“Can you guess at Ruby’s age?”

Mrs. Linstrom frowned as she tried to remember the woman. “She was young, close to Rachael’s age, I would guess. Pretty. Dark, dark eyes and brown hair. But those are just my impressions. I’m sorry I can’t remember more.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Linstrom. You’ve given me someplace to start.” The girl would be hard to find, but possible. The doctors should be easier. Logan spared a moment for regret that Sam Carr had had to flee with his family because of White and Max’s clone. The doctor would have had a number of suggestions for how to find another doctor in hiding.