Catherine laid in her bed, staring up at the ceiling. After a moment of consideration, she flipped open her phone, dialing a number.
“Hi, you've got Lance. Leave a message.”
“Hi, hon,” she said. “Just wanted to talk to you. I'll try again later.”
She closed the phone with a sharp click, echoing it a moment later as her heels tapped against the bedframe. She closed her eyes, listening to the tapping, and then sighed and stood, heading for the door.
Blossom was in the kitchen, one hand in a bag of lettuce. “Hi, Catherine! Feeling better?”
“Yes,” Catherine lied, opening the fridge and taking some juice. “Where did you get lettuce?”
“Solomon gave it to me,” Blossom said with a smile. “He was feeling bad that I didn't like the couscous. I told him it wasn't his fault – he didn't know I don't eat cooked food, after all.” She hesitated, considering, and then added, “Well, I mean, not usually. I can, it's just usually kind of useless. You know what I mean.”
“I know what you mean,” Catherine caught herself on the verge of snapping again, and reined herself in quickly. “That was nice of Sam.”
“What was nice of me?” Sam asked, coming around the corner with a cup of coffee.
“The lettuce,” Blossom explained brightly. “It's very good. I need to get your dressing recipie.”
“No problem,” Sam said with a laugh. He looked over at Catherine. “Everything alright? I was trying not to listen in earlier…”
Catherine blinked, and then groaned. “In the interview room?”
“I was going after Marcy, but I definitely heard some yelling,” Sam confirmed. “Anything I can help with?”
“No,” Catherine said firmly. “I'm fine, just a little tired.” She sighed. “I just want to get this mission over with and get home to Lance, honestly.”
“You probably could,” Sam pointed out. “If Chronovore was going to break out, she would have tried by now. We've got our culprit, and your team is more investigative than interrogative.”
Catherine glanced down at the case at her waist. “Most of us. I could probably get a confession out of her pretty quickly.”
“I don't think that's sanctioned by the SEA,” Sam said warily. “If you coerce a confession out of her, it could throw the whole case out the window. Better to let the experts handle it.”
“I thought we were the experts,” Catherine said. She looked up, and smiled faintly. “Ignore me, Sam. Just the stress talking.”
“Well, alright,” Sam said dubiously, heading to the fridge and pulling out ingredients. “I'll just get to work on supper. Blossom, don't eat too much, you'll ruin your appetite.”
“Why does everyone treat me like a kid?” Blossom complained, putting down the bag.
“Because you're too cute not to,” Roland said, stepping out of the elevator with Jack and Prita. He nodded to the others. “Where's your last teammate, Sam?”
“Marcy? Haven't seen her.” Sam shrugged. “Canape?”
Jack smiled, taking one. “Thank you,” he said. “Listen, Prita and I were going to take another look over the files, see if we can't shortcut this investigation.”
“If we can't, I think we need to pack it in,” Catherine said suddenly. Everyone looked over. “Tomorrow morning, we'll head back to base.”
“Right, okay,” Roland said. “I guess we aren't really needed, huh? Jack, you need help?”
Jack looked from Roland to Prita. “I think we're alright,” he said with some emphasis. “Thank you.”
“Uh-huh,” Roland said. He watched as the two left.
“They are so cute,” Blossom announced suddenly. Her mask was smiling broadly. “I mean, really cute.”
“Yeah, they are,” Roland nodded slowly. He looked over to Catherine. “Need a report?”
“Wouldn't hurt,” Catherine agreed.
“Alright. Chronovore's denying Prita's evidence, and being totally unreasonable. Agent Mallory is worried that she might have more artifacts stashed somewhere, and that she could have an accomplice – no one can figure out how she might have done this yet. And that's where we are at after two solid hours of interview.” Roland shook his head. “Good times.”
Catherine's jaw clenched. “I can't believe her nerve,” she muttered, tapping out a rapid staccato on the countertop. “I'm going back down there.”
“I don't think that's a good idea,” Roland said, glancing at Sam for support. Sam shrugged, and Roland continued with a grimace. “Let's give the SEA folks the time they need, huh? We'll go down tomorrow.”
“Fine,” Catherine said. “I just want this done with.” She rubbed her forehead. “I'm going for a walk. I need some fresh air.”
As Catherine walked for the elevator, Roland glanced over to Blossom. She looked back at him. “Is everything okay?” she said, one hand still in the lettuce bag.
“Blossom, we discussed this,” Roland said slowly.
“We did? Oh! Right!” Blossom set down the bag. “Sorry! I'll be right back!”
Sam watched her dash from the room. “Mind filling me in?” he said slowly.
Roland sat down, with a shrug. “Blossom's keeping an eye on Catherine. We're worried about her.” He stared after Blossom, frowning thoughtfully. “Sam, could I ask you something, confidentially?”
“Absolutely, Roland.” Sam smiled, taking a seat opposite Roland. “What's on your mind?”
“Have your teammates been acting strange lately?”
“Strange?” Sam sat back, thinking seriously. “Well, we've been under stress. Marcy's a bit more snappish than usual, I suppose.”
Roland frowned. “And you?”
Sam raised an eyebrow. “If I were to behave oddly, would I notice?” he asked wryly.
“Point.” Roland nodded. “It's probably nothing.” He stood, pushing his chair back, and then paused. “It's just… you saw Catherine's explosion earlier.” Sam nodded cautiously, and he continued. “I called Director Henry about it, just for confirmation. He told me a few things that are worrying me. See, my teammates are acting a little odd. I wouldn't have noticed it, if I weren't worried about Catherine, but Jack and Blossom are sort of spacing on me too. I mean, I'm not a detective, but I can tell when my friends are behaving funny.”
“Mm,” Sam nodded. “You're concerned that it's connected?”
“Well, I'm mostly worried about this whole Chronovore thing,” Roland admitted, taking the lettuce and idly chewing on a piece. “I mean, she needs help if she did all of this, right?” He paused, shaking his head. “This is weird.”
“Invictus! Invictus, this is Blossom, come in!”
Roland tapped his comm. “What's up, Blossom?”
“Piper just stole Solomon's van!”
“What?!” Roland straightened. “How?!”
“She just fluted at it! The doors unlocked, and the engine started! I didn't know she could do that!”
“Crap!” Roland looked over to Sam. “Go get Jack and Prita, tell them we need to get to the SEA station fast. I'll meet you there.”
“Okay…” Sam frowned. “What's going on?”
“Piper's losing it, and I think everyone's been affected. Blossom, keep on her!” Roland ran for the elevator. “Alice, I need a car fast! And call the station. Tell them we have a problem!”