By Stephen Abbott
Check out his site AnthroFiction.com W
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Tim pulled his cruiser into one of the spots at the courthouse reserved for police cruisers. Checking his reflection in the mirror he decided that he looked professional enough for what needed to be done.
He looked over at Cat, who, as usual, was sitting beside him in the passenger seat of the cruiser. She was practically vibrating with excitement, a barely suppressed smile on her face.
“Cat,” Tim said quietly, trying not to sound upset but wanting to be sure she understood what was going on. “You realize that this is a very serious thing we have to do, right?”
“Yes sir,” she replied with enthusiasm, “it is very important that I present myself properly.” Cat knew this was important, especially since Tim has been telling her how important it was for the past week.
Tim looked at her again. She was having trouble sitting still. In a way she reminded him of his nephew when he was done eating and ready to go out to play.
“Then why are you so antsy?”
Cat looked at him with her head tilted to one side, looking a bit confused.
“Antsy? I have no ants, sir.”
“No, I mean why are you so excited.”
Cat smiled her lopsided smile. “Because I have never been in a courtroom before, nor have I testified in a trial!”
Tim looked at his watch and decided they had better get moving. Keeping her waiting was just winding her up even more.
“Okay, c’mon, let’s get in there.”
Cat practically leaped out of the car. Tim stopped her before she shut her door.
“You’ll need to leave your vest and gear here. You won’t need it in the courthouse and it will take us a week to get through security with all that stuff.”
With nimble fingers Cat quickly unbuckled her vest and set it on the seat of the car. She also took off her belt with its array of tools and left that as well. Tim looked at her and was again amazed at the style of the body Doctor Deeks had given to her. Even while wearing a collared duty shirt over a t-shirt Tim could see the very feminine lines of Cat’s body.
Shaking himself out of his contemplation Tim motioned for Cat to follow and they headed into the courthouse.
As they entered the courthouse Cat quietly asked Tim a question. “Sir, will you be there when I give my testimony?”
Tim noticed that her earlier excitement seemed to be fading.
“Getting a little stage fright?” he asked with a smile. “Don’t worry Cat, I spoke with the assistant DA. This is a pretty routine trial,” with the exception of your testimony, he thought to himself, “so he’s going to call me to the stand first, then he’ll call on you to testify. I’ll be in the gallery but I won’t be able to help you answer any of the questions. Just answer them as truthfully as you can and as simply as you can and you’ll be fine.”
Cat gave him a weak smile as they entered the building.
Once inside they walked up to the security checkpoint and got into line. All eyes were on Cat as they waited, most people seeing her for the first time. Tim stood quietly as Cat looked curiously at the old building, craning her neck as she looked up at the relief’s carved on the walls and ceiling.
“Pretty impressive, huh Cat?”
“Yes sir,” she said without looking at him, her attention still on the old world craftsmanship exhibited all around them.
One of the officers at security motioned them forward. Tim gave Cat a small push on the back to get her going, brining her back down to earth.
“Hey Tim,” said the officer, “what brings you down here?”
“Hi Al. We’re here for ADA Green’s trial. It’s got a 10 AM start time.”
Al was looking at Cat, who was quietly standing there looking back at him. He pulled his eyes away and looked at the clipboard on the desk.
“Green’s in room 112.” His brow furrowed for a second before he continued. “Apparently they’ve been playing musical rooms today. I could have sworn that the Thompson mob trial was going on in 112 but they’ve got it listed for 122.” He looked back up at Tim, glancing at Cat. “So, are you going to introduce me to your friend?” he said with a smile.
“Oh, sorry Al, I didn’t mean to be rude.” Turning to Cat he said, “Cat, this is officer Alan Hamilton. He’s a County Sheriff and part of their duties include security at the courthouse.” Turning to Al he continued, “Al, this is Cat, my new partner. We’ve only been working together for a few weeks and she’s already got me in court.” They both laughed at that while Cat looked on, a bit confused.
Holding out his right hand, Al said, “Nice to meet you Cat. I hope you’re keeping this guy in line. He can be a real handful at times.”
Cat took his hand in a firm grasp and they shook.
“Officer Grrady is a very good partner,” she replied. “Even if he did eat all the dog biscuits,” she added with a smile.
Both Tim and Al laughed at that. Al had worked with the AP long enough to know about the tradition of bringing new officer and dog teams donuts and biscuits after their first week.
“So how did they taste?” Al asked with a grin.
“Not too bad,” deadpanned Tim, “and the best thing is I didn’t need to brush afterwards.”
Al started laughing again as he pulled a metal box out from under the desk. “Okay, let’s get you two out of here before I get in trouble for actually enjoying my job.” He opened the hinged top of the box and set it on top of the desk.
Tim took his gun out of the holster, removed the clip and ejected the round from the chamber before placing everything in the box. He then took off his belt, with it’s extra clip, handcuffs and other tools, and put that in the box as well. When he was finished he closed the top of the box and Al locked it and handed the key to Tim.
“She’ll be here when you get done,” said Al.
“Thanks. We good to go?”
Looking them over Al glanced at the standing metal detector and then pulled a hand wand out of the desk. “No way you’re not going to set that thing off, even without all your gear. I can wand you or pat you down, whichever you prefer.”
Tim looked at Cat, unsure how she would react to a stranger performing a pat down search on her.
“Sir, I suggest he perform a pat down instead of using the wand. Much of my clothing still has metal buttons and buckles so I would expect that even if he were to use the wand he would still be required to pat us down to be sure. This way will be more time efficient.”
“Well,” said Tim, “you heard her, give us a quick pat down and then we’ll head on in.”
Al was quick and very professional Tim noticed. He treated both Cat and Tim the same and in no time they were done and inside the courthouse.
After a couple of turns they found themselves outside of courtroom 112. Tim identified them to the bailiff who told them they would be called when it was time for them to testify.
Tim and Cat chatted for a while about a variety of topics, everything except the trial they were going to testify at shortly. Tim had just agreed to take Cat to the bookstore the upcoming weekend when the bailiff called his name to come in and testify.
“Cat, I want you to remain here until the bailiff calls you in to testify. You may talk to other people, but not about this trial. Do you understand?”
Cat nodded. “Yes sir, I will wait here until called.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a rather ragged looking book. “I brought something to read while I am waiting.”
Tim looked at the title of the book, A Tale of Two Cities and shook his head. “I hope you get more out of that than I did when I read it in high school.”
“Yes sir, it is very interesting and I am enjoying it a great deal.” She opened the book to where her bookmark, a penguin wearing sunglasses, a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts, was placed. “I will be fine sir.”
Tim recognized a dismissal when he heard one, even when it wasn’t meant that way. With one last look at Cat where she sat on the bench, already engrossed in her book, he headed into the courtroom.
For the next twenty minutes Cat read, flipping a page every half minute. When she had finished reading the chapter she was on she replaced her bookmark at that point and sat back, stretching her neck.
Cat recalled the only other time she had been in the courthouse. Tim had brought her here for the arraignment of the man who had attempted to shoot Tim on their first day together as partners. She had not been called to testify that day, as it was only an arraignment. This would be her first testimony in an actual case. She did not remember much of that visit. So much was still new to her and the department had decided to avoid any undue publicity so they brought both of them in through a side entrance and made her wait in a small office while Tim testified. She had not been able to see the magnificent entryway or smell the rich scent of the wood paneling that lined the halls.
A bailiff came out of the courtroom and looked around, a bit confused.
“Is there an Officer Cat here?” he asked tentatively.
Replacing the book in her pocket Cat stood and replied, “Yes sir, I am here.”
The bailiff looked shocked for a moment, but he had seen plenty of strange things in his years here so he took it in stride. “You have been called to testify. Follow me please.”
Cat dutifully followed the bailiff into the courtroom. Resisting the urge to gawk at the ornate fixtures she made her way to the front of the courtroom and took her seat on the witness stand as indicated by the bailiff.
A whisper rumbled through the courtroom as she took her seat. The judge tapped his gavel a couple of times and the murmuring quieted down, at which time the judge nodded to the bailiff to continue.
“Please raise your right, ah, hand,” said the bailiff, “to be sworn in.”
Cat raised her right hand and looked at the bailiff.
“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”
“I do,” Cat replied in a firm voice, starting another round of murmurs in the courtroom.
The judge rapped his gavel once again. “Order,” he said. “That’s enough.” He paused as the gallery quieted. “Prosecution, your witness.”
Looking at his notepad one last time, Assistant District Attorney Green stood and approached the witness stand.
“Please state your name and occupation for the record,” he asked Cat. Having spoken with Cat on several prior occasions he was quite at ease talking to her.
“My full name is Canine Assistant Two, although I am more often referred to as Cat. I am in the Animal Patrol unit and am partnered with Officer Grady.” Cat relayed all of this in a calm voice.
“And what is your job with Officer Grady?”
“My duties include supporting Officer Grady in whatever manner I can, including pursuit and apprehension of a suspect, detection of illegal materials and in any other way possible.”
“Are you aware of why you are here at this moment Cat?”
“Yes sir. I have been called to testify regarding an arrest that was made on August 8th, specifically with regard to my involvement in that arrest.”
“Then can you describe the situation leading up to the arrest, as best as you can recall?”
“Yes sir. We were completing our duties and were returning to the precinct so that Officer Grady could complete the paperwork for that day. A blue Ford pickup truck passed the squad car on the left and pulled into the lane we in which we were traveling.
“Officer Grady made a comment that if it were not so late in the day he would have considered stopping them, as they were traveling above the posted speed limit. But when they detected that we were the police they reduced their speed.
“Then the vehicle decelerated without any indication from the vehicle. At that time Officer Grady activated the lights and siren on the cruiser and the vehicle pulled over to the shoulder of the road.”
Green interrupted her at this point. “Do you know why Officer Grady pulled the vehicle over?”
“Yes sir, I do. The vehicles braking indication lights were not functioning, which is a violation of state law. Officer Grady intended to write the driver a ticket for this offense.”
“Very well, proceed.”
“Once the vehicle was stopped Officer Grady called the vehicle information into the central dispatch office. There were no outstanding warrants on the vehicle or the owner of the vehicle so Officer Grady exited the cruiser to issue the citation.”
“Did you accompany him?” asked the ADA.
“Yes sir, I did.”
“My training dictates that I accompany my officer at all times when on duty so that I may provide whatever assistance may be required at any time.”
“Very well, continue.”
“As Officer Grady was obtaining the license and registration information from the driver,” said Cat before being interrupted by the ADA.
“Can you identify the driver of the vehicle?”
“Yes sir,” replied Cat, “the driver of the vehicle is the defendant in this proceeding.”
“Was there anyone else in the vehicle?”
“Thank you. Please continue.”
“While Officer Grady was speaking with the defendant and obtaining the information required so that he could prepare the citation, I detected the scent of two different controlled substances. When we returned to the cruiser where Officer Grady would write the citation I notified him of what I had detected.”
“What, specifically, did you detect?”
“I detected the scent of two drugs, Cocaine and Ecstasy Plus.”
“Yes sir, that is the name that my trainers assigned to the samples that I used to train. There is a complex chemical name for the substance, Meth…”
The ADA interrupted her. “Thank you Cat, that won’t be necessary. Now, what happened next?”
“Officer Grady notified dispatch that his partner had detected the presence of one or more controlled substances and that he would be performing a search of the vehicle. He also reported the license and registration information of the vehicle, as is standard practice.
“At this point Officer Grady returned to the suspect vehicle and asked the defendant to step out of the vehicle. When the defendant did this Officer Grady questioned him, inquiring if he possessed any controlled substances, informing him that I had detected their scent in his vehicle. Officer Grady assigned me the task of watching the defendant while the vehicle was searched.”
“And what did Officer Grady find?”
“He found two plastic bags containing a white powder that was identified as Cocaine and a plastic bag containing 76 capsules of Ecstasy Plus in the glove compartment of the car.”
“What did he do at that point?”
“Officer Grady informed the defendant that he was being arrested for possession of a controlled substance. He then read the defendant his rights as required and placed the defendant in the back of the cruiser.”
“Did Officer Grady or yourself have any other exchanges with the defendant?”
“No sir. We remained at the defendant’s vehicle until an impound truck arrived to take the vehicle to be searched and processed. At that time we took the suspect to the station where he was processed and the District Attorney’s office informed of the evidence gathered so that a determination of charges could be made.”
“Thank you Officer.” Turning to the judge he said, “No further questions your Honor.”
The defense attorney stood and approached Cat. Cat could tell that he did not like her but she had no idea why. His posture and scent told her that he was hostile and her instincts told her to consider him as such.
“You claim,” he began without preamble, “that you were able to smell the drugs that were supposedly in the defendants car. Is that correct?”
“Yes, that is corr…” she began, but he cut her off mid sentence.
“Did Officer Grady instruct you to search the defendants vehicle by sniffing for drugs?”
“No, Officer Grady did not give me any instr...”
Interrupting her again he asked, “You mean you just happened to be standing there and you just happened to smell drugs that were in glove compartment of the vehicle, a good six or seven feet away from where you were standing?”
“Yes, that is corr…”
“Are you sure that is the case? Or were you instructed to give this testimony to support Officer Grady’s illegal search of my client’s vehicle?”
“Objection!” called out ADA Green. “The defense has no basis for that question and is impugning the credibility of the witness with unsubstantiated accusations.”
“Your Honor,” responded the defense attorney, “my intention is to show through questioning that the actions which Officer Grady took as part of an illegal search were not based on a happenstance detection of narcotics but that this is an effort by the police to substantiate their illegal search with suborned testimony by an animal that is not capable of the actions that have been testified as to having occurred.”
“Your Honor,” replied Green, “Cat’s capabilities have been documented throughout her training. There is not question that she is capable of detecting the drugs that were found in the defendants vehicle.”
“If that’s the case,” said the defense attorney with smirk, “then the prosecution should not have any issue with a demonstration of these capabilities here in the courtroom.”
“Well Mr. Green, do you have any problem with the request made by the defense?” asked the judge.
ADA Green looked at Cat and then at Tim before replying. “No, your honor, no objections. The only caveat that we would put on the test is that it follow the standard testing procedures utilized by the police department during the training and testing of canine patrol animals.”
The judge considered a moment before replying.
“Defense request for a demonstration of the witnesses capabilities as related to her testimony is granted. Court is adjourned until 1 PM, at which time Cat will be asked to perform a standard detection and identification test for the court” said the judge, bringing the session to a close.
Cat could see Tim smiling at her as she made her way from the witness stand toward the back of the courtroom. She hoped that she had done well. This was all still very new to her and, contrary to how she appeared, she was still nervous.
As she passed the table where the defendant was sitting she slowed as a familiar aroma filled her nostrils. Grimacing at the sudden taste in her mouth she swung her head to the left and then right as if in search of something.
Moving suddenly she grabbed the defendant and lifted him from his chair, still taking the time to say, “Excuse me” as she forced him bodily out of the way. She then dropped to her knees and crawled under the table.
Voices rose in reaction to her actions. The public defender pushed back from the table, yelling at Tim to do something. Meanwhile the defendant was shouting about police brutality as the bailiffs moved forward, unsure if they should be more concerned with the shouting defendant or the police dog that had suddenly crawled under the table.
“Sir!” called out Cat from under the table, her voice carrying over the din in the courtroom. “This is important!”
Tim could hear the urgency in her voice and his fears that she had suddenly panicked and gone into hiding melted away. Waving the bailiffs off he quickly moved to the table and knelt down next to Cat.
“What is it?” he asked, trying to see what she was looking at under the table.
Speaking in a quiet voice Cat replied, “There is an explosive device under the table Sir, and it is set to detonate very shortly.”
Tim quickly stood up and grabbed the arm of the nearest bailiff.
“We’ve got a bomb under this table. We need the building cleared and the bomb squad called ASAP.”
The bailiff’s eyes widened and he ran to another bailiff, speaking to him in a hushed voice. The second bailiff began asking people to clear the courtroom in an orderly manner while the first bailiff when to a phone and started dialing.
Tim could hear the bailiffs attempting to get the courtroom cleared. Then the building’s fire alarm began to sound. Good, thought Tim, that will get people out of the building but shouldn’t start a panic.
Dropping to his knees he then rolled onto his back and slid under the table next to Cat, who was also on her back, looking up at the bomb. Shoulder to shoulder with Cat he took a good look at what she had found.
Two rectangular blocks of explosive, probably some sort of plastic explosive, were taped to the underside of the table. A digital timer was fastened to the center of the device with wires running from the timer to the explosive. The timer read twenty three seconds.
Still hearing people in the courtroom Tim realized that the room probably wouldn’t be cleared before the bomb went off. If, by some miracle, the room was cleared, there was still enough explosive under the table to level most of the wing and there was another courtroom directly above the one they were in. What this all meant was that a lot of people were going to be killed unless something was done, and fast. And somehow he doubted the bomb squad was going to show up in the next half a minute and defuse the bomb.
Tim wasted two precious seconds thinking about what needed to be done. He had received some training a couple of years ago, but the main lesson there was to clear the area and let the bomb squad deal with the problem.
Cat looked at Tim and knew what he was thinking. She knew that he didn’t know how to defuse the bomb, but that he also didn’t have any other ideas.
“Sir?” Cat asked, the implied question not really needing stating.
Tim paused and time seemed to slow as he considered the ramifications.
If he said no and the bomb went off, well it was going to go off in 17 seconds anyhow. Nobody would know if it went off due to an attempt to disarm the device or due to the timer setting it off.
If he says yes and it worked, well, it was worth the risk.
Cat popped open one of the pockets on her shirt and pulled out a set of fingernail clippers. Fumbling for a moment she managed to get them open.
With her left hand she grabbed the wires running from the timer to the explosive. With her nimble fingers she separated the wires, one yellow, one red, one blue and one green.
“Ah, Cat,” Tim said quietly, “I thought dogs were color blind?”
Cat threw Tim a quick smile and returned to her work. Isolating the blue wire she took the clippers and cut it, separating the ends.
The timer continued to count down. Tim could still hear people in the courtroom, but they sounded like they were almost out the door.
“Is that it?” Tim asked.
Cat did not get a chance to respond before the timer reached…
The timer let out several sharp beeps then fell silent. Both Tim and Cat breathed a sigh of relief as the timer stayed at zero and there were no other loud noises to ruin their day. Tim realized he was shaking and, looking over at Cat, saw that she was too.
“Nothing like a little excitement to spruce up an otherwise dull day,” he said to Cat. Cat let out her barking laugh at the joke as they both took a minute to relax.
Tim slid out from under the table, closely followed by Cat. The courtroom was empty, everyone else having gotten safely out of the room. Tim motioned Cat toward the door and they began heading out. As they reached the doors to the courtroom Tim stopped and looked at Cat.
“I have to ask,” he said, his hand on the handle to the door, “how did you know which wire to cut?”
Cat smiled shyly and began to respond, but Tim cut her off.
“Wait, let me guess. You read it in a book.”
Cat’s smile grew and she nodded vigorously. “Yes sir. Last week Officer Cash gave me some of the old manuals that were going to be thrown away. She said if I wanted to read them I could.”
Tim chuckled. “Then I guess we’re going to have to send Brenda a thank-you note.”
They waited in the corridor for the bomb squad to arrive. Within minutes two men wearing bomb disposal came trotting down the corridor toward them.
“The device is under the table on the right side of the room,” said Tim to the approaching men. “It appears to have been defused but I don’t’ know for sure.”
One of the disposal technicians gave time a sour look. “You’re not supposed to try and disarm them yourself,” he said in an exasperated tone.
Tim gave him a wry smile. “There was less than twenty seconds left when we found it. If we hadn’t tried we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.”
The tech’s eyes opened a bit wider. “You’ve got guts, I’ll give that to you. But you should get out of here now, just in case.”
“My thoughts exactly,” said Tim. “Good luck.”
The techs nodded and headed into the courtroom.
The building was just finishing being evacuated when Tim and Cat exited through the main doors. A crowd of reporters and television crews were waiting just past the police line, right where Tim and Cat had to go.
“Officer,” yelled out one of the reporters as several microphones were shoved in front of Tim’s face as they reached the reporters, “does the fact that the bomb was in the courtroom where the Thompson trail was scheduled to take place mean that this was a attempted hit?”
“I’m afraid that I don’t have comment on that,” replied Tim, trying to move forward through the sea of reporters, cameras and microphones.
“Officer, how was the bomb detected?” asked a reporter.
Tim stopped. He had promised Deeks some good PR and it didn’t’ get any better than this.
“My partner detected it,” replied Tim, motioning to his partner. “She would be able to tell you better than I would about that.”
“Cat,” called out one of the reporters, hoping to attract her attention, “how did you know there was a bomb?”
Looking at Tim before answering she addressed her response to the reporter who had asked the question. “As I was walking past the defendants table I detected an odor that I recognized from my training. It is for a somewhat common cleaning solution.”
Interrupting her, another report asked, “So what made you think there was a bomb?”
“During my training the trainers would do things to try to fool me, to test what I was able to do. They used this cleaner to mask explosives. When they did I was unable to smell the explosives, but the chemical smell of the cleaner left a bad taste in my mouth. It doesn’t do that normally. It only does that when it is mixed with certain chemicals only found in explosives. I didn’t know there was a bomb because of the cleaner. I knew there was a bomb because of the cleaner and the taste.”
Tim looked at Cat, pride showing plainly on his face. She had shown with that one explanation that she was more than an ordinary police dog. She was capable of more, so much more.
“Do you know why the regular bomb sniffing dogs didn’t smell the cleaner you were talking about and point out the bomb?”
Tim fielded this question, remembering what Deeks had said during their first meeting.
“There is a significant difference in the capabilities and training of regular canine patrol dogs and Cat. Regular dogs are trained to distinguish a small number of odors and to point out when one is detected. They are unable to indicate which odor they have detected or if there is more than one odor present.
“Cat, on the other hand, is trained to identify over a hundred different odors covering a variety of materials. In addition she is capable of identifying which odors she has detected, and to communicate that information to me.
“A regular dog can not be trained to identify the odor of something as common as an industrial cleanser. If it were then there would be too many false positives for the dog to be effective. Cat is able, due to her higher level of reasoning and understanding, to more readily learn these special conditions and to act upon them.”
At this point the bomb squad emerged from the building carrying a “bomb basket”, a small, heavily reinforced container with netting inside to support an explosive device. One of the techs looked over at Tim and Cat and gave them the thumbs up.
“Officer Grady, did you attempt to defuse the bomb? Isn’t it police policy to leave the bomb in place and to evacuate the building?” This question came from one of the television reporters. He pushed his microphone closer to Tim as he waited for an answer.
Tim had been expecting this question, especially after the high sign from the bomb squad. Hopefully if he gave the right answer here he would be able to get a jump on any procedural questions that his superiors might have for him.
“When Cat alerted me to the device there was twenty five seconds remaining on the timer. Given the quantity of explosives under the table and the rate at which the room was being cleared, not to mention the fact that the floors above were unaware of the danger, I was required to make a judgment call on how to handle the situation.
“It is likely that if I had moved at a rapid pace that I would have been able to get out of the blast area. I would, however, have to push past the people who were exiting the courtroom. I could not do that.
“Therefore I made the decision that a disarm attempt needed to be made. It worked out that when the attempt to disarm was completed there were only a few seconds left before the device would have detonated if left alone. If there had been a mistake made during the disarm attempt the impact of the explosion between the attempt time and the actual detonation time would have been as minimal as possible.”
Another office interrupted the discussion at this point, telling Tim that the office in charge wanted to speak to him.
Tim and Cat were taken back into the courthouse to one of the offices, where a lieutenant was waiting for them.
“I would say congratulations are in order Officer Grady,” said the lieutenant as he offered Tim his hand. Tim shook hands with him and the lieutenant motioned for them to take a seat.
“Congratulations, sir?” asked Tim as he sat down.
“Yes, on several counts,” replied the lieutenant with a grin. “First off, the bomb squad agrees with you that the timer on the bomb had expired and that if you hadn’t taken action the bomb would have gone off. From what they said the amount of explosive there would have taken out over half of the building. And second, for actually disarming the bomb.” He chuckled. “You’ve got more nerve than I have, that’s for sure.”
“Yes sir,” said Tim, glancing at Cat. “But to be perfectly honest, I was not the one who disarmed the bomb.”
The lieutenant looked at Tim for a moment and then looked over at Cat, a look of surprise and amazement showing on his face.
“You mean,” he began, but didn’t seem to know what else to say.
“Yes sir, Cat is the one who defused the bomb.”
The lieutenant shook his head. “But how did she know what to do? And why for heaven’s sake did you let her?”
“She knew what to do because she has reviewed a number of different manuals and procedures, therefore she had the knowledge needed.” The pride he felt toward Cat’s achievement was obvious. “And as to why, well, it’s because I trust her and know that she is not going to attempt something that is beyond her abilities.”
Cat beamed at his praise. The fear she had felt at the lieutenant’s reaction was quickly replaced by the warm glow that came from knowing that Tim was proud of her.
The lieutenant chuckled again. “Okay Officer Grady, you’ve made your point. Maybe we should give her a medal then.” His smile turned into a frown at that point. “Actually, that’s going to be a problem. You realize that we’re not going to be able to let the press know exactly what happened, don’t you?”
Looking at Cat, Tim though for a moment before answering.
“I think that you’re right,” he said quietly, hoping that Cat wouldn’t be too disappointed with his agreement to keep her involvement limited to detecting the bomb. “Cat,” he said, “do you understand why we don’t want to tell people that you disarmed the bomb?”
Cat thought for a moment and then looked at Tim with some confusion on her furry face. “Will there be problems if they know that I defused the bomb, sir?”
“Inside the force? No, probably not. In fact, I imagine they’ll be tickled pink about how well you handled yourself and the situation.” He chuckled at the thought of the higher ups reacting to police dog saving the county courthouse. His smile turned into a frown as he thought about the others who wouldn’t see the humor in that situation. “The people I’m worried about are the ones who don’t like GESA’s, for whatever reason. They could use this as an argument that you are stepping outside your training or that I don’t have a firm hold over you and can’t control you.” He paused for a moment, and then continued. “I think that I would rather avoid any problems that we can until the public is more confident in your ability to perform. Once they have accepted you we can spring little surprises like these on them as they pop up.”
“I understand, Officer Grrady. I will not tell anyone what happened today unless you tell me it is okay to do so.”
“Thank you, Cat,” said Tim. “But don’t you ever forget that there are a lot of people here today who are still alive because of what you did. We may not be able to tell them that but don’t you ever forget what you did. I’m proud of you, partner!”
Cat swelled at Tim’s praise. Having others know what she had done wasn’t important. Her officer knew and he was proud of her. That was the only acknowledgement that she needed.
Tim and Cat spent the next hour talking with several other officers, each of whom had his own set of paperwork to be filled out. Finally the paperwork was complete and they were allowed to leave. Cat had been told by one of the bailiffs that she would be notified when she would have to appear to complete her testimony. Although, as he put it, given the practical demonstration of her abilities he didn’t expect she would need to take the stand again.
By this time the reporters had lost interest in the scene, allowing Tim and Cat to make their way to Tim’s patrol car unimpeded. After they had both climbed into the cruiser Tim turned to Cat.
“Well partner, I think you’ve definitely earned a reward for today’s work. Interested in trying some Italian food tonight?”
Cat hesitated a moment before nodding shyly. She was still hesitant to going out to eat in public but Tim’s smile, and scent, told her that he was proud and happy with what she had done.
Tim put the cruiser in gear and exited the parking garage. “So,” he asked as he pulled out into traffic, “how did you like your first day in court?”
“If was fun,” Cat replied enthusiastically. “Can we do it again tomorrow?”
Tim groaned and shook his head. “God, I hope not.” Then he let out a chuckle, which quickly turned in a laugh, as he was unable to keep up the pose. Cat laughed along with him as they headed out to celebrate Cat’s day in court.
* * * * *
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