Too Many Minds Spoil the Body
Too Many Minds Spoil the Body
She glanced at her candy pink toenails and wrinkled her nose. "No accounting for taste," she muttered, coughing again. Phlegm spluttered up her throat. So, Spinner was smoking again!? She'd have to file another complaint. Just because lung cancer wasn't a death warrant nowadays did not mean Rachel was happy to let the body go through an operation, no matter whose year it was.
Rachel braced herself for what else she might see. Her green eyes inspected her face, thankful that Spinner had not gotten another perm without filing for a permit. Next, Rachel stripped off the flimsy hospital gown and twisted around in front of the mirror. Not too bad. She had a couple more pounds than usual to shed - buggar the bad luck that forced her to share with an artist and a writer. Sedentary assholes. There wasn't much else of notice. She crossed to the locker and put on the gov issue clothes and plastic shoes. Grey, dismal and scratchy, they were far too similar to her uniform. Still, they would do until she got home.
The tel unit beside her bed clicked on, having allowed her time to become fully conscious.
"Good morning patient and welcome to your year," said the interface. "First and foremost, it is my sad duty to inform you that on the 5th of December 2194, Mr. David Alexander Yushko died tragically. Yushko, one of the Prime Minister's personalities, will be most remembered for the part he played in the creation of the 2122 Rights for Personalities Act." For once, the presenter had Rachel's attention. "It is still not clear whether the demise of Yushko's personality was due to natural causes. At this stage, police are not yet ruling out sabotage. For everyone waking up in this new year, a special public memorial service has been arranged at the House of Commons..."
Yushko dead? It didn't make sense, Rachel thought wildly. He was only a few hundred mind years old, and nowadays, it was virtually unheard of for a mind to simply dwindle and die. Rachel stabbed the door buzzer, and a Spanish matron bustled in, chart and pen at the ready.
"Ms O'Connor, I was just about to check on you-"
"Elsewhere in the news last year," the interface continued, once more claiming Rachel's attention. "One Mind One Body campaigners are continuing with their violent demonstrations, demanding legislation that would effectively abolish host bodies. A spokesman for acting PM personality Gillian Tullenbaum has said that, "whilst the government advocates free speech and thought, OMOB's behavior is counter constructive. Furthermore, the group offers no alternative method of dealing with the population crisis." The police are expecting OMOB to stage another demonstration outside stasis clinics across the country and advise citizens to be vig..."
Bloody OMOB, Rachel thought. Theirs was just the sort of antisocial antics Spinner would be involved in.
"Sorry, I was listening to the tel unit. Listen. I really need to get to work, so if I could just skip the formalities today."
"I am afraid I cannot let you do that, Ms O'Connor. The formalities exist for your protection as much as the other body share personalities. I would have thought you would be knowing this considering you are a cop."
"Very well. Just make it quick. It's very important that I..."
"And you are thinking I enjoy this paperwork," the matron asked, leading the way toward the out desk.
"Look, I apologize. Everybody's busy nowadays."
"Tell me about it," said the matron, nodding toward the overflowing waiting area. She leaned against the desk and poised her pen. "Now, the satisfaction report from Ms Immar was high. She only asks that you stop eating gherkins. She hates them, but she is getting cravings for them after your use."
"I can manage that," Rachel said.
"Also, Ms Immar apologises for fracturing the body's right arm, although, of course, it did heal a long time ago. She stresses that the damage was totally accidental. Would you like the full report?"
"That won't be necessary, thank you."
"I take it you will not be pressing charges then? Ms Spinner already decided against it."
"As long as there's no lasting damage," said Rachel, feeling uncharacteristically anxious. She realized she wanted a cigarette, though she'd never personally smoked a day in her life. Bloody Spinner.
"Good. Ok, answer yes or no. Do you have any general complaints from the last inhabitant, Ms Jennifer Spinner?"
Rachel thought about Spinner's smoking and wondered whether she should make a statement for body abuse, but the paperwork involved wasn't really worth the effort. Besides, she'd rather spend time with Mike. She mentally crossed her fingers, hoping he would have good news for her. "No. No charges."
The matron checked a box. "To the best of your knowledge, did Ms Spinner leave the host body in a hygienic condition..."
Rachel answered each question robotically. Her mind was working on the Yushko case, thinking about angles and political opponents. She hoped she'd be able to persuade the chief to put her on it.
"...and finally. Here's the overview of Ms Spinner's report. Of course you understand that you can request a full report from -"
"Yes thank you. I know my rights."
"Hm." The matron pursed her lips. "Well anyway, Ms Spinner claims she had four sexual partners, three of whom were long term and one which was an ephemeral liaison."
Rachel tutted. "Ephemeral liaison" meant a one-night stand.
"Ms Spinner assures us that she took precautions with all encounters."
The matron flipped a page, scanned the notes, and flipped back to the front. "Mmhm. Injection, anti pregnancy hormones and standard prophylactics."
"Good of her," Rachel said, remembering that awful time she'd awakened two months pregnant because of Spinner's anti-establishment antics.
Spinner had had to be woken and told about the pregnancy, whereupon she was given the politically correct twenty-eight days to decide whether she wanted the abortion. Of course, despite the world's traumatic population problems, Spinner had wanted a permit for the child to be carried to term and its personality stored in the mind vault. Unfortunately, since it was Rachel's year, it would have been Rachel who had to carry the baby and puke and get piles and experience the agony of delivery. She wasn't having that. A timely and tedious process followed in which personalities were revived and put to sleep as ethical and legal issues were debated. If that wasn't enough, psychologists - the kooks - had shown that abortion without all the personalities' knowledge could cause deep psychological grief trauma. So Immar had had to be roused and brought in on the debate.
Finally, the child was terminated on O'Connor's year. She'd tried not to feel like she was murdering her own child - this was Spinner's mistake after all - but there was still a bout of depression to be dealt with. The gov office had informed Rachel that she was within her rights to have Spinner prosecuted and placed with another host body. Rachel was tempted to agree but another personality would have been assigned to the host body. Only the rich and powerful got away with two or, in rare cases, one so it was a case of better the devil you know.
"...certainly being careful this time," the matron said. "Anyway, that is about all. Obviously, if you find anything else that concerns you over the course of the next ten days, then you are still free to prosecute. But you know that, yes?"
Rachel managed a smile. "Thanks," She glanced at the matron's tag, "Sofia."
"Welcome. Press your index finger here please and look into the retina scan there."
Rachel obeyed, barely feeling the prick as the print check machine also took and correlated a blood sample against the gov comp. The matron gave her a square of cotton wool to stop the flow. It said, "Be a responsible citizen. Please dispose of carefully." There was a picture of a waste bin with a cross through it and a toilet with a tick.
"Ok Ms O'Connor, you check out." The nurse squeaked over to the bank of filing cabinets and rifled through "O." "Here's your apartment chip, credit chip, mask... oh, and a disposable watch. These are new, supposed to help ease the disorientation. Have a nice year."
Rachel laughed. "Have a nice year."
Rachel hurried out of the clinic, relieved to be leaving behind the antiseptic stench. Once outside, she bumped into a visual wall of pollution and people and was grateful for the mask. Looping the ties over her ears, she took the public underground to Inner Peckham, which was crammed with hospital-clothed recent wakers on the same year time.
A few minutes later, Rachel arrived at her apartment. She rode the lift up to the thirtieth floor and said a brief hello to her housemates, before grabbing a quick shower and changing into her uniform. After scooping up a few mouthfuls of cereal, Rachel took the tube to Elephant and Castle and signed in at the front desk.
"Welcome back O'Connr," grinned the ageing desk sergeant, adding his own signature. "Sure have missed you around here."
"Nobody around to keep you lot in line, huh?"
The desk sergeant laughed, nodding. "If I didn't know you were spoken for, I'd be campaigning to change my own year," he said.
"I think Gerty would have something to say about that, Frank," Rachel said, passing the holding area filled with hookers, crims and junkies and keying into the back.
"Gerty always has something to say," Frank muttered. "By the way O'Connor, Cap'n wants to see you," he said, just before the safety door suckered shut.
Rachel's heart sank. She'd wanted to speak with Mike first to see if they'd gotten the go ahead. Reluctantly, she made her way to the Cap'n's office. She rapped the metal with the back of her knuckles.
Rachel spun to the sound of Mike's voice. She grinned when she saw him down the murky corridor. He was a typical DI; all crumpled shirt, ruffled mop of hair and crooked tie complete with tea stain. He was holding some tattered manila files, and he didn't grin back. It was obviously bad news. "When you've got the chance," he said.
Rachel held up one finger. She couldn't keep Cap'n Shaughnassy waiting, not if she wanted in on the Yushko case.
"O'Connor! Good to have you back. Take a load off," came the rasping Irish voice.
Too much smoking Rachel thought, peeved that she'd probably sound the same one day, thanks to Spinner. She sat down on an uncomfortable plastic chair. The Cap'n stubbed out his cigar and lit another one. The amphetamine soaked tobacco choked the air. Officially, it wasn't allowed, especially if the tobacco was laced with drugs. Unofficially, the police had certain liberties, especially Captains.
"Good to be here, sir."
"Not pregnant again, I hope," he said, grinning around his cigar. The whole force found that whole episode highly amusing.
"I don't appear to be, sir, fortunately for the last personality."
"Well anyway, down to business. I'm sure you're up to date with the whole "Yushko affair"?"
"Yes sir, I got it on the tel unit bright and early. Nothing like a good bit of intrigue to wake you up, sir."
"Hm. Quite right." The Cap'n's smile was forced. Rachel frowned. "Now as you know, ordinarily I would want you shadowing the DI's on this case. Good experience for you and all that. However..."
The Cap'n loosened his tie. "Well, you heard me call this the Yushko affair?" Rachel nodded, cold steadily worming its way through her intestines. "Well see, that's just what it was, an affair. Fact of the matter is, O'Connor, Yushko had an affair with you."
Rachel sat up straight. "I beg your pardon, sir?"
"Of course I don't mean you, precisely, but one of your personalities. A Ms Spinner to be exact. We only got the scoop after she went into stasis." The Cap'n steepled his thick fingers. "Seems Yushko was an avid art lover and had become interested in Spinner personally and professionally. Anyhow, apparently this Spinner's renowned for her loose behavior - remember that sex scandal surrounding Senator Allerton a few years back?"
Rachel nodded. "Let me guess, Spinner provided the "sex" for the scandal?"
"Exactly. So you see, it's just a matter of evidence. Unfortunately, there have been a few other changes of merit since you were last awake. More specifically, the bill encouraged through by the Party against Lost Time."
"Meaning that we can only question people on their year."
Rachel leant an elbow on the coffee-ringed desk to steady herself. "God, that woman!"
"Precisely." The lines etching the Cap'n's face were even more pronounced today, although it had been a whole year since yesterday. "The other problem is, the wife - Marianetta Yushko - is not going to be happy with anyone in the host body. Inside theory is the wife had the plug pulled on Yushko's personality."
Rachel tried to stay calm. "But surely she knows that I'm not responsible. I never slept with Yushko - Spinner did."
The Cap'n shrugged. "Love isn't logical."
Rachel blew out, cheeks blowing up. "So why wasn't I told any of this at the clinic?"
"Told you, inside theory. Nothing's been leaked yet. If the wife's cohorts knew we knew or even suspected, you might be in even more danger. As it is, we're being very supportive of Mrs. Yushko, publicly at least."
"I don't believe this," said Rachel. She raked a hand through her hair. "I want this case, sir."
"Too risky. Besides, public are a simple lot, sure they are. Ok, so it's not uncommon for a cop to book somebody as an accessory to adultery, but not when that cop and crim share the same host body. I think it's a little too schizophrenic for them to grasp. You're just too close to this one O'Connor."
Rachel suddenly felt very tired. "You're not going to budge on this are you sir?"
The Cap'n shook his head. "But there has to be a way round this! Spinner's directly affected my years too often, and if Mrs. Yushko has it out for me, then it's only right that I should be able to defend myself, right? So maybe..."
"I don't think I'm going to like the sound of this."
"Just hear me out sir, please. I could go undercover - even file for a host swap and then I could prosecute Mrs. Yushko."
But the Cap'n was already shaking his head before Rachel was finished. "No. You're not cleared for that, O'Connor, especially psychologically."
"But sir -"
"Especially psychologically," the Cap'n repeated. "And God knows red ain't my color, and all that tape we'd have to wade through would just be a waste of the earth's resources. No. I know your ambitions, and I admire your gall, but you're just going to have to sit tight. Best thing we can do here is try and keep you in the background, just until it all blows over. Agreed?"
It made sense, even if it wasn't what she wanted to hear. When she'd heard about Yushko's death this morning, she'd been sure this one would be her big case, the one that would see her make detective and, hopefully, make her former detective father proud.
"It's only two years until we can question Spinner," the Cap'n said. "Two years, out of a long career."
"Of course, if we get enough to prosecute before that time, then you'll be restored to full duty. But for now, we just want Mrs. Yushko to forget all about your host body."
Rachel stood, scraping her chair and hiding an odd urge to cry. "Thank you, sir."
Mike was leaning against a wall, arms folded across his files and looking grim. "I wanted to tell you myself," he said as she went to stand next to him.
He smelled good, musky and male. Right then she fancied dragging him back to her apartment and spending the next year in bed. It was the only thing she could think of that might soften the blow. Then she remembered that Mike only had a month left of his year, and she was suddenly in hell.
"I can't believe this," she said, shaking her head. "I should have got that bloody woman transferred to another host when I had the chance. First she has me kill my own baby - my own flesh and blood, Mike - and now look what she's done to me! I'm up for murder!"
Mike glanced around, concerned. He waited till a worried looking sergeant had passed out of earshot and then gripped her hand. "Careful Rach, you don't want to add weight to these psyche theories. It wasn't really your baby, and this isn't your crime - you have to remember that."
Rachel rubbed the bridge of her nose. "I know. I'm just...blowing off steam. Can you believe it though; I'm going to be on traffic duty? Dad's going to be so disappointed."
"Hey, Rog probably won't even get wind of it, now that he's on Penelope's year. This might all be over by then."
"Come on, let's not argue. We don't have long."
"We didn't get the permission?"
"Only married people they said, and the waiting list for that isn't getting much smaller."
"So you have to be married to move years, but it takes years to get married. Fucking bureaucracy."
"At least we get the time we do, okay?" He dropped her hand when boots clumped around the corridor. They both smiled hello to a DI before Mike picked up her hand again. "Listen, my housemates are out partying tonight, so what do you say to my place about eight? Chicken Jalfrezi and a bottle of Blossom Hill - the sort that gets you really drunk."
Rachel bit back a giggle. "That must have cost you last year's salary."
"It very nearly did," he grinned. She could smell coffee and strong mints on his breath. "But at least I have the time to save up for your awakening. If I've gotta be celibate for eleven months I'm damned well going to make sure, I get laid when you're back."
Rachel laughed out loud, cleared her throat when a pair of officers walked past. "You must love me," she whispered when they had gone.
"I do," he whispered back, his breath tickling her earlobe.
The day passed slowly for Rachel, with only menial tasks to occupy her. Even so, she looked forward to an evening with Mike, and after a long shift of paper-pushing, Rachel caught the tube home and let her hair down. In a moment of frivolity she applied a slick of expensive mascara and gloss, and then made the complicated journey to Mike's flat in Paddington. She was greeted by a wave of wonderful cooking smells and Mike himself.
After a good deal of red wine, a great meal and an even better session of lovemaking, Rachel lay in Mike's bed and let herself relax for the first time that day.
"I like your nail varnish," Mike said, nudging her big toe with his.
Rachel looked down, mortified. "Hell. Spinner's leftovers - I forgot to take it off."
Mike smiled and propped himself up on one elbow and looked down on her. "You're so beautiful," he said.
"And you've had too much alcohol. Besides, this," she gestured to her face, "isn't me. It's the host body and I doubt I was the one born into it first. I always felt like I should've looked more like a shot-putter than a bloody ballet dancer."
"Such wonderful imagery," he leaned over, pressing a hand on her stomach, fingers tickling.
Rachel's stomach reacted and she groaned. "Don't, I feel a bit sick. I think I need the toilet."
She got out of bed and rushed naked to the bathroom, kicking the door shut from the toilet seat when she realized how bad her stomach really was. A good while later, after flushing, something in the bowl caught her eye. She frowned and recognized it for what it was. The water resistant paper floating in the toilet was how personalities smuggled messages between years. Rachel's stomach clenched and, quietly, she clicked the lock on the bathroom, shouting to Mike that she needed to go again.
Wrinkling her nose, Rachel fished the message out of the bowl, promising to scrub the skin off her hands afterwards. It read: Grave danger! M. Yushko wants host body terminated. Ruthless - already vandalized my mother's mind in stasis. Suggest body swap. Trust Olli Bartholomew, flr. 56, rm. 299e, Lower East Peckham - no one else! Jenni S."
Rachel's first reaction was disbelief. She looked around for a lighter to burn Spinner's note but couldn't find one. There was no way she could leave the message in Mike's flat, and given the fact that she was butt naked, the only way she was getting the darn thing out was the way it came in. Seething, yet trying to relax, Rachel did what was necessary and washed up before going back to Mike. He was, of course, sound asleep.
That night sleep eluded her. She lay awake staring at the ceiling whilst Mike snored soothingly. If it was anyone else, she would have kicked him awake, but Mike's snore was actually relaxing. It had to be love. That whole night she lay on her back virtually unblinking, her bum going numb because she didn't want to wake Mike up by tossing and turning. She heard his flat mates pour in, rowdy and clumsy, around the same time the birds woke up and started to natter. Didn't they have decent jobs? Rachel wondered briefly. But for the umpteenth time that evening, her mind skipped back to the worry that had kept her up: What if Jenni was telling the truth, and she was in such danger that a body swap was necessary?
Rachel must have fallen asleep eventually, because Mike gently shook her awake in the morning. "Come on sleepyhead. You won't get to work like that."
Rachel shot up. "Oh God, what time is it?" She croaked.
"Breakfast time." She shot him a look. "Otherwise known as six thirty."
"Oh God, I've got to go - I left my uniform at home." She dressed hurriedly and reluctantly kissed Mike goodbye, thanking him for last night.
On the ride back to Peckham, Rachel felt her skin prickle. Was it her imagination, or was someone following her on and off the tubes? She automatically felt for her gun, but of course it wasn't there.
It was a relief to get back into the apartment and dump her chips on the hall table. After she had dressed and managed one swallow of tri-grain toast, the phone rang.
"Yes?" she said, picking it up.
"Rach!" Mike was breathless. "You ok?"
"Of course - why, what is it?"
"There was somebody in the apartment. Somebody looking for you. I thought you might have had some trouble too."
"God are you ok? Did you get an ID?"
"No, I didn't even get a look. But they left a note on your pillow."
"Well let me hear it."
"Adultery is a sin."
Rachel swallowed. The sound of heels and muffled men's voices could be heard over the connection. Mike had obviously already called out a team to dust the place. "That's all it says? Short and sweet, I suppose."
"Rachel, that's not..."
"I know, I know." She sighed and tried to wrap her head around this new development. "Well, we should get the note off to linguistics."
"Done already. You sure you've had no trouble?"
"I did have a feeling I was being followed this morning."
"Get yourself to the station. We're going to have to rethink our strategy on this one."
Rachel hung up. For ages she stood there, her hand on the phone, just thinking. So Mrs. Yushko was actively trying to scare her and Mike? Who else would her vendetta extend to? Her father's mind, dormant at this time? Ms Immar and her relatives? This couldn't be allowed to go on, but what could she do? The Cap'n had completely stonewalled her, and she'd only damage her career if she pursued an illegal investigation. Perhaps, Rachel thought as she shook herself into action and rushed for the tube, Jenni's suggestion was the only option.
Later, as the carriage whined to a stop and Rachel squeezed through the doors and onto the platform, a man in front turned around to face her. He was ordinary in every way except for what he said and the way he said it. A silver badge shaped like an "O" was pinned to the lapel of his suit.
"It never rains but it pours. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. I hope it will be a beautiful wedding." He grinned and then elbowed his way through the crowd. Rachel surged after him, barging through disgruntled commuters. But it was no good; the guy had completely disappeared.
After regaining her breath, Rachel tried to think through her options. There seemed to be only one. She took the first tube back toward Peckham and got off at Olli Bartholomew's place.
First, she was followed, then Mike's apartment was broken into and now he was actually being threatened; that made it personal. By the time she had reached Olli's hell-hole of a bed sit, her mind was resolved. Mike only had twenty seven days to go before next sleep, and that's when he would be most vulnerable to sabotage.
Rachel made up her mind. She banged the peeling door with the heel of her hand. There were thuds from within before the door creaked back.
Rachel blinked. Beneath the grime, this man looked oddly familiar.
"Ain't got all day, missy."
"Er - Olli Bartholomew?" Rachel asked the bald man. He wore a stained string vest and reeked of sweat.
The man rubbed his nose. "Who's asking?"
Rachel licked her lips nervously. But what other choice did she have? "I'm Rachel O'Connor. Ms Spinner passed me your details."
"Ah, I see. You'd better come in. There's not much time." Grinning, he revealed a set of teeth that Rachel briefly thought were far too white for somebody of his obvious poverty.
Something silver caught Rachel's eye. A letter? A badge? Yes, the same badge the man from the tube had worn. "Of course, I'm going to need to check out your credentials first," Rachel said.
"Of course," Olli nodded deeply. "Though I assure you I'm the best at what I do."
"I'd rather find that out for myself, if it's all the same to you."
"Very well. But remember, we're working in a timeframe here. Would you like to make another appointment?"
"I'll be back tomorrow," Rachel said. He grinned again as she went for the doorknob and rushed out before he could stop her. That smile, she mused, as she hurried out of the dingy apartment block and was blinded by brilliant sunshine. That was a politician's smile…
Back at her apartment, Rachel immediately called Mike. The conversation was tense. "So you'll get your guy there tomorrow? Is that a definite?"
Mike sighed, his breath crackling into the phone. "He'll be there."
"And his credentials?"
"Couldn't get any better. He's the same guy the feds use to set up the mind transfers on witness protection - but for God's sake Rachel, be careful."
The next day, Rachel nervously approached Olli's front door, worms of excitement wriggling in her gut. He pulled it back before she had a chance to knock.
"Back so soon?" he said.
She wasn't in the mood for banter. "You can do me a body swap then?"
"Sure can. There's no time for twenty questions though. I'll upload your mind to a temporary vault and then we'll transfer it to the new host."
"I'd like to be female," she said.
"Not a problem. Now lie down and we'll get this over with."
Rachel almost refused. Terror told her to flee and let somebody else sort this out. Then she thought of Mike, who would soon be so vulnerable. She lied down on the stinking carpet as Olli hooked her up to various machines.
"You should start to feel a little sleepy," Olli said, leaning over her.
Surreptitiously, her right hand went to her hip, where the cool metal of a knife dug into her skin.
Jenni pivoted, checking her body in the mirror as the tel unit continued.
"...other local news of note. Two years ago on January 3rd, 2195, police officer Rachel O'Connor, 31, overdosed on painkillers. Her family and friends were bewildered by her actions which were said to be completely out of character." Jenni smiled, and she was still smiling when she reached her own apartment. She dressed leisurely and, finding her own pin in her underwear drawer, proudly fixed it to her jumper. Next she used the phone.
"Senator Allerton speaking."
"I hear you've been busy."
"The cop, yes. Easier than I thought."
Jenni laughed. "So do you have any plans for Immar?"
"A few. I doubt we'll have any trouble."
"Good man. I'll be in touch again soon. One Mind One Body."
"One Mind One Body."
Jenni flicked off. One day the government would realise what was right, and people would once again be free to live with One Mind in One Body.
The Senator nodded. "I'm aware of that. But it had to be done, Mike." Rachel shrugged broad shoulders. "Although I have to admit, taking a leak standing up is just plain weird."
"Taking a leak? Christ, you're even starting to talk like a bloke."
Rachel laughed before getting serious. "It's all going to be worth it, though. Personalities the world over are dying because of self-centerd people like Spinner and Senator Oliver Allerton. OMOB has to be brought down."
Mike took his hand back and rubbed his eyes. "You say that like you're planning to be in there for some time."
"But he's the perfect cover! Think about it, Mike. The only reason we're getting this conviction on Spinner is because she woke up oblivious to the fact that she AND Olli... the Senator... this body!" Rachel pressed a hand to her chest, "didn't manage to destroy my personality."
"True. We had a bogus news item on your "death" inserted into this year's broadcast."
"Which reminds me, I must let dad know that it is bogus when he wakes up," Rachel laughed. "So any way, now I've got all of Allerton's connections and the luxury of not having to share this body. Just think of how many more radicals we can pick off this way before they kill any more innocent people. We'll be able to blow OMOB out of the water in record time and see a little more of each other to boot."
"Well, when you put it like that…" he mused, scratching his three-day stubble.
"That is, as long as you can put up with me like this," said Rachel, one thick hand indicating her tie and trousers. "Though it won't be forever of course."
"Whatever you say," said Mike, smiling at Rachel. "Detective."