"Do you want to see your son again?"
Sebastian stared blankly at the man at his door: wiry, pale, and wearing a suit that seemed at least one size too big. Undoubtedly, he was from the head office. His gait and the way words came out of his mouth at a practiced pace made him just robotic enough to give away his training.
Sebastian's left hand closed the door behind him as he relaxed his right hand from the involuntary fist it had made. There was no way he was going to let this bureaucrat into his home. He struggled to find the right words to convey his thoughts. "I'm sorry," he began. "Is that a threat?"
"No, sir. It is a genuine question."
Sebastian sighed. Of course, this man didn't pose a threat. The drones from the head office were never given firearms - that would go directly against the Code - and it was clear this one was simply a messenger. But his message made no sense, and Sebastian was sure he'd had to work his way through some convoluted logic in order to arrive at what this man was trying to tell him.
This was the norm with these messengers. They were given just enough information to deliver the crux of the message but no extra details. If Sebastian wanted to really know why head office had contacted him, he'd just have to report directly to them. For the moment, he decided to play along and see how far he could get.
"Then the answer is yes. I would like to see my son again."
The suit nodded in acknowledgement. "Then there is a special assignment you may be interested in. If you'll accompany me downtown..." The end of the sentence trailed off as the man turned and gestured toward the squad car.
"Hold on," Sebastian barked. "What kind of assignment? And does this mean they're lifting my suspension?" He cringed inwardly. It hadn't really been part of his plan to tell this stranger about his suspension, but if this man knew about a new assignment...surely, head office hadn't forgotten that Sebastian was suspended. And if there had been some mistake, Sebastian would rather catch it now than be forced to drive downtown only to be turned back when the clerk realized the error.
"Perhaps, sir. If you accept this assignment, you will be reinstated immediately to work exclusively on what you have been assigned. If you decline, your suspension will continue until the hearing two weeks from now. The decision is yours."
The man had walked back to the patrol car parked in front of Sebastian's small house. "So, Detective Ford, should I tell the head office that you will be there shortly? Or do you wish to remain here?"
There wasn't much of a decision to make. The suspension had been nothing but frustrating and any assignment - even some enigmatic, vague one delivered by a corporate squackbox - was better than continuing to sit at home with nothing but his thoughts and memories. Sebastian grabbed his brown coat from the hook just inside his door and jogged down the short path to the street.
"Yeah," he said. "Let them know we're coming. But I'm driving."