Glitches Free Online Serial Novel


Chapter 14

Jake had been staring at his screens for over 28 hours straight. The detritus on his desk was overflowing and landing on the floor in small eco systems of their own now. At hour twelve Jake began his drug lubing his eyes with drops every 30 minutes so he didn’t have to blink. At hour eighteen he began to interlace his dosages of caffeine with small dosages of speed. At 24 hours the routine called for an increase in speed dosages. And at 30 hours he had an IV bag concoction prepped and ready to go. He had learned that trick from the Japanese that did the same thing when studying for exams and he thought it was one of the most brilliant things ever.

It all began with a fairly simple enough phone call. Detective Barley had called Jake’s personal line, which never rang, and asked to speak in person. Jake instantly knew this had to something to do with the bombing in Durango and couldn’t wait to help out. Never mind the fact that Barley had helped him out on more than one occasion. They had known each other for a number of years now. But mainly they knew each other from there World of Warcraft days. Being in Denver, Jake was about six and a half hours away and he told Barley he’d be there in five.

As soon as he pulled up at Barley’s apartment Jake began hauling heaps of electronics out of the back of his little Hyundai. More equipment actually than should have physically fit into such a small space actually. It made Barley wonder what other darker arts Jake might have also gotten involved in.

Jake brought his entire rig along of course. Which meant there was very little room for clothes and other extraneous items. But it also meant that he’d be instantly able to begin helping as soon as Barley pointed him at an internet connection. Jake didn’t want to hear word one about the problem until he was setup. The kitchen table was the only space large enough for his rig and so it was decided. And as Jake ceremonially plugged in his switch and lit up his computer systems into the internet he bowed and wildly swept his arm in a – you may proceed – fashion.

“Its simple. I need to find these two people.” And with that he waved photos of Ben and Yolanda through the air. “Here’s the only glitch. The FBI hasn’t made any progress.” Jake laughed at that.

“Well let’s go find them then. Here is my shopping list.” He handed Barley a pre-printed checklist of his needs for the next three days assuming that he would need all three to accomplish the task.

Agent Samuels was flustered. Which was rare.

O’Grady saw the look in his partner’s face and knew he had to do something. So he took a bit of a risk and grabbed Samuels by the elbow and motioned outside with a nod in the direction of the tent door. The base camp they had initially setup had grown exponentially over the past several days. There was even a cluster of news tents nearby that baffled Samuels more than it annoyed.

As they stepped outside they were both blasted with banks of artificial light that illuminated this unofficial city within a city to a white hot intensity all night long. O’Grady walked ahead of Samuels half assuming he may or may not choose to continue following at any given moment. So with furtive glances over his shoulder O’Grady tentatively continued forward leading his partner as far away from the camp as he thought he could get away with.

Once they were outside the artificial illumination O’Grady dropped to a seat on a park bench that lined the sidewalk. “Talk to me amigo. You are in a bad place and you need to blow off steam here or you are going to get us sent back to the minors. And the Lord almighty himself knows I can’t go back to the minors. Just go.”

“I hate you and how right you are. You know me better than my ex ever did.”

“See. This is the kind of therapy that needs to happen right here. Throw it all up on the table chief and let me have it. By the way I love you too.”

“They are phantasms. This thing doesn’t match anything we’ve ever seen before. Nothing.”

“There we go. Preach it now.”

“Ballistics are coming back all zeroes. Which makes no sense whatsoever. None. Unless, of course, the terrorists used an air canon to reek their havoc. We have at least five questionable personalities placed at the site before hand. We have five different blood signatures. And we have verified identities on two of them. This thing should be done already. And I’ve been stuck in this hell hole for how long O’Grady? Give it to me in hours.”

“66 chief.”

“66?! Are you kidding me? At 24 we should have caught them at the net. The last indication we have is an abandoned paramedic on the south side of town. But we have indications through one photo they possibly were heading north. Nothing is adding up. Nothing.” At this Samuels spiked his ever present Styrofoam cup into the sidewalk. The sheer physics of this action nearly guaranteed a bad result for Samuels. And as the backsplash of coffee hit him full in the face he swore a white streak. O’Grady couldn’t help but laugh a bit at this. Although he knew this was completely unhelpful. But the action from his partner had caught him off guard.

“This is definitely our highest profile case ever. Probably not our most important case – but highest profile, that is for sure. So there is a lot of added stress from the news wagons and the politicians to get…”

Samuels would have none of this and interrupted immediately. “I don’t give a rat-fart what those idiots in D.C. want. And I sure as hell don’t care what those reprobates in the news wagons want. What I want is a lead that takes me further than this stupid quad.” O’Grady could sympathize. He was at his own emotional endpoint as well.

“Well, you haven’t slept but four or five hours since this whole thing lit up. Maybe you should go catch a couple hours of beauty rest. Your saggy bits are hangin’ out all over the place. Go get some rest. I’ll hold everybody off until you are back. Scout’s honor.”

“The absolute last thing I want right now is sleep. What I want is a lead.” What worried O’Grady was that his partner hadn’t said this last sentence in a yell at all. Rather it was a resigned, dejected statement of fact.


Jake was on a roll now. The IV had blasted him into a whole new stratosphere. It was like a stage five rocket that pushed him into a higher plane of thinking. It didn’t hurt that he’d caught a couple breaks along the way that kept his momentum ever marching forward.

When Barley walked in after his 18-hour shift at the camp he was shot. But there was no way he was going to sleep now. Jake had been feeding him updates throughout his shift back at basecamp and he was excited to see what the latest developments were.

As the detective rounded the corner to the kitchen he was amazed to find Jake playing Donkey Kong on one of the screens. Jake was in a zen like state of non movement. The only indication that he was alive was quick subtle twitches with his hands.

“Donkey Kong? Seriously?”

“Helps me think. And you are totally trashing that nirvana now with you and your talking thing you are doing presently. I’m on the verge of a high score. Go find something to dust. Or whatever.”

“Glad to see you too.” Barley wasn’t going anywhere and he knew Jake knew it too. “The FBI twins are completely striking out.” He offered, knowing full well he’d get attention with this tact.

“Seriously? Hahah.” Two quick keystrokes paused the game, minimized that game, and restored his work windows into their full display mode. “What about the blood? What did that do? Any other matches?” Barley shook his head at this as he pulled a V8 out of the fridge. He pulled a Mountain Dew out and offered it to Jake. “No thanks, it’ll mess with my mainline. And right now I’m dialed in. Thanks though.” Right. Barley shook his head and laughed at that a bit.

“So what’s the latest on the undercover hack-a-thon effort? Any more progress on family connections?” Jake had used a piece of software he’d written called the Reckoner to use social media, Legal records and even Mormon family tree records to fashion a three dimensional interactive view into anyone’s life that he pointed the tool at. In the last few weeks he’d even added a social-security number generator for every member of the tree. Using the person’s date of birth and the town they were born in his tool was able to guess at the individual’s Social Security number with better than an 85% rate of accuracy. The original algorithm was originally a doctoral paper which he had lifted off the school’s servers. Then Jake proceeded to improve the algorithm exponentially with a few other key modifications.

Jake pulled up Ben’s interactive chart and grimaced a bit. “See, not much here beyond Yolanda Guile. A couple friends from college, but generally dead ends all the way around the horn. Both parents deceased. No brothers or sisters. Just not much happening in this guys life. I have done Reckoners for his contacts at the Architectural firm to see if anything jumps out at me, but so far nothing yet.”

Barley furrowed his brow a bit at that. “And what about our girl Yolanda?” he asked.

“Oh that one lights up like a freakin’ Christmas tree.” A with that Jake flipped up a different Reckoner profile. And just like that the tree spanned all six monitors and spun like a magnificent diamond caught by the light.

“Whoa.” Was all Barley could think to say. “That’s almost too much to digest, no? I mean where do you start?”

“I don’t start anywhere. I just asked the Reckoner. The crystal ball man. I figured the FBI Twins would be checking hotels and other ‘obvious’ options, no?”

“Oh yeah. They’ve hit every hotel in Colorado for their records. They’ve even been paying visits to every single one with any sort of promising lead. Absolutely nothing fits.”

“Right, so thanks to them, we have the possibility scrubbed from the list. I’m sure I can be more thorough, but why bother if they are already there? So what I did was to ask the Reckoner for all the real estate data points within 200 miles. Obviously Durango was the epicenter of that particular data storm. But I could easily rule all those out as just really fantastically stupid locations to use. Right?”

Barley raised his eyebrows at that and nodded. It was a brilliant line of thinking. Barley was a bit frightened actually to see his friend wield so much power so easily and quickly. “This is absolutely amazing… and wrong. You definitely shouldn’t be able to do this. There is something broken somewhere.”

Jake laughed a bit at that. He took it as a compliment and didn’t even hear the moral question on the table, not at all. Didn’t even cross his mind. “Yeah, I love this stuff. So much data ripe for the picking. And I am not even breaking any laws with this program. Well, now that it is built anyway I’m not. Sorta. Depends on the lawyer now that I think about it.” Barley laughed out loud at that.

“So let’s cut to the chase. Who cares about the technology unless it gives us something useful… I always say.”

“Succinct. Pithy even.” Barley responded.

“Yes. So here are our hits.” Said Jake as he flipped up another result set. They were random data points on a black screen and meant nothing to Barley. Jake saw the underwhelmed look on his friends face and then said – “Ah. What about this?” Two more key strokes and up came the data through a Google map API. The plots were laid out against towns and highways… laid out against a larger context.

“Ah.” Said Barley. “Much much better.”

“Right, do any of these mean anything to you? Any more likely than the others? Give me your gut feeling on each one. That is what I was thinking about when you walked in.

“These hits off to the west are interesting. But what is this one off to the north all by itself?”