Glitches Free Online Serial Novel


Chapter 17

It didn’t take much for Yolanda’s argument to win the day. She was advocating that we finally go on the offensive. We were in a bad way and we had to do something to get the tables turned. But she was right, if we didn’t change something soon we weren’t going to last much longer. The attack on the Chalet nearly got us all killed and the noose was quickly tightening around our necks. Sitting there in the sewers, licking our wounds, beneath Durango Yo’s argument definitely carried the day. But here, ready to break into this apartment, not knowing what was on the other side of this door, I really wondered what I was getting myself into.

Yo and Bea had been actively and passively monitoring the FBI base camp activities since arriving back in Durango. Bea had quietly taken up residence inside the tent city and begun monitoring for information. Yolanda got as close as she could and began to influence individuals to talk by manipulating their emotions. Basically their goal was to determine if there was an Achilles heel available to us to exploit.

Pretty early on Yo & Bea were able to ascertain that the critical piece to the Chalet operation was a member of the local police force of all places. The individual’s name was Detective Barley and he had also been critical in the initial identification of Yoland and Ben. Barley was also the one who had intimate knowledge of our potential whereabouts and had shown an uncanny ability for reading our minds. There was even discussion that he may have latent, or unidentified, cerebral abilities that just kept him so far in front of the rest of the teams hunting us. And so he became the key person we should become more intimately familiar with.

It was unanimous that I should pay Barley a visit at his apartment. But it was far from unanimous as to what I should do while I was there. Frighten him? Abduct him? These were all ideas that were discussed and even planned in detail. But at the end of the day it was going to really depend on what I found once I got there. And to that end I asked Sumner to tag along just in case I got in over my head and also to keep an eye out on the street. The bullet wound had been fairly superficial and he was healing up nicely now. I figured his added glitch reservoir and skills would be the what I’d need most on this undercover mission. I also had an ulterior motive in my bringing him along in that I wanted to ask him questions about what happened after the helicopter buried itself into the ground.

We sat and watched the street for several minutes before making a break for it. And while we were sitting and watching I decided to ask my questions, “So the Chalet…”

Sumner starting quietly laughing at that. “I wondered how long you would wait before you asked. You are too curious to not ask. What do you want to know? You want to hear about how I John Wayned up with two M16s and fought our way out?”

“Yeah, sure. Tell me about that story of how you ran rampant.” I laughed under my breath. “No seriously… when I saw that the helicopter I was in was going down I figured we were all toast. And at the very least if I survived I’d wake up to a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigations interrogating me at a hospital while I was handcuffed to the bed.”

“Well, you and me both. I watched closely as you belly flopped there in that field. I just kept repeating as my mantra, ‘don’t explode, don’t explode.’ I figured that maybe if you survived the impact we could pull you out and carry you to safety depending on whether we could get to you or not.” Sumner shook his head at the memory of it. Then after a second he continued, “But the real miracle was that watching all three Black Hawks crash was the straw that broke the enemy’s back that night. When that happened everyone turned and fled. They didn’t realize the advantage they had, how close to the breaking point we were.”

“Woah.” I shook my head a bit at that and then said, “I think we are clear on the street.” And with that we shinnied up on to the street and scampered into the shadows. I thought about glitching our way to the house, but I figured we’d probably need as much reserve as possible for what might be waiting for us at the apartment. And so we scurried from shadow to shadow through the moonless night.

When we arrived at the address, we double-checked it three times to avoid busting into the wrong location. Once we were certain we had the right place we waited on the side of the apartment building and watched for a bit to see if we had been noticed, or if there was anything out of place.

“So,” I whispered as quietly as I could “how’d you guys get back to Durango without being noticed?”

“First we had to pull you out of the wreckage. DJ was instrumental in that little feet, I’ll have you know. I know you hate the guy – but without him that wreckage would have quickly become your coffin.”

I was obviously more than a little surprised at this. “DJ, really? Well I guess I owe him one.”

“A lot more than ‘one’. Anyway, after that we were able to highjack a car to throw everyone in. We started by going north and ditching the car in the river. Then we jacked a car and turned around to head back towards Durango. We figured the person we took the car from would report the direction we went in. And so doubling back was our best course of action.”

I was vigorously shaking my head at this, “Clever. That could be the difference between jail time and getting away with this messed up plan. Well, depending on what happens inside this apartment that is.”

I went to get up and Sumner grabbed my arm. “Hey, just so you know… what you did back at the Chalet was amazing. It saved all our lives. Thank you.”

I was instantly red from embarrassment. “Whatever. You would have done exactly the same thing if I hadn’t done it.”

“Actually no, I wouldn’t have. And by the way, a simple ‘you’re welcome’ would have sufficed.”

I punched Sumner in the shoulder at this. “Let’s do this thing. I figure the back stairs. Follow me up and watch the door. I’ll pop two quick glitches if I need you.” Sumner nodded at this and then we were moving as quietly as we could. Once I muscled the back door open to the apartment we took our time walking up to Barley’s door. I was about to snap off the door handle like I’d done to the outside door when Sumner stopped me. He then walked up to the door and turned the doorknob, and click, it was unlocked. I cocked an eyebrow at that. Sumner shrugged and in I went. Sumner retreated to a shielded vantage of the door and the stairs from which to watch.

As I allowed for my eyes to adjust I realized I was definitely in the apartment of a bachelor. It was a mess. Jackets were piled in the entryway. Shoes and piles of trash left here and there. I saw a dim light further down the hallway in what I could only guess was the kitchen. I knew I needed to check the place over thoroughly before I shook our friend down so that I wouldn’t be surprised at the last minute.

Poking my head into the first door I came to I noticed it was the entertainment room. An old tube TV stood on an even older entertainment center. Once I was certain the room was empty I moved on to the next room. Even before I entered the room I immediately heard the sounds of snoring coming from deep within the duvet on the bed. Ok, I’m guessing sir-snore-a-lot is my guy. I continued walking down the length of the apartment just to cover my bases. And as I entered the kitchen I was almost taking my search way too casually. Because when I entered the kitchen the first thing that greeted me was a couple of electrodes fired into my chest from a stun gun.

When I woke up a minute later there were two men tying me to a chair. Seriously? I thought to myself. Sumner was going to give me no end of grief when he found out. And so I decided to convince these guys to let me go by just talking to them. You laugh, but it made the most sense at the time.

“I’m guessing one of you is Detective Barley?” by the look on their faces I guessed that Barley was the chubbier of the two rotund individuals. Then I turned my attention to the other individual and said, “My name is Ben Swift. Glad to meet you. What might your name be?”

“Seriously? You go mano y mano with the Federales and then you break in here and ask me my name? Dude you either have access to some better drugs than I do or you are right out of your mind.”

“Maybe a little of both” I answered. I then wiped my nose on my sweatshirt and continued. “Well, if you guys are done tying me up I’d like to show you a thing or two. You don’t realize it but you are actually in a world of danger right now and I’d like to help you avoid any extra pain and suffering than necessary.”

“Us?” answered Barley in surprise. “You are the one tied up.”

“Yes you, detective. You don’t have any idea what you are dealing with here and I really would like to save you as much pain as possible.” And then I used a TK pull to fling a sharp meat knife from its holder across the room and into the wall. The knife flew in front of both their noses and wobbled as it stuck. I couldn’t help myself but to laugh a bit at the look on their faces. “Now, do me a favor and pull that knife out of the wall and cut me loose. If you try anything you literally will be on the floor of your kitchen bleeding out before you know what hit you.”

The two men exchanged glances and then Barley wandered over with a dejected look on his face and pulled the knife out of the wall. I was free 20 seconds after that. I glitched twice in rapid succession once I knew I wouldn’t look too stupid for Sumner to come in. As Sumner walked in I began making introductions. “Sumner, this is the illustrious Detective Barley and his friend…?”

“I’m Jacob,” responded the hacker. “I’m nobody, just passing through. A friend of Barley’s from the old days. You know a little World of Warcraft, some Star Wars festivals, and the like.”

Sumner couldn’t resist, “No. Actually I have no idea. But pleased to meet you anyway. And I’m thinking that your involvement here is highly unlikely to be a coincidence. No offense.”

Barley responded for Jacob this time, “He’s been helping me track you down. He’s a hacker. A bit of a wizard really.”

Sumner began seeing the scene for the first time and turned to me to ask, “Uh, was everything alright in here boss?” He was eyeing the chords and the chair and the stun gun on the floor. “Did these two get the jump on you?” And then Sumner began laughing and laughing. “They did, didn’t they. Admit it, you had to glitch your way out of this mess. They know don’t they.” Sumner kept laughing even though he knew that the situation just got a whole lot more complex than he’d originally bargained for.

“Jacob heard me coming. I assumed it was just our buddy Barley. Yeah. I know. I know.” Jacob’s head swelled a bit at this and began to feel like he’d just pulled of some fairly heroic deed. But I pushed him down into the chair I had been sitting in and then told indicated for Barley to sit up on the counter. “Let me explain to you what you have inadvertently stumbled upon. There are six of us including myself and we know who you are. If you continue helping the FBI out we will come after you both personally. The knife throw I just pulled may either be some sort of magical mind power or maybe its just a clever trick. Either way, there is no way you can hide from us, or keep your movements secret from us.”

Sumner chimed in on this line of reasoning. “We just took on three squads of marines and three Black Hawks and won. How we did it doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is that we can and will gut you in your sleep if you continue to assist the authorities.”

“But its my job, the are depending on me to continue delivering,” answered Barley in a blubbering sort of a sob that came mainly from his nose.

Sumner began to grin a bit. “He has a point Bentley. It is his job. And it would be awkward if he didn’t continue ‘delivering’.”

I was confused at first. What was Sumner getting at? Oh. Oh. I finally understood. “Yes, I see. We should definitely give him things to report back to the FBI about then. Like for example that all indications are that we have left the state and are now in Montana. You mean like that kind of information?”

Sumner laughed at this. “Perfect, yes. You are getting me.”

Then I turned to Jacob and said, “As for you, I want you to CREATE data to support the information I will be feeding Barley here. Do you understand me? For example truck VIN numbers and security camera photos, etc. You will be making this evidence perfectly match the story. Am I clear? So that when the vaunted Detective walks in with this information they will have to check in to it.”

Barley was fullon crying now. “Ah buck up little butterfly,” Sumner chided. “You are finally working for the good guys!”