So I know this isn’t random Monday’s, but I’ve been going through some old stuff and researching some future tech to work into my agents timeline and I remembered this–some of the first scenes I wrote for Agents. This post gives an idea of what Jason is like when he’s not “caving heads in” this is sort of his bat cave/home office/studio thing. He’s a music producer, basically. I know those two worlds don’t typically mix, but bear with me. lol I also used this scene to get some brother to brother interaction between Jason and Justin, something we haven’t seen yet in Hardwired. Anyway long introduction, please enjoy this excerpt from Agents, the Novel.
©2011 Jaron Dael Belboda Jaguar J Enterprise + CGIS
Sunlight filtered through the window as Jason sat with his feet on his desk, reading from a book. After a few moments he sighed, putting the book down. It was so boring, anyway. Why was there always so much to be done? Presently a message box popped up on his screen. He ignored, but MATRIX spoke up. “Sir, I know you’re busy, but you have an incoming call for Justin Bell.” Jason brightened as he took his feet down from the desk and looked at the monitors. “Put him through on the holo monitor, I’m expecting a call from Natalie.”
“Yes sir.” Matrix replied agreeably. The ambient light of the room dimmed as the holographic monitor flickered to life. “Justin!” Jason greeted him cheerfully.
“Hey, brother,” Justin smiled. “What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing much,” Jason answered nonchalantly. “I’m just here trying to finish this book.”
“Have anything to do with what I see on your screen?” Justin queried with interest.
“Oh, this?” Jason replied stalling. Justin nodded. “Oh it’s…it’s nothing.”
Justin peered at the screen with interest. “That “nothing” looks like the beginnings of a song to me!”
“Oh! Well um…it’s not finished yet; I really didn’t mean for you to see it.” Jason stammered.
“Then you shouldn’t have put me on holo monitor, bro.” Justin reminded him. Jason smiled guiltily; he had forgotten that the holo monitor was almost like having Justin in the room.
“Come on let’s hear it!” Justin urged.
“Alright,” Jason reluctantly agreed. “It’s a new thing, kind of a mix of classical and electronic with some random noise mixed in it…”
“Just play it!” Justin barked impatiently as he put on his headphones. “Explain it later.”
Jason grinned and hit the play button. The room filled with the sound of electronic bass mixed with acoustic and electronic percussion, intermixed with carefully timed cello and contrabass parts. Justin closed his eyes and at soaked it up as the music began to build an epic film score sound and then stopped. Justin opened his eyes. “Well that’s…pretty much it.” Jason said simply. Justin remained motionless for a few moments before shouting, “That was awesome!” Jason jumped a little from the blast of extra volume. Justin rushed on hardly noticing, “You got lyrics for that, Bro? ‘Cause that was amazing!”
“Uh well not yet,” Jason replied, a bit bewildered by his brother’s enthusiasm. “It’s supposed to be an instrumental.”
“Well I can think of some lyrics for it!” Justin responded with even more energy. “Roll the clip again.” Justin asked as he put the headphone over one ear and whipped out his stylus and data pad. Still wondering what his brother was up to, Jason hit play again. Justin jotted down some notes while he listened. “Okay, I’ve got it!” He almost shouted, when the music finished. “Okay.” Jason replied calmly. “So whatcha got?
“Well it’s…” Justin began, and then shook his head. “Roll the clip again, let’s record it.”
“You wanna do a scratch track now?
“Yeah,” Justin nodded. “Why not?”
“Well I suppose. I could use the phone as an input source.”
“Hold on, let me plug in my microphone.” Justin replied as he unpackaged his portable studio mic. Jason nodded as he created a new track, named it “Justin Vocals” and then selected the remote studio option under the phone input. (The current equivalent is called ISDN) “Okay, ready? Jason asked. “Yup!” Justin nodded. Jason hit record, and Justin sang, “Wandering this desert and longing for rain. Searching for ways to get rid of the pain, I found out that the only way to freedom was through the dessert wanderings! (The music ended, but Justin did not.) “But He was good! He gave me water to drink! And food without scarceness—and love without end! My God was good!” They both sat in silence for a few moments. “Whew!” Jason said as he finally hit stop. “Wow, bro that’s…that’s powerful.” Justin laughed as he took off his head phones. “Your music inspired it!” Jason nodded thoughtfully. “Now all we’ve got to do is finish the song!”
“Yeah,” Justin agreed, briefly mirroring his brother’s pensive mood. After another moment’s reflection, Jason snapped to awareness. “So why did you call, Justin? I mean, I can’t believe you called just to lay down a scratch track if I happened to have music here.”
“Oh!” Justin also seemed to wake up from a dream. “Yeah, no I heard you guys had a little accident on Quadros and I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Ah, yeah.” Jason replied as he saved the session. “I’m okay; Serena got hit pretty hard—shattered her hip…”
“Aw I’m sorry.”
“Yeah. But it’s healing nicely; Dr. Alex gave her regeneration treatment, so it should be grown back within the next 3-4 weeks.”
“Oh cool! Tell her not to start kicking right away, though. I’ve seen a guy who messed up his alignment that way, ‘cause the bone hadn’t fully hardened yet.”
“Right, yeah. I’ll be sure to remind her, although I think Dr. Alex will as well.”
“Who’s Dr. Alex?”
“My ship’s doctor. She signed on about a month ago. She’s very good. She’s competent but doesn’t bore you with a lot of “doctor talk.”
They both laughed, remembering the arrogance of some of the doctors they’d worked with in the past.
“I think I’d like to meet her,” Justin confided. “She sounds like a nice person.”
“Well that’s a lot to read into a couple sentences about a person.”
Justin’s mouth twisted onto a crooked grin. “You’re tone was enough for me.” He said, thinking. “It’s crazy how much we can communicate without words.”
Jason nodded. Justin wasn’t usually one for deep thought, but when he was, something good always came out. “So where are you, Bro?” He asked.
“Oh, I’m on Quadros,” Justin replied. “I stopped in here for a conference—boring, but essential.”
“Ah. What did you talk about?”
“You know, boring stuff. Like how we are to organize our underground alliance, how we’re to keep in touch. What are limits are, whether we should be aggressive or passive—or passive aggressive—or whether or not those terms should even be in our vocabulary.”
Jason laughed. “Seriously?”
Justin nodded. “Oh yeah! It was bad enough when those were things we discussed in the agency. But for our small part of the agency to be having the same disagreements it’s just maddening!”
Jason smiled wryly. “Welcome to agency politics!” He proclaimed spreading his hands invitingly.
“No thanks!” Justin held up his hands in refusal. “God, just put me behind the microphone, and I will serve you till my dying day. But please, please don’t make me discuss procedure with my brothers and sisters who will bite and devour each other at every turn!”
Jason laughed. “Well it may seem bad, but these discussions aren’t all wrong. The main problem is we don’t agree on what The Leader said about certain things.”
“Everything!” Justin corrected.
“Well it’s like Dad said, Justin.” Jason countered. “‘Where there’s people there are problems. Conflicts will arise,’ but you’re right in thinking that we don’t always deal with them in the right way.”
“Yeah.” Justin smiled wryly and nodded.
Jason’s computer sounded an alert and a message box flashed on the screen. Jason glanced down and saw the Japanese name on the screen. “Ah!” He exclaimed, triumphantly. “That’s Natalie, I’ll have to change the subject for a moment, she has a report on our progress on the outer rim, but if you want you can…”
“No, that’s alright,” Justin interrupted. “I’ll call you back later.” He paused then smiled. “Say hi to your girlfriend for me.”
“Girlfriend!” Jason exclaimed in protest. But Justin vanished as the transmission ended. Jason sighed and shook his head; there was nothing to do but answer Natalie’s phone call. “Matrix, put Natalie through on the holo monitor.”
“Not on the screen, sir?” Matrix questioned.
Jason hit his forehead in frustration at his scatter-brained state. “Yeah put her on the screen.”
Matrix opened up the channel, and Natalie’s pretty face appeared on the 8k Hi-Res display. “Hello, Love.” She greeted him cheerfully. Jason grinned mischievously “Ah, good evening Miss Summers!” He responded mirroring, her calm demeanor. Natalie laughed. They played like this all the time. “So, it’s evening?”
Jason nodded, his mind beginning to relax. “It’s five-o-‘clock.”
“Oh, that’s right. It’s winter there.”
“Fall, Darling.” Jason countered.
Natalie took a deep breath like the air around her was suddenly fresh. “I love fall. I miss being there.”
“Yeah?” Jason queried, wondering if it was the weather or him that she missed. “What’s the weather like where you are?”
“Jason, it’s a desert planet,” Natalie laughed. “It’s always hot.”
“Right,” Jason said with a touch of embarrassment. “Loud and clear!” He mused under his breath.
Natalie smiled in a bewildered sort of way. “What’s that?”
“Oh it…” He hesitated. Should he? No! He must not. “Nothing,” He said quickly. “We didn’t agree to talk about the weather.”
“You’re right; I totally forgot!” Natalie looked genuinely corrected, though she couldn’t help laughing seeing Jason’s uncomfortable look. “That was a joke, Jason.”
“Of course,” Jason returned a bit chagrinned. “So where’re we at? Did you find what you were looking for?”
“Well…yes and no.”
“Yes and no?”
“Well,” Natalie shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “90% of the one tenth of the text we’ve been looking for. The other 10% is missing.”
“And?” Jason questioned, unable to see the significance of such a small amount.
“That’s the part we needed most,” Natalie said flatly.
“Oh.” Was all Jason could say as the enormity of it all settled upon him.
“That file you recovered from Quadros, was the key to unlocking most of it.” Natalie continued, hoping to encourage him. “If it weren’t for that, we wouldn’t have found what we did.”
“Hm,” Jason mumbled, lost in thought.
“Watchya thinkin’? Natalie asked.
Jason took a deep breath, he knew full well the danger involved in what he was about to suggest. “What if…” He began, choosing his words carefully. “We were to start with the source, I mean where the documents originally came from rather than the outlying territories.”
Natalie grew serious. “Yeah, I could see how you would think that.” Her voice trailed off. Jason waited patiently for her to come back to reality—she didn’t. Jason returned to his work and waited for Natalie to finish. He slipped on his headphones and worked the song adding more orchestration to Justin’s vocals and then searched for scriptural references to the lyrics. Suddenly he glanced up at monitor 3 and saw Natalie smiling fondly at him.
“What?” Jason asked.
“That little frown you get when you’re concentrating.” Natalie grinned.
Jason chuckled as he shifted his position. “Look Natalie,” He began unsure of how things would turn out, but kind of needing to know as well. “We’ve been friends for a couple of years now,” He continued. Natalie nodded. Jason took a deep breath in preparation for his next words only to be interrupted by a knock at the door. “Jason!” his dad called. “Yeah, Dad?” Jason answered. “Supper’s ready. Could you get your sister and come?” Jason glanced at Natalie. “Be right there!” He called. Jason turned back to Natalie. “I gotta go.” Natalie nodded. “That’s fine. We can talk later.” She smiled. “Bye.”
“Bye.” Jason said a bit reluctantly. Natalie’s face disappeared. He sighed and hit save on the song before heading out to help Serena get into her mobile chair for supper.