Hardwired 4 – part 1

Been a while since I’ve posted an Agents adventure. The whole project has gone on the back burner while I attempt to… Okay fine. I’m stuck. Don’t know where to go from here, and one been thinking of rewriting the whole thing now that I have a better idea what the story is about. But that takes time, and of there’s really one project I want to finish this year it’s Marianna. Well see what happens to this one after that. In the meantime, I present my latest scribbles from last year.

-J

©2015 Jaron Dael Belboda Jaguar J Enterprise

Chapter Four

 A couple hours or so later Jason cruised down the four lane freeway at a comfortable 80 mph. Of course the speed limit was about 15 mph less, but to keep up with the flow of traffic, Jason sailed up to 80 and kept it there, while those who valued their lives a little less passed him on each side and looked at him as if he was grandpa. “I’m not going any faster, people.” Jason laughed, more to himself than his unhearing fellow travelers. Presently his phone rang. “Oh now…” Jason said as he looked at his car’s screen. It was Shelby. He pressed the answer button on the steering wheel. “Yo!” “Jason?” Shelby asked after a pause. “You know that’s right.” “You in your gangsta mood again.” “Girl, we invented gangs.” Jason scoffed. “Yeah…I think most people would disagree.” Shelby scolded playfully. “Hey ya’ll keep saying I need to loosen up!” Jason protested in Chinese. “I’m just talking to my beautiful cousin.” “Aw, thanks, Cuz!” Shelby blushed. “You don’t have to impress me, though. As much as I tease you, I like you the way you are.” “Aw shizzle…” Jason started. “Jason!” Shelby interrupted, turning a deeper shade of red. “Yes Ma’am.” Jason replied straightening himself. “We may have a serious problem.” “Oh no, what is it?” “One of us has gone missing.” “Sticky!” Jason remarked. “I’m serious, Jason!” Shelby returned. “I think you’ll agree with me when you find out who it is.” “Okay,” Jason conceded. “Who?” “The Ninjai.” Jason caught his breath. “Michelle!” He shouted in his mind. “She was on assignment, investigating this European smuggler, or something.” Still Jason said nothing as he tried in vain to stop the hollow sensation in his stomach. “Jason are you okay? You seem worried.” “Of all people you’re the only one who can interpret my silence.” “Well not actually, you were breathing kinda funny.” “You can hear me breathing?” Jason asked, incredulously. “There are no agents available to engage,” Shelby went on ignoring his question. “Does that seem a little weird to you?” “It does seem a little weird.” Jason had to agree. “Wait…engage, they know where she is?” “Mm,” Shelby replied. “Apparently there’s a notorious sex trader in town and she’s been…” Jason was upset. “They put her on that case? Did they read my evaluation?” “I’m sure they did, Jason,” Shelby replied, trying to smooth things over. “I tried to tell them, but the order came directly from Deputy White.” “Ugh!” Jason moaned. “Anyway, we know who her contact was,” Shelby continued. “Sims and I want to pick her up, but they told us we can’t go.” “Ah.” Jason breathed as he began to understand. “So you need me to disobey orders?” “The more of us there are the harder it will be for them to punish us.” Shelby replied. “This is true.” Jason mused. “However, you’re taking the blame.” “Okay.” Shelby agreed. “And you’ll take the punishment.” “Um, about that…” Jason began. “Just get over here, we’re losing time.” “Where’s here?” “Sending you coordinates.” The car’s screen switched to GPS with a marker showing the location. Jason nodded. “Alright, see you there.”

“Took you long enough.” Shelby teased as Jason stepped out of his car at Rim-shot’s shop. “Five minutes,” Jason returned defensively. “Ignore her.” Serena interjected as she stepped out of the shop door. Jason started a bit. “Whoa hey, you’re both on this case?” “Yes.” “Are you sure that’s wise?” “Why?” “Well what happened earlier this week.” “No! Jason, please! ”Shelby interrupted. “Dad and I talked about that for over three hours!” Jason and Serena looked at each other. In a combination of face and sign language known only to them, he asked her if their dad had talked to her about it. She shook her head. “And If I hear any more about it my brain will literally explode.” Shelby continued calming herself a bit. “Or I’ll go crazy on your backside.” Jason nodded with understanding. “We don’t want that.” “And by go crazy on your backside, I mean beat you up.” Shelby added. “We get it.” Jason replied. “Wait…can she do that?” Serena asked, genuinely. Jason and Shelby looked at each other. Out of all the others, Jason had the best inkling as to Shelby’s true skill level. Shelby lowered her eyes. “Let’s just get this over with.” She said softly. Serena guessed from her tone that she didn’t want to talk about it. “Okay fine.” Serena agreed. “Do we have a ride?” Shelby asked. Jason smiled. “Yup!” Serena and Shelby glanced at each other. It was Serena  who voice their thoughts. “You really hope it’s your 458. ‘Cause that would be perfect for this job.” “Eh…to yuppie. I got better.” “Don’t tell me.” At that moment the garage door to the shop began rolling up. Jason stepped in between them and the door to begin his sales pitch. “Ladies, meet the biggest, baddest Chrysler 300 this side of Detroit!” Right on cue, the lights turn on in the blackness and the engine starts. The girls laugh, but Jason continues. “292 horsepower, EPA estimate of 31 mpg…” “I don’t care, let’s get in!” Shelby laughed. Rim-shot gets out of the car, and taps the door. “Here you go, buddy. I made the modifications you requested.” “Thanks, man. I owe you one.” Jason replied giving him the bro hug. Serena paused to listen to the engine. “You put the HEMI in here, didn’t you? This does not sound like 31 mpg.” “Uh…”Jason hesitated. “Can I drive?” “Um, sure.” Jason moved around to the passenger side and let Serena take the driver’s. “What are you doing?” Shelby asked, then noticed the switch. “Oh no! No, no! Do not let her drive!” Serena smirked. “Too late.” Shelby did her best puppy face, but her voice didn’t match. “Jason!” “Sorry, Cuz,” Jason returned as he buckled his seat belt. “Take it easy, Sis.” He continued hoping it would provide some damage control. It did not. Serena spun out and half fishtailed, have drifted out onto the street. “Whoa!” Shelby yelled, as she tumbled to one side before she could get her seat belt on. “I said take it easy!” Jason chided. “This is rear-wheel drive.” “I know!” Serena laughed.

“Ugh!” Serena fumed in frustration, as she slammed her fist into the steering wheel and banged her head into the headrest of her seat. “She’s  not here!”

Jason and Shelby exchanged glances through the rear view mirror. “Calm down, Sims.” Shelby said somewhat absently as she scrolled through a list of options on her phone.  “But this is the fourth place he’s stopped. The intel said she was with him.”

“Well maybe the intel was wrong.” Jason mused.

“I don’t think so,” Serena retorted. “If these bad guys are anything, it’s predictable. They always…”

Shelby who was absorbed in the info on her phone’s screen suddenly spoke up interrupting Serena’s rant. “Oh Sweet! I got his audio system. Can I link?”

“Sure,” Jason replied as he reached forward and pushed the button. Shelby glanced down at her screen and adjusted the volume to 100. “Okay I’m linked.”

“There’s no sound,” Serena pointed out.

“Turn it up!” Shelby demanded reaching for the volume knob, only to have her hand slapped away by Jason who then turned it up himself. The coquettish voice of a man came over the premium speaker system with a smooth British accent. “Alright, driver. One more stop, and then I’ll be picking her up.”

“Are you sure that’s wise, sir?” The driver asked. There was no response, but even though they couldn’t see them the trio could tell he was giving his driver a look of displeasure. “Sorry sir.” The driver said quickly, confirming their suspicions. The driver started the engine and they pulled out of the parking lot. “Follow them.” Shelby urged, noticing Serena’s hesitation.

“Well not too close.” Jason cautioned. “We don’t wanna get them suspicious.

“Ooh! You know what we don’t even have to tail them.” Shelby added after making some more adjustments on her phone. “I tagged on to his car’s GPS.”

“Isn’t that illegal?” Serena objected

Shelby wrinkled her nose. “Not if you have the proper authorization.”

“Do you have the proper authorization?”

“Just drive!”

“Okay…” Serena replied reluctantly. “But I’m telling you if  this things goes…

“Look, I already got authorization, okay?”

“Why didn’t you say that in the first place?”

“Ladies!” Jason interrupted in his usual quiet but firm manner.

“Fine!” They chorused.

Serena pulled out on the road, much more calmly this time, and casually followed the mark using parallel streets back alleys. (Shelby’s phone had taken over the navigation screen and showed them his location.) The man didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry–either that or he knew he was being followed, because he led them on a wild goose chase all over town. “He knows,” Serena sighed.

“That’s impossible,” Shelby objected. “If he knew he’d have switched off his GPS.”

“No, no,  Serena’s right.” Jason observed. ” Cutting the connection would be to obvious. He probably plans to run us all over town until we run out of fuel.”

“What about them?” Shelby protested. ” I mean, thou can’t imagine that limo is very fuel efficient.”

“Oh he probably has an extra 400 liter tank he can switch to.” Serena replied dubiously. “I mean, that’s what I’d do.”

Shelby suddenly became thoughtful. “Maybe we’re doing this the wrong way.”

“What do you mean?” Jason asked

“When I went after Serena before, I asked the Leader to help me. And he did I found her.”

Jason sucked in his breath. “I don’t know Shelbs, we’re in violation of orders I don’t think he’ll help us.”

“Yes, but I’ve been thinking. Does going against the agency mean we’re in defiance of the Leader?”

Serena grew slightly alarmed. “Are you saying their not synonymous? Because I always heard that…”

“Think about it,” Shelby interrupted. “We’ve had corrupt leaders before. If the current one is…”

Jason eyes widened. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re intimating Deputy White?”

Shelby leaned forward and placed a hand on the shoulder of his seat. “Your loyalty is touching. But lately I’ve been noticing some things that seem…”

“I don’t wanna hear it.”

“Okay!” She put up her hands in defense. “I’m just saying. Let’s ask.”

Jason hesitated. He knew it was a good idea, but it still seemed a little contrived. “I don’t know…It feels like we’re asking him to sanction what we’re doing.”

“Alright,” Shelby acknowledged. “I’ll ask.” Jason and Serena looked at each other. “Master,” She continued without missing a beat. “I’m not sure we’re supposed to call you that, but I guess it works for now. Our friend is in trouble and we really want to help her. Maybe we are doing this the wrong way, but please keep her safe…and if it’s alright, help us get her.”

“So that’s it?” Serena asked incredulously after a pause.

Shelby shrugged. “Yup.”

“He just here’s you like that?”

“He helped me find you.”

“Was that illegal too?”

“Serena!” Jason chided.

“What? I’m just asking.” Serena protested.

Shelby gasped. “We’re about to run out of fuel.”

“What?!” Serena exclaimed in disbelief. But it was true–the needle was on empty! “Oh no, not now!” She fumed. Jason responded with a more practical approach. “How have we got in reserve?”

“I don’t know…a couple gallons?”

“Then make it work. Stop here.”

“What?”

“Stop!”

“Okay, alright!” Serena bristled a little as she brought the car to a stop on the side of the street with a few other cars. “Now what?”

“We wait.” Jason replied calmly as he got out of the car and shut the door. Serena and Shelby looked at each other. “What the…?” Shelby began. “I dunno.” Serena interrupted. “Ugh, boys!” Shelby sighed as she opened her door and joined Jason outside. Once again expression her bewilderment, Serena did the same.

“Are we gonna walk to this mystery place?” Serena asked?

“It occurred to me that he was bugging our car’s audio system.” Jason answered.

“Like a reverse tap?” Serena queried.

“That’s impossible,” Shelby objected. “I would’ve noticed. My app scans for things like that. Although…” Her voice trailed off.

“Although what?” Serena asked after a moment.

“Well he may have been able to detect our hack. If! If, he has the right software.”

Serena was stunned. “You’ve got to be kidding me! Cars have anti-virus software now?”

“Looks like his car does.” Suddenly her phone beeped a warning. “It’s locked me out! We’ve lost him.”

“Ugh!” Serena fumed

“So it’s over?” Jason asked.

“No,” Shelby replied, setting her jaw. “It’s time the three of us started using our heads.” Jason and Serena glanced at each other in surprise over Shelby’s sudden take charge attitude. “We know who this guy is from our agency files,” She continued. “But he probably has a public face as well.”

Serena’s eyes lit with understanding. “So if we google him, we may be able to figure out where he’s staying.”

“Exactly.” Shelby returned high-fiving her cousin.

“I didn’t even think of that! This amnesia is really putting me off my game.” Jason sighed.

“Have you had it checked out?” Shelby asked, placing a concerned hand on his back.

Jason response half absentminded half joking, but definitely honest.”Oh! Uh…no I forgot.”

“Don’t even joke!” Serena interjected before Shelby could respond. “You at least need to know if it can be fixed.”

“Most of the times it can be,” Jason assured her.

Shelby smiled wryly. “Get help, Cuz.”

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