The Sixth 9
The pistol in the hand of Rory’s captor moves precariously from Rory’s skull to vanish behind her lower back. The man’s free arm is still curling tightly around her torso to keep her between him and Simone. His gaze does not leave Simone at all. The man with the pistol knows these two unassuming teens are arguably, and literally, two of the most powerful teenagers on the planet. He wouldn’t go admitting that here where someone might overhear him, though.
He will also not make the mistake of moving his pistol in a way either girl could disarm him or get him to do it. He has to exert maximum control and keep them from thinking too much. He’d only seen them by chance and miraculously got the drop on them when they rode in. He’d snuck up on Rory while she was busy setting Simone on the rock, right at the height of their ascent while she was defenseless.
“Don’t try any of those mind tricks of yours,” he lets them know he knows what they’re capable of. No sense in pretending and having the girls relax enough to do anything to him. The agent pokes the pistol into Rory’s back so she flinches forward. “I’m sensitive to that stuff. I’ll know if you try it. Then she’ll get it and then you do.” He explains.
Who is he kidding – he’s the one with the gun. She continues staring and that is that. Her head shakes slightly to try and say no but she got no words for him. Simone tries hard to get her breathing and heartbeat and screaming emotions under control.
“Good girl.” The man remembers to keep his voice at a whisper. He takes a quick glance at the motorbike parked near the rock with its lights off. They actually did a good job parking it out of sight and may have even maintained their stealth had he and his partner not seen them roll in. No visible footprints are in the dry dirt that he can see. Not in the dark anyway. By morning the wind will have swept away most traces of anything except, dug in tire tracks.
But he does want to know what these two are doing way out here this late?
Simone follows his eyes unconsciously. Nothing about this makes sense to her. The guy got the drop on Rory and had a pistol to her head and she made no sounds or tried to let Simone know. He hasn’t even made any attempts to call for backup, unless he did it quietly while she was on the rock-face snooping. “You’re one of the feds?” Simone croaks.
She gets a deadpan in response. Even in the dark Simone can see how serious he looks. Something in the distance catches his attention for a split, only a split. He motions with his head before Simone can think of anything else. “That way!” He orders. He nods slightly to his left and behind him. “Walk directly in front of us and don’t try anything.”
Simone fidgets. She wants to strangle Rory. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
Rory reacts incredulous. “Gun!” She squeaks.
The agent tightens his hand on her and pushes the pistol into her back and shoves her forward when she whinny’s, without letting her go. “Shut up! Move!” He orders. It’s been too long a night to sit here listening to two teenage girls fuss about getting busted.
Simone realizes he still hasn’t made a move to make a call to anyone. She is still not going to take a chance trying to influence him and having him shoot Rory, even though she got them caught. “Are you a kidnapper?” Simone asks as she sneaks by. “We don’t have any money and there’s nobody to pay you a ransom.”
“Less talking more walking.” The agent snaps. “Move faster!” He pokes the pistol into Rory’s back. She complies. “You don’t want me to leave you here, trust me.” He nudges the pistol in her back so she understands what he means.
Frustration boils inside Simone. The guy is walking directly behind so she can’t see them even if she strains her eyes to the side. She can feel Rory full of worry but she dares not try to get into the guy’s head. Something ahead catches her eyes. Large and misshaped. Simone realizes it’s a boulder. A big one by the shape of it. Maybe this guy was posted here and they missed him while they were riding in.
When they get to the rock the agent lets go of Rory. He flashes the pistol for them to see and orders them to sit against the boulder. Now that he’s sure no one will overhear anything, he and his partner can question the girls and figure out what was in the caravan. It has to be why these two are out here. “What are you two doing out here?”
Rory clears her parched throat. “Our bike broke down near that rock.”
“Really?” The man demands. He looks around nervously. “There’s no road out here.”
Lots of thinking later. “We just wanted to get across and those guys wouldn’t let us pass.” Simone follows up on Rory’s explanation.
The man glares in the dark. “It’s four in the morning. You were questioned by my people not more than ten minutes ago. Do you somehow believe we don’t know what teenagers look like because it’s dark out here?”
Busted. The girls sit still and panic. They hope there’s only a warning coming and then they get to leave. They’d prefer to get the bike back from these guys. Hunter would have both their hides if federal agents took them to one of the safe houses unannounced. At least it’s not as bad as they were thinking it might be, if they got caught. They must have been noticed when the agent put the flashlight on them while they were asking questions.
Rory grins. “Joyride?” Who the hell is this guy? Why is he asking so many questions and not believing any of these good stories?
“We borrowed the bike from our Uncle’s garage. That’s why we wanted to take a shortcut through here to get home before sunup.” Simone follows up for Rory a second time. Their lie might be believable if they’re covering for one another.
“Those plates show up under a Susanna Price.” The agent shares sarcastically.
Good lord. This guy isn’t giving them a break.
Before Rory or Simone can think of another excuse, the crackling of pebbles nearby halts the conversation. The agent turns quickly and relaxes when he sees his partner emerge from the shadows. “These are the kids?” The partner asks.
“Yeah.” The agent with the pistol finally tucks the pistol away in the waist of his pants. Rory and Simone look at one another wondering what’s going on. “I can’t believe they were stupid enough to climb that rock with all those security lights flashing.”
“You two could have been killed out here tonight. Didn’t you hear we’re not letting anyone through?” The partner walks over to where they are and is looking at them. “We get IDs?” The agent asks his partner who shakes his head.
“We need to keep them out of sight till this blows over.” The first agent says. “Hopefully if anyone else saw them it’s our eyes.” He takes a look around. “Otherwise we could have some serious problems. We can interrogate them later.”
The partner opens his mouth to speak and shuts it quickly. His hands freeze at his side when he hears crunching feet approaching. There are a couple of feet. The agent starts reaching for his pistol and stops. There are ten shadows moving toward them, nine quickly and well armed while the tenth shadow is lagging casually behind. This is serious.
The shadows move with precision in surrounding the two federal agents and holding them at gunpoint. The agents recognize the Gencore armory even in pitch black. They also know the armory is the least of their problems if the laggard is one of their execs.
“Smart man!” A voice punches the night’s stillness. It’s coming from the laggard. The sound of crunching feet and Rory, suddenly sniveling and trying to become part of the rock, catches the attention of Simone and the federal agents. So much for him not recognizing who the girls are. “I can see you’re well trained.” The voice commends the agents.
It is almost like the darkness makes way for the man in jeans a dark T shirt and hiking boots. His name is Jason Nelson. The first agent knows of him. Rory knows him. Jason is the one-thing Rory dreads more than heights or riding motorbikes. She keeps trying to crawl into the rock while he casually makes his way closer. Rory wants to run, hide, die, all she could do is sit still on the ground and let the tears that stream down her cheeks flow.
“Oh shit!” The agent who had caught the girls mutters under his breath, just loud enough for his partner and Simone to have heard. “Shit shit shit shit shit.” The agent keeps muttering until Jason is fully in sight for him to greet him. “Morning, sir.”
That is pretty much the point Simone realizes how dreadfully wrong the situation is. Rory never gets emotional. She never cries. And the way Rory is shaking says this is the worst things could get. And a federal agent calling a Gencor agent, sir?
Jason stops short in front of the federal agent, looking him directly in the eyes. “You can inform your people that we’ve got an all clear, now.” He checks his guards and signals to one of them. “Pass word along that they did a fantastic job helping us quarantine the area. Be sure to mention that any resource they need is ours to give. We’ll handle things from here.”
The federal agents leave tentatively, followed by the Gencor agent given the order to pass word along of their fantastic job. There won’t be anything else they can do without taking some heavy flak for doing it. Blowing their cover, even over the two girls would be a bad idea.
Jason turns to another of his men. “I wanna to talk to that well-trained agent at my earliest convenience. Make sure he doesn’t leave with the rest of his people or file a report of any sort.” The guard is already bounding in the opposite direction the federal agents went, before Jason finishes giving the order.
Then, Jason gives his attention to Rory, who pulls her knees to her chest and hugs them; coiling so close to the boulder she looks like she’s part of it. Jason doesn’t get any closer. He instead squats on his toes so they are eye to eye. He then smiles at Simone to let her know he feels her prying at his mind and gives her a playful mental jab of his own.
The file on Jason Nelson is thick. Cory loved reading it. He especially loved reading that a working-class black kid from Dorchester, Mass grew up to become the CEO of a sprawling, international conglomerate. It would be so cool to visit Dorchester if he ever gets the chance.
While Cory was reading the report given to him by Miriam, he felt pride welling in his gut because of Jason. He will have to keep that pride in check. That’s not somebody to be proud of, according to what he read.
Some of the things that Miriam’s report accuses Jason of doing over the years repulsed Cory while he read it; Miriam’s report accused Jason of murder, extortion, bribery, what could be considered rape, theft, and those are the more innocent parts of what’s in the folder about Mr. Nelson. It seems Jason likes to repeat his dirty habits, too. There are several entries for several of those things mentioned.
If the report is accurate, Miriam really did her due diligence on the guy. Something like what Cory is reading must have taken years and a lot of money to pull together. And Miriam did mention that there was more for Cory to see after he finishes with this report.
Cory had only scanned the contents of both folders so far. Most of it is about Jason and his misdeeds. He will need a day or two to read everything in them. So far, he’s spent his time gazing at anything with Jason’s name on it. The guy reads like a serious horror novel.
Then there’s the fact that Cory feels Miriam has her own shadows. She’s definitely hiding something from him. She’s tried to get into his head several times while he read the files. Cory will assume for now that Miriam wants to see how he feels about what he’s reading. He’s been successful in blocking her attempts each time she tried him, so far.
He has gotten tiny bits about what she wants. Each time she’s tried to get into his head, Cory has been nudging at her mind and putting the pieces he can get, without her noticing, together.
Admittedly, Miriam is powerful. Cory has only felt that kind of mental ability one time. It was at the Gencor laboratories he’d been held in when his mother first turned him over to them believing they were a psychiatric facility. He didn’t get to meet the guy but he’d heard about him. Cory is sure he has to be the guy in charge of everything. If there is anyone stronger than that the world will be in serious trouble.
Maybe that guy is Jason. Could he have been at the Gencor facility housing, Cory? That’s very possible. He seems to be able to move about with very little stopping him.
What troubles Cory about what he’s reading is the fact that Jason seems to be the epitome of corporate greed. He is a man with enough power and abilities to do anything he wants and the only thing he can think of, is to make money, ruthlessly. The guy can make people do what he wants just by thinking it and probably does.
According to what Miriam has on Jason there are a lot of unmentioned crimes Jason is suspected of being involved in. He’s even brought women from other countries to be servants in several of his homes around the world.
How Miriam is able to gather so much information on a man as powerful as that is a mystery she hasn’t revealed in her reports. Cory is going to make it a point to ask her.
Cory flips the page. His eyes lose focus. His brow furrows. After sitting there staring at the page for a good thirty seconds, he thinks there’s got to be some mistake. He quickly flips through several pages, keeping the page of confusion under his thumb. He knows the name he’s reading but doesn’t want to believe a word of what he’s just skimmed. Cory checks it twice to make sure he’s reading correctly. Rubs his eyes. And dammit all to hell, it’s still there.
Five foot six inches and weighs approximately a hundred and fifty pounds.
Cory knows her very well. According to Tatiana Raymond, Cory was pulled from her stomach on the morning of July seventeenth, nineteen ninety-nine, at approximately four AM. She has lovingly changed his diapers in the past, tortured him with school, given him every reason to fight in hopes of seeing her safe some day. Not to mention all those hugs even when he didn’t want them.
If she were to show up today and tell Cory that the sky is black he would believe every reason she gave without questioning her. She has been on his mind since he can remember. In his heart before he could even walk. Cory had even run from the freedom fighters’ defender division in order to find his way home to see, Tatiana Raymond. He still calls her mom.
And now she is on one of the pages of Miriam’s report as a personal assistant to Jason Nelson. Something has to be wrong with that.
Cory knows his mother works for a business consultancy named, Intellex. Intellex is in California, sure. But how the hell can Intellex have anything to do with Gencor and how can his mother have anything to do with Jason Nelson. There has to be some mistake.
The lies Miriam has compiled goes on to state that there are rumored reports that Tatiana, aged thirty-nine, by the way, they did get her age right, has any type of romantic interest with Jason Nelson. What romantic interest could his momma have with a guy who kills people for a living and keeps servants against their will?
Cory slams the report on the bed and sits glaring at it. Obviously, Miriam’s reports are as flawed as she seems to be. She was up here talking to herself earlier, and talking about a child in the room when Cory was in the damned room with her. He didn’t see any kid. She’s a loon. No way can he trust what’s in that report. All lies.
He flips the page with his pinky. He doesn’t want to touch this piece of trash anymore. Ms. Tatiana Raymond has been known to frequent downtown, Los Angeles on occasion with Mr. Nelson for daytrips or during meetings.
And there is a touched up photo of Tatiana grinning away while some black guy stares at her. It looks like he must be saying something funny to her. Cory wants to throw up. This report has all the makings of a bad mood. Miriam is lying her ass off. She’s up to something.
And then, the page turns to Javier Montrose on the next flip. Cory reads the first words and pushes the report aside. There is no goddamned way this report can be real. None.
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