The Recorded Conversation
The next day, after staying the night in a small motel because the RV couldn't fit all of them, they had found a shipping place and they sent the phone to the college. It arrived at the college later that day. Will opened the package. It contained a nearly destroyed phone with a note. It read: "Was taken from one of the suspects. See if you can retrieve any files from it." Will took the phone to his room, adjacent to Jack's office. He took out a specially made cord and he plugged it into a jack point in his arm and he plugged the other end in the phone's charger port. His eyes glazed over and turned white as he sent his consciousness into the phone. He pulled out all of the files he could carry with him, byte by byte. He stored them in his temporary storage space and he then came back to his body. The color came back to his eyes and he plugged another cord from his arm to his PC. He put the files on the desktop and went back to the phone. He carried over some more files when he came across a mark in the call history. It listed "unknown number" he listened in to the recorded conversation.
"We have the girl," a female voice said. In the back ground he heard what sounded like muffled screaming. "Quiet!" the woman said. It was followed by the sound of a blow landing followed by a muffled grunt.
"You have her?" a disguised voice asked.
"You know where to bring her."
"Then, for your sake, after you're paid, you may want to find a new home. In another country." The connection had then been cut. He took the recording and he put it in his computer. He then came back to himself and unplugged the phone from his arm. He sighed tiredly. Doing this kind of stuff had always drained him. He sorted the files on the computer and then called Jack.
In the RV they were sitting around and then Jacks cell phone rang. He plugged it into the dashboard and pressed a button which brought a face onto the large GPS screen on the dashboard.
"Dad, I have retrieved all of the files from the cell phone," Will said with a small smile.
"Good. Find anything important?"
"A recorded conversation."
"Send it here."
"Done," Will said a second later. Jack looked at his phone.
"Yep, I have it." Rikki took the phone and listened to the recording.
"I have analyzed the vocal patterns. I can confirm Suzy Garrison was there." He listened to it again. His anger built up when he heard the sound of the blow landing.
"If… they hurt her… in any way…" he hissed angrily to himself with clenched fists.
"Rikki, dude," Dan said holding his brother's shoulder "calm down dude, come on man." Rikki sighed.
"It's okay." Rikki sighed again.
"Do you know where that call was placed?" Lotus asked walking over.
"Uh, in their van," Chyanne said.
"No, can you trace the phone's GPS location when the call was placed?" Will looked at her from the screen dumbfounded.
"Yes… I can," he said after a couple moments.
"Then do it!" Rikki said to the kid on the screen. Will plugged back in and he check deep in the phone circuits. He came back. "I've sent you the information now." Jack's phone went off with a beep as the file was received. Rikki checked it. It was a set of coordinates.
"Where is that?" Rikki asked looking at them.
"Actually, they aren't that far. We have to go north about a 50 miles then it should be a few miles east," Kilo said. Jack entered them into the GPS. It lead to North City, a city with millions of people.
"Great," Rikki said sarcastically. "North City, city of dreams."
"It's going to be really hard to find her in North City," Chyanne said.
"But you forget, we have specific coordinates," Kilo said.
"We just have to find where they lead," Lotus said. They had entered the ring roads crossing through the city and then the traffic started.
"We're going to have to find something a bit smaller," Dan said looking out the windows.
"What's going to fit all 8 of us?" Jack asked a little worried. Rikki looked out the window. They went by a car dealership.
"Ford Transit," Rikki said pointing at the dealership.
"Buy one? I didn't bring that much money," Jack said, "and I can't imagine what Carlyta would say." Rikki then thought for a moment.
"Parking garage," Max said. "We went by one that would fit this. We'll have to walk from there."
"Excellent idea," Jack said pulling off the ring road. He was able to squeeze his way through city traffic to the parking garage. He parked the camper and they climbed out. Aoi was on her phone.
"Could you please, stop posting stuff online for a moment please?" Rikki asked her.
"I'm not," she said defending herself with a mild tone. "I've got the coordinates in my phone." She showed them the screen. "We have to go that way." She pointed back south. They started walking down the road.
Suzy's eyes slowly opened. She was lying on the ground in the middle of a small room lit up by one meager light bulb. She groaned and she sat up slowly. Her head hurt. She looked around trying to remember how she got here. She then felt a presence.
"I see you're up," a male voice said. She gasped and looked behind her to see the form of a man in the shadows of the room stepping toward her.
In North City.
The group was still walking downtown following the GPS. Rikki looked into a store window which turned out to be a pet store. He saw in the window, a small white puppy. It looked like the dog Suzy used to have, until that day those years ago when it had gotten run over. He then started to remember those days when they were young.
"Rikki!" Aoi's voice broke into his thought. He snapped back and noticed that he had stopped and the others were looking at him. "You alright? Come on, it's just a dog." She slipped her hand into his and she pulled him back to the group. The group then continued on. "What happened?" she asked him.
"That dog looked like one that Suzy used to have. We played with him everyday. Then he got ran over by some drunk driver."
"Aw," she said sympathetically.
"I've always wanted to get her a new dog."
"Let's get Suzy first."
"Alright," he sighed. With her other hand, she sent a message to Cassandra. They continued down the sidewalk.
"We go left here," Aoi said looking at the GPS. She continued to walk but was then stopped by Rikki. She looked up and saw that they were at the entrance of a tunnel. It was covered over and blocked off with construction signs.
"We can't go down there," Lotus said.
"Screw the damn the rules," Chyanne said.
"Yeah," Kilo agreed, surprised by this in fact.
"Besides, where's the fun in that?" Max asked.
"Just be careful," Jack said. The all walked around the signs and into the tunnel. The only light being the light from Aoi's phone.
"Anyone got a light?" Dan asked feeling around in front of his face. There was the sound of metal and then some light. Chyanne had pulled out a lighter.
"Where'd you get that?" Jack asked her.
"It's mine," she said. Jack sighed. They continued walking through the darkness. The ground suddenly started to shake and some dust fell from the ceiling. As quickly as it started it ended.
"What was that?" Luuk asked.
"Subway," Chyanne answered.
"How much farther?" Rikki asked Aoi. She looked back at her phone.
"Almost there," she said. "It's just a little further." The then continued until Aoi stopped.
"Now what is it?" Rikki asked.
"It's right here," she said looking at the phone screen seeing matching numbers.
"Let me use that," he said to Chyanne as he grabbed her lighter. Her held it by the wall and inspected the wall in many places and he looked on the opposite wall. He found nothing. He sighed.
"At least we tried," Dan said.
"Wait," Lotus said looking at the ground. "Give me some light." Rikki bent down next to her and he held the lighter close to the ground. She ran her finger along the floor and she looked at the tip.
"What is it?"
"Are you sure?"
"Quite." She moved along the ground. "They start here," she said returning to where Rikki was standing.
"So they came down here and then left?" Dan asked.
"Yes," she answered.
"But why here?" Jack asked.
"I'm not sure."
"Where does this tunnel even lead?"
"To the other side of the city," Chyanne said.
"How do you know so much about it here?" Luuk asked her.
"I grew up here."
"We grew up here," Kilo said.
"Yeah." Luuk was looking at the wall. He then brought his hand up and he touched it. His arm suddenly turned into the same concrete the tunnel walls were made of.
"Cool," he said. He had found his Gift. He knocked on the wall. It gave a solid sound. He walked to the other side of the tunnel and he did the same thing. The noise sounded different.
"That sounded different," Dan said.
"Yeah," Luuk said. "It sounded hollow." He brought his arm back and he punched the wall with all his strength. The wall crumbled away in a cloud of debris and dust. The dust settled and some light shone into the tunnel. Rikki stepped through carefully and he looked around. They were in an old building. It looked like an old storage warehouse. The light was coming through windows covered with old translucent layer of weathering.
"We're at the docks," Chyanne said.
"How do you know?" Kilo asked. There was then the sound of a not-so-distant ship horn and the faint sound of the waves in the harbor. "Oh." Luuk's arm then went back to normal.
"Interesting," he said to himself.
"What does this have to do with Suzy?" Rikki asked.
"She must be here," Dan said.
"Maybe," Lotus said. "We'll just have to look."
"She's a few buildings over," Aoi said.
"Which one?" Rikki asked.
"Follow me," she said. They followed her and she paused. "Just be careful," she said with a look of warning.
Suzy was leaning against the wall far from the man in the shadows.
"You have no reason to be scared," the man said. She could see him holding his hands up. "I don't want to hurt you."
"Well, I don't want to trust you," Suzy looked at him angrily.
"Please," he said stepping into the light. He was only a couple years older than she was. He had blond hair that she was sure she had seen before only his was ragged and he looked as if he had been through hard times. He looked in a similar state then she only he looked more tired than she did. "I've been here so long. They took me too." He slowly sank down to the ground. He winced as he stretched his arms. He looked her in the eyes. They seemed familiar somehow, she just couldn't figure out why. She stepped forward and she sat down in front of him. He gave her a small smile and she smiled back. It was then the recognition set in.
"What's your name?" she asked him.
"That's your opening line?" he asked with a laugh.
"Well, you look familiar. Like… like I've seen you before."
"My name is Duncan Wheeler. You've probably never heard of me."
"Actually I have. Do you have a younger sister?"
"Yeah. God I miss her."
"Her name's Cassandra, right?"
"Yeah," he said. "You know her?"
"She goes to this same college place my friends and I do."
"The College of Trades," he muttered.
"Yeah," she said. They then heard the sound of a muffled explosion.
"What was that?"
"I don't know," she said pushing herself up. She stood in the best fighting position she could manage with her fists clenched. She stared intently at the door. There was the noise of a small group of people running. She braced herself, ready for whatever was going to come her way. The door was then smashed through and pulled off it's hinges. Suzy rushed through the dust with her eyes shut and she felt herself hit a body and she caused it to fall over, her with it. She opened her eyes. It was Rikki. She immediately hugged him and started crying tears of joy.
"Aw," he said hugging her.
"I missed you," she said.
"I missed you to."
"Don't ever leave me."
"I won't." Rikki helped her stand up. Then all the pain came back and collapsed onto the ground with a cry of pain. Rikki simply picked her up and he carried her.
"Who are you?" Dan asked Duncan.
"That's Cassandra's older brother, Duncan," Suzy said looking at him from her place in Rikki's arms. She then smiled and fell asleep.
"Can we trust you?" Dan asked Duncan.
"She did," Duncan said.
"Yes," Aoi said, "We can."
"Dan, help him up," Rikki said as he walked away.
"Where are you going?" Dan asked.
"I'm taking her to the RV."
"Be careful," Jack said. "In fact, Aoi and Lotus will go with you."
"Alright," the three of them said. Rikki walked back the way they came from the tunnel since that was the easiest way. They followed him out of the tunnel and down the road toward the RV. They then stopped by the pet store. Rikki noticed that the dog was still there.
"I want that dog," he said looking at Suzy, "for her."
"Alright," Aoi said. She went inside and after a few minutes of intense haggling, she was able to get the white puppy for a cheap price.
"You what Jack's gonna say, right?" Lotus asked.
"Nope, but I'll take the heat for it. I don't want you guys to get in trouble."
"Thanks," Aoi said with a wink, holding a small box with the dog in it. They then arrived at the parking garage where the RV was at. Lotus opened the door and Rikki carefully carried Suzy inside. He lay her down on the bed gently and he covered her with the blanket. He smiled and he stroked her cheek. The others later arrived carrying Duncan. Rikki was sitting at Suzy's side. Dan looked at his brother with some concern.
"He hasn't left her side since we got here," Lotus whispered to him.
"He must really love her, then," Dan said.
"Yeah." Jack started the RV and he drove out of the garage. He drove all the way back to the college. Jack parked the RV. They all got up and quietly went to their rooms. Jack and Dan carried Duncan to the infirmary where Ailsa was. She was looking at herself in the mirror giving unsure looks at her scars. She heard the sound the sound of the door opening. She looked over and her face lit up.
"Jack! You're back!" she said walking over and helping Duncan onto one of the beds. Rikki set Suzy down on the other and he put the blanket over her. She opened her eyes and she looked at him. She smiled and reached up to stroke his cheek. He did the same. Her arm dropped and she fell asleep. Rikki stayed there, holding her hand. Ailsa looked over at them. She sighed and walked out of the room. Rikki looked up. Duncan had fallen asleep. He looked back at Suzy. He then dozed off at her bed side.