In the Blink of an Eye

Chapter 6

Eric slowly awoke and immediately felt pain in his head and neck, mostly due to the shock that had coursed through him when he was tasered. His body also hurt, which he figured was because the men, whom he quickly remembered as he struggled to break free from the bonds tying his hands and feet together, didn't care to be gentle when they dragged him out from his hiding place behind one of the shelves in the computer store, then out to their van before he was knocked unconscious.

When he found that he couldn't free himself, Eric slowly looked around his newfound prison, though he couldn't see much as, from about as much as he could tell was, the small room he lay on the ground in was mostly dark. Only a glimmer of sun could be seen, as it shined in from a bared window above him. If the sun was up, it meant that he had been unconscious all night and it was now the next day.

While he lay, Eric tried to focus on why these men might have kidnapped him, but was soon interrupted as a door opened, and he was suddenly dragged out, then shoved into a chair that rested in the middle of a wide open room, with the exception of the same supercomputer he had worked on the day before, before the shootout. The cords that bound him moments ago were swiftly removed as his wrists were then bound down against the chairs' armrests and one of his legs was locked into a shackle that was chained to the floor.

"It's good to see that you're finally awake," one of the men spoke up saying as he approached Eric and stood before him. "I was beginning to wonder if my friend had the voltage of his taser up too high. You've been unconscious all night long."

"So I gathered," Eric answered quietly. "Why have you kidnapped me? I haven't done anything to you or anyone else."

The man smiled and then responded, "Actually, Eric Beale is it? You killed the only other man we knew that has the skills to get what we need from this computer, at least that's what one of my men here tells me. You see, he remained behind at the scene yesterday. I told him to follow behind those NCIS agents you were with to see where they were going to take Calder, but he said that you shot him."

Eric quickly cut in as he replied, "He was going to kill one of my friends. The others didn't see Calder pull out another gun that was attached to his ankle and so I had no choice, but to act. I didn't want to kill him. I didn't mean to kill him. It just happened."

"Which is why you're here now," the man said. "Clearly, you were brought in to help your friends when Calder refused to cooperate with them. You can do what he could. You can encrypt the data in the computer's files."

"I can't do that," Eric answered nervously, then again with a little more courage. "I won't help you."

All of a sudden, his kidnapper swiftly backhanded him hard across his face, then stood back and smiled as he responded, "You say so now, but in time you'll do what we ask. We have something that'll get you to do whatever it is we need you to do against your will if you so choose. It's up to you how you want this to be."

Eric fought against the pain from the hit and then slowly looked back up at the man still standing before him as he asked, "What is it that you want from this machine? Who are you?"

"You can call me, Devlin," the criminal replied. "Mitch Calder helped to build this miraculous machine, but then the project was given to another technician to build the encryptions that are keeping me locked out."

"Then why didn't you find and kidnap him?" Eric asked again fearfully. "Not that that's what I want, but why me?"

As he knelt down in front of Eric in order to make himself appear at his eye level, Devlin answered coldly, "Because he's dead. He died from a heart attack shortly after he finished. If you ask me, he's the lucky one. You're going to finish breaking the encryption because you're the only one left that we know of who can, just as I said before. Then, you're going to locate the names and known whereabouts of each of the hidden operatives within the Navy, so we can take them out. Now, are you going to help us willingly, or are we going to have to force you to? I promise you, you won't like our alternative means, but believe me, either way is perfectly fine with me."

Every part of him was screaming for him to agree because he was terrified of what these men had in mind for him if he didn't, but then he'd never forgive himself if innocent men and women died because he gave in and neither would his friends and teammates; neither would Nell and so Eric looked directly into his captive's eyes as he nervously responded, "I won't help you. I don't care if you have to resort to some kind of drug, but I won't make it easy on you."

Devlin only smiled, then stood up, and motioned to one of his men standing nearby, who turned toward a small table beside him and picked up a syringe as he squirted out some of its liquid in order to get rid of the air within it. He then handed it over to Devlin, who then leaned down over Eric and injected the drug into the crook of his arm, despite his struggle to keep the criminal from doing so, to no avail.

Eric began to feel the drug's effects almost immediately as his vision began to blur, he began to feel dizzy, agitated, confused, and his mouth became dry. Devlin stood back and watched as the young man fought against the drug's effects, then walked over and whispered something to all, but one of his men. When he finished, they all walked out of the room, Devlin and his right hand being the only two that remained behind.

"Once the drug sets in, you won't have any choice, but to do whatever I say," Devil said coldly. "Soon you'll be completely under my control. I really love scopolamine. It's a shame that it's not legal, but then again, where would the fun in that be? We'll be back in a while. I've got something I have to do. For now, you'll just have to enjoy the hallucinations that come along. I'll see you later."

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