The bullet buried itself into the wall beside Jon's head, centimeters
away from impaling him. Jon's face was chalk white as Jenny walked up to
him. She was trembling ever so slightly.
"Kyle's right," she spoke barely above a whisper through clenched
teeth. "You aren't worth it." She drew her fist back and punched him hard
in the face. His head flew back and struck the wall behind him, and then he
fell limp to the ground. She was unable to tear her stare away from his
lifeless form as she tossed both guns at him.
Kyle cautiously approached her, more than aware of the emotional
condition could make her do. For the first time since he had met her, he
was afraid of her. Was she really meaning to shoot him? "Jenny.?" he
Jenny took an unsteady step backward, shaking. "I'm done," the words
barely escaped her lips. "I'm sorry."
He dared himself to reach out and he lightly touched her arm. She
finally turned around, all of the anger fading from her expression. But
suddenly she looked away and pointed off to the side. "He's in there," she
said almost cryptically.
"Dante?" Kyle asked.
She only nodded and stepped forward toward the large steel door. Kyle
followed her worriedly. "I can take it from here, Jenny. It's okay now."
Jenny didn't reply. Instead she turned to wrap her arms around him,
holding on to him as if her life depended on it. For a moment, Kyle only
returned the embrace.
Kyle and Jenny both looked up to see Erica standing in the doorway,
along with Trek and several police officers. Kyle nodded towards Jon's
motionless form and the police proceeded to seize Jon and the guns. Erica
wordlessly went over to Kyle and took Jenny for him. He watched as the
blonde led Jenny out of the room, and Trek came up beside Kyle.
"Will she be all right?" Trek wanted to know.
"I think so," Kyle answered. "This one was just a bit too personal."
He turned back to the locked steel door. "We need to open this up."
"I'm on it." Trek headed over to the only active computer in the lab;
the one Jon had been working at. He sat down and his fingers instantly flew
across the keyboard. Within minutes, he reported, "The door is controlled
by this computer."
"Can you access it?" Kyle inquired, anxious to get inside. He
couldn't stop worrying that Dante was not in there after all, and that this
was not over.
Trek was quiet for only a few moments. "Got it."
Kyle went for the handle, noting that the door looked more like that
of a restaurant freezer.
"Wait," Trek's command halted him at once. "I've found an access
program to Dante's systems." He saw all hints of any readable expression
vanish from his face. "Oh no."
Kyle's back went rigid. "That doesn't sound good."
"They were trying to break into Dante's systems."
"How far did they get?"
"I'm not sure," his uneasiness was clear in his voice. "Kyle, be
careful. If they didn't do it right, they might've corrupted some of his
programming." He gave him a meaningful look before looking back to the
computer screen. "I'll try and undo some of it."
Kyle took in a deep breath. "All right." he said.
He pulled the door open and found himself staring into nothing but
darkness. Even the small amount of light from in the lab wasn't enough to
brighten the corners of the room. He took a step into the blackness that
seemed to stretch on for eternity.
"Light please?" he called back to Trek.
"No light," Trek replied.
"Of course not." He took in a deep breath and went in further.
Silence. But then he was rewarded with a faint response. "Kyle.?"
"I'm here, Dante. Light please?"
The silence returned.
A beam of light pinned him from the side. He spun around on instinct,
and realized that they were headlights. He shielded his eyes until the
adjusted to the light and he glanced around. It was a very small room-about
the size of a freezer-with steel-like walls, ceiling and floor. And he
found Dante in one corner with a damaged grille and dented fender.
Kyle's expression darkened. "Dante, talk to me?"
Kyle spun around at the sound of a new voice and spotted a blonde man
sitting on the ground, huddled in the opposite corner much like Dante. His
hand was to his head, and his fingers were covered in blood. Kyle rushed to
his side, hoping that Dante could wait just a little while longer.
"What happened to you, man?" he inquired. He caught sight of a name
embroidered on his white shirt: Alex Lopez.
"I am guilty," Alex mumbled, his words a bit drawn out. "I worked
with Tanner to reprogram the AI." He saw Kyle's expression harden, but he
continued to confess. "The AI and I both lost control of the car body and
it struck me, and I flew into some equipment."
"Why are you both in here?" Kyle questioned neutrally.
"We were thrown in here to be hidden."
"What'd you do to my car?"
"He inflicted his own physical damage. He tried to escape this room."
Kyle only took a step back, glancing through the open door where Trek
was still working at the computer. "Come in here, Trek, we've got some
people to take care of."
Kyle sighed as he walked through the hallways, heading for SkyOne's
garage. This case was finally closed, Bellflower Industries was out of
business, and its employees were either fired or arrested. But he was still
feeling uneasy. He hadn't seen Jenny since Erica left the lab compound with
her, and Trek was still in the garage under Dante's hood with Gil.
He felt anxious as he walked into the garage, but before he could get
to Trek and Dante, Erica stopped him.
"Jon Tanner spilled the whole thing," the blonde started, "about Alex
Lopez." She shrugged. "Actually, he spilled everything period. Intentions,
missions, goals, names, everything."
"Good," Kyle replied, "so everything is taken care of. Have you seen
"No, she's been up in her room."
Kyle heaved a long sigh. "All right, thanks."
Trek closed the hood and cleaned his hands on a rag as Gil started
clearing off the workbench. He looked over at Kyle as if he knew he had
been there. "All done," he said.
"What's the damage?" Kyle asked with concern.
"Nothing permanent," Trek answered. "Nothing I couldn't fix. And
you're welcome. No autographs, please." He grinned at Kyle and went to help
put things away.
Kyle made his way over to his partner and stopped beside the SUV.
"Dante," he said as a greeting. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm just glad to be out of that confinement," was Dante's reply.
Kyle was a bit surprised that Dante had nothing more to say. "What'd
they do to you?" He asked the question without meaning to, and as a loaded
silence pressed in he mentally kicked himself at his inconsideration.
"Nothing I really want to discuss right now," Dante spoke a bit
Kyle cringed a bit. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked." He
hesitantly rested a hand on the AI's hood. "I'm glad to have you back,
though," he said quietly, feeling a bit awkward. "You. had me worried for a
"Really?" Dante asked with more surprise than he had intended to let
"Yeah," Kyle said.
Kyle rolled his eyes and couldn't help but grin. "Yeah right," he muttered.
Jenny had entered the garage quietly, not wishing to gain too much
attention. She caught Kyle's eye as she made her way to Domino.
"Hey, Jenny," he greeted her.
"Kyle," she returned with a nod. "Everything okay now?"
"Yeah," Kyle answered. "Listen, thanks for helping me out on this
one. I know it was hard for you."
Jenny smiled. "You're welcome, but you won't have to worry about me
pressuring you to put me on a personal case again."
"Where you heading to?"
"I think I need to go for a drive." She climbed into Domino and fired the
engine, smiling at Kyle and Trek through the windshield before pulling out
of the garage.
"She gonna be all right?" Trek asked Kyle as they watched the Mustang
vanish in the distance.
"She'll be okay," Kyle answered with a nod.
Trek glanced over at him. "There's something about this that I don't
know, isn't there?"
Again, Kyle nodded. "There is," he agreed. "Jenny and Jon Tanner were
Trek's head jerked to stare at Kyle, his eyes wide. "What?"
"They were going steady all through high school and ran into each
other again a few days ago."
"Oh no." His gaze returned to the horizon where Domino had become too
distant to be seen. "Ouch. Poor Jenny."
"Yeah. But she's tough. She did well. She'll be fine."
The calm waters of the lake were shimmering with the orange beams of
the setting sun and gently playing on the smooth surface of Domino's hood.
Jenny was seated comfortably upon that hood, watching the sun as it lazily
sunk down below the horizon. It was so quiet here. It was just what she
needed for a change. As much as she loved her TKR family, she just needed
to be alone for a while. Domino was the only exception right now.
"Are you all right, Jenny?" the AI now asked into the silence that
had settled in between them for the past fifteen minutes.
A small smile touched Jenny's lips. "I will be in a few minutes," she
"I'm sorry Jon turned out this way," she said softly.
"Yeah, me too." She gazed down at the wallet-sized photo in her hand.
Jon's senior picture. "I just never dreamed... He appeared to be just like
he was in high school."
"Time changes everyone."
"Yeah," she said, "but I never knew it would be that drastic." She
was quiet for a while before she spoke again. "But that's the best thing
about pictures," she continued.
"What's that?" Domino asked.
"They never change, even though the people in them do." She held up
Jon's picture and ripped it down the middle before letting the wind carry
it down into the water. She turned away from the beautiful sight that was
the lake and climbed into the Mustang. She fired the engine, but sat there
for a short while, a rare moment when she was simply enjoying Domino's
presence. At least she would always be loved.
Finally shifting into gear, Jenny pulled away from the lake and onto
the seldom-used road, heading back home.
Please R&R :D