Disclaimer: I don't own Jake 2.0. Please don't sue me.
Author's Notes: This story is un-betaed. If you find any mistakes, please let me know so I can correct them! Or, if you're interested in beta reading future Jake 2.0 stories, please contact me.
"Director Beckett, can you please come down to SatOps? We've got a situation," Tech Agent Susan Carver said into her headset.
"What's the situation?" Deputy Director Louise Beckett asked moments later as she walked into the room.
"We've just started picking up what appears to be a carrier signal for our nanites. It's originating from somewhere in the Midwest," Carver replied.
"Where's Jake?" Lou queried.
"In the lab with Diane," Kyle responded without looking up from the computer he was using.
"Get him in here. Get both of them. Let's see if we can find out what this is about," Lou ordered.
With a beep of confirmation, the ATM started spitting out money. After two minutes, it finally stopped. The girl who had been accessing the machine grabbed a three inch stack of twenties and shoved it into her knapsack. She looked into the camera and quickly erased the video, removing all traces that she'd ever been there.
"Aw, come on," Jake whined. "I'm tired of playing Project Gotham Racing. Why can't I try KOTOR this time? Talk about the ultimate Jedi mind trick!"
"No, Jake," Diane patiently explained. "You aren't here to play games. You're supposed to be refining your interfacing with technology. And since driving has real-world applications, this is what you're going to do. Now, hop on the treadmill and we'll get started."
Jake shot Diane another pleading look. He received a stern look in response and a finger pointing into the testing lab. Before he could begin his testing regimen, Kyle came into the lab at a brisk clip.
"Jake, Diane, Lou needs to see you in SatOps," he declared before turning on his heel and heading for the door. "Now," he called back over his shoulder as he exited the room.
Within moments, all three of them were at their destination.
"What's going on?" Jake asked as they situated themselves in front of the big board. It was displaying a satellite image of Chicago and was progressively focusing in closer.
"We've picked up a nanite carrier signal coming from Chicago. The last usage was from inside 'The Loop,'" Lou answered.
"What?" Jake and Diane chorused in stereo.
"We're not sure of the details yet. We just picked up the signal minutes ago," Lou responded.
"How is that possible," Diane wondered aloud.
"Jake, can you take a look and see if you can detect anything on the computers," Kyle questioned.
"I'll give it a shot," Jake said as he cracked his knuckles and peered into the monitor in front of him.
A few moments later, his head shot back up. "I'm seeing activity at several ATMs around downtown Chicago. It's obviously a person, and they know what they're doing. They've erased all the surveillance videos."
"Kyle, I want you and Jake on the first flight out there. Find out who has nanites and how they got them. For right now, this is recon only, but be prepared for anything," Lou stated.
Jake turned to Diane. "Can you reprogram the JMD to track this source?" he asked expectantly.
"Of course," Diane responded. "It'll just take me a couple minutes. Let me go grab another one from my lab."
"I'll meet you there," Jake promised.
"All packed already?" Diane asked disbelievingly as Jake appeared just 3 minutes later with a full duffel bag.
"I've got a bag made up that I keep in my locker here," Jake proudly replied. "You never know what's going to come up when you work where we do. It pays to always be prepared." When Diane quirked an eyebrow, he added, "I was a Cub Scout."
"Ah," was all she said, unable to conceal her smirk.
"So, the modified JMD," he prompted.
"Oh. Yes. Here," she said, returning to business and handing him a PDA. "I've been able to lock on to the tracking signal. This should be able to direct you to the person."
"Thanks, Diane. You're a life saver," Jake affirmed with a grateful smile.
"And don't you forget it!" she called as he left for his mission.
She sensed the men performing surveillance on her before they were able to pick her out among the hoards of people. Millennium Park was a perfect place to lose yourself in a crowd. She listened in on their radio chatter, easily slipping through the masses and eluding her pursuers.
"I really hate airports. All the electronics, metal detectors, and X-ray machines really play havoc with my nanites," Jake muttered to Kyle as they hurried down the hallways after debarking their plane.
With a roll of his eyes, Kyle couldn't help but say, "Don't worry. We'll be outside and on our way in a minute."
Jake pulled the JMD out of his pocket and flipped it open. He took a quick look at his own readings before tapping the screen and swapping to the ones coming from the recently detected source. "It's starting to zero in our target. We still need to head downtown."
"Alright. Let's go," he ordered, heading out the entrance door and flagging down a taxi.
"Where are we going?" Kyle asked as their taxi cruised along Upper Wacker Drive.
"Looks like we need to turn onto Michigan Avenue up ahead," Jake directed. "I think we're almost there."
"OK," the driver replied.
A few minutes later, Jake called for the driver to stop. He jumped out and started heading down the street, completely focused on the device in his hands. Kyle paid the driver and quickly rushed to catch up.
"We're close," Jake told him, handing over the JMD to his partner. At the questioning look, he explained. "I can track this person more easily with my senses than that monitor. But since you don't have the same advantage…"
"Thanks a lot," Kyle groused.
Jake grinned smugly before he focused his attention on locating their target. After a few minutes of searching, he finally sensed another neural presence reaching into the security cameras in the area.
"Got something!" he called out, starting walking again.
"What?" Kyle asked.
"Still tracing the source. Give me a few minutes," Jake responded.
All of a sudden, his eyes grew wide and he stopped moving. "It can't be!"
Her senses went on alert all at the same time. She'd felt this presence before, though only for a moment. With a quick scan of the crowd, she located the man she was expecting to see a half mile up the street.
"Who?" Kyle turned to ask, but Jake was already off, sprinting down the street. "Great. Just great."
He pulled out his phone. "Lou, we've got an ID, sort of. Does the name Vanessa mean anything to you?"
"Vanessa?" Lou repeated.
"Oh no!" Diane cried out.
"Hold a moment, Kyle," Lou said into the phone. "What do you know?" she directed at Diane.
"Vanessa was the name of DuMont's girlfriend. When they kidnapped Jake, she was the one that injected herself with the nanites they had taken from Jake's blood. We thought they had killed her, but we never found her body. I guess she must have survived," Diane explained.
"Kyle?" Lou spoke back into the phone. "She was one of the people that kidnapped Jake. Consider her extremely dangerous. Do what you must to bring her in."
With that, she hung up the phone and turned her focus back to the room. "Attention everyone. I need everything we have on DuMont's girlfriend. Her name is Vanessa. This is priority one."
Lou turned to the petite doctor and indicated that Diane should follow her as she left the room.
"You can't catch me," said a voice in Jake's head. While still running down the street, he quickly looked around, trying to pinpoint the location of the speaker. After a moment, he realized that the message had been sent directly into his mind by the nanites.
Instead of replying, he focused in again on his target and took off at a nano-enhanced run.
"What do we know about her nanintes?" Lou asked when she and Diane entered her office.
"She doesn't have Jake's upgraded software, so he should be faster and stronger. Unless, of course, she has reprogrammed her own nanites," Diane trailed off.
"Could she do that?" Lou inquired.
"Well, I don't know. Maybe," Diane hedged. "She is a hacker, so she might be able to figure it out. I can't begin to express how dangerous it would be, though. She hasn't had someone like, well, me, to monitor them and help out where need be."
Since she'd never fully reported what had happened in Seattle, Diane decided not to mention having saved Jake's life when she rebooted his nanites.
"I don't think it's likely she's been able to do reprogram them, though. She'd have to know exactly how the programming works and have the right equipment to transmit the upgrade, and that's very unlikely. So we should have a pretty good idea of what her abilities are. But her specific capabilities will probably be different, since she has a different skill set from Jake."
"Explain," Lou prodded.
"Well, the nanites only serve to enhance a person. They may make it so Jake is faster and stronger, but just getting them didn't give him an instant black belt in Karate or anything. They're going to augment what he could already do. Since Vanessa has different knowledge and skills, with her nanites, she's going to be enhanced in different ways from Jake."
"How many nanites does she have?" Lou asked.
"By now? Well, they should have replicated enough to give her a full compliment."
Within a few moments of starting his super sprint, Jake had closed the distance to 150 feet.
Vanessa noticed that Jake was closing in and decided to change tack. She headed into Grant Park and made it to Buckingham Fountain before he caught up.
"Vanessa, stop!" Jake called out to her.
"Why? You're going to kill me!" she yelled back.
"No, I'm not. But I am going to have to bring you in," he calmly replied.
"No, you won't!" she cried out.
Jake reached out and grabbed Vanessa's arm, spinning her around to face him. As he did, she used the momentum to throw a right cross. He had anticipated it, though, and leaned back slightly to avoid the blow. The follow-through pulled Vanessa off balance and into Jake's grip. He was quickly able to pin her arms.
The knee to the groin, though, he wasn't quite as prepared to handle. Fortunately for him, his training helped him keep a hold on Vanessa while he fell to the ground. He ended up pulling her down on top of himself but quickly rolled over. Before she realized what had happened, Jake sat on her upper thighs, effectively pinning her legs as efficiently as he had her arms.
"Now, are you going to relax and listen?" Jake wearily questioned. When she nodded, Jake took a moment to use his nanites to text Kyle's cell phone, telling him exactly where they were and giving him a situation update.
"It doesn't have to be like this, Vanessa," Jake explained. "You have been given an incredible gift. But with great power comes great responsibility."
"Thanks a lot, Spider-Man," Vanessa snarked.
Jake gave a pleased grin before getting back to business. "Seriously, what I do, what we can do, is important. Why don't you come work with us?"
"Why don't you come join me?" she retorted. "You can't honestly enjoy being a slave to the government!"
"I'm not," he replied, but without as much force as before.
"Oh yeah?" she shot back, picking up steam. "What will happen to you when you've outlived your usefulness as an agent? They're going to stick you in a cage like a lab rat."
"Maybe," he admitted. "But until then, I'm making the world a safer place. And that's the best that anyone can do. Besides," he added with a smirk, "They'd have to catch me before they could cage me."
"And how did you find me?" she asked pointedly.
"We tracked the nanites," he responded. "Oh. Right. Well, I'd figure something out."
"Ha!" she laughed. "You can't even begin to imagine how gratifying this power is when you're not being constrained by your NSA handlers. When DuMont and I…"
"DuMont has manipulated you just like he has everyone else!" Jake shot back angrily. "He doesn't care about you! Do you remember what he said and how he treated you, even just in the time I was there? Don't believe anything he told you."
Jake took a breath before continuing in a more even voice. "You are a brilliant, mentally strong, and drop-dead gorgeous woman. You are impossibly sexy. And mind-blowing in bed. And that was before. Now, you've been given super powers. But you know what? He still thinks of you like a pawn. You're just like everyone else to him: replaceable, and a means to an end. Talk about Machiavelli…"
"You didn't see his reaction after you passed out in that basement. Do you know what it was? He said, and I quote, 'Well, that's a setback.' There was no emotion in his face whatsoever. He didn't care about you AT ALL! You were just another plaything, another gofer. He treated you like a puppet, pulling the strings and machinating situations to have you do his ever bidding."
"I know what we had together wasn't real. And yet, I could tell it wasn't all pretend, either. You really are a caring, loving woman. You are in search of happiness, just like I was. But you've been abused and manipulated. You've been lied to. You have been made to believe that you were second-class and not worthy of attention and love. But it's not true."
"You deserve more, Vanessa," Jake concluded. "I don't know what I can do, but I want to help you. Recovering from having your mind messed with isn't easy. Believe me, I know. But it can be done."
During the speech, Vanessa's resistance had weakened and gradually stopped. By the time he finished, she was starting to weep a little.
"I'm sorry," she finally whispered.
"It's OK. Everything will be OK," Jake comforted. "Now, are you going to come with us? I can't say it's going to be easy to make everything right again, but I can promise that I'll be there for you, helping you every step along the way."
"Honest?" she quietly asked.
"Hey, I'm your 'husband'," Jake said back. "Would I lie to you?"
When Vanessa didn't respond, Jake decided to reaffirm his statement. "Look me in the eyes," he commanded. When she did after a few moments, he continued. "I promise I will do everything I can to help get your life straightened back out."
"Everything OK here?" Kyle asked as he came jogging up to the pair. They were still on the ground with Jake continuing to pin Vanessa down.
"Yeah, Kyle. Everything's going to be OK," he confirmed.