A Slight Detour

This is a prologue to "Searching", but can be read separately. For anyone who has read my other stuff, keep a look out for Mutua. He likes to pop up in unexpected places. Have a nice day.

Disclaimer: I don't own Inception, it belongs to Mr. Nolan. I do however have a fuzzy cat, who likes to sit on my keyboard, which is my excuse for any spelling errors you may notice. Mutua is also mine, and he can be a real pain in the nether regions, especially when playing Connect 4.

Fischer slid into the taxi and slammed the door. In the few seconds in which the door had been open, the leather interior had become soaked, and the wetness seeped through Fischer's pants when he sat down. He cursed to himself, and said brusquely to the driver, "Third and Market. Snappy."

He heard the cab's engine rev up, and then a thump as the other passenger door opened and a man wearing a sodden grey suit fell into the seat.

"What are you doing?" Fischer demanded angrily.

"What?"

Fischer looked up at the driver, who was giving him an odd, nervous look in the rear-view mirror. He was a pudgy, balding black man in his forties. Then he was a twenty something white guy with slicked back, black hair, and a leather jacket.

"Nothing," Fischer said, squinting at the black man. "Sorry."

The cab pulled away from the curb into traffic. Fischer sat in silence, watching the hallucination, or whatever it was, unfold before him. The sodden man was back, and was saying in a British accent, "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought was free."

Fischer said nothing, and worked not to stare sideways, for fear of invoking further concern in the cab driver. After all, he no longer had his father's money to protect his reputation. He had to build his own from scratch now.

The British man, it seemed, needed no prompting from Fischer, for a moment later he said, "Maybe we could share."

As though from far away, like through an echoing tunnel, Fischer heard his own voice say, "Maybe not. Hey could you pull over and get this guy out-" he broke off.

Next to the driver with the leather jacket, Fischer could now see an Asian man pointing a silenced pistol at him. He blinked, and all three men vanished, replaced by the chubby driver. Fischer shook his head, as though trying to shake it free of dust. He could still hear the British man's voice, along with his own, but the words were incoherent. Then the explosions started.

The back window shattered inward, and Fischer ducked, covering his face.

"You okay, Mister?"

He raised his head. The cab driver was looking at him again, so intent on his odd passenger that he didn't see the traffic light ahead turn green, and only stopped staring at Fischer after several seconds of insistent honking.

"Yes," said Fischer curtly, offering no explanation. He was Robert Fischer, after all. He didn't need to explain himself to a lowly cab driver. He fought to remain still as a high speed battle raged around him. Gunfire exploded from every direction. The cab driver and the British man shouted back and forth, each reciprocating to the attacks in kind. The cab bucked around, skidding back and forth over the slippery asphalt, making Fischer's stomach lurch. He would squeeze his eyes shut in terror, only to realize that the cab was driving smoothly in a straight line down perfectly ordinary, non-violent streets. Finally, the cab, all its windows now gone, turned down and alley behind a red Hyundai, and both cars stopped at a white corrugated metal door of what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. The British man got out of the car and splashed forward to push open the door, rolling it aside on squeaking wheels, and then standing aside to allow both cars to drive past him. Inside the warehouse, Fischer could see at white van with only the windshield and driver's end windows.

A man got out of the driver's seat of the Hyundai and said urgently, "Get Fischer in the back room now!" Fischer braced himself, but nothing happened. Looking out the window, he saw the cab driven by the black man pass by the Occupy Wall Street movement, and scoffed. Now the cab driver and the British man were easing the Asian man out of the cab. His shirt was stained red. They laid him on the floor. There was a loud flurry of curse words. Fischer blinked, and saw a motorcycle jerk sideways into their lane in front of the cab. The driver of the motorcycle flipped off the cab driver, and Fischer saw, with some amusement, that his helmet was decorated with a picture of a koala bear holding a sword.

Sounding extremely panicky, the man from the Hyundai bent over the Asian man and said, "Oh my God, is he shot? Is he dying? Jesus Christ!"

"I don't know," replied the cab driver. "Where were you, what happened to you?" Everything was so familiar. Fischer knew he had heard these words before, could feel them echoing in his memory, just out of reach. But what was it? He kept watching, listening for a clue, something else. And a minute later, he got it.

The cab driver said, in a forced patient tone, "Fischer's had an extractor teach his subconscious to defend itself, so his subconscious is militarized. It should have shown in the research, I'm sorry."

That was it. They were extractors. He remembered everything now, and in context, it was easy to tell it was a dream. And in real life…he'd been on his flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. But how would they have gotten to him? Because it hadn't been his private jet, he realized. That had been the time he'd flown on the public plane. And the last time he'd done that was the week after his father had died…just before he'd dissolved the company.

With fumbling hands, Fischer grabbed into his pocket for his Blackberry, and dialed a number. He knew how to deal with these types of people…

Ha HA! Now I have you hooked, and you must read "Searching". Unless, of course, you already have, in which case you don't need to read it. But thanks for reading this one. It is much appersheated. Stay in school, tip your waitresses, appreciate koalas.

-esking

P.S. Person who only reads the author's notes (you know who you are) go up 5 paragraphs before the end, and just read that part. Then you will understand Mutua. And you really should just watch Inception, if only for me.