CHAPTER 2

"Sir, Dunbar is gone. We checked the whole hotel floor. After we couldn't find anyone, we checked the room again with the infrared tracer, and there were high heat signatures on the inner door handle, the floor near the door, the fridge handle, and the recliner in front of the TV. He left the room not five minutes before we got there." The soldier stood at attention, waiting for the captain's reply.

The captain looked down at the packet of papers sitting on the dash, legs hanging out of the black Lenco BearCat's passenger door. He breathed in deep, then sighed. The soldier, Ben Giles, knew that Captain Bard was angry, and wished very much that he wasn't here right now. Bard looked up at Giles with his squinty black eyes. "I really hope that you have the security footage from the hotel."

"We're working on it now. The owner relies on his son for 'technological' jobs, and he is currently out of town, so we have to find the footage in the computer ourselves. It won't take long." Bard nodded, and Giles headed around to the back side of the van where Bellick waited. "I knew I should have taken a sick day today." Giles said to her. "First, those weird-ass guys come in yesterday… Did you see their badges? First Born or something like that? I haven't ever heard of a branch like that."

"First Sons, and I know. But apparently they have some influence with things to do with MacGrath and other 'Conduits'. The thing I don't understand is, why do they need SWAT to bring in some fat guy? Why not just get a police officer to do it? He wouldn't fight back or anything like that." Bellick brushed her hair behind her ear. "Waste of taxpayers' dollars."


The bullet tore through the target just off center. Zeke lowered the Colt Python. "Now THAT is what I am talking about! Even if I miss the pupil, I'll hit 'em right between the eyes!" He started to load another six .357 shells into the cylinder when someone touched his arm. Zeke swung around and aimed the Colt at the man, who instinctively grabbed the barrel and twisted the gun out of his hands. "Scared me half to death! God!"

The man stared at Zeke for a moment, then spoke. "I've been asked to bring you to somebody. Right away." The man did an about face and started to walk away. Zeke followed him, out of the shooting range, down the hall, and into an elevator. They went down.

"This place is really deep, isn't it? These elevators off the main shaft… How far down does it go?" The man looked at Zeke out of the corner of his eye.

"That's classified information."

"The goddamn deepness of a building is classified?! You guys really don't want me to know much about you, do you?"

"On the contrary. You are about to learn more information about us than I could ever hope to know." The doors opened. "Please, continue down the hallway. There is only one door, at the very end. Just knock." Zeke exited, and the man pressed the close button.

He arrived at the door in thirty seconds. On the black door was a symbol. It had the edge of the earth visible in a circle, with a shield 'flying' away from it, and two stars. Around the edge of the circle read "Strategic Defense Initiative – Department of Defense".

The door opened to a room with a large black desk near the back. The lights were only on near the door, so, though he could see a silhouette, Zeke couldn't make out any features on the person sitting behind the desk. "Please Zeke, take a seat." It was a woman. Her shadowed arm gestured to the chair seated in front and to the right of the desk.

Zeke walked slowly over to it, pulled it out, then sat down. "Do you know who I am?" the woman asked.

"Um… Not a clue. But I would love to get to know you."

"You caused me a bit of grief a few months ago…" She leaned forward, face coming into the light. "My name is Moya Jones. Nice to meet you in person."


Giles put the DVD in the case and walked it over to Captain Bard. "Captain, if you'll follow me, I have the security footage from inside the hotel." Bard stood up from the passenger seat and followed Giles to the rear of the BearCat. He handed the DVD to Bellick, who placed it into the computer's tower. Three seconds later, a window with a black and white still popped up on the monitor. Bellick pressed the spacebar as Bard bent over and pushed down his glasses to get a better look.

"We cropped it to the point of interest." The footage was of the hallway outside of Zeke's room. Two men in black suits with crew cuts exited the elevator looking down at their watches, then headed out of screen. The image changed to another angle. They arrived at a door and knocked. Seconds later the door opened, with Dunbar in the frame. They men stood there for a moment, obviously conversing, when one of them checked his watch.

"What was that?" Bard asked.

"We figure that he checked his watch so he could give Zeke an amount of time before we arrived. How they knew that, we aren't sure, but they look government so-"

"Looks can be deceiving. Continue." Bard said as he looked back at the screen. Dunbar went back into the hotel room, and the video jumped to when he exited the room with his shoes on, locking the door behind him. The camera angle changed again, this time to the parking lot where a few cars were parked. The three men exited the building and got into a black SUV, which promptly drove away.

"And then," the imaged buzzed, fast forwarding, "we arrive. But that isn't all. If we go back to the hallway," the angle changed back to when Dunbar had just left his hotel room. Promptly after, a man came down the hallway from around a corner, long brown hair covering almost his whole head, leaving just his nose peaking through. He walked right up to Dunbar's door, a black book sized object in his hand. He opened the door, then entered, leaving it ajar behind him. Within ten seconds or so, he exited, hands empty. He then left the same way he came.

"Did you notice anything strange?" Giles asked Bard.

"Do you mean besides the fact that a junkie just appeared out of nowhere and dropped off a little black box for Dunbar?"

"The door was locked, and the man just opened it without a key, or lock picks. It just opened. As for the black object, we are searching the room, but no other high heat signatures were found in the room, so unless it is in the fridge or recliner, it just disappeared."