After an intense I.T. session, Robbie was able to sync up the wireless video signal to Tori's Pearphone.
"Okay, there you go," Robbie handing Tori back her phone. "All ready to go. You should get the video in real time…more or less."
Tori glared at him bemused. "What do you mean by that?"
"Well, depending on the distance and rate of buffering; there should be a delay by about a minute, give or take."
"It's fine. It will do."
"Tori?" Robbie asks, adjusting his glasses.
"Are you going to tell me what all this is for?"
Tori almost dropped her newly programmed phone at the question. "What?"
Robbie folds his arms judgingly. "Come on, Tor. You've been acting very shady."
Tori thought and when she realized she was letting too much time pass, she blurted out the first thing. "It's a prank. A prank on Trina." She adds a smile to sell the story.
"You know; remember that time when she made me flunk the driver test last month? Because her stupid car failed inspection."
"Well, I am trying to pull off the greatest practical joke ever and I want it all for prosperity." She pockets her phone. "You think I like being the only one of my friends without a license?"
"Okay, okay; let's not get into that again. Touchy subject, got it."
Tori leans in close enough to fog up the boy's lenses. "Can you keep this to yourself? Don't tell even Cat. I don't want Trina to find out second hand."
"It's in the vault. Just promise me something."
"You're still worrying me. Whatever you're up to; it's not sitting right with me. I just don't want you to go past a point you can't come back from."
Tori's guard was up but she couldn't help but show an appreciative face for the concern. "Thanks, Rob."
Two days after the initial surveillance setup. Tori's room was dark except for her computer screen. She watched the monitor with intent, the display split into four corners. Jade's domicile had an eye in the sky. She bathed in the emerald glow from the PC monitor; night vision was her only means of seeing.
At school today, Jade was in a particularly foul mood, even for her. Every time someone approached her or tried to talk to her, she was jumpy. She even blew off Cat. There were very hard feelings against Beck and no feelings at all for the sisters Vega. But Cat Valentine? Even Jade wasn't that heartless. And yet there she was, even more of an island.
Only Tori knew the truth. Jade West had more than her fair share on her mind. She wouldn't be surprised if the world was on her shoulders right now. Tori noticed something strange with her display all of a sudden. She rubbed her eyes to make sure it wasn't an illusion. Color. Jade's house had power again. Now able to see much better than ever before, the emptiness of the house was more obvious.
Tori watched as Jade moved in and out of her house several times, each time carrying in a box. She must be emptying her car. Were these the same boxes as before when she was hiding in the backseat? Once there was six boxes total in the foyer, Jade takes out her phone and dials while fumbling through the boxes. Her back was to the camera facing the front door, so Tori couldn't make out what was in those boxes.
Jade paces around, talking on the phone. The audio is muddled. Tori was kicking herself that these little cameras were not capable to record listenable sound from inside those damn ducts. But then the computer's speakers reverberated with a sound loud enough to make the vent shake. Jade was yelling at the person on the other line but the echo made it totally inept.
This is getting nowhere fast, Tori thought. Even if I am seeing what could very well be the answer, my reconnaissance is a failure. I may not be flying blind but I sure feel deaf at the moment.
Some time passes. Tori didn't check her computer's clock. And Jade is now seen running to the front door.
It opens and two tall, darkly-dressed men barge into the house. Jade backs up, gesturing to the boxes lying on the floor. One of them crouches down to check the boxes while the other talks to Jade. The checker stands up and says something to the other guy. This makes the one talking to Jade pull out a gun.
Tori's heart sinks.
Jade puts up her hands in a defensive matter, apparently trying to plead with the gunman. The other runs out and in less than half a minute comes back in holding something small, square and black. The man pointing the gun at Jade grabs the object with his free hand and brandishes it.
Next thing Tori hears is a horrendous boom amplified by the camera's mic. Jade collapses, slumping into the entrance to the dining area, out of Tori's sight. Panic and grief rose like a storm inside her chest. She couldn't see Jade; only the shooter walking out of the house with his partner in tow.
Tori dials 911 and gets put on hold. Suddenly the call was lost. Shit. And Dad was away at a police conference. It was then she knew what she had to do.
She locks up the house, making sure not to wake anybody. Tori checked Trina's key for the right one and with that Tori went from following to grand theft auto.