Episode 5: Contingency Plan
People exiting the train gaped and did double takes as the police crime scene unit investigated the scene. It wasn't a grisly murder, but scene like this one tended to bring out the voyeur in everyone
Holt Martin met his partner at the scene of the crime. They always seemed to pull the odd deaths. Leo Sutherland, a dapper-looking black man, arrived shortly before Holt. He was all business. He wore purple plastic gloves and jotted notes into a leather bound notebook.
"You always look like you're wearing your Sunday clothes. Don't you own jeans and a t-shirt?"
"Sure, I do. I just choose the appropriate time to wear them," Leo pointed to the body. "Cynthia Nixon, twenty-nine. Looks like a heart attack but I'm having the coroner run toxicology and checking the puncture wounds around her neck."
"They don't look self inflicted. Did anyone see her on the train?"
"We're checking the surveillance cameras at every station," Leo said. "We're bound to find something."
Holt had a feeling all they'd find would be a dead end.
Getting out of the Facility wasn't as easy as it sounded, but Phoenix Gray was determined to escape.
"Do you have a plan," Jenna asked. "Or are you just winging it?"
"What is there to plan for?" he asked.
"We want to leave, we leave." Phoenix's voice was strangely unemotional and had been from the moment she found him lying on a metal slab in Echelon's lab.
"I think it's a little more complicated than that," Marcus said. "You can't underestimate these people. They have an agenda and they want to fulfill it."
The halls were filled with a constant stream of lab technicians and subdued subjects going for treatments. The only thing the group had going for them was the element of surprise and the fact Phoenix and Jenna had not been intergraded into the community. The Facility was using a more high tech ruse to duplicate them.
"I have an idea how we can get past a majority of the guards," Marcus said.
"I'm not going to like this, am I?" Jenna was already confused. A lot of her memory seemed fuzzy and she hoped she hadn't made a mistake cutting the device out of her hand.
"The Facility doesn't know either of you," Marcus said. "See how the handlers are guiding individual subjects around? One of you will pretend to be a handler and we'll just walk out the front door."
Phoenix shook his head at the idea. "That contingency only works for two of us. I'm not leaving here without both of you."
"One of you can hide somewhere near the exit. And when we make a run for it, you come with us." Marcus seemed to be pleased with his plan, but Phoenix wasn't buying it.
"I've observed the guards and their patterns. It will be much easier to exit through a point with little guard interaction."
"That does sound a lot safer," Marcus agreed. "But the farther you delve into the Facility, the harder it will be to get out."
"So, our options are: make a run for it and potentially be killed by a guard or go further down the rabbit hole? Jenna sighed. "I really hate both options. Anyone for a Plan C?"
Elizabeth laid down in the machine Angus Farley had designed. As it moved her into position, he fiddled with the instruments and played the keyboard like a master pianist.
Light flashed around her head as Farley extracted the southern personality from her brain.
"I don't know what it is, but that personality has a voice that grates like fingernails on a chalk board." Farley pulled the bukly cassette from the chair and filed it along with the others on the wall. The wall looked like a sea of 8-track tapes in multiple colors. No one was sure what the significance of each color meant. It was meaningful only to Farley.
"I can't find the right one to fit her," he said to his assistant. "I want her part killer and part siren. Is that too much to ask?"
"Lethal combination for a killer." Esta Cooper, head of Echelon, walked in. "Still no luck, Mr. Farley?" she asked, her Australian accent more pronounced than usual.
"This is a tricky business. ADP Technology isn't just plug and play, ya know. The personalities have to mesh and work in a subtle harmony. We've come a long way since the Black Council created the Paris personality, but it's virtually obsolete now."
"But Paris is still active, is she not?" Esta asked.
"Oh, Im sure she's running around some third world country playing secret agent, but take my word for it, her days are numbered. The processing power on that chip is like Atari verses Wii. There is no real comparison. They're not even the same beast any more."
"I would like to study this Paris personality," Esta said. "Find her for me." She stood and crossed to the door. "I'm serious, Mr. Farley."
After she left the silence in the room was deafening. "Who does she think I am? Sherlock Holmes? Because that's who it would take to find Katrina Bradley these days. She had the Paris artificial intelligence inserted into her against her will over twelve years ago. It's not like the thing has GPS.
"Maybe it would be easier to track down the people who created the Paris AI. Maybe you could swipe some code or something." Farley's assistant, a small goth-like girl, spoke in mere whispers. He was surprised by her suggestion, he almost thought her deaf or mute.
"Either way, tracking down Paris is going to be a challenge.
Lisette DuPre was a woman with a mission. Following along with her father's notes had gotten her far. His research was invaluable. She had been tracking Paris for twelve years. Since her father, Jacques', death, Lisette had taken his work on as her own. Vengeance spurred her, vengeance against an agency and a man who had taken her father from her.
Finally, all her searching had been rewarded. She had tracked down the Paris personality. Following Arleen had been an inspired tactic. Arleen was Declan O'Conner's sister and her . Dec was in love with Katrina Bradley and she was the operative Jacques DuPre had implanted the Paris personality into.
Lisette could see her now. She put the field glasses to her eyes and saw Kat washing dishes like a normal housewife. She was dressed like some throwback from the 1950s. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. It was too surreal. Katrina had gone from one of the best female operatives to someone who had no inkling the definition of a dead drop.
All she wanted was revenge and swift justice. The bulky gun shook in her hand as she aimed at the woman who had haunted her dreams. Killing her would be better than killing Declan.
As she pulled the hammer back on the ancient revolver she'd stolen from the New Orleans Legacy House, a figure came out from the dark and kicked the gun out of her hand. Lisette lost balance and fell to the concrete. Tiny rocks pierced her skin. The figure towered over her like a dark silhouette.
"You're making a mistake," a female voice said. "If you want to get revenge, here is who should be on your hit list."
A piece of paper floated to the ground and Lisette snatched it up.
"Philip Lancaster and The Snake?" She was definitely familiar with Philip. He had been in charge of the New Orleans House, but the Snake was the stuff of legends."
"The snake was the assassin, but Philip was ultimately responsible for his death."
As quickly as her attacker was there, she was gone and Lisette was left with a decision. Continue with her mission and kill Katrina or look into this new direction.
Jenna hated this plan. She was hiding near the exit. She wished she could escape immediately. But she felt frozen in place. She watched as Phoenix led Marcus toward the door. They walked through the center area past the glass window of the director. They both kept their eyes forward and facing the exit.
Farley leaned over the balcony and shouted. "You there! Bring him up here now."
Phoenix glanced up and saw Farley looking directly at him. "Yeah, you!. Up here. Now."
Jenna wanted to scream. They were only one step away. She inwardly fumed.