Ridge in Room 4 Posted April 13, 2008 “They’ve confirmed your presence and they have a motive. You have to go through with it.” A.D. Young said from the door. The man snapped his phone shut, probably calling for a trace. The call was so short there’d be no way to give an actual address. “He’s close, obviously, if he can send for you.” Dana straightened up and wiped her face dry. “Doesn’t mean a thing. D.C. can’t all be combed--” “For the right motivation it can. But it’d be easier to track you.” She wouldn’t let him see her vulnerable. She couldn’t afford to be weak around anyone else. Colin exempt, she had to be graceful around everyone. It was her way. “You’re a hacker, he has a bomb that he wants you to find without us. It’ll be computer-related.” “It won’t be easy but you know what you have to do.” “I’m more worried about why he thinks I’d be suited to hunt down a bomb.” Her voice was steady now, appearing unaffected by the previous minute. “It’ll put me out in the open even more and that usually leads to problems.” The two men went quiet. Dana wasn’t trying to communicate to him. She just thought ideas better out loud. She stood up and walked to her suitcase. “You’re talking to me more.” Jordan. She frowned, rummaging through her clothing. They had a real situation on their hands and he was getting all emotional on her. The last thing they needed was an overly protective caretaker. [A/N: you gotta admit, that was fucking funny] “Don’t read into it. I don’t trust you or any of those bastards with more than my color preference at this point.” She didn’t say anything, just turned and looked down at him. He was still sitting there, staring at the blank wall as if unsure what to say. Part of her didn’t want to say anything else, just stand there. She’d walked into too many traps in her short life that she was surprised when one hit close to home. Her body ached with tension, tension that could’ve been avoided by someone in this apartment, and she didn’t know what to do. Alan, her ex-whatever, would’ve never done this. He would’ve been stern with his demands, would’ve thought about the consequences before acting. The only thing he didn’t plan was showing her he cared, but this was one of those things he wouldn’t have screwed up. What would he do if he were her instead of him? Try to get as much in compensation as he could. . . She had an idea as she walked to the closet. It didn’t matter what they thought, she just had to convince them that they owed her, right? She stripped down to her undergarmets, not caring that there were two men in the room. It wasn’t her problem if they didn’t leave. She grabbed a gray carly knit and slipped it on, smoothing it out as she made the statement that seemed to have a life of its own. “I want to see my file, and after reading it, I want it hidden and monitored so that anyone wanting to see it has to go through you, me, or Young.” The words left her before she knew it, her heart beating loudly as excitement coursed through her. There was no hesitation in what she wanted, and she didn’t mind the satisfaction of Jordan’s crestfallen face as he registered the demands. She knew this was going to be a tough case, but the F.B.I. didn’t have a lot of footing this time around. It had been only a matter of time before something else came up, then she would request something else, but as she looked at Jordan she knew she was going to have to stand her ground. She’d been fighting herself on what they could give her, but this was important, but a locket was an heirloom—not to mention lost to both of their parties—and her file was available. This was business. “We have no way of answering that request. It was already in lockdown, and there is no way we can--” “It doesn’t take a god damn thing to hide something you don’t want found.” As if it wasn’t hard enough to fight him on this. They didn’t have time to argue. “I’ve been hidden by more than one person, you and Alan. I myself have things hidden that no one could possibly locate. Don’t you tell me it’s impossible.” It was possible, and it was possible that Jordan could lose his charge once again. Who knows what Ridge would do with the knowledge he had. So much damage, so much leeway, it must be nice to have the gusto of that man. She was a bit scared, but she’d find out more when she talked to him how unnerving the situation could be. “I’ll see what we can do.” She turned to see that Young had left the room, possibly to threaten Merriam’s job. “You’re going to give me your word.” “No.” Dana slipped on a pair of black shoes and exited the room. A.D. Young was whispering to Colin when she stopped in front of them. She set her sights on the taller of the two, Merriam. “How much did you tell him.” Young looked squarely at her. “They know where you are, that you’re a hacker, a vague notion of Svela’s relation with you.” “They know I’m a hacker. . . ” She trailed off, closing her thoughts off from her mouth. That was interesting to know, and she could have this solved depending on what Ridge wanted. The three of them stared hard at her, trying to make sense of what she just said, but she thought Young had the right look on his face. He wasn’t telling anyone that he’d probably figured out what she had. Jordan almost had it, and Colin was, well, flustered still at the thought of almost being fired because of her. Why did she suddenly feel gratified? “If we got a proper trace, Young would’ve told us. Ridge might be expecting us to waste time searching for him or trace the call,” Jordan said, entering the room. “He didn’t specify how she was to show up.” “You want to bug her?” “You already are,” she muttered, grabbing her coat. “We don’t have a team to help with bugging.” Young said. “What I can give you is the recording device on the living room table. Keep it in plain sight and they’ll most likely allow it. I don’t want to screw this up.” Dana nodded, walked to the table, and took the small device, somewhat relieved that there wasn’t much to say. Frowning, she wondered what their yearly budget was for surveillance devices was and if she got the bottom of the barrel. Maybe she just didn’t pose as much a threat as before because she hadn’t disappeared in awhile. She clammed up after that, and she went to the door with Jordan following. Jordan was sending Young a very powerful look, one that communicated a message quite clearly. “What?” she said. Jordan looked at the door, then her. He wasn’t going to say anything, was he? “What was that look, Brenner?” “Don’t think about it for now. You’ve got enough to worry about.” “That’s not reassuring. Tell me.” “No. You’ve got an appointment to keep.” The enemy was at her doorstep and it called to her. The thought of them wanting her computer skills made her heart race, and the thought of losing a charge this night raced Jordan’s. But she might get to use a computer. It had been months and part of her wanted to meet Ridge in person just so she could be handed one. Why the F.B.I. had a hacker and didn’t want her to hack was beyond her. Maybe because they knew they couldn’t control her. The air was too heavy for her, but they managed to make it down to the main floor. Of course, they could kidnap her and tie her up in a cellar as well. Best not to entertain the thought of an invitation as a promise for safety, which Ridge didn’t actually give. She could be walking headfirst into a trap. The lobby was well lit, but there was only a glass door to breach before hitting fresh air. Jordan had his gun out and in plain sight. “If something doesn’t feel right, get back inside without them seeing your face.” She nodded and reached for the door. He put his hand in her way. “Recorder?” She held it up, and he took it, checking for batteries. Satisfied that they weren’t missing—they’d had some fun times with on-tape discussions—he handed back the device. “I’ll be waiting for a cue that you’ll be okay, so don’t leave me hanging.” “If I do, it won’t be by my doing.” A second passed. Jordan looked Dana in the eyes, not sure what he was doing for a second, then exited before her. It was cold tonight. She didn’t have to wait to see her breath, and dressed as she was, she hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with it for much longer. Jordan let her catch up to him, ready to let her stand in front and take the lead. “There are too many questions going through my head right now it’s spinning. They didn’t promise me protection and they certainly didn’t ask you to be my chauffer.” “They’ll have a plan for that, they knew who you were and where to find you. That has to count for something.” “If you’d kept my file hidden properly and sources quiet, this wouldn’t have happened. As the situation stands, if I have to do something illegal in order to gain footing, you technically can’t do a thing to stop me or punish me.” “You’re right, but the government has ways of changing their methods for punishment.” Dana stared at him as though this was no surprise to her. “Yeah, I figured you’d have that reaction. Good for you. Behave like an unofficial rep for the bureau if you can. Don’t pull that crap you did on Colin’s phone.” Dana smirked then, pushing open the door with her back and turning out into the chill. “Date with trouble, Brenner. It’s unfortunate that neither of us have the job security we thought we could have.” And right before the door shut Jordan burst through after her, his eyes connected to a pair of lights connected to a dark van coming around the corner and screeching to a halt in front of them. Three men filed out of the van, the driver remaining inside. All of them wore black clothes and masks, and before either of them knew it, gun barrels were shoved into their faces. Dana’s hands reached upwards, aware of the danger she’d found. “You’re Jones?” One laughed, cocking the shotgun. She nodded. “We’re your chauffeurs. Who’s the suit?” “None of your business.” The barrel pressed into her cheek and she was suddenly against the brick building. One of the men moved from her eye sight, right next to the building. He was hiding from her view. She recalled what she saw of him. Black shirt, gloves, brown eyes, or hazel. She was tired. White shoes, Nike sign, blue socks. Nothing really distinguishable was helping her analysis, but he was still familiar to her. “You’re in no position to be a smartass, Jones. To the van.” Dana was let forward, her eyes searching for those which evaded her. “She’s calm,” the guy said. “She’s scared. Look at her face.” Another said. The second guy was right, but the first was still familiar. Who was he? “She’s biding her time. Watch her move.” They were watching her like a hawk, like she was dangerous. She wasn’t, though, at least not in her book. “Like a dragonfly ready to flit away.” It clicked. Her eyes searched for his, wanting to confirm her sudden suspicion. “Frankenstein?” A hacker. Frankenstein was a hacker working for a terrorist. Her eyes went wider when a blast of pain impacted her temple and she fell to the ground. “What the hell did you do? He wants her unharmed!” The man facing Jordan cocked his gun and told the agent to drop the gun. The command was followed immediately. “Bag ‘em both.” Despite the pain, Dana cursed and looked up in time for the bag to come down over her head. She’d guessed right, and Brenner was going to disappear as well. Damn Colin. She was dragged to her feet and to the van, where she was thrown into yet another darkness. Several thuds and threats followed and she moved to a sitting position with her head still pounding. “Who are they?” Jordan asked. She turned her head to where Jordan’s voice came from. She was in the back of the van, and close to the back door, surely. She dared not move just in case she sprained anything. Her body was ready to run out the back door, to feel for the handle and push. Instead she decided to wait for a second and answer Jordan’s question. “Hackers, at least one of them. Where’s Ridge?” “We’re the transport, keep your mouth shut.” Frankenstein. She put her hand behind her back and reached for the handle. She pulled down. Locked. Oh well. She sat back and someone shuffled near to her. “Pat her down,” that someone said. Her arms were pulled up and out, and she felt her pocket swing out a bit. She sighed when a hand went to it and she spoke. “I have a recording device in my right pocket, I want to use it for proof that I actually met someone who has information on the bomb.” Hands went over her arms and the rest of her body, lingering a bit on her chest. A growl from her kept them moving. He found the recorder and its weight fell back into her pocket. “It can stay.” Her hands came down to her sides again. “You hire freelance hackers. Are they all unwilling to do your dirty work?” “Just the hard to reach ones.” “Frankenstein wouldn’t have been able to find me. It had to be someone else.” “You must perform under pressure very well. This’ll be a good exercise for you, Jones.” She stilled and sat back, taking in this new information. Jordan hadn’t spoken. He must’ve found this as an opportunity to soak in more information against everyone, including her. The agent was quiet, so she could only assume he wanted her to be the informational outlet. “The only one I’ve heard of who could find my exact location isn’t someone I want to meet anytime soon. I’d be grateful if I were just meeting Ridge and not this other person.” “Eager little thing, aren’t you?” “It took two of the greater hackers out there to set up this meeting.” “It wasn’t just them,” Jordan said. His voice was strained. Dana was finally able to pinpoint his location. He was lying down near the front. One of the guys must’ve been leaning against him like an armrest the way he was talking. She sighed. It was going to be a long night. ~~~~ [A/N:This is a skeleton draft of the second chapter. I'm sure it'll come back and bite me in the ass sometime soon, but tell me what you think and what could go away?] [offtopic]Yeah, the judges were a little screwy this year too. Didn't make it for a third year. Maran will get her spotlight, though. Guarantee, even if I have to throw her into the mix with the Chosen. She might do better with the supernatural after awhile.