Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chapter 3: The Players

Conner kept his eyes on the Martins as they proceeded to go into their mansion.  One by one they all flocked out in different directions.  The young girl Sarah Martin was slightly think but shows signs of constant health.  Her jet black hair seemed to shimmer as she walked.  The young operative watched her on the cameras and for a brief moment, it did seem like was floating as she walked.  Conner shook it off.  It had to be her white dress; it had to be.  He switched the cameras to check on the other Martins.  Victor Martin was overseeing some kind of removal from his SUV.  Conner blinked at the sight of the man’s outfit.  It looked like something out of 1989.  He wore a white and yellow free flowing overcoat; complete with shoulder pads.  His shirt was a neon green and blue mix.  “Ugh,” Conner grunted, “Adam Ant called, he wants his suit back.”

Victor and his young nephew Tony proceeded in doors.  Jeffery was left behind; forced to carry two large boxes by himself.  The young man struggled to maintain his footing.  From the noise coming into the speakers, Conner surmised it was bottles.  Perhaps this was the wine they were so famous for?  As the older man with slicked black hair walked in his looked to Tony.  The young operative switched the dial a bit up as they were in range of the microphones. “I know how it can be, Tony,” whispered Victor, “I was young once too, you know.  You are a very special boy.  We both know that.  But you must start doing your job.  We all have to do our job.”

“I know.” Tony muttered.

“What job?” Conner blinked.

“Well . . . then help your cousin with that.” The older man pointed.

Jeffery stumbled into the back door with the two boxes.  He glared at the blonde haired young man.  “Yeah, bout time.” He snapped.

“Sorry, It didn’t dawn on me.” Tony again mumbled.  Whatever they were up to, the young man was acting pretty disinterested about the whole thing

“Yeah, I’ll DAWN on you if you don’t get on the ball.” His cousin grunted.

“ Oh, you Cretini.” Victor shoved the blonde boy ahead of him.

Conner twitched his eyes.  This group of people were suspected of being serial killers.  He had to admit they were the best dressed serial killers he ever laid his eyes on.  Long ago, he remembered a story Mike had told him about how they took out a family of murderers in Chicago.  These people were unwashed and insane.  Not only were the Martin’s “fashionable”, it seemed they all shared that notion.  Rarely did the Son ever copy the Father but from Jeffery’s turned up collar and light pinkish Polo Shirt, Conner was wondering why these people weren’t hosting Project; Runway.

Jeffery positioned the box on the counter.  The young operative then used the camera to zoom closer to the young man’s chest.  He noticed something hanging out of his front shirt pocket.  Conner’s eyes bulged at the sight of the object.  It was the handle of a tooth brush.  “He . . . .he carries it around with him?” the operative blinked at the vanity, “Who . . .who ARE these people???”

“So what’s going on tonight, dad?” Jeff then asked his father.

“Well, we have to bottle the two downstairs,” the elder informed him, “And Sarah is coming in with six more tonight.”

“Six! All right!” his son laughed.

Conner felt the hairs on the back of his next twitching.  The only “six” he was aware of was the girls arrived in the next few minutes.  Victor said they needed to bottle the two downstairs.  The young operative slowly turned around toward the metal door near the vat.  If Victor was referring to bottling the two down stairs and if the six meant the arriving girls, then for all the operative knew; there were currently two victims right behind him.  Conner then stood up and started to get out his lock pick kit.  He had to work fast to get within.  He then huffed when he heard one of the doors from the stairs opening.  He glanced in time to see Sheila starting her decent.  He quickly shuffled his feet over to a nearby corner, quickly activating the Chameleon Stick.  The grid surrounded him and he was then blanketed in the hologram.  Conner remained perfectly still and silent as the older woman walked near him. 

She then leisurely approached the steel door.  Pulling out a key from around her necklace, she leaned down and unlocked the door.  Conner gritted his teeth.  Because of her holding the key so close to the chest, that meant getting it would be impossible.  The older woman then opened the door and strode in; clicking on the light as she did so.  Conner leaned his head over best he could without slipping out of the hologram.  He didn’t see much more than he already did.  He saw the massive conveyor belt that contained bottle after bottle.  In the back was the strange long wooden boxes with tubes coming out of them.  Conner blinked; he could have sworn he saw the same box in the kitchen upstairs.  Sheila calmly picked up a box on a nearby counter and then turned to leave the room.  She gently nudged the metal door shut leisurely as if she was bringing in the groceries.  The young operative watched her as she walked up the stairs and closed the door.

Conner finally breathed.  The Chameleon Stick continued to do its job.  He then rushed back over to the door and saw it was still locked.  However, there was another benefit.  Sheila left the light on.  That’ll make seeing inward better with his fiber optic camera.  The young man then turned back and walked toward the monitors.  He glanced at the Martins who were still in the kitchen.  He didn’t hear what the bulk of the conversation was about but Victor seemed depressed.  “The problem is Sheila and I might need to make a delivery.” He mumbled.

“What is with this emo crowd?” Conner grunted.

“That’s no problem, Tony and I can handle it,” answered Jeffrey.

“I’m not so sure.” His father whispered his reply

The mother of the group then interrupted them and placed the box she brought up from the basement onto the table. “These have to go too, “ said Sheila.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, what’s this?” her son checked the box abruptly, “This is a special vintage!”

“Oh, Jeffery, don’t be so selfish.  Think of the poor, starving Augers.” Sheila then forced her son to put his collar down on his Polo shirt.

The operative tilted his head in confusion.  Who were the Augers?  Jeffery walked past his mother and flipped his collar back up. “Those animals.” Jeffery rolled his eyes.

Conner pulled out a small notebook and wrote down the Augers within.  He could only assume it was another family not as well off as the Martins.  However, AGAIN, that didn’t make a bit of sense in regards to how serial killers were supposed to act.  Jeffery swaddled back over to the camera and Conner couldn’t help but laugh as his up-turned collar.  “So the father is an Adam Ant fan and the son wants to be in the douche-bag hall of fame.” The operative sighed, “yeah, this is gonna be a fun mission.”

“They’re here!” screamed Sarah as she skipped past her family. 

“Good! Come, darling.” Victor guided his wife to follow the daughter.

Conner took a deep breath.  The girls with Kelli had finally arrived.  He steadied himself to keep his reflexes sharp.  Whatever was about to happen, he needed to make sure they were safe.  The young operative clicked his knuckles again and then checked on the two guys still in the kitchen.  Jeffery was picking up the boxes his mother asked him to give to these Augers.  Tony, like for the last few minutes, looked royally depressed.  “What’s the matter with you, anyway?” his cousin asked him.

“I don’t know . . . . . bored,  I guess.” Tony sighed.

“Bored?” Jeffery scoffed, “Well, that’s going to change pretty soon, huh?  I mean, we’re on our own tonight.”


“So . . .you heard him.  We got six, that’s got to be some kind of a record.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t think you understand, Jeff.  I’m not interested in that stuff anymore.”

“Oh, la-tee-da.”

Conner scratched the side of his cheek.  Tony seems so depressed, he might as well be borderline suicidal.  He watched the door men work their way to the back side door that led to the massive garage. Tony lowered his center of gravity to hold onto the box and then open the door at the same time.  “Open the door.” Jeffery urged.

Tony kept trying to work it open.

“Open the door . . . OPEN THE DOOR!”

“Just a minute!” Tony snapped back.

“How hard can it be to open a stupid door?”

“For you, Beavis, probably QUIET hard.” Conner smirked at their stupidity.

They tried to work their out of of the door and now the tables were turned.  Jeffery was having the same probably his cousin was.  Tony didn’t hesitate to stomp on him for it,” “Will you close the door? . . . . .Will you close the door?  HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO CLOSE THE DOOR?”

After the two bumbling morons left the building, Conner switched the cameras back to the main driveway.  A large rusty old Stationwagon slide into the driveway.  He could hear the girls singing along to some Katy Perry song.  The young man smirked, feeling a little eager to see what the girls looked like.  As they drove in, the vehicle cut it’s engines.  One by one, the girls began to file out.  They were an interesting mix.  Conner spotted brunettes, a redhead, a blonde and oddly enough, a young boy.  He couldn’t be more than 12 or 13.  The operative blamed poor Intel; SCAT directives mentioned nothing about some kid.  The blonde got out and then paused as she pointed toward an outcropping of bushes.  “Hey, did you guys see something moving over there?” she asked.

“You know, Ashley, I think it’s your imagination.” Another brunette said.

“Check out the boat!” the young kid laughed as he pointed down by the lake.

“I’m so embarrassed.” The amber haired girl sighed

“This isn’t exactly what I imagined though,” said the young, spunky redhead.

“Has anybody seen my Louis Vuitton bag?” said the clearly rich girl.

“Which one, you got about a million of them!” retorted the young kid by her side.

“Back off, dork face!” Amber Hair replied, “You just better be thankful I brought you along.”

“The only reason you brought me along is cause mom made you!” the little boy yelled.

“SHUT UP!” the rich girl threatened to hit him.

Conner raised an eyebrow.  So the little boy and the rich girl were brother and sister?  Duly noted.  The redhead made a comment how fun the weekend was going to be with the rich girl bickering with her little brother.  The operative then found his fellow SCAT member.  Kelli Medd slowly walked around; pretending as if she was enjoying the view.  She then kneeled down to the owl shaped statue.  Judging from the way she was glancing within, this was one of the cameras she was briefed on.  “You with me, Control?” she whispered, obviously not knowing Conner’s name.

Conner smirked as he quickly figured out how to give her a signal.  He briefly turned the driveway camera on and off.  In essence, it caused the owl’s eyes to blink.  She smirked and winked back at him.  “Watch our backs,” she whispered, “We’re going in.”

Conner smiled at the confidence of his fellow agent.  He knew she was probably an excellent undercover operative, otherwise they wouldn’t have chosen her for this assignment.  The agent then saw Sarah approaching the group.  Her bubbly and seductive demeanor shined through.  “Hi, guys!” she laughed.

“Hey, Sarah!” Ashley playfully hugged her.

“I was so afraid you decided not to come.” She smiled as she parted from her friend.

Conner felt uneasy.  If the young woman was a serial killer then the college co-eds were in for a rude awakening.  “Oh, no way, I’ve been looking forward to this all month,” said the other brunette.

“Sarah, this is beautiful by the lake.” Ashley commented.

“Really?  It looks more like a swamp.” The redhead replied.

“Hi, Megan,” Sarah said sarcastically.

Conner smirked over the playfully dim-witted redhead named Megan.  He liked her already.  Through the cameras he spotted Victor and Sheila eyeballing the girls from a side window.  The black haired man seemed to be almost licking his lips. “Looks like a healthy bunch.” He pointed out.

“Yes, it should be a good weekend.” His wife sneered.

“Too bad we must visit the Augs tonight.  I’d much rather stay and visit with our new guests.”

“Oh, Victor, we can’t neglect the poor Augers.”

“Augs? Augers? Who are these guys?” Conner whispered to himself, clearly confused.

“My dear, your charity work is beginning to be much too much.  Come.  Let’s go visit our guests.”

Conner switched the feed on the cameras so she followed them out into the front porch.  The elder couple strode hand in and hand.  Their joyfulness was sickening in the agent’s eyes.  He couldn’t wait to arrest them and get this mission over with.  “So these are your lovely friends from college.” Sheila pointed out to her daughter.

“Welcome to our little getaway.” Victor said, with his voice similar to an evil guest host from a 50’s TV horror show.

“Father . . . . .I’d like you to meet Cindy.” Sarah began the introductions.

“Hi.” The spunky brunette greeted.



“Megan.” she grinned

“Hey!” the redhead said, practically jumping.


“Hi,” the rich girl said eloquently.

“Her little brother Danny.”

“Sup?” the little kid waved.

“And?” Sarah pointed toward Kelli with confusion.

“Kelli,” the operative introduced herself. 

“Play it cool, Kelli.” Conner watched her intently.

“Yeah, Kelli is my biology class.” Ashley patted her back, “She’s super rad.  I hope you don’t mind, Sarah.”

“Oh, any friend of yours is a friend of mine.” The brunette giggled.

Kelli smiled; pretending to be blushing.  She knew she needed to get close to the Martins.  She then strode up to Victor, extending her hand.  “Nice to meet you, Mr. Martin.” She said.

The short brunette man took her hand and gently kissed her knuckles.  Kelli was slight taken aback by how cold he felt. “Please call me Victor,” he whispered with a flick of his eyebrows.

“So charming.” Lisa giggled.

“This is my wife Sheila.” He made the final introduction.

“C’mon, everybody, let’s go into the house,” the older woman invited.

Back in the basement, Conner sighed and leaned back into his chair.  He gently rubbed his right eye.  “Well, we know the players.” He whispered, “Time to start the game.”

Then something odd caught his attention in the monitors.  Conner looked at the camera focused on the hallway.  For some reason, two strange men in gray jumpsuits and full gray head masks were stumbling across the blue carpet.  The operative looked back into the garage where he saw Tony and Jeffery still trying to figure out how to load the boxes in the SUV.  If they were by the car, then who were these two men at the hallway?

“What the hell?” Conner muttered.   

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Part 2: Burrow

Conner huffed as he finally reached the row of bushes signaling the entrance to the basement.  The young man pulled out his pistol, crouching down and scanning the area.  He saw no presence of any animals and the other house neighbor seemed too far for anybody to see him.  He then kept low and worked his way toward the house.  The slightly dirty path scuffed his boots as he ran.  He then reached the stairway leading downward to the outside entrance.  Below in the small alcove was nothing out of the ordinary.  There were two dark green lawn chairs and an old grill.  Conner paused for a moment in front of the cooking device.  It looked old, like 1950s old.  He wondered if it still worked and why they wouldn’t just buy a modern one.  The young specialist then approached the door.  True to his team’s word, the door was unlocked.

Conner slowly entered the building.  The basement was dimly lit by two overhead lights.  A small veil of must hung in the air.  Once he was inside, he turned around and locked the door.  The young man holstered his weapon then took a look around.  Ironically the control panel was incredibly easy to spot; it was out in plain view.  It had a standard keyboard with several buttons toward switching camera views.  Conner then leaned down to see there was a master control switch right above the keyboard.  What made it even more interesting was the fact it was color coded.  “Seriously?” he whispered.

“Conner, you read us?” Mike said over the radio.

“Yeah, copy that, Mike.” The young man leaned down to check the underside of the control panel, “Any signs of the suspects?”

“Negative. You’re still in the clear.”

Conner then pulled out his automatic screw driver.  He proceeded to unlock the bottom panel below the device.  After he removed it, then pulled out a copy relay switch.  “Camera feeds look basic.” He commented, “Splicing in the override circuit panel now.”

“Copy that.” Mike confirmed.

Conner continued his work.  For him, it was child’s play.  A cut wire here, a splicing there and he was able to get the system working.  Whenever he grew up, other kids were playing with Barbie dolls and Hotwheels.  He was taking apart the family toaster, making it function better.  He just had a natural ability to electronics.  It was what made him a valued member of SCAT.  Conner then placed the panel back and then leaned back up.  Looking up at the cameras, he started to press the button that switched to multiple views.  “Mike, you getting that?” he spoke into his radio.

“Yeah, confirmed.” His friend replied, “We’re seeing all the views of the cameras now.  Man, this is some messed up stuff.  Where are they recording this?”

Conner stood up and checked around the panel.  He then looked for circuit wires from the TVs.  He didn’t find any.  “Weird.” He whispered.

“What’s wrong, Conner?” Mike asked.

“If they are recording this . . . . .I don’t see how.” He looked up and down, “I’m see no connection cables to recording devices.  No VCRs, no DVDs, nothing.”

“That is odd.  Why would they need the cameras if they weren’t recording this?” Mike said over the radio.

“Ignore that for now.” Simms then came over the channel, “Eaton, can you give us a further description of the room you are in?”

Conner turned around.  He looked around the basement area.  It was cramp and full of old paints and dirty bottles.  “Uh . . . .over near the south wall is a strange large pipe.” He said into the radio, “Plus a stairway leaning up toward it.  In fact . . . . .there are over three stairways in his place.  Why . . . why would they need three stairways to the basement?”

“They are serial killers.” His commander replied, “There is no explanation for their behavior.  What else do you see?”

“This large piping.” Conner looked up to the ceiling, “It seems to be structured throughout the house.  They are leading . . . . .well, there are leading into a giant vat.”

“A vat?” his boss questioned.

“Yeah, it looks like one of those big winery stills.” The young man walked over to the large, silo-like container, “I think this is where they store their wine.  These things are airtight and sealed with welding.”

“You mind telling me how you know that?” Simms asked.

“I watch a lot of Discovery Channel, sir.” Conner grinned.

“Of course you do.” The older man chuckled on the radio, “what else do you see?”

“Uh . . . just to the left of the still is a gray door.” He cautiously approached it, “Looks metal . . .gray colored paint.”

“Yes, that’s the door we couldn’t get access to in time.  Since it’s a metal door, any sign of us trying to open it would have been obvious.”

Conner glanced back at the door he came in from.  It was a simple wooden door with an ancient door knob.  Easily broken in.  He wondered why they were more concerned about protecting the innards of the basement but not preventing the basement from being breeched in the first place.  The young specialist leaned down to examine the door knob.  “It’s a modern knob.” He commented, “Standard key lock.  Can’t tell what sort of bolt it is.  I can probably pick it  but that’ll take time.”

“See if you can look around the door.” Simms asked.

“Copy that.  Switching to fiber optics.”

Conner then unzipped a side pouch on his vest and pulled out a small video monitor.  He quickly pulled out a fiber optic cable then attached it to the bottom.  He slowly then slid the cable underneath the door’s bottom.  He stared at the black and white screen but didn’t make out much.  He saw several sliding racks not to mention several bottles.  He couldn’t get a good look but there were some strange big devices attached to the ceiling.  “Anything?” Simms said over his radio.

“Hard to say, sir.” The specialist sighed, “It seems to be the rest of the winery.  There is a ton of strange looking devices up above, with several tubes leading into a processing vent that has tubes to a conveyer belts of wine bottles.”

“So we found the rest of the winery.” The commander commented.

“There is still something strange to that, sir.”

“How so?”

“Well . . . .if they are making wine, where are they putting in the grapes?” Conner looked around at the ceiling, “These . . . large tubes are all going into the still but that kinda suggests they are dumping the grapes within the house.  How does that make any sense?”

“Guess what, Eaton . . . .that’s your job to find out.  Now make sure you know how to operate the traps before they get home.”

“Yes, sir.”

Conner quickly pulled the fiber optic cable back out and shoved it back into his vest. He then strode over toward the computer system.  He gently checked the camera feeds.  He stared off into what seemed to be the living room.  After checking the menu on the screen, it said ACTIVATE underneath the file labeled CURRENT CAMERA VIEW.  The young man then pressed the activate button.  He jumped a bit at the sight of the stairs giving way to form a slide into an opening trap door.  “Yeesh!” he gulped.

“Eaton, what’s the problem?” Simms asked over the radio.

“No problem, sir.” Conner watched the screen as the stairs reformed to look like actual stairs, “I just figured out how to use the traps.  Seems . . . . .quite easy in fact.”

“That’s why we brought you.” The leader sighed, “Now that you got that under control, I want to make sure something is perfectly clear.  Kelli Medd’s life is in your hands.  I want you to make sure nothing happens to her or the girls.”

“Copy that, sir.  I’ll do my job.”

“Any questions?”

“Yeah, one . . . . does Kelli know I’m in here?”

“She knows an operative is in the control room.  She doesn’t know who you are.  So make sure you introduce yourself after the mission is over.”

“Well . . . it would be the polite thing to do.” Conner chuckled.

“All right, get use to the surroundings and tuck in for a long night.” Simms sighed, “You’ll hear from us again in forty five minutes.  Simms out.”

Conner spent the next twenty minutes studying every aspect of the strange basement.  Most of the items tucked away in metal racks was everything typical of a basement.  Dust collected on old tools, wooden debris and a slight abundance of mason jars.  The young man still couldn’t get over the three sets of stairs.  The operative checked his watch.  He had twenty five more minutes before the suspects arrived in their home.  He decided to get more Intel before they arrived.

Conner jolted up from his chair and walked toward the first stairway.  Curiously, it had no railings.  He gently climbed up till he was above the door.  Using his fiber optic cable again, he slowly peered out beyond the bottom of the door.  Whatever this door was, it led directly into the foyer.  He twisted the fiber optic up again and saw the door had no typical handle.  Just two African looking head-masks.  Conner smirked as he knew what type of door didn’t have a handle.  “False door.” He whispered, “Got it.”

Conner jumped down the strange steps and then strode up to the next set.  After shoving the fiber optic below the bottom of the door, he saw he was looking now into the living room.  It was like any typical living room; couch, loveseat, coffee table, even the fireplace had photos of the Martins on it.  Near the left side of the fireplace as a stereo set.  To the right was a desk, adorned with papers and books.  Conner twisted the fiber optic cable back upward to see what sort of door he was dealing with.  Again, it wasn’t a door.  This time it was a book case.  “Another false door,” he whispered to himself, “What are these people up to?”

Conner shifted the fiber optics back in his vest.  As he turned, he studied the stairs.  Like the first said, they had no railings.  He gently rubbed the stair he was sitting on.  It was soft metal, possibly aluminum. The young operative looked upward by instinct and saw a massive metal tube mounted on the ceiling, leading right into the vat.  Conner rubbed his cheek.  These people were making wine?  Is it possible that that the reason he saw no grapes in the basement was because the grapes were INSIDE the house above?  The young operative was plagued with confusion and doubt about this case, not to mention the fact it hadn’t even begun yet.

The young man strode over to the massive vat.  He leaned down his head and gently tapped it.  It wasn’t hollow by any stretch.  He heard something heavy within from the tapping echoes.  Conner shifted back around and tried to find a peephole; a maintenance drain, anything.  Like he remembered off the Discovery Channel, the vat was air tight.  Conner then stood up, wondering what he was going to be doing for the next twenty five minutes. 

Then specks of dust fell on his hair.

He quickly brushed it off and then looked above.  Minor bits of creaks and pops sounded off above him.  It sounded like someone walking in the upstairs section of the house.  Conner was under the impression that wouldn’t be possible.  The young operative quickly backed into a corner.  As he started to fumble for the Chameleon Stick, he activated his radio.  “Mike, you copy, over?” he asked.

“Go, Conner, what’s up?” he replied.

“Mike, you said the Martins aren’t in the house for another twenty five minutes, right?”


“Then why is in the house now besides me?”

There was a short pause on the radio.  “Are you sure someone else is there with you?” Mike then asked.

“Yes, there is someone walking above me.” Conner then activated his Chameleon Stick, “There is a bunch of creaking above me in the rafters.”

The young operative saw his reflection in the massive metal vat.  Within seconds he was surrounded by a green holographic grid.  By the thumb of another heartbeat, he vanished.  Conner stared at the reflection with amazement. The Chameleon Stick adapted to his surroundings in the corner and copied it over him.  Even in the reflection of metal, he seemed invisible.  “Whoa.” He whispered with a mischievous grin.

“Conner,” Mike came back on the radio, “We just did a thermal reading of the house.  There is no one else in there but you.”

The young man blinked.  “Are you sure?” he asked.

“I know how to use a thermal-graph, Mr. Eaton.” Swanson came over the radio.

“Yes, ma’am.” He looked up the ceiling.  The moaning and creaking had stopped.  “I guess . . . . it was just the house settling in.”

“It’s just pre-mission jitters.” Mike told his younger friend, “Just settle in and you’ll do fine.”

“Yeah,” Conner clicked off the Chameleon Stick and in the metalized reflection, he became visible again, “On a side note, I just did a successful test of the Chameleon Stick.”

“Good to know it works.  Just calm down and get ready.”

“Copy that.” Conner sighed. 

The young man stared up at the ceiling.  If the house was settling in, he wondered why it would make so much noise?  The operative had a flash of horror movies where the houses were alive.  He then flicked his head from side to side.  He was about to bring down a deranged family of serial killers.

The last thing he needed was to throw horror stories in the mix.


Conner thankfully found an old rubber ball buried in dust in a distance corner of the basement.  He took the time to bounce it off the floor, ricochet onto the wall and bounce back to him.  Waiting was always the worst part of the missions.  However, this was what the young man sighed up for.  It was a life of excitement, even though most of their missions were top secret.  Conner bounced the ball off the distance wall a few more times but then lost it when his radio went off.  “Conner, do you read?” Simms said over the radio.

“Yes, sir.” The young operative stood up.

“It’s time, son,” the southerner whispered, “The Martins have been spotted.  They’ll be pulling into the parking lot in under three minutes.”

“Copy that, sir.  I’ll be ready for them.”

“Good luck, Eaton.  Keep those girls alive.  Go silent on your radio now.”

“Thank you, sir.  Shutting off radio now.”

Conner flipped the switch off his radio; killing it’s power.  He sighed as he looked at the monitor screens.  He was officially on his own.  He would have Kelli to watch his back but the majority of the time, he’ll be watching hers.  On the monitor focusing on the drive way, a massive gray Sedan came up it’s incline.  Behind them the sun had finally started to set.  Conner cracked his knuckles as he got ready to keep an eye on them and get his mission completed.

“Game on.” He smiled.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Part 1: Control

Conner Eaton didn’t like Pepsi.

Whenever he drank soda, he also wished to drink something with a sting or bite.  It was why he preferred Coke or Sprite.  However, for some reason, the Coca-Cola vending machine in the campus break room was turned off.  That left his choices with Pepsi, Sierra Mist and Mountain Dew.  The latter was all right but the caffeine content was so high it would tear up his stomach.  That left Pepsi.  Conner burped after taking another sip and resumed his English study. 

The topic was the Odyssey.  It was definitely one of Conner’s favorite books.  The goal was to find the structure of the story and why Odysseus was thwarted by the Gods at every turn.  Conner wrote down hubris and other qualities he noticed.  As he leaned up to take another sip of his drink, he saw two of his fellow students approaching him.  It was Joe Lane and his girlfriend Shimmy Heard.  The muscular brunette and his blonde haired girlfriend sat down at the table where Conner was working.  “What’s up, Conner?” Joe laughed.

“Trying to get some homework done before the weekend.” He sipped his soda, “You?”

“We got our classes cleared so I’m taking my lady to the movies for an early showing of The Watchers.”

“Joe only likes scary movies cause he knows I hug him too much during it.” Shimmy pushed him.

“Sounds like a blast, have fun.” The young man resumed his studies.

“That’s only for the afternoon, brah,” Joes tapped his stack of books, “What you got planned for the evening?”

Conner kept his head lowered but raised his eyes to look at the muscular young man.  “Why are you so interested?” he inquired.

“There is a party at Franklin’s place up in the Hills,” Shimmy practically gyrated in her seat, “We’ve love for you to come!”

“He’s got a pool, brah!” the brunette kid said with excitement, “There is gonna be drinking, beer pong, waterslides, music, trees to dangle-“

“Trees to Dangle?” Conner blinked; amused he was even hearing this.

“Yeah, brah! You got to come; it’s going to be off the chain!”

“As much as I like dangling from trees as the next caveman, “the student sighed, “I’m not sure I’m in the mood for a riot party at some guy’s pool.”

“Oh, PLEASEEEEEEEEEE, Conner!” the blonde clapped her hands, “I’d love for you to meet Stephanie.”

The student glared at the ditzy blonde.  He slowly smiled as he was starting to realize the ulterior motive for them inviting him.  “Stephanie who?” he asked.

“Stephanie Brown, Shimmy’s friend.” Joe pointed at him, “You know her, right?”

“Oh, right, yeah, Stephanie . . . .yeah, she’s in my Chem class.”

“She’s been a little down these last few days and I would love a handsome guy like you to cheer her up.”

“Why has she been down?” Conner asked.

“She broke up with her boyfriend.”


“Four days ago?”

“WHOA!” the student laughed, “You want me to hook up with Stephanie four days after she broke up?  Isn’t that a little too short of a time to be the rebound man?”

“Brah, you’re perfect and she’s gonna love you!” Joe begged.

“Guys, I don’t think-“

Conner then stopped talking when he heard a buzzing sound in his backpack.  He quickly unzipped the pouch and pulled out his smart phone.  He had received a text.  Gently, he pulled down the logo to see what it said.


“Aw, crap.” He grunted, “Sorry, guys.  Looks like my Aunt Lola needs me.  Tell Stephanie I’ll go out with her in another three months.”

“Wait, what?” Shimmy blinked; unable to comprehend his sarcasm.

“Dude! Don’t be a buzz-kill!” Joe begged.

“Sorry!” Conner said, as he began to jog toward the nearest exit. 

The young man sped up his steps toward the sidewalk and began to jog toward the main parking lot of the campus.  What most didn’t know about Conner Eaton was he was a serving officer in the local SCAT field office.  They recruited him during his senior year at high school.  He was called out on many missions due to his aptitude for understanding electronics.  While most kids were enjoying their Senior Homecoming dance, Conner was defusing a bomb at the state capital.  He had been working for the SCAT division for just shy of three years.  He was exceptionally good at it. 

Conner then found the woman he dubbed “Aunt Lola”.  Lola Benedict was his handler at SCAT.  It was also her job to provide cover for him in regards to his friends, co-workers and sometimes even family.  The older brunette was leaning on a silver Sedan waiting for him. She was dressed in a navy blue business suit; making her look like a high priced lawyer. The wind blew her jet black hair slightly into her sunglass covered eyes.  She smirked as Conner jogged toward her.  She leaned up and held out her arms.  To maintain his cover, she had to give the appearance she was indeed his family.  The young man hugged her while she hugged him back and kissed him on the cheek.  “Admit it,” he whispered in her ear, “You live for these moments.”

“Shut up and get in the car, pervert.” She giggled as she parted from him.

Lola walked up the driver’s side and slid within.  Conner got into the passenger side; taking a moment to glance into the back seat.  His SCAT gear was there waiting for him.  After she drove them off the lot, he reached back and picked up his combat vest.  He gently shifted it around his arms then locked it into place.  Lola picked up a nearby handheld radio; formerly resting on the dashboard.  “I have Eaton.” She told the radio, “We’re in route to the staging area.”

“Copy that.” Command squawked back, “We’ll let Simms know.”

“Benedict out,” she said as she placed the radio back on the dashboard.

“Simms?” Conner then asked.

“Lt. Ethan Simms.” She glanced at him, “He’ll be your commander this mission.”

“What is the mission?” he immediately replied.

“Possible lead on several homicides.  All local girls, all from the very same college you’re attending.”

“Well . . . .that’s disturbing.” The young student said sarcastically.

“I don’t know the specifics but what I do is that an entire family may be involved. Once you get to the staging area, review the files and found out what they know about.” Lola told him.

“Why do they need me?”

“Why DON’T they need you?” she smirked.

Conner nodded his head.  He was already figuring it out.  “Electronics.” He whispered with a grin.

“There some sort of weird closed circuit camera system inside the house of the suspects.” She turned the car off to the main road, “They wouldn’t be needing you unless they wanted those cameras to be THEIR eyes instead of the family.”

“Shouldn’t be that big a deal then.” He replied.

Lola glanced around at the varied restaurants.  “This could be an all-nighter.” She commented, “What kind of food do you want?”

“Wait, I thought this was a Code Blue?” he joked, “We’re going to have time to eat?”

“No, you’re going to eat it on the road.” She then lightly punched his arm, “The Code Blue is real.  We only have a three and a half hour window.”

“Hell, that’s not bad.” Conner raised his eyebrow, “Last Code Blue I had, we only had 25 minute window.”

“And look how that turned out.” She then pointed into the distance, “White Castle?”

“Yes, Aunt Lola.” He said, flickering his eye-lashes.

The brunette woman did a massive inhale through her nose.  “God, I wish I was back in Baghdad.” She groaned.


One hour later the Sedan was finally reaching the staging area.  Conner and Lola had driven for near an hour.  That meant he had only two and a half hours till the mission start point.  The duo had driven far out of the city toward the outskirts of town.  Most of the people that lived in the area were the rich individuals.  The young woman wondered how a family living with this much wealth could have the mentality of serial killers.  He was reminded of the family he and his SCAT group took out four months into the job.  However, those were rednecks within a trailer park.  This group of murderers were on the other end of the spectrum. 

Lola had been driving them on a vast winding road.  The trees and tall grass covered most of the area.  Conner shot a glance to his right, noticing a massive lake.  Before he could ask his handler if the lake had been dredged for the missing girls, they finally arrived at the staging area.  On the side of the road next to a telephone pole was a large utility van for the Merry Go Round Cable company.  Conner already knew that “carnival rides” were their codes for front companies.  The young man got ready to depart before Lola grabbed his arm.  “Come back alive.” She told him.

“So you really do care about me.” He grinned.

“You’re good for my stats back at HQ,” the brunette said with a smirk, “I like my stats.”

“Yes, Aunt Lola.” Conner said as he exited the vehicle and closed the door. 

After he turned and walked around the car, the Sedan sped away.  However far the suspect’s building was, they still couldn’t risk being spotted than anything other than a cable company.  The young man leisurely approached the van where a black man was sitting in the passenger’s seat.  As he leaned out, he smiled because he knew Conner.  He coughed for a second.  “You hear to buy me a drink?” he asked.

“No, because my sister ain’t old enough.” The young man laughed.

The two SCAT members started to laugh over the code they were forced to use to identify each other.  It wasn’t needed because they had already worked on several missions together.  “Conner Eaton.” The African American shook his hand. 

“Big Jim Clement.” He smiled.

“Considering the wacky cameras inside that mansion, I should have known they’d call you in.” he told him.

“So it’s true?” Conner started to walk back toward the back of the van, “We got a family of serial killers?”

“We’ll soon see, kid.” He motioned, “Get your ass in there.  The commander is waiting.”

The student opened the door to the fake cable company van.  Inside was a row of panels that access camera feeds from the above sensors. Conner saw six SCAT soldiers within.  A taller man near the front of the van was reviewing something on a screen pad.  He noticed the young man stepping in.  “Eaton?” he asked.

“Yes, sir.” He walked to him.

“Lt. Ethan Simms.” He shook his hand, “Form up on me.”

The young man followed him to the front of the van.  As he followed him to the front of the van, he looked at the rest of the operatives inside.  He didn’t know most of them but thankfully he spotted one more familiar face.  Mike Rivers was double-checking a grid map of the area.  When he spotted Conner, he quickly high-fived him.  When they reached the front table, Simms handed him a screen-pad.  The first thing he saw was pictures of five young women.  “Those are the pictures of the missing women.” The curly haired man said, “Most were between the ages of 19 and 22.”

“How did we trace them back to this family?” the student immediately asked.

“Go to the next screen.” His commander told him.

Conner rubbed the screen to show the next image.  It showed a picture of a severed hand; clutching a plastic wrapper.  The young engineer moved the image on the PAD to show the next image.  It was the wrapper sprawled out to be readable.  “Draconos . . . .Winery?” he asked.

“That is the name of the Winery House owned by Mr. and Mrs. Victor Martin,” the leader leaned on a table, “The hand was spotted to belong to one Melissa Kipling.  She’s the only link to why these girls were missing.”

“Where the Martins ever approached?”

“No, because of lack of evidence.  More of their winery bottles were found in various small parts surrounding the lake.  Local law enforcement believes the hand just washed up with one of the wrappers.”

“But we don’t believe that?” Conner asked.

“No, we don’t.” Simms motioned for him to turn the imagine viewer.

The young man then turned the images of the screen-pad.  It showcased several cameras all hooked up into a central control area.  “Last night one of our agents got into the house and found some kind of weird security system.” Simms pointed toward the images, “Hidden cameras in almost every room and a series of traps.”

“Traps?” the young man leaned up his head, “What . . .like trap doors and stuff?”

“To say the least.  We found everything from sliding panels in the stairs to false doors that supposedly lead to the basement but leaned into these massive tubes.”

“Massive tubes? And . . . .where do they lead?”

“That’s going to be your job to find out, Eaton,” Simms crossed his arms, “We’re going to need you to splice an over-ride into their security system to allow us to view what is happening.  Your mission is to stay in the mansion, use the trap system, found out what happened to the last set of girls and protect the next set.”

Conner felt a rush of cold hit his shoulder blades.  “The next set?” he gasped.

“Yes,” the commander then picked up a picture, “This is Kelli Medd, one of our best uncover agents.  She’s been tracking the youngest female Martin, a girl named Sarah.  She was the one that invited the last five girls out to this place.  Thankfully Kelli was able to work her way into the group so you and her will be finding out what the Martins are hiding.”

Conner studied the security photo of the young girl.  She was practically his age.  She had brown hair with soft green eyes.  By the look on her face, she seemed capable and alert.  If she was young in the SCAT teams like he was and already good at undercover, then more than likely she’ll rise far in the ranks.  Conner then placed the photo on the table.  “When do they arrive?” he asked.

“They’ll be arriving around 5:40 pm.” One of the SCAT members said, “And the Martins will arrive at five pm.”

“Eaton, this is Swanson.” Simms introduced her, “She’ll be your quarter master this trip.”

The slightly older blonde woman pulled up a small black pouch.  Conner already knew what it was; it was his tools he’ll need to take control of the computer system.  He picked up the black nylon bag and slung it over his left shoulder.  Swanson then pulled out a Glock 9MM pistol.  The young man took it and then slid it into his holster pouch sewn into his vest.  “Hopefully you won’t need it.” she commented.

“Amen to that.” He shrugged as he also picked up two extra clips.

Swanson then pulled out a small cylinder device.  “Be careful with this.” She handed it to him, “This is a Chameleon Stick.”

“Whoa!” Conner held it gently, “I’ve heard of these! These produce holograms, right?”

“Yes,” Simms stepped closer to them, “When you are in that basement, we need you to stay there until the mission is completed.  Odds are the Martins will get wind that we have taken control of their system and they’ll pay repeated visits to the basement.  So find a deep corner and activate the Chameleon Stick.”

“The hologram will adapt to whatever surroundings you are and unless they walk up to touch you or their depth perception is off . . . . .you’ll be invisible to them.” Swanson finished.

“Understood.  That’ll be really useful.” Conner slid it inside a pocket on his vest. 

“All right, Eaton,” the commander patted him on the back, “It is now 3:47 pm.  You have one hour and thirteen minutes to get burrowed into the basement.  Once the mission begins at five pm, you go silent on the radio.  We won’t establish contact unless we have to.  And Kelli will keep in constant communication via the cameras.”

The commander then picked up the screen pad and maneuvered it to another picture.  It showcased a path following up the main driveway of the mansion covered by bushes.  Simms pushed the photo aside to show a staircase leading down to the side of the house where a white door lead into the house.  “That is your entry point.” He told him, “Once you are inside, you lock the door behind you.  That way the Martins won’t suspect you are down there.  Remember . . .stay hidden and do not break radio silence until we tell you.  Mike, give him his radio.”

The stout man smiled at his younger friend.  Conner smirked because he enjoyed working with him and Jim on his last two missions.  Mike calmly placed a radio in the awaiting slot on his vest.  He then placed in an ear bud then tucked it around his collar; placing it into the young student’s right ear.  Mike then turned around and clicked on for the relay.  “Give me a radio check.” He told him.

“Mike check, mike check.” Conner chuckled as he spoke into the radio.

“Kid, that joke was old a year ago.” His friend commented.

“Speaking of Jokes, you got that twenty you owe me from the North Carolina game last year?” the young man grinned.

“Tell you what . . . .complete this mission and I’ll pay you back.”

“Liar.” Conner joked.

“Enough grab assing.” Simms told the two men, “Eaton, you set to go?”

“Copy that, sir.” The specialist smiled.

“Then move on.  We only got so long before we can speak on the radio.”

Eaton nodded his head.  He then proceeded to maneuver past the other soldiers toward the back.  “Eaton.” The commander called.

The young man turned to face him.

“Good luck.” He told him.

Conner saluted the older man then opened the door to jump outside.  He quickly jogged up front.  Jim smiled as he high fived him as he started to run past him.  The young man quickly scurried across the road then back up the hill.  He huffed as he started to follow the grassy path that led up to the Martin mansion.  Even though he had an hour and fifteen minutes to get there, he wanted to make it with time to spare.  He immediately pushed his legs to allow him to jog further.  A soft wind blew in from the East; swaying the trees to his right.  The sun was setting behind him over the horizon.

And twilight engulfed the land.