Brett felt someone gently shaking his shoulder and blinked a few times and stretched a little as he focused on an unfamiliar voice standing nearby him.
Brett finally focused and saw the flight attendant standing nearby.
"Mister Carpenter. We will be arriving in Dulles in twenty minutes. The captain wanted me to let you know."
Brett looked around the cabin and saw two of the men gently waking the others up from their sleep. As the boys woke up, they made their way to the restrooms to pee. There were enough restrooms, so no one had to wait too long to get into one. The attendants were moving through the cabin, assisting people in getting their seat into the proper position for landing. Everyone seemed to be well rested, which was good, since today was going to be a very busy day.
Brett stopped one of the attendants. He could see sunlight outside the windows. "What time is the local time?"
The attendant checked his watch quickly before answering.
"It is 9am."
He looked over at Jamie who was sitting nearby looking out the window. He could tell that Jamie was worried. He reached out to rub his back and Jamie looked around and gave his dad a wan smile.
"Don’t worry Jamie. We’ll get him back. I think we have a good plan. They won’t know what hit them and before you know it, Josh will be back with us."
Jamie nodded and looked back out the window. The plane was making its descent and they could see the buildings and houses below them as it neared the ground. The jet touched down and they slowed and began to taxi to the general aviation terminal. When the jet came to a full stop, everyone unbuckled their seatbelts and got up to gather their things. The attendant opened the door and helped secure the stairs to the plane before turning to the passengers.
"Welcome to Dulles International, thanks for flying with us."
Gabe was the first one off the plane and he saw three large passenger vans nearby with a man with gray streaked red hair standing nearby. When Brett exited he spotted Mac and waved. Gabe and his men went to where the baggage handlers were unloading their gear. He and the other men took the bags that the handlers were putting in a neat pile and took them over to the vans and loaded them in the back. Brett walked over to Mac, followed by the others. They shook hands.
"Mac, thanks for getting things set up. Any updates."
"Kelly just showed up for work a little while ago. Other than that, nothing."
"Good to know. I would like to have some words with Marcus."
Mac chuckled and then turned to look at the others. His eyes traveled from person to person and he smiled. "It’s good to see you all again. I’m sorry it’s under these circumstances. You all look well, I’m glad I was able to help you stay safe."
"Mac, this is my son Jamie."
Mac shook Jamie’s hand. "Very pleased to meet you. I was sorry to hear about you mother. She was a good person. I know you miss her."
"Thank you, sir."
"Well, let’s get going to the house. You can freshen up and get ready."
Gabe’s men were already sitting in the driver’s seats waiting for everyone to get in. The vans were all fifteen passenger vans so there was plenty of room for everyone to be comfortable and not crammed in. Mac got in the van that Gabe was driving. Brett and Jamie sat in the seat right behind the front seats.
"So Mac, I thought we were getting a panel truck?"
"Oh, it’s at the house. I thought having the passenger vans would be less conspicuous."
Brett nodded in agreement. They were soon leaving the airport property and Mac began to direct Gabe. The other vans followed behind. Mac guided them east of the airport. Soon they were in an area where the houses were well separated from each other and screened by trees from each other. The houses were large and spoke of owners who were doing well. Mac directed Gabe to turn off the road and they drove a short distance to the house. It was a good sized house set back and screened from the road by the trees that surrounded it. Parked on the side of the house they could see a large panel delivery truck. They pulled up in front and everyone started getting out and grabbing their bags. Mac led the way inside the house through the unlocked front door. They saw that there was a computer set up on a temporary table in the front room and a couple of people were sitting there. They got up when everyone came in. One of the men, who looked like he would fit in with Gabe and his men very easily, came up to them to greet them.
"Doctor MacLeod. I’m so glad to see you again. First I want to apologize that I didn’t come back in and get you. I really thought it was too late. I was glad to hear from Mac that you did survive."
"Don’t worry about it Rob. I thought I was finished as well when that explosion went off. We’re all here now."
The next person was younger than Brett by about ten years.
"Hey Brett, good to see you again."
"Terry, how are you doing?"
At that moment, they were interrupted by a voice from the dining room. "Breakfast is ready."
They noticed the smell of food following the man. The boys led the way and saw that there was a full spread of bacon, eggs, and pancakes, with milk, orange juice and coffee to drink. There was plenty of room to sit in the dining room for the families and their sons. Gabe and his men sat where they could.
After breakfast was over it was time to get ready for the operation. Gabe led the boys over to one of the large duffel bags and started pulling out some vest like items. He started handing them out.
"These are lightweight bullet proof vests. They are thinner than normal so that they can be hidden under a shirt better. They aren’t as strong as a regular vest, but they can stop a 9mm round. It will hurt like hell and give you a bruise, but it should stop penetration. Do all of you have some sort of light jacket or hoodie?"
All of the boys nodded.
"Good, wear a t-shirt under these and then another shirt over it and then your jackets. Even if it’s a bit warm, it will be worth it."
The boys nodded and started putting the vests on. Once the vests were on and secured properly they went to their bags and pulled one of their school polo shirts on over it. The men checked their handguns and made sure that they had a couple of extra magazines for the guns in their pockets as well. Dakota tried out his baton, to make sure that it telescoped out correctly. Once everyone was ready, they went outside.
Brett and Sean went out to the panel van. They saw that there were two stations with monitors in place and all set up where they could dock their laptops and make use of the monitors. Mac pointed out the set up. There was a strong air card repeater to boost the signal of the built in air cards in their laptops so that they could be sure of a strong connection to the net. Mac watched as they set up their things and saw Sean put on his two MYO’s, his Emotiv, boot up his laptop, and make sure everything was connected. He was satisfied with what he saw.
Brett noticed Mac staring at Sean. Brett chuckled, "Mac, this is Sean. He is the super hacker that you wished was working with us."
"He’s the one that shut down those sites?"
Sean just gave him a grin.
"Well done lad. Well done."
Sean shrugged as if it was nothing, but you could see that he was pleased by the compliment.
Mac pointed at Sean’s extra equipment. "I’ve seen these things on the net. What are they called?"
"The ones on my arms are called MYO and the head piece is an Emotiv."
"How well do they work?"
Brett chuckled a little. "Mac, I don’t think the people who invented them could make them do things like Sean can. It’s pretty amazing to watch."
"Damn, now I wish I was going along with the rest of you to see him in action."
"After this is all over, Sean and I will spend some time with you and you can see how it works. I use a MYO myself. When Sean uses the two MYO and the Emotiv, he rarely has to touch the keyboard. I don’t know how he does it exactly, but he does."
Mac looked at Brett with a calculating look as he started to put some things together. Brett’s experiment with the boys had made it necessary for them to go into hiding to keep them from the GRA. The PRI/GRA had been doing research into mental abilities.
"Wait a minute..."
Brett held his hands up. "We can talk later Mac, but now, we really need to get going."
Brett could see that Mac was practically bursting with curiosity, but after a moment he took a breath and nodded. About that time, Logan climbed into the van followed by the other men, except for Patrick, who was driving, and Luke who was riding shotgun.
Mac backed out of the van. "Good luck. We’ll be here waiting for you guys when you get back. Contact me if you need anything. I’ll be monitoring."
"Thanks Mac. See you when we get back."
The others got into one of the passenger vans and then everyone heard from Ethan in their heads.
< Okay, we’re ready. >
The panel truck left first and a short time later the passenger van followed. The parents had already wished everyone good luck and were outside to wave goodbye as they left. They took Highway 673 to Vienna, then south to Interstate 66. They took the interstate all the way to the outskirts of DC. They soon found themselves driving through the busy traffic on Constitution Avenue for a short distance. They split up, the passenger van going to the parking lot in the northwest corner of the building and the panel truck drove past the front of the building before turning left at the next street and pulling into the northeast corner parking lot. The passenger van looked for a parking spot that was closer to the west entrance and the panel truck finding a parking spot farthest from the building.
Those in the passenger van got out and began looking around and doing their best to act just as if they were a school group to anyone watching.
Before they left the van, Gabe handed the boys some little clip on things. "Clip these so that they are inside your pants pocket."
"What are they?"
"GPS trackers. Ethan, check with Sean and Brett whether they are getting the signal from them. All of us have them, that way they can keep an eye on our location and guide us."
< Sean, Gabe wants me to ask if you have our signals. >
Sean made a couple of gestures at the computer and a map came up with the blinking green lights showing the location of the other team.
< Yep. I got ‘em. >
"He can see them."
No one moved from the panel van. Patrick and Luke gave an air of deliverymen taking a little break. In the back, the entrance team kept them informed of what they were doing.
< Tell me when you are ready for us to go in Sean. Gabe says to start checking for any hidden detectors in the doors, there is nothing apparent to him, but since 9/11 they may have put metal detectors or something like that into the door frame to keep them hidden from the public. >
< Got it, we’ll let you know when we’ve got control. >
Sean and Brett got to work while the entrance team started to wander around outside for a little while. Brett got into the NAS computer systems with ease because of their earlier work. He searched through the security systems until he found everything he needed. He soon had control of the security systems. He found that other than the locks, alarm and security cameras, there was nothing else. They looked for cameras that covered the areas that they would have to go through to get to where they wanted to go. There were only three to worry about; one was on the outside showing the west entrance, one was in the west corridor pointing toward the entrance, and the third was in the west side gallery that was next to the entrance to the GRA guard post.
< Ethan. >
< Yeah? >
< Give us a few minutes we’re going to make a recording of the video feed from the cameras for several minutes and then loop it. We’ll be ready in ten minutes, standby. >
They contented themselves with wandering around the outside grounds. They stopped by the Albert Einstein sculpture and got their picture taken sitting on the bench around it. They also took pictures of the National Mall, which was across the street from the building, which is where the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and other national monuments were at. They were doing their best to act the part of a tourist. Ethan had part of his mind listening for Sean to contact him while they did this.
< Okay, we’re ready to go. It should be easy because from what we can see, the images from the various security cameras are not displayed all at the same time, they won’t even notice when one of our loops start. Hopefully they won’t be too observant, otherwise they might pick up that they are seeing the same scene, but it only has to work when you go in and then when you leave. We’ll stop the loop once you guys are in the GRA security room. Good luck. >
Ethan relayed what Sean had said and they turned toward the west entrance.
< Oh, one more thing Brett wanted me to tell you. Try not to make much noise. The door to security check point is not that thick. >
< I’ll pass that on Sean. We’ll let you know if we need anything. Standby....okay we’re nearing the entrance. >
< Loop starting now. >
They headed to the entrance and went inside. They walked into the west corridor heading to the gallery entrance ahead. Inside the gallery they walked around looking at the exhibits.
< Sean, we’re in the gallery and we’re ready to move to the security checkpoint. >
< Give me a sec, and I’ll unlock the door. >
Gabe leaned down and spoke quietly.
"When we go through the door, try to act unsure, like you don’t know how we ended up in there, I’ll talk to the guard. Jamie, do you think you can throw them hard enough against the wall to at least daze them."
Jamie nodded, his mouth in a grim line. Gabe clapped him on the shoulder.
"Only enough to daze them, even knock them out, not through the wall."
Jamie relaxed a little and nodded again.
A few moments later they heard, < Unlocked. >
They sort of sauntered through the north exit from the gallery. They saw the double doors immediately to their right and Gabe glanced around a bit to see if there were any security guards in sight and then he pushed through the door, the others following close behind. George was the last through and he closed the door behind them. Behind the glass partition the guards both stood up with confused looks as they looked over at the door wondering how they had gotten through it.
"Wow, this is cool, is this some super-secret science thing?"
Ethan was all wide eyed and looking around.
"Sir, um, how did you get in here?"
"Oh, sorry, the door was open. We were looking for the rest of our tour group and thought that they went this way."
"Sir, you’ll have to leave, this is a restricted area."
"Oh, we didn’t know."
< Jamie, the guy by the desk is very close to pushing a button that I think will sound an alarm. >
Jamie looked at the two guards and flung his hand out. Before they knew it, both of them were picked up and flung against the wall behind them. The one by the desk actually cracked the dry wall of the room and left a dent in it when he hit. He slid boneless to the floor. The other guard hit hard and fell to the ground. They could see him moving around a little and moaning.
< Sean, we need the partition opened now! >
< Just a sec. >
They watched helplessly as the guard started to shake his head as he slowly tried to get to his hands and knees.
< Sean! >
< Just a sec! >
< We don’t have a sec! >
A moment later there was a click.
< Got it! >
Gabe barreled through door and slammed his pistol down on the guard’s head, dropping him to the floor unmoving. They moved into the secure area and closed the partition door.
< Okay, we’re in. >
< I see you guys. >
Jim took off the shirt of one of the guys and put it on along with his gun and belt. Dakota took the other guards gun and the two magazines that went with it. They dragged the two unconscious guards into the elevator and got in. Ian checked both of them and found them to be alive. The one from the desk had a couple of cracked ribs and a concussion. The other had a concussion. He didn’t fix anything, but he did pull a syringe and bottle from his backpack. He drew some of the liquid out and injected it into the vein of their arms.
"That’ll keep them out until later tonight."
< Okay Sean, we’re going down. >
< We’re ready. >
In the panel truck, Brett and Sean stopped the loop on the NAS security cameras and began the one for the GRA offices. They had started recording a loop for those cameras while the team was making its entrance. They could see the team in the elevator and when it got to the bottom, they started the loop for the recording system, while they hijacked the cameras for their use. If anyone looked at the recording later, all they would see would be empty halls. There would be no pictures of anyone in the halls or the offices.....
"Son of a bitch! Something’s wrong!"
"They’re empty. The offices are empty."
"Good, I’ll tell Ethan. That’ll make it easy to get Josh."
"No, tell them that they’re empty. There is no one there, including Josh."
Sean looked at the feed and saw that the room that Josh had been in was empty. The small bed appeared slept in, but of Josh there was no sign. He quickly checked every feed and there was no one there. They hadn’t checked the security feed before they went in, because they had been told that Marcus Kelly had gone in, so they figured they’d find him along with the two guards and the doctor looking guy that they had seen before.
< Uh, Ethan? >
< Yeah? >
< Ethan, tell them that everyone’s gone, including Josh. >
< Are you kidding me? >
< No. We just checked the feed and there’s no one down there. >
< Shit. I’ll pass it on. >
Gabe and George were crouched near the door with their guns at the ready. Just as the elevators opened Ethan got their attention.
"Guys. There’s no one home. The offices are empty of people. Josh is gone."
"Wha....how. Where is he?"
"I don’t know, but everyone, the guards, doctor looking guy, everyone’s gone."
"Okay, let’s take a look, but keep your guard up. Have them try to find out what happened. Let’s drag the guards into the offices. George, keep an eye on this hall while we’re in the offices."
< Sean, can you guys find out anything? >
< Yeah, we’re going to review the security recordings. We’ll figure it out. >
Brett rewound the recordings. They both watched as they went backwards until they saw movement. The checked the time stamp, it was about an hour and half earlier. They watched as one of the guards picked Josh up and the doctor took the bag off the IV pole and followed along behind. The two guards, the doctor, and Marcus walked down the corridor to a door at the end of the hall. The other guard took a ring of keys off of his belt and selected one. He unlocked the deadbolt and the door lock and held it open for the rest of them. After Marcus went through the door, he closed it behind them and they were gone.
In the offices, George covered the hallway opposite from Marcus’ office while the rest went into Marcus’ office area. They were still cautious as they entered the office area. The first room that they came to was the executive secretary’s office. From that area there were three doors. They checked each door and found two offices and a restroom. They split up and started checking each office out. They did not find too much in the secretary’s office. Sean directed them to turn on the computer so that he could pull off any information that might be found on it. Once he connected to it, he then forwarded it to Mac’s computer at the safe house. Dylan searched the secretary’s desk. There was a small locked cabinet behind the desk. Gabe pulled something out of a hidden pocket of his pants. It was a small flat pry bar. He inserted it between the cabinet doors and with a quick push popped it open. Inside wasn’t much of any importance, mostly office supplies.
While he was doing that, they entered Marcus’ office and started checking everything out. They turned the computer on so that Sean could download its contents when he was finished with the secretary’s computer. They searched the office thoroughly. There was a locked file cabinet in the office and the locked desk. Gabe applied his pry bar to the desk. They had soon broken into the desk and the drawer fronts were torn off. They searched through the desk quickly, throwing their contents on the floor as they sifted through it. There were some papers that looked important so they grabbed them and put them in one of the boys backpack.
< Ethan. >
< Yeah Sean. >
< We’ve found out what happened to Josh. About an hour and a half ago, two guards, Kelly and the doctor guy carried Josh through a door at the end of the hall. They closed it behind them and didn’t return. >
< OK, I’ll let everyone know. >
Ethan got everyone’s attention.
"Hey guys, Sean found out what happened to Josh. He was taken through a door at the end of the hall about an hour and a half ago and no one has returned through the door since then."
"Shit. Dakota, Dylan, you guys go to George and check the end of the hall."
The boys nodded and left the office. Gabe went over to the file cabinet and used the pry bar to break it open. Again they took out files that looked important and stuffed them into the backpacks. While they were finishing up in Marcus’ office, the boys told George what they had found out. They moved down the hall, checking the doors as they made their way to the door at the end. They checked the other doors as they went down the hall. They double checked the rooms to make sure that they knew what was behind the doors of the hall. They got to the end of the hall and checked the door. It was locked. George sent Dylan back to the office.
"George asked if we can check for any keys in here, the door is locked."
"Okay, go through everything and look for any keys."
Everyone in the office started checking through everything and came up with nothing in the outer office or Marcus’ office. There was one more office to look through so they headed to that door. It was locked, but Gabe kicked it in and they entered. It was another office, a little bigger than Marcus’ office. The desk was clear and it looked like the office didn’t get much use. There was a computer on it, so they turned it on. Gabe looked at Ethan.
"Tell Sean about this computer."
< Sean. We turned the computer on in the other office. >
< What computer? What office? >
< The other office. >
< I didn’t know. I’ll take a look. >
While Sean started working on hacking the computer he hadn’t known about, the rest of the team began searching the office. Gabe pried open any locked drawers and cabinets. They searched through the office. In one of the formerly locked drawers they found a small key ring. Dylan took them and went back to where George and Dakota were waiting. George had Dakota try the keys on the ring in the door locks. The keys worked and they unlocked the door. George motioned for Dylan to back up and had Dakota prepare to open the door. On his signal, Dakota pulled the door open and George had his gun up and in position. Beyond the door was a dimly lit hallway.
George moved forward, the two boys were right behind him. Dakota had taken out the gun he’d taken from the guard upstairs and moved in behind George. They walked down the hall and came to another locked door. Dylan tried the keys again and found a pair of keys that worked. He unlocked it and stepped back. Dakota took the same position and when George nodded, he pulled the door open and they found themselves looking into an underground garage. George looked through the door and then closed it. He told the boys to come with him back to the offices. They found the rest of the team in the other office searching it.
"The door goes to an underground garage, that’s how they got him out of here."
"Okay, I think we’re about done here, let’s get out of here and see if any of those papers will give us an idea where they might have taken Josh."
Everyone nodded and they made sure that they had everything that they could find. Ian checked the guards before they left. Both were sleeping comfortably. They got into the elevator and left the offices. Jim turned at the sound of the elevator with his hand on the gun on his belt. He relaxed when he saw it was them. The first thing he noticed was that Josh wasn’t with them.
"What happened? Where’s Josh?"
"It appears they took him somewhere and no one was there, so we tossed the place and now it’s time to get out of here."
Jim nodded and took off the guard’s shirt, throwing it down behind the desk.
< Sean, we’re ready to leave. Is the way clear? >
< Uh, just a sec, let me check.....okay, you’re clear to leave. >
"Shit. We can’t leave yet. Ethan, pass onto Sean, change of plans. Dylan, go out to Eric and tell him to drive into the underground garage and we’ll meet there."
Ethan passed the word and Gabe opened the door, and then checked the hallway. Then he waved for Dylan to go out. He closed the door behind him.
"We can’t leave the guards behind. They will sound the alarm and wherever Josh is, will put them on alert. We need to take them with us. We’ll figure out what to do with them later."
Outside, Eric saw Dylan coming to the van so he started it up. Dylan climbed into the front seat.
"Gabe said to drive into the underground garage."
Eric nodded and turned the van down into the garage parking.
Inside they went back down the elevator. Downstairs the three men, with the help of the boys, grabbed the guards and carried them down the hall and out the door that led to the garage. At the garage door, Dakota opened the door carefully and looked out into the garage until he saw their van near him. He stepped out and waved for Eric to come over. Once Eric had stopped the van, they came out with their burdens and got them into the van lying on a couple of the seats.
"We found out that they took him out of here about an hour and a half ago. We took everything that looked like it might hold important information and Sean pulled everything out of the computers. We’ll get back to the safe house and look through everything. With that and what Sean grabbed, hopefully we can get a good lead on where they took him."
Eric turned around and shook his head as he pulled out of the parking lot. He said nothing more as they headed back to Constitution Avenue and were soon on their way out of DC. He was even more worried now, and inside he was promising great amounts of retribution to Marcus Kelly when he got his hands on him. When they arrived at the safe house, Mac met them when they pulled into driveway. The panel truck arrived a few minutes later. Everyone went into the house where everyone was waiting. Mac had let everyone know that Josh had not been there, so they knew the reason for the long faces.
Brett was the first to say anything. "I’m sure Mac explained what happened. We have a bunch intel that we grabbed from the offices. Hopefully in the paperwork and computer files we will find something that will tell us where he had been taken. If any of you want to help us with going through everything we took with us, then we welcome it. We have a lot of paperwork to go through along with a lot of computer files. Time is of the essence and we’re going to get started right away. We also have a couple of the guards here. We couldn’t leave them behind, because they would alert the GRA leadership."
Some of the parents stated that they would help, while others volunteered to get some food and drinks for everyone. The backpacks were emptied on the dining room table and those that were going to help with it descended on it to get working on it. Brett, Sean, Mac, Will (Dylan’s dad) and Eric (Sean’s dad), gathered near Mac’s set up. Brett and Sean booted up their laptops and Mac set up a computer sharing session so that they could work together. Jerry and Rob told them that they would take care of the guards. A couple of Gabe’s men went with them to secure the guards. They returned a few minutes later and let Gabe know that the guards were secure in the basement.
Sean got his equipment set up and they started going through the files. They found that the secretary’s computer had nothing of real importance on it. They quickly went to Marcus’ computer. Here is where they started finding documents referring to someplace called The Facility. There was one file with Alistair Merrick’s name on it. When they opened it, they found documents going back for several years. It mentioned the experiments, but there was so much information in there that they didn’t know where to start. Sean asked if he could take over the search. Brett nodded to Mac and Mac relinquished control of his computer. Then he began to marvel as Sean, via the link on his laptop, began to search the files. They watched as files flew by. They were only able to see parts of some of the files that were displayed before they were put into a file that Sean had built on Mac’s computer. A few minutes later Sean brought up the new file and he displayed them for everyone to see. The first document was dated several years ago.
As he talked, he displayed the relevant document. "It looks like they were trying to use the work that you guys did back at the Hunt Lab. They found some information on Brett’s research and used that for the basis of their own. Here is a report on the results of the first experiment. All of the subjects died. Those that did survive were still failures so the GRA euthanized them. They were older teens."
All of those gathered there expressed their disgust at their former colleague Alistair.
"They started the next experiment a few years later. This time they chose kids around our age to a little younger. Here is the report on the results of that experiment. As with the older teens, they chose kids from the streets. They chose those that would not be missed. They also had a scheme to have fake adoptions for kids from group homes. All of the kids were brought together at this place that they call The Facility. Some of what they did to these kids was close to torture. Unfortunately, this experiment was a failure as well and they followed the same procedure as before and euthanized those who survived the experiment."
The adults shook their heads in disgust.
"After they finished cleaning up from the last experiment, they continued their research into Brett’s work and started focusing on younger subjects. From these documents we can see that they started finding surrogates to give birth."
"Damn. I didn’t think Alistair was smart enough and I didn’t know they were able to get that much information from what they stole from me."
"They probably found some smarter scientists than Alistair doing the actual work. He’s just taking the credit."
"Yeah, you’re probably right. What else Sean?"
"This is where they are right now. They talk about genetics and genetic changes. It appears that they had ten kids about five years old in the program. Two of the kids were stillborn and another was born prematurely and only survived a few weeks. The survivors are at this Facility place. From what I can tell, it appears that they are using these kids as study subjects, but their goal is to use what they learn and apply it to older teens."
"Shit! They’re further along than I thought they were."
"That’s it under Alistair’s file."
"Is there any location on this Facility place?"
"Not yet, but give me a few minutes. I’ll do a search for it."
Sean got to work once again and he made another file and moved files into it. They watched as the he then skimmed through that file and when he finished looking through the files he shook his head.
"So none of them have a location on this Facility place."
"Not here. One more computer to go. Do we know whose computer this is? I didn’t find it when we first got into their systems."
"Let me call Gabe in here."
Brett left and returned a moment later with Gabe. They were talking when they came in.
"Gabe says that the office looked like it hadn’t been used for some time."
Sean nodded and turned back. He was soon going through the information on the files. He found the email file and started trying to hack into the account. The others just watched. It took a few minutes and then the email file opened up.
"That’s Archer’s account."
Sean started skimming through it. They found that the last email dated from a few months before. Sean started skimming through the files for a while. The others could just watch as he went through the files. He found several that were password protected and he set them to the side. When he finished going through them he had a handful that were protected. Sean started working on each file. Again they could only watch as Sean worked on each file. He hacked them open and then began to look through them. The contents of each file flew by on the screen as Sean searched them. He put one up on the screen.
"I think I found something."
They looked at the file. It had a title of The Facility. There was a description of the lab, and its projected size. It also mentioned that they would need to find the correct location. It should be near a decent sized town so that getting utilities hooked up would not be a problem, plus it needed to be near Washington, but not close by to help keep it under the radar. The document included an order to find a location for the building.
"Okay, I guess that’s something, but not the right something."
Sean went back to his search. Once again files flew by on the screen. A short time later another document was displayed.
"They found a place. It’s outside of Winchester. This document is, I guess you could call it, a scouting report. This talks about some property that backs up to a forested low ridge. Part of the document is the authorization to purchase the property. It has the location listed."
Sean went through a couple more files. The next file that Sean displayed showed a property layout and was labeled ‘The Facility’. There was a private road into the property that went through a guard house. The whole property was fenced in. Inside the fenced area was a large building. The private road inside the property split off to the right and led to another building. The large building was labeled ‘Lab’. The building that was on the right hand road was labeled ‘Offices’. There was another road the led to the left and was labeled Security.
"Here is what the property looks like, at least this is what they originally planned, and I don’t know if it matches everything now as the plan is several years old. Give me a few moments."
Sean opened Google Earth and entered Winchester, Virginia in the search field. Once the program had centered itself on Winchester, Sean referred to the documents that were from the file and he began moving the image around looking for roads that were mentioned in the documents. It was taking a long time to find the place by looking for a matching image until he remembered that he could enter the name of the road in the search field. He entered Salem Church Road and Google Earth centered on a road southeast of Winchester on the other side of a shallow ridgeline. He scanned up and down the road until he found a property with a large building. He zoomed in and he was able to quickly match it to the document. It was pretty close to the original plans for the place but there seemed to be another building on the property that was a little smaller and was right up against the forested area at the back of the property a little ways beyond the Lab building.
"This is the place."
"Do we know for certain that Josh was taken there?"
Sean went back through the documents. He found several that talked about the failed experiments, but nothing related to Josh. He looked at the others and shook his head.
"Why don’t you guys dig a little deeper into the files and see if we missed anything. I’m going to go check with the others and see if they found anything in the papers they took from the offices."
The others nodded and went back to work. Brett headed to the dining room where the others were poring over all the papers. On the table there were several piles of papers stacked.
"How’s it going? Did you find anything about Josh in any of the papers?"
Wyatt looked up and nodded. "There were a lot of different things in all the paperwork. Some didn’t appear to be of much interest. So we separated the papers into stacks of similar items. One of the important things that Logan found was this note among the papers from the secretary’s desk. It’s a handwritten note."
He handed the note to Brett.
Take a few days off. I’m going to the Facility for a few days with the kid. I’ll probably be there for a while, so I’ll call you when I’ll be returning to the office. Enjoy the time off.
"Okay, that’s what we needed."
"We also found some other things about this Facility place. Mostly requisitions for supplies and equipment. There’s also some powerful drugs listed on some of the papers that were requisitions. Some of these drugs are well known for being used for lethal injection."
"That makes sense. They’ve euthanized some of the test subjects. Also we found the facility. It’s near Winchester. Now we need to figure out how to get in and get Joshua out before anything bad happens to him. Until you told me about the note we weren’t even sure he had been taken to this place. I think this is going to be a bit harder. I’ll go get the others and have them bring everything that they have that is pertinent and we’ll start putting a plan together."
He left the dining room and rejoined Sean and the others. He saw that Mac had a printer attached so he had Sean print out what he thought was important to the planning. Sean chose the important things to print out, while those at the table sifted through the papers that they had and pulled them out. Brett returned with the others. Sean still had his equipment on and was carrying his laptop in case they needed to pull up anything else. Brett took the papers from Sean and spread them out on the table.
"We found that the computer from the other office near Marcus’ office is Hank Archer’s office. We didn’t know about the computer during our previous search, because it was turned off and it passed our notice. Once it was turned on, Sean was able to go in and remove files from it. It was from his files that we found the location that Josh has been taken to. They call it ‘The Facility’. It’s located outside of Winchester, Virginia. You can see on this sheet, that it has several buildings on the property. Our guess is that he is in this large building marked Lab. We used Google Earth to match the original plan to how it looks and it appears that there is an additional building that was not a part of the original plan, or maybe it was on the property when they bought it. We have other papers that give information about staffing and such like that. The whole property is fenced in and separated from their neighbors. This place is definitely more secure. The place is disguised to look like a horse farm. So the first thing, Gabe, that we’ll need, is some reconnaissance on the location. We can’t just go in, like we just did at the DC office. This is bigger and we know very little about it."
"So we are sort of stuck at this point until they have a look at it. While Gabe does that we’ll see if we can get into their computer systems and do some looking around that way. Other than that, I think that this has been a very busy day and there is not much we can do for now. We should get some dinner going and try to relax. Some of you may want to get to bed early."
There were a lot of nods from everyone and few of the adults got together and they decided they would go pick up some pizzas and bring them back. They didn’t want any person coming to the property. The original plan had been for them to be gone no later than the next day, so Brett pulled Mac aside.
"Mac, how long can we use this place for our base of operations?"
"We’ve got time. The owner is out of the country for the next month on a business trip to Europe. So we’ve got about a month."
"Good, hopefully it won’t take that long."
They gathered with the other computer folks and started working on trying to access the computer systems of The Facility. Will and Eric didn’t have computers so they mostly looked over the other’s shoulders. Eric worked with Mac. Will and Brett worked together while Sean flew solo. They started at the DC office and tried to find a connection to The Facility, but there didn’t seem to be any connection between the two places. They searched through several government sites, trying to find some link, somewhere, that would lead them to The Facility. They found nothing, no connection anywhere.
"Why can’t we find anything?"
"I don’t know."
"I think I do."
Mac turned around from his workstation to look at the rest.
"They don’t have an outside connection. They keep everything internal. It is the best computer security system there is. If you aren’t on a computer within the facility, you have no access from the outside."
"So what does that mean?"
"It means that we can’t get into the system, unless we login from a computer inside the system."
"So we can’t get anything from them, no security video, no computer files. Except for what Gabe finds out from his recon. I don’t think we’re going to accomplish anything else right now. Let’s see if the pizza is here."
They realized that they were feeling a bit hungry. When they got to the dining room, the stacks of paper were being picked up and set aside since the pizza had arrived. As they entered, Ian’s father Patrick handed Brett a piece of paper.
"Brett, take a look at this."
Brett looked at it. It didn’t look like much of anything of importance. It looked like some sort of report. He looked at Patrick and shrugged.
"Look at the signature on the bottom."
Brett looked and his eyes opened in surprise. "Martin Swift, Chief of Security."
"Do you think that he might still be an ally, like he was at Hunt Labs?"
"I don’t know, but it’s worth looking into."
They went to join the others for some pizza.
Several miles away, Josh slowly woke up. The entire backside of his body felt cold and that was probably what woke him up. He looked around and saw that he was in a room that looked like a doctor’s treatment room. There were cabinets and drawers on one side. There was some of the same kind of equipment you would see in a treatment room, blood pressure cuff and things like that. He saw that there was an IV going into his arm. He tried to get up and found that he couldn’t move. He was able to raise his head only a little as he looked down his body. He saw that there was a sheet partially covering him and his wrists and bare ankles were being held down by thick leather straps. Wait, bare ankles? Josh realized then that he was naked underneath the sheet. That’s why he felt cold. Where were his clothes? He tried to pull his arms and feet out, but the straps held him down tight. His head was still as fuzzy as it had been for what seemed like days. So he tired out pretty quickly. He had no idea what day it was or where he was now. It didn’t look like the same place he was before, but he wasn’t sure. He heard the click of a door opening behind him. He tried to look around, but he couldn’t.
"I’m sure you know it’s no use. You can’t move."
The speaker came around into Josh’s sight. It was an older man whose dark hair was shot through with gray streaks. The man was smiling, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes.
"Hello Joshua. I’m very pleased to meet you. The last time I saw you, you were just a little baby about a year old. I looked for you for quite a long time and finally gave up looking, believing you were dead. Can you imagine my happy surprise to find that the reports of your death were in error? Look at you now, a healthy, growing boy. Well, we can look at this as me reclaiming my property. I paid for you, so you belong to me. I don’t know if anyone told you, but I’m an old friend of your parents. My name is Hank Archer. Let’s get started, shall we?"
Josh heard the sound of a door opening and Hank looked up and nodded. An older man came into Josh’s view. He went to the cabinets and began to pull items out of the cabinets and drawers and set them on a rolling tray. He also filled a few syringes with something. Once he had everything he needed, he pushed the tray over to Josh’s side. Hank nodded to the man and stood back. The older man stepped up to Josh’s side and reached from something on the tray.
"I’m going to be running a few tests. We need to make sure that you are as healthy as you seem. It won’t hurt much."