Chapter 11 of Sleeper Cell
Angela led the way to the former Dr. Loveitt’s condo. When they arrived Justin jimmied the lock and a couple minutes they found themselves looking into a very posh living room. Justin looked at Angela, a look of discomfort in his eyes. For an apartment that had sat vacant for three months there was no sign of dust. No smell of stale air. Justin was the first to break eye contact and walk into the condo. Angela slowly followed him after locking the door. At the sound Justin turned. Angela smiled sheepishly, shrugging her shoulders. “Can never be too cautious right?” Justin smiled and continued making his way through the room.
It bothered him that it still looked like someone lived there. It also bothered him that he was able to open that door so easily. For such an upscale building the locks should’ve been better. Looking over his shoulder he said, “Stay alert Angela. Something’s off. We got in here way too easy.”
Angela nodded, “I thought something was off too.” Veering slightly to the left she entered the kitchen and picked up a sponge from the kitchen counter. It should’ve been bone dry, hard. Yet, it wasn’t. It was still bendable as if it had been used recently. She checked the fridge and found it empty. She was about to leave the kitchen when something in the trash can caught her eye. She walked over to it and picked up a soda can.
“What are you doing here?”
Noting the lack of alarm in her tone Justin didn’t turn, “What’s up?”
“This soda can..”
Justin turned and looked at her, “Yeah, what about it?”
“Dr. Loveitt didn’t drink soda and by now the cleaning crews should’ve come and gone…”
The unspoken thought, so this can shouldn’t be here coming through loud and clear.
His eyes immediately flicked up. Scanning all the vents and corners of the room. In a ceiling vent, right above the pantry he saw it. A small red light. Somebody was recording. From that angle you could probably see most of the kitchen, living and dining room, and the guest bathroom.
They’d been in the condo a max of five minutes but he felt a growing sense of urgency to get out of there.
“Where was the home office?”
“This way.” Angela dropped the can back in the trash, rounded the countertop and led him to the second guess bedroom.
“The office is in here. Wait…” They both felt it. Everything in the office looked like it should but that was the problem. Files, documents, notes, notebooks. All looked present and accounted for.
Justin nodded at Angela and she entered the room and sat at the desk. Touching the mouse the computer immediately hummed to life. Neither of them said anything. Angela focused on finding any files on the computer that pertained to #75 and Justin searched through the hardcopy files.
“I can’t find anything.” Angela said, confusion and frustration fusing in her voice.
Raking a hand through his hair he said, “Search for my name.”
“Search for Justin…”
Eyebrow arched she asked, “You don’t happen to recall your last name do you?”
“No. No I don’t.” He continued riffling through files when he heard a small gasp.
He pivoted immediately. Flash on the screen was his face followed by details of his entire life. A life he didn’t remember. His name was Justin Harver. He had parents that were still living and two younger sisters. He’d gone to college and had played football. He’d joined the military and had excellent in strategic planning and recon. A whole life of events and people he didn’t remember.
He drank all the data in, eyes riveted to the screen. Angela was lost in thought. Such information should’ve been encrypted. Why was it so easily accessed?
There was a link at the bottom of the file. Justin reached across her and opened it.
A file popped onto the screen. What looked like a journal entry.
August 18, 2016
#75 is everything I dreamed he would be. He’s progressing well in the field. His handler is quite please with his reflexes and his split second decision making. Already he’s saved the lives of his troop twice! I couldn’t have chosen better! I am, however, growing increasing concerned about some of the higher ups…they’re growing interest in the project is fine so long as they never know about you. You’re special. Far too much to allow such interference. They only want the serum. They only care about its effectiveness. I have no doubts about its effectiveness but my assurances might not be enough. If they find out about you. If they find out about my little side project I have no doubts they’ll try and exploit it. Perhaps even try to shut me down.
#75 is special to me. If I had been focused. Ugh! The advances I’ve made. The advances I made would’ve, perhaps helped my wife…that is the past. I have great hope for the future and I intend to see this project through to the end. The Director must never know about this. As far as he’s concerned the serum is the only project I’ve been working on. Angela’s diligence in collecting all the bloodwork on the candidates has been incredibly useful. Its conclusive proof of what I already knew. What I could feel in my blood. #75 is quickly out pacing, out performing his peers.
I suppose this project has become an obsession of mine but I also feel a strong affection for #75. It’s why I’ve upped out sessions. Having him come in every week is way too risky. I’ve decided to have weekly video chatting sessions with him. So far he remembers very little of his past which is good. He also suffers none of the groggy feelings of the other candidates, this is to be expected though. His treatments are quite different from the ones I’ve administered to the others. I broke the mold with #75. He is my prototype.
Justin rose from his knees and began to pace the room.
“Did his writing seem a little frantic to you” Angela asked, a words slow.
Justin shook his head. “I’m not sure but he kept switching between second and third person.”
Angela slowly spun the chair around and leaned back. She looked at Justin but her eyes weren’t focused. She was about to say his name when the room grew dark.
Justin looked up in time to see Angela slumping forward. Catching her he looked around and saw the culprit. A bit of paper was flapping softly by a vent that should’ve been off. Picking Angela up and tossing her over his shoulder he grabbed a file and hustled out of the room.
He didn’t bother turning off lights. He had just reached the top of the stairs when he heard the soft bing of the elevator and the quick steps of men. He placed a firm grip on Angela’s back and dashed down the steps.
Counting his lucky stars that they’d parked near the stairs of the parking garage he ran full sprint towards the car. He had just tossed Angela into the backseat when He hard the hard screech of tires. He jumped into the drivers seat and put the car in reverse, gunning the engine. An SUV cut a hard right in an attempt to hit the car on the right. He anticipated the move and cut the wheel to the left. The quickly slid past the SUV but not before Justin caught a glimpse of the driver. Alan. He cut the wheel to the right spinning the car around and nearly hitting a neighboring car. Putting the car in drive he sped out of the garage.
The SUV didn’t pursue. Inside the vehicle Alan reported in. “#75 and the analyst have escaped. The analyst is out but #75 appeared to operating at top levels.” He was silent a moment and nodded. “I have no idea how he was immune to the gas but I know what I saw.”
From her office Agent Brown folded her arms across her chest. #75 and Angela should’ve been captured. His alertness and evasive maneuvering of the vehicle should not have been possible.
“What on earth did Dr. Loveitt do to you #75?”
The phone rang.
“Hello Agent Brown.”
The blood drained from her face and she desperately grasped for her chair.