Alan Ch. 15byjuliancoreto©
Off to College
Can you get e-mail from a dead person? Looking at his inbox Alan concluded that you could.
It was just shy of two weeks since he had learned of the death (maybe?) of his mentor, Dr. Jean-Pierre Massimo, and receiving his ring in the mail. Jack had sent him a message through the ring, or, perhaps was using the ring to communicate from another plane of existence. All he knew was that Massimo's Seed, his earthly manifestation of heavenly power, was within the silver band Alan now wore on his left middle finger.
The e-mail read:
Please go to the savings bank on the northeast corner of 80th Street and York Avenue, in the Yorkville section of Manhattan. I have a safety deposit box there in your name. The branch manager has a key waiting for you, and with your powers, have him give it to you. Inside the box you will find compact discs which contain about one-third of my research, as well as all of the information (not much, regretfully) I have managed to glean about our opponents. The information you will find on the discs will lead you to the rest of my research.
Buy a laptop computer. It should have no Ethernet or other networking capabilities. The data on the discs should never be uploaded to a computer which can be connected to an internet connection or even a simple telephone line.
Further instructions will be in the materials you get from the bank.
* * *
Following the instructions which he read off the card, which had been scotch-taped to the outside of the package in the safe-deposit box, Alan took it unopened to an office in midtown Manhattan, the same office he had went to to procure his fake I.D. that he used for his trip to Atlantic City. The office belonged to a middle aged lawyer named Wilkins, a solo practitioner.
As he sat in the office's anteroom waiting for Wilkins to appear Alan studied his surroundings; the office consisted of four rooms, including this anteroom where the matronly secretary sat behind a polished oak desk. Three rooms were arrayed behind her. The middle room was a conference room, a large oblong table dominating its center, the walls lined with bookshelves groaning under the weight of volumes of New York Code and Federal Registers. The attorney's office was on the left of the conference room, its door closed at this time. The other door was locked; where the doorknob usually would have been was a rather sophisticated piece of electronics, a complex lock with a reinforced keypad, plus a hand and fingertip scanner. Unlike the doors to the other rooms, this one looked to be made of heavy-duty steel.
Wilkins ushered him into his office, the East River and the United Nations visible from the window. "Please sit down, Mr. Sutherland. This whole thing is a complete shock to me. If it wasn't for all of the work Dr. Massimo's death has caused, I fear these past few weeks would have found me staggered from the shock of it all." Alan (in the guise of his alter ego, Carl Sutherland) nodded, and the lawyer continued. "Dr. Massimo was my only client, the only client I have ever had. He hired me straight out of law school and set me up in this office, so my grief is not just professional, but personal as well.
Alan offered his condolences, which were accepted graciously.
"Once I received official confirmation of his death from the British authorities I broke the seals on several envelopes Dr. Massimo had left for me in the event of his death. Most of his estate will be transferred to his son in Geneva, but some of it will go to you, particularly certain items in his person collection of artifacts, as well as all of his field research notes, and most of his papers, too. One of the subsidiaries of his personal corporation, Cyaxares LLC., will now be under your control. Dr. Massimo instructed that upon his death all shares in it shall be transferred to you."
Wilkins placed the first document back into a folder and grabbed another off his desk and removed a second set of instructions. "The
office on the opposite side of the conference room was Dr. Massimo's
personal space for when he was working in New York. It is now
yours." Wilkins handed over yet another envelope to Alan, and Alan noted that this one had remained sealed, and was addressed to him. "Instructions for getting past the security door," Wilkins informed him.
"Thank you. Is there anything else you need to tell me?"
"No sir, that is all," Wilkins told him, but Alan could sense by the tone in his voice he wanted to say something else; he scanned him briefly.
"Are you sure?" Alan asked him, and understanding the nervousness on the lawyer's face.
"Ah, well, uh, not to be indelicate at this sad point, and I know we don't really know each other so well, but, um, I was wondering if you were going to continue to, ah, retain the services of this firm for all of your legal needs."
Alan agreed and saw Mr. Wilkins relax visibly. He had the lawyer send his secretary out to lunch; he wanted the anteroom clear when he tried the door of Jack's office. Alan entered the code contained in the letter on the keypad. A small screen appeared in the middle of the apparatus, a small metal panel sliding away to reveal it. Alan spent the next half hour or so answering multiple-choice questions by pressing on the keys of the keypad.
Jack had written a program to authenticate him, the questions asking for information only Alan, as a Vessel of a Seed would know the answers to. When the computer in the door was satisfied that it was really Alan Marshall standing before it Alan was prompted to flatten his hand up against the sensor so his palm- and fingerprints could be recorded. The machine also asked for a new access code, and a voice print.
Alan thought he as done, but the machine also asked for a "danger" code, a false password which would delay the opening of the door of the office by ten seconds, while small explosive charges in the computers detonated, obliterating the stored data on the hard drives, and incendiaries similarly caused all of the files in the file cabinets to go up in smoke, then triggered halogen fire extinguishers mounted in the ceiling.
At long last, Alan gained access to the office. A windowless space, with a lacquered wooden table in the center, the tabletop half taken up by a large computer monitor; one wall was lined end to end with black metal file cabinets, heavy duty-looking ones, made of the same thick steel as the door, each also sporting miniature versions of the same locking mechanism. The other walls were covered with maps and diagrams made on Massimo's expeditions; most were yellowed, and some even had frayed edges. Alan rested the steel case he had that morning removed from the bank in Yorkville next to the monitor; he examined it closely for the first time; not wanting to attract too much attention in the bank, he had merely placed it in a canvas zip-up bag and left. There were no hinges, no releases to press to pop it open. He knew it wasn't a solid block of steel, not only by its weight, but also because he could feel the box's contents shift within, and anyhow, hadn't Massimo's e-mail message tell him that there were computer discs inside? Running his fingers over the whole of it Alan was confused; just as he was going to give up and start looking at the computer in front of him, he heard that voice.
"Don't try to open it with your hands. It only opens at the command of the Seed's Vessel."
"I am here," the disembodied voice uttered.
"Is there some specific command that I need to use to open the box?"
"No, just will it open, and it will be."
Alan looked at the box, and in less than a second he heard a pop. The top of the box was raised and slightly askew, and he took the lid off completely and set it to the side. Inside were the discs as promised, and he examined the jewel cases, reading the labels and putting them back in order. Satisfied he was organized now, Alan replaced them in the box, refit the lid to the top, and
locked it using his power. He took a cab to a large chain electronics
store, and bought a laptop using the credit card with the name Carl Sutherland, his Atlantic City alias. By the time he returned to Wilkins's office the secretary was gone for the day, and the lawyer's office door was shut. Deciding it was safer to leave the original discs behind the impressively secure office door, Alan transferred all of their data to his new laptop, filed the disks in one of the cabinets, then placed his computer into the now empty steel box, and put the box in his canvas bag. Exiting the building, he hailed a cab and told the driver he wanted to go to Grand Central Station; he had a nagging feeling, impossible to pin down, that he was being watched.
* * *
"Four to One, We have a visual. Out." His partner picked up the telephoto and shot off as many pictures he could before the mark got into the taxi.
"Copy zat, I see him," a heavily accented voice said, his voice distorted by the speaker of the radio. "Remember your instructions. You and Eight are to follow him, and no more. Surveillance only. Repeat, repeat, do not approach too close. Out."
"That's affirm. Four to One, I copy instructions. Out." He put the car in drive, and pulled out to follow the cab his target had just hailed. He didn't know why he was following this man. All he did know was that he had spent the last two weeks sitting in a parked car on Forty-sixth street between Second and Third, waiting for the signal for whom to follow. Seven hundred dollars a day he was getting paid for this; nice work, if you can get it. The agent he knew only as "One" had spent the last two weeks working as an elevator operator in this office building, waiting for the mark, whoever he was, to enter the office on the twenty-sixth floor. Once he was identified it was his job, "Agent Four," to follow the mark home, and set up surveillance there. "Easy," he thought to himself, counting his money in his head.
"He's getting out," Eight said. "Look, up there." The cab had stopped, and the dome light on its roof was lit, indicating a now vacant cab. Two pulled to the curb, twenty yards behind it, and Three jumped out, following the mark into the station.
Grand Central Station was teeming with people, this being start of rush hour. Three followed the mark, figuring that he would head for the ticket windows, but instead he followed him straight to the platforms. Must have bought a round trip ticket, indicating he lived in the suburbs. He relayed this information over the radio.
"Shit! Where in fuck did he go?" Agent Eight swore to himself. Just as the mark neared the north side of the station a great group of people came streaming out of an arched passageway, interspersing themselves between him and the mark.
"Eight to Four, I LOST HIM," he said frantically into his radio, trying his best to keep his voice down. "I'VE LOST THE MARK!"
"Find him, now," the voice answered back, not Four, but One.
Eight searched all of the platforms, and walked through all of the trains idling on the platforms. He knew he had about a fifty-fifty chance; about half of the trains would pull out before he had a chance to search them.
Twenty minutes later it was all over. He had failed. He reported in.
"Return to base for debrief. Out."
Ten minutes later he was at the base, which by coincidence was only a few blocks north of the station, in a non-descript office building on Lexington Avenue. His fellow stalkers on the pursuit team were already there when he and Four came in together. Four was not looking forward to this, but One could not have been more understanding or calm.
"I never really expected to track him down zo fast. Who knew if he vas even going to show his face at the lawyer's? Ve've made good progress. Starting in the morning ve'll deploy one team at the lawyer's, and two teams at the station. Ve'll spot him again, and next time we vont lose him."
One dismissed his team. The photos
would be ready tonight. The next day he'll start sending teams of
agents to all of the towns which are serviced by Metro-North, and have them shown around. A train conductor, a station worker, someone has to know where he was from. One of his men had bribed the manager of the computer store, so at least he had a name, "Carl Sutherland," but a database search hadn't turned up any address other than c/o Stanley Wilkins, Esq., P.C. The data team on the other side of the Atlantic would be tasked to investigate further.
He opened his laptop and wrote his report. That done, he started the encryption program; this program took a long time to do its business, encoding his text with such complexity that the fastest code breaking computer in the world would need at least a month to unscramble it. He leaned back in his chair and relaxed, his left hand absently playing with his necklace.
The necklace consisted of a thin chain looped through a hook on the top of a small silver sphere. The silver was very pure, his boss had informed him, and he must under no circumstances remove it while on the mission. Duplicates of his necklace were worn by all of the members of the pursuit team, and they were under similar instructions, forbidden to remove them until the end of the mission.
* * *
Alan found a seat. It was still early in rush hour, and the cars were less than half full. Plus, he had reached the station just as the inbound train had pulled in, and he had almost fifteen minutes before the turnaround. Sitting there quietly reading his newspaper he still had that feeling in the back of his mind, a feeling of being watched, or even chased. He tried scanning all of the minds in his vicinity, but nothing jumped out. He lowered his antennae, and went back to reading. Had anyone been following him, his transformation from thirtyish Carl Sutherland to teenaged Alan Marshall would have surely thrown them off his trail.
"Guess who?" a familiar and singsong feminine voice called. Kate had snuck up behind him and covered his eyes with her hands.
"Spoilsport," she pouted, coming around from the row of seats behind his and settling in next to him. "I wanted you to guess!" she mock-whined. "What were you doing in Manhattan?"
"I, uh, came in to have lunch with my dad. Went computer shopping after." Well, the latter was true.
"Cool," she said idly.
"Why are you taking the train? I thought you drove in."
"Car's in the shop. Busted fuel pump. Bummer."
"Sorry," he replied, genuine concern in his voice. Kate loved that car. Once she started college she would probably be experiencing withdrawal symptoms from not driving it.
The train pulled out, right on schedule, picking up speed in the tunnel. Kate leaned over towards him, resting her head on his shoulder, her fragrant black hair tickling his nose. Alan rested his right hand against her thigh, feeling her warmth trough the fabric of her knee-length denim skirt. She sighed contentedly.
Alan closed his eyes, unleashing his mind to delve within her thoughts. She was thinking about the night of the spring break party, when she and Alan had fucked in the garden as the party continued around them.
The train slowed and then stopped in Harlem. A few more people got on, but soon they were back at full speed. Kate looked down the center aisle; a businessman was exiting the bathroom and heading back to his seat.
"Come on," she whispered to him, sitting up straight and taking his hand in hers.
"What?" he answered, a puzzled look on his face. He knew what she was thinking, but decided to play the innocent.
"The bathroom," she said slyly, "I need to go to the bathroom."
"So? I'm not stopping you," he replied, a small smile creeping across his face, letting her know he was on to her.
"I want you to come with me, to the bathroom," she said as she pulled him up off the seat. Fifteen seconds later they were inside, the door locked. Though the cars of the
commuter train were well air conditioned the bathrooms lacked a/c vents, and the warmth in the small chamber was instantly uncomfortable; Kate began pulling at her clothes.
She reached to his waist and pulled his shirt out of his chinos, her hands busily exploring his chest and back as he leaned in to kiss her, sucking her tongue from between her lips
and into his mouth. She growled softly, dropping her hands to his belt buckle and unfastening it. He wriggled out of his pants letting them fall into a bunch around his ankles, and her hands attached themselves to his groin, rubbing his cock through the thin material of his underpants.
He turned her around so that she faced the mirror. One of his hands went to take down his shorts, and the other stole under her skirt, his thumb hooking the waistband of her panties. Her flesh was warm and
quivering at his touch.
This was one of the parts she liked the best, when Alan took down her panties. It made her feel so, so--her mind rolled around, looking for the right word--so "taken." Once she felt the panties bunched around her ankles she lifted up and stepped out of them, then reached forward, putting her hands on each side of the small sink, bracing herself.
Once she was situated Alan took her smooth firm ass in his hand, caressing the silky flesh as she tried to stifle her moans. He dipped lower, his fingertips dancing across her rapidly moistening slit.
"Hrmph, yeah!" she panted through her clenched teeth. "Touch me, touch me like that. " He gently explored her folds as she arched her back, pressing her ass into his hands. She gasped again as he slowly inserted a finger up her, and contracted her muscles, bearing down to squeeze the invader with her tight vaginal walls. She was about to come; Alan knew the signs well. Right before her climax he withdrew.
Kate growled at the loss of stimulation. She felt like a balloon about to pop from being over inflated, but just as she was about to explode the air began to be released from the valve. It was maddening, though she didn't have long to wait. Just as she thought she was about to lose her mind she felt the head of Alan's prick at her pussy. She pushed back at him, hoping to trap the tip of it in her cunt, knowing it was a long shot. He slowly ran the head up and down her sopping labia, and she shook and trembled in desire and anticipation. Alan kept at this longer than usual, thoroughly soaking his erection with her juicy secretions; the wait was excruciating to her; Kate's trembling accelerated, and he could actually hear her teeth chattering as he sent her into a frenzy.
She gathered herself as best she could under the circumstances, trying to get composed enough the speak, to plead with him to spear her with his cock. Even if he had not been able to read her mind Alan would have known what she wanted. He saw in her eyes, which were glassy and expectant with arousal, her pupils extremely dilated, begging him to penetrate her.
"Here you go, baby," he whispered as he simultaneously pressed his dick into her steaming channel and leaned over her to place his mouth directly at her ear.
"Hrmph, oooooh yesssssssss!" she hissed back at him, thrusting her ass against his groin as he sunk into her to the hilt. She knew she had to keep the noise level down, protected as they were only by the flimsy walls of the lavatory. As he began to pump in and out of her she tensed, clenching her jaw shut, breathing deeply through her nose, and concentrating on staying quiet. It seemed to be easier if she kept her eyes open, and she stared into the mirror. The image of herself being fucked by Alan was an amazing turn-on. The strangled look on her features, contrasted with his calm visage was dizzying to behold.
"Oh God," she squeaked as she felt him probe at her anus. Upon his penetration she came like a freight train, or more fittingly in this case, a commuter train, biting down on the side of her hand to squelch her screams. She managed to keep