Just in case anyone is actually reading this story, I figured I give you the rest.
Laura Weatherby had been soundly sleeping in her extended stay hotel room, just on the outskirts of Clayton. She had been there, on and off, for two weeks now. That sleep was interrupted by the blaring of her cell phone; the ringer sounded like an air-raid siren. She needed that sometimes, since when she was focused on something important a normal ring tone just wouldn’t do. But as an alarm for waking up…she may need to rethink that. Grabbing for the phone on the night stand, she fumbled with it until it was right-side up and looked at the screen. It was Detective Mitchim. Looking at the clock, it read 4:37am. “This can’t be good,” she said before accepting the call.
“Laura, it’s Sam…sorry about the time, but we got another body.”
“Yeah, but you won’t believe this. I think we may have a clue.”
Sitting up in a bolt, she said, “What? Are you serious?”
“Yeah…how soon can you make it to the morgue?”
“I can be there in 20…maybe 30. Is it good?”
“I think we can work with it. I just wanted to get your opinion.”
“Roger that; I’ll be in quickly.”
Hanging up, she could almost hear the joy in his voice. Yeah, someone had died, but if there was a clue…it might just be worth the sacrifice.
Agent Weatherby was amazed at what she saw. The victim had carved a message into his own arm. The cut was jagged and must have been extremely painful, but it was the only clue they had; and they were thankful to have it. Before Glen Adams had died he had carved a rough rectangle with two letters in it. The initials M and O were within the rectangle that had been carved into the forearm of the victim. Both Agent Weatherby and Detective Mitchim knew that the carvings could have been put there by the killer, but neither of them felt that was the case. They just felt it was put there by the victim himself.
“What could it mean?” asked Sam.
“I think it’s initials- maybe he figured out who the killer was and was trying to give us a message.”
“But why is it in a box?”
Just then the coroner walked in with his preliminary report. “It’s too early to tell for sure, but it looks as if he was electrocuted from within. His stomach shows signs of electrical burns and all of his nerves are shot.”
“What do you make of the marks on his arm?” asked Agent Weatherby.
The coroner, much younger than either of the two officers said, “It looks like one of those Wrist Networks. Not sure why the victim carved it into their arm, but that is what they did.”
“Wrist network…what’s that?” asked Mitchim.
“Seriously? You don’t know what a wrist network is?”
The blank look they received was evidence enough that they did not, in fact, know what a wrist network was.
“Come with me and I’ll show you.”
They followed the coroner out into another room. It was where his office was. He opened a locked drawer and pulled out his own Wrist Network. It was a sleek designed computer that was placed on the wrist. It looked like a bracer, but high tech.
“You can use this for just about anything…it controls everything I want it to…really? You’ve never heard of this? It came out a few years ago and displaced the tablet. Everyone has them.”
Shaking his head, Sam just said, “I think I’m getting too old for this crap.”
“Me too,” replied Laura. “So you think that looks like a Wrist Network. Okay, I can see that. But you said you know for sure the victim carved it himself.”
“Yeah, he has his own blood under his fingertips and there is wear on those same fingers where he was holding a rock or something…maybe cement, and carved it. He definitely did it himself.”
“Okay; thanks for the information. How soon will you have the final report?”
“I’ll have it all worked out in a day or two.”
“Make it a day; this is important.”
“Got it. I’ll have the final report done for you same time tomorrow Detective.”
As the young coroner walked away, Detective Mitchim looked at Special Agent Weatherby and said, “I think we need to learn a bit about these Wrist Networks.”
Starbucks had been the leading coffee shop for the last few decades, and some things never changed. For some reason the coffee shops had always drawn through its doors individuals that were on the cutting edge of technology. And that habit was in full force as a medium build gentleman in his early thirties walked in through the door. His black, short cut hair looked almost unnaturally black, as did his short cut beard. When he walked up to the counter he ordered his favorite; a Grande white chocolate mocha with one shot less espresso. He also had it made to 140 degrees. He rarely indulged in such things, but when he did, he knew how he liked it. After getting his coffee and looking around, he decided it was time to perform his first field test.
Reaching into his pocket before he walked out the door, he pushed a button on a key fob sized device within. In moments, more than half the customers in the café were writhing around on the floor. Thirty seconds later he left the building, enjoying his drink. Behind him were more than a dozen dead techies. The first of the field tests was quite successful.
“Miles-Gemmen Corporation; that is the makers of the Wrist Networks.”
“So, what does that tell me?” asked Detective Mitchim.
“It tells you we have a solid lead,” replied his partner Detective Grosling. Grosling had been given the task of researching the Wrist Networks. He had known of them, but didn’t own one. Though he was years younger than his friend and partner, he still didn’t have any desire to mess with all that tech-stuff. He still lived as “tech free” as he could. Didn’t want to be on the grid any more that he needed to, and that was strange coming from a cop.
“I still don’t understand how that gives us a lead.”
“The founders of the company are Jacob Gemmen and Miles Olsen…Miles Olsen…M. O.”
“That’s a stretch Jeff.”
“I don’t think so Sam. Look, the one that actually invented the Wrist Network was Miles Olsen. He was some uber-nerd, child prodigy in technology. He was the mind behind the invention. Gemmen was the bank. When they made it big, Gemmen produced information that was a huge scandal in the tech-world. Olsen was ousted from the company and hasn’t been seen since.”
“So you think this Olsen is a crazed killer now electrocuting random strangers after he tortures them for a month…and around Clayton no less? We’re 1500 miles from the Silicon Valley. If he’d be killing people, he’d be there. I just don’t know. You may be right, but I need more than that to go on.”
As they were finishing up their conversation, Agent Weatherby walked in and said, “I may just have the more you need.”
One hundred and fifty miles from the Starbuck where sixteen people had died the day before, a man in his early thirties sat at a table in a small diner in the middle of a remote town on the western side of the Rockies. Reading the news from his archaic tablet, he reached out to touch the hand of the waitress that passed him by. When their hands met, both of them received a static shock. “Oh my, I am so sorry miss; must be the dry air.”
“No problem sir, what can I get for you?”
“I’d really like a refill on this coffee, and when you get a chance, I wouldn’t mind a slice of that apple pie in the case.”
“Sure thing, coming right up.”
As she walked away, the man smiled and said to himself, “Why thank you Angie Fields. I’ll be sure to leave you a good tip to take care of that $37,000 student loan for acting classes that didn’t work out for you.”
As he sat back and enjoyed the mediocre coffee, he marveled at the information he had just obtained from a complete stranger with the simple touch of a hand.
“Are you serious?” asked Sam as he looked over the information.
“Dead serious. My expert has finally traced back the video feed disturbances. He said it was way beyond anything he had ever seen. The person that did it is a genius.”
“But that doesn’t mean it’s Olsen.”
“No, but we need to start somewhere. We have an address, and it’s local. You want to get the warrant?”
“Way ahead of you,” said the detective as he picked up the phone to request a search warrant and backup.
Agent Weatherby’s connections had taken a few weeks to analyze the information, but they had successfully pinpointed the location from which the signal had come. The individual that had done the manipulation of the video feed had truly been a genius. It had taken a team of individuals, including some of the best hackers the FBI had at its disposal to track the feed. And everything led them back to a small home in Ripley…a few short miles from where most of the victims had been found.
The police and federal agents descended on the well-appointed Ripley home like a pack of wild dogs. After busting through the door, they quickly ascertained that the home was unoccupied. The house itself wasn’t empty though. All the furnishing was still there. It only appeared that there were maybe a few clothes missing; as if someone had left on a trip. The refrigerator still held an assortment of foods, though nothing immediately perishable. But when they made it down to the basement…that was a different story.
“Special Agent…Detective Mitchim…you may want to come check out the basement,” was what the two heard over their radios. “House is clear.”
Looking at each other, the two nodded and entered the home.
Sitting in a white van just outside another Starbucks, the man contemplated going in. Not that he was squeamish about killing more people, he just didn’t know if he really needed another field test before he went in for the big fish. He also didn’t want to leave a clear path for any feds to follow, though he was pretty sure they wouldn’t be able to track him down. Still…he was only in Nevada, and he was thirsty. He might as well get a coffee.
“This is unbelievable Sam.”
“I know Laura. What is all this stuff? It looks like some set for a Sci-Fi movie or something.”
“It looks like NASA to me. I don’t know what half this stuff does.”
“So do you think it’s Olsen?”
“Not sure. I’m waiting for word from Jeff. The home was listed as being owned by a Jacob Hass. We have uniforms interviewing the neighbors.”
“What is Jeff looking for?”
“The most current picture of Olsen available. He is sifting the net to see if there are any pictures more recent that what was posted when he was ousted at Miles-Gemmen Corp. He should be back soon. Have you heard anything about the cell yet? Have they found any evidence?”
“Not that I’ve heard of. That may take some time though. Combing through the dirt is a bit difficult, but the ultraviolet may have shown something. Let’s go ask.”
The two walked the twenty feet from the monitors to the cell and asked if anything had been found. Indeed, the ultraviolet light had shown a number of samples, most of which the technicians thought to be blood or urine. The small chamber pot in the corner had been a mess, but there were samples all over the cell that they hoped to be able to DNA and identify.
“Well, we have the place and the technology, now we need a positive ID. Hopefully one of the neighbors will be able to help.”
“Yeah, but even if we get a positive ID, we are still lost. We don’t know where to look. There is a missing suitcase from the luggage set and it is obvious that someone packed recently. So all we’ll know is a name. Not a location.”
“One step at a time Sam, one step at a time.”
That test had worked better than he thought. He had performed a double test. He had accidentally bumped someone and given them a shock. The information that had flooded his brain was staggering. He knew every detail about that man’s life in a second. It was phenomenal. Too bad he had been one of the ones that had died with the second test. There were significantly more that had succumbed to this test, but he did note that there was an effective range. It appeared that he needed to be within 20-25 feet of the individual for the trigger to work. If he had time, he’d try to up the range, but that would be later on. He was ready for the home stretch. As he got into his van, he pulled away and headed towards Silicon Valley, home of Miles-Gemmen Corp.
“We have confirmation Sam-mitch! The neighbor next door has a positive ID on the owner. They knew him as Jacob Hass, but they swear it is Olsen. I showed them multiple pictures and they picked him out every time.”
“Good work Jeff. Put out an APB on Olsen. Let’s check every airport, train station, bus terminal…”
“Already on it Sammy. We’ll nail this guy.”
Olsen sat in his hotel room after a quick shower. He had cleaned up, successfully washing out that hideous black die from his hair. Tomorrow morning, he would drive into the valley and go visit his old company. He had already hacked into their computer system and knew Gemmen’s schedule. He was free between 2-3pm. He had that time blocked off on his calendar, which he knew he always did. It was his ‘personal’ time each day he was in the office. He caught up on personal business, read up on current events and prepared for his afternoon. Gemmen was very structured; just like he had been when he ruined Olsen’s life and livelihood. Now it was time to pay him back. And all Olsen had to do was make one more call.
Sam Mitchim was tired. So were Detective Grosling and Agent Weatherby, but when they read a new report given them by a uniform officer, all traces of lethargy were gone. Over the course of the last few days, there had been a string of mass killings in Starbucks Coffee Shops across the US. That in and of itself wouldn’t have caught their attention, as there were terrorist attacks all the time in the US now. It was 2020 and the world had gone to hell. But what had caught there attention was that all the victims had been killed with an electrical current. And that some smart investigator had noticed that each and every one of the dead had one of those crazy under-skin implants that were controlled by a Wrist Network.
“That has got to be Olsen.”
“No doubt; and he’s obviously heading west, but where?”
“If I had to guess,” said Agent Weatherby, “I’d say he’s headed to his old company.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Look at the map. He is hitting random coffee shops to ‘test’ his device. And in my professional opinion, I think he is doing this for revenge. Look, Gemmen, his old partner, ousted him. He was made to look like a failure. He was disgraced in his own community of peers. You put all that together with your typical introvert and you have a recipe for disaster. If I were in charge, I’d be heading there in a heartbeat.”
“Well, what are we waiting for? You and I need to get to the airport and find the fastest flight to the Silicon Valley. Jeff, I need you to contact any local police that may be able to help. We’ll be at least six hours even if we find a direct flight that is leaving right away.”
“I’m on it Sam,” said Detective Grosling as he left to do what was needed.
“I may be able to get us there faster Sam. Let me make some calls.”
“Okay. Do it.”
Within a half-hour, Detective Mitchim and Special Agent Weatherby were being escorted through a small military base just outside Clayton. Weatherby had used her pull and influence with the agency to secure a much faster transport. With luck, they’d be in California around 2pm…just four hours from now.
“I’d like to see Mr. Jacob Gemmen please.”
“I’m sorry sir, but Mr. Gemmen is unavailable today. May I try to set something up for later this week…perhaps next?”
“Miss, I know he is here. We are old friends. Just ring his admin and tell him Miles Olsen is here to see him.”
“Miles…Olsen…you mean ‘the’ Miles Olsen?”
“Yeah, the name on the building…that’s me. I’ve been away for a while, and just wanted to stop in and have a visit.”
As the front desk administrator picked up the phone, she pushed a button under the counter alerting security. Olsen noted it and smiled. Everything was going just as he had suspected.
“May I ask the nature of the visit?” asked the admin.
“Seriously, I was just in town and thought I’d stop by to say hi. You can even have the security guards you just called escort me the entire way. I’ve nothing to hide and I mean him no harm. All that ugly business is in the past.”
The security guards cautiously approached, but as Olsen was wearing his usual short sleeved white shirt, black ‘business casual’ pants and black shoes, he couldn’t possibly be carrying a gun. He didn’t even have on a Wrist Network, which he had invented.
“Alright,” said the admin to someone on the phone. Raising her hand to call the security over, she said to Olsen, “Mr. Gemmen said he can spare you 5 minutes. Please follow these gentlemen to his office.
Bowing his head graciously, he said, “Thank you for your assistance. I’ll be only a moment.
With that, he was in the building.
The plane they had ridden to get to California was nothing like any plane Mitchim had ever seen. He guessed it was some sort of Area 51 thing he’d probably be forced to ‘forget’ sooner than later. But it got them where they wanted to go in about 3 ½ hours. Now, as they were boarding the helicopter to get to Miles-Gemmen Corp, they were reaching out to the local police for help.
Grosling had contacted them, but they had said they were really busy and would send out backup as soon as possible. Jeff had just shook his head in disgust and called Sam. Sam had had the same response, but had figured as much. Times were hard and local cops had to handle things themselves. It wasn’t uncommon for a department in another state to ask for permission to go in and get their suspects without assistance, as assistance was rarely available. This was just another one of those cases. A sign of the times, he thought to himself; just a sign of the times.
When the security guards had escorted Olsen into the private elevator, they pushed the button on the panel and entered a key. The doors locked and the elevator didn’t move. Smiling, Olsen said, “What’s going on guys?”
“Just standard practice sir. We are going to have to pat you down now.”
Raising his arms, the smile never leaving his face, he said, “Pat away.”
All they found in his pockets was some loose change, two key fobs and his wallet. With nothing left for them to check, and no obvious or not so obvious weapon, they shrugged and turned the key once again. The elevator moved steadily upward until they were at the 7th floor. Though not a huge building, Gemmen had always like the number seven, and thought that was just the right number of floors to be successful, yet not too pretentious. Olsen had just said “Whatever” when those details had been worked out so many years ago. He had simply wanted a floor on which to work. That had been the 3rd floor.
When the door opened, everything was just like it had been the day Olsen had been kicked out of the organization he had helped found. The security guards stepped out of the elevator behind Olsen and stationed themselves on either side of the door. Olsen, straightening his shirt, proceeded to the desk of Gemmen’s admin. Her name was Tricia. She had been there since the start. Olsen had suspected that she had always been more than just Jacob’s admin, but had never cared enough to look into it. Maybe this visit would give him that proof and he could publicize that information to make Gemmen’s fall all the more delicious. That put a smile on his face once again.
“Good afternoon Tricia. How are things?”
With a fake smile, she replied, “Things are good Mr. Olsen. How have you been?”
“Oh, I’ve been getting by. Say, could you let Jacob know I’m here. I just wanted to pop in and say hi since I was in town.”
“Sure thing Mr. Olsen, he’s expecting you. One moment please.”
She pushed a button and communicated to Gemmen that Olsen had arrived. “Please, head right in. He only has a few minutes, but is anxious to see you.”
With a bow of the head, he walked past the desk and on through the office door; easier than he thought.
The helicopter took off as soon as Weatherby and Mitchim were belted in. Over the headphone provided, Weatherby asked “Have you made any contact with the locals yet?”
“They know we are here and are trying to get us a couple uniforms as backup, but nothing concrete. We may be on our own unless you have another surprise from the Feds.”
“We have the pilot and co-pilot; that’s pretty much it. But they will help.”
“I hope we aren’t too late. I’m going to try to contact the company again. We keep getting busy signals.”
“Do you think he messed with that too? That is highly unusual for an organization that size to have its communications system down.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised. Any idea how long it will take to get there?”
“The pilot said 10-15 minutes.”
“Good. I hope we are wrong about this, but I’ve got a feeling…”
“Miles, good to see you,” said Jacob Gemmen as he came around the side of the desk.
“You too Jacob,” said as he extended his hand to shake.
When their hands touched, each of them received a slight static shock. “Wow,” commented Olsen. “Must be dry in here.”
“Yeah, must be. So what can I do for you Miles? I never expected you to show up like this. Are you okay?”
“Yep, everything’s fine and in the past. I was just stopping by to let you know that I’ve forgiven everything in the past and would love to get back to work. I’ve some interesting ideas that might help the company in the future.”
“Yeah, Miles, you do know that you no longer work here, right?”
Laughing, Miles replied, “Of course…of course. I know that. I was just saying that if you needed some help on ideas for the future, I’d be willing to come back to the company.”
Gemmen was becoming more and more uncomfortable with the situation and moved back to his desk as casually as possible. “Is that really the reason you stopped in Miles? After all the history between you and I; you thought you’d just come back and ask for a job? Sounds sort of strange to me.”
“Yeah, it is sort of strange isn’t it Jacob; since it was my ideas in the first place that made this company. And look who still works here and who is without a job.”
Jacob causally pushed the security button and Miles knew he had. Smiling, he said, “Oh Jacob, this is going to be fun.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Call you henchmen, I’m not afraid. Bring them all in here if you’d like. You really shouldn’t have made me mad Jacob. I’ve had years to think about the situation and it’s time I made some changes.”
Now it was Jacob’s time to laugh, “Hah, you come in here threatening me and you think it’s going to scare me? What are you going to do Miles? You’ve got nothing. And look, here are my ‘henchmen’ to carry you away. I’ll have the cops put you away forever. I’ve got so many connections, the last time you’ll see the sky is when they drag your sorry ass outta here.”
As the security guards and Tricia rushed into the room, Olsen put his hands into his pockets. “Oh, Jacob, I’m well aware of all your connections. As a matter of fact, I am well aware of everything on your mind. You really should have listened to my new ideas.”
With that, as the security guards were feet away from him, he pushed the button on the key fob.
The helicopter landed on the helipad on the top of the building. Two security guards rushed out to meet the officers as they sprinted towards the door leading into the building. Flashing their badges, Detective Mitchim yelled to the guards, “We think you may have a problem inside. We need to get to Jacob Gemmen and quick.”
Turning in stride with the running officers, one of the guards yelled back, “Follow me. What’s the problem?”
“We think Miles Olsen is here and after his old partner. He’s wanted for numerous counts of murder.”
“Crap. He’s here. He got here about ten minutes ago. It came over the radios.”
“Dammit. We need to hurry.”
As they ducked into the small door leading to a stairway a black Towne Car pulled into the front of the building near the main entrance.
Smiling at the outcome of the encounter, his celebration was cut short as he heard the sound of the helicopter landing on the roof, just above him. Turning towards the door, Olsen left behind the bodies of Jacob Gemmen, Tricia his mistress and admin, and those wonderful security guards. He was never sure, that was the only true risk to this plan, but he had been fairly sure everyone under Miles-Gemmen Corp employment would have a Wrist Network and an under-skin implant. He had been right.
Running down a corridor, the security guards led the detective and special agent towards Gemmens office. As they turned a corner, they crashed into a solidly built man wearing a short-sleeved dress shirt, black pant and black shoes. His hair was close cut and sort of pointy. As Agent Weatherby, Detective Mitchim, the man and one of the security guards disentangled themselves to stand up. The man in the white shirt reached out and touched Mitchim on the hand. A static shot ran up his arm at the same instant he knew he was face to face with Olsen. Before he could grab him, Olsen pushed the key fob once more and the security guards started to writhe around on the ground. Olsen bolted for a side door and escaped. Mitchim drew his gun and didn’t wait for Agent Weatherby to give chase. He took off as fast as he could through the door.
Olsen knew the alert had been triggered. He’d need to get out as fast as possible if he wanted to get out at all. He’d need to use the key fob device again, he was sure, but he had not thought to test how many uses he had on one charge; an oversight in his planning that may cause him his freedom. The device was developed to cause a wireless signal to reroute all electrical signals in the area to any under-skin implants within a given radius. So if there was a wireless system in the area, it would draw from that and send the signals from all wireless devices, including the Wrist Networks towards the implants. He didn’t think he had much to worry about, as the electrical current that fried the victim’s nervous system wasn’t coming from the fob, but from the wireless network within the building, but he just didn’t know.
Taking the fastest path he could remember through the building, he descended a back staircase away from normal business areas, so he met up with very few employees. When he had made it to the main floor, he burst into the open area and immediately pushed the key fob. Half a dozen security guards, along with six or eight other employees, were quivering on the ground in an instant. Nothing was in front of him but the main entrance.
As he pushed through the plate glass door a shot rang out. Just missing him, the glass cracked like a spider’s web, but held in place. Olsen just made it out through the final door before the security gate slammed down behind him. He was free, and the police were trapped inside.
Jogging towards the waiting Towne Car, he got into the back seat and shut the door. Not having heard the commotion within the building, the driver gladly took the offered $100 tip for a quick departure. Olsen was glad he had made that one last call the night before and hired the driver to wait. He was now on his way back to his hotel and no one was in pursuit.
Five days later, Detective Sam Mitchim sat behind his desk back in Clayton. They had managed to get the helicopter up in the air moments after Olsen had escaped, but the use of a black Towne Car to escape had made it next to impossible to track without knowing exactly which black Towne Car to follow. There were quite a few driving around in that part of town.
All totaled, Miles Olsen would be held responsible for sixty-three deaths that they knew of. He had made it to the FBI’s Most Wanted list and had numerous organizations looking for him. He had made a clean escape. Even after they tracked down the driver, all he was able to do was direct them to the hotel Olsen had been staying at. They were truly back to square one. Miles Olsen was a hacker without peer and an evil genius. They would have their hands full.
As Mitchim re-read another report before turning it in, his partner Jeff Grosling came in. “Hey Sam-mitch, you got a package.”
Setting the package down on the desk, Mitchim picked it up. It was post-marked from a UPS branch in southern California. Curious, he opened it up. Inside he found printed off screen shots of every one of his personal files from the police force, private account information, family photos and a hand written note. The note said:
Dear Detective Mitchim-
I enjoyed the chase very much. If you’d have been there just a bit sooner, you’d have had me. Or maybe not. Either way, I’m free and you have no idea where I am. But I know you…I know everything about you. All it took was that one touch…that single static shock when we touched hands. I read your mind. So if you want, keep coming after me. But I’d suggest you don’t, because I know every dirty little secret in your life.
Mitchim sat there shaking. He was scared. How could that crazy man have gotten all this information through one touch of the hand?
As Sam sat there with his partner staring at him, the stock market crashed. The Miles-Gemmen Corp had had all assets frozen immediately after the CEO’s death for investigation purposes, but someone managed to hack into the Stock Exchange and manipulate the frozen funds to an unmarked, off-shore account. Along with that, multiple corporations that had been highly entwined with MGC were hacked as well. The financial district and tech world was in a tail-spin, and no one knew what to do.