Portal – Chapter 57

The phone only rang once. Although he was asleep, Daniel Lehrer had a special ringtone set for calls from the JTF Headquarters. If they were calling him at night, it must be important.

“Yes,” he answered with no indications in his voice that he had been asleep seconds before. “What is it?”

“Sorry to disturb you, Director,” said the JTF agent on the other end of the line, “but we just had a report come in about an Enhanced attack just south of Broad Ripple.”

Daniel tapped a few times on the tablet next to his bed and pulled up the incident report.

“Keep going,” he ordered.

“Yes, sir,” the Agent replied. “It seems one of our own was attacked. He survived but the doctors at Methodist believe he is paralyzed from the waist down. We’re sending Preacher but he doubts he can do much for the victim. His civilian friend was butchered in the attack according to the Metro chatter. Our people are on the scene now.”

“Understood,” Daniel acknowledge, “Raise the city threat condition to Level 3 and make sure all agents are accounted for. No one goes out alone.”

The threat condition scale was based on a general 5 level scale. At Level 5, the condition was peaceful with no threats. At Level 1, the JTF expected an imminent attack or was experiencing an attack from a powerful Enhanced, or a group of Enhanced, capable of causing significant destruction. Due to the protests by the Freemen, the general threat condition around the city and the nation was Level 4.

“Yes, sir,” the Agent responded. “There is one more thing.”

“What is it?” Daniel asked abruptly. This situation could have been handled by the local watch commander. It did not require waking him up in the middle of the night.

The agent paused before answering. “Sir, the victim said the Enhanced specifically mentioned your name.”

“And why would he do that?” Daniel asked. Only a completely insane Enhanced would threaten the Director of the Joint Task Force.

“Sir, it was Maze. His exact words were, unfinished business.”

Daniel felt the his hands get clammy from sweat and anxiety. Maze was crazy enough to threaten the Director of the Joint Task Force. He was also dangerous enough to succeed.

“Damn it. How many people know about Maze’s involvement?” Daniel asked.

“The victim told the paramedic and the ER doctors at Methodist were in the room when he told the responding agents. About twenty total.”

“Listen, find that paramedic and those doctors. Get their names on a non-disclosure agreement and remind them that interference with a JTF investigation, which would include talking to the media and causing a public panic, will result in serious jail time. Got it?”

The agent bumped the phone against his head several times as he jotted down notes. It annoyed Daniel but he was busy opening up his email client.

“Got it, sir. Anything else?”

“Are Prescott and Edwards still at Leavenworth?” asked Daniel.

“I think so.”

“Tell them to get their asses back here immediately, commercial, if necessary. At this moment, I’m initiating threat condition Level 2 protocols. All leave is canceled. All agents are to report to their unit commanders immediately. Tell Prescott his recruits are moving to Bravo until this is over. ”

The agent scribbled down the orders. “We’re sending Nightmare to your house for the evening until Bravo is recalled. We have a drone circling your neighborhood as well.”

“Good call, Agent?” Daniel paused.

“Thorton, sir. Gil Thorton.”

“Goodnight Agent Thorton.”

Daniel Lehrer quickly hung up the phone and started typing on his computer. It was not an email address he used often, specifically created to mask the contents from the Computer Empaths employed at the National Security Agency and the multiple other agencies in Washington, D.C..

The timetable needs to be pushed up. Maze just returned from the dead and openly threatened me. I’ll need some additional firepower sent here to help deal with him. Be ready to move soon.