Portal – Chapter 60

Net rushed to the computer room before anyone else arrived. He wanted to use every computer processor he could find to run his search. Justice hit Michael last night. He should not have been standing in Hinkle like nothing happened. Security was running fingerprint and retina scans on everyone entering Butler, Net already found the entry for Michael this morning. He was not a morpher pretending to be his best friend.

He started with the most basic searches for Michael Larson. Just like before, he could find very little before Michael’s teenage years. There was no birth certificate on file for Michael at all. Even when he could find Michael’s name, it appeared mostly on school records and police reports for fighting. Net knew his mother’s name was Susan, so he also searched for her. She had more information available but it was incomplete. She was born in Torrance, California, a beach city in an affluent area south of Los Angeles, but in the mid-nineties, Susan Larson disappeared. Her records did not reappear until a decade later. What the hell happened between that time? Why was it missing?

Net grew frustrated at each roadblock in his search. He wish his dad was here. No computer empath was even close to Firewall’s ability. He tried to search the JTF records, unclassified and classified, but he could not get around Director Lehrer’s lockdown on all records about Michael. He did not know if this was standard protocol with Prototypes or if Director Lehrer knew something about Michael that he wanted to keep from prying eyes.  He continued to search for the real Michael Larson until all the computer stations were occupied by the mundane employee assigned to it. Net quickly erased his digital history and left for training.

—–

When they returned to the barracks, the recruits loudly chattered about the campus lockdown and threat status change. Whatever happened, the JTF leadership was keeping the details quiet. When they were alone, the talk turned to Michael. He acted like nothing happened in the club. After the dismissal, he disappeared to the Bravo company dayroom to call Metro about his missing phone.

Justice did not stay in the recruit barracks long. He rushed in, grabbed his own phone, and ran out again, looking closely at Alaina and Jason talking quietly in the corner. They must be proud of their deception. He would not be team leader and Caldwell embarrassed him in front of all the agents. He could not do much about the Bravo company CO but the other recruits just earned their retribution.

Justice made a call to one of his mother’s contacts in Chicago. Reggie had been in and out of prison his entire adult life but he owed Jury for keeping some of his activities out of the police spotlight. Jury found these services useful when standard methods did not work. If there was something to find, and Justice knew there must be, he wanted to be the one to inform Director Lehrer. He would be the star witness at Larson’s humiliating trial. Once behind bars, prisoners died for the right price. Justice was willing to pay any amount.

“Hello,” the voice on the other line answered.

“Reggie, it’s Scott.” Justice was not sure if Reggie was alone so he did not want to use his callsign.

“Who?” Reggie asked confused.

“Scott. You know my mother, Elizabeth,” said Scott trying to keep the information non-specific.

“Ah, yes,” said Reggie knowingly. “Your mom is a very lovely woman, Scott.” Reggie was obviously aware that they were talking about Jury. “What can I do for you?”

“I need information about a JTF recruit,” Justice replied openly. If Reggie was going to find out what he needed, Justice had to be straight about the target.

“Your entire family is embedded with the JTF, Scott. Why don’t you ask your mom?”

“Because everything is sealed. I need to find other paths to what I want and I don’t trust the JTF will do what it needs to.”

“Let me get a pen,” Reggie said. “What’s the name?”

“His name is Michael Larson, son of Susan Larson, from Indianapolis. He moved to Indiana sometime after Apocalypse. He’s originally from the Los Angeles area.”

“A refugee? That’s going to cost serious money, Scott,” Reggie warned. “If you want to find family and friends, I’ll have to do a lot of flying to track them down. Some of us aren’t blessed with Enhanced powers like your dad.”

“I don’t care,” Justice replied unhesitatingly. “I’ll send you twenty-five thousand to start, another twenty-five when you deliver me a complete report. I want everything on him, Reggie. I’m going to ruin him.”

“You got it. Tell your mom hi for me and the boys.”

The phone went dead. Scott felt the warm embrace of revenge creep on him. Reggie was one of the best in the business, employing several Enhanced that stayed off the JTF radar thanks to his mom. He would know everything about Michael Larson and then crush him. You do not cross Justice and expect to live. Then he would go after Alaina and her pathetic dad for creating this mess.