Last time on Choose Your Own Adventure: Part 3.2: Beginning the Investigation @ WIT!?!?!?
Herrick sat in his home’s driveway staring at the steering wheel of his city owned Ford Five Hundred. He realized that if Stevenson ever found out that he was aware of the Variant Alliance’s connection to the Turner case, it could be the end of his career. Stevenson was the type of manipulative person that was able to make himself the chief’s best friend even while grating Herrick with his “I’m a federal agent and you’re not” attitude. At the same time, Herrick realized that if the FBI got involved, he would never be able to trap the Variant Alliance – he knew the enemy and he was the only one capable of dealing with Dakmoore.
If Stevenson got involved and tried FBI protocols for dealing with this type of threat, bad things would happen. Having nearly lost his life to Dakmoore, Herrick was uniquely able to understand just what a threat the Variant Alliance was. If he lost his job, so be it – he would rather be unemployed with the knowledge that he had averted whatever disaster Dakmoore had planned than be gainfully employed and staring at a casualty list.
One thing was sure. If he was going to pursue Dakmoore, he was going to have to ditch the standard issue police car for now. With a GPS navigation system and other electronic gadgets installed for the alleged reason of making an officer’s life easier, Herrick wasn’t so sure that Stevenson might not be willing to stoop to tracking his vehicle.
“Here we are facing one of the biggest threats to ever come to this city and I have to worry about some idiotic turf war,” Herrick muttered. A low buzzing sound brought Herrick’s mind back to the situation at hand and he realized his cell phone was ringing. It was Sally Gregory, his fiancée.
Gregory had moved into town when Herrick was a junior in high school and he had fallen for her almost immediately. However, when he had gone off to Southwest State to earn a degree in criminology, and then later nabbed his position at the Bureau, he had failed to keep in contact. His relatives had all moved out of town, while he was in college, searching for better jobs in larger cities and he did not return until accepting the job as Harrison County detective after his near-death at the hands of Dakmoore. When he did arrive in town, he learned that Sally had never married, crushed by his departure. He had resolved to try to make things right, and after an initial, justifiable hesitancy on her part; they had hit it off again.
Herrick flipped open the phone. “Hello, hon.”
“Ben, there’s been a black van driving down my street every few minutes; I’m starting to think they are spying on me.”
“Dakmoore, you, you,” Herrick muttered. He threw the car into reverse, then shoved it into drive, ignoring the vehicle's squealing protest to the sudden movement.
“What was that,” she questioned, “and what’s this got to do with Dakmoore?” He had told her about his previous encounters with Dakmoore and now he regretted letting this slip out to her.
“I don’t know if this phone is secure, Sal, just hold tight, I’ll be right there.” No sooner had Herrick uttered the words than a gut-wrenching scream came over the line and he heard the cell phone crash to the ground. Herrick fought to maintain control of the car as his mind pictured what was happening. He could hear someone walking in a slow, deliberate manner toward the phone and then he heard what sounded like someone picking it up.
“I know you better than you think, Ben.” It was Dakmoore. “I knew you’d keep our demands to yourself so you could try to hunt us down. We’re not playing that game, so I’ve acquired some ‘insurance’ to make sure our demands are properly conveyed.”
“Dakmoore…” Herrick could think of a thousand choice expressions to fire Dakmoore’s way, but decided doing so would only give the criminal the attention he wanted. “What are you going to do with Sally?”
“Don’t worry about Sally, man. I’ll take care of her. If our demands are unmet, you’re going to have far more to worry about than just Miss Gregory. One hundred million euros by noon tomorrow, Herrick. Don’t be late, you wouldn’t want to fail Sally again.” Dakmoore chucked, “I really should have been a Hollywood director, here I’ve setup a perfect movie – black vans kidnapping people, secretive phone conversations demanding large sums of money and now damsel in distress. Lots of drama, a perfect evil genius – we could call it Gregorian Chants! I’m bloody brilliant! Heh, bloody, get it, bloody?”
“People don’t like b-movies full of clichéd, overused plots and morbid puns, Dakmoore,” Herrick retorted. What was he doing arguing about movie production with this sadistic creep? “I don’t have time for this,” he continued and then hung up the phone.
Riley tried to steady her head as an FBI agent named Mark Stevenson droned on about the situation. How had Jon gotten himself involved in this?
“Mrs. Turner, I’d like to say I know who has Mr. Turner and your son, but I’m afraid the local detective has proven less than cooperative in providing us with information. Fortunately, I had a wiretap installed on the department’s phone line and was able to get some key information that my associate is processing at the moment. It seems a group named the Variant Alliance is involved.
“Unfortunately, your county’s detective happens to be the FBI’s former man in charge of Alliance activity, a post that was not filled after his resignation from the agency. I’m afraid if he doesn’t cooperate, finding your family is going to be quite difficult, but I’ll be darned before I’m going to beg a county detective to cooperate.”
“Sir, with all due respect, we’re talking about my family here. If you have to prostrate yourself before the jerk, do it. I just want to know where Jon and Isaiah are… before, before…” Turner’s voice broke up and she started to weep.
Stevenson had a strange sensation come over him; he actually pitied the sobbing woman in front of him. He flipped open his phone and dialed Herrick. Maybe he could intimidate Herrick into cooperating. “Stevenson here. You’re in a lot of trouble, Detective. I took some liberties to listen into your conversation with Mr. Dakmoore and see you’ve been keeping a lot of information to yourself. What exactly are planning to do – play Mr. Hero and save the day? I’m going to talk to Chief Jonson and ask that you be suspended.”
“I’m not surprised you did that. Look, Stevenson, I had my reasons… I’ll meet you at 1700 hours and I’ll brief you on what I know. But I need your assurance that you’ll keep me on the case and play by the rules I know will work in dealing with Dakmoore. They’ve just taken… they’ve taken another person.”
“I’d be interested in your briefing, but I’m afraid I’m still going to have to talk with Jonson. You’re clearly not a team player, so I have no room for you on my team.”
“Look, Stevenson, they’ve taken my fiancée. I need to be on this case.”
“The last thing I need is to have someone with a personal cause on this case, detective. I’m going to have to take over this case. Your behavior has only reinforced my dim view of local departments and frankly your sudden willingness to cooperate is quite telling.”
“So we agree on something – I’m not exactly thrilled with you either. But listen, you know I’m the only one who knows how the Variant Alliance works. They have some demands that need to at least appear to be satisfied; this is something I cannot accomplish alone and you know good and well that you’re never going to get this case solved without me. Leave Jonson out of this – you know you need my help and, while I hate to admit it, I need yours.”
“That’s not my style, detective.”
Riley glared at Stevenson. What was he doing? It sounded like he was refusing to work with the detective that he had just finished saying he needed help from. All of these agents were alike – big heads and no compassion for those actually being affected by crime, she thought. “What’s wrong with you, you, idiot, do whatever he wants,” she blurted out. She couldn’t believe she had just said that to an FBI agent.
Stevenson turned and cast a surprised look her way.
“Look,” Herrick said, “I never kept the information from you to hurt Mrs. Turner – I know I know this group better than anyone else, and I made a call that I could work better alone. Dakmoore is keeping an even closer eye on me than I expected, however, and without some serious action occurring, I think he is going to kill all three of his hostages tomorrow. Let’s save these games for later and stop the Alliance before they proceed. OK?”
Stevenson sighed, he didn’t like being put in a situation where he must cooperate with a defiant local detective, but Turner’s exclamation made him feel a bit guilty. Perhaps he was acting just like Herrick. At the very least, he was not sure how he’d solve the case if he didn’t garner Herrick’s cooperation.
What will you do? Show you are the superior agent that you know you are and agree to work with Herrick for the good of Mrs. Turner. (5.9) Hang up on Herrick and go see about getting him taken off the case and the force. (5.10)
How to Continue CYOA
The first two people to comment here requesting to do so will get to continue the story on their blogs. Just pick which story direction suits you and run with it. Why not give it a try?
As Christopher explains on his blog entry about this, you will probably want to link backward to the previous part (or perhaps both previous parts) so that someone new can read the whole story. Also, it will be helpful if you title your piece with your option number, and likewise provide numbers to correspond with the options at the end of your segment of the story so that things continue in an easy to follow fashion.
Christopher has given permission for participants to “steal” his CYOA graphic (featured at the beginning of this piece), so you may want to include that in your entry for easy identification. Have fun!