October 2011, St. Alden Memorial Hospital, Metropolia:
"How is she?" Special Agent Hoglund asked once the doctor came out.
"She'll live through it. Jane Arven has an iron will." the doctor replied.
"Thank God." Holugnd murmured. Manfred collapsed into a nearby chair in relief, his head in his hands. Jerry stared at the room nearby, and Derek stood leaning against the wall next to him, saying nothing. Jane's brother-in-law, Tim, also breathed a sigh of relief.
A few broken ribs, a broken arm, a graze from a bullet below her knee. Minor physio for her am, and possibly her leg, would be needed.
"How long until she can be discharged?" Tim asked slowly. Not only was Jane in the hostpital, but his wife had just given birth. . .he would have to go and tell her what had happened after this.
"We'll keep her for a few days so that she can recover. Her ribs and arm should heal in thirteen to fourteen weeks. We've prescribed these for her. . ."
Hoglund turned to Manfred, Jerry and Derek.
"You see what you've done now, MacCell?" he snapped. "This is the reason that I told you not to get involved. Now you come back to me with what might be only a shred of evidence, and look what happens! Jane was nearly blown up!"
"I was fully aware of the risks, sir. I am the only one with details." Manfred recited carefully.
"I don't care who knows. You're bringing these two into it, too?" he pointed to Jerry and Derek. "Who's going to get into this mess next? Do you plan on bringing Elle St. James back here, too? Or joining the Sabres yourself?"
"The operations and information that I'm telling you about are a very sensitive topic to be discussed in an environment where no one else is at all. Once you hear what I have to say, then you'll understand why I took this risk."
"The hell it makes a difference now! If you ever want to show up in this place again, don't bother bringing the war with you!"
"Because someone got hurt, or because you could be next?" Derek spoke up, his voice low but clear. "Tch. Worthless coward."
"We're outta here. Don't expect us back, Mister Hoglund." Jerry added.
Jerry and Derek grabbed Manfred by the arms and led him away, glaring at Hoglund.
Milanesque, present day:
"I think the Man had a good reason to give you that." Jerry said. "I can't even access it. He must've gotten it from somebody else. Somebody who programmed it really well."
"Then again, you're barely on the edges of the hacker world." Derek muttered. "It was a long shot to begin with."
"Damn, now I really wanna know what's on that stupid thing." Jerry muttered, his fingers moving like lightning across the keyboard. "Every little byte on this thing is, like, super encrypted. I don't think it was his to begin with, so we don't know anything at all about the passwords."
"If you really pushed it, could you unlock the thing?"
"No way!" Jerry snapped. "I can't do anything with this. It's outdated compared to what we have now, and I guess you would call the files tight and heavy with passwords, encryption and complete annoyances. I can't do anything with it. Whatever's on this is not supposed to see the light of day."
"I don't care what it is." Derek muttered. "We need to open this, Extra, and fast. I've been in the dark for too long. There's a way somewhere that we know." he added, touching his left temple. "Her."
"Her, her." Derek said impatiently. "The one person who knows how to open this."
"Oh, no!" Jerry closed the program and yanked the memory card from his computer. "You are not going there. Maybe you haven't noticed, but Man won't forgive us if we go back to Metro without him. Not after what we did."
"It wasn't us who did it." Derek argued. "It wasn't our fault that Cassandra and Matthieu found out where we were going, or that newbies from the Wreckers tend to use bombs or arson a lot, or that Jane got hurt. They just needed people to pin it on."
"Ya know, for a guy who claims he has no unneeded emotions, you seem to know a lot about psychology."
"Sabre law. Know how the human mind works, and you can manipulate it."
"Dude, you're not a Sabre anymore."