Jerry opened the door to his room, slammed it shut, then flopped down on his bed. He wasn't going to sleep. Not tonight.

That SD card. . .it was still bugging him. When he had tried to open it. . .

Now he realized that some things were better kept secret. This was one thing he agreed on with Manfred, but this was too much. . . .and like he said to Derek, he couldn't do anything more with it now. It was. . .actually, it felt kind of sad.

Maybe he could take another look just to see. . . .

No. He couldn't do that. Man, was he a terrible friend. What would happen if he and Derek both saw what was on that card? Would there be questions? Those encryptions were like nothing Jerry had ever seen, and yet. . .he wanted to delve back in, to find more, maybe even finish opening the file.  It had to be really, really important to be so, well. . . .protected was the only word he could think of.

He might not be the smartest hacker the world had seen, but he was now, officially, in his book, among the best hackers on the continent. If he could find out who had done all that to the card, he would be learning from a legend.

Not that Jerry had ever cared for computers when this all started, but now he wanted to go all the way with it.

But that would have to wait. Maybe the Man knew the guy who did the work on the card, but he could ask when it was all over. Not now. Manfred said to keep the card, not to look at it. Jerry didn't want trouble.

But if they were going home, which way were they going? When were they going, and what had happened. What did it have to do with this Valerie woman?

Jerry jumped off of his bed and snatched up his laptop. He might discover a thing or two if he got a look at her information again.

As he clicked away, finding old newspaper articles, and eventually deciding that they would be next to useless except for photos of the Mason family around twenty years ago. He bookmarked those, thinking to come back to them.

Jerry decided that it was time to find her record.

As he searched for Valerie Mason's records, what he saw blew his mind.

"No way." he exclaimed, half delighted and half horrified.

Jerry stared at the photo of the woman, which had probably been taken when she went to jail. Her eyes were wild, and had a really interesting shade of purple to them. He pulled up another picture, that he had kept on file and put them next to each other on the screen. Then he pulled up a photo of her and her family before she was convicted.

"No freaking way!" He enlarged the photo so that you could only see Valerie and the little girl sitting on her lap. Except for the eyes, the resemblance was totally obvious.

So, that was why the Man had wanted to see her. He wanted to know for himself, maybe what was on that card explained it all away as well. Maybe things were a lot heavier then he thought.

But now he, Jerry Croft, was one step closer to finding out what was really going on.

The End

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