Part FourMature

"Uh - is it fine with only one person questioning the store keeper?" asked Ella as she glanced out the window of North's truck while she, Fire, Slayer, and the tapping of the keyboard from Slayer's computer waited in anxiety. North and History had decided to be the ones talking to the store keeper; if Ella appeared, they might look more like escorts, and the store keeper would immediately have his guard up, and they might not have his side of the story.

At least, that was what Fire cautioned, and made her stay in the truck despite her growing curiosity to go with the two who had entered in.

And the laptop's keyboard, too, was beginning to annoy her already.

"How long is that noisy going to go on?" she snapped, whirling to Slayer.

"Five more minutes," said Slayer. He looked a little anxious about whether to do something or not, and showed it by chewing on his left thumbnail.

Then Fire said, "Oh, who cares. You're our best strategist. Just do whatever you're debating on."

"Even if it means cracking Agent Bennett's spy database?" said

"Okay, what exactly are you doing?" Fire frowned at Slayer, appearing to have changed his mind.

Ella frowned at them.

"I've got to hack into Agent Bennett's organization," said Slayer.

"Wait, what?" said Ella, whirling to Slayer. "You're going to hack?"

"Er - yeah," said Slayer.

"I never heard of anything like this!" Ella spun back to Fire. "You have a hacker?"

"And a really excellent one at that!" said Fire, obviously undisturbed.

"And that hacker is Keiran."

"It's Slayer, actually," said Slayer.

"Don't go throwing in your pseudonym, jeez," said Fire.

"S - Slayer?" said Ella, now stunned. "You're . . . Slayer?"

"Do you know the name?" asked Slayer.

"I - heard it . . . in the criminal world . . . a prodigious hacker who worked in the dark. His skills were . . . like a shadow, but worth paid thousands for . . ."

Fire grimaced. "Wow, you know a lot more than you should. Yes, that's him."

Slayer did not make a move or do anything.

Ella looked confused, turning to him. "And you gave my mom your real name? That real name is Keiran? Or is it a fake name, too?"

"Count yourself lucky," said Slayer. "I don't like people knowing my real name." Then he said up. "I was gathering details about your friends. Shane, Mike, and Maya. The reports are all here now, copied from the police files. That took a few minutes."

Fire held our his hands. "The laptop."

Slayer handed it over.

"What are you going to do?" asked Ella.

"I'm going to read their moves, and their actions," said Fire. "You know, how you read a paperback novel, and slowly, you know the character, and then, it's as if you can predict the character's movements.

"That's not even a precise way to read a real criminal. There could be lies," said Slayer.

"I know," said Fire.

Ella looked tense.

"Do you believe that your friends might be lying to the cops?" asked Fire, looking at her.

"I . . . don't know," she said with a sigh.

Fire was about to read the files on the computer when a phone rang, and Ella reached for hers.

She was answering it when Slayer pulled a device that looked like a satellite dish and turned it in her direction.

Fire blinked as a new window opened itself onto the laptop, while Ella, not noting the laptop screen answered, "Hello?"

Hi, this is Ella Weiss, isn't it? the words appeared on the laptop screen, with the caption, "female".

"Phone hacking?" Fire hissed to Slayer, who grinned. Jeez, this guy had the knack to make stuff that would get anyone arrested.

The call went like this:

          Identifying Voices:                                                                                                                                             [Ella Weiss] - Hello?                                                                                                                         [Female] - Hi, this is Ella Weiss, isn't it?                                                                                       [Ella Weiss] - Um, yes, that's right . . . who is this?

Then Ella gasped when as lines appeared on the laptop.

"Shoot, some kind of sound that aren't words, but from a human mouth-" Slayer was grumbling, but then Ella shoved the phone towards Fire, who took it and put it to his ear. And gasped as a girl screamed out towards him.

He dropped the phone. "Oh, god!"

"What?" asked Slayer, startled, now taking the phone. His reaction was more stable than theirs, calmly listening. After a moment, he lowered the phone. "So someone just called to scream to Ella? Amusing, this joke." Despite that, he looked none-too-amused.

"That was . . . " Ella gasped.

"What?" asked Fire, wiping sweat off his forehead.

"Maya," said Ella. Her face was had taken on a pallor, and looked really scared. "The person who screamed was Maya! It was Maya's voice!"

The End

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