Part 25

May. 18th, 2006 08:18 pm
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] if_i_trace
In which Steve would have a hefty speeding ticket if he weren't a cop. ^_^;


Val kept quiet while Steve pulled out of the garage's parking lot and swung the car onto the road. The radio became a steady background sound as instructions were relayed back and forth. He didn't understand the codes, but it sounded like an awful lot of activity. He managed to stay silent until Steve had reached the highway and merged out into the fast-moving traffic.

"Who called?"

Steve ignored him for a moment as he edged his way into the outside lane and let his speed level out. Val didn't risk glancing at the speedometer. He was sure it was faster than he wanted to know about.

"Shaunasee," Steve said finally. "Light me a smoke, would you?"

Holding back an exasperated sigh, Val dug a cigarette out of Steve's pack on the dash and pushed in the button for the lighter. "What did he say?"

"Got a call on the car. Someone spotted it at a reststop. Seems to be travelling slow, so we might catch them."

Val watched the traffic for a moment as Steve wove back and forth between vehicles and lanes. Angry horns sounded behind them more than once as Steve cut into spaces that were almost too small. "You talked for longer than it would have taken for him to tell you that," he said.

The lighter popped back out and he reached down to light the cigarette before handing it to Steve, who grunted a non-reply. The traffic began to break up as they passed an exit, and Steve relaxed a little as space cleared around them.

"Yeah," he said finally. "The techs had some more info about the flash drive."

The radio spoke again, and Steve hit a button on the dash to reply with his location. Val waited, holding on to the last shreds of his patience. Curling his hands into fists, he stretched his fingers out again, one by one. He closed his eyes, felt the weight of his staff in his hands, and saw soulless eyes staring back at him.

"What did they say?" he asked impatiently, turning to stare at Steve.

Steve glanced over at him. "That it had a Trojan specifically designed to make a backdoor into Kurosai's system."


"...won't let you infect them!"

His hands tightened into fists again and he had to take a deep breath to unclench his jaw. "That's it?"

Shaking his head slightly, Steve opened the window and flicked ash from his cigarette. "Seems to be a one-way connection, to collect data. What, and why, they don't know yet."

Val stared out the window. "So why'd it crash my head like that?"

"Because it connected to Kurosai through you? Ch. How the hell should I know? I'm not the one deconstructing the damn code."

"Sorry," Val muttered, without much conviction.

Uneasy silence fell between them, punctuated by the intermittent and incomprehensible commentary from the radio.

"Why'd you meet him in the first place?" Steve asked.

"I don't know," Val growled through clenched teeth, thumping one fist against the door panel.

The miles rolled by beneath the wheels. Steve smoked. Val brooded.


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Imperfect Likeness

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