Lesson 6: Prepare an escape plan
As the road twists and turns, the long limo is having difficulty keeping the pursuit that it is doing. Despite Carlos’ best efforts, it is hard to keep track of the movements of the gaudy car a ahead of him. Nobody would tell by its looks that it has such a great performance and that it is so fast.
“Step on it, Carlos! We are losing him!” Teisel shouted at the seat next to Carlos while banging his shut fist against the dashboard.
Rock was in the back, having difficulty keeping still since there are no seat-belts in this area of the limousine. He chose to lie on the ground to avoid banging his head against the sides due to the swirly movements of the car. “I really never asked for this!”
“Shut it, kid! Nobody told you to come!” Roared Teisel, without looking back.
“I had no choice! It’s my sister after all!”
“Master Bonne, sir. The vehicle is entering a secondary road!” Warned Carlos.
While the dark of the night made it difficult to see, the car in front did turn into a bumpy and muddy road next to the asphalt one that it is barely noticeable since it goes right between the trees.
“Carlos. What is in that direction?”
The chauffeur slowed down the limo until it stopped right in the intersection. “That… would be the beach house for the Bonne family.”
Teisel stared at Carlos. “We had a beach house this close? How come I never knew?”
“That’s… something that I am not allowed to say, sir.”
Despite his suspicious look, Teisel decided to let the subject go for now. He has better things to concern himself about, such as his sister. However, going inside blindly would not be a smart decision. But his constant worry is urging him to just rush ahead, grab Tron and get out. However he didn't knew if there were any bodyguards, or security cameras.
"You stay here. Don't wait for me." As Teisel was having an internal argument inside of his head, Rock had already removed his jacket and jumped out of the car, dashing between the bushes and out of sight.
"What does that kid thinks he's doing?" Unfastening his seat-belt, Teisel exited the car, and while circumventing it, he ordered: "Carlos, you go back and contact the authorities. Indicate them this place and tell them what happened. I'm going after that kid."
However, leaving behind Data, who was still inside the vehicle, Carlos saw his master disappearing in the woods and followed him. Walking calmly trough the open road.
Despite being completely devoid of any alcohol or producing equipment, the smell from wine grapes smashed and torn apart could still be felt from the rocky walls of this small room, converted into a manufacturing laboratory. Even though all the computers and hardware scattered about do stand out from the place, the massive iron door and the security camera above it, make a much better job, although they make the room look more like a prison.
After Tron calmed down, the two girls debated on splitting tasks, and so, while Tron was arranging small motors and mechanic components, Roll was in charge of running programming checks and inspecting the electronic parts. Roll could protest, stating that she rarely does this kind of work, but maybe Tron felt more relaxed in tinkering with random items. In a sense, the blonde girl knew how that felt.
Glancing sideways from the computer screen, Roll noticed Tron using a wrench to loose some bolts from what looked like to be a mechanic leg. Tron sniffled and wiped her forehead with her sleeve. Her eyes were still red from crying, and she clearly was holding the tears back as she made a stern, serious face. Looking down at her dress, so beautiful and elegant, it is already covered in soot and oil from the hydraulics of the robotic components. Despite all that happened, Roll's borrowed dress was nearly immaculate, only having some marks of her knees from crouching down and comforting her friend.
"Hey... Tron... I..." Despite being called out, Tron did not make any intention of looking at Roll. Feeling discouraged, she didn't continue her sentence, and instead turned her eyes back to the computer screen.
The silence continued, save from Tron's tinkering and Roll's tapping on the dust-covered keyboard. But it did not last long before Tron's hoarse voice echoed trough the walls and into Roll's ears.
"I have a twin brother, you know." Despite Roll never asking such a thing, Tron began talking while keeping her hands busy. "He was born at least fifteen minutes after me. I guess I tend to think of him as a younger brother... But it did not go well. The delivery, I mean."
Roll made no intention of interrupting her friend as she spoke. "I was told that there was nothing wrong with me, but there were some complications after that. He was much smaller than me, and on top of that, his brain has a deficiency." Tron sighed. "He doesn't have anything wrong with his body, but his brain lacks the capability of commanding natural instincts that he should have been born with... like breathing."
"Tron... I..." Roll tried to calm her friend but she continued speaking despite Roll's attempts.
"I was only told a couple years ago. I convinced my parents to let me visit him... He is conscious, but is not aware of what is happening. He has a tube directly to his throat, and an IV stuck to his arm. The only things keeping him alive."
At this point, Roll stopped what she was doing and hurried to Tron, but she stopped her. "Let... let me finish."
Without saying anything, Roll took a seat on the ground, next to Tron.
"I never knew... the life I had and him... Ever since I was three, I began showing signs of what could be called a young prodigy. People started showering me with compliments about my achievements in my studies and how fast I was learning... All of this. Things that my brother... Bon. He should have been there, at my side, sharing the glory. But sometimes I think... that I stole something from him and that I would never reached where I reached without his sacrifice." Little by little, Tron's eyes started watering, her hands also slowed down.
"I began studying about bioengenieering and Artificial Intelligence... I wanted to do something for my brother to grow by my side. To show him the world and to apologize." She paused, taking a deep breath. "My project involved an implant which would replace the capabilities needed to survive that he had lost, allowing him to live without being supported by several machines. But I also knew that his body was too weak, so I developed a prosthesis, linked to the brain implant and aided by A.I. programming. I wanted to best for my brother you see..."
Roll stuttered. All this information was too much for her to take in. But she had a sudden flash in her memory. "The robot you showed to me... you made him to test your development...?"
The floodgates opened, and Tron couldn't contain her tears anymore, she rubbed her eyes. "No matter what I did, I still believed that whatever I did it would not be enough. It was never enough. It would never be enough! And recently I discovered a new material, strengthened to the molecular level and virtually indestructible. I needed this for Bon. But I lacked the funds and means for the research, and I couldn't tell my parents to help me, as they already refused me several times and even forbidden me of my projects. So... I asked for help, and somehow this man comes by my door, offering me a team of experts and unlimited funds under complete secrecy. I... didn't think twice."
Tron buried her face in Roll's chest. "I'm so sorry, so sorry! I shouldn't have been so complacent in what was obviously a scheme! They have access to all of my work and I helped them keeping everything a secret! And now... they are using this to build weapons! And I involved you in, this I am so sorry...!"
Roll hugged Tron, and she also began to cry. While still being incredulous about everything she has said, Roll would never be able to feel that Tron is feeling right now. All the suffering, the hardship, the amount of work put into this, while telling nobody and at such a young age. All of this pain, held up inside Tron, and only now, in this dire situation, is when she finally talks about it. Tron was already hurt enough to be mentally weak, and this sudden realization only made her feel worse.
After a while, Tron let go of Roll, wiping her tears. "Look..." She said, while holding what looked to be the beginning of a mechanical arm. "I still remember when I made this... I didn't knew how to name the system so I just put a dedicatory." She grins and somehow manages to stifle a giggle. "As I didn't knew how to work with the laser cutter properly it came out wrong... it was supposed to say 'to bon' but it came out like this..."
Tron spins the mechanical arm, showing the underside, where the elbow would be. Engraved within he piece there was some engraving with childish letters. The word was small in size and so the letters were difficult to read, but at first glance it looked like it read 'kobun' instead of the loving dedicatory that Tron wanted for her sick brother.
Looking at the immobile arm with eyes brimming with nostalgia and sorrow, Tron stayed in a daze for quite some time, and didn't notice Roll standing up and starting to tinker with several pieces.
"What... are you doing?" Questioned Tron.
Whatever Roll was working on, it had nothing to do with what she was ordered to. But since her back was turned against the camera, whoever is watching them cannot tell the difference. Roll kept quiet until she stood up and moved towards some broken weapons and began taking them apart.
"They didn't even remove the bullets... lucky!" She took an handful of bullets, brought them back tot he table and opened them, pouring the gunpowder inside into the strange machine that Roll was making.
Tron was still puzzled by the strange actions that Roll was taking, without ever so much telling her what she was doing. "Could you pass me that part for me?"
Not questioning the order, Tron took a robotic head that is strangely shaped like a bird's head. "Thank you." Roll ripped out one of the eyes out of its socket and installed it into her mysterious work. "There!"
"Will you tell me now what are you doing exactly?" Tron asked, placing her hands on her hips. She stares at the weird structure that Roll created. At best, it could be similar to a cylindrical shape with some claw-like protrusions on each end. The eye that Roll attached to the center seems to be in a part of its own, separated from the two ends of the cylinder.
"In a second, give me a second, gotta connect this..." In a quick flash, Roll linked the head to the computer she was working on. "Got to install the program into this and open a wireless connection...and done!"
After some key pressing, Roll looked enthusiastically to her new creation whose eye was starting to emit a noise similar to a camera lense adjusting. A couple of seconds later, the computer screen comes to life, showing a dumbstruck Tron , completely clueless of what is happening. "Hey can you at least tell me.. wait!" After noticing the computer, Tron's surprised expression is being reflected on the screen trough the eyes of the small robot of Roll's, now moving its wheels back and forth. "Why... for what did you do this?"
"We are getting out of here!" Without any other word, Roll grabbed her robot and slipped it underneath the metal door trough an opening which was most likely to bring food in.
Getting back to the computer, Roll taps on the keyboard some more, before the static image of the crowded laboratory begins to move.
"You are crazy if you think this is going to work!" Protested Tron.
"Well, no harm in trying, right?"
"But how did you make it so fast?"
Roll pressed her closed fist on her puffed chest, filled with pride. "When it comes to machines, there is nothing stopping me from creating something completely new!"
Turning back to the computer, Roll now controls her robot trough the impromptu underground laboratory. The image of the screen showing whatever the robot sees, even though it is extremely fuzzy and never seems to be stable, even when the robot is standing still. Without much difficulty, Roll maneuvered the robot trough the labyrinth of tables, computers and servers, avoiding the scientists who are too busy to notice what is happening under their feet. Every now and then, the robot comes to a sudden stop, as the flooring is irregular and full of holes. But quickly gets back on track thanks to the simple shape of the gizmo. The two girls continue to stare at the screen until Roll notices her destination: an electric board.
"I spotted it while we were being taken here." She says. "Now, lets hope that this works..." Tapping some more on the keyboard, the robot's claw protrusions stick outwards and Roll directs it towards the wall. With some small hiccups, the robot starts slowly, but surely, climbing the wall like a spider, not taking too long before it reaches the objective.
"Okay, here goes nothing. Are you ready?" Says Roll enthusiastically.
"Well, I guess. It would be a waste if this doesn't work, you know?" Quickly catching note of Roll's plan, Tron sighs.
"Just run as much as you can and we should be fine!" Asserting herself, Roll slams down the keyboard with more strength than necessary.
The robot vibrates and after a few seconds releases a small could of smoke, before immediately exploding with violence, leaving a large hole on the electric board. Almost instantaneously, the lights turn off and the sprinkling systems deploy to the smoke released in the explosion.
The laboratory enters a state of panic, alarm bells shriek as the scientists start darting towards the exits in a hurry, not noticing that the electrical lock was released due to the power outage.
Not a moment too soon, the girls quickly jumped out. Tron, brimming with confidence, scanned the area before facing Roll.
"There seems to be only one exit, but we better go in our separate ways from then on. If either one of us escapes get the police, got it?"
"You got it. Let's go!"
Rock couldn't make heads or tails of what was happening. After the trees started to thin out, a large, open space appears before his eyes. The salty air coming from the sea could be felt directly into his nose, and the cold of the night was forcing the young boy to shiver.
The mansion, while not as large as the one he was just before, it still stands out beautifully with its yellow walls and red roof. Surrounding the big mansion, several hedges, running like tree roots, all converging towards the front, side and back doors. They were about as tall as Rock so they should be a good way to hide out from the several suited men guarding the area. Rock studied their movements for a while and noticed that they seemed to avoid the side entrance for some reason.
Risky as it may be, it couldn't be a trap, or at least Rock thinks so. Abandoning the safety of the dense forest, Rock began to move towards his goal. He almost got himself too immersed in sneaking around, just like those stealth games he used to see on the arcades. However this was a situation where he couldn't daydream and so began to focus on the guards. As one of them turned around a corner, Rock quickly realized that he had nowhere to escape should the guard continue to his way. Abruptly, he decided to risk on crossing trough the foliage of the garden and made ten times more noise than he expected.
"Who goes there?" The alerted guard sped up his pacing.
Rock could feel every last of his footsteps, closing in on his location. His head was already giving him clear signs of danger and he kept having this weird sensation of a buzzing inside his skull. While it was not bothering him, it was something Rock was not used to and panicked easily thanks to that. And with each footstep he heard, the buzzing became stronger and stronger. Rock knew that he had no chance.
"Hey, what are you doing? You know you can't get near the veranda!"
Another voice came from the other side of the garden. The guard, who was just a couple steps away from Rock, turned around to his companion.
"I heard a noise that came from here." He said.
"It was probably a rabbit, man. Leave that and go back to your post. You know what happens to all of us, should anybody come close to the veranda, right?"
"Yeah, yeah. I'm on my way." And with that, the guard started to walk away. Rock could no longer feel the buzzing and released a sigh of relief. For once, he had luck on his side, and he better not waste it anymore. However at that moment, a loud alarm rang from inside the mansion.
True to their plan, Tron and Roll separated as soon as they got above ground. Tron, took a path going towards the kitchen, and was quickly spotted by a single guard holding a sandwich to his face.
"Come back here if you don't want to be hurt!" Dropping the snack on the floor, the guard gave chase to Tron at the same time she slid under the center table and trough the next room where she closed and locked the door behind her. A couple seconds later, the door was already being pushed around, before the guard gave up and attempted to go another way around.
It didn't took much time before Tron noticed a glass door to outside. Pushing past it, she found herself in some sort of relaxing and outdoor dining area but didn't have much time to appreciate the gaudiness of the space. Two guards standing by the hedges, hurriedly go around these to get to Tron. She attempts to make a quick exit but one of them is already in front of her. Resourceful as she is, Tron grabbed a grilling iron plate standing by the windowsill and smacks the guard's outstretched hand with it, following with the side of his head and doing the same to the next guard.
After loosing them, she sprints, straight for the woods but is surprised from behind by a third one. As she was about to be grabbed, Teisel appears from the bushes and smacks the guard in his head with a branch, before kicking him in his face. He tosses the branch aside but has no time to celebrate.
"Please... master. Do not move." The shaken voice was heard behind Teisel and he could not believe his eyes as he sees his own driver, Carlos. He was holding Tron as she kicked and protested. "I'm sorry... if I don't do what they say who knows what they are going to do with my wife... I have no choice, master."
Roll's escape route took her towards a reception area, where she didn't encounter anyone. Occasionally, she spots some of the scientists running by but they could not care less for the girl. Still, Roll decides it was best to avoid them and take another way. Opening a door, she finds herself in a familiar place. The strange hallway overflowing with bird cages. It doesn't take long before one begins to chirp, followed by another one, and another one. Soon, every bird in the hallway is singing loudly and soon enough, a certain somebody enters the hallway by the other end.
Glyde stared down on Roll. "What could you be thinking of, running away like that?" He advanced, step after step, but Roll was too frightened to get back, or even run away. Glyde's once beautiful face was now twisted with an eerie smile, his eyes wide open and the irises incredibly small. "Not only that, you scared all of my beloved ones! I made sure that nobody would bother them and you...! I think... that you need proper punishment."
Slowly closing the gap, Glyde was to hit Roll, until the window next to him burst into thousands of glass fragments and from it, Rock jumped inside, tackling Glyde against the wall and making him fall unconscious.
"Rock!" yelled Roll to her brother. "What are you doing here?"
"We talk later, let's hurry!" Grabbing hold of her hand, Rock and Roll ran across the hallway before Glyde could wake up.
"Carlos... let's not do anything that we will regret. Please put my sister down... and I will make sure to not mention this to anybody." Teisel tried to calm down his driver but all he got was an exalted response.
"You don't understand! They forced me to cooperate because they knew I worked for little miss! They know where I live and if I dare to defy them they might hurt my wife, and they are most likely going after my son afterwards! You have to understand!" Carlos squeezed Tron so that she couldn't wiggle out of his hold, but was also choking her.
"I can help you... all you have to do is trust me and give me back my sister. Everything will be fine..."
Suddenly, out of nowhere a tree branch which Teisel had just discarded, flew towards Carlos.
Unfortunately, he noticed this but released his grip on Tron enough so that she was able to kick him on his knee, completely releasing her in the process. "Teisel! I'm so glad you are here!"
Running to her brother's arms, Tron and Teisel exchanged a hug which did not last long. "Guys. I really think we need to get moving."
Rock appeared in front of Teisel, followed by Roll. The two of the quickly nodded to each other.
"What should we do about him?" Questioned Roll, pointing to Carlos, who was now regaining his composure.
Teisel faced Carlos and reached towards his breast pocket. "You said you had a son as well. Where is he?"
Carlos shivered in front of his master. "He... he is studying in an island far to the east..."
"Good." Teisel took a thick stack of money bills and threw it at Carlos's face. "Take the car. Go to your wife and leave immediately. Meet up with your son and ask for protection at the local police. I better not see your face again."
Without another word, Carlos swiped the money that fell on the ground and ran away as quickly as possible.
"We should get going as well. Come on!" And with that order, Teisel held his sister and ran to the forest, followed by the other two.
"Let me see if I get this straight..."
The living room had nobody else but Glyde, who now had a bump on his head, and another person.
"You tell me that everything is going to plan and I hurry back... only to find out that while I was taking a moment to relax in my room you let the girl get AWAY?"
Crash! The large man shoved a bottle of whisky to the floor, which broke and stained the carpet. He walked around Glyde, examining him.
"Are you to tell me that all of that was in vain?" He closed his face towards Glyde's, and he could feel his alcohol breath.
"N-no, Mr-Loath. The girl left behind this..." Glyde snapped his fingers and a guard comes in, holding the same robot head that Roll was tinkering with before.
Under the suspicious look of his Boss, Glyde continued. "The A.I. was installed inside this. Our scientists had already discovered that it is several generations above our current level of expertise."
Loath, took a step back and eyed the robot head. "You always had a strange fascination over birds, Glyde. But I guess this is a good compromise."
"T-thank you sir..." Glyde began.
"HOWEVER!" Interrupted the large man. "We are now forced to change our plans and move to another location. I am not happy but I guess that it was something that was going to happen soon enough. Make the necessary preparations!"
Nodding, Glyde quickly exited the room with the guard. Leaving Loath behind by himself. He took an handkerchief and held the head with it. "Not bad... not bad at all..." He raised the head and took a closer look at it. "You are going to make me very, very rich my avian friend. Soon, the world will know the name of Lex LoAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!"
Comically, Loath ran around in panic as the beak of the robot closed on Loath's nose and pressed on. Screaming in rage and tearing up, Loath yelled. "BOOOOOOOONE!"
The four brothers and sisters were walking trough the woods, having each other for company and a robotic monkey.
"Good thing Data found us quickly, eh Roll?" Said Rock, somewhat jealous of his tiny friend, now being held in Roll's arms.
"You bet! I was so worried about him!" Data released a small squeak and Roll snuggled him, rubbing her face against his.
"Your pet is a really weird one, let me tell you kid." Teisel on his hand, was giving a piggyback ride to Tron, who fell asleep quickly.
"Some people call him unique." Rock yawns. Having been walking for nearly an hour and after all that adrenaline rush, he is starting to feel tired. "So what do we tell when we get back?"
Teisel didn't reply immediately, but he shifted Tron in his arms to make sure she would not fall. "The truth. Although I'm guessing that nobody will believe us. Being kidnapped to our own propriety is something that any authority will raise an eyebrow at. Not to mention that if they even get there, the suspects will have already escaped somewhere else."
"So all of that was in vain?" Questioned Roll with a worried look on her face.
"Not necessarily. I am sure that my father will not be so kind as to simply let this go. But in the meantime, we won't be bothered for a long time."
With only the moon as their only witness, the group paced themselves between he trees and branches as the crickets sang their song, enveloping the area with a lovely melody which echoed trough the forest.
No sooner than the limousine's engine stopped, Carlos jumped out of it and ran across is own yard towards his house front entrance. Fumbling around his pockets for the keys, the door opens before him, revealing his wife in a bathrobe behind it. "You are early, did something happen?"
Carlos did not respond to his wife. Instead he ran past her, into their bedroom and opened all the drawers removing every piece of clothing on top of the bed.
"Honey, you are scaring me. What is going on?"
The former driver removed a large travel bag from the closet and started shoving random clothes inside. "Well, I will tell you on the way. For now... do you remember how we always thought of visiting Art for a vacation?"
"Yes.. but..." Before she could continue, Carlos interrupted her. "Well, I changed my mind. We are moving there!" He showed the recently obtained stack of bills to his wife, to which she became completely speechless.
"Pack your things. We are moving to Kattleox!"