Fan Fiction » Rin » Double Back » Chapter 5
QUEST COMPOUND, MAINE
"There is only one thing I do not understand, Jonny," said Hadji thoughtfully from where he sat on his younger brother's bed cross-legged. He had been ineffectively trying to meditate for the past half-hour, but his mind was still in such a whirl from the near-fatal adventure the night previous that he could not relax enough to fade into the astral plain. This, plus the fact that Jonny and Bandit had been destroying his entire bedroom in their fight over Jonny's sneaker.
"What's that, Hadj?" questioned Jonny distractedly, as he yanked at the white shoe that was lodged between a playful Bandit's powerful jaws.
Bandit growled, sounding more like a teasing chuckle, and yanked back, surprising Jonny by pulling him off balance, landing flat on his face on the hardwood floor.
Tolerantly ignoring this, Hadji answered, his eyes still closed as he attempted to push his mind and spirit into relaxation, "When I awoke from that terrible nightmare, I knew immediately that I had to reach your father. It was no question to me that it was a warning that he needed help. I felt such intense pain related to him that it shocked me fully awake."
"Yeah, so?" grunted Jonny as he struggled against his dog for the shoe. "You saved his life, Hadji. Why does that bother you?"
When Hadji did not answer, Jonny raised his sapphire eyes to meet the golden pair above him.
"The pain I felt radiating from him, Jonny," said the young Hindu slowly and with emphasis, "was emotional."
Jonny let go of the forgotten shoe, and Bandit fell back with a surprised yelp.
"Not physical," ended Hadji.
"What does that mean?" Jonny asked. The solemnity in his older brother's voice and face the same as when the Indian senses there is grave danger; that unnerved him instantly.
"There was great hurt," said Hadji calmly, "but it was not bodily. The agony that made me run to him was in his soul, not his flesh. I expected that when I reached him, he would tell me that one of you had died in the night; I never thought Race and I would find him dying."
Jonny's forehead wrinkled as he remembered the two strange incidents of the day before — how his father seemed to be dazed and defensive in the morning, even so much as to flee from him, and not even to his own bedroom, and then intense and anxious in the night, when he had returned after saying he was going to bed just to seemingly grill him. The severe words echoed in his memory.
"Even so far as to die?"
What had he meant?
"C'mon, Hadji, let's find Jessie." He stood, a flash of determination and genius flashing through his usually mischievous, lighthearted blue eyes. "I want to talk to my dad. There's something going on here."
"Come, Bandit." Hadji clapped his hands as he followed.
The bull pup skittered clumsily after his humans.
QUEST COMPOUND, MAINE
"Come on, Jonny," Jessie said skeptically. "Why would your dad hide something from you? Especially if it had to do with someone trying to kill him? That's ridiculous."
"Look, Jess," Jonny said urgently, "all I know is that my dad acted weird all day yesterday. You guys saw him in the morning. Something had him freaked out. And last night, he wanted to be completely sure that I knew he would die for me. And then someone tries to kill him with poison just a few hours afterward? Something's got to be up that he's not telling us."
"And how do you expect to find out what that 'something' is, Jonny?" pressed Hadji. "If your father has not said anything yet, what makes you think he would if you asked?"
"We're not going to ask him," he replied confidently.
Jessie and Hadji shared their common we-should-run-while-we-can-but-we-won't-'cause-we're-curious look, and Jessie said hesitantly,
Jonny grinned that lopsided grin he only got when he had something big up his sleeve. "We, my friends, are going to catch this guy. Whatever is going on here, the man from last night is the key to it all. And I have a plan to do it." (1)
"Of course he does," Hadji mumbled through a sigh.
Jonny didn't hear — or at least pretended not that he didn't — and took off down the hall toward his father's study.
Jessie, who was feeling his enthusiasm despite herself, smirked at ran after him.
Hadji watched them, looked at Bandit, who just stared back blankly, and then said submissively, "Come on, Bandito. We must make sure they do not kill themselves or their fathers." (2)
Bandit jumped up onto his back legs, waving his front paws and yapping excitedly, as if he understood, then trailed Hadji's heels as he walked calmly after his friends.
QUEST COMPOUND, MAINE
"I don't know, Race," Dr. Quest scratched the back of his head reflectively. "I didn't see his face. The only thing I can say for certain is that he must have been a professional. He slipped past every security shield in the system; he didn't set off one alarm and not a single camera in the house picked up anything."
"Yeah," answered his cowboy friend, who stood watching the six camera monitors over his shoulder. "And how did he know there was an undetectable glass buffer under the window to your room, Benton? After you built it, you never told anyone that it even existed."
Benton's face darkened. "He must have been watching the Compound for weeks, Race." He sighed and added exasperatedly, "If only I knew what he wanted."
Before his friend could respond, there was a knock at the door to the scientist's office.
"Come in," called Dr. Quest.
Jonny, Hadji, and Jessie quietly came into the immaculate room, filing in one by one, with Bandit following narrowly.
"Hey, kids," greeted Race as he narrowed his eyes ponderingly at the screens, hoping to catch a glimpse of the attempted murderer.
"Is everything okay?" asked Dr. Quest, concern for the safety of his children flitting across his handsome features.
"We have a way to catch this man," Hadji answered professionally.
"Oh?" Dr. Quest sat up and gave them his full attention. If there was one thing he'd learned over the years, when Jessie's fearless zeal, Hadji's calm intelligence, and Jonny's boundless imagination combined into a single strategy, it was bound to be foolproof.
"Well, it's obvious that this guy was pretty hell-bent on killing Dr. Quest," began Jessie. "And so it makes sense that he's still here somewhere, ready to finish the job, right?"
"It's plausible," agreed Race, then added encouragingly, "Shoot, kids. We're all ears."
QUEST COMPOUND, MAINE
Dr. Quest stood on the shores of the great Atlantic ocean in the cover of the night. The moon was blanketed entirely by thick, grayish clouds, making it no more than an indefinable point of milky light in the sky. There were no stars.
With a deep sigh of weariness, he forced his shoulders to relax and let his eyes roam over the oily black waters. As he breathed in the mild, salty sea air, he closed his eyes and took in the feel of the cool breeze against his skin. Every muscle in his body at last relaxed as he cleared his tired mind of all troubled thoughts.
Out of the shadows, a dark figure appeared and lunged at him, his movements precise and planned as a knife flashed in the dull light of the moon as it came down into the scientist's turned back, effectively slicing through his spinal cord.
There was a subtle thump of impact as the attacker rolled in the sand, his balance having been lost unexpectedly. The image of a frozen Dr. Quest flickered, then vanished altogether. It was as he felt a pair of overwhelming hands lock around his wrists and twist his arms painfully behind his back that he saw the holographic projector perched on the very rock whose shadow he had just been crouched beneath.
In a sudden fit of desperation, he struggled against the wall of muscle that held him captive and tried to push off his knees, but it was useless. He was caught.
He could distinguish four other shapes joining his failed target — two boys, a girl, and a small dog — and the man roughly containing him spat in a heavy Texan drawl, "Thought we made it easy for you, didn't you?"
"Now," said the famous inventor in the darkness with an air of authority, "let's see who you are, sir. Then perhaps we can discern your purpose here."
The stinging of his eyes from the shock of the bright light did not even register as he glared, beaten, at his captors.
Dr. Quest nearly dropped the high-powered flashlight in his hands as the beam struck the face before him. The breath of all present caught at the sight.
The pale, defiant face of Dr. Benton E. Quest blinked up at them in the harsh light.
(1) I have absolutely no clue why I'm even adding this, but the "key to it all" phrase is a mild throwback to the Real Adventures show called Expedition to Khumbu, where Jessie states, "The key is at Khumbu, I know it." Sorry for the interruption. *hehe*
(2) Another pointless throwback, this time the Bandito being in reference to what Jonny and Hadji used to sometimes call Bandit in the original shows, which leads me to the personal theory that Bandit is from a Spanish-speaking country. *biggrin*