Chapter 23: ex_fortify.exe
In the car back to Scott’s place, he showed me something. It was wrapped in a piece of cloth. I unwrapped it and looked at the driver’s license.
It was the black man that talked to Darren, and later was together with Bastyboy.
It said “Chad Moreno”.
“I checked the system. He has been arrested for assault and battery and motor vehicle theft. The white van they drive, most likely stolen or registered in a fake name.”
Scott started the engine and drove out of the parking lot.483Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡQ7TTq4UsRv
Soon I understood that we weren’t going to his house. We were going in the completely different direction.
“Where are we going?” I asked, getting nervous.
“To the hospital. We have a friend there.” My thoughts immediately went to Derrick. I felt bad for being suspicious of Scott, but the whole Chrissie slash Oxycotton ordeal had made me wary of everything. Scott couldn't possibly be in on it, could he?
“Derrick was there that night. I don’t know what he was doing there, but he was there. With Chad, Ubel and Basty.”
“Who the hell are those people?” Scott asked. I started explaining. I told him everything from the first night I met Ubel outside of Scott’s apartment, until I was kidnapped. I told him about the Deep Web, and about Ex-Fortify and For. His face grew sterner and sterner as I kept on talking. I told him about Oxycotton, but I didn’t mention Chrissie. When I was done talking he didn’t even look at me. He just sat there, quietly, and thought about what I’d said.
“He has burned down or exploded all the evidence. I don’t know what we are going to do,” he said.
“You don’t have the case anymore,” I reminded him.
“That doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore it.”
“I guess,” I said. Illegal adoptions, hit-men, child pornography, sex-slavery. It was all too much for me. I hadn’t asked for this exciting life, had I? I was quite content just being this young music student that worked at a petrol station.
“I don’t want to do this anymore,” I busted out.
“I don’t want to be your partner-in-law. I just want my old life back.” Scott clenched his jaws and rubbed his forehead until it left a red mark.
“You don’t mean that.”
“No you don’t.” He pulled into a resting area and looked at me. “You are brave, and ridiculous, and nosy and beautiful. I’m a stern, unsympathetic, young police officer with far too much ambition and far too little experience. I’m falling for you, Onila. And no, I’m not saying I’m in love with you, but I hope I will be one day. And I hope we can tell my parents that we met, doing something great.”
I leaned in and softly pecked him on the lips, as he was driving. He smiled. “Your breath is still awful.”
“And you taste like hospital food,” I teased. “I don’t know what came over me,” I said with a sigh.
“It’s completely natural. You were kidnapped for goodness sake,” he said and stroked my hair soothingly.
“Let’s go talk to Derrick,” I said. Scott nodded. The drive was peaceful. There wasn’t much traffic at this time, even though we drove through the centre of town.
I jumped every time I saw a white van. White vans were quite common, but after the previous events I was jittery.
We finally arrived at the hospital. A nurse followed us to Derrick’s room. He was sleeping. The nurse shook him, and the teenager abruptly woke up.
“Onila,” he said with a groggy smile. “You saved my life. How did you know I was there?”
“Onila was kidnapped earlier that day and brought to that apartment,” Scott said harshly. Derrick’s smile faded.
“What?” Scott repeated what he said, and Derrick listened closely. His eyes grew wider and wider. He looked like he was freaking out. I stood leaned against the door, looking at the boys shouting at each other. Scott was suspicious of him; I could see it in the way he squinted his eyes.
“What were you doing there?” I asked when they were done arguing about my whereabouts. Derrick motioned for the nurse to step out of the room. I watched as she disappeared down the hallway. I then locked the door and walked up to Derrick. I sat down on the bed and took his hand. Scott was standing with his arms crossed, looking impatient.
“Why were you there, Derrick?”
“You know I’m an avid user of the Internet. I know all the little dirty secrets people don’t want you to know. There is something called the Deep Web…”
“The part of the Internet that isn’t indexed,” I interrupted. He sent me an impressed glance before continuing to tell his story.
“I was looking on local auctions on the Deep Web…”
“Why?” Scott asked.
“I was looking for my furniture,” he looked annoyed because of all the interruptions. “The blond man with the black tie is named Ben, or Bastyboy. Neither of them are his real name, I would guess. The black one, Chad, was one of the men that came to my house to take the furniture. He’s one of Ben’s lackeys.” He took a deep breath. “When I found the auction, I started chatting with Ben, and his children slash siblings slash co-workers, Oxycotton and Ubel. They told me I could have the furniture if I came to Ubel’s apartment. If I told anyone, they said they would release my search history to my whole school.”
“What had you searched for?” Scott asked.
Derrick blushed deeply. Then he muttered something incoherently.
“What was that?”
“Animated Japanese porn,” he said, a little louder.
“You went to a strange man’s house, a man that runs an auction on the black market of the Internet, because he threatened you with that?” Derrick nodded.
“I met Ben and Chad outside Chris’ house. They picked me up and drove me to Ubel’s apartment. They told me Oxycotton were on her way, but she never showed.” That’s because someone was keeping her busy, I thought.
“Inside it was full chaos. The man, Ubel, was angrily looking for something. Ben flips the hell out, saying that he’s lost the merchandise. Chad is just standing in the background, keeping an eye on me. Ben then hits me over the head with a fire poker. I wake up, bleeding from a big hole in my head. There is smoke everywhere and I am tied to a chair. I wait for a couple of seconds while I see the fire spread throughout the apartment. I wriggle around on the chair, trying to get free. After a couple of minutes you come, with an officer. You know the rest of the story.”
“As I was captured in Ubel’s apartment, he told me a story. A story about your father, that I think you need to know.”
I started telling the story about John Bashor’s one act of tragic heroism. Derrick’s face changed from disgust, to sadness, and then to disgust again. I saw tears stream down his cheeks as I told him about Basty’s plan, and I heard him sob as I told him about the Documents.
Scott just stood there, quietly, waiting for me to finish my story. When I was done, he grabbed my hand and squeezed it.
We sat there, waiting for Derrick to get released. A couple of hours passed. Nurses entered and left the room. They brought in a doctor that cleared him to leave. We helped him gather his clothes, and nearly forced him to come to Scott's apartment. I didn’t want Derrick to stay with Chris anymore. Not after he had tried to force himself on me.
“Does Chris know you’re fine?” Derrick nodded.
“He was notified.”
“Great, then you can stay with me for a couple of days,” Scott said. Derrick didn’t look too thrilled. They didn’t have the best relationship, but they weren’t enemies either.
“We’ll use your flat as our base of operation,” Derrick smiled.
“You aren’t a part of our team,” Scott said.
“I know more about the Internet than any of you.”
“He has a point, sweetheart,” I blushed as I realised what I had just said. Scott blushed as well, but smiled and nodded.
“Fine. We’re officially partners-in-law.”483Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡvFqXPMlaZZ
Scott’s apartment felt like a sanctuary after the last couple of days. After sleeping on a stranger’s sofa and in an isolation cell, Scott’s dirty bed was very inviting. We made sure to lock the front door, we even used the deadbolts. We made our rounds, checking that every window was closed. Scott kissed me and told me that nothing was going to happen as long as he was there. I believed him.
Derrick sat down on the settee and started looking at my computer that still lay on the table.
“Can I borrow your computer?” Derrick asked Scott. He sucked on the inside of his cheek and rubbed his forehead, as he always did.
“I don’t know…,” he said.
“It’s important,” he continued to press.
“Just don’t snoop where you don’t have to,” Scott said and handed his computer over. Derrick opened it with glee and started typing away.
“The password is…”483Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡNlsuzzlms7
“I’m already in,” Derrick said with a smug smile. I sat down besides Derrick and looked at what he was doing. He started downloading Ex-Fortify. I made us some coffee while we waited. Derrick drank the coffee, but I saw from his expression that he didn’t like it.
When Ex-Fortify was downloaded we went to the Extra Wiki. He found the shopping link and clicked it.
The fifth link said Basty’s Emporium. We clicked it and opened the page. In big, red letters is said: Welcome to Basty’s Emporium. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay.
I already knew I wouldn’t enjoy my stay.ns18.104.22.168da2