Black: Day 01 - Chapter 18

in #fiction8 months ago


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Los Angeles, California
Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 - 10:00 AM

ATC Headquarters

Larry Green comes out of his office into the main hall to further question Kevin, and especially Mona.

"Heard from Adam yet?"

Mona maintains the straight face act.

"Nope, not a word."
"You sure?"
"Yes, Larry. I'm certain."

Kevin then decides to turn Larry's focus elsewhere.

"Actually, I just got a report you should maybe know about, Larry."
"What is it?"
"Apparently, a photographer who was supposed to work at the breakfast today, a Michael Bennett, was found dead in his apartment. But Michael Bennett's ID was used to enter the breakfast. The report states the ID was real, and not a forgery."
"So, what you're saying is..."
"What I'm saying is, someone posed as Michael Bennett to get into the breakfast. Most likely the assassin. I guess he was enough of a lookalike to fool security as he had a genuine ID."
"So, what's Adam's involvement in all this?"
"We, uhh. We don't know that yet, we're working on it."
"This doesn't mean he's off the hook."

Larry leaves, and when they have privacy, Kevin lets out some of his frustrations.

"Larry's always had it out for Adam. This is all about a personal vendetta, and he's having the agency waste resources on that."
"Yeah, well. We both know why."
"Yeah."


The LA Traffic

Adam is driving Tom Novak around in his limousine, on their way to the airport, as Novak receives an unexpected call.

"Hello?"
"Tom, it's me. Something's come up. Meet me at the parking garage at the corner of Nordhoff and Willingham."
"This is incredibly inconvenient. I'm already on my way to the airport."
"This can't wait, it's very important."
"Okay, very well."

Tom hangs up the phone and activates the limousine's intercom.

"There's been a change of plans. Take me to the corner of Nordhoff and Willingham."

Adam doesn't respond, nor change the direction. Tom then calls for him again.

"Did you hear me?"

As Adam continues to ignore him, Tom takes a closer look at who is driving his limousine.

"Wh... who are you? Stop the car!"

Adam keeps driving and locks the doors. Tom panics and tries to open them, but they can only be opened from the front. After failing to open the doors, Tom starts to dial a number on his phone.

Adam then pulls the limo aside, lowers the glass divider, and points his gun at him.

"Throw me the phone through the divider, easy."

Scared for his life, Tom hangs up the call and throws the phone to Adam to the front of the limo.

"Put your hands up, and keep them there."

Adam exits the limo and then joins Tom at the back.

"Get up against the wall, and sit on your hands, now."

Again, offering no resistance, Tom simply does as he is told. He mistakes Adam for a common thug and tries to cooperate as best he can.

"What do you want from me? Money? I don't have much with me, but I'm sure I can arrange-"

Adam punches him in the face.

"Shut up!"

Pointing the gun at his face, Adam begins to interrogate Tom.

"My name is Adam Black. Since midnight, my wife and daughter have been missing. I have reason to believe they are being held by a colleague of yours - a man named O'Connor. Where are they?"

Terrified of the weapon pointed at his face, Tom can barely even form sentences.

"I... I don't... I swear to God, I have no idea what you're talking about."

Adam is relentless and keeps pushing, raising his voice.

"Where's my wife and daughter?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, I swear! I swear! For God's sake, I'm just a businessman."
"An ordinary businessman, riding around in a bulletproof limousine."
"Yes, for protection."
"From what?"
"People like you!"

Adam presses the gun against Tom's face.

"I'm gonna give you one more chance: where is my family?"
"I told I don't know. I really don't."

Tom seems extremely genuine.

But Adam looks deep into his eyes, and remembers what his father told him - one of the first things his father ever taught him. About anything, really.

How it's all in the eyes.

You can always tell a lie from the truth by looking at a man's eyes. Some hide it better, some hide it worse - but you can always find it if you look for it.

And there's something about Tom's eyes.

"You're a very good liar."

Adam keeps staring.

"But I've seen better. Stay put."

Adam grabs Tom's briefcase and wallet, and takes them with him to the front of the limo, raising the divider so Tom can't hear him as he calls Mona.

"Hey, it's me, can you talk?"

In the office, Mona checks if Larry is anywhere nearby.

"Sure, let me open a secure line."

In the meantime, Adam goes through the stuff in Tom's briefcase, but he fails to find anything in any way relevant.

"Okay, Adam, we're clear."
"Has Susan called back?"
"No, I haven't heard anything from her."
"What's Green doing?"
"Making himself at home in your office. He roasted me, wanting to know where you are. I told him I didn't know."
"Did he buy it?"
"No."
"I've got Novak."
"What do you mean you've got him?"

Adam notices a bottle of pills in Tom's briefcase, for treating heart disease. He puts the bottle in his pocket.

"I have him in the back of his limousine."
"So, has he told you anything?"
"Not yet."
"In other words you've kidnapped a man who very well may be innocent."

Adam gets defensive.

"Mona, he's the only link to Susan and Megan I've got."
"But you don't even know if he's the right guy! Every time I talk to you, you seem to just go further and further out on a limb!"
"Since midnight, tell me one thing I could have done differently."

Adam continues to go through Tom's stuff, but indeed he doesn't find anything suspicious, anything that could link him to the day's events.

"I don't know... I guess you're right, but Adam... I just- I don't know how much longer I can cover for you."
"Mona, please. Just stay calm and focus. I need you right now. Look, I don't think Novak's going to be easy to break, I need your help."
"You want me to come up with an interrogation profile in, what, 15 minutes?"
"You'll get about five."

Mona just lets out a sigh at the absurdity of what Adam is asking for, but Adam insists.

"Mona, if I can't break Novak, I lose any chances I've got to find Susan and Megan."
"I'll do what I can."
"Thank you."

Adam hangs up the call and starts the limo, looking to drive it somewhere where he'll have more privacy with Tom.


Noah's Base

Locked in their room, Susan and Megan are embracing each other. Both tired and exhausted, but too scared to fall asleep. Megan has that energy of a teenager, but Susan is having a hard time staying awake.

The signs of panic and desperation are starting to show in Megan.

"Dad didn't manage to trace the call, did he?"
"We're going to have hope that he did."
"But what if he didn't?"
"Then he'll find another way."
"He doesn't even know where we are, mom. We don't even know where we are."

Susan remembers promising Adam that she would stay strong - for both herself and their daughter.

"Your father will find a way, Megan. If anyone can, it's your father."

Mark enters the room.

"Hey, sorry about the phone, I should have been able to help."

Mark has started to earn a little bit of Susan and Megan's trust, but Susan is still skeptical of him.

"What do you want?"

Mark restlessly strolls around the room.

"Nothing, uhh. Don't tell me anything."
"What is it?"
"They sent me here to get information out of you, but... well, I can't tell them what I don't know, right?"

Mark then leaves the room.

Megan gets up and puts her ear against the door, listening to what's happening on the other side.

He hears the other terrorists abusing him, trying to find out what he found out, but Mark insists he didn't learn anything.

The others are violent towards him. Mark wishes he had the courage to defend himself and fight back - being able to help Susan and Megan, but he's too much of a coward to do so.


ATC Headquarters

Mona is going through everything she can find on Tom Novak.

She grows increasingly skeptical of Adam's escapades since there isn't anything that is incriminating in the slightest in Novak's files.

By all accounts, he seems like your average entrepreneuer trying to make a living in Los Angeles.

The phone rings, and Mona assumes correctly that it's Adam.

Just as she picks up the phone, Larry walks towars her workstation.

"Hey, it's me. Got anything on Novak yet?"
"Hey... Perry."

Mona then attempts to fool Larry.

"I gotta take this, it's Perry Warner from the bureau."

But it backfires.

"Oh? I actually need to talk to him, mind giving me the phone for a second?"

Kevin observed the scene and intervenes, realizing what was going on.

"Hey, Larry. I have something you should probably take a look at."

Larry takes the bait.

"Tell Perry I'll call him later."

Kevin gets Larry out of Mona's face, so Mona can talk to Adam.

"Okay, we'e clear."
"Is Green giving you trouble?"
"Nothing I can't handle."
"So did you get anything on Novak?"
"Well, let's see. Born in Philadelphia. His father died when he was young. College at 16. Intelligent. Vice President of a company three years later. Driven. Very organized. I'd say probably a passive-aggressive control freak. He has a heart condition."
"I know. I've got his pills. So what you're saying is, make him sweat, then assume control and act erratically?"
"Sounds about right. And one more thing: and this is just a hunch, based on personal experience, but people like this, who are this tightly wound, are usually more afraid of the thought of pain than pain itself."
"Thanks. That helps a lot."
"I really could have done more with more time, this is all just guess work, really."
"Mona, you did great, I'll call you back as soon as I can."


Sepulvuda Dam

Adam finds a place with no eyes in sight, and parks the limo. Grabbing his gun with him, he goes to the back of the limo with Tom. He opens the door and shoves Tom to the seat opposite to him.

"Go sit over there, now!"

Tom is sweating and speechless. He simpy stares at the man who is threatening him with a weapon.

Adam doesn't let go, however.

"This doesn't have to take long. It's up to you. What do you know about a man named Douglas Harris?"

Tom shakes his head.

"Bruce Miller?"
"Of course I know him, he's running for President."
"What about Noah O'Connor?"
"I don't know this man, I'm sorry."

Adam observes Tom's body language.

"Your hands are sweating."
"Of course they are, I'm scared."
"Why was there a wire transfer of one million dollars to Noah O'Connor's account at around 3am this morning if you don't know him?"
"I don't handle all transfers personally, they often happen by proxy. At 3am this morning, I was asleep at my home."
"Is it commonplace that one million dollars of your money is being sent somewhere and you don't know anything about it?"
"It's just the way business works sometimes."

Tom is extremely convincing, but Adam refuses to be convinced. He lets Tom stew for a while, staring him down.

"Who are you meeting on your way to the airport?"
"A man named Patrick Farrell. He sells machine tools"
"Do you always have your business meetings in a parking garage?"
"It was his choice, not mine. I don't know why."

Adam quickly dials Mona.

"Hey, it's me. Run a background check on a Patrick Farrell. Yea. Supposedly a machine tool salesman. Probably an alias. Yeah. Thanks."

Adam hangs up.

"I used to work for the CIA."

He then places his gun right above Tom's right knee cap.

"You know, a bullet through here is extremely painful. But with a lot of hard work and rehabilitation, you'll still be able to walk."

He then slowly drags the barrel right on top of his knee cap.

"However, if you still don't tell me what I need to know, I'll put one right here. The bullet pierces right through your kneecap, and you'll spend the rest of your life in a wheel chair."

Tom is now swimming in sweat, he is gasping for air, panicking.

"Wha- my God, what kind of a man are you?"
"The kind of man willing to do whatever it takes to protect his family, so let's start over: WHERE'S MY WIFE AND DAUGHTER?"

Tears fall down Tom's face.

"I'm telling you! I can only repeat what I told you: I have no idea what you're talking about! It's the truth! Please! Please just let me go. Please. Don't hurt me."

Adam slowly pulls back.

He is beginning to question himself.

Is the lack of sleep getting to him? Is he desperate, thinking this man is the only link he has to Susan and Megan, letting that affect his judgement?

"Don't try anything."

Adam steps out of the limo to smoke a cigarette, keeping his eye on Tom through the window.

Could he be making a massive mistake?


Noah's Base

The gated compound deep in the woods is housing Noah's base of operations for the day.

There isn't a soul in sight for miles. Any direction you look, you'll only seen an endless sea of trees, which makes it the perfect hideout.

There is, however, someone who knows where to find Noah.

A black Mercedes is entering through the gates to the compound. The armed men on guard at the compound check out the vehicle, and let it in.

Noah himself walks to the car to greet the man who steps out of it.

"Mr. Ivanovic. Good to see you."

He doesn't, however, receive the pleasentries back.

"Have you found Black?"
"We're still working on it, we're doing everything possible. Scanning police frequencies, checking hospitals, and I'm still expecting to hear from my contact at ATC."

Mr. Ivanovic is not impressed, and not interested in Noah's excuses and explanations.

"You were supposed to frame Black for Bruce Miller's murder. Well, Bruce Miller is still alive, and you don't know where Adam Black is. I'm pulling the plug on you."
"Mr. Ivanovic, please, you've got to give me more time."
"You've failed. I'm taking over."
"Just give me a little bit more time. Until noon. It's not even two hours."

Mr. Ivanovic looks at Noah in disgust, but agrees to give him a little bit of rope.

"I'll give you 30 minutes. If you haven't found Black by then, your last assignment will be to kill his wife and daughter. And get your men out of here. You will get none of the money."

Noah is left looking desperate as he tries to scramble for a plan to locate Adam in time.


Sepulvuda Dam

Finishing his cigarette, Adam gets a call from Mona.

"Hey, I was able to find six Patrick Farrells. And one of them does indeed work for a machine tool company."
"It's a cover, it has to be."
"Well, maybe there's another explanation: maybe you've got the wrong Tom Novak."

Adam stares at Tom, scared for his life in the limo.

"There's something about this guy."
"Adam, you're desperate. You're letting it affect your judgement. I just don't want you to waste time on a false lead."

Adam doesn't want to hear it and hangs up.

"I'll call you back."

As Adam finishes his cigarette, throws it on the ground and steps on it, Tom quietly pulls back the armrest on the backseat of the limo, and takes out a halo knife hidden there. He then puts it in his pocket.

Adam takes out his gun and makes sure Tom sees him load it, trying to intimidate him further before re-joining him inside.

As Adam takes a seat, Tom attacks him with the knife, but Adam is too experienced and manages to disable Tom, breaking his wrist and taking the knife.

Adam then sits opposite of him.

"Just your average businessman with a micro tech halo in his car, huh? Why don't you cut the crap!"

Tom then gets increasingly aggressive towards Adam.

"You deserve everything that is happening to you, Black!"
"What's happening to me?"

Tom doesn't answer, and Adam kicks him hard in his ankle.

"What is happening to me? Answer me, or I'll break your other wrist!"
"Everything that is happening today, Black! You deserve it!"
"What are you talking about?"

Adam launches at Tom and grabs him by the throat.

"What are you talking about? Where's my family? Answer me, you son of a bitch!"
"You will pay, Black! This I can tell you: you will pay!"

Adam tightens the grip on his throat.

"Pay for what? I swear to God, I will kill you! Where are they?"

Tom still refuses to answer, no matter how hard Adam squeezes. As an act of desperation, Adam gives him a stiff heart punch, causing Tom to collapse on the floor, holding his chest, gasping.

"What's the matter? Is it your heart?"

Adam pulls out the bottle of heart medicine.

"I've got what you need right here! Tell me how to find my family, and I'll give you your medicine!"

Tom is gasping for air, more and more, but refuses to any anything. Adam then grabs him again and yells at his face.

"I'll give you your medicine! Just tell me how to find my wife and daughter! Answer me, you son of a bitch!"
"You... you will pay, Black... you will p-"

Tom is starting to lose it. He's dying.

Adam panics.

"No! No!"

He opens Tom's mouth and pours in the heart meds, then starts giving him CPR.

But it's too late.

"No! No! How do I find my family! Please! How do I find my family!"

Tom can't answer anymore. He's dead.

"No..."

It all finally gets to Adam. He blew his only lead. There is nothing left to get him to Susan and Megan.

Adam sits there, alongside Tom's dead body, covering his face with his hands, thinking he just doomed his family to death.

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oh DAAYYUUUMM!! oh man, i thought for sure Novak wasn't the guy and now DED. THIS IS SO GOOD. thanks Schatt!!