Eddie didn’t know where Vančura had gotten the handcuffs, but he didn’t much care, either. The fact that they were on his wrists at all was very bad thing and he didn’t have the processing capacity to concentrate on anything. It gave him hives just thinking about it. For the hundredth time, he scowled at Vančura’s back, wondering why the big man didn’t have enough handcuffs for three.
Three sets of shoes crunched gravel on their way up to the Sandglass building. Two of those sets actually managed to sound sullen. From the rear, Vančura’s tread was soft, but brisk, as would be expected of a police guard. The trio halted at the heavy doors and he thumped on frame.
A speaker above the door buzzed.
“Who is it?”
“Detective Madera, with two prisoners for the project testing.”
There was a very long pause, as the security team on the other side tried to find confirmation for a Detective Madera. Finally, the speaker crackled again. Eddie winced, wondering why a high-priced government facility couldn’t afford a better sound system.
“We don’t have a Madera on file, or any record of a prisoner transfer today.”
Vančura gave a long and exasperated sigh, exactly like the real Madera would have done, if the man had existed.
“Look, guys, it’s been a long day and I’ve got trouble enough without somebody missing a memo. Check the files again… please?”
Eddie was impressed and even Armelle looked mildly surprised. The big man had just the right mix of world-weary detective trying to dig through red tape without infuriating anyone. More importantly, the security team bought it; there was another pause.
“Sorry, Detective, we’re still not showing any records for you.”
Vančura cursed softly, then looked up, the manufactured look of patient suffering suddenly gone.
“You want to explain to Colonel Bosze why he’s fresh out of subjects for that critical test the brass ordered? They’re not cutting him a lot of slack, but here you are, giving me grief over a clerical error?”
He ended on a shout. There was no response from the speaker for a moment.
“I’m sorry, sir, we’ve got strict orders…”
Vančura yelled again.
“You want orders? Fine! Security Code Fourteen Alpha Green Seven. Do you have THAT on file?”
There was yet another period of silence, but this one was different. Finally, a weak voice came from the speaker.
“Very sorry, Mr. Madera. If we’d known you the president had issued you a pass, we’d have let you in immediately.”
Eddie and Armelle stared at Vančura, who gave them a slight smile. As the bolt slid back on the heavy door, he glanced up at the speaker and waved a gracious hand.
“Don’t worry about it; it’s not something I like to brag about.”
End Chapter 16 – Part 2
A slow day at the coffee shop automatically means writing gets done. I took a bit of risk and agreed to work the Saturday morning shift (which I don’t usually do) but I figured I’d have enough time to jot down the new installment of “Twicebound” sometime before noon. And what do you know, I managed it!
By the way, if you’re planning to ask how Vančura got that code and what sort of code it is, don’t worry; the next installment will explain in detail.
Want to read the previous installments? They’re right here!
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three,
Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six,
Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen, Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen – Part One