I hope Renee made you smile in the previous episode and that you enjoy catching up on Frei in Locksmith mode.
As, always, please excuse the typos.
Act 3 Scene 12
Frei checked that her mother, Stosur, was busy assisting Susan to treat the two teenagers they had rescued. She was sure that a makeshift medical facility wasn’t the best place to perform emergency surgery but then she trusted that Susan knew it was needed.
She slipped in her earpiece, checked her toolkit was in place and slid on her Locksmith mask. “Jessie, I need you to check Renee’s status.”
“Mom?” Jessie sounded alert and full of energy as always. “Are you okay? Did you get checked out?”
“I am fit and healthy, thank you,” Frei said, feeling herself smile at Jessie’s concern. “You have eaten today?”
“Yes, Mom, Gammy is making sure I do.” Jessie said it as though Frei’s grandmother, Lindsey, was tying her to the table until she ate. “Renee is with Aunt Bess and they… are eating dinner.”
“Has her sight returned?” Frei asked as she slipped out of the door and headed to her car.
“Yes.” Jessie sounded confused. “Which is weird considering how blind she was when she went into the bathroom.”
“Maybe she is more like Lorelei than she realizes,” Frei said as a warm, calm feeling washed through her. “Or Loreleis like to drop in.”
A breeze tickled across her face as she started the engine.
“Mom, you’re not really meant to be going Locksmith-ing without supervision.” Jessie sighed then tapped her keyboard in the background. “I should tell Grandma.”
“Nan told us to sort out Lavelle the old fashioned way,” Frei said and sped out of the drive onto the quiet road. “A Locksmith traditionally works alone.”
“I don’t think Gammy would buy that,” Jessie said then started chomping on something. “And Susan would be mad.”
“I am aware.” Frei headed toward the gated community where Derek Lavelle’s house had been situated.
“And Renee would be super mad,” Jessie added with a tut. “And if you get in a pickle, how can they help?”
“Because I have my daughter with me and I am sure Nan is too and so, I am only alone in principle.” Frei smiled feeling warmth from Jessie being hers, from Nan’s tickling breeze and from the feeling of roaring down the road. “Renee is not an investigator, I am.”
“I guess,” Jessie said like she was delighted. “Do I get to know what you’re doing?”
“Yes, I am breaking into a house on the same estate Derek Lavelle was living. I believe that Pucker has her household nearby. I will perform reconnaissance.” Frei fired off her words like a status update a subordinate in C.I.G would give to her. “Questions?”
“Sure,” Jessie said then took a breath. “How do you know the location? How are you going to get in without them noticing you? Won’t they be expecting you to sneak in? Are you going to just investigate them or are you going to try and kick their butts?” She took another breath. “Why haven’t you told this to the others? What is your extraction plan?” She took another breath. “And… why is the lady called Pucker?”
Frei chuckled then pulled over on the road outside the estate, parking in the undergrowth on the verge. “I am a Locksmith; I might kick their butts; I am a Locksmith.” Frei said and took a breath as she got out and surveyed the fifteen foot wall to the house she suspected Pucker lived in. “Pucker is called this because she makes friends very easily.”
Jessie snorted. “Mom, you can’t just say you’re a Locksmith.”
Frei flicked out her “spider pegs” as Aeron called them and slid them into the stone then climbed the wall in seconds. She pressed herself to the wall as guards crawled all over the large lawn, and perimeter.
“Mom, that’s a lot of hostiles with rifles,” Jessie whispered into her ear.
“Yes, run a chip scan for me.” Frei held up her arm with her watch face toward the house.
“All chipped, Mom. They belong to…” Jessie tapped away. “Bite.”
“Rachel or Alanna?” Frei asked as she fired her zip wire at the roof of the house.
“Rachel.” Jessie chomped away on, Frei presumed, chips. “But didn’t you rescue her ‘cause she’s kinda in the house?”
“No, we rescued Alanna who thinks she is Rachel. Susan is meant to be helping her memory.” Frei zipped along the wire, silent, as the hostiles below carried on without so much as noticing. “I need to make sure Alanna can see that her sister was responsible for her parent’s being hurt and her being a slave.”
Frei snapped her hand down and the zip line recoiled back into her pouch and she flicked out two plastic-like bars and placed them to the window sill.
“Mom, that window has laser protection and venom and some kind of electrical charge.” Jessie let out a wheezed breath. “Can’t you wait for Grandma?”
The plastic pieces vibrated and Frei pushed the window, complete with the frame into the room and climbed in. “No.”
She pulled her dart gun and fired: Zip. Zip. Zip.
Three guards clumped into a heap.
“I want you to track the signal I placed on Derek’s cell phone.” Frei snuck out of the room and down the corridor.
“You’re sneaky, Mom… He’s on the first floor.” Jessie chomped more chips.
“Activate the download,” Frei said pointing her watch face toward the floor. She heard movement and snuck into a side room.
“Needs to be closer,” Jessie mumbled. “I can connect to the surveillance with your signal though. I can change the feed so they don’t see you.”
“Do that, find me a route to Derek, a route to Alanna and then locate Gem and Pucker.” Frei hid behind the door as two slaves slunk past.
“On it, there’s only five people in the house not chipped.” Jessie tapped away as Frei snuck out into the corridor and placed some smoke traps along the route.
“Alanna is on your floor, two rooms away to your left,” Jessie said then cleared her throat. “I think the other lady is… er… with her.”
Frei crept to the room and inserted a camera scope into the lock, slid back the cover and linked the feed to her phone. Pucker was busy entertaining Alanna, and Alanna had a long scar on her shoulder.
“Cross checking the blemish against our files,” Jessie mumbled. “Not on the normal database.”
“Do you need my help, Jessie?” Miroslav asked in a sweet voice in the background.
“Yes, but no peeking at the screen,” Jessie muttered.
“Why…? Oh…” Miroslav cleared his throat like Jessie had.
“Stop peeking,” Jessie said then tapped away. “Scar is on medical records for Rachel Bite… she was fighting with a schoolfriend.” She tutted. “Susan wouldn’t be impressed with this explanation from the local doctor. That’s nowhere near her rhomboid, it’s on the tip of her scapula.”
“I am surprised that you see this,” Miroslav whispered. “It is… the angle is very… and the lighting is very…”
“I’m looking at the medical record,” Jessie shot and tutted. “Stop peeking.”
Miroslav cleared his throat.
Frei held the scope steady until she caught sight of both Alanna and Pucker’s faces. She pulled the scope out then snuck away from the door.
“I need to find Gem,” Frei said then darted into another side room as two guards strolled toward her.
“Third floor, Mom,” Jessie said through chomping. “You’re not supposed to blush that much,” she muttered. “I’m pretty sure one of the ladies was older than Gammy.”
Miroslav chuckled. “I was not looking hard enough to see their complexions.”
“Uh huh,” Jessie said then chuckled. “Or maybe I was looking at their faces.”
Frei cleared her own throat. “I would rather you did not look… either of you.”
“Mom,” Jessie said then chomped again. “Gem is on the move and you have a group of guards heading your way.”
Frei opened the door. “Direction?”
“They are on their way to check out where the guards in the room you broke into went.” Jessie chomped quicker. “Mom, you need Renee or Grandma.”
A breeze tickled her cheek.
Frei smiled and sped out of the room, as the guards triggered the smoke traps. She slid her way across the shiny floor underneath the smoke, and pulled her pistol.
Zip. Zip. Zip. Zip. Zip. Zip. Zip. Zip. Zip. Zip.
She reloaded as the group dropped into a clump then got up and dragged them one by one into the same room and locked it. She picked up the smoke trap, reset it, and sprinted back past Pucker and Alanna’s room and on towards the slave door to the corridor as Jessie and Miroslav cheered.
She shut the door and sank to her haunches. “Gem still in the same location?”
“Yes, Mom. You’re so cool,” Jessie mumbled. “Sooo cool.”
“I am a Locksmith,” she said back in her best stoic tone but she was grinning enough her mask tickled her cheeks.
She hurried down the narrow stairs by instinct—every slave owner’s house was set out the same, the layout exactly like the others for quick escape routes.
“Mom, Gem is heading toward the corridor you’re in,” Jessie said then tapped furiously. “He is following your signal, I think.”
“Good.” Frei lifted herself up above the door and balanced on her legs.
Gem burst through the door, gun in hand.
Frei aimed: Zip.
Gem dropped to the floor and spilled his gun.
She slipped down the frame beside him, pulled out a sharp needle and knife. She injected the site at the back of his neck, then slit the skin open underneath his hair.
“Mom, you might be a Locksmith but that’s surgery.” Jessie tapped away. “I don’t think you should operate on people without Susan.”
Frei pulled out a small chip, inserted it then glued the wound back together. “Check the signal.”
“He’s showing up on my scan,” Jessie said with a long sigh. “He’s registered to… Hartmann.”
“Make sure that signal can be read by Pucker.” Frei hoisted Gem up, stripped him of weapons and carried him to the nearest room where she rolled him onto the bed. She went to the cabinet on the side and found some spirits—cheap, bad smelling—and poured them into his mouth then placed a glass on the side and filled it.
“Mom, more guards are heading up to the top floor,” Jessie said then chomped. “I am going to need more packs of chips.”
Frei pulled out Gem’s cell phone.
“Here,” Miroslav said in a sweet voice. “Pickle flavor.”
Frei switched the card in the phone with one she had in her toolkit, brought up a call list then slid the phone back into Gem’s pocket.
“Thanks,” Jessie said with an equally sweet voice.
Frei rolled her eyes and snuck back to the door. “Derek is still in position?”
“Yes, Mom,” Jessie said in a happy tone. Clearly she was delighted to be given more chips.
“You need to eat more of your dinner than snacks,” Frei said as she hurried back to the slave corridor and slipped down to the first floor.
“They are stress relief,” Jessie mumbled through a mouthful of crunching. “Susan said it’s best to keep my blood pressure down.”
“Why is Susan taking your blood pressure?” Frei whispered as she headed out of the corridor then paused as she spotted different uniformed guards outside one room.
“It was to make the chair feel better,” Jessie said with a chuckle. “It doesn’t like having it’s blood pressure checked… at least Susan thinks that.”
Frei smiled and shook her head. “I am glad her concern is only for the chair.” And that she was looking after Jessie.
“Mom, those guards’ weapons are giving off a signal,” Jessie chomped then muttered under her breath then chomped more. “I think you need Renee.”
Frei pulled out one of her mother’s traps: electrical, tended to do what Aeron did to anything running on electricity within a few feet. She rolled it then ducked into the room to her left.
The lights flickered, she pulled open the door, fired: Zip. Zip.
The guards dropped. She hurried over and dragged them both into the room she’d hidden in.
“Corridor?” Frei asked as she removed the guards’ weapons.
“Clear, Derek and the other signal are still in the same room. They haven’t moved.” Jessie chomped then glugged. “Thank you.”
“Susan said you should drink more fluids,” Miroslav said again in his sweet voice.
“Start the download.” Frei ducked out and hurried to the door where the guards had been. She fed her scope into the room then cocked her head. Fleming would be interested in who was in discussions with Derek.
“Downloading,” Jessie said then chomped then glugged then chomped. “You want me to upload your file too?”
“Please,” Frei whispered then took images on the scope, withdrew it, turned and sprinted to the slave corridor. She headed up the flights, out onto the top floor, past the room where Alanna and Pucker were, into the room with the pile of darted guards, lifted up the window and frame using the plastic strips attached, climbed out onto the roof, replaced the window and frame, detached the plastic strips, fired her zip line at the wall, zipped along it without any of the guards seeing her, detached the zipline as she hit the wall, jumped over, used her “spider pegs” to climb down, retrieved them, got into her car, and roared off.
“You’re… Mom… Soooo cool,” Jessie mumbled and Miroslav murmured agreement.
“I am a Locksmith,” Frei said with a smile. “You were as expected.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Jessie mumbled then chomped. “I don’t get why you chipped Gem though.”
“When Pucker or Alanna see he is chipped, they will think he darted the guards and then they will check his cell phone which will show his call to one of her staff.” Frei pulled off her mask. “And, as he will know what they will do to him, he will run and Hartmann can pick him up.”
“What will she do to him?” Jessie asked in a quiet voice.
“Make him provide information before being turned into the authorities to be prosecuted for hurting your adopted parents.” Frei turned onto the large road and eased her foot down. “Which is your preferred way to kick butt as I remember.”
“Thank you,” Jessie mumbled then sniffed. “You’re so cool to remember that.”
“I might be a Locksmith.” Frei smiled until her heart warmed again and a breeze tickled her cheek. “But, above that, I’m your mom.”