Jason

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Prologue

Behind the tinted windows of the SUV, a shutter clicked four times, capturing the image of a black haired man walking out of a store. The man in the picture looked to be in his mid-20’s, and a little under six feet tall. Exactly the description the photographer had received. Within seconds, the photographer had sent the pictures to both a secure server and an online storage bank, in addition to the camera’s memory card. You could never be too careful when there was $5,000 on the line. The photographer’s mind momentarily wandered to the strange email he had gotten a few days back, but he quickly refocused, threw the car into drive, and started the long trek home through rush hour traffic.

Jason trudged out of the computer store, unhappy with what had transpired in the interview room. It wasn’t that he hadn’t gotten the job; on the contrary, he had been forced to take it. Apparently the store had “really needed his expertise” and had been willing to threaten him with harm if he didn’t take the job. Still, he was a little confused about what they wanted from him. Jason had no previous experience selling anything, much less electronics, and his organization skills were about as proficient as your average first grader’s. There was really only one reason they would want him, though he dearly hoped they didn’t know about his particular skill set. His overactive mind, with many an espionage novel in it, had already created an international conspiracy that involved him being forced to take this job. Jason chuckled to himself, and resolved to find a new genre of book to read. He had read the complete works of Robert Ludlum, Ian Fleming, and Tom Clancy, and his brain was starting to blur the line between fantasy and reality. The local library was only a few minutes away, so Jason jumped in his BMW convertible and made a brief stop to pick up some science fiction books. The weather was beautiful, so on the drive home he put down the top and basked in the afternoon sun, allowing the wind to rush through his hair. His mood slightly improved from the exhilarating car ride, Jason parked the convertible in his six car garage, and walked down the plushly carpeted hallway to his cavernous dining room. On the table was a plate of roasted turkey and vegetables, the steam rising from them in intricate spirals, a glass of red wine, and a small key lime pie. As Jason started eating, a man with graying hair and in his late 40’s, walked in.

“Was your trip successful?” Alex asked. Jason turned and paused before speaking.
“Well, yes and no.” he said. “I got the connection cable, but I’ve been forced to take a job there.” Alex cocked his head to the side, and a puzzled expression came onto his face.
“Really? And how did they do that?” Alex inquired quizzically. Jason thought about it for a moment, then replied.
“As I was scanning the shelves, a sales representative approached me, and asked if I might be interested in a job at the store. As you know, I have quite a bit of free time” A slight smile crept across Alex’s face at this, “so I figured, what harm could it do? The representative brought me into a office, and things proceeded as I would assume a normal interview would, with various questions about my talents and previous work experience. After finishing, the man gave me some information on the salary, the hours, stuff like that, and then asked if I wanted the job. I said that I would consider it. He then asked again with a slightly menacing tone, and I replied with the same answer. The man then outright demanded I take the job, and huge, tattooed man walked into the office with an angry expression on his face. At that, I had no choice. I accepted the job. They let me go after that, and gave me the cable for free.”

Alex stood motionless for a second, then said angrily, “This is absurd! You must call the police immediately!”. Jason shook his head slightly,, “As I left the interview room, I noticed an adjacent room. There were a few stacks of black, rectangular cases, as well as what appeared to be a rack of assault weapons. I don’t think these are people to be messed with.” Alex nodded in agreement, then asked, “What is there to do then?” Jason replied with a confident note in his voice, “I’ll see how things develop, and then if things get bad, I’ll contact some friends. Does that work for you?” Alex again nodded, and said over his shoulder as he was leaving “Sounds like a decent plan. Watch yourself a little more closely from now on.”
Jason finished the pie and headed to his study. There, he turned his computer on, and cracked his knuckles. There was work to be done.





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