Dun dun dunnnnnnnn
Chapter five is here! And I’m actually liking what’s going on now, I’m getting the ridiculous nerd smile on my face. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a fanfiction, and it’s got lots of action. I’m not too much of a touchy feely person. So, if you want to read the other ones, you can find chapter 1 right here, and the other links for the next chapters will be from Chapter 1. Or you can read chapter four right here, or you can read them all on my fanfiction account. Enjoy, nerds!
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“You’ve got butterfingers tonight, Houston.” Richard stooped to pick up the plastic key-card that Eugene had dropped.
“I apologize.” The hotel was quit, too quiet for his liking. Suddenly, Richard Maxwell had become something of an enemy, and Eugene felt that he was too close for comfort.
An awkward silence ensued, the red patterned carpet that cushioned the hallway seemed to absorb most of the noise. Everyone except the family three rooms down was sleeping at the late time of night.
Richard slipped the card into the lock, waiting for the red light to turn green. It beeped at him instead, flashing the red light, so he turned the card over. “I know what you’re thinking, Houston.”
“Do not call me Houston. You just held me at gunpoint stole an important briefcase.”
Richard turned the unlocked door handle and stepped inside the room. “That wasn’t me, that was Charles.” Nice place. Even a TV. mounted on the wall!
“Richard, what am I to surmise? When you came back to Odyssey and helped me with the Trickle Lake problem, I assumed”
Richard turned around to face Eugene. “You assumed that I was a good guy. Now you don’t know what to think.”
Clearing his throat, Eugene gently closed the door behind him. “Well, yes. To be honest, I fear for my life even now.”
Richard waved a hand and began to take his shoes off. “Don’t. I’ll spill some beans, but first, lock that door.”
Eyeing Richard, Eugene shakily turned the gold lock, and then secured the chain lock at the top of the door. “Complete.”
“Great.” Richard flopped onto the closest of the two beds in the room. Sitting up, he said, “I didn’t come back to Odyssey by choice. I fell in with these guys and they told me to come to Odyssey.”
Eugene held a hand up, using the other to take off his shoe. “I believe we should start there. Who are these personages that you seem to be so attached to?”
“Way back when we were fighting Blackgaard, and I ended up in the hospital, remember? Well, I turned back to my life of crime. People don’t just change on their own, Eugene, that’s something that I have to accept. I was a short-term good guy but I was still the same dude on the inside. So, one thing escalated to another, you know how it is. I spent most of my time doing computer hacking and the like, until I fell in with a big shot from ‘Vegas who wanted me to work for him. He knew I had attachments here in Odyssey so he thought I could renew them and get what he needed.”
“I still don’t understand, Richard, what did he need?”
Richard messed with the hole in his white sock. “A key.”
Eugene walked over to the other bed and sat down on the edge of it, his back to the window. “You’re being extraordinarily cryptic.”
“All right, Houston, all right. Jason will try call you soon because he’s about to find out what I’m going to tell you. Mr. Whittaker was with the National Security Agency during the Cold War. The Cold War was-”
“I am perfectly aware of the history of the Cold War.”
“Great, great. So Russia was making nukes and so was America. All branches of the army started working on an experimental nuclear missile- the ICBM. That’s the-”
“The Intercontinental ballistic missile.”
“-Right, and they’re made to carry nuclear bombs. So, all branches of the army freaked out and started working on ICBMs, and so did Mr. Whittaker, Felix McLean, and a team they headed up. They developed the Atlas SM-65D, the first version of the Atlas ICBM that worked. They launched it on April 14th, 1959, at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
They kept working on it. Making variations. But six years later, the ICBM program ended. Then comes the SALT treaty with Russia, and SALT II, and before you know it, all these ICBMs are being dismantled and used in the space exploration missions to launch satellites and stuff.
But not all of them. Some were left to be on display in museums. Others were put in storage. This is the part Jason won’t be able to find out by himself. The Atlas 5A, which hadn’t been tested because its predecessor blew up, was still sitting in its launching pad, ready to be tested. Well, the government was supposed to destroy it, or send it with a satellite into space, but my boss, Mr. Anders, worked for the government. He’s a dirty man and a traitor, he belongs there. He saw a chance and took it, hiding the fact that the missile was operational, hiding the fact that he never did what he was supposed to.
Anders didn’t have power, even with the ICBM in his possession. He didn’t have the keys. Literal keys,” Richard held his fingers up, “two of them, both needed to launch the missile. Mr. Whittaker had one, and his co-worker, Felix McLean. Two of the most honest guys you ever met. I guess that’s why they were trusted with the whole thing in the first place. So here comes Anders to every contact he has a hold over, assigning each of them to some piece of this whole plot. He rounded me up and assigned me to ‘exterminating’ Mr. Whittaker and getting the key, because of my previous connections with Odyssey.”
Eugene sucked in his breath. Terror swept over him but he tried to remain confident. “You did it, didn’t you?”
Richard lowered his head. “No.,” he said slowly, “That was my every intention when I came back. Make everyone trust me, finish the job. I’m a dirty man. But our adventure with the lake, and smashing some bad guys…” he fidgeted with the strings on his sweatshirt, “It was nice to see justice done, Houston. And I made the decision to bash Anders and Charles, and I really mean it. Charles was getting angry that I wasn’t doing the job, so he was going to come down and do it himself, but then Mr. Whittaker died…
I told him I did it. Just to get him off my back. Then he wanted the briefcase, so I came along with you to make sure you got off the hook.”
Eugene began to calm down. “I appreciate it, certainly. Unfortunately, the key is now in the hands of Charles and Anders.”
Richard flashed many teeth, almost as if he were taunting Anders himself. “Guess again.” He produced the round metal key from his sweatshirt pocket. “I’m still a step ahead. Charles thinks he has the key, he’s going to go kill Felix and get the other key, and take them both to Anders at the missile launch site. We have to get the other key.”
“I’ll call Jason-”
Richard jumped up. “No!” He said, turning red in the face and hastily correcting himself. “I mean- this isn’t the right time.”
Eugene stood up as well. “Richard, I don’t understand-”
“You will!” Richard laughed nervously, “You will in time, Houston.”
“Richard, what are you hiding?”
Richard cleared his throat. “If I told you, you wouldn’t like it.”
“Which is precisely why I am inquiring.”
Richard bit his lip. To spill or not to spill? That is the question. He raised an eyebrow, Wait, which movie was that from? “We’ll just say that you’re going to have to trust me. It’ll all work out.” Yeah, just like Mr. Whittaker’s death barely saved your own hide.
Eugene came over to Richard’s side of the room. “Do you have a phone in your possession?”
Richard felt a hole burning in his pocket where his flip-phone was sitting. “Nope, Houston. Give it a rest. Jason can wait.”
“On one condition, Richard.” Eugene folded his arms.
“Tomorrow, you and I will go down to the lobby and call Jason.”
Richard kicked back again on his bed. Gosh, Eugene, you’re too easy to use. “I’ve got a better idea. We’ll go to the car rental place down the street first, and before we get out-of-town on our way home we’ll stop at a more private pay-phone and do it there. This is sensitive information.”
Eugene’s mind was whirring, Richard could see it. C’mon, baby, c’mon.
“Agreed, Mr. Maxwell.” Eugene said, unfolding his arms. His expression was strange, but Richard didn’t want to second guess anything.
“Great, great, Houston. Listen, I’m gonna take a shower, my pits are like a couple a’ waterfalls.”
“What an accurate analogy.”
Richard grinned from ear to ear, locking the bathroom door behind him and turning on the bathroom fan. His shirt was soaked under the arms, it was still tough to manipulate and put on a good act. It was all worth it, though. His plan was going to work.
He’d give the key to Eugene, and tip Eugene off to Charles. Charles would try to get the key from Eugene, and then Richard would steal both keys in one fell swoop. Then my mission will go on from there.
Opening the shower curtain, Richard deftly turned the knob on the shower, not caring what temperature it was. He sat down on the edge of the hotel tub and pulled out his black phone. He’d have to keep tabs on Charles to make sure everything was as planned. I’m too smart for him. He flipped through his contacts with his keypad, finding Charles. Too smart for all of them. He pressed the center button to compose a new text, and wiped the screen on his phone. The shower was getting steamy.
Hey, he texted, mashing the buttons with his thumbs, so is everything going as planned? What exactly have you done so far?
Impatiently, he waited for Charles to answer. He’d have to have a reason to take a really long shower if Charles was going to give him the wait.
Things were placid, with the shower behind him, the steam warming his back and making the front of his sweatshirt cold and clammy. He’d have to actually jump in the shower to convince Eugene that he had cleaned himself in the last thirty days.
Suddenly, the nice quiet he had been enjoying was shattered by his blaring ACDC ringtone. The heavy metal song rang throughout the bathroom, Richard fumbled with the phone attempting to silence it. It slipped out of his hand into the shower, he scooped it up, slid it across his sleeve to get some water off, opened it up and hit the answer button.
His face was red. He desperately hoped Eugene didn’t hear that. Little did he know that Eugene was long gone.
Richard slowly put his ear to the phone. “Hello?” He said, in a voice as low as possible.
“Richard,” Charles growled, “what do you mean by sending me a text like that?”
Richard was about to retort about calling at such an awkward time, but kept his mouth shut. “I need the same game plan as you got, man,” he cupped his hand around the mouthpiece of the phone, trying to keep quiet, “I need to make sure I’m on track.”
“Well, I’m getting the second key tonight.”
Phew, he still thinks he has both. Richard thought of the key out on the nightstand. “Okay. Well, Eugene is giving me no trouble, thanks for leaving him around.” He’ll be useful tomorrow.
“Well, while I still thought that menial had the key, I set up a different tactic to get it. It makes no difference now-”
“Wait, wait,” interrupted Richard, “different? What did you do?”
“Oh, I pulled a few connections.” Charles’ voice cracked heavily over Richard’s older phone. “I gave out cocaine to the right people- for a few small favors. They then pull the right people into the right things, and voila, I have myself a little distraction for our friend Meltsner.”
“What?” Richard felt a pang, his plan hadn’t included this. “What does that get you? Some dudes that are high?”
“In a way. Cocaine is highly addictive, and people who are already addicted will do anything to get it. So, they are willing to do what I want. I pulled out my old connections, and pulled on yours. You gave me their numbers, remember? So through my connections in Odyssey, I handed out some cocaine to Vance’s buddies. They’re addicted to the stuff. Told them to do whatever they had to, to plant some drugs on Meltsner’s son, Buck.”
“Buck isn’t his son.” However, Richard felt sorry for Eugene, knowing the pain that would follow.
“Regardless, the plan was to distract him with this problem, call in the Juvenile Detention, the works. They can’t trace it back to me. They can barely trace the lines of a coloring page.”
“Novacom wasn’t a coloring page.” Richard angrily shot back. He’d heard about Novacom from Eugene, and was impressed that Charles was sent to prison. His partner-in-crime had a track record.
A grumble came from the other end of the line. “Don’t anger me, Richard,” Charles said in a warning tone, “I have both keys.”
“You don’t have both keys, you-” Richard bit his tongue and hung up. Well, it was true, but not in the way Charles thought.
Richard, steaming from both the phone conversation and the shower, wet down his hair in the sink, flipped off the shower, and wet down his towel in the sink. Wringing some water out onto the floor, he had to wonder if Charles’ unexpected move interfered with his plans. No, he thought, rubbing some water onto the counter, it’s not really my problem at all. He still felt bad, but as he had learned long ago, feeling bad didn’t make him a better person.
He sighed, hanging up his towel in a messy fashion. It sure looked convincing. His job of convincing Eugene of things was old. Lying, that’s what it is. He heaved a second sigh and opened the bathroom door into the room.
It was quiet. Richard quickly glanced around, taking the situation in quickly. Eugene wasn’t in sight, and the key wasn’t on the nightstand.
Eugene was gone.