Chapter 28 – My Moriarti to Your Holmes (Part I)

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The dean chose to remain in his office after he regained use of his back and leg muscles (his resignation to what happened summed up with a “You know where I am if you need me.”) Whitaker had been taken by Toller into one of the adjoining rooms and handcuffed to a chair—she left the door open so that she could keep an eye on him while staying within earshot to interrogate Elaine and Frog about exactly what had happened.

Frog, however, could only deflect questions back to Elaine—and she was holding a conversation with Hadaly who had been tracing the call.

“The call trace shows that Linscott is in the Engineering building,” Elaine said to Frog. “Narrowing it down now—he might be at one of the supercomputer terminals. We might not have much time to catch up with their Professor X and find out what he’s really up to.”

Frog nodded.

Agent Warren made an exasperated noise. “You had someone tracing the call from the Dean’s Office while you were…doing…whatever you were doing?” he said. He shrugged in his suit jacket as if he had suddenly become uncomfortable in his skin. “Where do you get the resources to do all this?”

The phone on Elaine’s hip flicked on and switched itself to speakerphone “Is that Agent Noobcake? It is! You should play Horde, dude, Alliance sucks.”

Toller laughed so hard she needed to brace herself on the wall; this elicited a glare from Warren.

“How many people do you have on your little team?” he asked. “It’s almost as if I’m dealing with Charlie’s Angels.”

“And I’m Charlie!” Hadaly said.

“I’d better get over there now,” Elaine said, her voice distant and distracted. She gestured idly–her mind and attention lost deep in three different context menus all referencing different pieces of spellcode that worked together to produce the Acellerando effect. The Enoch required time to refill the motion capacitors and it had been mere days since she’d used it last. They’d be stretched thin, but according to several quick calculations using Google Maps and a pathing algorithm across ASU campus showed that she could just barely make it before the reserves ran out.

As the code came together to cut some corners, Elaine thought about how she could shorten the motion she’d need to get from here to there. The idea was simple, every motion–however slight–would bleed from the capacitors. That meant she needed to reduce he the route to avoid people and things that might slow her down.

Then it came to her as the new code finished compiling and the buffer indicated that it was prepared to trigger.

“Could you open the door for me?”

Warren raised his eyebrow as Frog immediately sprang into action and trotted across the room to yank the door open.

“Thanks,” Elaine said.

Warren balked and pursed his lips. “Why would you–”

The relativistic effect of activating the Acellerando spellcode would have caused Elaine to momentarily appear flash-frozen, as if caught in a strobe to everyone standing nearby. The human eye, unable to follow her movement, would register that she just vanished from space; but the brain, unable to accept that as a reality would produce an illusion for most people. Warren and Toller both saw Elaine blur for a moment, as if out of focus. Warren in particular, but for a moment, thought maybe she was winking at him; but it was only a moment later she was gone and the sigh of an uncanny wind replaced her absence.

“–need her to open the door?”

Toller took a step towards where Elaine had stood a moment before; then she paused as if thinking better of the motion and turned towards Frog instead.

“What just happened?”

Frog let go of the door and chuckled. “You just watched Elaine turn a door transparent,” she said. “You think she can’t turn herself invisible?”

“Invisible,” Toller said as if testing the word out in her mouth. “Right, your friend can turn invisible.”

“She’ll have to explain it herself,” Frog said. “Meanwhile, can you two tell me something?”

Warren had been taking a phone call behind the two women, he lowered his cell and said, “What do you want to know?”

“Why did you bug the dean’s office?”

Warren raised an eyebrow again. “We didn’t bug the dean,” he said.


“Really,” Toller said. “We don’t have the proper authorization to bug anyone. It’s bad enough that Ellis here has been spending his time playing video games with your friend there and having the analysts back home follow her through forums… Our boss is going to be on our case about that. We couldn’t get a bug if we wanted it.”

Frog frowned. “But, if you didn’t bug the dean, then who did?”

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