Deception

Jayden Roberts stumbles across something big while clearing out the spare room in the house he shares with his brother. What he unearths makes him question both his deceased step-dad, and older brother. What is HYDRA doing in England, and are SHIELD really the good guys? How can Jayden tell his friends from his enemies in a world of international espionage?

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4. Day 25: Hackers, Questions and Coffee

Despite Jay’s annoyance at Ash’s nickname for him, it was useful for concealing his identity.

 

Black­­Bird_97: Hey. I’ve been told you’re someone to come to about hacking.

 

He wasn’t sure what to say. Or even if the other boy would reply.  He tapped his fingers on the desk, aware of every sound in the otherwise quiet house.

 

The­_Eye:  [typing]

 

Jay let out a breath he wasn’t aware he’d been holding. He knew he’d probably be disappointed, but he couldn’t help the thrill that ran through his body.

 

The_Eye:  By who? I’ve stopped all that now. You can’t prove I’ve done anything.

 

BlackBird_97: I’m not here to get you into trouble. I need your help.

 

The­_Eye: I told you – I’m done with that. I can’t help you.

 

It was not like Ash to send him on a wild goose chase. Not that this was a regular occurrence. Jay smashed his fist down on the desk, spilling the cup of coffee he’d made to keep him going.

“Fucking hell,” he grumbled. “You’ve done well this time, Jay.” Talking in third person – yep, he was going crazy. He poised his fingers over the keyboard. He needed Kyle’s help.

 

BlackBird_97: I have a laptop that I need to get into. It’s urgent. I need your help.

 

BlackBird_97: Please.

 

It took the other boy a while to respond this time. Jay heard the almost imperceptible sound of the front door opening. His brother was back.

“Come on…come on,” he whispered, hunched over the laptop.

 

The_Eye: I cannot help you -

 

His bubble of hope deflated rapidly.

 

The_Eye: - but I can recommend someone who can. I have a contact within an … organisation who is experienced in these things.

 

BlackBird_97: Great! How can I get in contact with them?

 

The_Eye: Have you heard of the hacktivist group Unseen?

 

Jay sat back from the screen, racking his brain. The name was vaguely familiar, but the probability that that was because there was a cult called The Unseen in one of his favourite video games, was high. For a moment, he felt like he was free-falling down this rabbit hole of insanity which would inevitably end in a crash-landing. This was slowly spiralling out of his control; if he continued with this, who knows what Unseen would do with what was on the laptop, what they might want him to do.

His step-dad’s face came unbidden to his mind, eyebrows raised, mouth downturned as if to say Giving up? Really, Jay? He could hear that disappointed tone that incited guilt in even the strongest of men.

Once again, he started typing. Before he could send anything, however, Kane burst through the door.

“Thought I might find you in here." He looked around. "You've not even finished sorting it. What are you up to now?” he said, coming across to peer over Jay’s shoulder. Jay quickly shut the laptop lid. He tried not to look guilty as he turned to his brother.

“Nothing much. Homework.” He shrugged, hoping Kane would get the hint and leave him alone.

To his chagrin, Kane stayed, leaning by the window. “Anything interesting?”

Jay resisted the urge to sigh. “Research for an English assignment. Due tomorrow," he stated pointedly, turning back to the desk. He heard the pad of bare feet and suddenly a hand was on his shoulder.

"Jay, actually doing his homework? Am I dreaming?" Kane asked, laughing.

Jay went for the hurt look, but his brother was right. His teachers had a tendency to tell him he was wasting his potential  - teacher-talk for not trying. To be honest, he did try to try, but he was easily distracted when something didn't capture his imagination and attention, like this S.H.I.E.L.D business had.

"But anyway," Kane continued, serious now. "I came to ask you if you'd be ok on your own for a couple of days. The company is holding a conference, and I'm needed for security. I'll be back by Sunday at the latest."

Inside, Jay was doing a weird kind of happy dance. He'd have the house all to himself to do his research. He tried to hide his excitement, but who wants their 23 year old brother watching them all the time? He grinned.

"Of course I'll be fine. I'm almost 18, Kane."

"No wild parties," Kane warned, then smiled. "Who am I kidding? You'd have one anyway. So go ahead. Have a party. But don't go getting any girls pregnant."

They always teased each other about girls. Jay supposed it was the lack of femininity in their house.

"Yes!" He did a celebratory air punch. He needed a break from school, and now from this research. A party would be the perfect outlet. "As you seem to be in a good mood, would now be a good time to ask about - ?"

"No. You are not getting a car anytime soon. Don't push your luck, Jay-Jay. I'll be gone when you get up tomorrow, so make sure you actually go to school. I'll be checking." However much Kane was Jay's big brother, he was also his guardian. It was a lot of responsibility - he only called him Jay-Jay when he was stressed.

"I'll be fine," Jay repeated, fending off his brother's attempts at giving him a 'brotherly' hug. He knew from experience that it could only end with him in a headlock. As Ashley would say, boys will be boys.

Kane settled with ruffling his hair, before finally leaving. Jay exhaled. Hopefully, Kyle would not have given up on him just yet. He rebooted the laptop. Yes! The_Eye was still online.

 

BlackBird_97:  Sorry. Got side-tracked. No, I don't think I have. Are they local?

 

The_Eye: If you want to get involved with these people, you're going to have to be more aware. They are dangerous. The less you know, the better.

 

BlackBird_97: Better for who? I want to know what I'm getting myself in to.

 

The_Eye: Everyone involved, especially you. You've already proved you're not careful enough by trusting me. I could be anyone.

 

The uneasiness he'd been trying to stifle reared its ugly head again. Doubts still plagued his mind. He shook his head. "We've been though this, Jay. I have to." Talking to himself seemed to be a recurring theme here. This thing, whatever it was, was getting to him. It had to end.

 

BlackBird_97: I need to do this. Whatever it takes.

 

The_Eye: You're either very brave or very stupid. Nope, you're just stupid. I will help you, though. I can arrange a meeting between you and one of Unknown's local operatives. Keep a lookout - I'll post the arrangements here asap.

 

He was about to reply, but another message popped up.

 

The_Eye: [User Now Offline]

 

"Ok...we're in business," he murmured, not quite sure whether that was good or not. He decided that there was no use just sitting around waiting, so he called Damien, who was not at all surprised to get a call from Jay this late. It was almost ten, Jay realised with a start. Time slips by so quickly when you're not constantly checking the clock on the wall behind the teacher, as he did at school. They discussed Jay's party - Friday being the obvious date. He delegated the planning and invitations of the party to Damien, which was risky, but he trusted his friend and he wanted to make use of these unexpected days home-alone. He now had that to look forward to after, hopefully, cracking this case.

"The game is on, Watson," he whispered to the ragged teddy he'd found in one of the boxes. A present from his mum, forgotten in all the chaos.

Jay relocated to his room after he'd almost fallen asleep for the fifth time. He could not sleep until he had a plan, so when the PC dinged with a message alert an hour or so later, he'd been playing Call of Duty, quietly so as not to arouse Kane's suspicions.

 

The_Eye: Wednesday, 11:30 am, Oakwood Café. She'll be wearing an Imperial College hoody.

 

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