<<< From ACDC Town: Familiar Faces <<< His eyes began to open. Almost every muscle in his body ...

<<< From ACDC Town: Familiar Faces <<<

His eyes began to open.

Almost every muscle in his body was screaming pain.

But at least... he was alive.

Groaning, he slowly tried to get up, but his body wouldn't have a piece of it. He collapsed back onto the ground.

Geez, buddy, don't try to get up, said Nick, turning around from his laptop and focusing on Steve.

Nick? YOU did this? he asked, heavily confused.

Dude, I don't hate you THAT much. No, this wasn't my doing. But if I find out who did... his voice ended, trailing off as he turned back to the laptop.

Steve tried to get up again, and this time his body listened. Except he wasn't on the ground, he was in a bed. Go figure.

So.... what happened? he asked, still very groggy.

Nick turned around again. Where to begin. After you left the office, I ran some more tests to compare thought waves. It turns out that Recon is definitely Recon, but somebody's been screwing with his core data, hence the memory loss. I was about to run a emblem feasability test when the phone rang.

Nick got up and picked up something off the table. There was a voice on the other end that told me they knew who I was, where I was, and if I didn't do as they said, they'd kill me and stage it to look like an accident. They told me if I didn't believe them, I would in a few hours.

He sat down next to Steve. I instantly thought you'd been offed, so I quickly ran to the train and beat you home. I didn't know how I was going to warn you without making it obvious I was intervening, so I quickly used my connections at the morgue and got two dead bodies that looked like us. After the blast, I threw them into the house and set them on fire, hopefully they'll burn that bad that the police will think you and I are dead.

Steve gave Nick a "what the hell" look. Nick laughed. Let's hope it works. Anyway, I took you outta there and, well, here we are. He motioned to an empty room. This is my safehouse.

Exactly where is "here"?

Nick smiled. It's an semi-abandoned underground apartment beneath Science Labs. You go into the subway, and take a few turns to get to the front door. From there, we're three floors down, last door on the right.

Steve coughed. So that's why it stinks.

Deal with it. Being next to... underneath...Science Labs, we've got a pretty good firewall connection. Good way to keep ours heads down and undetected, Nick explained.

So what now? Steve wondered.

This... he remarked, passing Steve the black PET, has landed us in a pool of trouble. I need to find out how deep in this mess we are. Getting up and grabbing the dark red coat on the chair he was sitting on, Nick headed for the door. Get some rest. You're gonna need it.

There's one thing I don't get, Steve replied. I thought you loved your job. Why'd you give it up for me?

Nick began laughing again. Boring executive job or underground espionage? I thought you knew me better than that, he cackled as he shut the door behind him.

Huh, Steve chuffed to himself. 7 years and he's still the same.
Hours passed, and Steve regained his composure. Tapping away on Nick's computer, Steve dug out his old alias from the wars years back and began to recreate his old identity. If somebody wanted him dead, he wanted to know who, why, and how to get back at those responsible.

EDT_Esjay was back.

Nick opened the door and entered carrying way too many grocery bags. This'll keep us supplied for a whi... He stopped as he looked at Steve's entry. EDT Esjay? What are you, stupid? Using our old code names?

It was Steve's turn to smile. If we really are gonna do this, we're gonna need all the help we can get. Hopefully this'll bring some of our old friends.

Nick sighed. I suppose you want me to do the same.

Steve chuckled. I certainly do, EDT_Envy.

Stupid agency codes. Why couldn't I have a name that didn't consort to it... Nick whinged.

Steve pushed enter a final time and got up. This, he emphasised, pointing towards the PET, is going to be the answer to our questions. Picking it up, he frowned. He's been stripped of all his upgrades, so we'll have to start again. You know what this means.

A sigh came from Nick. The shop. he muttered. At least go for a shower. And shave. And get a new layer of skin.

Throwing his shoe at Nick to shut him up, Steve entered the sorry excuse of what the apartment called a "bathroom". I reckon the shower needs a shower more than I do, he joked.


Thirty minutes later, a slick-looking Steve stepped out of the bathroom. His agent look was back: black glasses, black coat, dark blue jeans.

Nick smirked. Look who's back. Now all we have to do is quit drinking and you'll be yourself again.

Steve glared at Mr Funnyman and it shut him up. Let's get one thing straight. I don't like this life anymore. If it hadn't been for THIS, pushing the PET into his face, I'd probably be getting drunk right now. So shut up, stop the funny talk, and we'll get along just fine.

Geez, that's not the Steve I remember.

Steve shrugged and sighed. Sorry. This suit reminds me of a life I left behind. As he walked towards the door, Nick grabbed him by the shoulder.

Hey. You don't supposed whoever was behind the incident is responsible for this, do you?

A long silence ensued.

I don't know, he finally replied as he headed towards the stairs.

>>> To Science Labs: Inside The Shop >>>