Infinite Earths is based on the characters from Operation: Reality Check, a Sailor Moon fanfic. For more information, visit http://www.infinitedeferral.com/.
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An Infinite Earths Original
By Roehl Sybing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Part Two of Two
Jake let himself into Lisa's hotel room, even as she was showering with the bathroom door open. He sat down at the desk and reclined as best he could in the hard chair. The environment of Omega 2-0-5 wasn't conducive to business performed in comfort. Everything was at its bare minimum, even in the hotel rooms where the assigned Commission staff rested. But he figured that, at worst, he would not be staying long.
"Oh, these diplomats," Lisa said, wearing a bathrobe and toweling off her hair as she exited the bathroom, "Just makes a long, hot shower more enjoyable."
"Was it that bad?" he joked.
"Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I'm ready to sleep until Christmas."
They laughed, and she returned to the bathroom to put on some clothes.
"So where have you been all day?" she asked.
Jake didn't answer. He wasn't really paying attention. He was on his own train of thought, stuck on his last encounter with Andrea. Did she, one of the brightest officers to ever work for the Commission, become a thief because of him?
"Lisa," he said.
Again, he said nothing. He found it hard to believe that he was thinking about Andrea more than he was thinking about Lisa, even as he sat in her room. How did this personal vendetta against her turn into the kind of affection that she wanted from him, and how did she know all along?
"Jake," she said, coming out of the bathroom again, "Did you say something?"
He blinked his eyes, resting his chin on his fingers, wording the right response.
"Lisa," he said, "Do you think it's possible to want something so badly, you'd spend your whole life...change your whole life to get it?"
She looked at Jake, then scoffed in reply. "I dunno," she said, "Why?"
"Forget it," he replied, standing up and walking out.
"Wait, what's wrong?"
Jake walked up to Lisa and kissed her. They held each other gently and shared their affections to each other. When they broke, she appeared puzzled, though pleasantly surprised.
"I'd give up everything to keep you with me for the rest of my life," Jake said out loud, "But I also know I don't have to."
Lisa smiled at his sudden coded speech. "What's gotten into you?" she asked.
He began to leave the room, saying to himself, "I caused this. This is all my fault."
Suddenly, Lisa posed a question. "What did Andrea say to you?"
Jake stopped. He bit his tongue and kept his back to Lisa.
Lisa crept up to Jake, wrapping her arms around him. "The difference between me and Andrea is that I stay within the lines to get what I want. She'll destroy everything around her to satisfy her desires. I knew that long before she broke ranks. None of this is your fault, Jake. Andrea's all ambition and no heart. Whatever it is she wants, don't give it to her. She'll take you down with her."
"They're going to kill her tomorrow," Jake said, "The Sigmans will execute her on Valentine's Day to keep their secrets."
"This is her fight. She has to get herself out of it. The worst thing you can do is help her," Lisa said, tightening her grip around him.
Jake resisted, taking Lisa's arms off of him, and exited the room, saying, "That's easy for you to say."
Lisa's smile faded once he left the room. Slowly, her anger manifested itself on her face and clenched fists. She shook her head and reached for the com device.
"Officer?" she said, "Put the prisoner in the secondary conference room in twenty minutes."
Lisa could not get comfortable in her chair. By the sixth day of her assignment, the Omegans' love for simplicity and function over amenity was getting ridiculous. She clenched her fists and shivered as the metal table at which she sat was twice as cold as the air in the room. No, she was not comfortable. Nonetheless, she was going to enjoy this.
"The prisoner is here, Miss Penske."
"Very well, bring her in."
Slowly, Andrea entered with her escort guard right behind her. She tiptoed into the room, moving only as freely as her restraints along her ankles allowed.
"Thank you very much, officer, you may go now."
"Yes, ma'am," the guard replied.
As the door closed behind Andrea and Lisa, they stood toe to toe, looking at each other. Both of them waited for the other to make the first move.
Lisa's hand struck Andrea's cheek. She looked down on her with great acrimony and wanted so much for her to retaliate, but Andrea recollected herself and stood her ground, defiantly grinning at her adversary.
Lisa had received some ounce of satisfaction, but she wanted more. She pointed to a chair, saying, "Sit."
Not seeing much choice, the thief consented. They sat down in silence, and they remained in silence, knowing that the first word was going to be awkward.
"Could I have...some coffee or something?" Andrea asked as if she were entitled. All she received was a stare from the Commission liaison. Smirking to show her amusement, the thief sat back in her chair, inviting Lisa to say what was on her mind.
"I want those vials," Lisa said, a hint of desperation barely audible in her voice.
Andrea burst out laughing. The only thing louder than her spontaneity were the clatter of her restraints, as she was unable to control her laughter, which was now turning into a snickering noise that shook Lisa to her core.
"We need that cure," Lisa insisted, "Billions of Deltans depend on it!"
Andrea caught her breath, still amused by her direct request. "Oh, we all have needs, Lisa," she replied.
"I can grant you...a full pardon," Lisa said, gritting her teeth.
She looked at the thief, and seemed thoroughly disgusted and puzzled at her. She said, "I can have them commute your sentence right away. You must have offered the same thing to Jake."
"I did," Andrea said.
"Because I have the one thing you need, and you have the one thing I want!"
Lisa froze. It didn't take long for the two of them to get to the real business at hand. She reached into her pocket, wrapping her hand around the object within it. She sighed in disgust and gathered together any restraint that was left within her.
"This isn't personal," she said, "This can't be personal."
"I'm making it personal," Andrea replied, "What will you do to save an entire world, Lisa? Or are you willing to condemn billions to keep the one thing you have?"
"I'm not going to sit here and let your childish temper-tantrums dictate the course of this mission!"
"Yes, you will, if you want that cure. I told Jake that he would have to give me back my life. I'm telling you that on top of that, you will have to give me Jake."
"Let's say we focus on the first part, alright?" Lisa asked, drawing the weapon from her pocket and aiming it at Andrea. She couldn't bear to be in the same room with her, much less hear any more of her mindless ranting for another second.
Andrea laughed, "I'm going to be vaporized in seven hours, do you think THAT'S going to get me to talk?"
"No, but at least I would get the satisfaction from pulling the trigger myself," Lisa replied, moving closer to Andrea, "Jake rarely has a reason to fire a weapon. Sometimes he even forgets where he puts it. But I know that, before we make love, he puts it in the drawer nearest to the bed, just as he did last night."
"You'll never get away with it," the thief scoffed, now beginning to realize Lisa's sincerity.
"With what? Killing a suspected spy and master thief who had just tried to escape? I can handle the extra paperwork."
Slowly, Andrea stood up, looking down at the weapon pointed at her chest, and then at Lisa, who was furious and helpless and showed both on her face at the same time.
"Well," the thief said, feigning a sad smile, "If it will soothe your soul, then this is the least I can do for a friend. Shoot me."
"Give me those vials," Lisa replied.
"No. You have to kill me. Besides, I'm dead either way. Go ahead."
They stood toe to toe with each other as Andrea pressed against the tip of the weapon. She remained perfectly calm as Lisa began to hesitate. In fact, Lisa was ready to do it, if the thief hadn't taken away all the satisfaction out of the act.
"C'mon," Andrea insisted, "Do it. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot."
They remained like this, motionless and preoccupied with the hatred they had for each other. Lisa fixated on the metallic texture of the weapon, running her index finger across the casing and onto the trigger.
"Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot."
She gulped, and kept herself on the brink of committing this unjustified murder without actually committing it. Finally, Lisa exhaled, loosening her grip on the weapon. As she relented, the thief smiled.
"You won't do it," Andrea said, "You're not like me. You're not the kind of person who would break the rules to achieve something. No, you won't shoot me."
Defeated and humbled, Lisa lowered the weapon to her side and put some distance between her and Andrea.
The thief shook her head, saying, "It's not weakness, you know. It's who you are."
The metal clattering of Andrea's restraints echoed into and through the dark hallway as she, her guard and Lisa came from the secondary room. The two women exchanged looks one more time, one of intense scorn and one of wicked complacency, neither of them bowing to the other. They said nothing else, and one walked in one direction, while the other walked in the opposite direction after another moment of angered silence.
Unbeknownst to Lisa, the Reality Jumpers had been conferencing in the main negotiating room just thirty feet away. Even Mike and Kim were in the meeting, after answering the call all the way from home Earth.
"I was on vacation, Jake," Kim protested, "Scranton. Paris doesn't have anything on them. The cherry blossoms in bloom, the annual fashion show...Jake, you should see it, I blew two weeks pay for this!"
"You can always go to Scranton," Jake replied, "This is an emergency situation."
"Yes, we have to get Andrea out of jail without causing an interdimensional incident," Chris said.
"No!" Jake said, objecting to the persistent, underlying perception, "We need that cure. It is in this hotel, somewhere, and we have to find it."
"Then what's the rush? The Sigmans are going to execute her whether we find that cure or not."
Jackie spoke up, "It doesn't make a difference. All day, we've had our guys check this place from top to bottom. All of the public spaces and service areas have been inspected. Jake, please, we have to entertain the possibility that Andrea never acquired the cure."
The discussion paused, and Jake stopped pacing the floor. He looked at Jackie, who seemed embarrassed that that was the only answer she could give. Yet, it suddenly appeared to be a reasonable one.
"I can't do that just yet," Jake said, "The Deltans went behind our backs to take matters into their own hands, and the Sigmans are lying through their noses and they won't even deny it, and somehow, I have to figure out a way to get Andrea to tell me how it all played out, on top of which the whereabouts of those vials she used. Now, we have to do...something. Something that will create a rationale that will allow me to break out Andrea, keep her under our tight security, and do it without raising too many flags. Now how do we do that?"
"Well, then..." Kim began to say, but stopped short of finishing her thought.
The rest of the Reality Jumpers looked at her. Jake waited on her to finish posing her suggestion, but she held back.
"Out with it, Kim," Jake said.
"It's nothing, don't worry about it," Kim said in a meek tone.
The team leader put his hands on his hips. "Kim!"
She looked up, "Well, it's a stupid idea, but...who says we need to play Andrea to get the cure?"
They all looked at each other, and slowly an idea formed among them without a sound being made. Jake smiled, then grinned, while still insecure about the odds of it all.
"Chris, Mike, you're with me," Jake said, "I have to wake some people up. Kim, thank you. Take Jackie and double-check Andrea's escape route. If it leads where I think it's going to lead--"
"We're on it," Jackie said.
The meeting broke up with the three male Reality Jumpers leaving the two women in the room to execute their longshot idea.
"You should go on vacation less often," Jackie said, smiling at Kim.
"'You should go on vacat--' Shut up!"
"Gentlemen," Jake said as he entered the room, "I'm so sorry to wake you at such a late hour."
It was said in sarcasm to the two already at the table, each of the ranking ambassador of their delegations. They had been woken from their sleep and told of an urgent matter that couldn't wait until morning. Of course, they spent precious time putting on their formal business attire, after which they spent ten more minutes after their arrival exchanging offensive looks at each other, ultimately increasing their irritation towards Jake.
"What do you want?" the Sigman ambassador asked.
Jake clasped his hands together, saying, "You know what? I want Andrea Norris released from custody immediately."
"Oh? And you think by notifying me seven hours from her execution, that I would hand her over...just like that?"
"Not at all. In fact, this is not a request, this is a courtesy" Jake said, "I am instructing the Commission officers at the detainment facility to release her at once."
The Sigman ambassador was speechless, at which the Deltan ambassador was pleased.
"Wipe that smile off your face, Mr. Ambassador," Jake said, "Next time I catch you spying behind our backs, I will insist the League make an example out of you."
"Agent Tyler," the Deltan ambassador retorted, "I don't know exactly what you mean, but--"
"Spare me, please. Right now, I wanted to inform you that we will be very close to having a cure for Thanatosia within the hour."
The Sigman shot up from his chair, saying, "What!?"
The other two looked at him, reflecting on his unjustified surprise. "What's wrong?" Jake asked.
He stammered almost without control. "I-I...this is an outrage!"
"Yes, it is. Ms. Norris has given us information relating to the Thanatosia plague. She will be leading us to the whereabouts of a possible retrovirus to the disease. We have it on good authority that tests will most certainly prove conclusive before tomorrow is out. Consider the two of you notified."
Jake looked at the Sigman ambassador, "Yes, sir?"
"I will make the Commission aware of your violation of protocol at these negotiations."
Shrugging, an innocent-looking Jake replied, "Alrighty."
"So...bite me," he replied in plain tones.
"Mr. Ambassador, it will not leave this room that your government not only invented the Thanatosia plague, not only did your government perpetuate it across an entire Alternate, but that you withheld the cure. Not for profit, not for political gain, but for pure spite. Likewise, it will not leave this room that the Deltans, in their desperation, sent an infiltrator into your ranks to fish out the cure for you. These are the secrets that will remain in this room and under wraps, because under the threat from a vengeful League - a League that I will make vengeful after my long and drawn-out testimony upon resigning my post from the Commission - neither of you will wish to sink back into war, and continue this cycle all over again. Do I make myself clear, Mr. Ambassador?"
The Sigman was fuming, as shown from his clenched fists and scornful expression. He didn't have a response just yet, but Jake would not allow him to say another word.
"Good. We will inform the two of you when we are successful. In the meantime, have a good evening, gentlemen."
Jake beat a path out of the room, leaving two stunned ambassadors behind.
"We're saved," the Deltan ambassador mumbled out loud upon walking out.
The other diplomat was still speechless, and through his anger, cracks of panic were showing.
Kim peered up the long elevator shaft, shut down by the management at her request. The car rested on the ground floor, meaning the view extended for fifty-five stories to the top of the shaft.
"So, Andrea climbed all the way up this thing?" Kim asked.
Jackie was in the elevator car with the open top panel through which Kim had already climbed up. "Not all of it. She must've started on the floor of the Sigman delegation."
"This thing is like...there's nothing to grab onto!"
"She had equipment, Kim. She's a very capable thief.
"Yeah, and we trained her."
Kim jumped into the car. Looking about the elevator, she shrugged her shoulders. "I don't understand, Jacklyn. Why would she need to climb the elevator shaft? Just take the elevator."
"I dunno, let's find out."
Jackie pressed the button for the reserved floor of the Sigman delegation, thirty stories above the ground. The numbers slowly incremented, leading to an awkward silence that needed to be broken between Kim and Jackie.
"So were you at the fashion show?" Jackie asked.
Kim mumbled in resentment. "They had those hunks from Argentina, those ones in the news? And they were wearing--"
"--That new nylon underwear, right? Man, that's so hot!"
Kim watched Jackie's face light up, after which she was reminded that she had been paged AT the fashion show, ordering her back to work.
"OK, that's enough," she said.
The elevator slowed to a halt, and the doors opened into a hallway, where two well-dressed, well-built guards stood watch.
"Can we help you?" one asked.
Jackie reached into her pocket for her badge, saying, "Good evening, I'm Ag--"
"We're housekeeping," Kim interjected in stuttering bursts, "W-We wanted to, um...fluff your p-p-pillows, but...but it seems that you're busy, so we'll be moving right along."
"Yes," Jackie added as the doors closed, "That's a nice suit."
When they were by themselves again, they looked at each other with a bit more understanding. "Guards," Kim said.
"Yeah, guards. Andrea had to get in some other way."
Then it occured to them. Jackie opened the top panel again and hoisted Kim into the service shaft. The Reality Jumper looked around, finding an access into a service crawlspace.
"Get up here," Kim said from above, extending a hand down to Jackie. She lifted her up and pointed her to the duct. "Has to connect to the delegation's floor, among others. Think the route she used to get out was the one that brought her in?"
Jackie pointed a flashlight into the duct. It ran for some distance, not revealing its true end from her vantage point. She gulped down some air, saying, "Only one way to find out."
One after the other, the two Reality Jumpers entered the crawlspace. Guided only by Jackie's flashlight, they traveled deep into the ventilation system of the hotel only on the hands and knees.
"Yeah, I love this job," Kim whispered.
"Shh!" Jackie replied, "People are sleeping!"
Kim shook her head, and continued to follow behind Jackie. They traveled up and down their small section of the ventilation, maintaining, in their estimation, that they were still on the delegation's floor. From section to section looking into each of the floor's rooms, they looked for anything that was out of the ordinary. Being it dark and rather narrow in the crawlspace, the task was quite difficult. Kim was building up wisecrack remarks that she had to keep from saying out loud.
"Don't say a word," Jackie had to keep saying just above audibility after inspecting each grate looking into the hotel rooms.
Finally, they came to the end of the crawlspace, and the two were quite discouraged as their lead was turning cold.
"Wait a minute," Jackie whispered to Kim, as they came up to the final section of the air duct. One pointed the other to a small device on the roof of the crawlspace. It had been pointing through the grate and into the hotel room before Kim peeled it off and showed it to Jackie. They looked at each other, and down at what was clearly a motion sensor. It still had an electrical charge, blinking a small, faint purple light to the two Reality Jumpers.
"Amethyst," Kim said, then looking at the grate, "I think I got a screwdriver in my bag."
"Fuck that," Jackie replied, reaching for her Thunderbolt. Jackie didn't warn her to brace herself, but she did hear her whimper in panic. Kim held onto Jackie, protected from the electrical current that her own weapon produced.
The weapon fired at the grate, sending electrical current into the grate. Jackie continued firing in one focused burst until she was satisfied that it would give way to force. The Reality Jumpers looked at each other and nodded. They counted silently and quickly to three before Jackie kicked it open and she and Kim darted out of the duct and into the room. They tumbled onto a firm carpet as they were eager to reorient themselves.
"I told you I love this job," Kim said, coughing up some dust, "Jackie?"
Her partner couldn't speak, and when she stood up she realized that Jackie was held at gunpoint, as well as by her arm, by no other person by the occupant of the room.
"Don't move," the Sigman ambassador said.
Kim looked at the two of them, and she was easily confused. "Alright, because now I don't understand what's going on--"
The Reality Jumper did as she was instructed. The ambassador flung Jackie towards Kim and aimed the Thunderbolt he collected from the floor at both of them.
"Now," the Sigman said, reaching for his pocket and taking out three vials, "I believe this is what you were looking for."
Kim and Jackie looked at each other, uncertain about whether they were going to live or die at the ambassador's hands. That uncertainty began to fade, as the expression on the Sigman's face showed his growing willingness to fire.
Then, a gun was pointed to his head.
"Mr. Ambassador," Lisa said, "Are you, by any chance, knowledgeable in biological research and technology?"
The ambassador gasped, loosening his grip on Jackie's weapon. He looked behind him, and saw Jake's weapon pointed right at his face. Lisa held it with both hands, as Jake stood right behind Lisa.
"First the gun," Jake instructed with an outstretched hand, "Then the vials."
The ambassador hesitated, but ultimately gave up the fight. He complied as he saw through the open doorway of his hotel room the hand of his unconscious bodyguard, taken down without so much as a noise.
Chris and Mike scrambled into the room, weapons drawn. They surveyed the situation and quickly stood down. "Floor is secure, boss," Mike said.
"Good," Jake replied, then to Kim and Jackie, "When I said double-check the route, I meant...go over it with hotel management or something!"
The two of them bowed their heads in humility. "We found a motion sensor in the ventilation," Jackie said as her gun was returned to her, "How did you know Andrea was here?"
"We didn't," Jake said.
"We figured Andrea left her stash in the room that she had broken into. I guess she was betting that no one would figure that a thief would leave stolen goods in the same place where she had stolen them," Lisa said.
"Yeah, but how did you--?"
"We were searching room by room on this floor, until we heard your handiwork. It reverberated all over the hallway and, well, here we are."
"I...found those, under my bed," the ambassador said.
"Interesting," Jake said, "I don't think Andrea knew that the scientist whose blood she had taken was the good ambassador here."
Suddenly, the sound of a com-unit rang within the room. Mike checked and it was his device hanging from his belt. "Hello?" he said, answering it.
"Jackie, Kim, Chris," Jake said, "Go pick out a regulation in the book somewhere, and detain the ambassador for it."
"Yes, sir," they said in unison.
"Jake," Mike said, "They need you at the detention facility."
Lisa and Jake looked at each other with bewilderment. "What now?" Lisa asked.
"It's Andrea. She's gone."
Bits of dawn's light were shining through the windows of the detention facility's hallway, but much of the illumination in the building was artificial, and it showed that the holding room was empty, save for the Commission officers inspecting the room. Jake and Lisa entered the room to see for themselves. The force field had been let down, but that was not the case when officers first entered post-incident.
"Status," Jake said.
"The prisoner is gone, sir," one responded.
"I know that! Where did she go?"
There was no answer from any of the five officers in the room. Jake counted them for mental filler. Then he looked at all of their faces. Something was quite peculiar.
"Where's the guard that was assigned to the prisoner?" he asked as he grew quite upset.
"We don't know that either, sir."
Lisa was exasperated and displayed it in the open air. Jake was more restrained in his disgust but was just as frustrated.
"Post guards at all access points in this facility!" Jake demanded, "Find that guard, and find the prisoner!"
The officers took their orders and acted in accordance with their superior officer, but it was clear that their efforts would be futile.
Lisa sighed and rested herself against Jake. They stood by each other and expressed their disappointment.
"That bitch," she said in a plain and tired voice.
Jake said, "So what're you gonna do now?"
She shook her head. "I don't know. I was planning to ship out today," Lisa said, "But it looks like I have to clean up this mess."
"What?" he replied, "Today's Valentine's Day! I was planning the whole evening for us, complete with..."
Jake's voice faded into silence.
"I don't think this is the best day for the two of us," Lisa said, "I'll see you on home Earth when I get back. You can...cook dinner ahead of me."
Jake nodded. There was nothing left for him to do, but Lisa was to be plenty busy with the work that he had caused for her. In silence, he left the room, leaving the rest of the staff to their remaining duties.
An exhausted Jake was fully debriefed and at home by midnight. He would've been done much earlier, but with his date with Lisa broken off, there wasn't a significant rush to clock out. He kept the lights off as he put down his duffel bag full of dirty clothes and crumpled paperwork. Tired as he was, he was able to navigate up the steps to his living room, where he stood in front of his window overlooking the empty street outside of his house, and he stretched his arms. He was tired, but he didn't want to go to sleep. The quiet was a nice change to all the action of the past few days. Spending the quiet alone, however, was something that he didn't prefer, especially after this particular mission.
He turned around. To his surprise, Andrea stood in his living room. She had ditched her bright orange prison garments for more contemporary clothing, and the bruises on her face were gone. The look on her face was one of relief.
"Andrea," he said, "W-What are you--?"
"I can't stay for too long," she replied, "Actually, I'm not really here."
The errant scanning lines in Andrea's holo-image flickered intermittently but maintained a near-perfect replica of her appearance. Jake moved closer to her. She was as real to all of his senses but his touch, reacting to him in every predictable manner.
"Hold on," he said, "I don't have a holographic emitter in my house."
"That's right, you don't," she replied, "It's a new technology being researched. It's quite impressive."
"Perhaps as impressive as how you stole it."
"Don't give a girl too much credit. I do have partners, of course."
Jake laughed. Andrea was as outrageous as ever.
"How did you get out?"
Andrea grinned seductively, saying, "It took all of my wit and charm."
"No, seriously! I got in good with that guard back in the holding room. He really liked me, you know."
Jake rolled his eyes.
"Well, especially after I bribed him."
He looked up, clicking his tongue, "You didn't."
She nodded, "Yeah, all of it. Gave him access to my account, told him to take all of it."
"All of it!? That's eighty million credits!"
"The Commission will be all over that account after the first withdrawal is made, but whoever gets to it first gets it without a hitch. Might as well give him all of it."
Jake shook his head at Andrea. Once he got past the fact that she had thrown away the finder's fee of a lifetime, he found himself pleasantly surprised, and quite impressed. Then he scoffed.
"Does this mean your life of grand larceny and egregious theft will continue?"
Andrea shrugged. "I am what I am," she said softly, as if admitting as much didn't thrill her as much as either one would expect.
He nodded slightly, looking down and turning away. He was disappointed, not that her offer would never come to fruition, but that this game of cat and mouse would not relent after all.
"Jake, what's wrong?"
"Nothing. It's just...nothing."
"Jake," Andrea said.
He looked up at her. "The thought of you...settling down, was very appealing to me. But I don't think that's ever gonna happen, do you?"
"Not today, at least. But there's always hope," she said, then laughing softly.
Jake laughed with her, then they faded into silence.
"One day, Jake," Andrea said after a moment, "You will have to decide what you want. One of these days you'll have to choose between the two of us."
Jake paused for a second, and answered, "Perhaps. But not today."
She smiled, "No. Not today. But until then, take care of Lisa for me, will you? I need to know I have a worthy opponent to vie against!"
He scoffed, but eventually consented by nodding his head.
"I'll miss you," he said.
"Yeah, I should hope so," she replied, as her image faded out, "Otherwise, I'd be in cuffs if you ever found me!"
The hologram flickered into nothing, leaving Jake in the dark all by himself. He looked around, and was reminded again that he was alone.