Vivid Dream Reality Chapter 34

Chapter 34 Brett's POV.

It was getting on towards four pm and the press conference was at seven. I knew Katie was entering VDR with Roni, Tia and Vee. They were meeting at lunch time and I had expected Katie or Roni to call me before now. Let me know how it had all gone. I had given Roni the rest of the day off, and they could have entered the VDR after eating lunch so I wasn't too worried that nobody was answering their phones.

Still, I had this uneasy feeling. So I called John.

“Hello, Mr Winslow, what can I do for you?”

“Hi John. I'm just being an anxious father, I think. I was expecting Katie to give me a call a while ago. Katie, Roni, Vee and Tia all met at lunch time with the intention of going into VDR together. I can't get a hold of any of them, so I presume they are all still on VDR, but they should have finished before now.”

“The easiest thing for me to check is the location of their phones. I'll check that and call my security guys. Nobody should be able to get into or out of that building without them knowing. Let me do that and give you a call back.”

“Perfect. I just want some reassurance.”

“No worries.”

About five minutes later John phoned back. “All the phones are still in the penthouse and the security detail report no suspicious activity. Just in case, I am going to keep trying to call them. The maximum time they can be indisposed in VDR is two hours. When did you call them?”

“About half an hour ago.”

“Then if I still can't contact them in one and a half hours, we will need to take action.”

“I'm sure it is nothing, but...”

“It's your daughter, I don't blame you at all. I'll call you with any update.”

Time seemed to pass so slowly and still no word from John. I tried to keep myself distracted, but it wasn't working. After an hour I couldn't take it anymore. Rather than phone, I walked down to the head of security.

“John, I know it hasn't been the full hour and a half, but I am beginning to get a bad feeling.”

“What would you like me to do? I could send my security team up to check on them.”

“How would they get in and would they know what to do if they were still in VDR?”

“The doorman could let them in. I got Katie to give permission previously. And to be honest, I don't know what the right thing to do would be, if they are trapped in VDR. Is that what you think has happened? I thought the fail safes prevented anything longer than two hours.”

“I am a little bit grasping at straws here. Their phone locations suggests they are all still inside, your security team are watching the entrances and exits, and yet they are still incommunicado. There should definitely be an automatic log out after a maximum of two hours, but then, half the stuff they are doing in VDR, should not be possible. We know that pulling a headset off does you no harm, but if Tia lost her resume point, so many possibilities could be lost. Let's get Joshua in here and see what he says.”

John made the phone call and informed me that he was on his way.

“John, when Katie moved from my house into the penthouse and I wanted a full security system installed, but she wanted her independence without anyone checking up on her. I heavily implied that I wanted you to set something up, but that I was to remain ignorant of it.”

“If we talk about this, we can't untalk about it. Are you sure you don't want to give it that extra half an hour?”

“I said I had a bad feeling about this and I really do. Tell me everything.” I pleaded.

“OK although it is not going to help us right now. With the help of Wren we set up hidden spy cameras pretty much covering everywhere. This was all hard wired so no batteries required and it all led to a storage system that could record continuously for a week before it starts writing over itself. We buried that storage in the wall and the only way to retrieve it, will be to cut open a section of the plasterboard.”

“It is not connected to anything we can log on to?” I asked hopefully.

“No. Either you had a system that was being monitored in real time, which we decided would be found out eventually, or a system that could be looked at after whatever incident had occurred. Wren with her normal paranoia decided that you didn't want a system that was hackable, so the only way to access those images is to physically be there and remove them.”

There was a knock on the door. John invited Joshua in.

“Hello boss, how can I help?” I explained the information we had and my worries and asked for his opinion. “Well, I can't see how the system could continue after the maximum two hours. That has never happened before and since you have four headsets all linked, all four would have to malfunction at the same time. I think we can pretty much rule that out.”

“You mean if one of them automatically logged out, they all would?” I asked.

“Yes. When you have multiple headsets connected, when one is disconnected then the rest automatically log out. If the security team goes up there and finds them still connected, disconnecting anybody except Tia's will theoretically keep the resume point because Tia will be automatically logged out. If someone just pulled the headset off Tia, then the resume point would be lost. It might go back to a previous resume point, I just don't know.”

I thought about it and made a decision. “I would like you two and Wren to go straight to the penthouse and see what has happened. Keep trying to call them and if they respond before you get there, then, no worries, but I would prefer our most knowledgeable experts there in case they are needed. Priority number one is everybody's lives, priority number two is Tia's headset.”

“Are you coming with us?”

“Of course. I will get the driver and meet you out front.” I phoned the driver. The press conference was due in less than two hours. On instinct, I phoned my press contact and told them the person of interest for the press conference was suspiciously out of contact and I was trying to find out what had happened to her.

I was wondering if I did the right thing when they insisted on sending a team to the penthouse building to meet us there. You may try and use the press, but they also want to use you. In this case, I wanted as much exposure as possible, it was the only way I could think of to fight the shadows.

By the time we arrived another half an hour had passed and still there was no communication. The news van was there with a reporter waiting by the doorman. The security team still reported that no one suspicious had arrived or left. The doorman took us up in the elevator and opened the door. We called out for Katie, in fact we called out for all the girls, but there was no reply.

John took point and checked the rooms ahead of us. “Here!” He shouted when he opened the door to the game room. Roni and Sam, Katie's nurse, were on the lounge chairs and Katie was in her wheelchair, all were tied up and handcuffed. Blindfolds and gags were in place, but they were all unmoving, like they were asleep. John was crouching over Katie, checking for breathing and a pulse. “She's alive.” He said before he went to the others and confirmed they were all alive, but there was no trace of Tia or Vee. Their headsets were still on the chairs, so whoever took them did not know of their significance. We couldn't chance Tia's headset being left with the police. I took it and tasked one of the security guys with taking it back to headquarters straight away.

We immediately called the ambulance and the police. We allowed the media to take some shots but suggested they liaise with the police. Wren stared digging into a wall in the cupboard and retrieved something. Making use of the news van, they made a copy of the evidence before the police arrived. My worry and Wren's paranoia was that the evidence could go missing. The reporter wanted to keep a copy and Wren had to explain that it contained a weeks worth of life with everything recorded. There were cameras in the toilets as well as the bedrooms, so a lot of material would need to be kept private. They made a deal with Wren to go back to her lab where they would go through the most recent files together and only get the relevant information. She had asked me if they were allowed to have it. My response was full disclosure. Anything and everything except the details of the accident that allowed any transformations.

While waiting for the police and ambulance John kept a close eye on the girls. He pointed out evidence of a needle injection, so he thought they had all been given a sedative. John was going to stay around while the police did their thing. I went with the ambulance taking Katie to the hospital. Despite being unconscious, she appeared fine. They took blood almost immediately, in the hope that they could determine what she had been given.

I got a phone call from Wren. “What happened?” I asked her.

“Sam let them in through the roof door. As far as we can tell, she phoned them when they went into the game room and then let them in.”

“Sam as in Katie's nurse?”

“Yes. She then lay down on the lounge and was tied up identically and given the same injection. Is she at the hospital with you?”

I had made sure all three girls were in private rooms, so I went to check that Sam was still sleeping in the room I had arranged. There she was, sleeping like a baby. “We need her watched like a hawk. If they know we are on to her, I suspect she will disappear. Can you arrange to send some security here, we will say it is for her own protection.”

“I will be there shortly with a couple of security guys. The press conference is due to start soon. The news reporter has suggested that we go ahead with the conference and follow it with live footage of the abduction. We have given them the full copy and they want an edited version going out live. The press conference is live, so it will be difficult to prevent us showing the abduction. No one can claim this was a legal undertaking. The film shows this was an abduction, pure and simple. Vee and Tia were given no chance to talk or do much of anything before they were injected and taken.”

Wren would not normally be part of security, nor would we normally talk about sensitive topics over the phone, so I knew something was up. I trusted her to do what was right. “I'll see you soon.” I gave her our hospital location and that of Roni and Sam.

The police would complain of course. Claiming that we were jeopardising the lives of those two women and they might be right. I was pretty sure that if we did nothing they would be in worse straights.

Wren arrived before the press conference started. She had brought emergency clothes for the girls. The police would prevent access to the penthouse while they investigated. She winked when she mentioned Sam's clothing, so I know she had done something devious. We sat together, next to an unconscious Katie, watching the press conference on the hospital TV.

End of Book 1

Author Note.
Many thanks to all who have read and especially those who have commented and given Kudos. I think all authors need encouragement and that is a great way to do it.

I do not have an official editor, however Michelle SidheElf Amaianna, has been going through my posts and picking up my biggest errors and helping me to correct them. So a special thanks goes to her. This story is far from finished, but after i reached 70,000 words i realized that i needed to start book 2.

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