Chapter 5.10 – Clout

When the Bits-n-Bites café opened, it seemed too good to be true.
What better place to hang out and do a Final Warcraft boss raid than a shop filled with killer gaming boxes AND a full kitchen? But lately, the place has come to remind her more of work than play. Jared Wiley is getting himself one heck of a deal. Faith bends over backward to keep his network secure; sometimes even getting up at night when he calls worrying about hackers or doomsday viruses.
She has never seen the greasy little snake work a day in his life. But he somehow makes boatloads of cash from his business selling “inventions”. And there seems to be a steady flow of new breakthroughs every week. He brags about it incessantly. She had actually built up the nerve, once, to ask him about his source of inspiration for such works of genius (which she secretly believes him incapable of producing); or where he finds the time to invent. None if it makes much sense to her.
It didn’t, at least, until just now, when a very familiar looking sim nervously enters the shop and hesitates; as if practicing what he is going to say. Faith is speechless as she watches Doc make his way up the stairs. He had been so preoccupied that he didn’t notice her sitting a mere few feet away from him. Faith quickly follows him up the stairs to the lounge, but stays in the stairwell, out of sight.
Doc is visibly nervous as he approaches Jared. Faith strains to hear what Doc is saying over the fusion jazz being pumped from the lounge’s sound system. Is he asking for more time to do something? He has made some kind of discovery, evidently something pretty important. Jared hisses a warning at Doc, then plasters a fake smile on his face when some of the patrons in the lounge turn their heads. Faith scrambles out of sight as Jared walks Doc to the stairs and tells him to go back to his lab and wait until after the café is closed to talk about “it”.
Faith bristles at the tone Jared takes with Doc. He’s treating him like a child, or worse, a dog. Faith barely makes it down the steps when Doc comes stumbling down after her, nearly knocking them both to the ground. Doc apologizes for his clumsiness, then recognises Faith. He pushes his glasses up on his nose using his forefinger and stammers for something to say. The poor guy is a mess.
He turns nervously toward the next flight of steps to the ground floor, possibly to escape whatever conversation is about to happen with her. Maybe it is the tone in her voice, or perhaps it is the temporal loop’s “echo effect” playing with his sensibilities. When she calls his name, he finds his feet frozen in place. It is impossible, insane, and inexplicable; but he cares about this girl. Then, when she says she wants to help, there is little he can do but listen.
Faith tells him what they both already know, that something, somewhere has been bringing them together. Doc nods in agreement. He begins to search for a way to tell her about his discovery of the temporal loop. But all that comes out is a jumble of pseudoscientific jargon, anxious clarifications, then clarifications of his previous clarifications. Faith is dumbfounded by the verbal train wreck. In a brief moment of lucidity, however, Doc manages to tell her that somebody is tampering with the timestream.
The moment is short-lived. Jared lurches his bulk down the steps, fully prepared to tear into Doc. When he sees Faith, his features soften somewhat, but he his still clearly provoked. Jared’s eyes narrow when Faith refuses to excuse herself from the conversation. In fact, she moves a step closer to Doc, just to cement her position. Jared, being the coward that he is, dares not confront the strong-willed young woman. He reminds Doc about some kind of agreement concerning his presence at the café, and that he should return to the lab. Then in the stroke of a single heartbeat, Faith makes the connection. Doc is the source of Jared’s inventions.
Rage boils up quickly as she unleashes on Jared. She doesn’t need the details to see what is happening. She demands to know how much money Doc is getting from his own inventions, and how much he is keeping for himself. Doc’s eyes dart from side to side as patrons all turn to see what the shouting is about. Jared smiles and talks quietly through his teeth, saying that their business arrangement is none of her concern.
Faith turns to Doc and asks why he came to the café. Doc, shaken by all of the attention, stammers that he is in need of an advance so he can make his rent payment. Jared’s eyes narrow again as Faith scoffs. She asks if this job pays as much as the book store job her grandfather gave him. Doc scratches his head then sheepishly says that it does not. He quickly follows up his statement that the book store does not possess a cutting edge science lab.
A sly smile crosses Faith’s face. She does not like to throw her family’s clout around. But in this one case, just to put Wiley in his place, she will make an exception. She agrees that the book store does not have one, but that the Barimen Science and Research Center might be sufficient for the type of work he wants to do. He will have a lab with his name on the door, and a zero added to the end of his book store salary.
The boyish smile on his face is answer enough for both Faith and Jared.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 5.10 – Clout

  1. Awesome! Faith stuck it to the man! I hope that Doc discovers whatever it is he’s after and that the mystery surrounding why they keep coming together gets solved.


  2. Jared’s obsession with tight internet security seems to be falling into place now. He certainly does have an eye for finding and extorting brilliant people. Glad Faith was able to help!


  3. I agee with tipix — Jared is quite the little manipulator. I’m glad Faith managed to put him in his place. It is so strange how they keep running into one another, and I can’t wait to learn more about the time stream tampering. And with Doc working for the Barimens now, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time!

    Great post!! Can’t wait for more.

    Happy Turkey Day,



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