Future Imperfect


Erika and I binge-watched ‘Hostages’ on Netflix. I’ve never done fan fiction before. I ‘m a professional writer, but to say I’m a fanfic writer or even a fan is really a misnomer. The show had a family taken hostage by a bad guy which Erika likes, and it had a lot of political intrigue that I like. The series had a lot of plot holes and the story twisted more than was necessary, but I’d still recommend it nonetheless.

When the finale was over, I said to Erika, something to the effect of, “Too bad there’s not another season for us to watch.” She advised me in the way only a wife of 15 years could that there was no way to do another season. I then proceeded to explain all the ways there could be another season with plot points and potential episode summaries. After a few minutes, she declared that I was giving her a headache and flippantly told me to write a book about it.

The gauntlet has been cast. If I were to write something, it would likely start like this. I don’t know the finer points of fan fiction or copyright, so I’ll just say this is a work of my own and all the characters and the cool image is owned by whomever owns them, so no one sue me or anything. Here’s 1167 words:

* * *

Duncan Carlisle stared out the window of his cell. He hadn’t received any visitors in the four years of his sixteen-year prison sentence.

“Inmate 47326.”

Duncan saw a pair of eyes through the steel door of his cell.

“Step up to the line.”

Duncan glanced out the window, noting where the sun was in the sky. He complied with the guard’s request.

“Place your arms through the gate.”

Duncan positioned his back to the door and slid his arms through a steel gate. He winced as the shackles were tightened on his wrists.

“Place your forehead against the concrete.”

Duncan sighed, but once again, he complied. He heard the lock click and the steel bolts retract from the frame. He closed his eyes as the guard shackled his legs and attached Duncan’s wrist shackles to the ankle cuffs. A black hood was placed over Duncan’s head and he allowed himself to be led away by the guards.

Duncan counted the shuffling steps and the number of doors opened and closed before he was unceremoniously dumped into a chair. He listened as his chains were secured to a table and the floor.

The light was blinding when the hood was ripped off and he blinked several times as his eyes adjusted to the harsh light of the interrogation room. He tested his restraints and smiled inwardly at the precision of his captors. He spent twenty-three hours a day in his cell. Other than the single hour a day of exercise and hygiene, he hadn’t been out of his cell for three years.

A door on the opposite wall opened and a man in a snappy suit made his way to the table. He sat across the table from Duncan and places a worn folder in front of him.

“Who am I Mister Carlisle?”

Duncan blinked several times. “No one has called me that in four years.”

“I can call you by your inmate number.” The man stared into Duncan’s eyes. “What is it, four-seven-three…” The man trailed off as Duncan ran his eyes over the newcomer.

“I’m waiting,” the man said after a few terse moments.

“Well, you know who I am, so I’m gonna go with F-B-I or Secret Service.”

The man smirked. “Which one?”

Duncan leaned as far back as his restraints would allow and declared, “Secret Service.”

“Care to elaborate?”

“Since you know who I am, you know I’ve worked with Secret Service agents.”

“So you guessed? I suppose you had a fifty-fifty chance.”

Duncan shook his head. “You removed your lapel pin, but the fabric is creased where you affix it. When you walked in here, your right arm had more movement, no doubt compensating for your missing shoulder holster.”

“Right arm?”

“You carried your folder in your left hand and when you sat, you shifted your weight to the same arm. If you were holding a pen, I think it’d be in your left hand.”

“And my ‘shoulder holster?’” The man made air quotes to emphasize his point.

Duncan smiled. “This is a super-max detention facility. When they asked you to surrender your sidearm you tried to argue, but your boss wants results, so you complied. How is Mister Kincaid?”

“President Kincaid is retired. Vice-President Moore asked me to see you today.”

Duncan scoffed. “Vanessa Moore doesn’t ask for anything.” His smile faded. “Vice-President, you say?”

“How did you know about the disagreement with my sidearm?”

Duncan smiled. “That was actually just a guess, but it made sense.”

“What can you tell me about former Secret Service Agent Logan?”

“That you haven’t found him.”

“And your accomplices?”

Duncan narrowed his eyes. “You already know Archer’s dead.”

“And the others?”

“There weren’t any others.”

“So you say.”

Duncan sighed. “What do you want, Agent?”

“Perhaps it’s time you did a little extra to repay your debt to society. GUARD!”

The man stood, collected his folder and walked towards the exit. He turned and as the hood was being placed over Duncan’s head, the man declared, “I’ll be seeing you again, mister Carlisle.”

* * *

“Madam Vice-President, I don’t think this Carlisle fellow is someone we want to be involved with.”

Vice-President Vanessa Moore leaned back in her opulent chair. The V-P offices weren’t as ornate as the oval office, but Vanessa had a say in all aspects of decorating it. The chair was custom, as was the wooden desk she sat behind.

“Agent Pine, am I going to have a problem with you?”

Vanessa smiled. The smile put Frost on edge. It was his job to protect her, but the woman creeped him out. “No, Ma’am,” he replied, “but I’d like to think you’d want my input on this situation.”

Vanessa nodded. She had a talent to appear to agree with what you were saying, but she thought anything but. “After the scandal with my bother-in-law, my nomination was severely jeopardized.” She rubbed her palms on the imported wood that comprised her desk. “Yet here I am.”

Pine set his jaw and replied with the only safe words he knew, “Yes, Ma’am.”

Vanessa smiled again, and Pine shrunk from her glare. He hoped it was subtle enough. “Agent Pine, I get what I want.” She adjusted her pantsuit. “And right now, I want Agent Carlisle on this situation.”

“Former Agent Carlisle.”

Vanessa narrowed her eyes. “Are you correcting me, Agent?” Her voice rose and the word ‘agent’ was meant as something other than an honorific.

“No, Ma’am. I’ll get on this right away.”

“See that you do. Tell my assistant to come in on your way out.”

Agent Pine nodded and strode briskly to the door. After a few moments, Vanessa’s assistant walked in and Vanessa adopted a more genial façade. She watched the young woman make her way to the chair just vacated by Pine. When the woman sat, she looked up from her tablet and asked, “What can I do for you Miss Moore?”

“I’d like you to set up a meeting with my sister for me.”

“Any particular time or agenda I should convey to her people?”

Vanessa shook her head. “I need to follow up on some documents she provided me.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” The assistant stood, smoothed the front of her pantsuit and strode out of the office. Vanessa opened a hidden drawer in her desk and withdrew a folder. She opened the folder and stared at two photos and accompanying report inside.

She ran her finger along one of the photos of a man bound and gagged. His vacant eyes stared up at the camera. His eyes spoke volumes – they spoke of a broken man. A man without hope. She placed the photo down and picked up another. This one was of a severed digit. The report stated it was a pinky finger. The final sheet of paper was a D-N-A analysis. Markers and diagrams indicated that her own D-N-A was a significant match. The lengthy report declared the D-N-A from the severed finger was a familial match.

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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