The iFactor Chapter 44

Chapter 44

Vanderhaar left his office filled with apprehension. The plans he’d been working on for so long had not come to fruition. His former partner was running free. Somehow, he’d managed to escape the detachment the Trust sent to retrieve him. The damn computer system was frustrating him, he wanted to request a warrant to locate Matt, but doing so would create a paper trail making him useless to the Trust. Perry, the damned fool, would have been able to get around that problem, but then that was why he had to have him killed. No, however he proceeded, it was best if Matt just disappeared. He could falsify the paperwork to make it look like they sent him back to Earth.

To make matters worse, they could get rid of him now without a paper trail. Furthermore, he wasn’t getting anywhere with locating the killer. He couldn’t even count on Matt to help him fix that problem before he turned him over. His personal transport, a sleek, sporty model, waited for him in the parking basement under the station. He hadn’t taken two steps from the lift toward it when he heard the old familiar voice.

“I think I’ll turn you in,” Matt’s voice echoed off the walls. “But who would I turn you in to? I’ll have to give that some thought.”

“You’re sick, Dales. Come on out; we’ll get you to a hospital where your doctor can help you.”

“Help me?” Matt chuckled. “I think I’ve had enough of your help.”

“Come on out; we’ll work this out.” Vanderhaar felt his sidearm for assurance.

“Like you did in Dallas. How many people have you killed, Ken? That worker, and his family, the girl in Dallas, Perry? I’m sure there are more deaths to your credit than that partner.”

“You got it back, huh? The medical reports said you might. Yeah, right. Who are you going turn me in to? I’m the law here?” Vanderhaar laughed. “Just who do you think I work for? How do you think a Dallas detective gets a sweet gig like this?”

“The companies are behind this?” Matt asked, just for clarification. “Just like they were in Dallas.”

“I’ll go to the governor.”

“Even if you make it to him, it would be your word against mine, and I haven’t been adjudicated psychologically compromised. I’ll tell them that you are insane. I’ve got so much evidence built up against you now; you’re gonna spend the rest of your days in a psyche ward.”

“I’m sorry, but it doesn’t go that way, Ken.”

Vanderhaar drew his gun and fired in the direction of the voice. Bullet’s ricocheted off the walls, one of them struck Vanderhaar in the leg, and he dropped. “Officer needs assistance, parking garage.” He gasped into his radio.

“They won’t get here in time,” Matt responded from a shadow. “Looks painful.”

“Damn you.” Vanderhaar raised the gun again. Matt came up quickly from behind and kicked it out of his hand. “It’s over now. Kill me, and they’ll crucify you.”

“But what will they do when I crucify you?” Matt smiled. “You destroyed me, Ken, and the payback won’t be easy.” Matt dropped a bloody glob on the ground before him. “Oh, I hope you don’t mind. I borrowed some things from your car.” He dangled a weapon belt in front of his former friend then retracted it quickly as Vanderhaar lunged. “I’ll be seeing you, partner.”

Vanderhaar turned his forward momentum into a dive for his gun. He grabbed the weapon and readied it as he spun to draw on his former partner.

Matt was gone.

“Dales?” He called. There was no answer save the opening of the lift, followed by a group of officers piling out in a defensive formation. Vanderhaar looked at the bloody palm chip Matt had dropped before him. How far can he go without money or access? Vanderhaar allowed himself a moment of satisfaction. Matt might have made himself harder to find, but every officer knew him on sight, and the demented ex-officer was now exiled from the system. He wouldn’t even be able to open a door.

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