Chavez had seen demonstrations of hypnosis used to assist witnesses to remember minute details of crime scenes, and believed there was something to it, but the whole idea of post-hypnotic suggestion was frightening. What sort of commands could you put in a person’s head, that they might have no idea were there? He couldn’t imagine giving someone that kind of access to his brain, and paid close attention to every word Ojeda said.
The large man seemed like a decent enough guy, but no one had explained to him exactly where this “Visulex” experiment went wrong. Until that question was answered to his satisfaction, no one got a pass.
Chavez wasn’t even sure what the crime was, though. As far as he could tell, all of the permits and authorizations for the Visulex experiment had been in order. Creating a public nuisance, maybe? It hardly seemed fitting. Assault and battery of Douglas Wright? The chain of causation broke down when it passed through an alternate reality.
Chavez knew he was in over his head, and felt he had to take some risks – like trusting Ojeda – to get this case under control. Hopefully, it wouldn’t come back to bite him.
Ojeda had just reached the point where he was giving Elizabeth the message for her brother. He read from the hotel memo pad, where he had written down the message so that Chavez could see exactly what he was going to say.
Ojeda’s voice was deep and soft. “You will see Matt in your dreams. When you do, there is something very important that you will need to do. You will ignore everything else that is going on, and say to him, ‘Hector says that your dreams become real when you sleep.’”
At that moment, everything was illuminated by a blinding light outside, turning the room into planes of black and white.
Ojeda looked at him with alarm. Chavez waved at him to stay down, then shaded his eyes and moved to one side of the window. As he leaned out to try to find the source of the light, the door to the room crashed open behind him.
Shouts, waving rifles, men in riot gear. Hector thrown to the ground.
More rifles swung to cover Chavez. “DEA! Get your ass on the floor!”
Slowly, Chavez put his hands up, laced them behind his head, and knelt down as the Mobile Enforcement Team advanced. “I’m FBI,” he said, as calmly as he could. “My badge is...”
“I said ON THE FLOOR!” The butt of the rifle struck him between his shoulder blades; he barely got his hands around in time to avoid cracking his skull as he fell.
From the other side of the room, he heard, “Hector Ojeda, you are under arrest for illegal possession of a Schedule I controlled substance. You have the right to remain silent...”
“Listen to me,” Chavez said to the muzzle of the rifle that was inches from his face. “I’m FBI. My badge is in the pocket of my jacket, on the back of the chair.”
Someone must have checked, because a few moments later, he was hauled to his feet and his jacket and badge were thrust into his hands. Another drug agent approached; the others got out of his way. The SAC, Chavez figured, or whatever the DEA was calling the top agent on the scene these days.
“Agent Chavez. My name’s Kilpatrick. You’re a long way from home, aren’t you? Sorry about the misunderstanding, but we weren’t advised that the FBI had anyone on this case.”
Chavez shifted his shoulders gingerly, feeling for a fracture. “You should have been told. The Bureau’s local office knows I’m here.”
Ojeda was being led out of the room in cuffs. He looked over his shoulder at Chavez, and shook his head harshly.
“Is he really that dangerous?”
“Sorry, Mr. Chavez. We’re going to need to take your statement, and we can’t muddy the record by giving out details.”
More interagency bullshit, thought Chavez. “You can’t tell me why I’m going to be sleeping on an ice pack for a month...Wait! Where are you taking her?”
Two agents were leading Elizabeth out of the room. She was clearly disoriented, and the agents were holding her up between them. Chavez pushed past Kilpatrick and moved toward the door.
“Agent Chavez!” Kilpatrick said. “She’s a witness too. Are we going to have trouble here, or are you going to let me do my job?”
“If I don’t get some answers,” Chavez said, “then we definitely will have a problem.”
Kilpatrick waved over another agent, and they whispered together briefly. They approached Chavez.
“Look,” Kilpatrick said, “I’m sorry about the crossed wires. This is Agent Packer.”
Packer’s eyes flicked to the side at the introduction; it was quick, but noticeable.
“I’m going to leave him here when we go to take your statement,” Kilpatrick continued. “Once he’s taken down your story, he’ll be able to give you some more details. Best I can do.”
“Yeah, sure.” Chavez pulled out the desk chair, and waited to see what was going to happen next.
* * *
[Go to Chapter 15.3]