The Warehouse Incident

Jon Eckart

ACME detective
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Known Aliases
Jon, Jonny, J (single letter), JE (pronounced 'G')
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((OOC: Please note, that being that I cannot get ahold of Chase or any of the board or other long-time members to get permission to use their characters, I chose to use my own characters in their place.
For the time being, Assistant Director Kirk McDouglas from the Philadelphia branch office is filling in for Director Devineaux, being that Chase is on a personal leave.
The board is at a conference in Bern, Switzerland, and Assistant Director McDouglas is handling what the board handles.
Doctor Sophie Conrad is at a medical conference in London. Doctor Linda Collen is filling in for Sophie.
If anyone wants to use these characters for their own stories, go ahead. If you want to expand on them, go ahead.))

Started: 10-24-22 Title changed: 1-25-23 (from Defending the Agency) Ended: 2-19-23
The Warehouse Incident By: Jon Eckart
[Timeframe: Jon’s been with the Agency for about four months]

Typical. After a busy Wednesday at the Agency, I head out to my car and can’t get it to even turn over. I had been planning all day to make a bigger run to the grocery store. Knowing I didn’t have much left at my apartment, I settled on walking to the store, and taking a taxi back home. Some days, it seems like there has to be an issue that gets in the way of something. I’ll have the motor pool guys check it out tomorrow.

Leaving the majority of my daily carry stuff at the Agency, I set out for the grocery store, about three blocks down from the Agency’s campus. I put on some Jethro Tull and lit a cigarette and started walking, while mentally going over my grocery list in my head (I was notorious for writing one at my desk or apartment and never bringing it with). Once I got to the store, I took my time getting my groceries and trying my best to get everything I needed (I didn’t want a repeat of the ‘getting stuff for lasagna and forgetting the noodles before the store closed’ incident), I checked out and made a stop next door to get a case of beer and called for my taxi. They told me that it would be fifteen minutes, I told them that was fine, and went back into the store and got a pop, found a place to park it and lit a cig, while I changed songs to rock out with some Korn.

About eighteen minutes later, the taxi showed up. While I was loading my stuff into the cab, a middle-aged man of Eastern European descent came up and asked if he could share my cab; I asked where he was going and it turned out his destination was along the way to my place, so I said he could hop on in, and the taxi took off towards his destination.

Once at the European’s destination, he paid his share of the ride and left a tip, and then invited me in to show me the record collection he had been telling me all about. I let the driver know I’d only be a few minutes, and headed in after he was okay with everything. To be honest, he had an impressive record collection; most of it was first edition, lots of blues and jazz, a higher-end turntable. He had managed to get his hands on an old warehouse that had been converted into a house for less that it would seem to cost.

Knowing I had the taxi waiting with the meter running, I mentioned I should head on home, and he offered me a drink before I left. I tried to mention the taxi with my thawing groceries, and he promised a quick drink, to which I agreed. While he was making the drinks, I called the cab driver and let him know I’d be a few more minutes, and he said it was no problem. When Eric, that was his name, came back with the drinks, we toasted and each sipped at our drinks, and talked about where we came from and joked about how we came to be where we had ended up.

And, then… darkness.
When I came to, there were several men looking at what was placed on a table; I recognized my communicator and my Agency ID wallet, along with my regular wallet and everything from my pockets. Trying to move, I found I was tied to a chair and my head was cloudy. I’d been drunk before, and this was nothing like that.
“Good, you’re awake. Hope you don’t mind we checked out what you had on you.” Eric said, looking up from fiddling with my communicator. “I see from all this,” he waved at my belongings, “that you work at ACME. And, that puts us in an interesting spot.” One of the other guys stepped forward,

“We were just going to drug you and rob you and leave you at the edge of town, but when we realized you work for those bastards, we decided to get even with them for what they did to Mikey’s brother.” Another guy flipped a chair around and sat down on it leaning against the back facing me.

“My brother was arrested on a bunch of trumped up charges by one of your agents two years ago. Your people said all the evidence pointed to my brother, even though he was out of the country all the time he supposedly did the crimes. While he was in prison, serving a quarter for some bullshit sex offense, he was shivved. He appealed twice, and lost because your agency has a stupid reputation for never being wrong, and then ended up getting killed in a riot.” Eric stood up,

“So, while you were out, we got some pictures of you with a kid, and we’re going to post them online. When we know they’ve been seen, we’ll let you go someplace close to the police station. It’s as simple as that. There’s enough evidence on your clothes and cell phone to destroy both you and the agency.”

“I wasn’t even there two years ago, why pick me?” I asked, worried what would happen to me. I’d heard stories of people charged as a pedophile going to jail or prison, even if they were innocent, and what happened to them inside.

“If you want to point us to the one responsible, we might clean the evidence from you and let you go… it’s up to you!” Mikey shouted at me. I pulled at my restraints while trying to think if I’d ever heard of the case they were talking about, and nothing came to mind. In desperation, I almost considered blurting out some random agent’s name, but I realized if that got me free, I’d still be guilty, just of something different, and in the Agency’s eyes, that would be just as bad. Hanging my head, I braced myself for whatever would happen.

The last thing I saw was the guy I inferred was Mikey coming towards me and jabbing me with a needle in my arm, and then nothing.
(Cue: Golden Earring – Twilight Zone)

When I came to again, I was in the alley behind what I figured out was the police station. I quickly got up and straightened my clothes out, and considered my options for getting back to the Agency. I knew that my best chance was inside ACME, though that was over two miles away, and it was entirely conceivable that the police were already looking for me. I checked my surroundings, and started my trek back to the Agency. After an hour, I stopped and got a pop at a gas station, making sure to pay cash; they hadn’t taken my money or cards, but I figured if I used my card and the police were already looking for me, I’d get their attention much faster than I wanted.
After close to two hours of walking down alleys and side streets, I made it to ACME’s front door. On entering, I was rushed and greeted by several agents. Once I could catch my breath, I showed my ID card at the front desk, and ended up getting escorted by two burly agents straight to the Director’s office.

Aside from Director McDouglas, Brenda was waiting in Kirk’s office, along with several senior detectives. I was led to a chair in the middle of the group and one of the burly agents motioned for me to sit down.

“Jon, good to see you back. We would like to ask you about the past couple days.” Kirk stated, glancing around the room before settling his gaze back on me. In front of him, Kirk had a folder that appeared to be a police report, but I couldn’t see the name on the folder.

“I was essentially kidnapped by someone who wanted to share a cab at the grocery store after work this past Wednesday.” I explained shortly.

“Agent Eckart, at least for now… are you aware of any charges being levelled at you during the time you were absent from the Agency?” One of the other Senior Detectives asked.

“I haven’t heard anything.” As I was answering, one of the other detectives placed a newspaper in front of me. The front-page headline read “ACME Agent accused of molesting a child”, and the byline stated “ACME HQ denies knowledge, promises a thorough investigation.”

“For the whole time you were gone, up until about three hours ago, your cell phone and communicator were unreachable. As soon as your phone showed up on the network again, we copied your phone and are sorting through the copy from it. If there is anything on it, it will be found. We also pulled all the GPS data from it and are sorting through it; as you know, GPS is always active on Agency cell phones, and the Agency has the right to access your Agency communicator and phone at any time as needed.” The director stated as I finished reading the article.

“Currently, because of these accusations, you are placed on administrative leave, without pay for the duration of the investigation, though you will remain a registered Agent throughout the investigation. Remember, although you are on leave, the rules and policies of the Agency still apply. The agency can provide a lawyer if you need one at any point. And, it is strongly recommended that you do not talk to the media about any of this.” Another detective spoke up.

“After this meeting, we need you to write out a statement explaining everything in as much detail as you can, and have it on my desk before I leave at 5PM.” Kirk said. Right as he finished speaking, his office phone rang. He swore under his breath in what sounded like Russian before answering. “Okay, hold them in the lobby. I’ll be right down to handle this.” Kirk excused himself from the meeting. After a couple minutes, he came back. “Okay, I was able to satisfy the police who just showed up to arrest you, Jon, though that won’t last forever. I strongly suggest getting everything you know on paper so we can better defend you.” Kirk explained.

“You are innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, although what happened may very well draw the media and anyone else who feels… strongly… about the subject. We will do everything we can in your defense, as long as defending you will not destroy the Agency.” One of the detectives said.

“I understand, although I hope you believe me when I say that none of this is my fault or doing. I’ll write everything down as quickly as I can, and, I feel the lawyer may be a good idea. If you would like, I can forward my current cases to other Agents before I head home. Also, after today when I head home, can you keep me informed about what’s going on?” I asked, thinking about how this would change everything. Kirk cleared his throat,
“We would appreciate that, Jon. And, we’ll keep you informed with what we can, being that you are on leave throughout this, we can only share a limited amount of information with you. The lawyer should be in touch before the end of the day, and they’ll be able to field any questions you have. Your internet and cell phone will still be taken care of by the agency, though you should know that both will be monitored until a verdict is reached. At this time, we would request you turn in your badge and sidearm. You will be allowed into the Agency only with another Agent or a guard escorting you.” I handed over my badge, and after being escorted to my locker, handed in my Agency-issued firearm. After the meeting, I went back to my desk and wrote everything down, took it to our in-office notary, and then made a copy for myself before turning it in to Director Devineaux before I headed home. I took my car, and stopped by a grocery store to stock up on everything I might need before heading home, after stopping at a gas station.

I quickly realized that news had spread fast enough that I would probably get recognized anyplace I went; the clerk at the gas station and all the customers there knew that I was ‘that Agent’ and I was; even at the gas station I always went to for gas and smokes, I got a fair amount of static from other customers and a dirty look from the clerk. I got a carton of cigs and a case of pop, along with enough snacks and whatever else I could think of before loading everything into the car before filling the tank and heading home. I stayed up later than usual, sitting outside on my patio with my tablet, reading what had been posted online about what had become my case. I ended up going to bed around two in the morning, and slept a good night’s sleep, courtesy of the beer.
The next day, after they had read my statement, Director McDouglas asked me to come down to the Agency’s medical facility for a blood test. I told them in my notes about being injected and having been drugged, so they drew blood and took a urine sample. The Director and I had a cup of coffee and after a little light talk, I went home.

For the next week, life was quiet and simple for me; no defined time for bed or waking up, I could spend all day in my pajamas (sweatpants and a t-shirt), no schedule for anything really. The biggest thing, besides being worried about how this would all turn out, was the growing cabin fever. It’s strange how much a person misses something as mundane as going to an office job and sitting at a desk all day; just to maintain a sense of normalcy, I set up my desk in my apartment as similar to my desk at ACME as possible and took to doing all my internet surfing and research from the desk.

Finally, after just over a week, I was called back to the Agency. I hopped in the car and had a cig while taking the scenic route to the Agency, mostly just in case I ended up charged and arrested, though I know I was innocent on what I was being accused of.

I made it to the front desk, French vanilla cappuccino in hand, and asked to speak with Director McDouglas. A phone call later, and I was being escorted to his office, where I found the office filled with the same group of people as there were last time. Director McDouglas motioned for me to take a seat, and I did. The atmosphere seemed a little more relaxed, though the Director had a much thicker folder in front of him this time around.

“Good to see you, Jon. Even though you hold the rank of an Agent, it was decided to not let you know about any of the updates throughout the investigation due to it possibly causing conflicts of interest. You would be glad to know that our investigation has returned some leads, though nothing definitive yet. We have several people of interest in custody right now, and are working through interviewing them. At the same time, the police have helped track them down, but they still want to take you into custody; the Council had to ask a couple favors to keep you out of jail.” The Director said, after shaking my hand and both him and I took our seats.

“Your blood test and urine analysis came back; your tests showed you were dosed with ketamine, which verifies your story around those points, so you will not get in trouble for the drugs being in your system. A search of the building you told us about showed evidence of recent activity, though everything had been moved out and most of it had been wiped down fairly sloppily, and we did find a glass that had your DNA on it with traces of ketamine in it, along with a syringe with the same. There were some partial fingerprints on both items, and lots of prints in the surrounding area, those are all being run both by us and the police. We did find some security camera footage from the store and two ATMs, and are working to enhance it and run it through facial recognition.” One of the other detectives explained.

“If we can get a positive ID on the man in the footage near you, we will bring the suspect in and should be able to drop all charges and reinstate you at the Agency.” Director McDouglas was saying when his phone beeped. He swore under his breath in another language and answered it.

“Yes, what is it?” Several seconds of silence. “Yes, the detectives and I are meeting with him right now.” Several more seconds of silence, punctuated by a raised eyebrow. Director McDouglas made a complicated motion towards the detectives, and on receiving a reply of nodded heads, the Director continued, “The vote is in, send every available agent and try to get there ahead of anyone. The Agency wants the person apprehended and brought to the Interview room as quickly as possible.” And, just like that, the Director hung up the phone.

“That was the Crime Lab; they got a positive ID from the camera footage, and we are sending Agents to apprehend the suspect. The police are also aware of his identity, and are pursuing. Though the Agency is helping the police with the case, we are trying to get to the suspect first.”

“For now, this meeting is concluded. We would like you to wait at home for us to contact you. We may need you to confirm if the suspect is the person you told us about. Thank you for coming in today, Jon.” Director McDouglas said, shaking my hand as he led me out the door.

I waited at home for just over four hours, and was called down to ID the suspects from a line-up. The Agency handled everything in-house, and due to my being involved, I was only involved in IDing the suspects. The rest of the court proceedings happened without me being in the room.

After several hours of deliberation by a Jury of unassociated people (which, it seemed, was tough to find being that the store was frequented by a fair chunk of San Francisco), they were charged with kidnapping and drugging an Agent, conspiring to falsify information, libel, slander, and holding a person against their will.
They were each charged with a total of 25 years without parole at Leavenworth (not sure how the Judge made that happen).

I couldn’t help but wonder if this would damage my standing with the Agency or the public, or if the public’s perception of the Agency would be forever tarnished. I brought this up to the Director when we got back to Accolade Tower from the court building.

“Jon, the Agency has survived more than just this over the years, and will survive far more. You might have seen the newspaper articles about the tower disappearing… we simply rebuilt and moved on. And, the Agency will always standby it’s Agents throughout cases like this, as long as the Agent is innocent.” Director McDouglas said to me.

“Thank you, Director.” I said as we shook hands before he headed to his office and I headed to my desk.

Tomorrow was another day, and I was interested to see what it had in store.

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