Chapter Two: Demands Made

Edison walked into the control room and set his camera down on Theora's desk.

"Anything new on the Bureau Burner?"

"Other than that he's back in action, no." Theora said. "He hit three credit bureaus today. I'm trying to determine if there's a pattern. Maybe we can predict his next…"

"There's t-t-t-trouble at ACS!" Max called out as he he appeared on Theora's control screen.

"What kind of trouble?" Edison asked. "Can you show me?"

Max gave a quick nod. He went to the screen in the room where the terrorists were holding Bryce and his former classmates.

Edison got a brief view of the teens lying face down on the floor and tied to the table legs by their necks before a gunman noticed Max and fired a spray of bullets at the TV.

The young geniuses flinched in fear as the gunfire sounded. Each wondered if the first two killings had taken place. The sound had drowned out the sound of shattering glass and metal. None of them knew that it had only been the TV set that had been blown away.

Nobody spoke. They knew that talking would only lead to their own deaths. Instead they suffered in a terrified silence waiting for the next hour to pass, wondering which of them would be killed.

"Max!" Edison shouted.

"Right here," Max said, appearing on Theora's control screen an instant later. "That was a close close close one!"

"It looked bad," Theora observed.

"We've got to get those kids out of there," Edison said as he started to head for the door.

"Edison!" Murray stopped him. "Stay here. We can't just rush into ACS. We might trigger a bloodbath."

"Murray's right," Theora said. "We've got to find out what they want first."

Edison returned to Theora's control desk to await news from the board of the terrorists' demands.

The TV screens in the boardrooms at all the major networks were suddenly filled with the face of the terrorist leader.

"On the bottom of this screen you will see a ticker-tape with our demands. It will appear only twice so read it carefully. You have one hour to fulfill these demands. Failure to comply will result in the death of a male and female hostage every hour until we are satisfied. And just in case you think we're bluffing, or that these are children's toys we're carrying…"

He aimed the gun at Jenny and squeezed the trigger, firing a single shot into her abdomen,

Jenny cried out in agony as the bullet ripped through her. She began to cry from the pain, but the nearest terrorist struck her with the butt of his rifle.

"Shut up," he snarled at her.

Jenny's former classmates winced at the sound of her pained cries. Things were getting worse by the minute and now one of them was hurt. Though none of them knew how badly.

"Jenny?" Bryce asked, his voice full of worry.

"You can shut up, too," the same man said, striking Bryce in the side of the head causing him to see stars.

Bryce wisely decided to be quiet.

Grossberg was mortified. His head of Research and Development had been shot. He didn't think the bullet had hit any major organs. But that didn't mean she wouldn't bleed to death.

"What do you want of us?" he demanded.

"The instructions were on the bottom."

"But I don't even speak whatever language that was," Grossberg pointed out.

The message had been in Urdu.

"Then I suggest you find somebody who does," the terrorist leader said, as he disconnected the call.

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