- The Setup
- Kayleigh cases the joint, gets a power and uses it to GTFO
- Tim sees Kayleigh escaping; gets a power
- Back at Hollister House, Micah gets a power and sees Kayleigh’s power
- Tim and Kayleigh have a narrow escape, and go back to Kayleigh’s
- Micah goes home to do research and gets contacted by Theta
- The next morning, Micah goes to Kayleigh’s
- Skye appears and tells them about Theta and Oba Mae
- Skye and the group escape Oba Mae and head for a safehouse
When surveillance and security expert Micah Phillips headed out to Hollister House that afternoon to finish a home system install, it was supposed to be a typical job…as much as any job could be typical for his wealthy, often eccentric clientele. The new system, designed to protect Daniel Kahneman‘s art collection, was complete, and he was just going out to explain the system to the family’s staff.
It was also a fairly typical workday for private investigator Tim Erebus, as he sat outside Hollister House taking note of everyone coming and going. His client, wealthy art history buff Vivian Betancourt, had noticed a trend of small but valuable pieces turning up missing among her friends, and wanted to locate the antique necklace she’d been relieved of. Since she knew the the Kahnemans were due for the arrival of a new, highly valuable Greek figurine, she reasoned the thief might turn up there next.
For UC Berkeley junior and fledgling burglar Kayleigh McCarrick, though, it was not so routine. Her efforts to surround herself with wealthy sorority friends with easily harvested possessions had paid off, and she’d been able to broaden her horizons from hocking unattended iPads into picking through the jewelry boxes of San Francisco’s elite. This time, though, her friend Poppi Kahneman had mentioned a valuable Greek figurine her father had acquired, and Kayleigh finagled an invite to the house to check it out, with the half-formed thought that “art acquisition” sounded a lot more glamorous than pocketing some dusty pearls.
Having left Poppi soaking up sunset by the pool, Kayleigh headed into the house…ostensibly to use the restroom, but really to explore the broad, well-lit hallway the family referred to as their gallery. In pride of place stood a pillar supporting a small marble statuette of Prometheus. Without thinking, she reached out to the beautiful object, tilting it slightly to get a better view at the details.
Immediately, the new security system kicked in with a shrill alarm, causing clamps at the base of the statue to engage, and a polycarbonate shield to spring up from the pillar. Luckily for Kayleigh, the timing of the auto-lock door at the end of the gallery hadn’t been calibrated yet, and her adrenalin flung her through just before it sealed. But before she could catch her breath, she heard her friend’s mom and Betty Ford Clinic poster child Mitzy Kahneman coming around the corner, calling boozily for someone to shut down the racket.
Frantically, Kayleigh thought that she needed desperately to be someone, anyone else. She felt a strange, warm, lightheaded feeling pass over her for a moment, and when her vision cleared, time was up…her friend’s mother was standing in front of her. But instead of looking angry or suspicious, she said irritably, “Poppi, what the hell is going on?! Come help me get them to shut off this godforsaken ear-splitting alarm.”
Kayleigh followed mutely, her mind racing. What had just happened? She was shocked down to her toes when they passed a wall mirror and it reflected not her own image, but her friend’s. Somehow, she had changed her face…which was, of course, impossible. However, she wasn’t one of the brightest scholarship students at UC Berkeley for nothing…rather than waste time wondering how, she focused on using her advantage to GTFO.
Micah was mid-explanation of video functions to the family’s security guard when the system kicked in, so the screens weren’t showing the statuette at that moment. As he quickly exited training mode, Mitzy Kahneman stumbled into the room supported by her daughter, and demanded muzzily that he stop the horrible noise immediately. The embarrassed girl gave him a “sorry about my mom” look and made her exit. Micah shut down the alarm and tried to look like he was listening to the woman’s ramblings while really trying to figure out what had set off the system in the first place.
Outside, Tim heard the alarm go off and thought at first that it might be a test run for the new system, until he heard the police radio announce that an officer had been dispatched to follow up. Shortly afterward, he saw the Kahnemans’ spoiled daughter emerge from the back of the house, head briskly toward an elderly Toyota in the driveway, and hop in. As she struggled to get the car to start, he wondered why she was driving her friend’s crappy car instead of her usual convertible BMW. Something about that was setting off all his flags.
Just as she pulled out and the police arrived, inadvertently blocking off the narrow alley, he figured out what it was: he’d seen the Kahneman princess out by the pool, and in fact, she was still there. Her friend the redhead was not, and Tim had a strong suspicion that despite what his eyes were telling him, she’d just escaped in her crappy ride.
He stared at the back of her retreating car, focused on how much he needed to be in there, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. He felt a strange, warm, lightheaded feeling pass over him for a moment, and when his vision cleared…he was somehow ensconced in the shadowy backseat of the redhead’s speeding Toyota. Utter shock kept him mute as his mind raced, trying to make sense of the impossible.
Back at Hollister House, Micah was surrounded by chaos. His client’s addled wife was still at his elbow, yapping like a poodle on crack about everything from the cost of the art to the fact that her pharmacist wasn’t answering texts. The security guard kept interrupting him with stupid questions, showing clearly that he either hadn’t understood what Micah had shown him, or that he was distracted by the spoiled daughter, who had reappeared in a bikini (hadn’t she just been fully dressed a minute ago?) and was posing for attention.
Worst of all, the police officer that had arrived was saying that it was no big deal, security systems had false alarms all the time.
Micah bristled and tried not to show it. Not my systems, he thought. And if everybody would leave me alone for two seconds, I could prove it.
After what seemed like eons, the guard and the cop headed off to the gallery with Mrs. Kahneman, to provide a little more soothing and reassurance, while the daughter led the way to give the men full view of her ass. Micah could finally give his full attention to the paradox his machines were showing him.
He’d already seen that the alarm was tripped by the daughter’s red-haired friend. Of course, she may have just touched it because it was pretty, rather than any more sinister reason. They’d know after questioning her…but that was the tricky part. Because somehow, after she left the range of the gallery cameras and
Tim and Kayleigh have a narrow escape, and go back to Kayleigh’s
Micah goes home to do research and gets contacted by Theta
The next morning, Micah goes to Kayleigh’s
Skye appears and tells them about Theta and Oba Mae
Skye and the group escape Oba Mae and head for a safehouse