** the Institute is in the hills just before Santa Barbara, the Denny's is in Ventura. She parks the car in Oxnard and hops on the train to Union Station. **
Two hours passed. On the inside, Eta was feeling the intense pressure to get back to Chester and make a game plan. Her training told her to make sure she wouldn't be followed first. She'd borrowed a car from the Denny's parking lot. She'd driven in the wrong directions for miles, making frequent turns, watching for familiar faces or vehicles... after an hour she was sure she wasn't followed, or found.
She parked the car at a different Denny's, placed the keys into an envelope with some cash (enough to buy a better car), and put it on the floor board by the pedals. She called an anonymous tip from a payphone. With luck, the Police would have the car before the owner knew it was missing. She'd wiped it down for prints and evidence.
That was an hour ago. Five minutes later, the Metro Bus took her to the Metro Rail. That was four hours ago, she was back to Union Station. She'd walked from there. The car they had rented was in a safe place, it was rented under an assumed name, so the Institute shouldn't be able to find it. They'd have to go back for it when it was safe, unless Ash could get to it without being seen.
When she walked up to Chesters place and stepped in, she could hear him typing away. He turned around in relief. "Oh man! I'm so glad you are safe!"
"I am, but they have Ash. I came back here to re-group and re-gear, then I'm headed back up there."
"Actually, Ash wasn't the one I was worried about. You were the one we were worried about."
"Oh yeah, I've been talking with Ash for the last hour. You went of the grid, you were the wild card. Now that we know you are safe we can execute my plan."
Eta could feel her skeptical face coming on, she could always feel it in her left eyebrow. Chester was too busy to notice. He called her to the computer.
"The virus worked. I've tapped into every system they have, and they don't know it's even in there. They have him in a room controlled by electronic locks. These people obviously never considered a cyber threat, they hired a security company for that system. It was installed after I left. I've been talking with him through the com system in the room. I've monitored the hallways and camera feeds, and looped the feeds for security. But we weren't sure about you. If they had you, we wanted to find out where so he could get you on the way out. All the feeds have groups still running searches for you in and around the compound."
Eta could see Ash strapped to an expensive looking chair, in the middle of a very white room. His arms and feet restrained with metal cuffs. He had wires taped to his head, and he was wearing a ridiculous looking biker outfit.... which felt familiar for some reason.
"Ash..." Chester spoke into the laptop mic. "Eta is safe... she's here with me."
He nodded, but Chester could tell he was listening to the hallway. Chester switched feeds to see people coming down the hallways. Four large guards, and a man in a white lab coat.
Chester whispered "I can let you out now, before they get in." Ash shook his head no... then motioned with his hand.
"Wait... on my signal." Eta said. "It's military sign language." Chester nodded.
The five entered the room with some fan fare. The lab coat turned to face the camera. It was Dr. Briar. "Hello... Chester is it?" Dr. Briar smiled.
Chester and Eta looked at each other in horror.
"We've discovered your little virus. And we're quite safe here, I assure you." Dr. Briar turned to Ash. "You are a hard man to find. I almost had you in Oregon. I thought I'd lost you for sure. Then you just show up in my building, like a gift wrapped present."
Dr. Briar turned to a computer system on the wall.