Like all good agents, Charlie had a backup plan in case he was arrested. The crux of his plan was that the automatic surveillance needed to see him active over the next few days. He’s got a friend who is the same height and build as him. Sometimes he plays the part of Charlie when Charlie is off doing other things in other places. All of the cell members know him as Charlie Too.

We needed to take Charlie’s terminal and some clothes to Charlie Too so that he could hang out in public and interact with the social networks. That way the world would still have Charlie at large, and hopefully the police would think that too.

The sooner we got this going the better. Done well, it would give Charlie’s public defender a trail showing that the person he is accused of being cannot be the one in custody as that person is still active. It is exactly the same gambit prosecutors use for identity theft cases, but in reverse. Rosie and I collected up the stuff Charlie had carefully left on his bed and, with Rosie pretending to be Charlie, we went off to see Charlie Too.

It wasn’t far to Charlie Too’s place, but we went by bike and took a circuitous route just to make it difficult for anyone following us. Bikes are too fast for followers on foot, and too slow for those in cars, plus they can go places cars cannot. We had to be sure that we hadn’t picked up a tail.

Rosie chose the route to take us through the park a couple of times, as that made it hard for cars to follow, and the large open space also meant we’d see anyone on foot trying to rapidly catch up before we hit the patch of woodland that we could hide from them in. That said, with a terminal on, they could just track us from the transponder signals. However we weren’t worried about that, in fact we were banking on that being the only form of tracking so that they wouldn’t discover that the virtual Charlie Too wasn’t the real physical Charlie.

A couple of circuits showed that we weren’t being followed by someone with visual contact, so we rapidly scooted into the housing estate that Charlie Too lived in. His place was a down-at-heel terraced house that was in severe need of modernisation from the outside. Inside was better, at least it was in a good state of decoration and the furniture didn’t look as knackered as the outside.

Charlie Too answered the door himself, and recognising Rosie greeted us with, “Who’s this?” he nodded at me, blocking the entrance to the door.

“A good friend of Charlie’s” Rosie replied “Can we come in?”

He stood back and made space by walking away from the door. Rosie told me to bring the bikes in and we both went in, wheeling the bikes with us. The transaction was brief, Rosie had turned off the terminal just before we finally went into the housing estate.

“We need you to be Charlie now, and to be seen in town. Last update was that he’d sprained his left ankle playing football in the park. Can you get to it?”

“Oh, sure. Where’s the stuff?”

Rosie passed him over the messenger bag and then the terminal set. “Bike’s in the hall, also another one you can look after too.”

She turned, nodded at me and we left Charlie Too to it.  


Continued… Imperfect: Scene 3 – Interrogation

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