Chapter Thirteen

"Grandmother," Ned says, approaching Lila who is sitting silently in her bedroom, sipping coffee. Tears have been running down her cheeks.

Turning her head, she dabs at her tears with a lacy handkerchief. "Yes, Ned? I'm so sorry....." but she can't say more as her voice is choked by sorrow.

"Grandmother, I need your help."


"I need for you to stay in your room-to appear out of sorts, under the weather, not enough to be really ill, just withdrawn, or angry with the family."

"I already am."

"Grandmother, Lois and I aren't splitting up-this is a ruse and must stay this way for a while."

Instantly, Lila brightens up. "Can we trust Reginald?" Ned asks.

"Implicitly," Lila promises, ringing for him. Reginald is there almost instantly.

"Yes, Mrs. Q?" He enters, and sees Ned. "Mr. Ashton..."

"Come in, Reginald," Ned says, as he lifts his briefcase onto the bed, "but first, close the door."

"Yes sir."

"Okay, Grandmother, Reginald," Ned begins, carefully taking out a laptop computer, three cellular phones, and all the stuff that goes with them. He recites a number. "Commit that to memory. Don't write it down. That's how to reach Lois and Gloria-okay, and by the way, none of this leaves this room-not even to Grandfather."

Lila and Reggie nod. "Dillon is with the Cerrulos-no boarding school, and for now, not even Paul and Jenny can see him-they understand my reasons. This is to insure that Dillon suffers no more of Tracy's influence. I can think of no better lessons in love and life than they can provide."

"Wonderful!" Lila says. "Now, what do you want us to do?"

"Grandmother," Ned begins, "You and Reggie are going to be a clearing house for information. You'll receive, and compile it, be a go between for Lois and me, and anybody else we choose to bring into this equation. You'll have to learn to 'surf the net', as well."

"I can teach her," Reginald offers.

"No kidding?" Ned asks, surprised.

"Yeah! I'm a regular on the butler's chatline-even have my own homepage over on geocities! I keep in touch with friends and family via e-mail."

"Reg, my man," Ned grins. "You are a natural for this. Okay, here's the situation. Lois has contacts researching several people-among them Jax, Tracy, and Stefan Cassadine. She's looking for links, following various money trails. Naturally, this is difficult because of the impending birth of our baby. Anyhow, there is something going on here that is big-potentially dangerous."

"I live for danger," Reggie says, then adds, "I always wanted to say that."

"Grandmother, you and Reggie will coordinate the material as it comes in, download it to disc which must be protected at all cost. Now, the reasons for the cellular phones-none of this is to go on a line charged to the Qs-nor can any of them know about it. I have brought several batteries-keep them charged and tie in the computer via cellular phone. Be glad that we can afford this. Also, both of you keep these phones on your persons...notice that I got the newest, smallest models. Keep them on vibrate setting-a silent ring, for privacy."

"Oh, this is splendid!" Lila beams.

"Yes, but Grandmother, none of the important stuff can be saved on the computer hard drive-in case anybody takes the laptop."

"No problem, Mr. Ashton," Reggie says.

"Make that Ned, Reggie. Okay, here's the password, and you need to choose an e-mail login name-something that nobody will link to you."

"Scully and Muldar," Lila suggests. "After all, 'The truth is out there.'"

"Okay," Ned laughs. "Then I'll be X-call me at this number, or..."

"How about we post an X to you via e-mail when we have something?" Hmmmmmmm

Laura is upset. She may have promised not to see Nikolas again, but no way could she forget him. His dark eyes, dark hair, his reserve all remind him constantly of..... no, she couldn't go there. Those memories were too dangerous. But.....a peek couldn't hurt, could it? Peeling back the layers of time, a dreamy look settles over Laura as she drifts back, back to Greece, back to.....him. Her hand reaches for the phone, and she enters a series of numbers. "Hello?" and we see the screen flash to Stefan. "It's Lasha, my love...." Hmmmmmmm

Again, we see Lucy as she concentrates on a crystal ball. "Kevin!!" she whispers. "Where are you?"

Images begin forming, and she writes them down as quickly as they come. Then, they fade, and she looks at the paper.

"What is this??!! A pot-bellied stove? A crystal chandelier? Kitty litter and dog food? What the heck? Hello wrong number!" She tries again, and hears barking. "And, what is this?? A WEINER DOG? And a fat cat?" Hmmmmmmmm

"What is this?" Kevin grumbles as Felicia flashes a light in his face to wake him up.

"This is a dog." She sets the small red dachshund (played by Marty's dachshund, Maverick) down on the floor, and says, "Maverick, this is Kevin, who says that there are rats down here."

"Felicia, I don't want a dog."

"He isn't your dog, he's my dog."

"Then get him out of here. Hell, get me out of here! I need to go to the police!"

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

"Well, you aren't! Now, let me go!"

"Not until I'm finished with you!"

"Felicia, this isn't funny!"

"You're right about that, Kevin. Being held against your will isn't funny. Being completely in someone else's control isn't funny."

"Felicia, LET ME GO!!"

"No, Kevin. Oh, by the way, this cat is TC-he was Maverick's buddy at the pound. They have you to thank for their survival. You might as well be good for something."

She gestures to a fat, longhaired black and white cat who sits grooming himself. (TC is, in reality, Maverick's buddy)

"I don't want a cat, either. I hate cats!"

"Like I care," Felicia snaps. "Oh, that's right. You're also known as 'Duckman'."


"Oh well, gotta go."

With that, she heads back up the stairs, leaving Kevin with the animals.

Dismayed, Kevin looks at the little red dog who eyes him warily, then glances at the dog food sitting out. "Sorry, pal. That's breakfast."

The small animal sits up on his haunches, and begins to beg, whining. "Damn," Kevin mutters, tossing him a bite of dog food. The dog ate hungrily, and Kevin, finding himself a sucker for a hard luck story, invites the dog to sit with him and share the meal. He's starting to relax, when he hears a scratching sound, and looks up to see TC availing himself of the facilities. "Oh ****!" Hmmmmmm

Stay tuned!! Will Lila and Reggie be able to conduct a truly covert operation?? What new worlds will be opened to Lila as Reggie instructs her on the art of surfing the net? How can we access Reggie's page?? What do we make of Laura, or is it Lasha?? Will Lucy be able to deduce Kevin's location?? Will Kevin, a.k.a. 'Duckman', learn to appreciate his basement buddies?? Hmmmmmmm