Tuesday, March 27, 2018

SSA Sam Jackson was a man

SSA Sam Jackson was a man. He was a big man.

I've been thinking about this for days so now it's happening. Let's take a tour of life with SSA Sam Jackson.
Sam first entered the Byte Series in Killerbyte:

“I looked up at the second agent. It had been too long. He grinned at me then spoke to Mac, “I’m Sam, General Lee’s partner.”
Mac smiled vacantly.
I attracted Sam’s attention with a question, “Did you see who brought Mac his coffee?”
“A pretty, little dark-haired chick. I’m on it,” Sam said, then strode away in the direction of the kitchen, leaving me stunned. The older he got, the more he looked like Mr. T, minus the bling, of course. I shook The A-Team theme song from my head as I wondered if Sam was scared to fly in an airplane.”

Excerpt From: Cat Connor. “Killerbyte.” iBooks.

By the end of the book, I knew Sam would stick around.

In Terrorbyte, I started to realize just how much he contributed to Delta A.

“A smile flickered across Lee’s face as he heard Sam’s voice in the room behind us. It gave me a sense of security knowing he was there; it was probably the same for Lee.”

Then this happened:

“No, I got this.” He paused. I swear I could hear his mind working. Sam eventually said, “Unless of course you’re still wearing that little silvery dress you wore to dinner.”
“Jesus, Sam! It was platinum and that’s Supervising Special Agent Chicky Babe to you.”
“Is there anything you want me to do, SSA Chicky Babe?”

There was that horrible moment when Ellie thought she'd lost Sam.

“Lee hollered, “Sam’s down!”
Everything faded to gray as I ran towards Lee’s voice with my phone open in my hand, stopping abruptly in front of them both near the back door. It was as filthy as the rest of the house. Sam was sitting on the ground clutching his side, Lee was kneeling beside him.”

Excerpt From: “terrorbyte 1.epub.” iBooks.

When Ellie worried she wouldn't be a good mom to Carla, Sam was there.

“How can I take care of a child? I don’t even know where my cat is and I’m always running out of cat food.” I played with the ring my cup made on the countertop.
“Teenagers are almost human, they rarely get lost and I think most of them can feed cats,” Sam said using his let’s-be-reasonable voice.
“You think the cat would like someone who knows how to feed her?”
“Yeah, maybe Carla could even give the poor animal a name.”
“I’m sure she had one but I don’t remember it. Mac always called her Puss.”
“And you call her Cat.”
“I’m being silly.”
“Human, Ellie. You are being human and contemplating raising another human – that’s huge.”
“I want what’s right for her,” I said, drawing squiggles in the condensation from my cup. “Cassie left a letter. She wanted me to adopt Carla.”
“See? You are what’s right for her.”
“But to take her on alone …”
“You’ll never be alone. Lee and I are looking forward to being uncles. Your dad and brother will be right there.” He smiled wickedly. “And then there is Mac’s family.”
Bile rose. “Don’t even joke about it.”

And a little bit later:

“When the door opened, Carla jumped to her feet and ran to Sam.
“Did you know? I have a mom!”
Sam swung her around the room. “Yes, I know. You also have some uncles and a grandpa. You got yourself a whole family.” He placed her back on her feet.
With the cheekiest smile, Carla said, “You’re not uncool, Auntie Sam. What pizza did you get?”
Sam’s smile froze. Chrissy laughed. I high-fived Carla. She really did belong with us.”

Excerpt From: Cat Connor. “Exacerbyte.” iBooks.

Sam had a special way with people and it became evident in Soundbyte:

“Sam opened the door to the building. Inside kids played basketball; on the far right was a doorway. Outside the door, several people sat on a bench seat. They didn’t look like they were waiting for a game.
Sam indicated the bench. I nodded. We walked over, doing our best not to panic anyone. Not easy. It was a jumpy part of town. One guy scrambled to his feet and took off at a sprint. Sam hollered after him, “We’re not here for anyone. Chill.”
He slammed out the door. A second later his head popped back in.
“For reals?”

Excerpt From: Cat Connor. “Soundbyte.” iBooks.

He became wee bit protective ...

“Sam stepped forward. “So where is the rest of dear Eddie?”
Keller swiveled his head in the other direction to see Sam. “We don’t know. We only have a hand.”
“Is he dead or alive?” Kurt asked.
“We think he was alive when the hand was removed.”
Possibly by someone wearing a level-A Hazmat suit. I thought about the hand removal for a moment. Bet someone lopping off his hand stung. I knew there was a stupid grin on my face.
I looked up to see Kurt run his thumb under his chin and point to his mouth. I worked harder on trying to dislodge the smile. Sam was doing a great job of keeping Detective Keller’s attention off me.
“Where and when was the hand discovered?” Sam asked.
“I can’t discuss the case in front of Agent Conway, she’s a suspect.”
Sam smiled. It wasn’t pleasant. “When was the hand discovered and when was it removed from the body? If Agent Conway is a suspect then she should be allowed the opportunity to refute the claims and provide an alibi.”

Databyte was a story in which the terror just kept coming;

“We’re coming,” I said.
“No, Chicky Babe, you’re not. Why would someone take my gun and leave my phone?”
“So you’d call ... so I’d use your phone to track you.”
Because someone wants me and with Delta around that’s not going to happen. they also know I’d walk over hot coals to find my team. It’s mutual. Our phones can send GPS coordinates to each other at the touch of an icon. It’s an emergency thing. I didn’t have my phone though.
“Sam, give me your coordinates.”
I pointed at Iain’s laptop. “Got Google earth on that?”
He nodded and fired up the machine.
“Stay where you are,” Sam warned.
“That’s not going to happen. I’m coming for you. We also gotta find Kurt and Lee.”
“Coordinates, Sam, read them to me. We don’t need our own software. I think we can get close enough with Google Earth.”
Sam read the numbers out from his phone and Iain typed them into the laptop. “I’ll see if there is a way out of this cruddy room,” Sam said.”

Excerpt From: Cat Connor. “Databyte.” iBooks. 

Sometimes doors need breaching and Sam is Delta's breacher ...

“Gun,” I said. We leaped aside. Gunfire erupted, but bullets failed to penetrate the solid wooden door. “Handgun, not a big hole gun. Nine mil maybe,” I muttered. “Or the door has a steel core?”
“We passed through fire doors at the beginning of this corridor. Looked like they separated the offices from the main factory area,” Sam said, his voice low. “Think this door is just solid old wood.”
He could be right. Old factory. Fewer fire codes back in the day and probably no need for more fire doors.
Sam pumped the shotgun. We were about to find out if the door had a steel core or not.
Breaching rounds.
Not a time for being subtle.
He stepped up. I covered my ears and turned away.
“Knock knock!” Sam hollered as he fired two rounds at the hinges of the door and then one at the lock. The smell of gunpowder filled the air as wood splintered. Sam gave the door a kick. It fell inward. Crashing to the ground. Kurt and Lee were first across the smashed-up door. In the corner of the room, huddled under a blanket, was a human shape.
“Show me your hands.”

They meet such nice people;

“A moment later Sam and Lee entered the room. Voices rose and sank from within the room, too muffled for me to make out words.
He and Lee came out walking a handcuffed male between them.
“Who are you?” I called from my position because Kurt wouldn’t let me go closer.
“None of your business, bitch.”
“A smile settled on my lips. I knew who he was. He was the man from the photos I saw when we rescued Anastazia.
“Keith Blackwell, pervert, pedophile, human trafficker, and general asshole. What a resumé.”
Blackwall spat in my direction.
Sam’s elbow tapped the side of Blackwell’s head. “No spitting at the boss, dickwad.”

Excerpt From: Cat Connor. “Eraserbyte.” iBooks.

In Psychobyte Sam and Ellie met Carmine,

Sam stepped up.
“Carmine, Supervisory Special Agent Conway will do what she can for you. We need assurance that you won’t associate with losers anymore and that you’ll tell Fairfax PD everything you know.”
Carmine looked up at Sam and nodded. “If they come after me, my sisters and mom?”
“Not on our watch, boy. The FBI has some skill when it comes to protection. Talk to PD. Tell them everything.” Sam pressed his business card into Carmine’s hand. “Anything you need, you call me. Day or night.”
“Why do you care?”
I managed half a smile. Sam did a better job, his lips curled upward and revealed teeth. I flicked my eyes at Sam, he nodded.
“Because, Carmine, we’ve been doing this a lot of years and we’re not too shabby at judging people. You aren’t a bad kid. You did a stupid thing but you’re not bad.” Sam’s large hand dropped onto the young man’s shoulder. “You want out, we can help.”
I leaned across the table. “My opinion … you deserve a second chance and I will try to make that happen. Don’t fuck it up.”

Excerpt From: “psychobyte.epub.” iBooks.

He might've known Ellie quite well:

“Sam joined in. “That’s an interesting shade of green you have happening there, Chicky Babe.” He circled his finger in the air toward my face.
“Owen,” I said.
A throaty chuckle came from Lee. “Still bathing in Opium?”
“Smells worse on her than on anyone else I’ve come across,” Sam said.
He wasn’t wrong. “It mixes with the evil in her soul and becomes a weapon of mass destruction.” I rested against Lee’s desk. A sigh escaped before I could stop it alerting Sam and Lee to another issue.
“You didn’t come in here to see us, did you?” Lee said.
“Not entirely. I’m on my way to talk to Claude. The Evil Queen wants us to hand over Harley’s case to Delta B.”
“And we are?”
My left hand dropped as my fingers crossed. “Yep. I can’t take a trafficking case that involves a family member.”
Lee grinned at me. “This is a whole new side of you, Chicky. Kurt will love it.”
“Let’s not get too giggly too quick,” Sam said, throwing a look of incredulity at me. “This is completely out of character.”
“It’s sensible,” I countered.
Sam snorted. “I rest my case.”

And even had some poetry in his soul;

“Ah, he’s a perv.” A perv with my brother-in-law’s phone. “How’d he get the drone and the phone?”
“Sounds like a question for Dr. Seuss,” Sam said with a deep throaty chuckle. “I do not like the man with the drone. I do not like his stolen phone. I do not like his stinky cologne. I am Sam, I have a plan, to make the man atone.”
I high-fived Sam. “All right Sam with a plan, where’d Nathan get the phone and the drone?”

He always managed to be on Ellie's wavelength:

“I managed another few bites of the candy bar before anyone spoke to me.
“Chicky Babe – Supernatural?” Sam said as the dime dropped through a few layers in his brain.
Play it cool, Ellie.
“Squirrel and Moose,” Sam said with a beaming grin. “I see where you got it, suits them.”
And right there I knew the decision was made. They’d be Squirrel and Moose from now on. Sam knew it too. “Nickname achievement unlocked,” I muttered, leaning back in my chair and closing my eyes for a second as I savored the last of the bar.
“Lemme guess … Moose is the tall one?” Sam said.
I opened an eye and looked at him. “What do you think?” Both eyes sprang open. I balled up the wrapper and threw it at the trash can by the door. “Score,” I said as it dropped into the can.
His deep throaty laugh was infectious: I had to rein in my laughter before the arrival of Moose and Squirrel. I needed to give up on ever having a normal brain or one that didn’t associate life with TV or music. Maybe everyone did it?”

Until ...

The ladder moved under my feet as I climbed out into the light. Lee caught up with me. We stood in a small empty room. Windows on two sides let in plenty of light.
“This is weird,” he mumbled, turning on the spot.
“Yeah.” I dropped my pack, unzipped it and stowed the flashlight. Leaving my pack on the floor, I moved toward the only door. No lock on the inside. I twisted the handle and pulled.
Our eyes grazed each other as the door opened. He stepped past me into the doorway. His involuntary exclamation caught me off guard.
“Step aside,” I said. “You make a better door than a window.”
Lee moved, two steps to the right but no further, allowing me viewing space. Sam sat in a large armchair. His feet planted on the floor. Hands on his knees. Elbows on the armrests. His half-closed eyes stared straight ahead. I’d never seen his face blank before.
Before I realized it, I’d taken a photo of him. I blinked, looked at the phone in my hand and the image on it. Terror erupted within me. “Sam!”
He didn’t reply. No acknowledgment. His expression frozen.

Excerpt From: Cat Connor. “Metabyte.” iBooks.

There are so many more wonderful moments with Sam in the first 9 Byte novels.

Which is your favorite Sam moment?
There is an entire book missing from this trail of Sam related excerpts.

I miss him.

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