Chapter 25

It was hours later and Alex was napping on the couch when she was shaken awake by Leo.

“Phone.” Leo said. “Gimme.”

“For what?” Alex dug her new encrypted phone our of her pocket.

“I need to give you your service records.” Alex nodded. “And there’s a bunch of video files that you’re gonna want to see. And we have no printer. And it’s over 12gb of data.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah.” Leo took the phone and went back to Herman. “They kind of don’t throw anything away. They save every scrap of information they can.”

Leo was back a few minutes later with the phone open to the first file. 

“All done.” She grinned. “Have fun.”

Alex began to read, flipping through the transcripts of her first interview with the recruiters, to her psychoanalysis after basic, to her reports post special operations. There were emails she’d sent to Leo, and Parker, and Ray. Most of them censored. Apparently Leo hadn’t cracked the censorship algorithms yet. Or maybe she hadn’t bothered.

She watched the videos of her interviews, looking at a three years younger version of her self, the version of her she’d remembered before going to “sleep” and waking up. She watched herself talk about her love of sports and of running. Talking about the training, watching her face harden and soften as she talked about different things.

She didn’t like David during spec ops training? But then they’d found some common ground? And they were good buddies?

She watched the video of David’s death and felt…

Nothing.

She didn’t remember any of it, nothing triggered any montage style flashbacks. Nothing. She was sad that a young man had died and that she didn’t remember him, but she didn’t have any emotions attached to any memories.

She closed the phone and flopped back onto the couch, rubbing her eyes. It was past two in the morning. Time to get some sleep. She toddled off to her bedroom and curled up into dusty sheets.

But she couldn’t sleep. She flopped back and forth in bed, sneezing a few times as her movements stirred up dust. The thoughts of David wouldn't stay out of her head. There had been so little in her file about David, presumably they would be looked at side by side because of their partnership. So the file wasn't complete without David's side. The IJS had probably done this on purpose, she supposed, so if you didn't know who the other's partner was before you stole the files, then you got only half of the information.

Don't go into Leo and Sam's room, she thought to herself, those two were way too cuddly. She didn't need to walk in on something she didn't want to see. Ever.

She snagged her phone once again, making note of where Leo had stored the file, so she could find it again, and texted Leo.

"Looks like I'm going to need David's file, too." Alex put her phone down and was shocked that Leo answered only a minute or two later. She was wide awake.

Leo- "I kind of didn't give it to you on purpose…"

Alex- "Why?"

Leo- "Becuase I didn't want it to tigger something… traumatic."

Alex- "That's the IJS talking. Remember; all that crap was a lie."

Leo- "I know. I know. Okay. I transferred all that data from Herman to my tablet. I'll send the file to your phone."

Alex- "What are you doing up? I was sure you wouldn't be up this late."

Leo- "Ugh… Sam's sleep apnea could keep a bear out of hibernation."

Alex- "Hahaha! You picked him. That's a you problem, friend."

There was a pause in the conversation and a file drop request came in from Leo's tablet. Alex accepted and downloaded it, storing in the same place as her own file. Leo came back with another text message.

Leo- "I know you were really mad at me earlier. And I know it will take years to rebuild that trust. But I really did it because I cared about you and I cared about the people I love. Is there any way we can start forgiving?"

Alex's heart dropped. Of course she wanted to leap into forgiveness mode and get back to her and Leo's weird friedship. There was this wall, though, when she even looked at the text messages she was currently sending to Leo. Leo had lied to her. For weeks. All because she wanted to keep her criminal life a secret. And it had cost Alex her memories. Even if she had beleived the IJS story and was lying that she hadn't, that was a lot of lies.

But she and Alex had known each other since they were little, since before kindgergarden. That kind of freindship was hard to shake off, too.

Alex took a deep breath and typed.

Alex- "Dude. I love you. Lots. You're my best friend and I will always care for you. And maybe I'll be okay someday and I'll understand why you did what you did. But you let the IJS steal three years of my memories and I can't just get over it overnight. I'm gonna say that I accept your appology and I'm gonna start trying to understand. But it's gonna take time."

Leo- "I totally get that it won't take overnight. I'm just glad that you're even thinkning about forgiving me. We need to stick together, right now. And I don't ever want to take you for granted. Thanks for starting the road to forgivness. Let me know if you need more help from me, more information, I want to help heal what those bastards did to you. Get you your memories back."

Alex- "Thanks, friend. Try to get some sleep."

Leo- "You, too."

Alex rolled over onto her side, staring at the text messages. Getting her memories back was going to be crazy hard if they didn't know what the IJS had done to her brain to take away the memories. And those files were probably locked up in a vault under Nevada somewhere.

Or maybe…

Alex- "You still awake?"

Leo- "Yep. This kid is a snoring champion."

Alex- "Cool. Well… not cool. But whatevs. I need to know what kind of drug they used and the trials and all that. Maybe if we know what they did to me, we will know how to reverse it."

Leo- "Optimistic and proactive plan. I like it. Unfortuneately, I don't have any of those files. The stuff I have was a smash and grab when I was under high survelance. I'm happy I got what I did."

Alex- "Shoot. Do you know how to get your hands on the file? Preferably before we have to leave the country?"

Leo- "I do… but it's crazy risky with our current status. I could try to send in an underground contact, but no one is as good as I am."

Alex- "Obviously. Tell me what you need and I will help however I can."

The two were up late into the night, texting back and forth, Leo sending her diagrams and lists. The plan was taking shape in Alex's mind and it was facinating how it was just thinking up ways to bypass security, contingency plans, and backup contingency plans. Leo's knowledge of clandestine operations was terrifying as well.

Alex- "How do you know all this?"

Leo- "I've been doing this for three years. And I have a weakness for spy novels."

Zoe FleischerComment