Chapter 39

The rest of their passage through St. Petersburg was eerily quiet, the dark streets almost deserted by the general populous. The driver had transferred assignments with the driver who had been tasked with picking them up in the first place. He brought them to Theodor’s safe house and the piled out, thanking him.

Maya pulled out her phone as she received a phone call from Theodor, who gave them the key code to the safe house. They climbed to the top floor, legs exhausted from flying and panic and running.

They opened the door with the same code and stepped into the top floor abode. It wasn’t so shabby, not crazy chic, James Bond super-villian, but it was pretty nice. There was no where close to enough beds, but couches aplenty. Ray and Sam insisted on taking the couches, stating the girls needed to take the beds or their man hood would be in question.

Dinner was out of the question, none of them had any energy to get out of there and get something to eat.

Leo passed out with Maya in her bed until her growling stomach woke her at a around two in the morning. She was so jet lagged, all she wanted was eggs and bacon. It was freezing in the back bed room, so she went in search of coffee and the thermostat.

Ray was awake and sitting on the couch, channel surfing. He stopped on a news report displaying their names and faces. The broadcast was all in Russian and Sam was the only one who spoke it. Leo couldn’t tell if what they were saying was good or bad.

“Hey, Ray,” She said, trying not to startle the young man.

“Hey, Leo,” He said. He didn’t turn around. “Couldn’t sleep?”

“Woke up like it was nine in the morning and time for breakfast.”

“It’s the next day. We all slept a whole day.”

“How?”

“Stress.” He shrugged. “Paired with the jet lag and sleep depravation from the last couple of days.”

She asked around the end of the couch and sat down next to him, stealing his blanket to drape over her legs.

“I don’t suppose someone went out to get groceries or coffee?” Ray only shook his head. 

Leo pulled out her phone and began surfing the internet. Twitter was mixed on their behalf; some calling them national heroes, some calling them innocent, some crying for their execution. It was so hard to tell who would come down on what side, despite the polarized nature of the political climate surrounding the UN and the new world order.

Tumblr was a different story entirely. The majority of the people there were crying for them to drop the charges. It appeared that some enterprising stalkers had dug up some dirt on the five of them. Oh shit, they were calling them the Faux Five, because of the belief that the accusations were false. 

It was all Leo could do not to start posting on each feed she saw that she was Leo and that they were innocent and all the facts they had about them were true and none of them would ever dream of killing someone, despite the past with the weapons trafficking. 

She didn’t. She switched to the next app on her phone.

There were unhelpful memes on Facebook. Nothing but repeat blog posts on Pinterest. Reddit was a mixed bag as well. 

She switched tactics, digging through news sites instead. Ray stirred next to her.

“I spotted a take out menu from a 24 hour burger joint. I think they do coffee, too. I’ll get us some delivery.” Leo nodded and let Ray make the phone call.

The news sites were their own biased theatre of talking heads, as usual. Some saying they should be hung for their crimes, some saying the IJS needed to be more forward with their suspect list so that an alternate suspect could be found. Some were calling for the Faux Five to come home and face their charges, if they were innocent, they would be found as such.

Leo scoffed. We’re not as innocent as you think, she thought, some of us have done some less than legal things. And the IJS is going to use every ounce of evidence to that effect to pin this on us.

Leo rubbed her eyes and kept scrolling. Something caught her eye, about Russia.

There they were, their grand escape from the terminal and the car peeling away, all captured from about a dozen smart phone cameras. There was a report from TSA that three of their agents had been taken down by Alex, who had just dropped all three of them without much thought. 

Leo shook her head and kept reading the Russia related news. There was the blockade by the Russian Army, they were giving IJS hell for coming onto sovereign territory, always the nationalist nation. And the president of Russia, who was still trying to get people to call him the Tzar, was decrying the UN. There was a whole interview, conduction yesterday afternoon, on the subject. She clicked on the video and sat back.

“President Putin,” the anchor dubbed. “Has long been in opposition to the internationalization of the UN taking control of most of the world’s government. Now, he’s found a new poster boy, or rather poster girl.”

“Alex Harwell and her friends are innocent,” His interpreter had been carefully dubbed over his thick Russian. “The UN is using them as scape goats for their own mistakes surrounding the shut down of the Child Soldiers Division of the IJS.”

“Though Putin’s arguments have nationalists chomping at the bit to get the UN out of the former US.” The news anchor was back. “Experts say that the President of Russia has not presented any worth while evidence to support his claims the Faux Five are not to be blamed for the bloody murder of Governor Appleby.”

“I am in full support of them escaping their oppression under the UN.” Putin was back on screen. “They will have a safe haven in Russia if they so choose. As far as I’m concerned, they may stay as long as they like, while their lawyers work to prove their innocence.”

The video ended and Leo sighed. She’d forgotten about lawyers. As far as she knew, Maya didn’t have any legal contacts. That had been a large oversight on their part, considering their line of work.

She got up and snagged her laptop out of her backpack. That was another thing, they had money to replace the clothes they had lost, but it was going to be hard getting out of the safe house without being recognized, even with their hair color being changed.

She sat back down on the couch, next to Ray who had finally finished ordering. Maya and the others had been roused by Ray taking their orders. They rubbed eyes and stared blearily at the TV. Leo picked up the remote and got English captions on and muted the rest of the TV. They read the subtitles, as the Russian talking heads debated if keeping the fugitives in Russia was tactically sane or not. Definitely not, Leo thought, and pulled up the file on Alex’s brainwashing.

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