Chapter 40

Maya: So I need some way to get to our warehouse. Do you have any cars or taxi services that I can use?

Roza: I do. Here’s the number for my friend Onisim. He should have some cars.

Maya: Thank you so much. I’ll be at that address at 4.

Roza: I will see you there. So, you’re part of the Faux Five, little Nicky?

Maya: Please, I’m just here at the same time, their little party made leaving the plan an absolute horror show.

Roza: Right. Sure. So did you do it?

Maya: No. And I’m not part of the Faux Five. That’s a stupid name, anyway.

Rosa: I’m sure you’re not the biggest fan of an internet name for your little band of renegade heroes.

Maya: I’m here alone, Rosa. Sonya and Rod are in France.

Roza: I’m sure. See you at 4.

Maya sighed and texted the taxi service, setting up a pick up. Then she dropped her phone on the couch next to her with a sigh. Ray handed her a hot cup of coffee and a burger. She smiled gratefully at hime and unwrapped the cheese dripping goodness. Ray sat down to his own veggie covered masterpiece and his cup of coffee. Leo was silently typing away at her computer, reading, and making snorts of derision. Alex was chewing her way through a burger and staring at the TV, not actually watching the the images on the screen.

“You okay, Alex?”

“Hmm?” Alex snapped out of it and swallowed quickly. “Yeah. I’m totally fine.”

“Okay.” Maya didn’t believe them. “Looks like we’re actually safe here. So that’s a nice little relief.”

“Mhmm…” Alex wasn’t engaged. Maya was a bit miffed. But that girl had a lot on her mind.

“There’s something bugging you.”

“It was all too fucking easy!” Alex shouted, throwing her hands in the air, almost throwing her food. “They shouldn’t have let us out of the country as easily as they did. We shouldn’t have made it here. It was all to EASY!”

“Maybe this is how it is.” Maya said. “Snowden got out really quickly. Maybe it’s not like it is in the movies. I think that something we are all learning very quickly. It’s not like it is in the movies.”

“That’s my point. It shouldn’t be like this.” Alex shook her head. “There should be some challenge to all of this. But the IJS is acting like an inept bunch of fucking clowns! They almost started a war getting to us. Leo put a trojan on their servers and they didn’t even notice. They let us get out of lock up. It’s like they WANTED us to run.” She stopped, her face going pale. 

The realization hit Maya, at the same time. Leo looked up from her computer, coming to the same realization.

“Fuck.” Said Ray.

“You don’t think they’re…” they fell silent. 

“It could be anything.” Leo whispered. “There could be microphones in our fucking coffee.” Sam gathered up all their trash and threw it out the window.

“What the fuck do we do now?” he whispered. Leo was typing at her computer.

“I’m running a virus check.” She said. “I’ve probably got some… FUCK!” she jumped almost a foot in the air as her computer began to ring with a video call request. They all froze, staring at the computer. Maya’s heart began hammering again, she was about to have another panic attack.

“Who has your number, other than us?” Maya asked her sister. 

“No one.” Leo’s eyes were wide with panic. “This is a blocked user, no number attached, and no one should know this user. I’m not even logged in to anything to have a video chat.”

“Fuck.” Alex swore. The computer was still ringing.

“Maybe they’ll just give up.” Leo put the computer on the coffee table and left back onto the couch, shaking. Maya got up and ran to the bathroom, her chest heaving. She was going to puke.

The hamburger came up into the outdated toilet. At  least it had been clean before she did her little number on the porcelain. She heaved until her stomach was empty, only bile coming up into the bowl. She sat down on the floor and shook, the tears welling and the sobs wracking her body.

This was not happening. There was no way someone knew who they were. There was no way this was happening. The IJS was just incompetent, right? There was no way they were that good and that savvy. She took a deep breath, trying to take control of her body. Get a hold of yourself.

She rinsed out her mouth and flushed the toilet, still trying to keep her heart under control. The simple act of simple things to keep herself calm should be enough, right? She splashed her face with cold water, and used a guest toothbrush to clean out her mouth. She breathed. It was going to be fine.

She went back out the living room and was met with an Alex hug. Something about the older girls strong arms were incredibly comforting. Maya breathed and let the girl comfort her.

“Panic is normal.” Alex said. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You have every reason to be afraid right now.” Maya nodded into her shoulder and did her best not to start crying.

The computer was still ringing. It had been almost ten minutes and the computer was still ringing.

“If you don’t fucking answer it, I will.” Sam pointed at the screen.

“If I do that.” Leo shook her head. “They could do ANYTHING to us. Get our location, plant more stuff on my computer, anything.”

“The ringing is so annoying.” Sam grabbed a pillow and shoved it over his ears.

“Here!” Maya walked up and punched the mute button on the keyboard. It did nothing. The computer kept ringing.

“You think I didn’t try that?” Leo rolled her eyes. “I did it the first time he started bitching. I even tried turning it down, but someone on the other end turned it all the way up, again. And I can’t find where they are in my system. I’m hella creeped out.”

“Please.” Ray sat with his head in his hands. “Please just answer it.”

“I can’t.” Leo said. 

“You have to.” Maya went to hold her sister’s hand. “They won’t stop. At least we will know who it is. It could be a friend.”

“I highly doubt that.” Leo said, and clicked the “answer” button. Everyone else got out of shot of the camera.

“Oh, thanks guys.” Leo shot at them and settled on the couch.

A window opened up and standing in a room, in front of some very impressive bookshelves, was a middle aged woman in an expensive lab-coat. She was smiling, and it creeped Maya the fuck out.

“Hello, Leo.” She said, probably thinking she sounded pleasant, actually sounding like a serial killer.

“Hello, random lab coat lady.” Leo said, using her talking to telemarketers voice. “How can I hang up on you, today?”

“I wouldn’t do that.” The lab coat lady said. “Not if you want to talk to this young man, again.” An IJS officer hauled a young man into frame.

“Parker.” Leo’s face had gone pale. Parker was shaking and pale as well.

“Hey, Leo.” He said through tear stained eyes.

“My name,” the lab coat lady said. “Is Dr. Linda Piwitti and this is how serious I am.”

She pulled out a gun and cocked it. She was going to hold it to Parker’s head and threaten him. For what? Who the hell was she?

She held the gun to Parker’s head and pulled the trigger. Blood flew and Parker’s body collapsed to the floor. Leo screamed, Maya screamed and felt the panic rise again. She collapsed to the floor, the tears flowing down her face.

Zoe FleischerComment