Chapter 19

Alex heard the commotion from out side. The smashing of glass and gun fire. She was sure they were about to come in and kill her. She took a deep breath, looking around the room for something to use as a weapon. Plastic spoon for her mandarin oranges. That was all. And her hands were still cuffed. 

She cursed herself for not being the type of girl who used bobby pins. That's what they used in the movies to pick locks, wasn't it! How did one pick a lock, anyway?

The keypad on the other side of the door began to beep. Crap. Here they came. She looked around frantically, but the door knob was already turning.

“Alex!” It was Maya, holding a disproportionately sized weapon to her tiny form. “Leo! Get her out, we’ll cover you!”

Leo came in, also toting a large weapon and pulling lock picks from her pocket. Sam, Maya, and Ray followed, firing loud weapons into the hallway. 

“Hey, friend.” She said, attaching the lock. 

“Leo.” Alex felt herself out of breath. Tears of relief flooding her eyes. “They had video of me in IJS, of me killing people, of people I don't…”

“Hush, now.” Leo was already done with both hands and had moved on to feet. “We can deal with that later. Right now, let's just get the hell outta dodge.” Alex nodded. 

Sam handed her a large handgun, .357 Desert Eagle. She checked the mag, and cocked it as Leo finished with the ankle shackles. 

“Why do they have Desert Eagles in a civilian zone?’ Alex asked, shakily. “Seems a little like over kill and like it shouldn't happen.”

“They're expecting a lot of resistance with our arrests.” Maya shouted over her shoulder. “Time to leave.”

Alex followed in a half daze, not knowing if she was actually helping clear rooms or not. Maya, Sam, and Leo acted like this was just another Tuesday and Ray was gently leading her through the halls, holding her left hand, her right hanging at her side, weighted by the desert eagle. They got out, Alex had no idea how. They got a car, somehow and the jets and peeled out of the parking lot. 

Alex sat in the back of the blacked out van, staring at the wall while Sam drove like a mad man. Leo was giving him instructions to ditch the van as soon as he could. She climbed into the back, sitting with the other three. 

“We’re gonna ditch the IJS as quickly as we can and head to an underground hide after we ditch the van.” She looked over at Alex. “You okay?”

“They said…” Alex was choking up again. “They said I had a service history.”

“I know.” Leo said. “You did. And they took those memories away because they said it would break you. That your injuries and the memories of your partner…”

“Partner?” Alex leant forward.  

“David.” Leo nodded. “I have a copy of your service records. I can get them.”

“You knew?” Alex hissed at Leo. “You knew they took 3 years of memories? And you never said anything?”

“I was sworn to secrecy.” Leo was shaking, rubbing where her cuffs had rubbed on her wrists. “By a government agency.”

“You sell weapons on the black market.” Alex shouted. “Since when do you care what the government thinks?! How dare you keep this from me?”

“Because you were broken!” Leo shouted. “You dove for cover when someone dropped a pen. You were cowering and shaking and broken! And they told us it would be worse if they wiped you and you remembered again. They told us you would loose your mind!”

“And you believed them?” Alex shouted back. 

“NOT FOR A SECOND!” Leo's eyes were filled with tears. “But I didn't have a FUCKING CHOICE!” She bent, her hands in her lap, sobbing. She stayed that way for several minutes, broken. 

“They threatened me with EVERYTHING.” She said finally. Wiping her eyes. ”They had records of everything I had ever done digitally, down to my first email address and the website I registered on to learn code when I was ten. I could have gone to jail and served four life sentences. They had photos of Maya, Sam, and I in Israel and in Russia. They had everything.”

“They let you free to keep you quiet?” Egan shook his head. “Why not lock you up?”

“Apparently it would raise more questions if I disappeared. You needed me to be there when you woke up from the wipe.”

“So why did they tell me this, now? Why would they take me in for questioning and reveal that I’m a wounded veteran? And why keep it a secret until know?”

“All I know is, you called me from the hospital during your recovery, perfectly sane.” Leo pulled a Kleenex from her pocket. Who knows where she had those stashed. “You were perfectly coherent at the time. Then we get a call two days later, your parents get flown to Langley and you have PTSD, mixed with schizophrenia and dissociative personality. They said you’d be coming home, asleep, with your memory of your time at IJS CSD erased for your own health.” 

“And you let them because they knew about your weapons trafficking.”

“Yes.”

“Why the hell did you start that?”

“Because we had no money.” Alex said. 

“And Mom and Dad left.” Maya said. “And we needed money. And it was the best way to go.”

Alex nodded and took a shaking breath. 

“I don't believe any of this.” She said. “It's too much. But we need to get out from under the IJS’s thumb. Let's stick together.”

Zoe FleischerComment