Chapter 21

The safe house was actually a warehouse in the south side of town. They parked the van about an hours walk away and snuck until they came to the safe house. Waiting outside was a tall blonde woman with a long braid and several large canvas grocery totes. 

“Hey, Dana!” Maya hugged the woman, who handed her keys and gestured to the bags.

“I got the things you asked for.” Dana nodded. “I hope it's enough food.”

“It will be perfect.” Maya nodded. The boys grabbed the grocery sacks and Maya unlocked. “Doesn't pay to be out in the open for too long. You should skedaddle.” Dana nodded and without a word to the others, disappeared into the maze of warehouses. 

The apartment was in the upper floor of the warehouse, sparsely furnished but with two bathrooms and a roomy kitchen. And a couch. Ray flopped down on it, Alex right next to him. She was clingy and it was annoying. But she had every right to be clingy. She'd just had a weird experience and her whole world had been flipped on her. 

“What time is it?” Leo was making small talk from the kitchen while lighting the stove. It appeared lunch was canned soup and toast. 

“Past two.” Sam said, sitting down on the floor and spreading out his weapon haul from the IJS building. He'd snagged quite the plethora of weaponry. Three handguns, two rifles, and an SMG. “We were in that place for several hours.”

Maya was fiddling with the thermostat, trying to get the heat to kick on in the freezing space. It finally did, the forced air heat rattling the whole place.

Food was warmed and consumed, water gulped. More water. And more water. Bladders emptied. Leo pulled out a computer from one of the satchels and began working on it as soon as she sat down with soup, plugging in phones pulled from the other sacks, plugging new and different SIM cards into those, then another, then the original. She threw them at people randomly once they were completed.

“They're not ’untraceable’,” she said. “But damn near close. As close I can get them. And everything is encrypted. It's also got a cute little piece of software that makes it so third callers get run through an elvish translation software.”

“Which elvish?” Ray asked. “Tolkien? World of Warcraft?”

“All of them.” Leo grinned. “Makes it so it's harder to translate with experts.”

“What about my service record?” Alex asked, putting down her second serving of soup. She wasn't letting the shock take away her appetite. Intelligent. 

“That I will have to pull from Herman.” Leo said. “Luckily, I have a back up in a locker in the mall.”

“It's like you guys were expecting this to happen someday.” Alex said into her lap.

“To us: yes.” Maya said, refilling Alex’s water glass. “But not to you guys. We don't know what's going on there. But all it does is add to our supplies. Our plan remains the same. First: we change appearance. Second: we get the hell out of a UN controlled territory.”

“Where is that?” Alex asked. “Almost everywhere is UN. And how? We don't even have a car.”

“I'm guessing you guys mean Israel.” Ray nodded to them. “One of the only non UN controlled territories other than Russia.”

“Actually, we mean Russia.” Leo said. “We have friends over there. And we don't really have many friends in Israel. We tried, but we haven't heard from those contacts since the bombs from Syria. We're assuming all of them are dead until otherwise.”

“Oh.” Alex was standing. “My. God. Is this your actual life? This is how you live every day? You've been lying to m, the whole time I've been awake. This is how you have to think? Every day?” She ran her fingers through 

“Alex.” Leo looked at her sternly. “This is how the whole underground thinks. The whole resistance. We just supply it, but it's been our life for three years. While you were getting tricked by the enemy, we've been tricking them. And now this is your life too. If you want to survive.”

Zoe FleischerComment