“My kingdom for a magazine.” Maya moaned, sitting sidways in her seat. “I never remebered how boring flights could be without something to READ.”
“Leo got me ‘Calvin and Hobbes’.” Ray held up his tablet triumphantly. “Want me to airdrop it to you?”
“I’m desperate enough to need it.” Maya said, pulling out her tablet.
“Hey.” Alex pulled herself out of cleaning her weapon, the guts of her rifle littering the table in front of her. “Never knock Calvin and Hobbes. It’s a classic.”
“I’ve honestly never read it.” Maya shrugged, accepting the download from Ray.
“You’ve never read ‘Calvin and Hobbes’?” Ray and Alex said in unison. Ray almost dropped his tablet in suprise. There was a manacing, metalic click from Alex’s half assembled gun.
“I just never got into it!” Maya held her tablet up to her face, hiding all but her eyes from their judgement.
“I tried to tell you how awesome it was.” Leo said, her fingers not sitting still. She was starting to take over the small table with her devices. “But you never wanted to listen to me did you?”
“I guess I’ll have to find out, now, won’t I?”
“With no other options?” Leo stopped momentarily to smirk at Maya. Maya looked away, feeling the blood spring to her cheeks.
“I just need something to read is all.” Maya pulled her legs up underneath her and opened the file.
She tried to read, maybe for half an hour or so. But she didn’t get some of it. There were too many breas in reality that made her confused. There were funny bits that made her smirk, but she wasn’t doubling over with laughter like Ray sometimes would.
There he went again, guffawing at the comic that wasn’t reaching Maya.
“Which one now?” Leo smiled at him, pausing her work again.
“It’s the one with the snowmen.” Ray was wiping his eyes, struggling for breath. “Calvin’s dad has NO idea what’s happening.”
“So,” Maya pinched the bridge of her nose. “The really exagerated stuff is all happening in the little boys head?”
“Yeah.” Leo nodded. “That’s the whole point. It’s all the adventures that Calvin has in his imagination, but then you see the outside perspective from his adult figures and they don’t get it.”
“It’s kind of a satiracle examination of childhood and how much bigger it is in our heads and how much we loose touch with it when we grow up.” Ray said setting back in with his tablet and a bottle of water.
“Oh.” Maya smiled. “I guess I handn’t seen that when I was reading it. It’s actually a lot funnier, now. And a little sad. His parents don’t get him because they’ve been adults for too long.”
“Yep.” Ray nodded.
“That’s a really sad way of looking at the series.” Alex’s eye brows were furrowing wtih sadness, and it made Maya a little mad to see her sad about something. “But it makes sense. We can’t be kids forever, but that doesn’t mean we can’t explore the world with a sense of wonder.”
Maya stared at Alex, who’s eyebrows stayed furrowed as she went right back to putting together her rifle. Maya wondered what memories that statement had triggered, if it had triggered any. If there was any more things in her head that she needed to work out.
Maya watched as Alex’s eyes became slightly unfocued, her hands still working on cleaning the small slide in them, polishing and oiling. Was she remembering something, or just deep in thought?
It wasn’t like in the movies or tv, when Alex got a memory back. She didn’t have this look on her face like she’d seen a ghost and there wasn’t a gasp like she was resurfacing from water.
She would just get a little unfocused for a minute and then come back. Maybe Maya should keep track of her pupils…
Maya was brought out of her own reverie by the slamming of Leo’s laptop lid. She brought up her hands in two fists above her head, in victory.
“I’m done! Software made!” Leo looked at her watch and slumped back in her seat. “And we have another six hours on this flight. I’m gonna sleep.” She got up and went to the couch a little further up the cabin.
Maya looked down at the time and sighed.
“It’s three in the morning in Nice, but we haven’t swapped over to french time yet. I think it’s about 7am in Seattle.”
“Is that why I feel like run over dog crap? My clock is all messed up.” Ray put his head in his hands. “Alex! Clean up your equipment! I need to sleep!”
“Aaaaaaargh.” Leo sounded too much like Sam. Might be a good thing that Leo was getting some time away from him. Probably shouldn’t say that out loud.
Leo and Alex took the couches, laid out flat with small blankets always in their cases, while Ray and Maya took the booths. Ray leant back in his chair and tried to sleep, but the small plane kept getting buffeted by turbulence.
He knew that logically, the plane wouldn't go down, but it still made him nervous to be sitting in it. The pilot had to be good to squeak this far past the IJS scanners, too.
That was the problem. The "resistance" was sitting on the edge of the volcano, literally camping on the edge of the worst possible scenario. What the hell was going on there?
There was something elese happening and Ray had a feeling the IJS and Piwitti knew exactly where the Resistance was, but they weren't doing anything about it. Either they didn't think that the Resistance was a threat or there was a tactical reason they let the Resistance continue.
Like they were biding their time.
The thought struck him light a bolt of lightning. Like a missle striking a wall and it all came tumbling down in his mind.
Why it had been so easy for them to get the information they needed, to get out of Seattle and Russia and Anchorage.
Why the Resistance could sit in the middle of the French Riviera with nothing but camo nets and sparse tress to sheild them and IJS wouldn't do anything.
Why Piwitti was so forth coming with information and took David with her everywhere. Why she killed Amity for seemingly no reason.
"ALEX!" he bellowed. "Alex wake up!"
"What?!" Alex sat up with a snort, her blanket falling off her and the couch. "What the hell? Are we under attack?"
"No! Worse!" Ray leapt up and grabbed his sister by her shoulders. "We are being lead right into the belly of the beast! Piwitti knows that we are coming she's counting on it!"
"Why the hell are you yelling?" Maya came over rubbing her eyes. Leo was sitting up, too, pulling the headphones out of her ears.
"What's up? Are we going down? Did the IJS send a chopper or something?"
"You know it was too easy to get out of Russia. That it was too easy to get away from the Duchess. That it was too easy to get out of that place in Seatlle."
"Too easy my ass," Maya scowled. "I did that alone and it was fucking HARD."
"But you did it one your own. Well, with Sam, as much help as he was."
"I'm pretty sure he did all the work."
"From a distance," Maya pointed at her sister. "With a sniper rifle."
"Still did most of the work." Maya said.
"It was stll too easy." Ray shook his head. "You broke three people out of a government facility with two people. That shouldn't be possible."
"But we did it." Maya said, pushing hard a subject that wasn't relevant.
"Because she wanted you to!" Ray said. "Didn't she spill her guts during that Seattle thing? Didn't she tell you enough for us to understand that we needed to get to New York? That she was going to try and start up IJS? But what does she need for that most? Us. Mostly Alex and Sam. But Leo, a hacker who has regressed into criminal activity, her sister who orchestrates most of the raids for weaponry, and me. A kid who turned to making pyrotechnics and small peices of computer hardware as a form of self-soothing and therapy."
"So she needs us to go to New York to stop her and try to rescue David?" Alex was catching on faster than the other two, who apparently weren't used to being woken up and forced to use their brain right away. Military training in action.
"Exactly," Ray said, "Every move she's made is pushing us toward there. Toward New York. To be shown off like prize dogs."
"More like poster children, like examples of how her program can help all the wayward souls. How her program wasn't finished and she needs more time to make it right. To fix us all."
"So what do you propose we do?" Alex was looking wary, giving Ray a look that made him feel like his brain was being scanned.
"Turn the plane around." Ray said. "Or redirect it or something. We can't go to New York. She could very well be waiting for us on the tarmak."
"I can't abandon David," Alex started to protest, but Leo was already headed toward the cockpit doors.
She hammered on the metal.
"Wakey wakey! Change of plans!"
"Leo! No!" Alex leapt to her feet, as if she was going to tackle but the door opened.
"We need to land somewhere else, New York isn't safe." Leo said.
"Stop! We have to save him!" Alex was shouting.
"We have to land in New York. I can't change the itinerary."
"If it's a fuel thing, we can land anywhere else, but we have to not land where you were planning on landing."
"It's perfectly safe," the pilot had both his palms facing Leo, as if he could stop her worries with his bar hands. "We have boots on the ground who feed false registration of the plan to the towers. We go in as a different plane every time and our departure city is never Nice. It'll be fine."
"You don't understand," Leo said. "We have reason to beleive that's all corrupted. You could very well have a mole in your organisation."
"No possible." The pilot shook his head, not flinching from his resolve. "The person on the inside is my cousin, he wouldn't dare betray the Resistance."
"Oh my GOD. Is this some kind of BAD scifi novel?" Leo said. "It's easy to betray someone or something you love, all it takes is the right price!"
Alex was shouting, Ray holding her back. The pilot looked nervously from her to Leo, brows furrowed as he considered his options.
"Listen, I think you have some things to figure out. We have 4 hours to think of a contingency plan. You guys sort it out and I'm gonna go back in here and keep enjoying my coffee to get me through this long flight. Make yourselves some and stay out of my hair. I've got a plane to not crash."
He turned around and went back in the the cockpit, slamming it shut with a very final click. Leo turned away from the door, her face red and her chest heaving.
"I can't beleive I didn't see it before!"
"I think it's just because we were so releived we hadn't been caught and had managed to break free," Ray shook his head. "I think we wanted it to be true, so we didn't question it any further."
"I'm making coffee. I can't keep up with this." Maya shook her head and went to the small on board kitchen.