They rush me across the city and I’m thrown into a helicopter. My captors tell me nothing, but I hear them mention Fort Devens over the radio. Within minutes we set down in the midst of a large facility. All around the perimeter, as far as I can see, are ten foot tall fences covered in razor wire.
This is not somewhere people are allowed to come and go as they please. There only appears to be a few buildings on the property. Most of the land is clear and covered with grass. They pull me out of the chopper and direct me inside the larger building on the property.
After stopping for a short moment at a desk immediately inside the doors, they shove me through a gate, which closes roughly behind me. They push me into a room and throw an orange jumpsuit in my arms.
“Change!” the tall, imposing man in a military uniform directs me. I stare at him, expecting him to leave and allow me the privacy common decency would call for. “Now!” he screams.
The anger in his voice startles me and I move quickly, hoping not to further anger him. I have no clue what’s going on. I strip down to my underwear and begin pulling on the jumpsuit.
“Skivvies too,” he yells, holding out his hand. I pull off my underwear and hand them to him. I have never been so humiliated. I am completely nude in front of this man as he yells at me. I shiver, partially from being cold, but mostly due to the complete and utter terror. I haven’t even reached AoA yet. This shouldn’t be happening.
“Dress!” the man yells at me again. I quickly work to pull the jumpsuit up and trip on the fabric several times due to my inability to think straight. I finally succeed and he pushes me into the next room.
Here they bring out shackles, binding my arms and legs together. I am unable to stand up straight. The position these bindings put me in becomes uncomfortable quickly. Unfortunately, this is the least of my worries.
They take me to a nearby elevator, which goes down a level and opens into a very large facility that stretches on far below. That’s why there wasn’t much to be seen above. It’s all underground. I start to wonder if I’ll ever see the light of day again.
I hear people screaming for freedom. There must be over a hundred people down here. I look down over the side rail, see how deep this room goes and adjust my estimate. There are more than a thousand cells reaching off into the distance. Way more. Each one seems to be filled.
My captors escort me to a room at the end of the walkway, shove me in and slam the door shut. They’ve barely spoken three sentences to me since I arrived and now I’m locked inside this three by three cell, no clue where I am, why I’m here, what they have planned for me, or how I’m going to get out of it.
It’s easy to lose track of time down here. Up above I have a good idea of what time of day and how much time has passed by seeing where the sun is in the sky, or by using the clock built into my GPS. Down here, there’s nothing but artificial light. That, added with the fact that there’s nothing in this cell to entertain me, means time passes very slowly.
I sit on the floor and try to find ways to while away the hours. I spend a few minutes thinking of ways to get out. Everything immediately appears hopeless.
I’ve never been a really big fan of sitting still, but in this room there are very few other options. I try pacing for a few minutes, but the size of the room means I’m only capable of making small circles. The lack of food, water, and rest means this does little more than get me dizzy. I sit back down.
I lay down, figuring I might as well try to get some sleep. Sleep doesn’t come.
The pain in my leg is excruciating now, the stitches in my side are also opened. There were no attempts to patch me up so the blood is already seeping through the leg and side of my jumpsuit. None of this makes any sense to me. Even if they are planning on executing me, there are certain rights given to prisoners, aren’t there?
Unless, I suppose, you’re talking about a prisoner of war. That’s what I am, isn’t it? I’m a POW for a war I didn’t even want to be a part of. Is that what all these people down here are? Are all these prisoners here because they were members of the rebellion? Is that all it takes to be brought to this underground concentration camp? I guess that’s a good way to keep the rebellion a secret.
The door slams open and a guard looks down at me.
“Your lawyer’s here to see you.” My lawyer? I guess The Geek must have been able to pull some strings. I stand slowly. It’s difficult to move in these shackles.
I’m escorted back down the walkway to the elevator. Once topside again, I’m led into a small grey room. After they have seated me and attached my chains to a metal hoop in the floor, the guard leaves and the door on the other side of the room opens. I instantly recognize the man who enters.
He doesn’t look happy.
“Mr. Rhodes,” he begins.
“Alvin! Boy, am I glad to see you!”
“I wish I could say the same.”
“How’d you get here? Are you going to get me out?”
“I’m not here to help you, Mr. Rhodes.”
“What?” I ask, surprised. “Then why are you here?”
“I’m here to discuss my disappointment in your services. I believe we had a contract in place, one which you failed to fulfill.”
“You came all the way out here to give me a performance review?”
“You were supposed to take 15 days to complete your mission. By my count, you’re quite a bit under that. Six days under.”
“Yeah, we made it pretty quick. I’m confused. Are you pissed, or happy, or what?”
“I’m very, very unhappy. We have a lot riding on the plan that you were going to take another week before ending our business.”
“I don’t understand. I got here early. In fact, since I’ve still got a couple days to deliver the package, I don’t think you have any reason to be angry yet. Who knows, I could still get it there, somehow.”
“The package is irrelevant. You were supposed to take the full fifteen days, no more, no less.”
“Fine, I’ll get it there on time. You happy? I’ll do everything in my power to get out of this prison, which I’m sure can’t be too hard to break out of, seeing as it’s some sort of secret POW camp hiding underground–”
“Forget about the package, Mr. Rhodes.”
“I’m not sure I really want you as my lawyer.”
“I’m not your lawyer, Cyrus. The crimes you are being convicted of won’t warrant you a trial. You’ll be executed within the week. You don’t even have the right to meet with an attorney. I’m only here due to my particular special circumstances.”
“Well then, what do you want?”
“I’m here to offer you a chance at redemption. To let you know there is an opportunity, albeit very slim, for you to save yourself from execution.”
“I’m listening. I mean, if this is about not getting the package there on time, I’m sure The Geek would be willing to refund a portion of your pay–”
“Stop talking about the damned package already!” He yells. His face is bright red.
“Okay, fine, what do you want from me?”
“The same thing I wanted from you since the beginning. A diversion.”
“The package you were delivering, it was to serve as a diversion. We needed the nation’s forces to be entirely focused on you in order to ensure our plans could be fulfilled.”
“And what are those?”
“Wait. I’m locked away for the rest of my incredibly short life because you wanted a diversion?”
“I thought you guys were supposed to be the good guys!” I’m loud now. I hear the guard appear at the doorway. Alvin waves him away and attempts to collect himself.
“I apologize for your current situation. If things had gone according to plan, we would have taken over the government soon after your capture and been able to move forward with your release. As it is, our intentions will have to be delayed.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means I’m not sure I can do anything for you. However, there is a possibility you can do something to help yourself. We are still in need of a diversion. If you can somehow come up with something large enough to capture the attention of the entire nation, we might be able to work out a deal for your survival.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m kinda stuck down here.”
“I am aware of that dilemma. However, if you wish to live, you will have to come up with a way to circumvent that particular downfall.”
“And if I’m not able to?”
“Then, I’m afraid you will be executed within the week, on live television.”
“I was, unfortunately, unable to even gather an audience with Ms. Gardner. Her prison is much more heavily secured than this one.”
“But what’s going to happen to her?”
“She will be executed at your side. It should be quite the viewing experience.”
“Which would be a large diversion, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes, Mr. Rhodes. You may find it interesting to note that your execution will occur in six days.”
“The day I was supposed to deliver the package.”
“So, you’re going to use me, whether or not I get to live after the fact.”
“Your execution appears to be unavoidable. I see no reason to not use that to our benefit.”
“Wait, you have the ability to set our execution date?” I scream in confusion.
“Oh yes, I have an ear with many of the highest officials in our government.”
“Then couldn’t you just have us released? At least until the rebels take over?”
“With the amount of attention you’ve created, that would be very difficult.”
“But not impossible.”
“Nothing is impossible, Mr. Rhodes.”
“But you’re still not going to do it, are you?”
“I’m sorry. It would not serve the needs of the rebellion to have you set free quite yet.”
“So, you’re cool with letting us die just so you can move forward with your stupid revolution. What about Eve? Doesn’t all she’s done mean anything?”
“I admit her death will be a tragedy, but I can’t overlook how many lives will be saved with the death of only two.”
“Mr. Rhodes, I apologize, but I do believe our time is up. If there’s one parting thought I can leave you with, it’s that I suggest you pool together whatever resources you may still have at your disposal quickly. It won’t be easy to orchestrate a diversion as large as necessary, especially within this prison. If you are unable to pull anything together, I fear this will be our last meeting.” He gets up and walks toward the door.
“You’re supposed to be the good guys!” I yell after him. The guard comes in and pulls me out of the room while I continue to scream insults at Alvin. I continue screaming long after they have locked me in my cell.
Go to Chapter Thirty-Six