The Agora Files – Part II – Online Edition – Chapter Twenty-Four

I force myself to take it one step at a time.  Since I’m crawling through a small tunnel, step probably isn’t quite the right word.  I pull myself through the tunnel, reminding myself the faster I move, the sooner I’m out of this cramped space.  I hear Maxine and Eve speaking in hushed tones.  They’re already out of the tunnel and out of view.  I finally make my way to the end and fall out onto the floor, unnecessarily gasping for breath.

I roll onto my back and lie still on the cold cement floor while I regain my senses.  The only things of interest in this room, and I use the term loosely, are a series of pipes which line the walls, some of which are giving off a fair amount of heat and at least one is lightly hissing.

“What is wrong with him?” Maxine asks.

“Nothing, he really doesn’t like tunnels.  Or the dark.  Or water.  Or tight spaces.  Or—“

“Oh, is scared of much then.”

“Hey, I’m not scared of anything,” I retort.  “There are a few things I’d rather not have to deal with.  And I’ve dealt with too many of them lately.”

“Get up and at them,” Maxine commands.  “We are not out of the water yet, as you say.”

“Believe me, I’m well aware.”  I force myself into the standing position.

“What are we going to do about Bruno?” Eve asks.

“I don’t know if we can do anything,” I respond.  “The last I saw, the SPs were heading right for him.  He was definitely visible.  I’d guess he’s probably already being carted back off to Fort Devens as we speak.”

“Do not be certain,” Maxine replies.  “Bruno is clever man.  If anyone can get out of situation, he could.”

“Cool,” I say, feeling uncomfortable even thinking about all of this.  “So, where are we?  And where do we go?”

“This is problem.”

“Why?” Eve asks.  “Didn’t you and Bruno have a plan on getting us wherever we’re going?”

“Bruno had plan.  He did not tell me plan.”

“Perfect,” I groan.  “You know, when I had The Geek on my side, we always had a plan.  Seems like a big group like Golden Dawn should be better prepared than a twelve year old.”

“Who is this Geek you speak of?”

“It’s his little brother.  Apparently he works for Golden Dawn as well?”

“Perhaps.  I know very little about what the Golden Dawn is doing anymore.”

“You weren’t working with the people at the camp?” Eve asks.

“No, I have not been part of operation for number of years.”

“What were you doing outside of Pewakee then?” I ask, feeling nervous about how she might answer.

“Ah, now this is the question of which you should be asking,” Maxine says with a smirk.

“Yeah?” Eve asks.

“My departure from Golden Dawn was not entirely a decision of my own making,” she began.  “Several of the older members had become suspicious because of my previous connections with another intelligence agency.”

“The KGB?” I ask, feeling excited I might know the answer.

“No.  KGB is farce, full of fools.  I worked with GRU.”

“GRU?” Eve asks.  “Never heard of it.”

“This is because we were most covert of covert organizations.  We were developed and operated independently from state-run intelligence groups.  Were Russian government aware of our doings, we would have been immediately terminated.”

“What did you do?”

“We freed the information.  In Soviet Russia, much like your America of today, information was controlled.  Only government decided who knew what.  Even news of what Russia did was not to be known by common people.”

“Why would Golden Dawn care?”

“Near end of my time with GRU, we developed method for everyone to know all secrets.  We made way for everyone to know everything.  All information would be free for the taking.  All secrets were fair game.”

“I’m still not sure how this applies here.”

“When I joined Golden Dawn, they, like rest of world, were not aware of GRU being responsible for this worldwide information leak.  This leak was responsible for near destruction of Golden Dawn and many other groups like this.  This leak is still leaking and Golden Dawn believes it keeps them from completing their goals.”

“Wait,” Eve retorts.  “Your leak thing is still going on today?  How have I never heard about this?”

“Yes, this is correct.  Problem is, leak goes into bucket which is controlled by small group of people who keep it to themselves.  Unfortunate oversight in development of tool.”

“And let me guess,” I cut in, “the small group of people are one of these groups we’re trying to take down, like The Agora or the US.”

“Yes, exactly.  Little did we know, we had spy in our midst who changed code before release.  This meant all our work ended up doing opposite of intentions.  Because of leak, rebellion did not stand chance.  Many people, like Golden Dawn, think our leak was developed to aid government in spying on people and are not happy about it.”

“But why would Golden Dawn kick you out because of a mistake the organization you previously worked with made.”

“Because I was spy.”

“What?” Eve exclaims.

“I was one who changed code.”

“How could you?” Eve screams.

“I am not proud, but did so for good reason.  Shortly before we had released leak, Russian government learned what GRU was doing.  It became very dangerous.  I looked for safe place.  United States government offered me such, in return for control of leak.”

“No!”

“Are you really surprised another one of the people helping us turns out to be a bad guy?” I ask Eve.

“I had family.  Russia is not place where you are put in prison.  It is place where entire family is killed.  I could not let that happen.”

“I hate to ask this, but what does this have to do with you still hanging out outside of Camp Pewakee?” I ask cautiously.

Maxine pauses a moment and looks down at her watch before looking back at me.  She sighs heavily.

“After I was kicked out of Golden Dawn, I again found myself in need.  My family was safe, but no longer had food or shelter or clothing.  I was approached again by organization in need of my special skills.”  A siren sounds in the distance.   Not a SP vehicle.  More like a storm warning.

“No,” Eve says, her hand covering her mouth.

“Life as spy is not always about following principles and ideals.  Sometimes is about money.”

“No!” Eve says again, grabbing my hand and pulling me into the next room, which looks a lot like an abandoned tunnel system.

“What’s going on?” I ask as Eve looks in each direction in a panic.

“Maxine’s a double agent.  Or a single agent.  I don’t know.”  She pulls to the left, which leads deeper into the tunnels, away from the daylight.  “She ratted us out, Cyrus.”

Luckily the lights have been left on down here, but from how poorly maintained this tunnel is, I’m not sure it makes me feel much more comfortable about our odds.

Maxine appears at the doorway.  “Is not personal.  I wish things could have been different,” she yells after us.

“What’s up with that woman?” I ask.

“We’ve got a huge bounty on our heads, Cyrus.  Can you really blame her?”

The sound of SP sirens fills the tunnel now, echoing wildly off the walls, making it difficult to know which direction they’re coming from.  Eve speeds up.  Her hand never lets go of my wrist as she pulls me deeper.  I look around for something we can use to our advantage.  The walls are covered in what used to be white and green tile.  The years haven’t been so good to them.  Above the lights are a series of conduits which look like they run the length of this underground roadway.  The only door I’ve seen so far is the one we exited from.

And at about every 20 feet is a wall-mounted camera, complete with little red light to indicate we’re being watched.  Even if we find a way out of this tunnel, they’re going to know which way we took.  We’re under full surveillance here and there’s no chance they’re going to take their eyes off us for a second.

Not to mention how the cars will appear around the bend either behind us or in front of us any second now.  Or both?

Up on the right, we finally come across a door which looks almost exactly like the one we just left.  I speed up, pulling Eve behind me.  The SP flashers are now lighting up the tunnel. We’ve got a matter of seconds before they’re on top of us.  And this time I can’t imagine they’re going to be willing to use as much non-lethal force as the time when they were shooting at us.  I don’t care what’s behind the door; it’s got to at least buy us a little bit of time.

I slam against the wall next to the metal exit, cracking a few tiles as Eve plows into me to slow her own movement.  I press my shoulder into the door as hard as I can while I twist the doorknob.  The thing doesn’t budge.  Again I slam into the door, feeling my arm wanting to break under the pressure I’m using.  Again, it doesn’t move.  I make for another attempt to bust down the door when I feel Eve pull me back.

“Cyrus,” she says calmly, much too calmly for our current situation.  She then twists the knob and pulls it open easily.  Without another word, we both disappear inside.

I slam the door shut behind me and press my body against it.  Yeah, I realize it won’t keep them out, should they decide to try to enter here, but I’m running low on options.

“Something slowed them down,” Eve says through ragged breaths.  “They should have been on us already.”

“You think Maxine did something?”

“Maybe,” Eve considers.  “Maybe someone else.”

I stand, realizing we can’t waste any more time, and take in our surroundings.  Again we’re stuck inside a little room, much like the one we were in with Maxine.  Yet, this time, I don’t see any cramped tunnel leading off anywhere.  I look in every direction.  Eve does, too.  I’m about to give up, until Eve points to the ceiling.

“There’s our way out,” she smiles, her finger indicating a circular hatch in the corner of the ceiling.

“Yeah, but how in the world are we going to get up there.”

She steps next to the locker situated directly under the hatch and pulls it away from the wall, revealing a series of rungs built into the wall.

“You know, I think I might love you after all,” I grin.

Eve doesn’t waste a second.  She’s already up the hidden ladder and opening the hatch before I finish my sentence.  I follow after her, exiting the small room into another small room, this one without any lights.

“What now?” Eve asks.

The room is completely dark, outside of the light coming from the dimly lit room below.  I run to the nearest wall and begin feeling around for a door.

A loud clang sounds from above us and I’m knocked to the floor.  The entire room swings back and forth.  The open hatch below begins allowing more light into the room.  I look down and see asphalt.  A giant plot of land covered in broken asphalt with weeds filling all the cracks.  The only problem is, we’re headed away from it.  Skyward.

Go to Chapter Twenty-Five

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