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

My shoes had been left on top of a heating duct and are quite dry when I find them.  I scrounge around the back of the plane for my t-shirt and jeans, realizing a suit is not exactly the best running attire.  They’re still dripping wet.  Guess there weren’t enough heating ducts available to put them on.  Looks like I’ll be finishing this job looking quite well-dressed.

I dig through the clothes cupboard and find a pair of socks hiding underneath the sports jacket she had mentioned.  They’re thin and black, hardly the type of footwear one would want to have for any form of serious run, but I don’t have much of a choice in the matter.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and the running will be at a minimum.

As far as the rest of my outfit, luckily the pants and shirt seem to fit relatively well.  The waist is a little bit looser than I would like, but these pants have a belt built right into them.  A rather ingenious idea, if I do say so myself.  I tighten them up and slip the socks on as the plane finishes its descent into Boston.

I look out the window as I re-lace my shoes just as we hit the water roughly, bouncing a couple times before the landing sticks.  Looking around I can’t help but notice how completely crazy this idea is.  We are currently surrounded by skyscrapers.  Buildings blot out the sun and are just as tall in every direction.  Not only is the plane shooting out a ton of noise, but Bruno had said the camouflage technology didn’t work when we were on the water.  There’s very little question about how visible, and audible, we are to all the people nearby, including those currently driving by on the very busy bridge we just so happen to be coasting under.

Not only that, but Bruno seems to be speeding up.  We’re not quite going full speed, so he’s probably not trying to take off again, but he seems to be driving us deeper into the city through this inlet he landed in.  We near another bridge and still don’t seem to be slowing.  Yet, the second the cabin goes dark under the shadow of the overpass, I hear a loud whirring noise from the back of the plane and the whole vehicle lurches to a stop.  The engine is instantly quieted and Bruno turns around to us, places his finger to his mouth and lets out a faint, “Shhhh.”

Looking out the window, I see a number of boats headed in our direction.  The SPs.  Actually, these guys are on the water.  Can they really be called Street Patrols if they’re on the water?

I watch in absolute terror as six boats near our location, bearing down on us at top speed.  I shoot a wide-eyed glance at Eve, who also appears to be unable to tear her eyes away from the windows.

This is it.  After all this work, we’re going to be taken down because the idiot flying this stupid plane decides our best bet is to land right in the middle of the one place we shouldn’t even be.  How could I be so stupid as to trust Golden Dawn?  I should have made it easy on myself and died of hypothermia, or any of the other million things which have threatened to kill me these last few weeks.

But the boats don’t slow.  They continue right past us as though there wasn’t a seaplane harboring dangerous rebel fugitives sitting right in front of them.

I look up at Bruno with a huge question mark plastered all over my face.  He looks back at the same moment with a giant grin.

“I knew it would work,” he says in a hushed yell of happiness.

“But you said we couldn’t go invisible on the water,” I argue.

“Shhh,” he silences me.  “I guess the shadows worked enough for the moment, but let’s not jinx it by getting too loud.”

“Okay,” I quiet down to a whisper.  “But what happened?”

“I’ve had this theory that if we were in the dark, there’s a good possibility the faults in the camouflage system wouldn’t be as noticeable as under the light, especially if someone doesn’t know they’re looking for something invisible.  So, I simply flipped the switch the second we went under the bridge, dropped the anchor, and started praying my theory would hold true.”

“I’m glad it worked,” Eve replied, “but it would have been nice to get a heads up.  Cyrus is still recovering, you know.”

“Yeah, what she said,” I agree.

“Sorry, I was afraid you guys would think it was too risky.  But, it worked, we’re here, and we’re safe.  At least for now.”

“Okay,” Eve continues.  “So, what do we do now?  We’re not going to swim to shore, are we?  We just got dry.”

“I still want to discuss how he wasn’t sure this would work,” I scowl.

“Hey, I was somewhere around 76 percent certain it would work.  And it did!”

“Fine, cool,” Eve brings the subject back around again.  “So, what’s the plan?  We’re in the middle of Boston’s financial district, right?  How are we planning on getting ourselves out of this plane in broad daylight and back onto the streets, before finally heading off to wherever it is you’re planning on going to do whatever it is you’re planning on doing?”

“That is very good question,” Maxine agrees.  “What is idea for rest of plan?”

“Hey now.  Do you really think I’m that unprepared?  Remember, I am the leader of a very important secret organization.”

“Sure, of course you are,” Eve accuses.  “But it doesn’t mean I’m feeling any better about where all of this is going.”

“Well, then.”  Bruno shows his teeth as his smile goes full-blown.  “Perhaps it’s about time the three of you follow me.”

He opens the door on the driver’s side of the plane and steps out.  I hustle to the back door on the driver’s side as Eve opens it and we look out.  Although there is an odd glassy texture below him, it looks as though he’s standing on nothing.  I feel my stomach churn.

“Come on out,” Bruno cheers.  “I figure we’ve got about five minutes before those boats make another round to see how they missed us.”

Eve steps out next to Bruno at the same time as Maxine, who had climbed over to the pilot’s seat and exits from the same spot Bruno had.  I stand over the water in the doorway and look down at the invisible pontoons holding up the invisible plane.  As a final thought, I run back into the plane and reach into the secret compartment where we had hidden the earpieces.  I don’t really fully understand what’s going on anymore, but I’d hate to be stuck somewhere and not be able to contact The Geek to get us out.

“Come on, Cy,” Eve cheers.

I return to the doorway as I place the earpieces in my pocket.  Holding onto the side of the plane, which is, of course, visible on the inside, not so visible on the outside, I reach my foot down slowly, hoping to find purchase on the unseen surface below.  Finally, my foot makes contact and I carefully place my weight down upon it before bringing the second foot down.  I stand next to Eve, still leaning against the plane as though it’s the only thing which will keep me from falling into the cold depths of the Boston Harbor.

“You forgot to shut the door.”  Bruno points above me.  I groan at the idea, before he finally chuckles, pulls out a set of keys, and presses a button on one of the dongles attached to the chain.  The door slams shut and the last fully visible piece of the vehicle disappears into a slightly translucent glassiness.

“Now what?” Eve asks brusquely.

“Really?” Bruno takes offense.  “I’ve gotten all of you this far using some pretty cool technology and you don’t believe I have a way for us to get off this plane and to a place where there’s a little less chance of impending watery death?”

“That’s one way of putting it,” I say through clenched teeth.

“Oh ye of little faith.” Bruno smiles as he presses yet another button on the key chain dongle and a door opens on the shore side of the bridge, directly at our level.

“Great,” I groan.  “Eve was right, we’re swimming again.”

“Jeez, Cyrus,” Bruno continues.  “Give a guy a break, will ya?”  He fumbles at his feet and looks like he’s miming opening something up.  A black square appears in the middle of the air, which he reaches his hands into.  From the square he pulls out a chain with a hook attached at one end.  He carefully swings the hook around before launching it in the direction of the open door in the distance.

It misses and crashes into the water below.

Deftly, he pulls the chain back in and again swings the hook toward the open door.  Again he misses the doorway and the hook plunges into the water.

He begins pulling the chain in again for yet another try, but the chain goes taut.

“Hey, guess I didn’t miss after all,” Bruno cheers.

He pulls the chain and the plane slowly closes the gap between it and the doorway until we are finally directly underneath it.

Bruno shrugs and looks at us.  “Not quite what I had planned, but I’ll take what I can get.”  He shoves the excess chain links into the black square as Maxine pulls herself into the small doorway.  She disappears inside and Bruno gestures for Eve to enter next, to which she complies.

“Go ahead, kid.  I’ve got to close all this up after I get in, so it’s best if I’m last.”

“Okay.”  I struggle to bring myself into the well-lit corridor underneath the bridge.  A siren sounds outside the doorway on the water and I hasten to turn myself around in the small narrow room I can’t even stand in to get a glimpse at what might be making the noise.  The single siren is quickly joined by a chorus of them.

I manage to turn myself around and look out the door as it shuts.  A split-second glimpse of Bruno as six SP boats approach the plane is all I get before he’s cut off from us.  I scramble backward and pound on the door, hoping to be able to open it and find some way to save him from the danger he’s gotten himself into.

Eve grabs onto my foot firmly and whispers, “Cyrus, stop!”

I realize she’s right.  There’s nothing we can do for him now and my pounding will do nothing more than alert the SPs that we’re in here, safe, like Bruno would want us to be.  Besides, he said he can get out of anywhere, right?  Why am I worried about a guy who seems to constantly be able to get the upper hand?

Still, I’d feel a lot more comfortable knowing we weren’t without the guy who knows what we’re doing.

“Come along, children,” I hear Maxine whisper from farther up ahead.  I turn around and see both she and Eve are farther along down the corridor.  I mostly only see Eve.  This corridor is so narrow I’d hate to think what a larger person would do in here.  The whole I hate tunnels and small places and whatever thing immediately takes over my mind and I lock up.

Sheesh, what’s with me?  I used to be fearless, or at least really good about staying far away from the things which frighten me.  Now it seems everywhere I look there’s nothing but absolute terror waiting for me.

I take a deep breath, realize things aren’t going to get any better for me if I stay where I’m at, and force my limbs to move me forward.  I deny them the crippling fear which threatens to keep me here.  And slowly I crawl toward Eve, who I now notice has gone out of view.  All that lies ahead of me is a dark square.  A dark square which does very little toward helping appease my fears.

Go to Chapter Twenty-Four

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