Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chapter 25 - Micah

            “What do we know about Zion?” I yelled over the roar of the helicopter, “I mean have we identified the traitors?”
            “We took Senator Castle into custody this morning. That’s all we know about,” Tanner replied.
            “What about Zoe? Shouldn’t we have her locked down too?”
            “Apparently she’s been acting as a double agent. Seth Jarvis has been helping her get info from her dad. I think she warned Olivia last night about Castle’s plan. A little late, but luckily Olivia knew who to contact.”
“If she’s been feeding us intel, shouldn’t she have known about the planned kidnapping a little sooner?” I was still skeptical.
“I didn’t say she was a good double agent. I’m guessing Castle knew she was working for us and fed her a lot of false info. He probably let the kidnapping slip when he thought it would be too late to do anything. Again, without Olivia you would’ve been toast.”
“Do you think she blew her cover trying to save me?” It worried me Olivia might be in danger. “If she’s still at Zion, we need to keep her on base.”
Tanner paused. “She already left with her dad to Phoenix this morning. Don’t worry man, she’s really, really good at what she does. Unless someone from our side blew her cover then she’ll be fine.”
Eve scooted closer to me. “If she’s lasted this long without getting caught then I’m sure she’ll be okay.”
“Thanks.” I bit the inside of my cheek and tried to fake a smile. Something made me nervous. I wanted to believe that Olivia would be safe, but I couldn’t.
The helicopter finally touched down in Zion. Everyone climbed out; I waited until they had all gone. I left the chopper, staying a few steps behind. I needed a chance to be alone and gather my thoughts.
Tanner called back to me, “We’re meeting in the war room. We have to make plans to move ahead with the attack.”
“I’ll be right behind you.” My unenthusiastic reply made Tanner end the discussion. My mouth felt dry. I couldn’t shake the nervous feeling that something was about to go terribly wrong.
I started blaming myself for letting Olivia leave the base. Maybe I’d made the right decision though? I tried to convince myself. If she’d stayed at the base, the Senator might’ve gotten to her before he was arrested. I laughed inside at my paranoia. I didn’t even know if her cover had really been blown. As far as I knew she was safe in Phoenix. I let my mind rest and picked up my pace towards the war room.
I stood outside the door for a few seconds and straightened my tie. I’d left my jacket in the SUV and my white shirt was splotched with dirt, but I wanted to look composed. I knew they’d be relying on me to lead the attack.
I opened the door and stepped into the room. Ten pairs of eyes locked on to me. Tanner stared down at the ground. His face was white. He looked like a doctor preparing to tell a client their mother had terminal cancer. Tears ran down Eve’s cheeks. She turned her head away when she saw me looking at her.
My heart sunk past my stomach. My arms and legs suddenly felt like they carried 50 lb. weights. A knot formed in my throat. My mouth went dry. No one told me what had happened. They didn’t have to, I already knew.
“Is she still alive?” My face remained without emotions. I hid them behind steely eyes and stony features.
The room was silent. Tanner pointed to the screen at the center of the wall. I walked confidently, each step defined by the heavy sound of my rubber shoes striking the wooden floor. The footage on the screen began playing. I immediately recognized Olivia’s dark hair and green eyes. The recording appeared to be taken from a security camera at the north entrance to the national prison. Three guards led her to the door and out of view. Her eyes showed no fear.
I pushed off the obvious question of how and turned to my captive audience. “Then we’ll attack in two days. If we go fast we can surprise them. We’ll go in two groups. Tanner will take half and I will take the other half. Have the rebels mark two spots on the west side of the city at 1 am. We can attack the fence at those two spots and then move to the capitol building. If we gain the strength of some of the poor plus the rebels already in the city, then we should have enough strength to force Isoli to flee. Once he does his troops will surrender. After we take the capitol we’ll have the support of the other rebel cities.” I turned towards the exit. “Tanner, get in contact with the rebels in the city, relay the attack plans only to Jason and Emily. I don’t want them getting back to the President. Tell the other soldiers here at the base that we plan to attack in 2 weeks in case there are more traitors.” I continued to the exit. I stopped just outside the door and made a decision. “Take Zoe into custody. Find out if she’s blown anyone else’s cover.”
I made my way down the hall, determined to retreat away from everyone.
Eve’s voice called after me, “Wait Micah, it wasn’t Zoe.” Eve ran to catch up. She collected her breath, and I let her continue. She sounded on the verge of a meltdown. “Zoe didn’t turn Olivia in.”
“How do you know?” My eyes narrowed. I glared straight at her. My mind guessed at what she’d reveal.
“I didn’t mean it, much has happened...” She stared at the floor.
“Why?” My hard face softened. The anger retreated deep into my heart.
She dropped her voice to a whisper. “It seems so long ago now.” Small drops of water dripped off her face and landed on the floor below her. I stared at the way they reflected the light, waiting for her to answer my question.
“I doesn’t matter now. I don’t know whose side you’re on Eve. I don’t think you can do any more damage.” I turned around ready to leave. It didn’t matter if I saw Eve again. I stopped, “Unless you want to give Isoli a call and tell him about our plans.”
I continued my walk down the hall and ignored Eve’s voice as she shouted after me.
“I should’ve told you! I know that. I told Isoli while you were in prison. I thought you’d stop this--this crazy plan if she wasn’t influencing you--”
I stopped again. Infuriated, “You still don’t get it do you? It’s not about me or you. People’s lives are at stake!” I turned again, determined to leave this time.
Her footsteps stopped. “And who made it your job to save all of them?” she shouted. “Or mine? Or Darion’s? Why is it our responsibility?”
“Three years ago I stole bread to feed myself. I started bringing the bread back to an eight year old boy who hadn’t eaten in TWO days.” Another lump formed in my throat. I could sense I was losing it. “His mom, she looked at me... she was crying. She couldn’t stop thanking me. She made it my job to save people.”
“And dying is going to feed them? If we go fight, we’re going to lose.” I couldn’t help but face her now. We’re going to lose, Micah!” she continued, her voice shaking. “No matter how much faith in this cause you have. A haircut doesn’t change reality. It might suck for those people, and I’m sorry about that. I wish I could change it. But going to Phoenix and getting slaughtered in the streets isn’t going to change anything.”
“If it changes life for ONE person then I’ll go by myself. No one is forcing you or me or Darion or Tanner to fight. You can leave anytime you want.” I looked into her eyes for another second then left.
Her voice, softer now, followed me anyway. “I’m sorry, Micah. I really am. If I’d known you loved Olivia, I honestly never would’ve turned her in. There was a lot of stuff I didn’t understand then that I do now. But I can’t follow you to Phoenix. I can’t throw myself into something I don’t think is going to work. I’m sorry. If you don’t die, look me up out east somewhere.”
I ignored Eve and finally exited the building. I needed to go somewhere to be by myself. I had a few hours before Tanner would hear back from the rebels in the city. Eve seemed dead to me now. Olivia was gone. I was alone again.
I reached the top of the canyon after a 30 minute climb. The sun had partially ducked behind the horizon. Sweat dripped down my face. I sat on a jagged rock and watched the fading sun. The cuts of betrayal burned deep. Fire stirred up inside me. Anger threatened to take over my emotions. The sun grew darker and began to disappear. I welcomed the darkness. The sun finally vanished. I thought I would be happy. I thought when the darkness finally came that I would be comfortable. But just before the sun had gone down there was a green flash of light. Barely discernible but it was there.
I heard a voice in my head. I recognized it. I longed to hear Olivia’s voice. My heart was turning black and she wouldn’t accept a black heart. I felt at the end of my rope so I did what I had to do.
I forgave. Not because Eve deserved it. But because I needed to. I did it to save my life.
I got up from the rock and headed down the cliff, filled with a new type of courage. Not a courage born of hate and anger but one that came from hope and love.
It only took me 10 minutes to write a note to Eve. Next I confirmed with Tanner that we’d gotten the message to the rebels in the city. Everything was ready to go. But I wouldn’t be there. I found Darion and delivered my note.
“I’m leaving tonight. I can’t stand by and just hope Olivia is okay. I need you to take my position and lead my half of the troops. Give this to Eve after I’m gone.” I handed Darion the note. “I’m giving it to you because I know you’ll understand. I know you won’t try and stop me.”
“I do.” Darion replied. “I understand.” I turned to leave. I had everything ready to go to Phoenix that night. “Micah,” I stopped “If you need a way into the prison, check the left side of the bush by the back security guard entrance. It’s buried just a foot or so down.” Darion smiled, “Good luck, I’ll see you in Phoenix.” 

1 comment:

  1. Whoa! What a great chapter. I'm mad a Eve, worried about Olivia, and rooting for Micah, what else could you ask for?