Chapter 24

Time goes by slowly, the four hours I wait till everyone returns feels like an eternity.  To me several lifetimes have faded away as the night sky fades to the morning sun.  Finally the agonizing hours pass signally the return of the others.  Sebastian and Guy are the first to return, Dyami Stumbles his way down the stairs twenty minutes late, Elizabeth follows shortly after,

            “Sorry it took so long, had to get the weapons here.” Elizabeth says.

            “It is ok, has anyone seen Cara?” I ask.

            “Not since before.” Guy replies.  A full hour passes before she arrives; with her she carries several boxes.

            “Sorry had to get some last minute items for us.” Cara says plopping the boxes down upon the table with a loud thud.”  Opening one of the boxes there are several black military uniforms.  Each uniform is made out of a simple soft fabric; pockets are placed in several strategic places allowing for access to magazines and equipment.  Padding has been added to the knees and arms allowing a soldier to take a fall without being hurt, “I also figured we could use an insignia, a sort of symbol, so I cut up some of my old medical uniforms.” Handing out several dark blue pieces of cloth which we are instructed to wear around our upper left arm like an armband, “Just cause we are rebels doesn’t mean we can’t look professional.”  Even the rebels have to make a statement with what they ware in Eden.  The final piece of the uniform sends exactly the message she was looking for.  Out of the second box Cara pulls several masks similar to the ones I wore in Haven.

            “What is with the masks?” Guy asks.

            “The threat of radiation is a lie used by the Brotherhood to control its people, by wearing these masks we are mocking them.” I say, “I like it, ok, unless anyone has any questions, let’s suit up and move out.”    

            We use the cover the last shadows of night to move into position, watching as everyone takes there place I am filled with a sense of pride.  Once again I find myself surrounded by people who are willing to die for the freedom of others.  Cara was right when she said this was my destiny.  Locking a magazine into my rifle I slide the bolt back chambering a round.  Elizabeth does the same, she kneels next to me behind the wall, “Hey I forgot to ask, what time is Kazimir brining Fiona? Elizabeth asks.

            Sliding my back against the wall I take a controlled fall till I am sitting on the ground, “I forgot to ask.” I say.  Elizabeth laughs behind her mask.

            “Well better early then late I say” Elizabeth says.  We take turns attempting to get some sleep.  Sitting there staring into the darkness I find myself for the first time getting hopeful, if everything goes right I will have Fiona with me once more.  Then all I have to do is convince her that I was on her side the whole time.

            “Hey, do you think that Fiona will still be made once we rescue her.” I say.

            “Every girl dreams of being rescued by a knight in shining army, well in this case knight in a rubber mask protective mask.” Elizabeth says, but from what Cara has said you might want to keep your identity hidden for a bit, till we can explain the situation that is.”  Why do I feel like I am going to get punched in the face?  We sit for three hours waiting for the car to come, I was so wrapped up in saving Fiona I forgot about the simplest of details.  Finally in the morning sun the car approaches.  I watch as the car pulls into out ambush out of nowhere a car pulls out and drives straight into the car carrying Fiona.  Moments later a second car slams into the back, we watch as Cara and Dyami dart from their vehicles into a nearby ally.  Three Troopers attempt to follow after them but are cut down as the others open fire.  It is our turn now, Elizabeth and I sprint towards the car, “Here throw this into the car.” Elizabeth hands me a slender grenade.

            “This is a grenade are you nuts.” I say.

            “Trust me.” Elizabeth says as she smashes one of the rear windows with the butt of her rifle.  Tossing the grenade into the car there is a loud bang and a flash of light.  Instantly Elizabeth opens the door, in the car sits Fiona and Kazimir, both are stunned and dazed form the effects of the grenade.  Reaching in Elizabeth grabs Fiona and pulls her from the car leaving Kazimir alone, without thinking I duck into the car my rifle pointed squarely at Kazimir’s chest and squeeze of two rounds.  I watch as his body falls forward to the floor of the car, I stay but another moment and then begin to run after Fiona and Elizabeth.

            Back in district six we wait for the others to arrive, Fiona sits on the floor her back against the wall.  The room is damp and musty; the walls are made entirely of concrete.  Simple furniture has been laid out for us.  Without thinking I remove my mask, Fiona heads straight for me.  Her fist landing across my face sending me to the ground, I don’t try to fight it as Fiona straddles me and continues to rain her wrath upon me.  Elizabeth tries to pull her off but is tossed aside repeatedly.  Blood begins to pour from my mouth and nose as I am finally able to wrench her off of me, pinning her to the ground she struggles to break free, “Let go of me you bastard.” Fiona says.

            “Stop hitting me.” I say.

            “Fine, just don’t touch me again.” Fiona says.  Letting her arms go Fiona pushes me away and slides into a corner of the room.  Tears run down her face as blood runs down mine.

            “Fiona, are you ok?” I say.

            “Don’t talk to me.” Fiona says, “I trusted you, everyone trusted you.  You betrayed us all, for what, a few scrapes from the Brotherhood’s table.”

            “Fiona, why would I save you if I was working for them?” I ask.

            “I don’t care; I don’t want to hear it.” Fiona says.

            “He has a point, why would he save you if he was working with the Brotherhood.” Elizabeth says, “In face he is the reason we were able to get you out.”  Handing me a cloth Elizabeth kneels next to Fiona, “You should at least hear him out, if you still don’t trust him, I won’t stop you.”

            “Fine.” Fiona says.

            “I will leave you two alone then.” Elizabeth says leaving the room.  Standing a moment my eyes track Fiona, each time our eyes seem to meet she darts away.

            “We didn’t hurt you did we?” I ask.

            “I will be fine, nothing I won’t heal from.” Fiona says.

            “Fiona, they were going to kill you if I didn’t to what they said.” I say, “I had no choice, I couldn’t lose you.”

            “I want to believe you; I even thought that for a while.” Fiona says, “But after some time I just didn’t know, I was so drugged up I didn’t know what was real anymore.  Looking at me directly for the first time only briefly she continues, “Everyday they would tell me stories of what was happening, they showed me pictures of you with some girl, dancing, going to parties, all sorts of things.”  Fiona stands longer enough to move from the floor to one of the chairs in the room, “The showed video of you watching troopers attack some helpless old man.”

            “Fiona I can explain all of this, you just have to listen.” I say.

            “I will listen, but I can’t promise you anything.” Fiona says.

            “The girl, she helped free you, she is one of my contacts to the rebellion within Eden.” I say.

            “I want to believe you, I really do, and it is just hard after so long, I held onto my faith in you for as long as I could, but after a year of hearing and seeing all the horrible things you did.” Fiona says.

            “A year, what are you talking about?” I ask.

            “It has been a year since you proclaimed you had been working for the Brotherhood, since the fall of Haven.” Fiona says.

            “Fiona, it has only been a couple of days.” I say, “What have they done to you.”  Fiona starts to drift off, her mind a drift in a sea of confusion, her thoughts a jumbled mess of reality and dream.

            “Riley.” Fiona says, “What is going on, I don’t know what is real or not, who you are or aren’t.  Turing to face me her eyes are swollen with tears, “Why couldn’t you have just let them kill me.”

            No, it is I who should have been killed; I should have killed Davidson when I had the chance.  Maybe then she would have been spared, “You should get some rest, we can talk more lately if you want.”  Watching as she drifts into sleep I wonder if I will ever have Fiona back, if she will ever be the same as before, she will be.  If there is one thing I know for certain it is that Fiona is a fighter, she will come back to us and when she does, we are going to make them all pay.

            Fighting the urge to wait for Fiona to waken I head into an adjacent room.  The others must have returned during while I was with Fiona, they seem to be in high spirits.  Sebastian upon seeing me barrels through the others, his tall frame making short work of them.  Before I can react his arms are around me, “We did, and it is all over the news, that Kazimir was killed by rebels.” Sebastian says, “This is only the start.”

            “How is Fiona?” Dyami asks.

            “She will be fine, little confused about everything.” I say, “But I know she will recover.” 

            “It is a torture tactic used by the Brotherhood, they drug you up keeping you in a semi sleep state, feed you lies and stories, after awhile everything sort of blends into reality.  Probably throw in a variety of poisons as well.” Cara says, “I can give her something to help clear things up.”

            “If you could I am sure she would appreciate it.” I say.

            “Riley, she will be fine, she is a strong person.” Cara says.  Guy opens a crate with several bottles of wine; apparently he has been rummaging through the contents of containers, Elizabeth following closely behind to ensure he doesn’t take anything of importance or worth.

            “Well look what we have here.” Guy says.

            “Hey, put those back, those bottles are pre-war, very valuable.” Elizabeth says a hint of pride in her voice, “I had to go through a lot of trouble for them, and I am saving them for very special occasions so don’t touch.”  Sebastian like a knife cuts between them snatching away one of the bottles.

            “Yeah mean like the start of the revolution.” Sebastian says.

            “Guess he has a point there.” Elizabeth says taking a bottle for herself.  Soon everyone is celebrating and singing the night away.  After several drinks Sebastian proclaims that we should call ourselves the bruised and battered bastards of Eden, due to the fact our colors are black and blue.  This is how the night goes on; finally late into the evening everyone starts to drift off.  Tonight we celebrate; tomorrow we plan our next move.  Once everyone is asleep I sneak off into the shadows, silently making my way into Fiona’s room I find she is already awake.  She sits posed on the edge of the couch staring into nothing.

            “How was the party?” She asks.

            “It was good; you should have come out to see everyone.” I say

            “I didn’t want to spoil the good time, besides things are still really fuzzy.” She says, “trying to make sense of what is real, who and who to trust.”

            “You can trust us.” I say, “You know that, right.”

            “Yeah, well I think I do, I know you wouldn’t have done what you did if you were not looking out for me.” She says, “It is just hard to make sense of everything, make sense of what is real and what is not.”

            “Cara said she is going to give you something to help clear things up.” I say.

            “Cara, she is the one you danced with, do you like her?” She asks.

            “No, I mean she is my friend, but not like that, not like we were, back in Haven.” I say.

            “I don’t know if any of that was a real or a dream.” She says.  Taking a seat at the tale across from her I look into her eyes, I had almost forgotten her eyes; the green seems to shine like an ocean in the faint light of the room.

            “It will be ok.” I say, “Once everything is cleared up you will be back to normal and ready to fight.”

            “Thanks, I am going to try and get some more sleep.” She says, Riley, it helps.”

            “What helps?” I ask before heading into the next room.

            “Talking with you, it helps me remember who you really are, who I am.” She says, “I owe you.”

            “Let’s call if even for the time you saved my life.” I say.  Heading back into the room with the others I curl up in a corner and drift off, there are no dreams tonight, there is nothing left for me to dream. 

            “My eyes are forced to adjust to the light as it is turned on; there is no gentle sunrise here, only the harsh immediate flick of a switch.  Elizabeth stands her hand on the light switch; she must have snuck off sometime during the night.  Compared to us she is clean and fresh, while we smell of dirt and sweat.  She is accompanied by several servants; each brings a tray of various meats and fruits.

            Over the past few days I have found that I have quite a fondness towards strawberries.  There is no stopping me as I plow my way through everyone towards the food, “watch out leading of the revolution coming through.” I say.

            “Don’t want to get in your way, might lose a finger.” Cara says, “You’re starting to get a little pudgy there.” Cara pokes me in my side.  Standing there eating no one notices as Fiona enters the room, she stands silently watches us unsure of what to say.

            “Fiona you’re up.” Dyami says.  Everyone pauses, turning their attention to Fiona.  Her mind is still adrift in a sea of lies.  Unsure of what of what reality is and what is a dream, though I guess even in a dream you have to eat.

            “What is everyone looking at; you all are acting like you have never seen a crazy person before.” Fiona says.

            “You’re not crazy.” Cara says, “Just temporality sanity challenged.”  Fiona smiles, how long has it been since she has had a reason to smile, it is good to see glimpses of the old Fiona.

            “Well don’t just stand there, dig in before Riley eats it all.” Dyami says.  It is good to see Fiona up and about; I take it a sign of her recovery, between the medicines Cara is will be giving her and time, Fiona will recover from all wounds inflicted by the Brotherhood.  Once everyone has finished with breakfast the mood changes, we need to get serious; there is much to talk about, it would be grand to talk like this all day, but we must act and now that I have Fiona back with me, I am finally free to do just that.

            “What is out next move?” I ask.

            “We should recruit move people into the movement, we need solders.” Guy says.

            “I agree, but unless we show everyone this is real, and that we are serious they won’t be willing to fight.” Elizabeth says.

            “What are you suggesting?” Sebastian asks.

            “We need to send a message to everyone, yesterday was a start, but everyone needs to know that this is not some random event.” Elizabeth says, “What we need to do next is hit them where it hurts.”

            “Does anyone have any suggestions?” I ask.  Everyone stands in silence, seconds tic away as we wait, and we wait for someone to decide our fate, the fate of the revolution. 

            “We take out a refinery.” Fiona says, “An oil refinery, it will hit them hard.”

            “Won’t that affect everyone, I don’t know it is risky, we might turn everyone against us.” Sebastian says.

            “Not if we target a refinery that supplies solely the capital district.” Elizabeth says.

            “That is true if we hit them there only those who live in the capital will be hit by the loss.” Sebastian says, “Only officials and their families live there.  Servants and lower classes aren’t allowed without permission to enter.”  Everyone stands a moment, their minds getting around the idea at hand.  If we do this there is no turning back, but this is what we want.  This will send a message that we are here and a real threat, people will respond to it, especially once it gets out I am evolved, but how do we spread the word.

            “Ok it is decided then, we attack the refinery, once that is done we let it known that I was behind it.” I say.

            “That will rally the people to our cause, if they believe you are behind the attacks.” Cara says, “now that we have Fiona we are free to publicly denounce the government.”  Out of the corner of my eye I notice Fiona intensely focused on me.  Behind her eyes there is another way, her mind is fighting the dreams and vision that blur reality.  In this moment it is clear that though her mind struggles with the truth, we who I really am, her heart does not.

The End

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