Chapter 27: Justice
"Where are you keeping it?" I asked Walker. It was just the two of us in the conference room now- everyone else had gone back to their homes. We had been sitting in silence, both of us finishing our own paper work and trying to come up with ideas we could use to improve the city.
"Keeping what?" Walker asked as he looked up from his paper and stopped writing.
"The helicopter," I replied. Of course I was fully aware that Walker had a helicopter and had used it to capture the zombie he'd been speaking of a week ago. Although where he had gotten it and where he was keeping it was a mystery.
Something flashed in Walker's eyes before he replied, "What helicopter?"
I attempted to stare him down, "William, don't play games with me," I said half-jokingly, "I know you have one. And I need to use it."
A tight smile emerged on Walker's lips, "Alright, you got me," he said, putting his hands in the air as if he were caught red-handed, "Why do you need to use it?" he asked.
"To see the sky," I replied. Walker looked at me quizzically so I continued, "None of us have really seen it for the past eight days. It's all foggy and cloudy and I think that if the sun were visible it might give some people comfort." Including myself, I added quietly.
Walker hesitated for a moment before nodding, "Alright, General Justice." I couldn't tell if he was mocking me or not, "Let me tell you something," the man leaned forward in his chair as I leaned back against mine, crossing my arms over my chest, "I honestly don't know where it is. Derek put it away somewhere, I think. I'd have to check with him."
"Do it then," I commanded, unflinching. Walker's smile folded into a straight line before reappearing.
"How?" He asked, careful to keep his voice neutral.
"Use this," I slid a walkie-talkie out from my pocket and threw it to him gently. I watched as Walker barely caught it and pressed down on the "talk" button.
"Derek!" He was met with silence. "Derek! It's Walker, come in!" Still, nothing. I narrowed my eyes slightly as Walker took his hand off the button and shook the device for a few seconds. Then, he flipped it over to its back and opened the battery compartment, pulling out the two double A batteries. "These must be dead," he said as he slid the door back into place and pocketed the dead batteries.
"Are you sure?" I asked suspiciously.
"Quite," he replied, unflinching. The two of us sat in silence for a few seconds, neither one of us daring to blink. I couldn't say anything about William Walker except that he rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't think he was really doing anything malicious, but something about him just didn't let me trust him. But there was nothing I could do to get him off the Council- it was my word against his.
"What about Saper's?" I asked softly.
"What about it?" Walker replied, obviously stalling.
"Wouldn't they have batteries?" I asked, waiting to see how he would dodge this one. Saper's was no longer a rouge operation, not since Svetlana had taken control. I had been skeptical at first, as had everyone else, but things seemed to be going slowly. My stomach didn't like the idea of rationing food to once a week, but my voice of reason did.
"Do you know what they do have?" Walker asked, getting up from his chair and walking over to sit down beside me. "Food."
"I know they have food, Walker," I replied, my stomach growling at the thought, "And I'm well fed. We've been given all the food we can have at the moment." Of course I wanted more food, but after years of being in countless wars I had gotten used to the idea of not dining like a king each night.
"Have they?" Walker asked. Realizing he might be going too far, he switched tactics. "I just don't feel safe going down there, Justice. Who knows what could happen?"
By now I getting tired of his bullshit. I stood up and leaned in close to his face, making sure my expression didn't reveal my true emotion, "What's going to happen is that you're going to get the helicopter, bring it to me- and I don't care how!" I added before continuing, "But you get it to me, the two of us fly up into the sky, and we see if we can find the sun." This close to the other man's face I was pleased to find a drop of sweat slowly trickling down his forehead.
"Alright, Justice," Walker said as he stood up and adjusted his tie. "I'll get the helicopter for you. Meet me at Glasspring Point in half an hour."
"Why there?" I asked, straightening up.
Walker laughed a little as if to defuse the tension, "There's a landing pad there, of course. Where else would I be able to put a helicopter?" He asked as he walked out of the conference room.
That's what I'd like to know, I thought.
Glasspring Point, Washington
The sound of the wind being sliced into a million pieces at an impossibly fast rate made me look up from my watch. I moved back a little as the shiny silver helicopter landed smoothly onto the age-old pad set up on the Point. As the propellers slowed down and the engine shut off, Walker leapt out of the aircraft and made his way over toward me. "What do you think?" he asked, gesturing toward his mode of transportation.
"You're late," I replied, brushing past him and approaching the helicopter. Despite it being July, I couldn't help but feel cold. We were right next to the ocean and the chilling, salty spray would sometimes carry over to us.
"Do you know how to fly it?" Walker asked, coming up behind me.
"Of course I do," I said, taking the keys from his outstretched hand. As soon as I hoisted myself into the cockpit I immediately felt at home. I had flown dozens of aircraft in my days and it seemed like too long since I'd been in the sky. Once I slid into the seat Walker came in and sat down beside me, pulling the door shut.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" He asked. My response was getting us in the air. A minute or two later we felt ourselves leaving gravity's pull and rising up into the sky. My heart thudded in my chest as I looked out the window, noticing everything getting smaller. As we moved forward and back toward the city, my attention was returned to the problem I'd been thinking about earlier: the fog. It was getting increasingly more difficult to see by the minute.
"Are there any kind of headlights?" I asked, not taking my squinted eyes off the barely navigable sky. "Anything we could use to help us see?"
"Not that I know of," Walker replied, gripping onto the seat. I didn't have to look at him to know that he was getting nervous. "You can't see anything," he said, "We might as well just go back. It's hopeless."
"No," I replied, more determined than ever. "If we just keep going up we're bound to rise above this fog. We're nowhere near a dangerous altitude, don't worry." I thought I heard Walker mumble something incoherently, but I didn't have time to think about that. After what seemed like hours I thought I was beginning to see again. The fog was starting to lift and I could see a faint violet light.
Ah-choo! Walker sneezed so violently that he tumbled half way off his seat and knocked into me. Startled, I let go of the controls and tried to push the other man away. In the few seconds I had let go we had started to go down. I grabbed the handle of the helicopter to try to bring us back up but something stopped me. Something shot past us, something red and hot. Another missile came at us again, narrowly missing the blades. "Who is that?" I yelled in confusion and rage. "Do we have any weapons?" Walker shook his head, his face completely blanched.
I was suddenly thrown into Walker as a missile hit the left side of the copter. An alarm started blasting in my ears and the aircraft starting shaking violently. Walker cursed under his breath and punched his door with the side of his fist. "We have to jump!" I called out over the sound of the alarm.
"What?" Walker cried out. "No! We're too high!"
"No we're not!" I yelled back, "We're too low! We're going to crash!" My last words were lost to the wind as I yanked open my door. The wind rushed in at a very uncomfortable angle. My heart dropped as I remembered the propellers. If I jumped my head would be gone long before I reached the ground. I gritted my teeth and dived, head first out of the helicopter. I could feel the blades slice through my pant leg, but my actual leg was unharmed. I braced for impact as I dived into the ocean, the salt water quickly consuming me. I thrust my head above water and noticed that I wasn't even a mile away from the Point. How was that even possible?
Looking up I saw a train of black smoke following the damaged helicopter, a long figure diving out of my door and landing somewhere else in the ocean, not too far from me. I continued to watch as the helicopter continued to spiral down, hit an invisible wall, and then come crashing into the water. I rubbed my eyes, partially to get the salt out of them, but also because I wanted to make sure that I wasn't imagining things. There was nothing there for the helicopter to bounce off of. Unless the messages I'd received were true. My mutation of mind reading had grown a lot over the past week. I'd sometimes receive little snippets of a person's thoughts. We didn't even have to be in the same room, just in the same city. Not too long ago today I had heard a female voice thinking of an invisible barrier.
Just I had begun to focus on swimming back to shore, the faint sound of a jet reached my ears. I looked back up and thought I saw black dot disappear back up into the fog and the sound went away. A shiver ran up my spine as memories of war in the skies flashed across my vision. I plunged my head back into the water, trying to purge myself of anything that would drag me down. Swimming back was surprisingly easy, despite being shaken up from almost dying in a helicopter. I was more interested in the attack and the plane I had just seen, if I had seen one at all.
The feeling of uneasiness was overwhelming. We hadn't even seen the sun- a purplish glow. What was going on? I looked back out toward the sea and saw Walker, struggling in his suit, attempting to swim back to shore. As much as I despised the man, I couldn't blame him for what had just happened. His chances of dying were just as great as mine had been. If anything I should've listened to him- he tried to warn me. He tried to warn me. Warn me of what? Of a dysfunctional machine? I took another glance at Walker, gasping for air as he made his way through the cold water. I smiled bitterly, knowing that no matter how many times it appeared as if he were going to drown, he'd somehow manage to rise back to the top every time.