In the Administration Building at Agoge there was an office set aside for the Agabus. It was locked with a keypad code much like the barracks on Kaluma, and Andre had the code though he rarely used it. He never had any real need to enter the office and always felt a bit uncomfortable doing so. It belonged to his grandfather and always would. Even when Aleixo used it as Agabus, it had changed very little from the way Dr. Dietrich had left it, and Andre hadn’t touched a thing since he slipped into the position. The whole room gave off an aura of decay and faded memories which unnerved him, but it was the best place he could think of to make their plans undisturbed.
Following Enlightenment the afternoon after their midnight trip to Kaluma, Andre led the other three to the Admin. Building and unlocked the doctor’s office. Flipping on the lights, he glanced around with the feeling he was entering a tomb. The room was cool and low-lit. Shelves loaded with books and mementos lined the entirety of the walls but for a blank space above the desk sitting in the middle of the room. Here a great, iron Koinonian crest hung reflecting the light with its familiar K crossed with a sword.
“Bit dusty, isn’t it?” Declan brushed a hand along the corner of the desk before holding up a handful of grime. “When was the last time you were in here?”
“The day I became Agabus,” Andre told him. He moved around the massive, polished oak desk, took a seat in front of an outdated computer, and reached to turn it on. The fan whirled within the hard drive and, with another touch of a button, the monitor screen blinked to life.
Jora and Svana investigated separate sides of the room, eyeing the dusty volumes of books. Jora touched the spines of several, reading the titles of history collections, encyclopedias, and some of the doctor’s favorite works by Sir Frances Bacon and Thomas More. She pulled out Tommaso Campanella’s City of the Sun and leafed carefully through the yellowing pages.
Svana walked along a row of selves displaying framed photographs and relics from Andre’s grandfather’s many travels. She picked up a wooden musical pipe with delicate, carved designs along the stem. Svana blew into it gently, producing a hollow note before setting it back in its place. “I don’t know why you waited so long. This place is brilliant.”
Andre glanced up briefly, but didn’t respond, focused on searching for a file in the database system which linked every computer on campus.
“What’re you looking for?” Declan appeared at his elbow.
“My graduation project,” he said.
“The memorial video?” Jora joined them at the computer and peered over Andre’s shoulder.
Finding the file, he brought up a display of all the clips and photos he had spliced together for the Eleutheros Day assembly, scrolling through until he found the one he was looking for. “There,” he clicked on it and expanded the photo for a closer view. “That’s it,” he pointed to a dark snapshot taken within the mines. Dr. Dietrich stood before an iron door wearing a hardhat and smiling along with one of the mine’s chief engineers, also in a hardhat and expressive grin. “Look at the door.”
Svana had joined them now, and they all looked close at what the Agabus referred to. “It’s the Forbidden Door,” she voiced what they all realized, “to Abaddon’s side of the mountain.”
Andre sat back in his chair and studied the picture thoughtfully. “That’s a one-sided deadbolt,” he said, and Declan nodded in agreement. “There’s no screws. Kylan must have busted off the faceplate to get to the mechanisms inside.”
“What are you thinking?” Declan continued to peer closely at the monitor, catching every detail of the door and lock visible in the picture.
“I want to fix it. I want to shut off that access again, but with the lock on the other side so no one can get through from the mines.”
“You’d have to cut out a section of the door,” Declan shook his head. “That takes a lot of tools and a lot more noise—”
“Not if we flip the door,” Andre pointed out, and Declan considered this possibility.
“Reverse the hinges,” he nodded. “A couple new screw holes instead of a whole new cutout for the lock…it could work.”
“Can you show me how to do it?”
Declan snorted a short laugh. “What, so you can go down there alone? Not a chance, Agabus. I’m going with you on this one too. Do I have to remind you of your poor sense of direction? You’d get lost in a second.”
“Fine,” Andre shrugged. It was better actually, he needed reinforcement.
“Although, how do you plan on getting us in? You may have clout as the Agabus, but me on the other hand…”
“You don’t need it,” he reminded him. “We’ll all have access to the mines in another week.”
“During our Sunesis at Kopiao.” Jora hit right on it, and Declan’s eyebrows rose as it came to him too. However, there was one thing Jora didn’t quite understand. “Why not just tell the miners what we’re doing?”
“Because,” Andre explained, “we would need to fill the elders in also, which would mean another council meeting, then a citizen meeting, then a vote—”
“And a whole lot of time wasted listening to men argue about pointless details,” Declan agreed with Andre.
“Exactly.” The Agabus didn’t have time for that. Koinonia didn’t have time for that.
“You’ve planned everything, haven’t you?” Declan snorted appreciatively.
“Wait,” Svana thought of something unexplained. “You said you wanted to lock the door from the other side.” She looked from Andre to Declan and back again. “How?”
“With this.” Andre swiveled in his chair and opened a low cabinet on the bottom half of the nearest row of shelves. Inside was a safe with another keypad access lock. He punched in a separate code and opened the small door. Inside were a number of portfolios filled with papers, some small unmarked boxes, and a key on a silver chain. Andre pulled this out and held it up for them to see. “We need to make the new lock to fit with that.” He tossed it at Declan who caught it against his chest.
Svana still saw a problem with this. “That’s great, but you still have to use that on the other side of the door. Abaddon’s side of the door. How are we going to get out?”
“We?” Andre turned back to the computer.
“Yes ‘we,’ ” Jora answered for her. “You’re not leaving us out of this. The Kirkeby family owes it to you, Dre.”
“Owes it to Koinonia,” Svana corrected her.
Andre didn’t like the idea of putting any of them in that position, but he also knew they would give him no choice. After a little more thought, he realized he would need them for his plan to work anyway. “Alright,” he relented, “but you have to be willing to follow me anywhere within that shaft and do exactly what I tell you to do.”
The twins exchanged glances but mimicked Declan’s immediate nod of agreement. “So that’s your plan?” he asked. “Shut ourselves in with Evil? You do remember that the only other way out is blocked?”
“Not entirely.” Andre told them of the small hole at the entrance of the cave. “The rock is loose. We can free enough of it to climb out.”
“And if Abaddon notices us tramping through his house?”
“That’s sort of the second part of my plan. I’m actually counting on him to do so.”
After some careful planning and digging up records of the Kopiao mineshaft layouts, the other three left the Agabus alone in his office with an agreement to reconvene the next afternoon. Andre closed and locked the door behind him, calling the farmhouse to tell Demi he would be late coming home. Sitting in his grandfather’s chair again, he ran through the plan in his head one more time, looking for holes.
It was strange sitting there; he somehow didn’t seem to fit in it the way the doctor did. Alexander had always appeared so comfortable behind that desk, filling the space with a sense of competency Andre lacked. The man had built a country and sustained it with humility and generosity. He had succeeded in turning a dream into reality, and look at what they had done with it. “Fifty years of your work gone in a day,” he spoke out loud to the silent room, leaning back in the leather desk chair and taking every inch of it in with deep regret. “What would you say to that, abuelo?” What would you do to fix it?
Rubbing his bloodshot eyes with a sigh, the prophet closed out of the open files on the computer and prepared to shut it down for the night. An icon on the desktop caught his attention, and Andre clicked on it, bringing up the Agabus electronic message board. He saw a list of names of outside contacts Dr. Dietrich had often kept in touch with before he died. Andre found Owen Emmerich on the list and brought up a new message box under his email address. Pausing to think of what he wanted to say, Andre typed in a brief message.
I know that you probably have not received a message from this address in a long time, but this is Andre Dietrich on the island of Koinonia. I wanted to thank you for the care you showed our missionaries while they were in the United States, especially after the scare of the train derailment. I am sure that our staff on Kaluma notified you of their safe return to our island, but it is unlikely that you have heard any further news of the state of our country.
I remember when I was little that you and my father had a relationship, and that your dad and my grandfather were close friends. I have not forgotten seeing you during video chats while I visited them in their office, and that you were kind enough to always ask how my brother and I were doing. I am Agabus now, as I’m sure you also know, and Davi is in his last stages of education. Our mother is still in healing after the loss of our dad, but she improves all the time.
But I am not writing just to tell you how we are. I need your support in prayer for our country. The vision Grandpa had for Koinonia is lost. Our Hupsoma, or spiritual protection barrier, has been breached by a spirit of darkness and now our people are divided in fear. More and more darkness invades our soil every day, and our hope is failing. Our protective spirits need backup, and we cannot meet the demand by our own prayers alone. Please partner with us, you and your congregation there in the US, and help us destroy the forces hell bent on destroying us.
Thank you in Theos Name,