Chapter Fifty Four
“Where are we going?” I asked Rex.
“A power station, Emmie,” he replied, as Tobias spoke through him. “Although not one in the conventional sense. This station powers something very different to electricity but far more vital to life.”
“The people that made you this way, they were just trying to save everyone,” I replied.
“I have no doubt of that,” he replied. “But the lengths they were prepared to go to for results. The pressure they were happy to put another person through. Inexcusable. Don’t think for a second they won’t do the same to you.”
“But why?” I replied. “There’s no threat now. There’s no reason they would hurt me.”
“No threat? There is always a threat Emmie. There is always a reason for science to push on and experiment to get results. They just need someone to test their theories on.”
“So why haven’t they experimented on you again?”
“Power,” he replied. “When I was freed I did everything I could to rise to power so they could never hurt me again. No-one notices when someone unknown goes missing but when it’s someone famous or powerful it becomes world news.”
“So that’s why you started TethTech?” I asked. “For power?”
“Yes and no. It gave me the power to protect myself but I‘ve also been secretly selling my shares for months and it’s given me the money to fight back.”
“You’ll see when we get there.”
Rufus drove the car through the city, past destroyed buildings and people living inerty in ramshackle houses. London had been transformed into a third world city. It was now one of the largest shanty towns in the world.
Why would anyone live here? I wondered. Was the need for shelter really worth the risk of exposure to the signal? It just showed how broken the world had become.
“What was London like before all of this?” I asked.
“This city,” said Tobias through Rex. “it wasn’t meant to be like this. Without the signal this never would have happened. London would have remained a glorious city and would have climbed out of recession.”
“So how can you blame the people who hurt you? Didn’t they only want to stop all of this?”
“There is no only want,” he replied. “The people who unleashed the signal only wanted to help save people’s lives when their twin died. The people who operated on me only wanted to make the world right again. Neither of them thought about the cost of what they were doing.”
“But they did save the world.”
“Yes and I am the cost of that. That is a cost that must be repaid.”
“So you plan to kill the people who did this to you?”
“Yes. Every last one of them,” said Tobias.
We entered a large expanse of green land. It was odd to see such a mass of countryside in the heart of the city. On the edges of the grass were large signs which read; ‘Olympic Park’
I’d seen photos of the Olympics in books at school. It had been one of the late great triumphs of London and Great Britain before the 20 Day Siege. The city had thrived and been at a high point in the years surrounding that event. Yet now those glory days were gone.
Many of the buildings that had housed events such as basketball, cycling and swimming had been torn down after the Olympics had finished. The legacy that remained after the events – a large river, beautiful green parks and a glorious stadium were no longer the same.
In the last twenty one years the grass had been uncared for. It has spiralled out of control creating dense green fields that looked like you could get lost in them. The river was now polluted and no longer had anyone who cared enough to clean it.
At the heart of this the stadium stood tall. It no longer looked a thrilling and inviting sight. With weeds, grass and tress spiralling wildly around it, it was a menacing image. A metal structure that had served as a viewing tower lay shattered on the ground, leaving pieces of broken metal and glass scattered through the grass.
There were no other tall buildings around for miles.
Whatever Tobias had planned, this was the place. I was sure of it.
Rufus and Rex walked me towards the stadium, towards an entrance with a ‘D’ letter above it. In front of the gate stood a man with blonde hair that curved around each side of his face. He was dressed in a light grey suit and impeccably well presented. His eyes were a bright blue. Whatever he was doing, he was doing it under his own free will.
“Welcome, Emmie. My name is Jacobs,” he said to me. “Thank you for agreeing to meet with us today. Tobias is waiting for you inside.”
Rex and Rufus started walking into the base. Tobias must have had something else planned for them.
“What will he do to my friends?” I asked.
“Those two?” Jacobs motioned to Rex and Rufus. “He’ll probably keep them alive for a bit. You seem to like them.”
He didn’t sound sure. I hoped I’d be able to repay some of the debt I owed Rex and Rufus for their earlier heroics. They didn’t deserve to be a part of this. This was between me and Tobias. R&R, Grace, March, Gabe, they were all at risk.
That’s why I’d travelled this far and why when Jacobs asked me to follow him I did it without fighting him. Whatever Tobias and this man wanted it may be the only way to save my friends.
“Tobias has waited six months for you,” said Jacobs. “He doesn’t like to be kept waiting but somehow you’ve avoided his detection for six months. How did you do it?”
“I had a little help,” I replied. It made me wonder for the first time that day whether The Deck would be trying to find me. I hoped they weren’t. Tobias had trusted me to come this far alone and if they arrived it could jeopardise everything.
The blonde haired man walked me through the D gate and we turned a corner into a room located under the main seats of the venue. He closed the door behind us and locked it.
He turned away from me and leaned forward. “What are you doing?” I asked. Then I saw the steam rise above him and as his mask melted away I recognised it instantly.
I stood up and walked towards him to see who he really was. He held out a hand to keep me back. I tried to push towards him but he kept me away.
“Sit down,” he said.
I sat and then he turned around.
There was only one word I could say when I saw him.