Chapter 14 - Connection
F.B.I. Agent Arnold Armstrong
“Oh fuck! What do I do? Keep it together Arnold.” I muttered to myself in the trunk of my own car. I knew when I saw Gable drive up that things would end catastrophically. I didn’t know what else to do so I hid. I’m not a coward I just know that Quinn and Harry wouldn’t let Sasha go without a fight. God dammit. And now I didn’t even know if my co-workers were still alive. But I believed they were; they had to be, at least one of them.
I finally took a second to calm myself and looked around the trunk sparking the lighter I kept in my pocket. I found it – I knew my car had one.
Emergency Trunk Release
Everyone in the academy picked on me for my size. This was my time to shine, I checked my side and made sure I had my sidearm loaded.
I pulled the red lever, and the trunk flew open. The light from the setting sun behind me blinded me as my golf clubs, my case files, and everything else flew out onto the highway. I held on for dear life when the unknown driver of my car slammed on the brakes.
This was no time for thinking only acting. Just before the car came to a halt, I took out my gun and slammed into the back seat. I waited until heard the driver’s side door open and I climbed through the little cubby in the back. I never thought I would be so happy to be small.
I climbed over the backseat and jumped in the driver’s seat. The soldier behind the car caught onto what was happening after he saw the empty trunk and started to shoot at me. He miraculously missed enough shots, and I threw the car into reverse and ran him over.
“Holy shit!” I felt his body thump underneath my tires, and I backed up far enough to see him writhing on the ground.
“Nobody steals my car!” I floored the brake and whipped the car around to the opposite side the highway and put the pedal to the medal, sirens on full blast and within ten seconds I was flying down the road at one hundred miles an hour.
Finally. I was going to prove that I wasn’t worthless to my team. It’s Arnie’s turn to save the day.
Please. Harry, Quinn, Pensky. One of you has to be alive; I can’t do this on my own.
Colonel Jimmy Gable
En route to Boston
It feels good to win. That sentiment of optimism kept me from thinking about how much fucking pain I was in. Keep the thought of pain from your mind, and you’ll never feel it. That asshole may have shot my ear off, but I finally destroyed that disaster of a haircut. I just wish I would’ve had time to look at Quinn’s dead body and get closure for all his team had done to elude me.
I knew those idiots would try something, and they died in their attempt. We wouldn’t have to worry about Quinn and Harry anymore. The path to Boston was clear.
I looked behind me at Sasha and the blonde girl who had an excessive amount of tears streaming down her face. Now that everything was settled with those treacherous FBI bastards I felt like showing an act of mercy to my recent captives.
“Relax, you two will be okay as long as you behave. I promise no harm will come to you. I just want what’s waiting for us in Boston.” I said wiping the tears away streaming down the blonde girl’s face; her makeup now smudged beyond repair.
“What exactly is waiting for us Gable?”
I figured I clue Sasha into what was going on, she had the most powerful computer in the world in her hands, and she still was blind. “It’s a supercomputer, and it’s collecting all of the information in the world as we speak – and we can alter it any way we want to. If you behave, I will let you live and let you choose your future.”
She knew I couldn’t kill her. But I would certainly kill her fucking friend if she didn’t give me what I needed. I had to try at least to access Virgil.
“Sasha give me your phone.”
I clicked back the hammer on my .45 and pointed it at Courtney’s head. “Give me the phone Sasha! Or I will kill your friend!” Sasha buckled and handed me the device. She seemed so tense, but again so quiet, there was a fierce spirit burning inside of her.
I tried to unlock the phone, but nothing happened, once again. “Why won’t this fucking thing work! So now your phone is a brick huh Sasha? How convenient.”
“Aren’t you one of the people behind this? Are you too stupid to remember its security measures?”
Me? Stupid? Sasha sparked something inside of me there, so I decided to share information of my cruelty to her. “Of course I know of its security. Not only was I advising its construction, but I saw it used in the field when I killed your uncle.”
“What did you say?” Sasha stammered.
“Oh, you haven’t heard? I will say, I deeply admired his dedication to protect you, but it did cost him his life.”
I wanted to know how fierce that spirit of hers was. I saw the rage building in her cheeks, tears she tried so hard to hold back began flowing down her face. She knew I was serious; she might have been thinking about this.
“Oh, Sasha. Don’t you believe me? I have pictures. I killed your” – the little bitch blindsided me. And she started to punch me in the head furiously. God damn, it hurt, especially when she began to hit my bandaged ear. Her friend next to her had to bright idea to try and strangle my driver, and we swerved into oncoming traffic.
My Sergeant was good, he dodged several cars and veered back onto the right side of the road. I finally broke through Sasha’s beating. I whipped out my pistol and fired it several times through the roof in the car. I then took the butt of it and smashed it into Sasha’s face. I think I broke her nose.
“Enough!” I shouted in rage while my Sergeant pulled over the car. I aimed my pistol at Courtney and pulled the trigger, but Kline blocked my shot, deflecting it with his arm through the roof of the car.
“Sergeant Kline! What are you doing?”
“Do you want to drive to Boston with this girl’s brains all over the inside of the car? You’re losing it, sir!”
Courtney and Sasha cuddled together and were both crying hysterically.
“You fucking bastard!”
“I will fucking kill you! I’m going to fucking kill you!” Sasha screamed at me, but I had enough of them taking advantage of my kindness. Only one thing to do with these bitches.
I held my ear in pain as my Sergeant, and I stepped out of the car and walked to the back. Courtney struggled against Kline pretty desperately until he punched her in the face. Sasha was still very dizzy, so she didn’t struggle too much. We pulled them out of the backseat and took them to the trunk. My other three men arrived behind us in the car we stole back in Saint Louis.
“Are you okay sir?”
“Yes. Just had some issue with some backseat drivers. Where is Mathis? He should’ve been right behind you.”
“I remember he had to stop for gas, sir. Do you want to wait for him?”
“No time. My ear is killing me, get over here and help me put these two in the trunk.” Sergeant Kline once again spoke out.
“They’re going to suffocate in there sir. We need her alive.” I glared at my subordinate questioning my actions, so I lifted the trunk and everyone scattered and dropped when emptied my second clip through it. I reloaded my gun and looked to Sergeant Kline. Eight holes in the trunk, they would have plenty of air.
“Now they won’t. I’ve had enough of your insubordination Kline. I don’t need your advice, understood?”
This will be the last voice memo of this mission. This has been Air Force Officer Jimmy Clarence Gable. This has been recorded for the sake of history; I want everyone to know the lengths I went through to accomplish my mission. The next time you hear from me, I will rule the world-wide-web in a new era of technology. I will hold insurmountable power, and nothing will ever keep me from doing what is necessary ever again.
I regained a little of my conscious. My shifts of dizziness were coming to an end. I opened my eyes and saw that fucking bastard. My hatred for Gable was not being withheld one bit. I kept muttering to him as his men pushed us into the trunk. Courtney had taken a blow but right as they put her in the trunk she starting flailing and struggling hysterically. Using all of her strength to try and jump out of the trunk.
“No please! NO! JUST KILL ME!
“I will fucking kill you if you draw any more attention to us!” Gable pushed her face into the carpet of the trunk and pressed the barrel of the gun against her head. I looked directly into her tear-drenched eyes and mouthed to her “I have an idea.” Courtney squirmed but knew how close she was to death and nodded her head to Gable.
“Okay. When I let go of your mouth, you will be silent. If one peep comes out of that mouth when I take this hand away, I will pull this trigger. Do you understand?”
Courtney nodded and bit her lip as Gable removed his hand. I kept shaking my head to her and imploring her to stay calm, one word, and she was dead, and I would have to stay next to her corpse, I couldn’t imagine something so horrible. Gable slowly stood back from her and took his gun away from her head. I let out a breath of relief.
“Here’s some water. A couple of protein bars. And your fucking useless phone.”
“You sure about giving her the phone sir?”
“What did I say about questioning me, Kline? Yes, it will do her no good in the trunk. Don’t worry girls. These next five hours will fly by.” Courtney once again started to scream when Gable slammed the trunk. I understood I was scared to, but I didn’t want her to die.
I covered her mouth and wiped the blood from her nose with my sleeve as she let out everything she had in her. Every bit of bottled and suppressed emotion she felt was flowing out of her – I was terrified for my friend. “Courtney. Shhh! You want to die?”
I then slapped her in the face and held her head. “Don’t you ever say that! We still have VIRGIL! We can still get out of this! Agent Quinn said it would be okay! He promised!” I wanted desperately to remain hopeful, but I broke down in tears, I didn’t believe in that bullshit. We were in so much trouble, and what could Virgil do? It was just a phone. Losing sight, I’m sure I wasn’t helping Courtney’s spirit. But I felt my own strength crumbling; I never imagined I could be brought down to rock-bottom ever again.
I felt Courtney pat my back, she began to calm herself and attempted to spread that effect to me. I couldn’t feel hopeless again; I just couldn’t.
“Sasha. I need to tell you something.”
“I have to tell you my secret. And why I’d rather die than be in this trunk.”
I lent her my full attention. I had been waiting for this; I could tell I was the first person she had ever told. The secret, the very thing that defined her, just as my accident defined me.
“I. I was raped, many times; sometimes I still do get raped. My father charges clients $20,000 to fuck me. There’s a catch though. Every time it happens I’m blindfolded, handcuffed and put in extremely cramped spaces. Sometimes a coffin, sometimes a box with a hole. Sometimes it’s a fucking car trunk.”
Courtney started wailing once again, and I held her close. I cooed her while I let her vent her secret, not once did I interrupt her.
“This is why I do drugs. Why I fuck every guy that walks – anything to keep me out of that god damn house. I don’t know why I was so mean to you and all of the others. I’ve held this secret in for so long and turned me into a fucking monster. I’m so sorry Sasha. I’m so fucking sorry for everything I’ve ever done.”
“It’s okay Courtney. Look. We’re going to get out of this. And we’re not just going to survive. We’re going to live. You hear me?”
She shook her head wiping the tears from her eyes and smiled at me. “It feels so good to tell somebody finally. I think as long as you are here with me Sasha I will be okay.”
We held each other close and tried to keep good spirits; it would be the only way we would survive. And Courtney’s episode moved me to tears. Despite how cruel she was, how evil she appeared along this journey some small part of me knew that she was good. Regression can be a very transformative thing.
“Sasha. Do you think you could call me a friend? You’re the first person to ever see me for who I am. I need to know if you can ever forgive me.”
“Courtney. I will always be your friend. Just chill out with the judging and insults okay?”
Courtney laughed and smiled. “Ha. Okay, no problem. I love you, Sasha.”
“I love you, Courtney.”
“I’m sorry about your uncle.”
Floyd. Damn, he was innocent before all of this – now he suffered the same flaw as us. We were truly all in this together now. Virgil had to come through for us. I shed a few tears for my uncle, thinking about how his death would affect our lives when I saw the screen flash on my phone. Courtney pointed it out.
“Sasha, your phone.”
“What does it say, Courtney?” I asked removing subtle tears from my ducts.
Courtney crawled over to the edge of the trunk and looked at the screen, and smiled when she responded to me. “It says: help is on the way.”
Applewood Diner. Outside Scranton.
“Trevor? Are you okay?” I signed to him. I’m glad he could understand my simple sign.
“Okay? Yeah, I’m alright.” We stood up and brushed the dirt off our clothes. The reality was brutally rushing back to me. The men who brought me here, they were the ones who did this. I bowed my head in total silence. I now know why Sasha broke down over her accident. Trevor then nudged me and handed me my phone.
“Come on bud. Talk to me. What’s going on?”
I fell on it and cracked the screen, but it still worked as I typed my response back to him. “It’s my fault; I didn’t know who they were. I just believed them.”
“Hey. They fooled all of us. Don’t be selfish and take the blame. Jesus Christ.” Trevor looked around. Five bodies surrounded us. And we had no idea what to do. I’m sure the police would be here soon, people scattered like mice when the shooting started. No time to think about that though.
“What should we do Trevor?”
“Let’s check to see if anyone is alive. If not then we’ll find the keys to the truck we drove here in. You go check Pensky, and I’ll work down the line of bodies from there.”
I walked over to the first two bodies while Trevor went over to check for a pulse on Agent Harry Westin. I waded through all of the bullet casings and pools of blood, trying not to get any on my pants. This had to be the most traumatizing thing I have ever experienced. Now was no time to be afraid, Sasha needs us. I summoned the courage and bent down to Agent Pensky. He was as cold as ice the same for the man on top of him.
I stood up and shook my head at Trevor.
“Yeah me neither. The boss here is soaked in blood.”
Agent Westin, Agent Pensky and two of Gable’s men were all dead. We only had more body to check, Agent Andrew Quinn’s. Just we were bending down to check his pulse two sheriffs pulled up with their sirens on full blast. I began to shake slightly, and Trevor whispered to me. “Don’t worry Floyd. We’ll explain what happened they might be able to help us. Excuse us! Officers?”
“Get down! Both of you down on the ground!”
“Okay. Okay! Come on Floyd.”
We raised our hands in the air and got to our knees, lacing our hands behind our heads as the sheriffs approached us. They walked up behind us and pushed us into the ground. Staring at Quinn’s motionless face, I didn’t need to check his pulse; he was shot in the head, there was no hope for him, or any of us now that Sasha was gone. During the time they began to latch the handcuffs on us we heard an engine screaming down the highway. It was the charger.
“Hey, Mac! One of ours?”
“Whoa. Whoa! Stop!”
The charger squealed into the parking lot with music on full blast. I closed my eyes sure that it was Gable coming back to finish us off, but out of the door came a familiar voice. The officers aimed their weapons at the man exiting the charger until he announced his presence.
“Sir stay by the car!”
He flashed his badge and ignored their orders. “F.B.I.! You two back away from them! They’re with me.” Arnold came up to Trevor and picked him up off the ground first while the sheriffs tried to question him.
“So can the bureau explain what the hell is going on around here?”
“Yeah, I can. Sheriff Mac? You were Allen’s contact?”
Arnold, to all of our surprise, punched the sheriff in the face, his partner drew on him. “You two idiots were supposed to confirm his identity! Imposters snuck through your network and because of your negligence three agents and two other men are dead!”
“How the hell were we supposed to know this was a viable threat?”
Amidst their arguing, I was still lying in the dirt, and I heard:
I felt a tad bit of wind hit my face and looked over to Quinn.
He was alive. I had to alert the others, so I started squirming beneath the sheriff who was much smaller than I. Within seconds I had him off my back, and I felt my phone fly away from me, but I was too exhilarated, how was this possible?
I tried to sign to them: “He’s alive. Quinn’s alive!”
And of course, they all looked at me like I was disabled.
“What’s he saying F.B.I. guy?”
“I don’t know! What are you trying to say?”
I ran my hands through my hair in frustration and bent down to Quinn. Trevor recognized my movement and leaned down to me as well. Trevor leaned in and listened to Quinn reaching to see if he could find a pulse on his neck.
And then, we were finally dealt a bit of luck.
“Holy shit! This guy is breathing!”
Arnold pushed the officers out of the way and helped us pick up Quinn to lean him against one of the bullet-riddled cars in the parking lot.
“Quinn! Quinn are you there? Thank God.”
Quinn’s eyes began to open, and Arnold snapped his fingers in his face. “Wake up buddy! I need you here with me.”