Anchors No More #30: An Unexpected Change of PlansAug 11, 2014
The elevator door slid shut behind them. Gary, Daniel and Restrepo stood silently on Level B3, the grey tiled floor of the dim halls complimenting their moods. Gary shook off his warm creeping nostalgia. Christ, he thought, looking at Restrepo, unable to believe it had only been ten days. All of this, all of that, only ten days. Restrepo glanced at Daniel and Gary remembered last week, that moment when he realized Restrepo was breaking them out, not taking them further into the pits, and now here they are, back where they started, going… Gary’s blank stare was interrupted when Restrepo nudged him, “Go that way,” and gestured left.
Gary walked, joining Daniel’s side while Restrepo hung back a few meters. He knew Pierre was already in position inside the lab and Elizabeth was with Kate one elevator behind. Everything was on track, all they had to do was get there and get down to business.
Fifty seconds later, they were there.
With a hand on the doorknob, Daniel paused, giving Gary and Restrepo a confident smile lightly accessorized by a subtle worried sigh. He turned the knob and they walked in, each surveying the room for their own immediate purposes.
Gary and Daniel detailed how many scientists were in the room, where the machine was located, who was working where. Restrepo tracked the layout of the lab, how many guards were hovering, where the tight-spots were, the places to avoid if tempers flared. Restrepo saw Pierre, the visor to his helmet up as he stood at attention in the corner next to a legitimate ARLIS guard. Across the room there was one more guard standing near the Marshall Temporal Device. Restrepo thought it looked heavier and bulkier than he remembered: it would be a bitch to get down the basement stairs. Giving each of the guards a slight head nod to acknowledge their presence, Restrepo made sure the three scientists working in the room were likewise well aware of him as he settled in the back of the room near Holly’s device.
Gary and Daniel quietly finished their feigned conversation and casually walked between the two rows of tables. They kept their heads facing each other, maintaining a slight angle away from the guards. The scientists working at the tables looked up, curious as to the flurry of recent interruptions.
Daniel casually slid a multi-paged form from his jacket as the two reached the back of the room. Walking straight up to the pair of scientists working on MTD, Daniel introduced himself and the four men exchanged curt handshakes and greetings. When the introductions ended, Daniel looked over to Restrepo, “Guard, the papers please.” Restrepo walked stiffly over to them and from the pocket of his flack jacket he pulled a few pieces of paper, handing them to Daniel who in turn handed them to the lab shift leader, Walter. Restrepo took a step back, placed both hands gently on his rifle and stood at attention.
“I’m sorry to spring this on you,” Daniel said, “They were supposed to give us a couple days to prepare for the transfer but things changed.”
Walter and his partner read the pages, flipping through them with growing disbelief, “You can’t be serious,” Walter said, “There is no way we can have this type of transfer take place in this time frame. There’s only five of us here until Monday, even if we worked overtime we would need at least a day and an half to…”
“Two hours,” Daniel said matter-of-factly, “they want it in less that two hours. They sent us to make sure it happens exactly as they want.” Daniel gave Restrepo a nod, Restrepo walked to the nearest guard and handed him a second paper, this one outlining their change of their orders. The soldiers passed the paper between themselves, giving one another long looks, making sure they each understood: they would no longer be observing and protecting, they would be detaining and guarding. Pierre stepped forward first, lowering his visor and walking to the end of the table, blocking the door as he readied his rifle.
Daniel turned back to Walter, “Do you have any further questions?”
Walter watched as his team be huddled together in the center of the room, a look of shock smeared his face, “How are we supposed to do this?” he asked, “We’re theorists, the engineer team has the weekend off.”
Daniel smiled, trying to maintain an air of entitled courtesy, “That’s why we’re here,” he said gesturing to Gary, “We’re leading the dismantling procedure and supervising the transfer.” He motioned to Restrepo and two unknown guards, waving them over, “We need one man here and two men to help lift the machine once we have it disconnected.” Daniel gave Restrepo an extended glance and turned back to Walter saying, “I need you to pick three of your crew to assist in assembling all of your notes and paperwork.”
It was difficult for Walter to wrap his head around this sudden change, simply not believing they were being shut down so unexpectedly. He looked at Restrepo, his eyes lingering on the rifle in his hand. When he looked at Gary, he thought he caught an inkling of nervousness in the eyes. Raising his chin, Walter said, “I need to call my supervisor before we start unhooking this device.”
Daniel waved the paper in his face, “I’m your supervisor now,” he said sternly, “and we’ve been ordered to not accept questions. Do you understand?”
Walter stared at him, measuring his next response. He looked back to Gary, trying to unlock some puzzle in his eyes. Before anyone could speak a cough from across the lab broke the stare-off. A scientist in the huddle said, “I know who you are.” Every eye in the room turned towards him.
The scientist who spoke was staring straight at Daniel, Restrepo stepped forward lifting his rifle slightly. He glanced quickly at Pierre who was doing his best to appear to be not lifting his rifle. The scientist saw Restrepo walking towards him and tried to stay calm, “You’re Daniel Hobbes, you’re wanted for treason.”
Daniel stared at him for an awkward moment before a motion beside him caught his eye. He glanced and saw Walter slowly stepping towards the emergency phone on the wall, “Stop right there,” Daniel commanded, “I don’t know who you think I am or what you think you’re doing but…”
Before Daniel could finish, before he really knew what was happening, the room erupted in chaos. A guard raised his rifle at Daniel and yelled, “You, down on the floor,” Restrepo swung his rifle towards the guard and coldly said, “Put your gun down.” The other two guards raised their rifles and pointed them at Restrepo causing Pierre to take a step forward and raise his rifle. Daniel tried to speak but could not form a coherent sentence, sensing fingers twitching on triggers and ears deaf to pleas of rationality.
© David Edward Wagner 2014. All Rights Reserved.