Journey of Rick Heiden Ch. 16
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All Rights Reserved © 2018, Rick Haydn Horst
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
After breakfast, we returned to Maggie’s flat to avoid wandering about in the pouring rain. We chatted with one another as we watched it blur the view through the living room window.
Maggie and Aiden, who appeared to get along well, tried their best to engage Pearce in conversation, and by his short answers, he had no interest. I knew they would have a discussion the previous evening. I hadn’t known the topic, but with Maggie, one could only guess. In the past, she and I had discussed a variety of controversial subjects that one should avoid in mixed company.
I watched Maggie and Aiden interact with one another, and I thought their personalities meshed with ease. Maggie came from France, and the French love to flirt, but I knew Maggie well. She had a free spirit in a world of imposed unreasonable expectations with demands of conformity. The world shamed or shunned noncompliance, even in private matters that harmed no one. Maggie did what she must to survive in such a world, but she resented it. She told me it felt stifling, and she feared her acquiescence would destroy her true nature.
Aiden, the Englishman, had moments in the faltering of his stiff upper lip, but I wouldn’t call his lip particularly rigid. In many ways, he had the remarkable luck to have such intellectual talents that it separated him from his peers. It placed a protective barrier around him, which, no doubt, caused difficulty at the time, but it had insulated him from becoming emotionally inhibited. I’m uncertain that he had ever met anyone like David, who projected himself capable, confident, relaxed, and masculine in a more genuine sense, rather than living a stereotype as many men do. I sensed Aiden admired David for that, and I witnessed Aiden, on occasion, study David. He watched his mannerisms, his bearing, and the things he found most interesting about him.
The rain would stop later in the afternoon, and we somehow ended up in a discussion about rain. Pearce commented that it was depressing, but that reflected his state of mind at the time. Maggie expressed a different view.
“I don’t mind the rain,” Maggie spoke in her French accent that I always found so charming. She stared out the window with a simple smile. Her skin, once tanned at the beach near her home in the South of France, had faded to a more natural peachy bisque, and her cheeks suddenly flushed a bit. “The rain reminds me of a romantic experience. When I was seventeen, a boyfriend and I decided to walk the Allées Paul Riquet on a warm summer evening after dark. So, we parked his car beneath a streetlamp nearby, and he held my hand as we strolled. We had gone many blocks appreciating the ambiance and enjoying one another’s company when it suddenly began to rain. We ran and laughed, desperate to reach the car.” She smiled. “The rain soaked us before we got there. As it continued to pour, in the halo of the streetlight, he kissed me.” –she turned toward Aiden, who sat near her– “I love spontaneous romantic moments; they don’t come along every day.”
Her story enchanted us all, but none more than Aiden. I think Maggie fascinated him. She had such beauty and loveliness; he hung on every word she said.
We sat cozy and dry in a cafe at luncheon. We missed the rain on the way, but once again, it poured from the sky. We hadn’t sat there long, drinking tea and having sandwiches, when the drone found the signal. We monitored the remote in expectation as it split into three before triangulating the precise location.
The map zoomed in as we watched. It located the ring in motion, moving west in a vehicle on City Road just past the basin. Once it turned onto Saint John Street, it stopped a bit over half a mile away, at which point, whoever had it entered a building along there. Maggie had no intention of joining us but suggested we meet back at her flat. We tore out of the cafe into the chilly rain.
Our hydrophobic clothing wouldn’t get wet much, dashing past pedestrians and dodging vehicles, but the rain had soaked Pearce to the bone, and the run had him out of breath when we arrived.
Someone had the ring in a purple and lime green-colored sushi bar. We went in, and I did not expect to see the person whose hair I immediately recognized. Katheryn Elliott, wearing a plum-colored blouse, sat at a quaint little table with her back to us. The delightful little sushi bar had one worker and two other customers besides Katheryn. We avoided playing around with her in conversations or pleading to a better nature she likely didn’t have. So, with limited possibilities, we took the choice that an honorable but desperate person might. We posted Pearce at the door, Aiden at istanbul travesti the window, and stunned everyone there. David searched the contents of Katheryn’s purse without luck. I searched her pockets, and then I found it. It dangled on a chain into the neckline of her dress.
With nervousness over what we had done, I fumble with the latch until it finally gave way. I put the ring on my middle finger. “What do we do now?” I asked David.
“Well, there’s nothing for it,” he said, “Katheryn knows where Cadmar is, so we bring her with us.”
So, up she came, and when we got her out the door, I noticed an older car sitting in front of the restaurant. It blocked the traffic, much to the annoyance of the drivers in the vehicles trailing behind. Its door opened, and I could not believe it. The persistent fellow, Inspector Julien Le Gal, stood there.
“I told you I want to help you,” he said, gesturing emphatically. “Please, let me.” The people in the cars behind began honking their horns and yelling out their windows.
It only took a moment, and David led us to the inspector’s car. “How did you find us?” I asked him.
“I put a GPS tracker into your jacket pocket in the cemetery,” he said.
“What? What is this with people tracking me down?”
David and Aiden put Katheryn in the back-middle seat, we climbed in, and he drove on. Despite the car’s size, it made a tight fit between the six of us.
“Oh, mon Dieu (Oh, my god),” Julien said in exasperation, “please, tell me I’m not an accomplice to an abduction.”
“No inspector, Il s’agit d’une mission de sauvetage (this is a rescue mission),” I said.
“I see,” said the inspector. “I apologize, Monsieur Heiden for the tracker. I hope you forgive me, as I had the best of intentions. I recognized something happening when the tracker showed you running on the sidewalk, so I came to you. Fortunately, I had parked nearby.”
“Aiden, why didn’t you find that tracker with your device?” David asked from the front seat.
“I only checked the flat, not us,” he replied.
“M. Heiden, you speak French beautifully.”
“Thank you, inspector,” I said, “I’m out of practice.”
“Please, call me Julien. Okay, tell me, who is this woman, and why did she need rescuing from a sushi bar?”
“She’s not the victim, Julien,” said David. “Are you sure the British have done the same as the Americans in giving the treatment, or whatever they’re calling it, to people?”
“I know it for a fact,” he said. “The British have done the same as the Americans, with success.”
“If true,” said David, “they must have a living source. They lied when they said Cadmar had died, and Katheryn Elliott here knows all about it.”
“So, where would they get it, Cadmar’s blood, I presume?” asked Julien.
“You don’t want to know.” Pearce, who sat soaking the seat in the middle front, spoke for the first time in over an hour, and no one said a word thinking of the significance of his statement.
Pearce, that poor man, I felt sorry for him. The sadistic torture to which they subjected him appalled me, but knowing the world as I did, it hadn’t shocked me in the slightest. It sickened me to know that people would do horrifying things to someone, while others would dismiss, blame, and degrade them when they dared to come forward about it. The male-dominated culture we lived in would ridicule a man who spoke about experiencing rape. Its injustice nauseated me. Of course, David, Aiden, and I knew what they must have done, and that gave us more cause to stop them. If nothing else, one’s bodily integrity should remain sacrosanct in this universe.
“I do not know where to go,” said Julien. “I can drive until we run out of petrol, or you can give me a destination.”
“David, I think he’s still somewhere at Facility3,” I said, and he turned around in his seat as best he could.
“We may just- oh look, Katheryn’s coming around,” David said, and she did. Aiden and I held her arms so that she couldn’t hurt us.
“Anata wa sushi o tanoshinde imasu ka? (Did you enjoy the sushi?)” I asked her.
“What am I doing here? You!” She scowled at David when he showed his face.
“Did you miss me?” Aiden asked, sitting to her left.
“It’s a good thing she did, Aiden,” I said. “No doubt, she’s furious over it.”
“Aiden, you bastard,” she said. “Let me go!”
“You have someone we want back,” David said. “You and your people cannot keep him.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.
Julien quickly pulled into a rare empty parking space. “Ms. Elliott, I am Detective Inspector Julien Le Gal of Interpol,” he said, showing his credentials. “What you and your fellow mad scientists have done is illegal, and I will drag all of you before an international criminal court on the charge of threatening public safety, and possibly even terrorism.”
“Go to hell,” she said.
“Please, Katheryn,” I said, “we want Cadmar back. Where is he?”
“You’ve istanbul travestileri kept him at Facility3, haven’t you?” David asked.
“If you already know, then you don’t need me, do you?”
David pulled his pistol out of his jacket and showed it to her.
“I wonder,” said David, “do you remember seeing this, just before I shot you Monday morning?” –she stared at it intently– “It’s quite powerful and versatile. It has many settings. You’ve felt one of them twice now. Should we try some of the others, you think? Let’s see….”
“I’m not buying it,” she said. “You’re too principled to torture anyone.”
“How about buying this then?” asked Aiden, then whispered into her ear.
We couldn’t hear what he said, but he knew things about her that we couldn’t, so it had to have the potential to cause quite the scandal.
“You wouldn’t dare,” she said. “It would implicate you too.”
“Yes, it would,” he said, “and I don’t care anymore. Getting Cadmar back means that much to me. Besides, I renounced my citizenship here the night before we came back, and I want to go home. This world has nothing to offer me that I want, not even you. You know, when I stopped your appointment, I did it for the best of reasons. I don’t hate you, despite what you’ve done. I did it because you would steal the credit after I did all my work and yours. I knew you had used me to get what you wanted. If only you had learned some generosity, I would have done anything for you. But just a few words from me, and you can forget all that, forever.” He lifted her hand and squeezed it just enough to keep her attention. “I kept your secret, Katheryn. If you could be honest with us and tell us Cadmar’s location, I will continue to keep it. I have no problem with that. You can have this world. I have no desire to interfere with your life, and I won’t, so long as you don’t interfere with anyone who belongs with us.”
Katheryn never made any apologies, or even asked whether the man she shot survived. She sat there, no doubt, searching for a way to benefit from giving us what we wanted. She must have thought of something because she finally told us. They had kept him at Facility3, just as I thought.
“Why didn’t I see him?” David asked.
“It’s like the room labels,” she said, “you have to know where to look. You must take a short tunnel to get there. It’s in room 15b; the back wall has a hidden opening. Go through the tunnel to the lift; top floor, you can’t miss it.”
“Does it have another exit?” David asked.
“Of course,” she said, “fire safety and all that.”
“Couldn’t we go in through the exit?” I asked.
“You would need a bomb to get in that way,” she said, “and I suspect you don’t want to draw that kind of attention. Just go in the front door and out the fire exit. You must pull the fire alarm before the door unlocks.”
It grew quite odd. Katheryn either got into it because she enjoyed creating chaos, or for a more personal reason. She seemed too helpful too quickly.
“Does it have any guards?” I asked.
“Why wouldn’t a secret lab have guards?” I asked.
She looked at me. “You have to think like the government to understand. Guards draw attention to things. Want something overlooked and unquestioned? Let it remain commonplace and insignificant.”
“Yes,” I said, “of course- Wait, have you implied what I think you’re implying?”
She tilted her head back and looked to the ceiling. “Block-of-flats.”
“Oh, my god,” David said
“I do not understand,” said Julien. “What is block-of-flats?”
“Rick will have to show you,” David said.
“Won’t we go together?” I asked.
“Rick,” said David, “I will ask you to do something you will not want to do, but I must.”
“And what is that?”
“Julien,” said David, “I need you to drive us to the Canada Water tube station. Do you know the location?”
“No, but I can find it.” He unlocked his smartphone, and we sped off the instant he located it.
“I don’t want to leave you behind, Rick,” said David, “but I need you to take Julien to Facility3. I know that we could give him the address, but one of us has to keep an eye on Katheryn.”
I knew what David was doing, and he was right, but inside I sensed he rejoiced at keeping me out of the line of fire.
“I’ll relent on one condition,” I said. “We keep an open channel through Iris. I want to know what’s happening. I don’t want to sit here, twiddling my thumbs, wondering if or when you’re coming out.”
“That’s fair,” David said, “providing it’s not too far underground.”
“I want to go in,” said Pearce.
I should have guessed it, but it hadn’t even occurred to me. David felt reluctant to agree. I thought Pearce was too weak to join them.
“Are you sure? You can’t have a weapon,” David said.
“I don’t want a weapon,” Pearce said, “but you will need me. When we find Cadmar, he may not walk out on his own. It took me nearly a day of eating travesti istanbul regular meals while off the machine before I had enough strength to stand again unaided.”
“Really…,” David said, then scowled at Katheryn.
“Cadmar is fine,” Katheryn said, “tired perhaps, but well treated. We’re not the Americans, and it isn’t a problem to let him go. We don’t need him anymore. There’s no reason you can’t have him back.”
She disgusted us with her insensitive attitude. Pearce turned in his seat and rendered Katheryn the scorn such a remark warranted, and she was oblivious to what motivated it. However, the treatment of men by people and government, as a trivial object to use before disposal, represented abuse and one of the worst forms of misandry.
Once outside the Canada Water station, we did a bit of shuffling. Aiden and I got out, activated the child-locks on the doors –so Katheryn couldn’t open them, and Julien locked out the back windows at the driver’s door. I kissed David for good luck, and the three of us activated Iris. I muted my end, so my talking wouldn’t distract them. Iris was working, although I noticed her voice sounded different. I sat sideways in the front seat to keep an eye on Katheryn and help Julien find Facility3.
“Merci, Julien, de nous avoir aidé (Thank you, Julien, for helping us),” I said.
“Vous êtes les bienvenus. Mon cœur est avec votre peuple et ses idéaux (You’re welcome. My heart is with your people, and their ideals),” he said. “Vivre dans un monde sans crime doit être le paradis. (Living in a crime-free world must be paradise).”
“Chaque monde a des problèmes (Every world has problems),” I said.
He smiled. “No doubt, that’s true,” he said.
I guided Julien, while David’s team entered the station. Through a bit of static, I could hear the faint chirps of their weapons. They used an electromagnetic pulse on the guards’ communication equipment, including their mobiles, to isolate them. They took both carts from their end of the tunnel. They put their pistols away for a moment, to draw less attention.
“Turn right here, Julien,” I told him.
It didn’t take long before they made it to room 15b.
The signal was almost too far underground for Iris to reach. With difficulty, I understood David to say, “How do we get into the passage? I see nothing obvious.”
“How do they get into the passage at 15b?” I asked Katheryn.
“Press the tile inconsistent with the pattern, to the left,” she said.
I relayed the information, and it took several tense minutes before they found it.
“We’re in,” David said.
They waited for the lift. When it arrived, the presence of a former coworker forced Aiden to stun them.
“We’re taking them back up with us,” Aiden said.
We pulled into the cul-de-sac and turned around.
“We’ve reached the top floor,” said David, who came in loud and clear by then.
In my ears, I heard several projectile weapon discharges, and Aiden’s voice, “I’m shot!” I nearly jumped out of the vehicle to run to the building.
“We have him. We have Cadmar,” said David, who then asked Aiden if he could walk.
“I think so,” said Aiden, “but I feel light-headed.”
I turned to Katheryn in the back seat; she sat there staring at me. “You said it had no guards.”
Katheryn shrugged with a little smile. “I lied.”
The fire alarm sounded, and I had Julien back up to the building where I stood by the car. They burst out the door of one of the flats. David supported Aiden, and Pearce assisted Cadmar. They had a tough time descending the metal staircase, but I helped Aiden down the last flight to the ground. Cadmar wasn’t a small man, and Pearce had gotten tired, so David took over with Cadmar. Aiden looked okay, except for the hole in his right thigh, which hadn’t bled much.
When we got to the car, Pearce let Katheryn out, and David put Cadmar in the middle of the back. Katheryn stood back, watching us, pleased to see Aiden’s injury. Once I worked Aiden into the middle front seat, I figured I would have no other opportunity to get some answers from Katheryn.
“Why did you pretend to send Cadmar to the United States?” I asked her.
“So, you would give up and lead me to the portal,” she said.
“Yes, but why that ruse rather than some other?”
“Oh, I see,” she said and began smirking. “We heard all your speculation over the surveillance, so we just gave you the one you would most believe.”
She had a devious mind, and we would overthink everything.
Charles, the guard, had exited his white room and stood at the garage entrance across the street as the fire alarm rang out. He just stood there with no gun visible.
David noticed him, stopped for a moment, and turned off Iris.
“Good afternoon, Charles,” David yelled across the street, “have you any letters for me in the post.”
Charles shook his head. “Not today, will your five in tow stay for tea?”
David shook his head. “Not today.” He sounded a bit sad.
Charles nodded. “I noticed what you were doing here, so I ushered everyone out the back exit.” He tipped his hat to David. “Have a pleasant day, Mr. Levitt, and good luck.”
“Thank you, Charles,” David said, “the same to you.”
I whispered to David. “That was strange.”
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