Chapter 43: Childish spy games
As it was pretty much her routine for the past few days, Chrissy printed the top news of the day she received by Frog Courier on a removable hard drive and uploaded everything to the project server. Then, she communicated the information to the Castaways and discussed, as covertly as possible, the status of the replication and the upcoming transfers.
She had adapted relatively quickly in this world of spy games and felt a little foolish about it, as opposed to real spies and criminals. She couldn’t see any consequences to her actions. It was exciting to know that they would have gold, diamonds, and advanced equipment hidden somewhere in Africa. The truth was, she was safe in her dirt-free oxygen bubble with more comforts than anyone ever had. At times, she could imagine herself living like before, driving to work, returning to even the most beautiful house money can buy and yet, it would pale in comparison to the Facility. Besides the lack of decoration outside the Chamber and communication with the outside world, she could definitely see herself living in that subaquatic underground complex forever.
She was on her way to send her note to the Castaways, her life sign detector in hand. She could see no one in sight in that section. The corridor made it almost impossible to hide a camera and that was reassuring and almost too easy, she thought. Although they were not showing it to her, the real challenges were on the other side of the transporters, somewhere in Africa, hours or days from the nearest village or town. Steven had discussed it with her, but she felt that he had been a little too dramatic about it. She was a city girl from head to toe and the only dangerous
adventure she ever had was some bad turbulence during one of her last airplane trips to the island of Crete.
That’s the main reason why Steven insisted on making the transfers, which Chrissy had taken for a form of gallantry. But the truth was that he found her disregard for the potential risks unsettling. To him that was no game, or if it was, it would be one with grave consequences.
Everything was ready for transport on the pad and she stepped on it like she had done many times in the past few days. But, this time it was different. She was not sure why. Then, it hit her. Three out of the six polygons were lit. She acknowledged it in her unconscious mind and pressed the African Station instinctively and jumped off the pad. She started walking back toward the elevator. It was then that the realization dawned on her. She entered the elevator a little shaken and returned to her room. As Chrissy walked in a few minutes later, Steven turned toward her. Seeing the mystified look on her face as she looked at a glass of water floating in midair, he willed the device to deposit the glass, got up, and motioned toward to kiss her. He said with a smile of excitement, “That’s a tool to make the obesity in North America even worse.”
But Chrissy just looked at him for a second and went to sit on the bed.
“What’s wrong baby?”
“How many lighted symbols do you see when you step on the transporter pad?” asked Chrissy, looking at him with absent eyes.
“You know, only two. Why?”
“Well, for the first time, I’m not sure, but I think I have seen three,” replied Chrissy, feeling him touch her, but she didn’t respond to it. “I can see three now.”
“Really? Wow, that’s eh, sweet!” replied Steven, trying to understand the implication and what to do next. “Do you mind if we go and take a look together?”
“Sure. If you see it too, that means I’m not crazy,” observed Chrissy, forcing a smile.
In less than five minutes, they returned to the transporter section. Steven didn’t even break stride, stepped on the pad and turned to face outward. He was so fast that he had to wait a long second for the display to appear. As visible as the nose in the middle of his face, there it was. A new geometric shape, right underneath the dodecahedron of the Facility they were in. It was hexagonal, like the African one, but it seemed slightly bigger. He looked at Chrissy and stepped off the pad.
“I didn’t hallucinate, did I?” she asked rhetorically.
“No, you didn’t. That wasn’t there before, I’m sure. There is no way we would have both missed it,” he responded.
“What should we do?” asked Chrissy, not wanting for them to make the same error as Eirik and Jack did.
“Nothing, for now. We have enough of three important people missing from here without adding two more.”
“I’m glad. I didn’t want you to go,” she admitted, as she gave him a swift kiss. “Let’s go back to our room and discuss it and sleep on it. Then, we can decide what we tell the others.” Chrissy held on to Steven’s hand and proceeded to lead the way.
As much as Steven wanted to go to their room and take her up on her offer, he felt like he had during his entire life about opportunities: Now it was there, in an instant it may not. “I love you, and I understand the wisdom of waiting.” Steven gave Chrissy’s hand a gentle squeeze as he stopped in his tracks. “But, maybe we should send a note or a communication device at least. It would only take a minute.”
“Later. If we do, we need to stay near in case someone replies,” countered Chrissy. “I know we shouldn’t hide things from the others, but since we have started getting involved with Celina and the guys or decided not to tamper with the access system, I’m not sure we are exactly part of the project anymore... at least, not fully. We can’t go and explore a new Facility by ourselves without telling anyone either.”
“I’m not suggesting that we do. Well, it’s like this: You do what’s good for you and the group,” explained Steven. “Now we are sort of involved in three groups: The Castaways, the United Nations, and us, who have access to things others don’t. The issue for us is how to make decisions to please everyone. Am I making sense?”
“Totally, nice bit of reasoning, too,” answered Chrissy, thinking how smart he was for his age.
“Thanks,” he said, loud enough. “It’s some Nobel Prize dude’s idea,” he muttered.
On the way back to their room, Steven was sure he had made a mistake. Urgency was of the essence. The access to that new Facility was there now. It may not be there the next day—hell, it may have been already too late and they had missed their chances already. But as he felt Chrissy’s hand in his, he knew that he couldn’t risk doing things like that anymore. How could Mafia Dons and career criminals commit to a life of crime, knowing that they could lose their relationship with their wife and kids at anytime? He never really understood that balance between the rewards of the crime and the punishment for being cut off from the person he loved until now. Everything was perfect for him at this very moment and he wouldn’t risk it for anything.