Arrows of the Leviathan - Chapter 6 - Jailbreak
A year later
May 7, 2024
United States of America
Locke sat with his head in hands, unable to accept that he was in this situation. He was broken. Here he was, waiting for the wheels of justice to slowly turn him out of this cesspit of a cell.
Footsteps echoed down the dark hall and Daniel looked up for the first time. A stout man approached wearing a police uniform, complete with the now standard heavy armor that went with the job. Daniel remembered another time when police officers carried just handguns and rarely wore body armor, a relic of the past.
A sudden flash ran through his brain as he realized that the guard was walking for his cell. Another time, another day, another country and Daniel would have been ready with an escape plan. But this was his country. Daniel had spent most of his life overseas fighting for the United States Army, eventually as a member of the counterterrorism team Delta Force. After that, he had worked freelance for the CIA with his friend Gideon. He had been in many a tight scrape with some very nasty characters but had never been captured. He was mentally prepared and even trained to resist as a prisoner of war. Nothing, however, had prepared him to be a prisoner of his own nation.
Daniel didn't move as the cop peered into the cell. His eyes darted from one side to the next, his thick brow furrowed. A jerk of his chin in Daniel's direction was accompanied by a whisper. "Get up. We gotta go," whispered the guard, much to Daniel's surprise. The quiet voice suggested something unusual, whilst the baton said “do what I tell you” in a much louder voice. "Come on! Follow me!"
A keycard appeared in his hand from a pocket. Daniel stood but hesitated. Was this a trick? Stranger still was the quiet whir and click before the door swung open. The officer had to wave Daniel on before he moved again. He hadn't spent too much time in jail cells, but he was pretty sure this was not how things generally went.
A firm grip took his left arm. The officer pushed him along the hallway and through the station. It was bustling far more than it had last night. The hum of conversation, phones, and general office activity reverberated within the station's walls. All seemed to quiet in his speedy passing. Wide eyes and whispers followed him and his escort. He tried to swing around, swearing he had heard his name whispered. The police station went silent as he and the guard entered a main room. Two officers, who had been debating the weekend's football, stopped open-mouthed, their coffee cups halfway to their mouths.
The guard led him through a series of narrow corridors, ignoring the wide-eyed stares of every police officer they walked past. The passage ended at a door marked "Emergency Exit," which the guard pushed open, leading to a darkened alleyway. The emerging dawn couldn't reach this far down into the city at any time of day. The iron hand of the cop propelled him forward right out the back door into an alley as dirty and dark as his cell had been.
The officer stood half in the doorway, another furtive look darting down the alleyway. The same concerned look narrowed his eyes. "Listen, you were never here." He gave Daniel another small shove. "Move. I understand that you have a job get to," he growled.
Daniel looked up the alley toward the street. Part of him urged him to run toward freedom, the other left him frozen and dumbfounded. He looked back at the cop. "What's going on?"
The policeman looked over his shoulder before replying in a whisper as if someone might be eavesdropping. "Look, apparently you've got some pretty powerful friends. He wanted you to know his name was Markus Gallery. Mean anything to you?"
Another glance urged him to continue. "He also told me to tell you this." He stopped now, over-articulating as if Daniel might be too dumb to understand. "You have a job to do. For Sana."
Locke's eyes flew open in surprise and appreciation. For the first time this morning Daniel felt something more than numbness and confusion. The name meant nothing to him, but it struck him like a gunshot. He was determined to remember that name as long as he lived. He ran a hand through his hair as he contemplated the situation, still in shock. He hardly heard anything as the cop continued to speak.
"Listen, they paid enough to make sure that everyone in the know could set up their kids for a long time! Ducats. Not CPC dollars!” The guard’s eyes almost glittered with the thought of the price he was being paid.
Daniel gazed at him from a few steps away and then at the alley as if he'd only just seen his surroundings. "What?"
The guard hissed through his teeth and gestured for the bloodied man to leave, pointing him toward the street. "Get moving!" The cop smiled and closed the emergency door with a quiet click behind him. Daniel stood alone in the alley. His first few steps were tentative, but they came quicker as he headed toward the street.
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