(You can read last Tuesday’s episode here or click on the tag for all the episodes!)
“Oh, you really shouldn’t have said that,” the gravelly, familiar voice behind the blinding light said, “you really should have pretended you didn’t see Ralph’s face. I thought we taught you better than that.”
“Oh Holy Shit.”
The light swung away from his eyes…..and onto his partners, which were wide with shock, as he supposed, were his own. He had to crane his neck to see his partner, who seemed much cooler and more collected than he felt, but that was part of their training too. But his eyes gave him away. Remember to control your eyes next time, he thought to himself. Unbidden, Robert Redford’s voice came into his head and said, “yeah……next time.
“Captain Smith,” his partner said “what the fuck are you and Ralph doing here? Is this some sort of training exercise? This is bullshit.”
The light was now turned up towards the ceiling, and for the first time he got to see where he was and get his bearings…and see what they were up against. Captain Axlerod Smith, the man in charge of training new recruits at The Center, the man who had trained them both, was sitting on a crate casually dangling his partners sidearm from his finger by the trigger guard. In response to the question, he grinned. There was Ralph and four others, muscle, that he recognized slightly from The Center. All of them were older and had not been in his ‘class.’ There wasn’t much socializing at The Center, it was actually a pretty lonely place to hang out while waiting for an assignment. He was not surprised he didn’t know these four. But he knew from the way they carried themselves and from the look in their eyes that all of them were just as highly trained and just as dangerous as he and his partner were.
Six against two was not good odds, given this fact. And the fact that the man who had taught him just about everything he knew was his opponent. His mind still ran through all the possibilities for escape, but his heart kept trying to flutter downwards. He noticed Ralph was going through the shreds of his suit.
“What exactly are you looking for, you know we only bring standard issue equipment on missions.”
“The disc” growled Smith, “what did you do with the fucking disc.”
“Disc? The only discs I have are old movies. You must be jonesing to see Lawrence of Arabia pretty bad to go to all this trouble.”
Smith grinned again and nodded at the man behind him, who began cutting the rest of the foam away from his back and shoulders. This gave him a little more freedom of movement, but the fact that his arms were cuffed to a heavy iron bar that spread them so far apart that his hands couldn’t come within five feet of each other… The fact that he was kneeling on a cold steel floor with his ankles crossed and cuffed and the fact that he was now completely naked after they cut off the rest of the foam and searched the rest of his clothes…apparently for some disc….
Led him to think his best chance was negotiation.
He was trying to decide whether he should use a cool collected approach or to break down and pretend to beg…..when he actually remembered a disc. It seemed almost entirely out of the question that it was the disc that Smith was after, byt he tried to convince himself that it was the disc Smith wanted. It would make his negotiation more sincere.
“Wait! I remember.”
Smith actually laughed out loud this time, and he wasn’t sure he had ever seen that before through all those endless months together training It was pretty damn scary. Smith got up and walked over to his partner.
“So now you have the disc? All of a sudden when you realize you are out of options, you are willing to deal? Sorry sport, I believed you the first time, I don’t think you have it. You remember sport, I have the best BS detector in the whole Center. No, I am afraid this whole deal, getting you assigned to this mission, thinking you wouldn’t dare leave the disc behind, the information we got from your partner about all of this…” Smith turned and shot his partner in the temple and he slumped to the floor, dead. “…it was all a big mistake. An error, a fatal faux fucking pas, a massive misjudgment….”
He heard Smith walk towards him, he kept his head pointed forward so he wouldn’t have to look at his partner again.
He tried to turn his head to the left then to look up at Smith standing over him now. But he jerked back. His head had been stopped by the barrel of Smith’s automatic, the metal still hot from the shot that had killed his partner just a moment ago, burning into his skin.