I admit… setting the explosives was more for fun than actually fundamental to my plan. I could have walked right out of the complex and they’d never have known I’d done what I did. But that wasn’t the point at all. The point was they had to know. No more hiding in the shadows.
Hence the theatrics.
As I set the charges around the server room, I swore I was almost getting hard from it. Explosives were fun things, almost as good as a warm, wet pussy.
Blowing up the north corridor had cut off most of the reinforcements they’d have, but not all. I was careful to allow Daniel a path in. It was time to wake him up, make him see what they were doing. It was crucial that he did.
The magnetic lock surged under the pressure they were putting on it, trying to get in the server room. I glanced up at the monitor, showing the sentinels on the other side. Eventually they would make it in, but hopefully after I was finished here.
This server room housed all the overrides for the facility. It wasn’t the best design, but I was glad it was there now. It would allow me to blow all the overrides so they couldn’t stop me on the way out. I’d already visited the lab, and taken what I needed from Ryan’s office. I just needed to make sure all of Section Five knew why I was leaving.
It was a little dramatic, but for an organization that thrived on secrecy, that was what was needed. The tiny earpiece buzzed against my lobe. I glanced at the monitor. Daniel had arrived. Fanfare would’ve been an awesome addition right then.
“Hello, big brother,” I said as I opened the channel.
“Jet, open this fucking door.”
“In a minute,” I replied. I repositioned the metal dampener sitting on the back of my neck. I had to keep the thing covered until I was out and had time to get it cut out. It wasn’t just a tracker. One wrong move and it would destroy me. It was another thing they had lied about. Another thing I would add to the list of sins they had committed.
“Now, Jet,” Daniel commanded.
“No,” I replied. I hit the detonator to the first charge in the hallway. I watched on the monitor as debris fell around Daniel and the guards. It wasn’t a large blast. Just big enough to knock out reinforcements.
Daniel knelt beside one of the sentinels that had fallen and checked for a pulse. How altruistic of him. It was down to Daniel and one sentinel out there. Better odds for me.
“Goddamnit, Jet!” Daniel stood and glared at the camera. His deep voice boomed over my ear piece. “You could have killed all of us.”
“Nope,” I replied calmly. “You know if I wanted you dead, you would be. It was a controlled blast.”
Daniel cussed, and I wasn’t sure if it was for me or just the situation in general. “Why are you doing this? I thought… it seemed like you were doing better.”
I closed my eyes for a moment. Daniel had certain moments where he was almost human again, much like the brother I grew up with. But they never lasted long. Just a few seconds, but it was just long enough to make me second guess myself.
“Better? Do I need to spell it out for you, Daniel?”
“Let me in, Jet. Let’s talk, face to face.”
Two to one still. Had to get rid of the guard first. That would be easy enough. I grabbed the gun and the remote to the magnetic lock and keyed in the code. “Okay. Let’s talk.”
The sentinel must not have remembered his basics class, because even though I heard the objection from Daniel, he charged in anyway. I fired one shot, directly into the guy’s head. I knew the guy too. He’d been a couple classes behind me when I started training. He should have known better.
Blood seeped from the pile of flesh he was now, pooling onto the floor. I could have felt bad, but no one in this place was an innocent. Not one. Especially not me. I couldn’t have sympathy for anyone. No personal feelings. That’s what Section Five taught us.
Daniel had drawn his gun now, but hadn’t fired yet.
“Put it down, Jet,” Daniel said.
I showed him my other hand, holding the detonator. “I wouldn’t shoot me if I were you, Daniel. Dead man switch. I go down, and the whole server array goes with us.”
Daniel’s eyes widened. “You wouldn’t.”
“Try me,” I replied and pointed up at the ceiling. He glanced up and I saw the understanding bloom on his face as he saw the neat little packages of C4 surrounding each support. It was for insurance, really. As hard as Daniel had become, I couldn’t kill him.
Daniel kept his gun trained on me. “You’d kill both of us.”
“You think I care?” I laughed. “I’ve got nothing left. Neither of us do.”
“We have each other.”
“What kind of stupid sappy bullshit is that?” I shook my head. “Kala is dead. David is gone. You’re one of them. Empty promises and veiled threats. You’re not my brother anymore.”
“Jet…” Daniel spoke slowly. “Please believe me when I say I’m working on it.”
My heartbeat quickened inside my tightening chest. I had no doubt that Daniel thought he was telling me the truth. But that was what this place did to a person. “You might as well shoot me now. They’re not going to let me go.”
“It has to be done delicately.”
“I’d shoot you, if I were in your position, by the way. I would shoot you, to save you.”
Daniel frowned, but otherwise showed no reaction. “You are not me.”
“No, I am not,” I agreed. “You aren’t you, either. If you were, you’d be right beside me, instead of pointing a gun at my head. At your own brother.”
“Don’t you pull the brother card on me now. You started this.”
“Now’s a good a time as any.”
“What happened?” Daniel asked quietly, changing his tone to one of sorrow. He lowered his gun. “This wasn’t our plan.”
“I’m changing the plan,” I replied. I pressed the next charge on the detonator, blowing the door behind Daniel. It nearly blew him off his feet, but he kept his balance and covered his face as dust billowed up from the blast.
“Goddamn it, Jet! Stop blowing shit up!”
I laughed. Only we would have this kind of conversation. “I had to make sure we stayed alone. I know they’re on their way. Time is short.”
“Come with me, Daniel. Let’s blow this joint.” I swallowed as Daniel’s face changed. I had zero hope of it working, of Daniel agreeing. I had to try though. I needed my brother, I needed to know that the Daniel I knew was still in there, that he hadn’t had his identity completely beaten out of him by the Pattersons.
“Away. Far away. Where Section Five can’t touch us.” I swallowed hard, willing him to say yes. “Please. Come with me.”
Daniel shook his head sadly. “And then what? We stay on the run for the rest of our lives? We give up on David?”
“David is dead!” I yelled at him. “And if he is not, he should be and probably wishes he was!” I reined in the burst of emotion. “They took him from us.”
I stepped closer toward Daniel. He raised his gun at me, but I didn’t stop until that gun was an inch from my chest. “Help me.”
“Help you do what?”
“We hit them, from every angle we can. We win. They die.”
“Attack Section Five?” The question came out flat and in disbelief. I wasn’t getting through to Daniel. Not even a little. He was too far gone. “You know what happens if Ryan or Sonya are killed.”
“I don’t care!” I growled, anger surging from the depths of my gut, where it pained me the most. “They need to die. They took our family away.” The last sentence came out in a guttural pain. I didn’t let myself think about Kala or David much. It just hurt too much, made me crazy inside.
“This isn’t how we do it, Jet. We work from the inside. That’s the only way. We wait for the right time.”
“If you had your way, we would wait forever.” I shook my head. “I’m done waiting. This is how it’s going to be. Do it with me.”
“I can’t let you do it. There’s too many lives to consider here. Innocent ones.”
“Innocent? Like that new recruit of yours?” I chuckled as Daniel stiffened. I’d touched a nerve there. I knew Daniel better than he knew himself. He had a thing for her, even if he didn’t realize it yet. “Don’t think I didn’t notice the extra time you’ve been putting in with her.” I shook my head. “She’s not our sister.”
“I know,” he said. “She’s just a kid.”
“They brought her here to fuck with your head, to confuse you. But she’s not her, and there is nothing special about that girl other than she looks like Kala. She’s a means to an end. You know that.”
“It’s not about her,” Daniel said in a low protective growl that confirmed everything I’d said. It was about her. Maybe at one point, he was just indoctrinating her as he did all of them. But now, it was definitely more.
“Oh, fuck,” I said, realizing. “You’re staying for her.”
“Yes, you are. You got personal with her.” Jesus. This was worse than I thought. But really, it was good too. If he was interested in her, it meant that the Pattersons hadn’t destroyed him completely. He could still feel. He had to hold tight to his heart. Yeah, it was damaged but obviously it still worked.
The console near us beeped.
“She’s just a recruit.”
The console beeped again.
“You like her.”
Daniel rolled his eyes. He tilted his head to the side, like he was pointing to the console. “You know who that is.”
“No shit. Funny now that I have your leash holder’s balls in a vice, he suddenly wants to talk.” I shook my head. I was done talking. But the fact that Daniel could still feel was something. Maybe he wasn’t totally gone yet. Maybe I could save him.
“Talk to him.”
“No.” I shook my head. I turned my attention to the detonator control in my hand for only a brief second before he rushed me. The air whooshed out of me as we slammed into the wall together. Daniel grabbed my wrist and smashed it against the wall, trying to knock it loose.
Figured he wouldn’t believe me about the dead man switch. Daniel always knew me too well. I wrenched one arm free and rammed my elbow into Daniel’s face. My brother’s head snapped back and I followed it with a swift kick to his stomach. Daniel stumbled back a few steps but recovered and grabbed me around the waist. I tucked as we impacted together and rolled, taking Daniel to the floor with me. But the impact wrenched the remote from my hand and it skittered away, out of reach.
The world blurred, my vision narrowing into just the blind rage that Ryan and Sonya had instilled in me, that they had fostered and watered like a loved plant. They had created the monster that I was, and as far as I was concerned, anything I did from here on was their creation.
We fought, rolling around on the floor until both of us were exhausted. Daniel finally pinned me on my back, the bulk of the dampener pushing against my neck. I wasn’t sure how he managed to get his gun back, but he had. He pressed his foot against my neck, holding me down as he leveled that gun at my chest again.
“Listen to me, Jet. I can fix this. There’s too many variables to destroy Section Five right now. Give me some time so I can tie off the loose ends and people don’t get hurt.”
I laughed. Don’t get hurt? There was no way that would work. I willed him to shoot me, but he didn’t. “There’s no other way, Daniel. This is the only way it can end.” Daniel had to kill me, because I would never stop once I left here. Not until Ryan and Sonya were dead and buried, and all of Section Five was destroyed. We had reached a point where there was no return for me.
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