Littler Brother 2
I hated how my body was betraying me, how my mind couldn't control my body, but there was nothing for it.Finally, the coughing subsided enough for me to take in what was going on around me.
People were shouting and it sounded like someone was scuffling, wrestling. I opened my eyes and blinked into the bright light, then craned my neck, still coughing a little.The room had a lot more people in it than it had had when we started.
Most of them seemed to be wearing body armor, helmets, and smoked-plastic visors. They were shouting at the Treasure Island guards, who were shouting back, necks corded with veins."Stand down!" one of the body-armors said.
"Stand down and put your hands in the air. You are under arrest!"Severe haircut woman was talking on her phone.
One of the body armors noticed her and he moved swiftly to her and batted her phone away with a gloved hand. Everyone fell silent as it sailed through the air in an arc that spanned the small room, clattering to the ground in a shower of parts.The silence broke and the body-armors moved into the room.
Two grabbed each of my torturers. I almost managed a smile at the look on Severe Haircut's face when two men grabbed her by the shoulders, turned her around, and yanked a set of plastic handcuffs around her wrists.One of the body-armors moved forward from the doorway.
He had a video camera on his shoulder, a serious rig with blinding white light. He got the whole room, circling me twice while he got me.
I found myself staying perfectly still, as though I was sitting for a portrait.It was ridiculous."Do you think you could get me off of this thing?" I managed to get it all out with only a little choking.Two more body armors moved up to me, one a woman, and began to unstrap me.
They flipped their visors up and smiled at me. They had red crosses on their shoulders and helmets.Beneath the red crosses was another insignia: CHP. California Highway Patrol.
They were State Troopers.I started to ask what they were doing there, and that's when I saw Barbara Stratford. She'd evidently been held back in the corridor, but now she came in pushing and shoving.
"There you are," she said, kneeling beside me and grabbing me in the longest, hardest hug of my life.That's when I knew it — Guantanamo by the Bay was in the hands of its enemies.
I was saved.Chapter 21This chapter is dedicated to Pages Books in Toronto, Canada. Long a fixture on the bleedingly trendy Queen Street West strip, Pages is located over the road from CityTV and just a few doors down from the old Bakka store where I worked.
We at Bakka loved having Pages down the street from us: what we were to science fiction, they were to everything else: hand-picked material representing the stuff you'd never find elsewhere, the stuff you didn't know you were looking for until you saw it there.
Pages also has one of the best news-stands I've ever seen, row on row of incredible magazines and zines from all over the world.Pages Books: 256 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z8 Canada +1 416 598 1447They left me and Barbara alone in the room then, and I used the working shower head to rinse off — I was suddenly embarrassed to be covered in piss and barf.
When I finished, Barbara was in tears."Your parents —" she began.I felt like I might throw up again. God, my poor folks.
What they must have gone through."Are they here?""No," she said. "It's complicated," she said."What?""You're still under arrest, Marcus.
Everyone here is. They can't just sweep in and throw open the doors.
Everyone here is going to have to be processed through the criminal justice system. It could take, well, it could take months.""I'm going to have to stay here for months?"She grabbed my hands.
"No, I think we're going to be able to get you arraigned and released on bail pretty fast. But pretty fast is a relative term.
I wouldn't expect anything to happen today. And it's not going to be like those people had it.
It will be humane. There will be real food.
No interrogations. Visits from your family."Just because the DHS is out, it doesn't mean that you get to just walk out of here.
What's happened here is that we're getting rid of the bizarro-world version of the justice system they'd instituted and replacing it with the old system. The system with judges, open trials and lawyers."So we can try to get you transferred to a juvie facility on the mainland, but Marcus, those places can be really rough.
Really, really rough. This might be the best place for you until we get you bailed out."Bailed out.
Of course. I was a criminal — I hadn't been charged yet, but there were bound to be plenty of charges they could think of.
It was practically illegal just to think impure thoughts about the government.She gave my hands another squeeze. "It sucks, but this is how it has to be.
The point is, it's over. The Governor has thrown the DHS out of the State, dismantled every checkpoint.
The Attorney General has issued warrants for any law-enforcement officers involved in 'stress interrogations' and secret imprisonments. They'll go to jail, Marcus, and it's because of what you did."I was numb.
I heard the words, but they hardly made sense. Somehow, it was over, but it wasn't over."Look," she said.
"We probably have an hour or two before this all settles down, before they come back and put you away again. What do you want to do? Walk on the beach? Get a meal? These people had an incredible staff room — we raided it on the way in.
Gourmet all the way."At last a question I could answer. "I want to find Ange.
I want to find Darryl."#I tried to use a computer I found to look up their cell-numbers, but it wanted a password, so we were reduced to walking the corridors, calling out their names.
Behind the cell-doors, prisoners screamed back at us, or cried, or begged us to let them go. They didn't understand what had just happened, couldn't see their former guards being herded onto the docks in plastic handcuffs, taken away by California state SWAT teams."Ange!" I called over the din, "Ange Carvelli! Darryl Glover! It's Marcus!"We'd walked the whole length of the cell-block and they hadn't answered.
I felt like crying. They'd been shipped overseas — they were in Syria or worse.
I'd never see them again.I sat down and leaned against the corridor wall and put my face in my hands. I saw Severe Haircut Woman's face, saw her smirk as she asked me for my login.
She had done this. She would go to jail for it, but that wasn't enough.
I thought that when I saw her again, I might kill her. She deserved it."Come on," Barbara said, "Come on, Marcus.
Don't give up. There's more around here, come on."She was right.
All the doors we'd passed in the cellblock were old, rusting things that dated back to when the base was first built. But at the very end of the corridor, sagging open, was a new high-security door as thick as a dictionary.
We pulled it open and ventured into the dark corridor within.There were four more cell-doors here, doors without bar codes. Each had a small electronic keypad mounted on it."Darryl?" I said.
"Ange?""Marcus?"It was Ange, calling out from behind the furthest door. Ange, my Ange, my angel."Ange!" I cried.
"It's me, it's me!""Oh God, Marcus," she choked out, and then it was all sobs.I pounded on the other doors. "Darryl! Darryl, are you here?""I'm here." The voice was very small, and very hoarse.
"I'm here. I'm very, very sorry.
Please. I'm very sorry."He sounded... broken.
Shattered."It's me, D," I said, leaning on his door. "It's Marcus.
It's over — they arrested the guards. They kicked the Department of Homeland Security out.
We're getting trials, open trials. And we get to testify against them.""I'm sorry," he said.
"Please, I'm so sorry."The California patrolmen came to the door then. They still had their camera rolling.
"Ms Stratford?" one said. He had his faceplate up and he looked like any other cop, not like my savior.
Like someone come to lock me up."Captain Sanchez," she said. "We've located two of the prisoners of interest here.
I'd like to see them released and inspect them for myself.""Ma'am, we don't have access codes for those doors yet," he said.She held up her hand. "That wasn't the arrangement.
I was to have complete access to this facility. That came direct from the Governor, sir.
We aren't budging until you open these cells." Her face was perfectly smooth, without a single hint of give or flex. She meant it.The Captain looked like he needed sleep.
He grimaced. "I'll see what I can do," he said.#They did manage to open the cells, finally, about half an hour later.
It took three tries, but they eventually got the right codes entered, matching them to the arphids on the ID badges they'd taken off the guards they'd arrested.They got into Ange's cell first.