Newspaper Spies: Part 14 – (fin)ally

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I was taken down a long hallway that led to an elevator. I was bundled in and watched as the numbers slowly counted down.

Forty, thirty-nine, thirty-eight…

…twenty-four, twenty-three, twenty-two

The elevator stopped and I was pulled forward. I stumbled slightly, but quickly got my feet back underneath me. I had no idea what was going on or where we were going. I was confused, tired and scared. All I wanted was to wake up from this nightmare. If only-

“Oliver?”

“Clair!”

He was standing there. Just yards from me. He looked tired and worn, but a smile flashed across his face. Beside him stood another man with something dangling from the chain he held in his fist. There were people all around the room, all of them had an uncertain look on their faces as if they didn’t quite understand what was happening, though to be honest I didn’t have a clue either.

The tall, thin man stepped before Oliver and the man with the chain. “Hand it over.”

“Not yet,” Oliver said. “We will just before we leave the building. You can follow us down if you want. Don’t feel like you have to though.”

The tall man turned to face the woman and my jailer. “Let her go.”

“Are you sure?” I heard my jailer whisper.

The tall man looked at my jailer, “yes, I’m sure. Let her go and follow them out of the building.” To the woman he said, “make sure you get that flash drive. They cannot be allowed to leave with it.”

“Can we trust them?” The woman said quietly.

“I know those two well. They’re telling the truth.”

I sensed someone behind me and the next second my wrists were free. I didn’t hesitate for a second, I ran to Oliver and was received with open arms. In that moment, I didn’t care about anything I didn’t care that I barely knew Oliver. I didn’t care that I had no idea who he was with or why I was suddenly being let go. All I cared about was that I was finally away from those who had held me.

I could have stayed in that hug forever, but Oliver pulled away, grabbing my hand as he did so.

“Come on,” he said softly. “Let’s get out of here.”

I was in a daze as we were ushered into the elevator again. My mind was racing, and I couldn’t slow it down enough to grasp any coherent thought. I lost my sense of time as we went down. It could have taken a minute or fifty for all I knew. There were only two things that I was fully aware of, the fact that I had just been let go and Oliver’s hand, which was still holding tight to mine.

When we reached the front doors, everyone stopped walking. The people who had escorted us down stopped and the woman held out her hand.

“Give me the flash drive.”

The man who had apparently come with Oliver, hesitated for a second, but in the end handed the woman the chain with the flash drive hanging from it.

“Thank you,” the woman said shortly and watched as we left the building.

As we walked away, Oliver continued to hold my hand. I took in a deep breath of cold night air. It was over, it was finally over. I was free.

_____________

“Do you remember,” I asked Oliver, drawing a finger along the rim of my coffee mug. “Why were you willing to give up all the information you had collected about the company?”

Oliver looked down into his own coffee, a bit abashed. “I wasn’t willing to risk someone’s life over it. And anyway, it didn’t matter in the end. They were still caught.”

“Yes they were,” but I wasn’t willing to stop just yet. “But you didn’t know that was going to happen. You gave up your only chance to stop them from taking control of all the resources from Mars. If they had succeeded they would have had control of almost every market, the world’s economy. Why did you give away what you had?”

“I knew the police would get to the bottom of it.”

I snorted. “No you didn’t. You didn’t trust them for one second.” I glanced over at him. “Oliver, why did you give it up?”

He didn’t answer right away, but when he did he looked me straight in the eye. “I didn’t want to lose you.”

I didn’t say anything, I simply scooted closer to him on the park bench and rested my head on his shoulder. I closed my eyes and smiled.

After a while I spoke up. “So, what’s your thing for this month?”

“I’m not sure yet,” Oliver said. “But I don’t think I’ll be doing anything spy related for a while.”

“No?” I said, a smile fighting to be seen.

“No,” Oliver lifted my chin and gave me kiss. “Being a spy is a little too much fun.”

 

-fin-

Newspaper Spies: Part 13 – Floor Twenty-Two

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“I don’t like this.”

“Did you think you would?”

“Come on Andy, you know what I meant.”

“Sorry, just trying to stay calm.”

“You and me both.”

They were talking under their breath not wanting to give the people watching them a reason to call off the deal.

Getting into the building had been surprisingly easy. Once inside, they had only made it down one hallway before they had promptly had their hands bound and had been frog marched into an elevator that took them to the twenty-second floor.

There Oliver and Andy had waited only a few minutes before a tall, thin man with a thick head of hair had appeared.

“Hello Anthony,” Oliver had said before the man could open his mouth. “Haven’t seen you for a while. How are things?” Andy had given his friend an exasperated look. He would never learn.

“Hello Oliver, Andy, what are you doing here?” Anthony had stepped directly before the two men though, Oliver noticed, remained a safe distance away.

“I got your note,” Oliver had stated. “‘Stop snooping or the girl dies’ it was nice of you to send, though I might have chosen a word other than ‘snooping’, sounds a little bit too much like an old spy novel.”

A flash of anger had flickered across Anthony’s face, but he’d quickly hidden it. Beside Oliver, Andy had whispered “careful” under his breath.

“I’m glad to see that you appreciated it. I am told you two were found downstairs snooping around, which I take to mean you aren’t going to heed my warning about the girl.”

At the mention of Clair, Oliver’s air of nonchalance had faltered for a moment. “Where is she? What have you done with her?”

“As if I am going to tell you,” Anthony had said smugly. “However you can tell me something. What are you two doing here?”

Andy had spoken up then. “We have some information that you might find pertinent.”

“Is that so?”

Reaching inside his shirt, Andy had pulled out a flash drive that was attached to the chain around his neck. “We have some rather alarming data here that will most certainly ruin your plans.”

Anthony’s expression had remained blank, but his eyes had showed a flicker of fear. “What do you expect to be able to do with that? Threatening us with data we already have? Do you expect to free your friend that way?”

“Not entirely,” Andy had said. “To anyone who hasn’t worked here this will simply look like nothing special. However, unfortunately for you, both Oliver and I have worked here, and we may have taken it upon ourselves to include an explanation of exactly what you have been doing here.”

Nothing in Anthony’s stance had changed, but some of the people around him had begun to shift nervously.

“What do you plan on doing with it?”

“We’re here to exchange it,” Oliver had said firmly. “For Clair.”

“And why would I agree to this?”

“Because we’ll send it to the authorities if you don’t.”

“And what makes you think we’ll let you leave here in one piece?”

Oliver had answered, “we’ve known you for years Anthony, we started this company with you. We know that you won’t hurt us, at least not seriously. We were friends before all of this started and no matter how bad you’ve turned you won’t hurt a friend, not when it comes down to it.”

“Are you sure about that?” he words had been strong, but a little uncertainty had begun to creep into his tone.

“We wouldn’t have come if we weren’t.”

 

Newspaper Spies: Part 12 – Change of Plans

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“You’re sure about this right?”

“You’re asking now?”

“Just making sure.”

“Yeah, I’m as sure as I’m going to be. This isn’t exactly safe you know.”

“I know, that’s why I was asking.”

“Andy do you trust me?”

“Not entirely.”

“Then why did you agree to help?”

There was an uncomfortable pause. “Let’s just get this over with.”

“Fine by me, let’s go get her.”

Oliver and Andy turned the corner, walking up the nearly deserted street. A few people were coming toward them, but they were stumbling slightly, clearly out for a night of fun. There was a tense silence as the two neared their destination.

The building across the street looked menacing as it rose high into the night sky. Clouds and moonlight danced across the dark windows. Oliver took a deep breath trying to calm his nerves.

It’ll be fine, he told himself. We can do this. We have leverage. We can do this.

“Last chance to go back,” Oliver said trying to sound joking, but it wasn’t convincing.

“Thanks, but no thanks. I said I would do this with you. I’m not going back now.”

“Alright,” Oliver took another deep breath. “Here we go.”

They crossed the street.

_________________

My knees were tucked before me. I had my hands clasped around them and was hugging tight. My thoughts had, mercifully, died down to a dull rumble. I continued to focus on small things, mundane things. I had lost count how many different ways I had counted to one hundred.

The man who had been watching me when I’d woken up was still there. He hadn’t left once. A few people had come in to tell him something in a hushed voice so I couldn’t overhear, but other than that not much had happened. I’d been given a sandwich a while ago, but I hadn’t eaten it. A mixture of fear of something happening to me if I did and overall nerves kept me from touching it.

I rested my chin on my knees and rocked back and forth slightly, starring at the sandwich and paper plate before me. I wondered for the umpteenth time if anyone knew I was missing and if so when they were going to find me. I wasn’t sure how long I had been here, but I was starting to wonder if anyone was coming at all. The paper plate became blurry and I slowly raised a hand to wipe away the tear. I wasn’t going to cry, not now. I was going to hold it together. I wondered how many times I had told myself this. How many times had I gone around this circle of thoughts?

I needed to think of something else, anything else. Where was Oliver? What was he- no I couldn’t think about him. If I did I would be led right back into that nasty circle. I decided to count, backward from one hundred…again.

One hundred, ninety-nine, ninety eight…

…three, two, one

The door burst open and a woman rushed in.

“I need you to come outside,” she said to the man who was my companion.

“Why? I was told to stay here.”

“Yeah,” the woman said slowly, glancing at me. “The plan has changed.”

The man, who had his arms crossed gave me a look that warned me not to move an inch. “Fine.” He followed the woman out, slamming the door behind him. I heard the click of the lock.

I was alone. I was alone for the first time since I’d woken up. I slowly unfurled myself, unsure of my new situation. Rising to my feet I tried to hear what was being said on the other side of the door. However, try as I might, I couldn’t make it out.

I stood, silently watching the door until it finally opened and three people walked in. The two who had recently left the room and a man I hadn’t seen before, not that I’d seen many people.

“You’re to come with us,” said the new man. He was tall and thin, with a thick head of hair and a face that I doubted had ever smiled.

“Why? Where are you taking me?” I sounded stronger than I felt, if only a little.

“You’ll see.” The man turned to my jailer, “tie her hands.”

The man, my jailer, came toward me and I backed away quickly. I wasn’t sure why, there wasn’t any where to go, and I promptly hit the wall behind me. The man grabbed my arm and yanked me around, roughly shoving me into the wall. My arms were tugged behind my back and my wrists bound. I felt a firm grip on my upper arm and was forced to turn around again.

The woman opened the door and all four of us passed through.

Newspaper Spies: Part 11 – Old Friends and a Note


“You have to listen to me. I need to talk to Andy. It’s really important.”

“I understand that sir, but-”

“No, you don’t seem to. If you did you would be doing something instead of sitting behind that desk.”

“Sir, calm down. Please just take a seat and I’ll will go talk to him and be with you shortly.”

“But-”

“Sit and I’ll go get Andy.”

Oliver took a deep breath, turned from the front desk and stalked over to the chairs lined up along the wall. In his hand he clutched the note. He had read and reread it so many times he just about had it memorized. Oliver continued to take deep breaths trying to calm his thoughts. It had been almost twenty-four hours. He wasn’t sure where Clair was, but he knew that his former company had her and the note proved it. His fingers absentmindedly folded and unfolded the scrap of paper while he waited.

Finally, after what seemed hours, Oliver looked up at the sound of footsteps to see Andy walking toward him; he sprung to his feet.

“Oliver? What are you doing here?”

“Andy I need your help. They’ve done it. She’s in danger.”

Andy scanned his face and must have seen the sincerity in Oliver’s eyes. “Alright, come back to my office and we can talk.”

Neither spoke as Andy led Oliver through a maze of cubicles and printers. Only once they were seated in his office with the door closed did Andy speak.

“Who’s she? Are you sure?”

“Her name is Clair and yes. This was on my door when I got home earlier today.” Oliver held out the note.

Andy read it aloud although he did so quietly. “Stop your snooping or the girl dies.” He gave Oliver a significant look, “you haven’t.”

“So what if I have?” His words were defensive, but poorly masked the worry behind them.

“Oliver, we left for a reason. We wanted to be done with all of that. They’re bad, we reported them. That was supposed to be the end of it all. Why have you kept searching? What good will it do?”

“The police weren’t going to do anything.”

“You can’t possibly know that.”

“Yes I can. I-” Oliver stopped abruptly.

“You what?” Andy prompted, concern plain on his face.

“I may have looked through their cases.”

“Oliver! You promised me you would stop once we left. It’s not safe, we knew that then, and we defiantly know that now.” He waved around the note. Oliver said nothing. Andy signed. “What do you need from me?”

“Wait really? I thought I’d have to beg.”

“Yes really. Knowing you, there’s a reason why you didn’t stop digging and you wouldn’t have come here with this,” he handed Oliver the note, “if you didn’t have a good reason. I’m guessing that reason is Clair?”

“Yes it is. I dragged her into this by mistake and now she’s paying for it.”

“By mistake? You sure about that?” Andy’s tone was not angry, it was exasperated, as if he had heard all of this many times before.

“Yes,” Oliver said defensively. “I met her in the park and we started talking. We were starting to become friends, but I could tell she knew I was hiding something from her. When they announced it, the first thing I thought was that I needed to tell her, tell a friend.”

“You could have come to me. Why go to someone who you’d only just met? Someone who doesn’t know anything about any of this?” Oliver didn’t say anything, just looked straight at Andy. “Oh right, I made you promise not to talk to me about this anymore.”

“And I keep my promises.” Andy opened his mouth to speak. “Except for not digging, yeah I know. But that’s the first one I’ve broken and for good reason. I might have found something that the authorities can’t ignore.”

“So why are you here?”

“I need your help getting Clair out. And before you ask, I’m not going to the police, they’re not going to do anything.”

Andy held up his hands before him, palms facing out. “I wasn’t going to suggest it. What do you need me to do?”

“Find where they’re keeping her.”

“That’s not going to be easy.”

“I know, but if anyone can do it it’s you.”

“And what are you going to do once we find her?”

“Use what I found as leverage.”

“Are you sure? You said it could be the thing that can take them down for good.”

“I know, but I’m not going to risk someone’s life, my friend’s life, trying to do so.”

Andy gazed at his friend. “If you’re sure.”

“I am.”

Newspaper Spies: Part 10 – Doors

 
Clair:

Surely someone has noticed by now, I thought as I had probably one hundred times before. Surely someone has noticed I’m missing. Someone is coming for me…right?

I wasn’t sure exactly how long it had been since I’d been taken from the park, but I knew it couldn’t have been more than a day. I wasn’t hungry or tired enough for it to be longer. The lights had been turned on at some point. A windowless room had greeted me. It was dirty with a cement floor and brick walls. There was one door and before it had stood a man, who I had guessed to be Dan. He was short and stocky with very little hair left. He had a scowl on his face, I guessed he didn’t want to be guarding me; he looked like a person who preferred action to standing around.

We hadn’t talked much since I had woken up. I let my thoughts wander, but I was careful not to let them lead me to panic. If I began to panic I knew that it would be next to impossible to calm myself back down. If I stayed calm I could think clearly, and if I could think clearly I might be able to find a way out of this mess, or at the very least be ready for when they came to rescue me. Whoever “they” turned out to be.

Who would Oliver go to? Not the police, he didn’t seem to trust them anymore. No, I scolded myself. Don’t think about that. None of those thoughts. He’d go if he really had to. You know that. I reassured myself. But then again, did I?

Oliver: 

“Clair? Clair are you there?” He called, face pressed against her front door. “Clair, let me in. I need to talk to you.” He waited, still up against the door, listening for footsteps. He heard some though they were coming from the wrong side of the door.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Oliver sprang back from the door and turned around. “What? Nothing.”

“Nothing?” the woman who had come up behind him. “Really? Then why is your ear on the door and why are you calling for Clair?”

“We were supposed to meet up and she didn’t show.”

The woman raised an eyebrow. “And that means you need to come here and bother Clair and all of her neighbors?”

“I think something has happened to Clair,” Oliver said, trying to express to the woman the urgency of the situation.

“Do you?” The woman didn’t seem to entirely believe him, but she had lost her accusatory tone.

“Yes, when was the last time you saw her?”

The woman crossed her arms, the bags of groceries in her hands banging together. “Not for a few days.”

“We were supposed to meet up last night.”

The woman looked at him questioningly. “It hasn’t been that long; it’s ten in the morning.”

“I know,” Oliver was beginning to get annoyed with the woman. He didn’t need this distraction. He needed to figure out what had happened to Clair and he was desperately hoping that it wasn’t what he was beginning to fear. “Something doesn’t seem right.”

“Okay,” the woman said. “Good luck. I’m sure she stood you up for a reason. Probably the same reason she’s refusing to answer the door.”

“Right,” Oliver responded deciding the woman was going to be no help at all. “Thanks for listening, and the advice.” He walked off down the hall feeling the woman’s gaze on his back. He stopped halfway down the stairs and waited. A minute or so later, he returned to the hall and found it empty. Oliver walked quickly to Clair’s door, taking his lock picks out of his back pocket as he did so.

He had to know if Clair was home. If she wasn’t…

No, she had to be.

Newspaper Spies: Part 9 – Dual Perspective

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Clair:

I opened my eyes. It was dark. My head throbbed and my shoulder ached. I was on my side laying on the floor. The cold had leached through my jacket. My fingers were freezing.

I groaned, I hadn’t meant to.

“You awake?” A deep voice asked.

I didn’t respond. I just sat up. Well I tried, my hands were bound together behind my back.

“I asked if you are awake.”

“Yes.” It didn’t come out as strongly as I was hoping it would. A silence took over and during it, I found my way into a seated position. “Why am I here?”

“Can’t tell you that.” The disembodied voice was starting to get on my nerves.

I tried to stay calm. I needed to remain rational. “Are you working for someone?”

“Can’t tell you that.”

“What can you tell me?” I throat was tight. I had to fight to make myself heard.

“My name is Dan.”

I didn’t find that very helpful. “My name’s Ann.”

“No it’s not.”

There went my attempt of getting myself ahead. “It’s not?”

“No,” the voice was calm, he sounded a little bored. “Do you really think we don’t know your name Clair?”

‘We’, so he as working with at least one other person. My palms felt clammy and my heart was racing. Why was I here? What had I done?

“Can you turn on the light at least?”

“I don’t think so, no.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t feel like it.”

Deciding not to respond, I worked on calming my thoughts. I thought of the park, where I last remembered being. I vaguely remembered being grabbed and forced into some kind of car. Oliver popped into my mind. I wondered where he was, if he had any idea what had happened to me. I guessed not, though I had no idea how long I’d been unconscious, I seriously doubted he would have been at my apartment yet. We’d agreed to meet up there, but I had a feeling he’d just think I was out. I had no idea what to do, my best chance was someone noticing I was missing.

I could only hope that would happen soon.

Oliver:

He knocked again. No answer. Again he tried. And again no answer. I guess she’s out, he thought and turned away from the door to walk down the hall.

He’s stomach was upset, Oliver guessed it was nerves. It always seemed to do that when something stressful was going on. Something felt off, Clair would have answered, wouldn’t she? It’d only been about four hours. Surely she would have headed home by now, wouldn’t she? However, he had to admit that he didn’t really know her. Clair had looked so tired after going to the police station and he hadn’t handled himself very well afterwards. The main reason he had asked to be on his own was so that she could have space.

Something defiantly felt odd. He had only made it to the staircase before stopping, pondering whether or not to turn back. His stomach was in knots, but nowadays it was almost continuously. Maybe this time was different. Or maybe it wasn’t. Why did he always have to go to the worst conclusion? It did no good. Clair was fine. She was probably just out getting fresh air or a bite to eat.

She’s fine, he reassured himself. Moving forward, Oliver continued down the stairs and out of the building.

Newspaper Spies: Part 8 – Alone

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“I’m going to head home.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, secretly glad. Oliver had been grouchy since we’d gone to the police station.

“Yes, I’m sure. I just need to be alone for a while. I need a nap.”

“Okay.”

“Yeah.” Oliver still sounded distracted. It would be nice to have a break from him. Even though I had finally made a friend, I found the idea of being at my apartment alone relaxing.

“Are you going now?” I asked trying not to sound pushy.

“I think so. Sorry I’ve been in a odd mood. It’s just that the company announcing their rockets and the police not telling us anything has made me really worried.”

“It’s fine,” I said quietly and falsely. “I can’t say the past two days have been dull. I probably would have just been at my apartment doing nothing, at least it’s been interesting hanging out with you.” Well that part was true.

Oliver stopped walking down the sidewalk. “I’ll be in touch.”

I stopped too, facing the park behind him. There were people walking around bundled up in winter clothing. They probably didn’t have a care in the world. They weren’t part of some kind of conspiracy with a dangerous company and a man they’d only just met.

Dragging my self up from the depths of my thoughts I responded. “How?”

“I’ll just stop by your apartment.”

“Alright,” I agreed. My mind was a cloudy mass of thoughts. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and confused. I had just spent a good portion of my day trying to help Oliver make sense of everything.

“Bye then,” Oliver said.

“Bye,” I replied softly. He turned and walked down the street. I remained where I was as relief washed over me. I was alone, I was going to have a break from the craziness.

I gazed into the park and saw a bench. Walking over to it and I sat down sighing. My legs were glad to have a rest. Leaning against the back of the bench, I placed my hands in my lap, closed my eyes and took a deep, cleansing breath. I needed to rest. I needed to think. I needed to figure out what was going on.

As I sat on the bench absorbed in my thoughts, I began to feel for Oliver. He had told me a little of what the company of capable of. I had learned what they had tried to force him to do before he had left. It was no wonder he was so worked up about all of this. He was kind to me; he had explained the best he could. He’d been a friend. And yes, I know that he kind of dragged me into all of this, but he’d warned me. Besides, I had agreed to help him.

I took another deep breath, trying to clear all thoughts of the company from my mind. My heart told me I couldn’t stop helping Oliver, I had come to care about him. However, I wasn’t sure how I would be able to help. Stop it! I told myself. My thoughts had started to wander again. Just breathe and clear your mind. 

A few seconds and a deep breath later, I opened my eyes. I had just enough time to register that a short man in a suit was standing before me.

The next thing I knew something was flung over my head. I couldn’t see or speak the fabric was stretched so tightly against my face. I tried to wriggle away, but someone grabbed my right arm. I felt someone’s firm grip on my left shoulder. Before I knew it I was being forced forward at a quick pace. I was shoved down onto something hard. I heard a door slam shut.

Something hit my head. My world ceased to exist.

Newspaper Spies: Part 7 – Evidence

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We had been sitting in the waiting room for quite some time. Oliver and I, for some reason, thought that when we went to the police station they would see us right away. Apparently that wasn’t how it was going to work.

Upon reaching the station and telling the woman at the front desk that we had some important information regarding illegal activity she had simply told us to sit down and wait for an officer to speak with us.

Oliver, having become inpatient about half an hour into our wait, asked the woman at the front desk why it was taking so long.

“I don’t know, even if I did I wouldn’t tell you,” the woman replied snarkily.

“Well someone’s in a bad mood,” Oliver said under his breath as he sat back down next to me.

“I think she’s been here all night,” I responded. “Give her a break.”

“Alright, fine.” It was silent after that.

When an officer finally showed up Oliver had to poke me in the side to wake me up. I had fallen asleep with my head resting against the wall.

“Come on, they’re here.”

“I’m up,” I replied groggily.

“So,” the officer began. He was young, tall and had blonde hair. “I hear that you have some information you would like to pass on to us. Is that correct?”

“Yes sir,” Oliver answered.

The policeman nodded. “My name is Sam Johnson. Follow me.”

He led us through the department to a space that resembled a small conference room.

“Take a seat.” We sat. “So, tell me why you’re here.”

Oliver looked at me questioningly. I returned his gaze and nodded toward Sam. “Go ahead.”

“Okay,” Oliver took a deep breath and began.

Sam listened well, asking a few clarifying questions along the way. When we were done he spoke. “Right, so I have to go talk to my supervisor and ask him something. I’ll be right back, sit tight.”

He stood and left the room before either Oliver or I could say a word.

“Um,” was all I could get out.

“What just happened?”

“I have no idea. Why is he leaving? Didn’t he hear what we said?”

“I wouldn’t have asked if I knew,” said Oliver, sounding a little rude.

“Hey,” I said sharply. “I’m just as confused as you, no need to take it out on me.”

“What? Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to.”

“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” I put my face in my hands and stared down at the table. My eyes stung from lack of sleep. I hadn’t slept well the night before. Oliver and I had been up most of the night and had risen early. A tiny part of me was beginning to regret becoming involved. I wondered what it would have been like if I had just walked right past that bench. If I hadn’t stopped, where would I be now? Probably safe in my bed, asleep.

The door opened and Sam entered followed by another, much older, man.

“Oliver, Clair,” Sam said, putting his hands on the table, but not sitting down. “This is my supervisor, Eugene Phillips, he will be talking to you about what to do next. Thank you for coming in and good luck.”

I starred at him as he left the room. What exactly was going on?

“Can you tell us what’s happening?” Oliver asked, starting to sound slightly anxious.

Eugene Phillips sat down across from us. “Yes, I can. There is currently an investigation going on about the company that you have come forth about.”

“There is?” I was surprised.

“Yes, there is. Though I am not at liberty to discuss the full details of the case with you, I can however confirm what you’ve told us. The company is trying to control all of Mars’ resources. This, as I assume you know, is in violation of the treaty that was set in place when Mars became a real possibility for future exploration. We suspect that they have been using laundered money to hide their expenses. Oliver here has given evidence that supports this suspicion.” Eugene paused and gave both us a serious look.

“So what now?” Oliver asked. “How are you going to stop them?”

“That, I’m afraid, is not the part of the case I am able to discuss with you. We will be in touch with you when all of this has been sorted out, but for now I would advise the two of you to try to go about your day to day lives.”

“What that’s it? There’s nothing else we can do? Nothing else we can know about the case? Haven’t I just given you a bunch of information?”

“And we much appreciate that Oliver, but there is nothing else the two of you can do at the moment.”

“You’re just going to call us when it’s all over?” Oliver seemed agitated. “But I want to help. I want to do something to stop them. I’ve seen some of the stuff that company is capable of.”

“Oliver,” I said quietly. “Come on, let’s just go. They’re not going to tell us anything.”

He looked at me, an angry expression on his face, but underneath it I saw fear. All three of us were quiet for a moment. Oliver spoke first. “Fine, we’ll go. Be sure to call us,” he said to Eugene.

“You have my word,” Eugene said, seeming relieved.

We had only made it a block from the station when Oliver spoke up again. “This isn’t going to end well.”

“How do you know that? They seem like they have it under control,” I said, trying to be positive.

“I know this company,” he replied. “I’ve seen what they are willing to do. This isn’t going to end as smoothly as the police think. Someone is going to get hurt.”

He’s just worked up, I thought to myself as we walked down the street. Nothing is actually going to happen. The police have it covered.

Only now, I wish I had listened to him.

Newspaper Spies: Part 6 – Early Morning Plans

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“To Mars? Are you sure?”

“Yes! Yes, I’m sure.”

“How do you know?”

Oliver’s gaze moved to the floor beneath his feet. “Just do,” he said shiftily.

My stomach knotted slightly. “Oliver?” He didn’t look up. He had an air of guilt about him. “Oliver?” I said a bit louder trying to grab his attention. He looked up, but didn’t meet my gaze. “What is going on?

“I don’t want to talk about it, okay?”

I was becoming concerned. “No, not okay.” It came out harsher than I had meant it to. “I just met you today. You’ve come to my home late at night talking about robots being sent to Mars and some sort of distraction. I barely know you and now you’re not telling me what’s going on! So no, it’s not okay. You asked for my help today while we were getting coffee. I agreed, but you can’t only tell me bits and pieces. Some how I feel as if I’m part of this, so you’ve got to tell me what you know, and all of it, or I’m going to ask you to leave.”

Oliver starred at me; a shocked and hurt expression on his face. I hadn’t planned on letting lose on him, but I was frustrated.

Neither of us talked for quite a while. Oliver appeared to be mulling things over and I didn’t want to interrupt him. I was immensely curious, but prompting him before he was ready wouldn’t encourage Oliver to tell me what he knew.

I eventually got up, taking the now empty tea cup with me. The TV was still talking quietly at us in the background, but I didn’t really care anymore. Once in the kitchen, I left the cup in the sink. Elbows on the counter and chin in hands, I waited for Oliver.

My eyes were starting to droop by the time he spoke up. “I have a plan.”

__________________________

When I walked out of my room the next morning, Oliver was spread out across the couch wide awake. We had finally stopped talking in the early morning hours; I hadn’t had the heart to send him home.

I yawned. “Morning.”

“Morning. Ready for today?”

“All things considered. Do you want breakfast?” I asked opening the refrigerator.

Oliver scooted up into a seated position leaning forward slightly. “I don’t think I could eat anything. I’m too nervous.”

“Same here,” I agreed, promptly shutting the refrigerator door. I yawned again. “Well, I’m going to hop in the shower. Help yourself to what ever is in the kitchen.”

“Probably won’t, but thanks,” Oliver said, a small smile on his face.

“No problem.” Heading toward the bathroom I took a detour to my room to gather up an outfit for today. I didn’t like the idea of walking through my apartment in nothing but my towel.

I let the hot water rain down on me, imagining that it would wash away the craziness that had been the last twenty-four hours. After shampooing and washing I turned off the water and just stood still, my towel wrapped around me like a blanket. What was I doing? Why was I helping out Oliver whom I had only known for a day? These and many more questions began swirling around my brain. Taking a couple of deep breaths I calmed myself down.

You know why you’re doing this, I reminded myself. They’ve got to be stopped…right? No, I couldn’t second guess this now, I was too far in. I would have to go on. If nothing else for Oliver’s sake. He was so tormented by all of this, I hated seeing anyone hurt. I quickly got dressed, brushed out my damp hair and threw on a little make-up; I wanted to feel confident.

Oliver was in the kitchen drinking some coffee when I came out of the bathroom. “You’ve got good coffee.”

“Thanks. I don’t drink it much at home, mostly tea. Feel free to take a shower if you want. I can get you a fresh towel,” I offered on my way to the couch where I folded the blanket Oliver had used the night before.

“Okay, thanks. That would be great.”

Ten minutes later he exited the bathroom in the same clothes he’d gone in with, but with freshly washed hair.

“Do you want to stop by your apartment on the way? You could get a change of clothes,” I suggested.

He looked down at what he was wearing. “No, it’s fine. I’ll just go like this. The shower helped.” He glanced out the window, sighed, then looked directly at me. “Ready?”

“I guess.” And with that we put on our shoes and coats.

Closing the door behind us I made sure to lock it. We walked in silence down to the ground floor. As we stepped out into the street, I realized the enormity of what we were doing. Oliver could get in a lot of trouble. And now, since I had met him, trouble might find me as well.

Even so, we started down the street, heading for the police station.

Newspaper Spies: Part 5-Rockets

  
I glanced back at where Oliver seemed to be looking. 

“The rockets? Yeah, Why? What’s going on?” I had no idea why Oliver needed to be here this late at night. 

“Can I come in?” He hadn’t answered my question. 

“Yeah sure.” I stepped back from the door and held it open for him. Walking in, he took a few steps into the main room before standing quietly.

I closed the door and passed Oliver to sit on the arm of the couch. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I had only met him that day and now he was in my home or it could be that he seemed to be worked up about something, but either way I felt the need to be cautious. 

“Oliver,” I said folding my hands and placing them in my lap. “Why are you here?”

“They are launching the rockets.” He wasn’t looking at me; his eyes were glued to the TV.

“What’s so important about the rockets?”

“They’re going to do something bad.” He had a panicked look in his face. 

“Here sit down,” I prompted gesturing to the couch next to me. He did so, the whole time keeping his eyes fixed on the newscast. “Do you want me to turn it off?”

“No!” His abrupt tone surprised me.

“Sorry, I’ll leave it on then. Do you want something to drink? Tea, juice, water?”

“Tea sounds good,” he said absently. 

“Ok, one tea coming up.”

I left the arm of the couch and put the kettle on. Heading back to Oliver, I sat down on the floor infront of the couch. 

“Do you want to tell me what exactly is going on?” 

Oliver took a deep breath and seemed to have to drag his eyes away from the television. I turned down the volume to background noise.

“The company says that the rockets will be able to launch people into space soon, but that’s not all they’re planning.” 

“How so?” 

He paused, glancing at the screen again. 

“Are you sure you don’t want me to turn that off?”

“If it’s okay with you, can we keep it on?”

He seemed so distracted and unnerved I didn’t feel it would be right to say no. It wasn’t bugging me that much anyways. “Sure, no problem.”

“Thank you.”

He was having a hard time focusing. “What did you mean by ‘that’s not all they’re planning’?” I prompted gently. 

“They’re also building robots that will be able to mine resources.”

I didn’t see why that was so bad. “And?”

“And what?” He said as if it was obvious. 

“What’s wrong with robots mining for resources? Wouldn’t it keep more people out of the way?”

“Yeah, here on Earth. They’re announcement is a distraction from what they’re actually planning.”

The kettle began to whistle. Getting up I walked to the stove and turned it off. I grabbed a mug from the cabinet, filling it with hot water and a mint tea bag. I always found that mint could be calming; Oliver could use something calming. 

“Here you go,” I said, handing him the mug. 

“Thank you Clair.” 

I was burning with curiosity. “So you were saying that the company is planning something?”

“They want to send the robots to Mars.”