|The War At Home
Author: MuttsandMoggies PM
While investigating the death of an army buddy, Auggie uncovers a scheme that could harm his friends, and destroy the Agency. Updated!Rated: Fiction T - English - Suspense/Drama - Auggie A. - Chapters: 20 - Words: 105,364 - Reviews: 130 - Favs: 41 - Follows: 96 - Updated: 04-08-13 - Published: 08-14-11 - id: 7287980
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thanks for all the reviews, messages, and alerts. They keep me motivated and cheer the muses. And we all like happy, cheerful muses, even when they want to do horrible things to our favorite heroes.
That said, enjoy!
Chapter Twelve: The Best Laid Plans
Joan Campbell, her veneer of calm masking her inner turmoil, slowly paced the length of her husband's office. Arthur, familiar with each of his wife's moods, managed to read the subtle clues. He recognized the signs and prepared his apology, even as she paced back and forth before him like a jungle cat, all feline economy and not a movement wasted. God, what a woman!
"Did you think this would just go away?" she asked, closing in on him. "The last time the Hill showed any interest in our dealings, you barely survived. How far do you think they're going to go this time? This is Henry we're talking about."
Arthur threw up his hands in surrender. "Honestly? I was hoping they wouldn't call on you to testify. Henry has dirt on me. I was hoping he might not have anything on you. I didn't want you tarred with the same brush."
She stopped her pacing, and laid a hand on his shoulder. "You misguided, chivalrous, dunderheaded, sweet man. I know what you're trying to do, and I love you for it. But Arthur, this is Henry we're talking about. You worked for him. I worked for him. He has dirt on you, on me, on everyone. He'd betray his own mother if he thought he could gain from it."
"Henry Wilcox never had a mother," Arthur said. "I swear he was spawned."
"Sshh." Joan put a finger to her husband's lips. "As paredes tem ouvidos."
"Maybe so," he replied, planting a kiss on her knuckles, "but at this hour even the walls aren't listening any more. Let's go home."
She shook her head at him in mild reproof, but followed him out of the executive suites.
They were waiting for the elevator, Arthur sneaking a kiss on his wife's shoulder, when Joan's phone chirped. Lousy timing.
"Ignore it," Arthur whispered, nuzzling her neck.
She was considering doing just that when it chirped a second time as they stepped into the elevator. She sighed and pulled the phone from her pocket, glanced at the screen and punched the second floor button. "I have to go, Arthur. Don't wait up."
"Planning on reading me in?" he asked as the doors slid open.
"Eventually. Good-night, Arthur."
The damnably cheerful chirp of her phone yanked Annie away from the dreamworld beach she'd been lounging on, back to the familiar darkness of her room. She rolled over and pulled the pillow over her head, vowing to inflict serious bodily harm on the idiot who texted her in the middle of the night. She knew how. Oh, yes. She was a highly-trained CIA operative and could deal out death in a dozen excruciating ways to anyone foolish enough to wake her after the kind of mission she'd just had.
Behind closed eyelids, she saw once again the mess that was her latest op. Maybe, years from now, she and Auggie would look back on it over a few beers at Allen's and have a good laugh. In the meantime, however, it was anything but funny. In spite of doing everything by the book and following Barber's instructions to the letter, the "simple" exchange had gone wrong, with her asset's cover blown and her own in serious danger. After a rush-hour motorcycle chase through the streets of Prague, she spent several hours huddled in a safe house off of Wenceslas Square with a hysterical asset waiting for the extraction team.
After the special ops extraction followed by a visit to the U.S. Embassy's medical wing, she and her now-sedated asset had waited at the embassy for the station chief to sign off on her mission and arrange their transport to the States. By that time the only places immediately available had been in jump seats on a military transport to Patrick AFB with a plane load of Marines headed home on leave. Instead of being lulled to sleep by the hum of Rolls Royce engines at 30,000 feet, she'd endured nine hours of wolf whistles and military humor. Somewhere over the North Atlantic she'd lost track of the number of hours she'd been awake, and she was damn near comatose by the time she was debriefed, so much so that even Joan's death-stare had little effect.
With all that, she could have sworn that she'd hit the sack only three minutes before the phone chirped. She buried her face in her pillow and had decided to ignore the message. Then the damn thing chirped again.
She rolled over and groped on her bedside table. What time was it anyway? Barber would owe her a venti with a double shot of espresso for this. And that was just for starters!
She saw the name on the screen, and jolted awake. Auggie A. "Stand by" the first message said. The second, "Game's afoot."
She texted back, "What's going on?" And waited for a reply. Nothing. Damn!
She raced to the closet, and pulled out an outfit without even looking. She could be wearing mismatched shoes for all she knew. She was dressed and out the door in less than five minutes, and in the Langley parking lot in twenty, all thoughts of espresso forgotten. Caffeine was a poor substitute for adrenaline.
"What do we have? Joan asked, entering Tech Ops.
Barber checked the screen. "Phase three has just gone active. Auggie texted everyone in the team fifteen and and...seventeen minutes ago."
"Where's the rest of the team?"
"Marty was on his way home. He just pulled a U-turn and is headed back this way. Annie's breaking some kind of record. Woo! Who knew that VW Golf had it in it?"
"She's just pulled up to security. You want me to text Rossabi?"
Joan bit her lip. The ticking of the wall clock was distractingly loud while she pondered her next move. She hated bringing in another agency, but she knew the jurisdictional limitations the CIA was facing. "I'll text him myself," she said reluctantly. "Let's wait till the whole team is here."
Annie raced down the long marble hallway, skidded 'round the corner startling a support staffer and nearly making him drop the banker's box he was carrying. "Sorry!" she called without looking back. She shoved through the double doors of the DPD, and made a beeline for Tech Ops. The team was huddled around Barber's computers.
"You got the message, too?" She asked as Marty joined the group.
"Yeah. Any details yet?"
"Do we know where he is?"
"Is he ok?"
Stu shrugged. "We've got to assume he is, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to text us."
"Do we know what's going on?" Marty asked, logging on to one of the vacant computers.
"We were hoping you might be able to tell us," Joan said.
"Give me a minute... okay... we're getting a faint signal from the transmitter I planted in his i.d. Looks like they're headed towards Dulles."
"You want me to get someone on their tail?" Barber asked, his fingers already dialing the number.
Joan stilled his hand. "No. As much as we want to, we can't risk showing ourselves yet. If we spook these guys, we jeopardize Auggie's cover. Keep tracking him from here as long as you can. Do what you can to find out where they're taking him. We'll get eyes and ears on him as soon as we can."
"If we can," Annie said glumly.
Joan paused. "This is Auggie's op, Annie. He knows the risk, but this is the only way he can get inside and find out what's happening to those vets."
"Besides," Stu added, "this could be a false alarm." The team turned on him with eyes of ice. "Okay," he mumbled, "maybe not."
"We've got eyes!" Barber crowed. His computer showed a deserted patch of tarmac at Dulles, far from the terminal and maintenance hangars. The image shook as a sleek executive jet taxied into view.
"Do we know the plane?" Joan asked, looking up to make sure the large, wall-mounted monitors were dark.
Stu scanned the image, redirected the camera. "It's a Gulfstream G350 with a range of nearly four thousand miles. I can't find other any identifying features."
"Damn!" Joan muttered. "They can take him anywhere."
"They have to file a flight plan, right?" Annie asked.
Barber typed furiously. "Civilian flight plans are public. Agency flights and others... not so much."
"But they still have to file a flight plan?"
Stu smiled. "I can hack into the FAA data base."
Joan arched her brows, and Stu's grin stretched even wider. "You probably don't want to know about this side of the op, boss."
"Just figure out where they're taking Auggie."
"There he is," Annie cried. "They're dragging him up the steps. He's hurt!"
"Drugged probably. They wouldn't inflict damage yet... Not this early in the game. They'd want to probe a little deeper. Remember, based Danny Bolduc's video, at first they wanted him to believe that they were there to help him."
"And later?" Annie asked. She watched, aghast, as the plane's hatch door closed, obscuring Auggie from view.
"Let's hope Auggie gets to the bottom of this before there is a later.
Marty muttered a curse under his breath. "Signal's gone! The plane probably has a jamming device."
Joan jabbed a manicured fingernail at Barber's screen. "Whatever it takes, Eric, get a trace on that plane. We need to know where they're taking him. We need to have a team in place before the plane lands."
"What is it?" Henry Wilcox checked the time as he pushed the covers aside. He planted a kiss on the bare shoulder next to him, and sat up. Ross had better have a damn good reason to call him at this hour.
Ross took a breath. "Sir, I don't know if it's anything significant, but there was quite a stir in the DPD about twenty minutes ago. Joan Campbell was there, as was half of the tech ops team and the new girl, Mercer's ex-girlfriend. And some other guy I didn't recognize. They all rushed in around ten this evening. "
"What were they there for?" he asked.
"Hard to say. But it's obviously some kind of deep cover operation. You know how it is in that place. Doors open, the place buzzing with chatter. Giant screened monitors on every wall. This time, the doors were shut, they were speaking in whispers and the big screens were all turned off."
"Did they see you?"
"The new girl damn near ran me over, but I don't think she noticed me."
"Good. Keep it that way. Call me when you have something." Wilcox pressed the 'end' button. The Tech Ops team calling in the boss just minutes after Anderson was taken. That was too coincidental, and Henry Wilcox had never believed in coincidences. No, this all pointed to one thing: Anderson was was a plant. Why else would he have left the DPD, and the pity job he'd taken instead of doing the smart thing and retiring with a full pension and disability benefit? What else was he qualified to do? He might have been a spy once, and damn fine soldier. He was even fairly proficient with computers, even he was ready to admit that much. But now? Anderson was the punch line to a bad joke, and the Campbells were bigger jokes for not seeing him for the liability he was.
And Arthur was the biggest fool of all if he'd sent a blind man in to take him down. He had all the winning cards now. Anderson in a position where he would soon be neutralized. Both Campbells soon forced to lie under oath. The DNI in his pocket. His long exile would soon end.
Henry smiled, and he returned his attention to the young intern in his bed.
"You're in a good mood," she purred drowsily, and gasped as the older man's hands pinched a sensitive spot.
"It's about to get even better, darling."
There was nothing in the cell. Not a blanket, no cot, not even a bucket tucked away in a corner. And although he couldn't be certain, there didn't seem to be a window either. Even floor was bare, cool tile beneath his bare feet.
They'd jolted him awake him in the car with a second injection, just as the wheels crunched over a long gravel drive. He'd been dragged up two flights of stairs, shoved down corridors, and swung around corners, until, at last, they'd tossed him into this empty room.
There they'd stripped him, taken his shoes, socks, and uniform, and thrown a set of scrubs at him. His cane, his bag, his spare cane and all the gadgets he'd packed with such care had been taken away. That wasn't unexpected, but still he vowed to get those back.
Once he'd made sure he was alone, he'd snapped his fingers a couple of times to get a sense of the size of his cell. In spite of the bare walls and tile floor, there was hardly any echo, no depth to the sound as it traveled through space. In fact, now that his drug-addled wits were clearing, he realized that this place was ominously silent, except for the sound of his own uncertain steps and the heavy tread of his captors. No human sounds, and nothing mechanical. Since he'd entered the labyrinth of corridors, no stray sounds had filtered in from outside.
He rose more slowly than necessary, assuming he was being watched. It was best to appear more vulnerable than he truly was. He swayed slightly, and flung his arms out for balance. Taking slow, careful steps, he moved through the unknown space, until he reached a wall and followed it to the door. He'd half expected to touch cold metal, but he quickly realized it was of the same institutional laminate found in almost every public building. Not a place designed as a prison, then, he thought with some satisfaction. Trailing the back of one hand along the wall, and holding the other at an angle before his face in a protective stance, he started a careful circuit of the room. That took all of twenty-three steps and explained why there was no echo. A few more cautious paces took him back and forth across the confined space, giving him enough of a sense of the space to confirm his earlier suspicion that the room was completely empty.
With a clearer sense of his immediate surroundings, Auggie slid down to the floor, tilted his head back against the wall, and closed his eyes. Calmly, he began taking stock of his situation. He wasn't injured, that was good. The drugs they'd used to knock him out and rouse him again had left him feeling a little unsteady and slightly queasy, but the effects weren't so incapacitating as to distract him from his mission. Still, he thought, smiling grimly, his captors didn't need to know that. His hands were free. Add one more to the plus column. The room he was in was neither warm nor cold, so no risk of heatstroke or hypothermia. Moreover, it was small and devoid of any furnishings, which would play in his favor if it came down to a fight.
For now it was a matter of remaining calm and focused. Whatever they had in store for him, it would start slowly and build up in intensity. Above all else he had to maintain his cover of a damaged, tormented Captain Anderson. How much his captors already knew about him depended on who exactly was running this program. How much they learned, on the other hand, depended entirely on his own strength and resolve.
Now that the mission was truly underway, Auggie felt the familiar surge of excitement coursing through his system, but until his adversaries showed their hand, there was little he could do except wait. He replayed in his mind Danny's final messages. If his treatment was anything like Frenchie's, they would try a number of different tactics on him: sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, mind control, drugs... The first thing they'd try, he was quite certain of this, would be to deprive him of sleep. A lifetime ago, during his SERE training, he had learned the hard way how sleep deprivation muddled the senses and impaired judgment.
His captors had shot him full of sleepy juice to get him here, but a drugged stupor had none of the restorative qualities of natural sleep. Auggie knew he would need all his strength and all his wits about him to seize and maintain control of this situation. And so with nothing better to do than wait, he stretched out on the floor and, cushioning his head on his hands, made himself as comfortable as possible, then he went to sleep.
There were plenty of reasons why Specialist Isabel Rivera came to work an hour earlier than almost anyone else on her floor. She was a morning person, and most productive in the early hours when most were still scrubbing the grit from their eyes. The traffic in from the D.C. suburbs was lighter before the nine-to-five crowd hit the beltways, and there was no one in line ahead of her at the coffee shop. But the main reason she was usually at her desk by six, was that she could savor that first cup of coffee, quietly catch up on her e-mails, and get started on the day's work without being distracted by the presence of her new boss.
He didn't do it on purpose. Hell! He probably wasn't even aware that he was doing it.
In most respects the transition from Captain Keating to Captain Anderson had been seamless. Captain Anderson was blind, however, and no matter how accomplished and adjusted he might appear to be, just having him around meant that she was always keeping one eye on him instead of paying complete attention to her work. It was the way she'd been brought up: you kept an eye on those who were less able to look out for themselves. You stood ready to help out. It was what had moved her to enlist in the Army in the first place.
Captain Anderson hadn't asked for her help since he'd settled in to his new assignment. He hadn't needed her to read anything for him, hadn't gotten lost or misplaced some vital file or piece of equipment. Still, the guy couldn't see so he was bound to need her help eventually.
In the meantime, however, while she'd been keeping one eye on Captain Anderson, she'd made two typos, mislabeled a file, and made a stupid budgeting miscalculation. Luckily she'd caught her errors before anyone else spotted them, but still, if Captain Anderson hadn't been there, she'd probably have had her mind fully on her work.
She took a long sip of coffee and stepped into the elevator. Not that it was any hardship watching him, she mused. The man was easy on the eyes. Very easy on the eyes. And that was just one more level of distraction.
As she stepped out of the elevator, Rivera was surprised to find that the door to the ODMEO suites was ajar and the lights were already on. Piano music drifted into the vestibule from Captain Anderson's office. He must have pulled another all-nighter, she thought, shaking her head. She softly cleared her throat - the captain didn't like to be startled - and tapped on the door frame. "Good morning, sir. " There was no reply. She pushed open the door and flipped on the light. The office was empty. He'd been here, and stepped out already. Damn! She'd have to start coming in even earlier.
"How's our newest patient?"
The research assistant looked up from the close-circuit tv monitors she'd been watching to the tall gray-haired man who'd just entered. She didn't recognize him, and her eyes darted to his badge. Dr. Richard Allen. It seemed legit. She had to assume it was, since the doctors rotated in and out of this facility faster than any place she'd ever worked.
"He appears to be sleeping, Dr. Allen."
"They brought him in and made him change into those scrubs. He took a few minutes to explore the room. Doctor?" she hesitated, "He... uh... he appears to be blind, sir."
Doctor Allen tapped some notes on a tablet. "He is," he replied without looking up. "Is that all?"
"Oh, okay. When he was done exploring, he stretched out and went to sleep. That was about an hour ago. Nothing noteworthy since. What's his story?"
"The usual. Traumatized vet. Lost his sight in Iraq five years ago. The details are sketchy, but according to his file, he seemed to be fairly well-adjusted, flew through his rehab, got a civilian job, and was getting on with his life. Never accepted a medical discharge though, and he stayed in the Army on reserve status. Two months ago he requested to go back into active duty."
"But he's blind!"
"They humored him by placing him in an administrative position at the Pentagon, where he wouldn't interfere with anything important."
"Why didn't they just refuse to take him back?"
"Apparently, he's some kind of hero. Their way of saying 'thanks' I guess. Except that being at the Pentagon seems to have dredged up some suppressed memories. His PTSD came back with a vengeance."
"Will he have the usual course of treatment, doctor?"
"That's why he's been brought here. That's why they're all here."
"Anderson, my office!"
Specialist Rivera peered out from behind the computer screen. "He's not here, sir."
Major Duncan's scowl grew deeper. "What do you mean, he's not here?"
"I haven't seen him all morning, sir. He's probably out at one of the work sites."
"Well, he's not where he's supposed to be. I just got off the phone with the foreman from the third floor dining hall refit. Anderson was supposed to meet with them over an hour ago. They're still waiting. Call his cell, and tell him to get his ass over there."
Rivera cast the major a disapproving look.
"Or words to that effect."
Auggie was awake as soon as the tumbler turned in the lock. Long years of training kept him from showing it, however, and he disguised the involuntary hitch in his breathing by shifting his position slightly.
The door opened quietly, then shut again with a soft click. Steps drew closer and paused a foot or so away from his face. "Mr. Anderson?"
Auggie groaned and rolled over. He opened his eyes, blinked several times then shut his eyes hard against the nothingness.
"Mr. Anderson, I'm Doctor Allen."
Auggie sat up slowly, and leaned back against the wall. "Captain."
"I beg your pardon."
"It's not Mister Anderson, it's Captain Anderson."
"Does it matter?"
"It's my rank. I worked hard for it. Fought for it even harder. Gave up a lot to keep it, Mister Allen," he said, fixing the psychiatrist with a disconcertingly direct gaze.
"Very well, " the doctor said with a mild chuckle. "Captain Anderson it is."
"Where am I?"
"At a psychiatric treatment facility. We're going to help you deal with your trauma."
"Why do you want to know?"
Auggie shrugged. "I like to know where I am." He scuffed his feet across the bare floor. "Tell me, Doc, are all your accommodations this luxurious? The mattresses are a little hard, and the room service...Well, I've had better. Just sayin'"
"Snark, Captain Anderson?"
"My go-to diversion from the unpleasant. It's in my file."
"A room is being prepared for you. We need to assess your condition first."
"How's this for an assessment? 'Patient presents as pissed, tired, and thirsty.' Why the hell am I here?"
"You were deemed an imminent danger."
Auggie rolled his eyes. "Only behind the wheel. What's this really about?"
"What it's really about, Captain Anderson, is getting you well, and if that isn't possible, then it's about making certain you do not pose a danger to yourself or to anyone else."
Auggie stood up, dusted off his hands, and straightened to his full height. "Well, I guess we'd better get on with it, then. Let's go."
"What?" Dr. Allen seemed taken aback. Good. "No, we'll conduct the initial assessment here, while we wait for your room to be prepared."
"I don't think so," Auggie replied. While he'd been sitting on the floor, he'd been hard pressed to gauge the doctor's size. Now that he was standing, however, he could tell by the height of the man's voice that the doctor was several inches shorter than his own six feet. Auggie favored the man with a grim smile. "Like I said, I'm thirsty. I also need to relieve myself. I'd also like to get my cane and my other things back. But for now, I'll settle for a drink of water and a pee. There's no water here, and no toilet." He stepped towards the doctor's voice, and found Dr. Allen's shoulder. He latched onto the shorter man's elbow with an iron grip and dragged him towards the door. "Lead on," he said.
Specialist Rivera knocked quietly on Major Duncan's door. "Sir?"
"What is it? Did you locate Anderson?"
"That's just it, sir. He's not answering either of his phones, sir. I asked the baristas and they said he hasn't been in this morning. This isn't like him, sir."
Duncan had to agree. In spite of his initial misgivings, Anderson had proven himself fully capable and reliable. "Do we have his emergency contact?"
"Sir, his closest relatives are in Illinois. Besides, it may not be anything. I wouldn't want to worry his family."
Duncan closed the file he'd been reading and headed over to Auggie's office. "Anything unusual in here? Anything out of place? Did he leave a note?"
"The lights were on. He usually asks me to turn them off when I leave. I turned them off when I left yesterday." Rivera continued to look around. The computer was on, but the monitor, as usual was turned off. Captain Anderson's phone was plugged into his computer's speakers, with the Pandora station sending Latin jazz through the air. The Braille slate and stylus he'd used yesterday to write down Dr. Bertrand's number was where he had left it. The note card was still by the phone, where, presumably he had left it when he was done."
"What was he working on?" Duncan asked.
Rivera shrugged. "He has a couple things going. The dining hall retrofit, but he was also arranging a few temporary assignments for injured troops, including that kid from Quantico with the messed up knee.
Duncan jiggled the mouse and Auggie's Braille display sprang to life. He turned on the monitor. Three words appeared on the screen. "Call Dr. Bertrand."
Annie closed the tech ops door, and set a hot cup of coffee on Stu's desk. Behind the closed glass doors, Joan and Barber huddled in front of the screens, their faces serious.
"Bribing me with coffee won't make this happen any faster, but thanks."
"Don't think of it as bribery. You've been here, twenty-six...twenty-seven hours straight? Think of it as sustenance. Anything yet?"
"Working on it..." the junior techie replied absently. The encryption was tricky, with multiple safeguards and layers of protection."
"Just give me a sign, if you can, when you get something... please?"
Stu regarded Annie with concern. She was getting too close, losing her objectivity. "Annie, we all care about Auggie..."
The door slid open. "Annie, I'm sure you have work to do."
"Yes, ma'am." She cast Stu a pleading look.
"I'll let you know."
At that moment, a tinny version of the Army Anthem sounded from her pocket. Auggie's Pentagon line.
"Is that a civilian phone, Annie?" Joan asked. "You know I could fire you for that."
"It's my NOC phone, Joan. Dr. Bertrand's number. It's Auggie." She fumbled for the phone. "Laurie-Anne Bertrand."
"Dr. Bertrand? This is Army Specialist Isabella Rivera. I work with Captain Anderson at the Pentagon."
Annie gestured for silence as she switched the call over to the speaker. "Specialist Rivera. Yes, I remember you. How may I help you?"
There was hesitation on the line. "I'm not sure, actually," Rivera replied. "Captain Anderson didn't show up this morning. It's not like him."
"Have you called his home number? I'm sure he's fine. Captain Anderson is very capable."
"I know he is, and I have," Rivera replied. "I think something might have happened to him."
"If that's so, then I'm not the one you should be calling. Have you notified the proper authorities?"
"Dr. Bertrand," Rivera insisted, "Captain Anderson left a message on his computer. I don't know where he is or what happened, but he left us a message to call you. I think you should come here."
Annie cast a glance at Joan who nodded. "I'll be right over," she said.
Dr. Allen stopped cold and refused to follow. "You are not authorized to leave this room, Captain Anderson." He pried Auggie's fingers from his arm. "We've allowed you to keep your hands free out of consideration for your circumstances. Do not make us regret that decision."
Holding out one hand slightly, Auggie took another step towards the door.
"The door is locked from the outside," Allen added. "It will only be unlocked at my signal. I suggest you make yourself comfortable while we proceed with your initial assessment."
"Am I your prisoner?"
"You're a patient here. Our only concern is your well-being. People who care about you cared enough to express concern for your safety. As soon as we are able to ascertain that you pose no imminent threat to yourself or others, you will be discharged."
Auggie slid down against the wall. "Nice speech. I'm sure you know that there are laws against involuntary confinement."
"You are entitled to legal representation if you feel you're being held against your will. Your lawyer will have to prove, however, that you aren't a danger."
"Proving a negative? I thought the burden of proof was yours. Besides, how am I supposed to contact my lawyer? You have my phone. You won't tell me where I'm being held."
"Captain Anderson...August... why are you being so resistant? People who care about you, people who care about your safety were sufficiently worried about your erratic behavior to contact this facility to arrange your treatment."
"Which people exactly? None of my friends, none of my co-workers, and certainly no one in my family would approve of your methods. No one I know would sanction your seizing me at work, drugging me, and dragging me to this place... wherever this is."
"We were warned that you might be uncooperative, that you were mistrustful, perhaps even paranoid. Let us help you, August. Don't make this more difficult than it needs to be."
Auggie raked his fingers through his hair. He closed his eyes and for a long time said nothing. Finally, in resignation, he looked up towards Dr. Allen. "Alright," he said, "you win. What do I have to do to get out of this place?"
To be continued...