Chapter 5: Xander On The Outside
Xander sat in the silent washroom contemplating where to begin his story. There are some parts he definitely did not want to share, but his mind once again went back to the fact that he was asking these three men to put their lives on the line for him. If he was going to expect them to trust him he was going to have to trust them in return. Even if that meant revealing the secrets he never intended to reveal.
There was so much that happened leading up to his bus ride to Havenville Penitentiary that he didn’t even know where to start. The fake trial? The files on Warden Greene? The missing inmates that had been reported as dead? The now famous exploding man in a gas station mini mart?
“I’m sorry for the long pause,” Xander said breaking his silence. “I’m just trying to think of a good place to start.”
“The beginning is usually a good place,” Wolfsky said. He was staring intently at Xander now. It wasn’t to intimidate, Xander realized. Wolfsky was loving this. This was better entertainment than he’d find in one of the shoddy notebooks he carried around.
“The beginning,” Xander mused. “I suppose a good beginning for this story would be the day my boss told me of the assignment.”
“The long and short of it is you’ll be completely on your own,” Director Warner said. They had discussed with agent Peter Frost what his new assignment would entail. Nobody outside the four people in the room would know that FBI agent Peter Frost would take on the identity of Xander Zane.
“So I’ll be incarcerated for a year and a half and my mission is to uncover the secrets of the Warden?” Frost asked. “Forgive me for being so forward, but this is incredibly insane.”
“It’s the price to pay with the promotion to Black Agent,” Warner said. “Would it be insane to tell you we already have a man on the inside who has thus far been successful relaying information to us?” Warner asked raising an eyebrow.
“You’d be joining a mission in progress as a partner to our agent already on the inside and report directly to me,” Edward Glenn said. Frost hadn’t like this man much in the past. His robotic way of talking and nearly no interpersonal skills made him feel like he was talking to one of the robots at Disney World.
“We went over a number of field agents,” Warner continued. “You’re the best agent suited for the job.” This wasn’t fair. They already knew that Frost wouldn’t say no. He never turned down an assignment and was damn good when undercover.
“Can I at least have the night to think about it?” Frost asked. Translation: Give me time to argue with my wife about it first.
“Sure,” Warner said. “We’ll meet again first thing tomorrow morning and you’ll give us your answer.”
“Here’s a bit of light reading,” agent Fredrickson said speaking up for the first time during this meeting. He was Frost’s direct superior despite coming into the depart a year after Frost had. He had known which asses to kiss and how to do it. The rest of the department called him Agent Rat behind his back.
Frost took the folder and peered inside briefly. Inside was a layout of Havenville Penitentiary labeled ‘CLASSIFIED’ across the top. There were also photos of Warden Green as well as a few overhead photos of the facility.
“Thank you, agent Frost,” Warner said standing up. This was the signal that their meeting had ended.
Frost got up and left the office. He put the file in the lockable compartment in his hand bag and left for the day for his long and anxious ride home.
Peter Frost arrived home before six o’clock which meant he had just made it in time for dinner. He had left work early, but he didn’t go straight home. He stopped at a nearby park to stop and read the file his boss handed to him before he had left. He sat in the shade at a picnic bench and opened the brown folder and peered at the papers. Inside he found a short summary of what they believed was happening inside Havenville.
They believed Warden Daniel Greene was not Warden Daniel Greene at all. The believed the man posing as the Havenville warden was actually a man that went by the name of Hugo Keene who was known as The Puritan in most criminal circles. If their information was correct, Keene had been posing as Daniel Greene for nearly twenty years.
When Daniel Greene was merely an office employee in the Connecticut Department of Corrections he took a two week vacation with his wife on a cruise ship that sailed to Bermuda and back. It was on that cruise that two passengers went missing and were presumed dead. The first was Daniel Greene’s wife Betty whom Daniel later said argued with him before stumbling away drunk looking for a party. It was always assumed that Greene had killed his wife and thrown her overboard, but with no body or witnesses there was no trial.
The other passenger that went messing was Warren Aldridge Stephens who was cruising on his own. It was later found out that Warren Aldridge Stephens was actually an alias used by Hugo Keene.
Upon the ship’s return to port Daniel Greene took another three weeks off from work to grieve for his dead wife. Family members were noted talking about how rarely they saw Daniel during this period and how much the death of his wife had effected him. Greene’s brother actually stated that it seemed like he wasn’t even the same person. That brother died in a car accident less than six months later.
Daniel Greene apparently got over his depression fairly quickly, and started turning heads at the Department of Corrections. His new ideas for treatments of prisoners and rehabilitation methods had his superiors taking notes. He also had new designs for everything from cells to rec yards and even mess hall gas displacement systems (in case of a cafeteria riot). His ideas focused on old ideas in new ways. When it came time to break ground for a new prison in Taconic Lake, CT he consulted frequently. When it was finally time to open the new prison there was nobody else in mind for the position of Warden of Havenville Penitentiary.
Hugo Keene’s list of crimes against humanity was long and varied. Assassinations, kidnapping, extortion, rape, human trafficking, mutilation, hate crimes, murder, bio-terrorism… The list went on and on. He even seemed to have cells operating in some function or another all over the globe. There didn’t seem to be a crime that was too taboo for Keene. It didn’t make much sense for him to steal another man’s identity and lay low.
But Keene wasn’t exactly laying low as Daniel Greene, Warden of Havenville Penitentiary.
Greene had done a great deal of work with the inmates in the short period of time he’d been warden. There were scattered reports of inmates going missing for long periods of time and returning looking and acting completely different than before. The few former inmates they were able to interrogate reported going in for psychiatric sessions and blacking out an waking up in other parts of the prison. They tried a few different times to reverse engineer the hypnosis done on some men, but the results didn’t reveal anything other than Their minds had been tampered with. There was also one report of a staff of doctors and scientists working in the Maximum Security building experimenting on prisoners that were reported as dead.
Then there was the rumors of what happened in what the inmates called the Quarantine Wing.
Peter closed the file and put it back into its place. He went home and had a nice dinner with wife and son with the case nagging at the back of his head. His anxiety built over how to explain it to his wife. He still had the option to back out, but he knew that he would say yes. He’d go ahead with it even if it meant disrupting the lives of his family in the process.
A good agent put the mission first.
Once young Christian was in bed and the cleaning was done Peter’s wife Wendy sat down next to her husband with a glass of wine. “Are you going to tell me what was bothering you during dinner,” she asked. She was always good with reading Peter’s moods.
“I got a new assignment today,” Peter said.
“Bullshit,” Wendy said. “You just finished an assignment. What is it now? You just got done dealing for some meth lab. Am I at least allowed to know where you’re going this time?”
“No,” Peter said lowing his head. He knew this wouldn’t be good.
“Can’t you do anything?” Wendy said getting back up still clutching her wine glass. Peter thought it might shatter in her hand. “You’ve done so much for so long for them. Can’t you take an office job? Christian never sees you. How long are you going to be on assignment this time?”
“A year and a half,” Peter said.
“A year and a half?!” Wendy shouted. “A fucking year and a half? I understand your job gives us a roof and clothes and food, but when is enough going to be enough? We have to put our lives on hold for that long? We’ve barely seen you this last year and now you’re going away for a year and a half. Can I ask where?”
“No,” Peter said.
“Of course not,” Wendy said throwing an arm in the air.
“That’s not all,” Peter said. “This mission is black.”
“Black?” Wendy said piercing Peter with her eyes. “And what the fuck does that mean?”
“It means you and Christian are going into relocation while I’m away,” Peter said.
The wine glass dropped from Wendy’s hand and broke on the floor coving the floor with the red wine. “No,” Wendy said. “I’ve been a good wife. I keep your home. I take care of your child. I support your career. I make up excuses for you when you’re not here for birthdays or holidays. I am not uprooting our family and moving away.”
“It’s a big promotion,” Peter said. “It means a big raise too. We’ll be very comfortable.”
“You think I give a fuck about the money?” Wendy said. “Christian needs a father. I need a husband. You leave so long I forget your face. I forget your touch. Don’t make us go away. I won’t make our son start over god knows where.”
“We don’t have a say in it,” Peter said. “Spouses and children of Black Agents are always relocated while a mission is going on. This is part of the job.”
“And what if I divorce you before your mission starts?” Wendy said crossing her arms. “What if I don’t want to be the wife of a Black Agent.”
“It’s too late,” Peter said sadly. He knew this was how this conversation would end. He was surprised she hadn’t tried this before he was shipped off to the meth lab. “They’ll relocate you whether you like it or not.”
“Fuck you,” she said. “Fuck you and what you’ve done to your family.”
“Do you accept this mission and all it entails?” Director Warner asked as Peter handed back the file.
“I do,” Agent Frost said not trying to hide his disappointment in himself.
“Is your family aware that this means relocation for them?” Warner asked.
“They do,” Frost said.
“And you understand you won’t know where they are or have any contact with them whatsoever for the entirety for your assignment?” Warner asked.
“Yes,” Frost said almost through gritted teeth.
Warner sighed. “I’m sorry, Peter,” he said. “Normally we’d like someone with no wife or kids as Black Agents, but under these circumstances you’re our best man.”
“I’ve read the file,” Frost said. “The guy running that prison is basically a comic book super villain. I can’t sit back while someone else risks their life to stop them.”
“But Wendy and Christian…”
“Will manage,” Frost said.
“OK,” Warner said. “From this point on you’re a Black Agent. On paper you’ll be gone. All records of Peter Frost will be deleted and filed away to remain that way until your mission is complete and you are no longer considered Black. Your family will be taken into protective custody and given new identities. You will not know their new names or location. Upon completion of your mission you may either join them in their new life with a generous pension package or you may return to work at FBI headquarters in a lesser capacity if you so choose.” Director Warner read all this off a sheet in Frost’s file. A file that will be locked away in some unknown location by the end of the day.
“When does training start?” Frost asked.
“Immediately,” Warner said.
The transition was hard for the Frost family. Over the next few weeks Peter trained his body and mind for his trip to Havenville Penitentiary. He’d shed the name Peter Frost for the more menacing sounding Xander Zane. His mission was simple: Hook up with the prisoner Chris Wells and join him in gathering information on the Warden little by little. When enough was known a strike force will be assembled and the prison will be taken down.
Peter’s wife Wendy didn’t find the assignment too engrossing. Her role in it anyway, since she was unable to even speak of it to her husband. She had started spending more and more time apart from Peter as the date of their separation grew closer. Their son didn’t understand why his father had to go away for work for so long and the stain on Peter and Wendy’s marriage worsened.
Wendy and Christian’s story was simple as well. Peter had left his wife high and dry and she had taken her son elsewhere for work. Her immediate family was in on it and wern’t happy either. If anything their advice to Wendy had made things in their marriage worse.
Finally the day arrived and Peter said his goodbyes and watched as his family entered the black FBI car with their luggage and left for their year and half in protective custody. Wendy didn’t even say goodbye. Peter wondered if they’d still be a family by the time he got home.
“You ready?” Edward Glenn said as he and Agent Frost sat in the room with no windows.
“As ready as I can be,” Peter said. His life was gone. Erased off every page it was ever written on. His family had gone with a whisper, and he didn’t even know if they’d be coming back to him assuming he’d survive his year and a half in hell.
“Remember your partner on the inside is Chris Wells,” Glenn reminded him again. “We’ve arranged it so that the two of you will be cell mates. The two men you’re to contact are Kai Tajiri and Leonard Kelly. I’m sure you’ve read up on them as well?”
“I have,” Peter answered. He was beginning to get annoyed. He reviewed the file over and over again as he readied himself for his mission. He had precious little to do since his wife hadn’t even spoken to him in the weeks before their separation. Tajiri and Kelly pretty much had their run of the prison and could get pretty much anything they needed. “I’ll make contact as soon as I can find them.”
“Good,” Glenn said. “I’ll be there to visit at the end of your first week. After that I’ll be there once a month or whenever it’s permitted.” Peter took that as once after the first week, once after the first month, and the once every few months over time. He knew Glenn would’ve been content with a complete debriefing after the entirety of his stay at Havenville.
Once their meeting was done Peter Frost finished his transition into the criminal named Xander Zane. He was handcuffed and brought into a trial for crimes that were never committed in any form except on paper. He pleaded guilty to all charges, but the judge was not lenient on him and gave him eighteen months. The outcome was determined a month ago when the FBI tapped the judge to deliver the verdict, but Xander seemed remorseful and distraught with the verdict even so. His superiors thought it was great acting, but all Xander had to do was think about accepting this assignment and not seeing his son for an entire year an a half.
Then again, those were Peter Frost’s problems, and Peter Frost was nowhere to be found.
Xander stopped talking and looked up at the three inmates who had so eagerly wanted to hear his story. He expected some smart ass comment from Leonard or some wise yet harsh words from Wolfsky, but they remained silent and let the story sink in. To Xander’s surprise it was Tajiri that spoke up first. “You shouldn’t have come,” he said.
“The way I saw it I had no choice,” Xander said. “You’ve been here a long time. With your access to this place you’ve surely uncovered something. Even if by accident.”
“Nothing you could use,” Leonard said answering for Tajiri. “Rumors mostly. Greene’s private staff is pretty good at cleaning up.”
“What do you mean ‘private staff’?” Xander asked.
“Agents of the Warden,” Wolfsky said. “He has them too. He uses guards, doctors, and inmates to do his bidding. Wolfsky has seen it for years and stays out of their way. Nothing good can come of crossing them.”
“Unfortunately I’m here for just that reason, Wolfsky,” Xander said. “I gave my family up to put an end to the Warden’s evil.”
“But your family,” Tajiri said. “I can get a letter to the outside. Let them know you’re Ok at least. Tell them you’re thinking about them.”
“Impossible,” Xander said. “I was not to know their new names or location. I don’t even know what part of the country they’re in right now. The price of being a Black Agent.”
“Black Agent,” Tajiri mused. “I may have misjudged you at first, Xander Zane. Rest assured I will not rest until you are home safely. I will do whatever it takes to take down Greene.”
“Me too,” Leonard agreed. “I think it’s time I put my genius to good use and take down this evil bastard for good.”
“Thank you,” Xander said not knowing what else to say.
“Wolfsky thanks you for bearing your heart and your pain,” Wolfsky said. “Wolfsky will assist you as well. Anything that is required of Wolfsky will be done. You have Wolfsky’s word.”
This was beyond Xander’s expectations. He had assumed the three men would want more than Xander’s original offer to work with him. He even thought they would threaten to sell him out. Now that he had Leonard and Tajiri on his side as well as the mysterious Wolfsky he cold begin phase two.
“So where do we start?” Leonard asked.
Xander realized he hadn’t the slightest idea.