The Innocent Chapter 19: Patterns

The Innocent
Chapter 19: Patterns

 

“How many?” Xander asked.

“Seventeen,” answered Rohan. “Maybe a few more.”

“So let’s say twenty to be safe,” Xander said. “At this point we can’t count on them stunning us and dragging our unconscious bodies into empty cells.”

“No,” Rohan said. “After the riot, they’ll be shooting to kill.”

Xander looked over the crudely drawn map of Havenville laying on Rohan’s bunk. The spent the last two weeks plotting a battle within the walls of Havenville Penitentiary. The main problem they kept looking around to was what to do about the guards.

“That’s only twenty up front,” Xander said. “We’re not counting what happens after we get past the initial wave.”

“We can always kill first before they can sound the alarm,” Rohan suggested.

Xander sighed. He was clear that he wanted to spare as many of the guards as possible with the exception of those who were in Warden Green’s pocket. “I’d still like to spare as many lives as possible,” he said. “On both sides. There’s a large number of men who are just here working to feed their families. Not all the guards are as nasty as Rockwell or Marshall. If only we can have them stand down.”

“I think I can help with that,” Leonard said standing up and looking over the map. “Tajiri and I have been working on the P.A. system. If I can get my hands on a couple of cell phones I should be able to hack into them. You’d just have to make a call and the entirety of Havenville will hear you.”

“I can get you a couple of phones,” Rohan said. “But they’ve always been guard issue, so be careful they won’t use them to track you.”

“I can disable a tracking chip easily enough,” Leonard said smugly. 

“How are you and Tajiri making out with the weapon cache?” Xander asked. Leonard and Tajiri had been going back and forth from the hiding place of the weapons randomly so the guards wouldn’t notice any kind of a pattern. Tajiri and Wolfsky were able to hide six rifles, ten boxes of shells, ten boxes of salted pellet rounds, twenty batons, a case of zip ties, various flash and gas grenades, and a case of duct tape. Xander was amazed at how much they were able to run off with before they had to come to his rescue.

“All counted up and moved,” Leonard said. “Tajiri and I are the only ones who know where it all is.” This was Tajiri’s idea. He had many hiding places around Havenville where he hid the various weapons and devices. It was his belief that if one of their hiding places was found it was better to lose some than all. Xander saw the wisdom in his logic.

Moving around Havenville had been harder since the riot. Inspectors and officials from the State Corrections Department had been in and out of the prison frequently and randomly. Between the chaos around the day of the chapel fire and the riot  Warden Greene had his hands full with officials from the states. Xander took a bit of pride knowing what a headache he caused Greene. He was hoping it bought Wolfsky a little more time in Max Lockup.

*

“How are you doing with the others?” Wolfsky asked.

“Fairly well,” Dr. Dean said. “A few of them took a little bit of gas and hypnosis, but they won’t cause a problem.”

“Good,” Wolfsky said. He smiled to himself. He could see his quickly made plan falling into place. He didn’t intend to be imprisoned in Max Lockup for much longer. It was true that he was closer to Lockhart than he would ever be in the General Population, but Wolfsky would have a harder time getting to him. Also, he’d have to put his trust in this man. He would be able to tell if Dean was being deceptive to him, but he couldn’t know what he was up to when he was out of Wolfsky’s sight.

“These instructions are strange though,” Dr. Dean said. “It would almost seem like you are trying to escape.”

“You have been a willing and able accomplice,” Wolfsky said. “But please do not question Wolfsky’s motives.”

“That’s not it,” Dr. Dean said. “I would think you would go down towards the bowels of this facility. That’s where Lockhart’s quarters are.”

Wolfsky smiled again. He knew damn well where Lockhart’s quarters were. He had no intention to kill Lockhart in his quarters. He knew what Xander had in mind for Havenville. Even though Wolfsky’s letter had encouraged him against vengeance and coming for him, he knew better. He knew Xander’s target would be Max Lockup and those inside. He would come.

And he’d bring an army.

*

Xander walked down the center of A Block with Tajiri by his side. He had just come from a meeting with El Niño regarding the Chicanos role in what was coming. They were more than willing to help out, and had gotten even more people to the cause. There was only one thing that was worrying him at the moment, and Tajiri was thinking the same thing.

“Do you really think you can keep this a secret with so many people involved?” Tajiri asked.

“I don’t think it’s much of a secret any more,” Xander said under the watchful gaze of two guards. It could have been his imagination, but he thought he saw one them grip their stun gun a little tighter. “I just think they don’t think we’ll pull the trigger. How’s Leonard?”

“He’s doing better,” Tajiri said. Xander hadn’t asked Leonard directly, but he was still getting over the things he had done. He had killed the beast of a man that attacked them in the C Block the day of the riot, and he had burned the body of the guard Xander and Tajiri killed in order to gain the trust of The Chaplain’s Network. He had seem some crazy stuff in Havenville, but up until Xander came into his life they were all in the background. Now he was a full player.

“He doesn’t have to go along,” Xander said. “We can hide him until it’s over.”

“He knows,” Tajiri said quickly. This was a conversation they had often. Xander still had a lot of guilt about asking Tajiri and Leonard for their help, but they refused to let Xander go off and do this on his own. “He may act like a clown most times, but he is a man of honor. Wolfsky saw that in him as well.”

“Wolfsky saw better than most of us,” Xander said. He had told Tajiri (along with Leonard) pieces of Wolfsky’s story, but not the whole thing. He was still keeping the murder of the three girls a secret along with Wolfsky’s true intention for being in Havenville. The journal that had all the evidence was burned the morning after Xander read it.

“We’ll get him out,” Tajiri said. “With luck we’ll all leave here alive. No matter what it takes. When this is all over we’ll toast to the innocent as free men.”

“When this is all over,” Xander said. “I’m walking out of the front doors with the flames of Havenville to my back.”

*

“What the hell do these inspectors think they’ll find?” Warden Greene shouted to a room occupied with only himself, Rockwell, and Kit Marshall. “They stop in unexpectedly over and over and look at the same goddamn things!”

“They’re looking for patterns,” Rockwell said. “Or the changes from the norm. Once they pinpoint something they’ll focus on that one aspect until they can tear it apart.”

“Well they’re holding me up!” Greene said. “My final phase is nearly complete, and I’m busy waltzing with Tom and Dick and Sally and Bob from the goddamn State trying to find out why a chapel burned down and we had a riot. These are animals! You can’t blame me if they act like it!”

“We’re trying to keep them out of your hair,” Marshall said. “You have no idea how many times we’ve been asked the same questions.”

“Patterns,” Rockwell said. “Once they see it change they’ll pounce on it.”

“Fuck them and their patterns!” Warden Greene said.

“We do the same thing,” Marshall said. “When the inmates defer from their normal patterns we know something is up. If a particular group doesn’t go into the mess hall at the same time or a normal quartet is seen split up. Etcetera.”

“And what are the patterns of Havenville telling you now?” Warden Greene asked sarcastically.

“That’s the problem,” Marshall said. “Since the riot, there haven’t been any.” 

“We should move in on the group causing the problems,” Rockwell suggested. “They’re planning something. They have to be.”

“Their battle?” Warden Greene asked. “Their war?”

“It’s not too late,” Rockwell said. “Cut off a snake’s head and the body will rot.”

“Rockwell’s crude analogy aside, we can’t afford to have Zane running the network,” Marshall said. He had been nagging Greene for days about Xander Zane taking up some kind of inmate hero mantle. “Rumor is that he’ll move against the guards soon, but we can’t do anything with these inspectors snooping around.”

“I’ve had enough of these problems with the general population,” Warden Greene said. “They want a battle? They can have it. Kill Zane. Our game is no longer fun, and I’m tired of hearing Lockhart tell me so. Once he’s out, I’m wiping out the rest of the vermin. I don’t care how you do it, and I don’t care about any other casualties.”

“Consider it done,” Marshall said.

“One more thing,” Warden Greene said. “Make a spectacle out of Zane.”

*

Xander and Leonard listened to Chad speak. It had been several months since the Neo-Nazi had stitched him up after he was attacked by the Ten of Clubs. Since then Leonard and the skinheads had a bit of a falling out when they tried to take him into enslavement during the riots. The men that actually tried to take Leonard were killed in the process of their attempted kidnapping, so Xander was very surprised when they contact Leonard to meet him and Xander.

“I think we can put all of that unpleasantness behind us,” Chad said with his hands folded in front of him.

“Oh yeah,” Leonard said. “After all I did for you guys. You still tried to drag me off and make me the Nazi’s bitch.”

“Calm down, Leonard,” Xander said softly. He didn’t want them to draw attention from any wandering guards. Meetings like these were getting harder and harder to make. They were lucky they found an empty TV room with only one guard stationed outside.

“No,” Leonard said. “Fuck him!”

“He’s right,” Chad said. “I never wanted this either. I was a doctor on the outside. Well, in training to be a doctor, but that didn’t matter in here. I had the skills to stitch up these guys after a fight or two, and I used that to buy my protection. Much like you. Before  too long, they decided working freelance wasn’t good enough. They had to have me one hundred percent of the time.”

“Sounds familiar,” Leonard said with his arms crossed. “Then what’s up with all those swastika tattoos? Think they were pretty on the other guys?”

“I had to,” Chad said. “When they want you, you’re either with them all the way or you’re dead. I only have two more years left in here. Can you imagine me trying to open a practice with a giant swastika on my arm. Jesus!”

“That doesn’t explain why you wanted to meet,” Xander said painfully aware of how long Chad’s story was and how limited their time could be.

“Sorry,” Chad said. “I just wanted Leonard to know that I had nothing to do with what happened during the riot. It was Buford’s idea. He gathered the guys up and went after you. I had nothing to do with it.”

“We’ve established that,” Xander said. “I want to know why we’re here now.”

“Right,” Chad said. “Word is you’ve taken over The Chaplain’s network.”

“That’s right,” Xander said.

“There’s also word of you looking to enlist people,” Chad said. “That you’re building an army.”

Leonard laughed loudly at this. “An army?” he asked. “Are you nuts? Xander, we can’t trust this guy.”

Xander looked into the eyes of Chad. He called on his skills as an FBI agent once again to determine whether or not Chad was trustworthy. He’d dealt with a lot of men who weren’t, and could usually tell when to trust someone. The problem with Havenville was that everyone was well practiced liars.

“How many are you?” Xander asked.

“Twenty that I know want in,” Chad said. “Another fifteen or more that would probably go along with the group.”

“I’ll be in touch,” Xander said. “But not directly. Have any weapons ready. It’ll happen quickly.”

*

“I want to apologize for the way I’ve acted,” El Niño said. Xander had chosen to meet him on his own. Especially without Leonard who would giggle under his breath when El Niño inevitably would begin trying to woo Xander. “It was crass. You understand, right? It was all in fun.”

“It’s alright, El Niño,” Xander said. “It was all in fun.”

“You can call me Hector,” El Niño said. “There’s no need for formality.”

“I guess there isn’t,” Xander said. “What did you do on the outside, Hector?”

“Like for work?” El Niño asked. “I flipped burgers and lived in my moms basement in New Haven.”

“No,” Xander said. “Why are you in here?”

“Oh,” El Niño said. “Just gang shit. Me and some of my boys used to hang around the neighborhood. We’d harass kids and occasionally snatch some purses. When we got older and burger money wasn’t worth it no more, we started dealing. Just weed mostly. Some of my boys started dealing some other shit. Coke and H. Some of them got their hands on some crack too.”

“Is that why you’re in here?” Xander asked.

“Nah,” El Niño said. “Some dealer was harassing my boy. I carried my gun on me for protection, but I was high as fuck and took a shot at this guy. He just wouldn’t leave my boy alone. I shot the guy right in his fucking head. All of a sudden Dixwell AVE was all blue and red lights. Mother fucker was an undercover pig.”

“You killed a cop?” Xander asked surprised.

“Hell yeah,” El Niño said. “Lawyer tried to get me a shorter sentence since the pig was harassing us. Said I was provoked into taking the shot. Didn’t work, though. Still got me a lifetime sentence in this shit hole. I got a shit load of cred up in here for it, though. That’s one of the reasons I was able to take over the Chicanos.”

“And now you fancy yourself a warrior or something?” Xander asked.

“Nah,” El Niño said. “Nothin’ like that. I see what’s happening in here. Guys disappear into Max, and then they’re dead. Just like that. Then that guy comes up in here blasting at you guys with electricity from his hands and shit. It’s nuts. We just want to stand up with you.”

“I won’t stop you,” Xander said. “But you have to know not all of us are going to survive.”

“We know,” El Niño said. “We’d rather die fighting than wait for The Warden to drag us out of our beds.”

“Good,” Xander said. “That’s what I was hoping to hear.”

*

“I have fourteen more,” Tajiri said entering Xander’s cell two steps ahead of Leonard.

“Fourteen more what?” Xander asked.

“Men,” Tajiri said. “Yakuza. Or former. They figure they can gather some more as well. They are also fed up with this prison.”

“I didn’t know you knew anyone on the inside,” Xander said.

“You think I am the only one?” Tajiri asked.

“The lone ninja works alone and in darkness,” Leonard said moving his lips after he spoke.

“I never reached out before,” Tajiri said ignoring Leonard’s rib. “But once I did they treated me as a brother.”

“Tajiri even had some of their toilet sake,” Leonard said. “They fermented rice in the toilet!”

“They did not,” Tajiri said. “They smuggled it from the outside.”

“Even better,” Leonard said. “Butt-sake!”

“What else can they get?” Xander said eager to end Leonard and Tajiri’s routine.

“Makeshift molotovs mostly,” Tajiri said. “They also bring a wide range of skills as well.”

“Excellent,” Xander said. “We can use them. Will they listen to you?”

“They should,” Tajiri said. “They respect what I did for Tanaka. They clearly see that I am a man of -”

“Honor,” Leonard finished. “We know.”

*

The day the war started began like any other. Tajiri had been working with El Niño and the Chicanos on bringing weapons to the mass of inmates when the battle started. Leonard was preparing a new slew of weapons and surprises for the coming battle. They had precious little time, but they were well prepared for what they were forced to work with. There was only one group of inmates Xander didn’t approach.

The Ten of Clubs marched past the guards in the Mess Hall. The guards turned and left leaving only the guards in the rafters who were armed with salt pellets and tear gas (they had long disassembled the canisters in the ceiling). There were more than twenty of them walking with a purpose. Xander knew them well by now. He had been fed plenty of information from The Chaplain’s network. The leader’s name was Jermaine, but the inmates only called him Jackal.

“Zane!” Jackal called as the mess hall went silent. He was as scary looking as his reputation made him out to be. He had a face full or scars and a nose that must have been broken many times. It was the face of someone hardened on the streets before he became a God of Havenville. He pulled a rusty blade from his sleeve. It could have been made from an old jigsaw blade stolen from the wood shop. “You is one dead mutha fucka! You crossed the path of the Ten of Clubs one too many times.”

Xander stood up and walked towards Jackal. He made no move to fight. “One chance is all I will give you,” he said. “Leave now and you may live.”

Jackal threw his head back and laughed. The sound echoed through the silent mess hall. “You crazy?” he asked. “You gonna take me and my boys on all by yoself?”

“No,” Xander said. Suddenly every chair in the Mess Hall was empty. Every man stood up and stared at the twenty or so Ten of Club members that stood between them and the only way in or out. Tajiri stood to his right with Leonard directly behind him. “Your move, Jackal.”

Jackal surveyed the room with rage in his eyes. “No matter if I kill one faggot or a hundred,” he said. “Yo ass dies today!” Jackal lunged at Xander with the blade in his hand. He was aiming for Xander’s throat, but he moved like liquid and twisted Jackal’s wrist. The blade fell, and Xander caught it by the handle. He brought his hand up like lightning and pushed the blade into Jackal’s chest. He felt is slide in between his ribs.

“That’s for Wells,” Xander whispered as Jackal began to descend towards the cold floor where he would die with a look of utter surprise on his twisted face. “The rest of your boys are for me.”

The other members of the Ten of Clubs looked as surprised as their now dead leader looked. “Leonard,” he said softly. “Get El Niño and start arming as many people as possible. Get the phone and meet me in the rec yard. Tajiri, grab who you can and take care of the guards. Try not to kill them.”

Both men nodded in agreement. Xander could almost feel the tension in the air. Every moment since Wolfsky was taken led up to this moment. The inmates of Havenville Penitentiary were finally poised to take over. The Warden had lorded over them all and backed them into the preverbal corner, and it only took a man called Xander Zane to motivate them and form them into a small army. All they needed now was the word.

“Kill them,” Xander snarled, and his army converged on the Ten of Clubs.

*

Xander was amazed at how efficiently his makeshift army performed. Even with the guards searching everyone on a regular basis, most of his men seemed to have been able to keep some kind of weapon on them. When the moved in on the Ten of Clubs, it was barely a fair fight. He reached down and pulled the rusted blade out of Jackal’s chest and began hacking his way into the crowd as well. The jagged blade bit into flesh and scraped against bone as he killed any Ten of Club he could find.

The guards above them began firing the salted pellet rounds into the crowd. They didn’t wield much damage other than some broken skin and very painful wounds, but they were effective at slowing a few of the men down. Tajiri and a few other Yakuza members snuck to the top and made quick work of the guards. When they were knocked out they tossed the rifles, stun guns, and clubs to the crowd below.

The Ten of Clubs numbers were diminished rapidly. Now that the inmates had better weapons, the work went quickly. Leonard was able to find his hole and ran out of the Mess Hall (the guards ignored him on his way out when they thought he was fleeing for his life). One of the inmates who caught a rifle aimed it one of the guards and fired a round of salted pellets into his chest. It wasn’t enough to break through his gear, but it flung him backwards where the inmates were able to strip him of his stun gun and other weapons.

Two other guards were hit with stolen stun guns and fell to the floor. They too were ransacked and dragged to empty cells where they were to be locked up (per Xander’s orders). Another guard was maced before he could begin firing into the crowd as they marched over the bodies of the Ten of Clubs and into the halls. 

The halls and cell blocks of Havenville Penitentiary were once again thrown into chaos as Xander marched with the inmates surrounding him. Some of the guards were putting themselves into cells and passing their weapons and zip ties through the bars. Xander smiled to them as he passed.

Xander walked outside to the rec yard where Leonard was waiting for him. El Niño had already given his orders to grab the weapons that Tajiri and the Chaplain’s Network had placed all around Havenville. They stood in the rec yard as the guards in the towers aimed their assault rifles down at them. All they needed was an order or an excuse to fire.

“Is it ready?” Xander asked Leonard.

“Here it is,” Leonard handed Xander a cell phone. It had been opened and crudely put back together, but Xander wasn’t concerned about how it looked. “Hold the button on the side and talk.”

Xander pressed the button and the phone shut off.

“Shit,” Leonard said snatching it back from Xander’s hand. “Hold on a second.”

Leonard pressed buttons and fiddled with phone as Xander noticed how tense the guards in the tower were getting. They were obviously nervous for what was coming. Xander wondered nervously why they were hesitating. Finally Leonard took the battery out and put it back in. After staring at the screen for a moment he handed it back to Xander.

“Alright?” Xander asked.

“Should work now,” Leonard said with a smile.

Xander held the button on the side and suddenly all of the P.A. speakers were alive with static. Xander could hear the breeze on the P.A. as it brushed the mouth piece of the phone. He considered for a moment to announce his real name and FBI credentials, but remembered that Peter Frost was dead. The men didn’t follow Peter Frost the FBI agent to battle. They followed Xander Zane their equal.

“My name is Xander Zane, and I’m here to take back Havenville. Warden Greene is an evil man and not who he says he is. The truth is that Warden Daniel Greene is really super-criminal Hugo Keene. He’s been conducting experiments on the inmates here for years, and we came together to put an end to it.

“I know most of the guards here are family men, so I am pleading with you directly. Step down and hide. Run if you have to. If you fight for this madman, you will die. If you resist us in any way, we will consider you on his side and kill you. Lay down your guns and leave. 

“This will be your only warning.” 

 

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