Chapter 22: Inside
The sky turned red as Xander fell to his knees in agonizing pain. He could see the man called John Smith holding his palm out to him, but the features behind and around him swirled in and out of focus. Xander knew what this was and who John Smith was. He heard from Rohan of men like John Smith talking to them from Max Lockup, and he had even spoke with one himself as laid unconscious on the prison floor. The man called John Smith was a psychic, and this one had enough force to put Xander on his knees even though he knew none of this was real.
“I’ve won,” the voice of Warden Greene said from inside Xander’s mind. “You were a fool to bring all these men to their deaths.”
Xander didn’t have time to wonder if that was really Warden Greene’s voice somehow being broadcasted into his mind. He had to break free of the hold John Smith had on him. ”
“You won’t break free Xander Zane Peter Frost,” John Smith said. It was the second time he used the double name. It was as if he was mocking Xander with information from inside his own mind.
“You’ll die,” the voice of Warden Greene said. “Painfully. Like your wife and son. You should have never crossed me, Zane.”
Xander struggled to get up. He got one knee off the ground. Then the second reluctantly came. Xander was now on his feet. What used to be the grounds outside of Max Lockup was now a wasteland of broken concrete blocks and gray smoke. “I will not fail,” Xander says.
“You will,” the voice of Warden Greene said. “You have already.”
“No,” Xander said through his teeth. He could feel the psychic hold on him loosening, but he couldn’t shake it completely. He felt as if he was missing some piece of a puzzle.
“Stop fighting,” John Smith said. “You’re only making it worse for yourself, Xander Zane Peter Frost.”
John Smith’s use of the double name infuriated Xander. How dare he use the name of Peter Frost.
“He’s dead,” Xander said.
“Is he?” John Smith asked.
Xander thought there was a hint of something else in his voice when he asked. Could that be the key? Was John Smith helping him?
Xander felt a presence to his right. “I never left,” a calm voice said. He recognized it as his own, but a voice he hadn’t used in months. It was the voice of Peter Frost.
“You’re not dead?” Xander asked Peter.
“No,” Peter said. “We’re not. Not yet, anyway.”
“Can you beat him?” Xander asked.
“I was a pretty good marksmen in my FBI field agent days,” Peter said. Xander saw he had a gun in his hand. He raised the gun that wasn’t really there towards the face of John Smith. His fingers moved on their own accord. Not his fingers, but Peter’s fingers.
“You’re still Peter,” the voice said in his ear. “Inside. You just need to stop and look sometime.”
“You’ll die!” Warden Greene’s voice said.
“No,” Peter Frost said. “You will.”
Peter Frost squeezed the trigger and ended John Smith’s existence.
“Son of a bitch!” Warden Greene spat as John Smith died. Blood poured from Smith’s eyes and mouths as his head looked down at the floor. Lockhart had promised that this was the most powerful John Smith to date, but in the end he was killed by a mere man.
“What’s the order?” Rockwell asked near the door. Greene has asked him to stay by him. If Rockwell found anything odd about John Smith and his psychic attack he didn’t voice any opinion. At this point nothing should surprise a member of Greene’s elite guard squad.
“They’re coming inside,” Greene said. “There’s no way to stop them now. Make sure they die in the lobby. Let loose hell on them. Pick whichever of my troops you want and let them out of their cells. They are programed to listen to you if you’re in uniform.”
“Yes sir,” Rockwell said.
“One more thing,” Greene said as Rockwell turned to leave. “Attend to Zane yourself.”
Wolfsky continued his trek through the halls of Max Lockup. He was aware that Warden Greene was wandering around as well, but thus far he was lucky enough not to run into Wolfsky’s dwindling inmates. They had been successful in thinning the number of guards, but they had lost quite a bit as well. Wolfsky had been separated when there were around fifteen left. He’d consider himself lucky to have seven or eight by the time he was finished with Lockhart.
Wolfsky peeked around a corner and spotted a door guarded by two elite guards. For two guards to stay posted when the entirety of Havenville was in chaos meant that Wolfsky finally found what he was meant to find. He quickly rushed down the hall, and the guards fired on him immediately. Wolfsky danced through the bullets with a grace that didn’t fit his body and clotheslined both guards at once. Once on the ground, Wolfsky snapped both of their necks in quick succession.
Wolfsky took a deep breath and entered the room.
“I was wondering when you’d come,” Lockhart said. “I don’t suppose you’d want to sit down and have a cup of tea.”
“No,” Wolfsky said.
“I didn’t think so,” Lockhart said. “I have a proposal for you if you’d like to hear it.”
Wolfsky knew he shouldn’t listen. He knew he should kill Lockhart straight off for his mission and for revenge. There was no reason to hear him out. Still, Wolfsky spent years of his life to get to this point. What were a few moments? Besides, Wolfsky was curious to see what the man who manipulated his father’s DNA would have to offer.
“Tell Wolfsky,” Wolfsky said.
“The organization you work for,” Lockhart said. “Do you know everything about them? Do you even know why they want me dead?”
Wolfsky didn’t say anything. Normally, Wolfsky would say that he knew enough. He knew what Lockhart was and what he stood for.
“You’re just doing your job,” Lockhart continued. “I understand. I’ve been on their hit list for a very long time.”
Again, Wolfsky said nothing.
“You look surprised,” Lockhart said. “Did you think I wouldn’t know about you? They anticipated I would come here before I know that Keene had set up shop here. They were one step ahead, and I applaud them for it. I didn’t know either until I saw you killing the doctors on the monitors. That strength. That brutality. That finely tuned mind! Such feats could only be accomplished from someone who was treated with my Omega Serum, and I had lost all surviving patients to that damn organization of yours. I had no idea a father could pass it onto his offspring.”
“Your serum killed my mother,” Wolfsky said. “You killed my mother.”
“The very reason I tried to keep your father in my Haitian facility!” Lockhart said accusingly. “Little did I know your mother would survive enough to birth you! She must have been such a strong woman to withstand the radiation your father emitted from his very body. You’re the finest specimen I could have hoped for, Wolfsky! Come with me. Let us leave this place. We can own the world.”
“Is that your offer?” Wolfsky asked. “Wolfsky still doesn’t hear a reason not to kill you.”
“Your organization,” Lockhart said with a smirk. “What do they call themselves now? The I.S.C.O.? When I was employed by them they simply called it The Organization. They’ve even help fund some of Keene’s work here at Havenville. Confused? Yes, they employed me for a time. Who do you think I was working for in Haiti? Why do you think they wanted me dead? I took my work and went freelance. Your father was supposed to help me, but he ditched me the first chance he got and went running off to Barbados.”
“You lie,” Wolfsky said.
“No I don’t,” Lockhart said. “And you know when somebody is lying to you. Am I lying to you?”
Wolfsky squinted his eyes at Lockhart. He knew he wasn’t lying. Wolfsky always had an instinct about such matters, and that instinct was never wrong.
“There,” Lockhart said straightening up and walking towards Wolfsky. “Things aren’t as I thought they would be working with my old colleague. I think it’s time I made my exit, but that depends on you. You can come with me and learn the truth, or you can kill me and continue to be led along like a puppy by The Organization. It’s your choice.”
“Wolfsky has already made it,” Wolfsky said. “I don’t need to be shown the truth or salvation by you, Lockhart. I have already been shown the true path by a man called Chaplain Freeman. Wolfsky will not walk the your path or the path of The Organization any longer. Wolfsky chooses to walk his own path and atone for his sins in Wolfsky’s own way.”
“Very noble,” Lockhart said nodding. “Well then you best get on with it. I’d rather die here than at the hands of some brute inmate.”
Wolfsky nodded and obliged Lockhart. His death had to be quick. Wolfsky had more work to do before he was finished.
Tajiri had the plates of the electronic locks to Max Lockup off in seconds. He had his tiny tool kit strapped to his left wrist, and his fingers moved with a deftness that most couldn’t perform. His years as a safe-cracker for the Yakuza made him an extremely useful ally to Xander.
“It’s open,” Tajiri said taking a step back and wiping his brow. “Just say the magic word and it’s open.”
Xander looked over his army. Their numbers weren’t as great as they were when they first took over the General Population building. The wolves and their short battle with Marshall Kit had seen to that, but they were still a formidable force.
“We’re with you all the way,” El Niño said from the front line. He now wore riot gear and carried an automatic weapon. Xander noticed most of the men were now armed with a wide variety of weapons they picked up along the way. “Open those doors and let’s get moving.”
The men cheered in unison and Xander stepped towards the double doors that would lead them into Max Lockup. The doors were big, but they’d be essentially bottle necking themselves if the guards were able to amass above them. If they were smart they would. Xander looked through the thick glass and saw movement, but he couldn’t see what.
Xander, Tajiri, and Leonard’s role were simple. The three of them would break off as soon as they were in and find Wolfsky or Greene. Once Wolfsky was free and Greene was dead, they were to find a way to destroy Max Lockup on their way out. The only problem was stepping through that door.
“Let’s move!” Xander shouted as he kicked open the doors.
The scene inside Max Lockup was not what Xander had expected. He expected to be covered by the elite guards with guns and automatic firing weapons on the wall. He half-expected to be killed the moment he kicked the doors open. Xander couldn’t believe what he saw when he entered the lobby.
What was commonly called “The Lobby” of Max Lockup was actually the main area that stretched from the ground all the way up to the very top. Directly across from the main doors was the processing area much like in Gen Pop. From where Xander stood upon entering Max Lockup he could see the Southern face of five above-ground floors, and it was complete chaos.
Guards fell from the higher floors all the way down to the ground. Elite guards were shooting at the max lockup inmates who were wearing red jumpsuits and inciting chaos as they went along. His men came in behind him at a run, but stopped to watch what was going on. It looked like the war of Havenville had already erupted in Max.
Suddenly, sets of doors on the ground floor began to open. The inmates braced themselves, but nothing happened right away. Then huge men who had obviously been tampered with like the ones that Xander and Tajiri fled from in the Quarantine Wing began to emerge.
“What’s the word?” Leonard asked a little too nervously.
“Where’s El Niño?” Xander asked.
“Right here, boss,” El Niño answered coming up from behind Xander.
“The men are yours,” Xander said. “Fight these bastards off the best you can. Show no mercy to any of them.”
“You’re not staying?” El Niño asked.
“I’m taking Leonard and Tajiri with me,” Xander said. “We’re going to try and stop this at the source.”
“Going after the Warden?” El Niño asked. “Kill him once for me too, yo. We got these chumps.”
With Wolfsky’s mission done, he ran towards the lobby where he knew Xander and the others were now fighting for their lives. He only ran into two guards, and made quick work of killing them. He was nearly to the lobby when he ran into Xander and the others by chance.
“Wolfsky!” Xander shouted as Wolfsky rounded a corner. He nearly took Xander’s head off in surprise, but stopped himself.
“Xander!” Wolfsky exclaimed. “I knew you’d come for Wolfsky.”
“Even though you told me it was suicide?” Xander asked.
“Wolfsky thought that might entice you,” Wolfsky said beaming.
“We’re here too!” Leonard said.
“Yes,” Wolfsky said. “Wolfskky is glad you can all come.”
“I hate to break this up,” Tajiri said. “But we are no longer alone.”
The quartet turned to see someone approaching slowly down the hall. He was tall, muscular, and dark hair was cut nearly to the scalp. They knew who he was immediately.
“Go,” Xander said not taking his gaze off the face of Rockwell. “I’ll take this one.”
“No,” Tajiri said. “If we take him together -”
“Let’s go,” Wolfsky said before Xander could protest. “These two have unfinished business, and so do we.”
“You know why we’re here,” Xander said. “Wolfsky should know the lay of this place better than all three of us. He’ll know where to go.”
Tajiri and Leonard nodded in unison and moved towards Wolfsky. Rockwell continued his stride not moving to stop them.
“Xander,” Wolfsky said.
“Save it for later,” Xander said. “Go!”
Wolfsky, Leonard, and Tajiri ran off down the corridor as Rockwell finally made his way to Xander.
Warden Greene watched the carnage erupting in the lobby on his many monitors. The elite guards were all but decimated by the mass breakout that happened before Xander and his army broke into Max. He knew if Lockhart or Dr. Dean were in the room with him they would have told him that he should have killed those four rather than play his game of cat and mouse with them.
Xander Zane from the outside. Wolfsky from within. General Population and the walls were no longer under his control, and Max Lockup was following suit. No matter how this ended, Havenville was done. The only think he could hope for was a clean escape for himself and his compatriots along with whatever Max inmates were loyal to him.
“Good evening, Warden,” a weakened female voice said from behind him. “Is it evening? I don’t even know any more. There are no windows in the room you gave me to die in.”
“Jodie Slate,” Greene said turning around. She was wearing nothing more than a light blue hospital gown. He could see the marks in her arm where she had wearing the I.V.
“Dustin,” Slate corrected. “My name is Dustin. Or have you forgotten?”
“I was under the impression you had forgotten,” Greene said. “You were designed to forget.”
“All glory to The Warden,” Slate said in a mocking smile. Greene’s stomach turned when he saw how many teeth she had lost. Greene thought she’d have died by now. There was only so long the conditioning would last.
“You were perfect,” Greene said. He wasn’t lying. There was no other that had performed as perfectly as she did. It was a pity he had to push her aside to die alone in a cell, but that was the endgame. “It’s a shame it had to end like this for you,” Greene continued. “I wish I had ten more like you.”
“Save it,” Slate said. “You’re a dead man.”
“You are here to kill me?” Greene asked. “I find that hard to believe.”
“Not me,” Slate said. “The reaper is coming for you. I saw the monitors. There is an army of pissed off inmates storming your little castle, Greene.”
“It’s not over,” Greene said.
“Has anyone checked in?” Slate asked with that sickening smile. “Can you count? Seven doctors. Doctor Dean. Lockhart. I went to them first. All dead.”
“Dead?” Greene whispered. He turned around again and started punching buttons on his keyboard. He was so busy coordinating the defense of his Elite Guards and inmates, he forgot to check his own house. One by one they popped up showing nothing but dead bodies. With Marshall dead as well he only had Rockwell left, and he had sent him after the most dangerous of all game.
“It’s over,” Slate whispered in Greene’s ear. He could smell the decay of her body on her breath. Enraged, he turned and throttled her thin throat. He watched as her eyes turned up and the her life left her body.
“Such a pity,” Greene said.
“Are you sure you don’t want your friends to stick around?” Rockwell asked. “This is going to be good.”
“This is between us,” Xander said. “You killed my family.”
“Would you believe me if I told you it was all business?” Rockwell asked.
“No,” said Xander.
“You’d be right,” Rockwell said. He unbuckled his belt. He let it fall along with his mace, cuffs, gun, and other assorted weapons. He removed his body armor as well. “I like a fair fight,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Do you have any idea why I told you that it was me that killed your son?”
“Shut the fuck up and fight me,” Xander said through clenched teeth. His hands were balled up at his sides, and he had no intention on engaging Rockwell in pointless conversation.
Rockwell’s jabbed with his left hand. He was fast. Xander barely had time to step back to save his nose from being broken. Rockwell swung with a right hook that also missed. “You’re quick,” Rockwell said. “But we’re just getting started!”
Rockwell kicked out at Xander’s left leg, and Xander stumbled. Rockwell smiled slickly as he connected a jab to Xander’s temple. Xander saw stars and struggled to get back to his feet.
“Come on, Frost,” Rockwell said. “We’re just getting started!”
Whatever fatigue Xander felt was erased as soon as he heard Rockwell use his firmer name. He lunged at Rockwell and threw a series of punches wildly at Rockwell’s face. Rockwell had to put his arms up to block the blows, but not before a few connected. When he finally put his hands down he had bruise forming above his right eye and blood trickled from his mouth.
“Good,” Rockwell said wiping the blood with the back of her hand. “This’ll be fun.”
Wolfsky led the way down stairwells and corridors into the heart of Max Lockup. It would have been quicker to use the elevators, but Wolfsky suggested that they might be on lockdown. Either that or they would lock them in as soon as they entered. Even with Havenville in chaos, The Warden was still in charge.
“How much further,” Leonard said. “I’ve gotten into great shape thanks to prison, but I still can’t keep up with you guys.”
“Almost there,” Wolfsky said. “I learned the layout from The Chaplain’s maps.”
“I’ve been meaning to ask you about that,” Leonard said. “Who exactly was The Chaplain? Someone like Xander? FBI? CIA? Some other acronym?”
“He was a man,” Wolfsky said.
“A noble man,” Tajiri added.
“Fuck you guys,” Leonard said. “Forget I asked.”
Wolfsky was right. It wasn’t much further to where they had to go. The only problem was the guards. “You hang back,” Wolfsky said to Leonard. “Tajiri and Wolfsky can take care of the four guards outside the door. We’ll call when it’s done.”
“I have no problem with that,” Leonard said panting. “You guys take this one. I’ll hang here.” He reached behind him and pulled out a long knife. He had it sheathed by his left buttock in case he had a need for it. He tried to hand it to Wolfsky.
“Hang onto that,” Wolfsky said. “In case someone comes along. You might have to use it.”
“Ready?” Tajiri whispered. Leonard noticed his stance. He was ready to move and do it quickly. He knew the instant he took his attention away Tajiri would be a blur.
“Ready,” Wolfsky said. Without any more hesitation they both launched from where they were standing and went after the four heavily armed guards.
“Do you know who I was on the outside?” Rockwell asked kicking Xander in the ribs. He slid across the floor. “Oh yeah. I wasn’t always a prison guard. My name was Bruno. Bruno Fabbro! You’re FBI, right? You know the name?”
Xander did know the name. There wasn’t anyone in the entire Northeast that didn’t know Bruno Fabbro. The man born from a wealthy Italian family that strayed form his family’s life of organized crime to take up residence in Bridgeport, CT to start his own life of crime. Only difference was Fabbro was a child killer.
“You remember,” Rockwell said. “I can see it in your face. The Warden took a liking to me, and the scrawny punk that entered Havenville became the well oiled machine that you see now. How many was it? Do you remember the numbers?”
Too many, Xander thought. He knew there were dozens of kids missing from area projects and lower income housing. The assumption was that Fabbro took children he didn’t think anyone would miss. When they finally caught up with him, they found evidence of dozens of slain children they had no idea were missing. He was monster in human flesh.
“I should thank you,” Rockwell said. “Until my assignment to pay your wife and son a visit, that part of my life was behind me. I had forgotten how good it felt.”
Xander heard all he was willing to hear. The presence of Peter Frost raged inside him, but Xander shut it down. Xander Zane was a cold-blooded killer. He didn’t need the cool headedness of an FBI agent that wanted men like Fabbro behind bars. He needed the prison inmate, Xander Zane, that knew that Fabbro deserved to be killed.
Xander moved fast. Faster than Rockwell’s eyes. He landed three punches to Rockwell’s kidneys before he could be shoved off. He swung his left hand upwards in a sloppy uppercut, but it still connected. A spray of blood flew from Rockwell’s mouth. Xander hoped that was his tongue. At least he wouldn’t have to hear him talk any longer.
Xander rammed his knee into Rockwell’s stomach. Rockwell wasn’t expecting the blow, and bent forward. Xander used his knee again to smash Rockwell’s nose. He followed up with a hard elbow to the back of Rockwell’s neck. Rockwell fell to the ground on his face. His body was still.
El Niño fired his automatic rifle into the charging men that were coming from every conceivable direction. Greene didn’t waste body armor on these men, so the bullets found their marks easier than they did when they fought the elite guards for entry into Max. El Niño directed the flow of bullets as well as Xander did. Those who were out of ammo and fought with blunt instruments were sent to the sidelines to pick off anyone that go through the firing line.
The men coming through the doors could hardly be called men. They charged on legs and knuckles like apes. They snarled and spit as they bellowed in rage. Worst of all, The bullets did little to slow them down unless a head or chest shot was made. The beast-men ran so savagely and randomly that the small orange-suited army had trouble keeping up. Soon the hoard was on them and hammering them hard.
El Niño dropped his assault rifle once it was spent, and went for his stun gun that he had strapped to his back. It was fully charged, and he aimed it at the oncoming hoard. There was no time to differentiate between friend and foe. He aimed wide, and moved his gun while it was pulsing. When he was done he had a long line of twitching bodies in front of him.
“Get them before they get up!” he called to his right. Inmates with knifes or clubs finished off the twitching beast-men. Either smashing their heads into putty or cutting their throats open. The floor was soon drenched with blood.
The carnage was over as quickly as it began. All of a sudden there was silence in the lobby. They moved their unconscious comrades back behind their line where they tried to revive them. El Niño had a sinking feeling they haven’t yet seen the worst, and his suspicion was correct.
There were fewer this time, but they were bigger. One man that walked slowly had two extra arms grafted to this mid-section. Another had metal claws coming from his fingers. A few crackled with electricity as they walked like the one that was taken down in C-Block during the riots.
“You best hurry the fuck up, Xander,” El Niño said under his breath.
“What are you doing?” Tajiri asked.
“It’s here somewhere,” Leonard said quickly looking through directories on the huge computer. “I know it is.”
“We don’t have a lot of time,” Wolfsky said. “We have to get back to Xander before The Warden gets desperate.”
“I think he’s already desperate,” Tajiri said. “But we have mission, and I’ll stay to see it to its end!”
“Keep your damn pants on,” Leonard said. “Found it! The inmates wired to explode!”
Tajiri and Wolfsky looked at the big monitor in the center of the console. There were dozens of red boxes with numbers in them. “Each number corresponds to a specific inmate,” Leonard said. “You can set dates and times of explosions. The best part is, there’s nothing to find! It’s all chemicals! Havenville sends out the signal, a transponder in the brain picks it up, the brain releases the body’s natural chemicals, and BOOM! Human bomb!”
“You’re enjoying this way too much,” Tajiri said.
“It’s just interesting,” Leonard said. “How much time do we need?”
“Wait,” Wolfsky said. “You’re going to kill those men?”
“They have to be destroyed,” Tajiri said. “We can’t have them out of Havenville. Not even in another facility. It can’t be helped.”
“Aren’t some of them outside of Havenville already?” Wolfsky asked.
“Quite a bit, actually,” Leonard said. “The neat thing about this database is that I can differentiate who is here and who is on the outside. I can only detonate who I want. It’s so easy a dummy can do it.”
“Wolfsky still doesn’t feel right about this,” Wolfsky said. “These men are victims of The Warden as well.”
“Trust me,” Leonard said. “Nobody fought Xander on this harder than me. They must be destroyed along with anyone else The Warden has experimented on. We can’t let his work leave this place. At all costs.”
“These men are already dead,” Tajiri said. “You know that nobody comes back after what The Warden has done to them.”
Wolfsky eyed Leonard. “OK,” He said. “Wolfsky understands all too well. Half an hour. That’s all the time we’ll need. Set the clock, and let’s get back to Xander.”
Xander turned the limp body of Rockwell on his back. Open eyes started up at him. His face was bloodied from this broken nose and mouth. His lips began to move, but nothing intelligible came out.
“I’m assuming that you’re begging for your life,” Xander said. “Just so you know, I have no intention on sparing you.”
Xander bent down and brought his knife across Rockwell’s throat in a motion that he was becoming very familiar with. More blood pooled under his body, and Rockwell’s shallow breathing stopped shortly.
Xander felt like sitting agains the wall and resting, but he had no time. As soon as his knife was back in his wrist sheath Wolfsky, Tajiri, and Leonard came quickly around the corner.
“You won,” Leonard said almost surprised. Xander didn’t have the energy to argue. The adrenaline was wearing off, and he felt as if he could barely walk.
“Don’t fall yet,” Wolfsky said. “We have one last piece of business before we can leave Havenville for good.”
Xander nodded and found the energy to move again. He walked down the corridor to the stairwell. He was going up to the top floor. It was time to pay Warden Greene a visit.
Warden Greene rushed into his office. He had spent too much time controlling the action around Max Lockup to no avail. The inmates were in, his doctors and confidants were all dead, and Xander Zane would be coming for him soon. The only hope he had was to destroy anything he can before running off and starting over in some other part of the world. There were even some governments that would welcome him with open arms. He was sure China or North Korea could use a man with his expertise.
Greene ran towards his big desk and opened his bottom drawer. He opened it up to find the small safe inside already opened. His heart nearly stopped when he heard the voice behind him.
“Looking for something?” Xander Zane asked.
Greene turned his head slowly to find Zane holding the large black journal that he had kept. There was a large purple and yellow bruise above Zane’s eye. Normally he would have found it amusing, but it somehow made Zane look more deranged. There wasn’t enough notes in that journal to recreate any of his experiments, but it was his personal account of his life since he had thrown the real Daniel Greene off the side of a cruise ship so many years ago.
The door slammed shut, and Greene turned quickly to see Wolfsky standing by the door with a hardened look on his face. Leonard Kelly and Tajiri stood on either side of him. He now wished he had listened to one of the many who had suggested he kill these four straight off.
“I knew we’d find something like this,” Xander said. “It was Leonard’s idea to look. How did you put it, Leonard?”
“A crazy fuck like Greene would surely keep a journal of his sick fucking life,” Leonard said. “They all do.”
“How right you were,” Xander said.
“Please,” Greene begged. “Let me go. I can make you all very rich.”
“This is not about money,” Tajiri said. “We are men of honor. We cannot be bought.”
“There are organizations,” Greene continued as if Tajiri had never spoken. “They can hide the five of us. We can rule the underworld. I was doing great things here! Spectacular things!”
“That’s all over,” Xander said. “How much longer, Wolfsky?”
“Less than fifteen minutes,” Wolfsky said.
“We better not tarry, then,” Xander said. “Hugo Keene, for crimes against humanity I hereby sentence you to death. May you burn along with your life’s work.”
The Warden of Havenville tried to run, but there was nowhere to go. The four men grabbed him roughly, and tied him to his own chair. His hands were tied behind him with the zip ties used to subdue the inmates. They used tape to ensure his arms and legs could not be freed. They broke the wheels off the bottom of the chair so he couldn’t even wheel himself away.
“The world will see you as the monster you are,” Xander said placing the journal inside his orange jumpsuit. “Not its salvation. I pray there is no Hell, because it would be too good for you.”
Xander, Wolfsky, Leonard, found their way back to the lobby quickly. They had no time to uncover any more secrets of Max Lockup. They returned to the The Lobby with only minutes to spare before Max Lockup would be reduced to ash.
The scene was horrific. El Niño and the other inmates were fighting furiously. Even though the inmates were fighting ten to one against The Warden’s beast-men, the bodies were piling up. One inmate was slashing with metallic claws. He saw another beast-man shocking inmates as they shot at him.
Without warning, Wolfsky ran into the lobby with his assault rifle in front of him. Xander followed and started pumping rounds into the backs of the beast-men. It took a lot of bullets to take them down, but they didn’t have time to devise any kind of strategy. Xander looked over, and saw Wolfsky quickly putting one bullet in the back of the head of each one he aimed at. They went down in heap a second after the bullet hit. Xander had known Wolfsky as an efficient killer with his bare hands, but he never saw him wield a gun. He could have given the top FBI sharpshooters a run for their money.
Wolfsky made them a hole large enough to travel through towards the front doors. The others followed shooting at whatever they can. “RETREAT!” Xander called. El Niño turned to see the four coming through, and started shouting at whoever was still alive and fighting to retreat. When El Niño turned toward Xander again he was grabbed by a shirtless beast-man with four arms. He held him by his mid-section with his bottom arms and ripped El Niño’s arms out of their sockets with ease.
Xander screamed and started pumping what was left in his assault rifle into the four armed beast man. He turned to Xander and began to charge. Xander was out of bullets when he finally fell to the ground at Xander’s feet with a thump. Xander knelt next to El Niño’s armless body, but it was too late. He was dead.
“There’s no time!” Wolfsky shouted pulling Xander to his feet. He dragged Xander towards the large double doors that led to the outside. Leonard and Tajiri were already leaving, and all of the other inmates had made their way out. Now that there was nobody left, the beast inmates charged them.
“It’s too late,” Xander said to Wolfsky. “They’ll break the doors right down! We can’t possibly live through their assault.”
Suddenly Xander was in the air. He only had the chance to register that Wolfsky had thrown him from the door and outside before slamming it shut with him inside. There was a loud clang as the doors emergency system locked.
“NO!” Xander yelled getting up and slamming his fist on the door. He could see Wolfsky inside through the unbreakable glass. “Wolfsky!”
“It’s OK,” Wolfsky said with a serene smile on his face. “Get as far away as you can.”
“I won’t leave you!” Xander shouted as Leonard and Tajiri began trying to pull him away.
“Go!” Wolfsky said. “It’s time Wolfsky atoned for his sins.”
Tajiri and Leonard finally got Xander free of the door. The last Xander saw of Wolfsky was him swinging his assault rifle as a weapon against the oncoming hoard The Warden’s army.
Warden Greene struggled to get free. His wrists were bleeding from where they rubbed against the plastic zip ties that bound his wrists together. He refused to believe it was all over. They may have taken his journal. They may have turned his fortress against him. They may have killed everyone close to him. The one thing they couldn’t take was his mind. As long as he could somehow get away from Havenville before it burned, he could start over.
He heard coughing from the hallway outside of his office. A thin and underfed inmate wandered in looking as if he needed a place to vomit. “Hey,” Warden Greene said. “Come over here.”
“Warden Greene!” the inmate exclaimed with a large smile. “Hail the Warden!”
“Can you get me out of here?” demanded The Warden.
“Yes,” the inmate replied glad to help. “What happened to you in here?”
“Not important,” Warden Greene said. “Get these damn ties off of me. I have important work to do! Quickly!”
“Yes,” the inmate replied gulping. “The Warden’s work is important. The Warden’s work is pure.” The inmate went on mumbling to himself as he worked getting the tape off Greene’s legs and arms. Greene felt as if he could almost stand when the inmate suddenly stopped.
“Come on!” Greene snarled. “Get me loose.”
“My insides burn!” the inmate said.
Warden Greene suddenly understood what Xander and his fool friends had done. He struggled again to get free from his bonds, but he fell to the floor. His finally got his wrists free thanks to the all the blood from his struggles. He crawled up and tried to free himself, but it was too late. The inmate crouching in his office holding his stomach exploded in an outward force of flame. The Warden was blown into a nearby wall where he died in flames.
Before he died he hoped that Xander’s prayers about there not being a Hell were true.
The ground shook beneath their feet. An outward blast of smoke and flame shot from the side of Max Lockup. Pieces of shrapnel and rubble fell to the ground. More explosions followed as the inmates in the underground facility exploded one by one. More smoke and flame erupted from the ground around them. The inmates that survived the massacre inside Max Lockup fled to the fortress walls where they hoped the flames of Havenville burning wouldn’t reach them.
The ground seemed to quake again. There was another loud explosion underground, and Max Lockup fell into the earth. A thick torrent of smoke rose from the hole where Havenville used to be.
“They’ll see that all the way up in Maine,” Leonard said wiping his glasses and putting them back on his face. Xander didn’t have the energy to laugh. He slouched against the stone and brick all and sat down. It was over. Finally.
“Wolfsky saved us all,” Tajiri said. “Without him they would have gotten out and killed us all.”
“Way of the samurai,” Leonard said.
“No,” Tajiri said. “Wolfsky. A man.”
Xander sighed and looked at the ground beneath his legs. He owed these two so much, but he still couldn’t stand to hear them bickering again. El Niño was dead. Wolfsky was dead. Dozens of inmates were dead. Wolfsky didn’t give his life to save everyone. He gave it to save Xander. To ensure people knew what had actually happened inside Havenville. So that people would know that The Innocent had prevailed.
Xander didn’t look up when the sound of helicopters filled the air.
The days following the collapse of Havenville went by so fast that Xander noticed them in a blur. Black helicopters flew in and landed within the walls. The inmates that had taken over put down their weapons and surrendered themselves at Xander’s instruction. It would be clear that they weren’t the enemies here. Xander was certain of that much.
Xander came forward and presented himself as Peter Frost of the FBI. They held him for what seemed like days until they could establish his identity. The Warden may have destroyed the Boston field office and killed his superiors, but there was enough back up files to ensure that he was able to take his former life back. What was left of it anyway.
Weeks later, Peter Frost ran into a new employee to the FBI in the newly rebuilt Boston office.
“Xander!” Leonard yelled from across the hall.
“It’s Peter,” Peter said extending his hand.
“Oh yeah,” Leonard said shaking his hand. “I’ll have to get used to that. Nice to meet you, Peter Frost.”
“Don’t be a dick,” Peter said laughing.
“Well I see this version of you has a sense of humor at least,” Leonard said. “It’s a bit refreshing.”
“How are you liking your new job?” Peter asked.
“Great!” Leonard said. “I can’t believe you came through after all! Not that I ever doubted you would. I’ve been giving them all sorts of input wherever I can. There’s even been talk of me doing a training session with some bomb squad guys. Who would’ve thought going to prison would turn out so great.”
“I’m glad it worked out for you,” Peter said. “I really am.”
“And I’m sorry,” Leonard said quickly. “About everything. Wolfsky. You’re family. It must be hard being back on the outside after everything. You know…. Shit. I’m not good at consoling people.”
“It’s alright,” Peter said. “One day at a time. Peter Frost still doesn’t technically exist yet. It could be weeks before I’m who I should be again. Right now I’m in limbo.”
“At least you have me around to reminisce about the good ol’ days in Havenville,” Leonard said smiling again. “I just wish I could talk to Tajiri again. I’m going to miss that samurai bastard.”
“Oh yeah?” Xander asked. “What happened to him?”
“You haven’t heard?” Leonard asked puffing out his chest. “It just so happens he knew an FBI agent who was able to pull a few strings for him.”
Tanaka piled his money into neat stacks of ten thousand each. He then divvied out which would go to his bosses and which would go to pay the various mafias of New York. He planned on finally going back to Japan with his wife and children. There wasn’t much else for him here. He passed his work here onto his protege, Watanabe, and he would live the rest of days in the peace of his native land.
“I just got off the phone like you asked, Tanaka-san,” Watanabe said entering Tanaka’s office. “It’s confirmed. Tajiri was killed during the riots at Havenville.”
“That’s good,” Tanaka said. “The last time I saw him he had no idea of our plans. Now that he’s gone you have free reign. I always feared that he would somehow get out.”
“What of his family?” Watanabe asked.
“Since Tajiri is no longer an issue I see no reason to keep them,” Tanaka said. “Take their income and home. Throw them on the streets. Sell his daughter if you want. I no longer care. Send word to Japan that he is now dead. They should know what to do.”
“I’ve waited too long for his death,” Watanabe said. “We should have had him killed years ago!”
“You lack patience,” Tanaka said. “It comes with age and wisdom. You still had much to learn. I still fear you may not be ready, but I long to see Japan once more. I’ve grown to hate this place I once dreamed of ruling. I wish you nothing but the best in your endeavors here, but I do not envy you.”
“You do not have to, Tanaka-san,” Watanabe said. “There are plenty here that envy -”
Watanabe’s words were cut off. He looked down. There was a knife coming out of his chest. A trail of blood fell from his lips as his body fell to the ground.
Tanaka raised a gun and aimed it. “Who dares!” he called.
“Surely you remember the man who went to prison for your crimes, Tanaka-san,” Tajiri said coming from the darkness.
“Kai,” Tanaka said. “So you escaped after all. And led us to believe you were dead so we’d let our guard down. How very clever.”
“Not as clever as you, Tanaka-san,” Tajiri said stepping closer. “I admired you. Looked up to you. Was I really such a threat to you that you and Watanabe would set me up like this?”
“You do not understand,” Tanaka said. “It was all a ruse to fool the New York families. They had to believe that Watanabe had stolen the gems. We needed someone to take the fall! I needed someone I could trust to do their duty and stay in prison for the crimes.”
“So you took my little girl’s father away,” Tanaka said stepping closer. He did not fear the gun Tanaka was holding. Tanaka knew that Tajiri was too fast. “I want the address of my family, and I want it now.”
“I don’t have it,” Tanaka said.
Tanaka’s face was on his desk so suddenly he didn’t even realize it was Tajiri who had done it. The stacks of bills fell to the floor. “TELL ME!” Tajiri shouted.
“Top desk drawer,” Tanaka said in a shaky voice. “Address book. Your wife’s name is in there. I swear they are unharmed.”
“I do not doubt it,” Tajiri said. He picked Tanaka’s gun from the floor and pulled the hammer back.
“Please,” Tanaka said not daring to move his head from the desk. “If I am to die, let me do so with honor.”
“No,” Tajiri said squeezing the trigger.
Peter Frost was ready to leave protective custody and start a new life when he was stopped by one of the FBI directors named Higgins. He wore a dark gray suit with a black die. He had dark hair that matched his neatly trimmed goatee. He offered Peter a cup of coffee in exchange for ten minutes of his time. Peter accepted. He really had nowhere to go anyway.
“That’s some spectacular story,” Director Higgins said. “I’ve read your report, obviously. I was very impressed.”
“I wish they all felt that way,” Peter responded. “I’ve been scolded for amassing an army of prison inmates, destroying the facility with its mounds of evidence, and killing The Warden. My mission was only to gather information.”
“There are those of us who think you did a great thing,” Higgins said. “A great thing. I wish I had more guys like you on my team.”
“What team is that?” Peter asked. He could see where this conversation was heading.
“Like I said,” Higgins continued. “I’ve read your file. I’ve also been reading up on your cellmate who helped you stage this coup. Wolfsky.”
“He was a good man,” Peter said.
“He was,” Higgins said. “Let me ask you something. Do you know of his past? Before he entered Havenville I mean?”
Peter took a page from Wolfsky’s book and said nothing. As Xander Zane, he learned plenty about Wolfsky’s past. Not much of it he was willing to share, though.
“OK,” Higgins said. “Don’t tell me. I would’ve of respected you less if you did tell me. We know of The Organization he worked for. That is why I wanted to speak with you. I need someone who can get inside. Someone who can take them down. This is big.”
“Another black mission?” Peter asked.
“No,” Higgins replied. “This goes beyond black missions. This goes beyond anything we’ve attempted. Wolfsky’s organization goes deep. We’ve just started to scratch the surface. Peter Frost will be officially dead. Gone. For good. We need Xander Zane. A name people know. Someone who overthrew a Warden of a prison and burned it to the ground. A man an organization’s top killer put his trust in. Xander Zane has a chance to get inside and get in deep. What do you say?”
“Wouldn’t they know that Xander Zane was FBI all along?” Peter asked.
“No,” Higgins said. “We’ve taken great strides to hide your true identity. We made sure agent Kelly stopped shouting ‘Xander’ across the FBI cafeteria as well. Once Peter Frost is gone he’ll be completely off the grid. This will make a black mission look like a preschool story time.”
Peter took a sip of his coffee and put it down. He pushed it away. There was too much sugar in it. Xander Zane preferred his coffee black and bitter.
“When do I start,” Xander asked.