Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chapter 15


I almost laughed at the look on Johnson's face. Almost. He danced around like the chickens do when something upsets them. He finally stopped then nearly yanked me down so hard I almost landed on my head. I think he wanted to spank me. Probably would have if I hadn't handed him a ham-apple sandwich.

He tried to get me to eat some of it but I wouldn't. I explained it to him. I have found a new way to get supplies. More and better supplies are coming in. Obviously not the Director's doing, she'd never order the kind of stuff coming in. Steaks, sausages, expensive canned stuff, potatoes, liquor, exotic fruit, stuff I’ve only ever seen in picture books or on the Tri-V. It has something to do with the important man that now uses the Director's office.

I should probably feel guilty for stealing but after what I've heard I just can't find it in me. I should probably feel sorry for our Staff but I don't. I'm worried for our soldiers but I think I might have found a way around that but I'm not for sure yet and it could be very dangerous if we get caught.  Before I even mention it I need to have all the kinks worked out or they’ll flat out refuse.

I've also found a way to get around their security procedures. These new people don't think much of Defectives. They make the mistake of thinking that having a physical defect somehow translates into having a mental defect too. Sure some of us and some of our soldiers do have brain trauma but that doesn't mean they aren't clever in their own way ... clever and useful.

The other thing is that because they underestimate us they don't do as good a job as they could at watching us. The new people are watching the Staff more than they are watching us. It makes the Staff nervous and do bad things. I am especially disappointed in Mr. Waverly. He was our friend. I get that he is scared but he is now trying to turn some of our own against us. This is what I really needed to tell. I've told Roland already and he is heartbroken; but, he surprised me too because it seems to have turned something back on inside him. He agrees that the only other that we should trust is Johnson. But there's a risk trusting him so much. What if Waverly has already gotten to him?


**********

"I ought to skin you you little ..." Nothing else coming out of Johnson's mouth made any sense since it was just a bunch of growling so Georgie pushed the sandwich back into his mouth and then handed him a bottle of orange juice.

"I'm going to be sorry I asked. I know I am. Where ..?"

"Shhhhh. Let's get in the closet."

"Like hell I'm getting in my closet with a pint-size, half-dressed piece of jailbait.  I don’t care if you are nearly as bald as a cue ball."

It took a moment for Georgie to figure out what he meant but when she did she just rolled her eyes and opened his closet and went in and sat down, giving Johnson little choice but to follow her if he wanted answers.

"Georgie ..."

"Oh stop already. You're a man but you aren't like the ones that hurt me and you're not like some of the Staff can be either. You might think about sex but ..."

Johnson started to get up but Georgie stopped him. "Ok, I won't say the word, don’t have a meltdown.   I just wanted you to know I know you are the right kind of man because you choose to be."

Johnson sighed between licking the crumbs from his fingers. "Fine. Just don't push your luck. And get to explaining. Now you Brat."

Georgie knew he had to make his point one way or the other but this way of making it - by calling her a brat - at least meant he would sit still and listen so she didn't complain even though she was getting tired of him acting like she was a little kid. "I'll get around to the food 'cause it's important too. But you can't yell or someone might hear and ... and you have to be careful Johnson. I ... uh ..."

"I think I figured part of it out Kiddo," he said gently. "Who is Waverly talking up?"

Georgie was relieved. She'd hated the idea of putting ideas in his head. "Peterson, Nela, Tracey, and ... and Archer only I'm not sure how much Archer gets it. I think they are just pumping him for information, not promising him anything in exchange."

"Gotten to briberies already?" Johnson asked, a little surprised at how fast things were moving.

"Yeah. Peterson ... I think he might be the weakest link because Waverly has promised him medicine for his nightmares. He really hates them and the only teas I've found to help him are the ones that make him loopy or put him to sleep. He doesn't like those feelings either so he won't take them enough to get them to work right. I don't know if Chaplin knows or not but I'm thinking not because I think he'd rather die than go on pain meds. He's always telling Peterson what a good thing it is that he's not dependent on his old meds so they don't have anything to hold over his head. But Peterson is just ... he's just the way he is I guess. He's strong so long as there's no chance of him getting meds to help him but if there is a chance ... Johnson I'm sorry but I think if this - whatever this is - goes on for much longer Peterson is going to fold."

Johnson said a rude curse. "Figures. I hope we are underestimating Peterson - or maybe underestimating Chaplin's influence - but what you've said sounds about what I've seen out in the field.  Peterson is a good man … but he’s also weak.  Always has been.  What about Nela and Tracey? They've been off to themselves a lot but I put it down to studying for that damn test."

"Yeah, it is mostly that. And Nela being tore up about Roland ... but Tracey is working on her. Tracey is more of a weak link than Nela. But Nela has the bigger temptation she has to fight."

"The limb transplant." Johnson shook his head. "And with the harvest hub right here ..."

"Yeah. Tracey's temptation is pretty simple and straight forward; she just wants money to get out and start over in some place down in South America. She's got relatives down there and there are no Defective Laws to hold her back."

"Hate to ask but are any of the kids at risk for being used like that?"

"Not knowingly. Not even Victor would have told secrets and he was our weakest link before he was taken away. The others ... we've lived our whole lives keeping secrets; it's a lifestyle. Some of them don't even know any better, it is just the way it is. If we don't keep secrets we could be sent to Lockdown. That's enough for most of them. If Lockdown isn't enough then the food is."

"Ok, there's no changing it so I'll try and keep an eye on my people. You and Roland though, you need to ..."

"Keep an eye on ours. Got it. In fact I just came from Roland's room. He's upset about Nela but ... but I think it might have brought him back to life some too. He's remembered what's important. And he was super happy about the food though kinda mad that I'd gone and done it without talking to him first."

Johnson winced. "If Roland is mad I have a feeling I ain't gonna be too happy either so get with the telling about the food already."

Georgie ordered her thoughts. She had the beginning of one of her bad headaches, had been fighting it all week. Lack of sleep, stress, and worry had just contributed to the growing pain. "This goes in too many different directions for me to pick a good starting spot. I don't know where to begin."

"Start with how you know what you know."

"That's part of it too though. To tell that I have to tell other pieces."

"Hey Kiddo, you don't feel well do you? Are you taking those ... those blood supplements like you are supposed to? Wait. Oh damn. Waverly ..."

"It's okay. They are what they are telling us they are. The first day they had a sedative in them but not since. There hasn't needed to be, we were all too weak. Johnson, we are in serious trouble."

"So just tell it the best you can and I'll ask questions if I'm not getting it."
 

“Before I tell you about the food I need to tell you about Waverly and Russell.” 

“Yeah, I saw that look you through their way.  You’d best be careful about your attitude showing.” 

“I wish I could hit them over the head.”  The growl in Georgie’s voice was so unlike her that Johnson had a hard time believing it was the same girl. 

“What pushed your buttons?” 

“You’re gonna think I should feel sorry for them but I don’t.  It is their own fault for being selfish.” 

“Uh …” 

“I … We … We needed information.  This wasn’t just a calendar mistake, this is a new calendar.  And a new boss making the calendar.  And new security here to enforce it.  I don’t know where the Director went but she hasn’t left the grounds – all her stuff is still in her suite and Miss Neville is still taking care of it – but I haven’t seen her anywhere.  I even looked in the South Wing.  I think she might be in Isolation but I don’t know for sure because the ceiling over that area is all plywooded over.” 

“And?” 

“And these new people are being mean to the Staff that was already here.  Mr. Waverly got beat up for trying to tell them their business I guess.  That they’d taken too much blood and it was too soon.  They didn’t like him butting in so they put him in his place.  Yesterday Mr. Russell got upset that the new security people were going over his head with stuff and he was getting left Out of the Loop.  He started digging around in the personnel files to figure out who was who and one of the assistants to the new Director slammed the file drawer shut before he could get his hand out.” 

Johnson whistled silently.   

“Yeah.  Then they reminded him that he was a medical triage just like the rest of the defectives and that he’d just have to suffer along and hope that it healed.  That he wasn’t even entitled to an aspirin or anything.  And if he didn’t shut up that he could go into Isolation and if that didn’t fix him up he could take a stroll into Lockdown.  Mr. Russell started stuttering and saying that wouldn’t be necessary, that there had obviously been some kind of misunderstanding.  That’s when the new Director walked in and said that there had certainly been a lot of misunderstandings going on and he was here to rectify that and there were a bunch of new rules for the Staff.” 

“And I’m sure that’s not all.” 

Georgie shook her head in disgust.  “No, that’s not all.  All of the Staff were brought into the big conference room where men with fancy guns lined the wall and the new Director laid down the law.  I couldn’t hear everything because someone was vacuuming in the hallway but basically it was his way or Lockdown and that they were to report everything they saw and heard to him, including what they saw and heard each other doing.  That if anyone was caught collaborating or something like that … well he looked out the window and the South Wing entrance was right there and no one misunderstood what he meant.” 

“Damn Kid, when you deliver a load of intel you deliver a full load.”

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