Sleeping Giants Page 54

—The key to what?

—Now, this guy’s not gonna be happy to see me…

Hi! I need your hel…Don’t…Stop…Would you…Stop fighting!

I need your help! Kara’s in trouble! Kara’s in trouble and I need your help to get her out. You can either trust me and help me or go back to your room, but I’ll need to knock you out too if you keep making this much noise.

—Who are you talking to? Mr. Couture? Tell him I was unsuccessful. Tell him the cavalry is not coming.

—He says the cavalry isn’t coming…You know who. Him! Now can you shut the hell up for a minute? OK. Help me drag this guy in here. Now take this key and lock every door in this corridor. They lock from the outside. There are twelve more guards on base. If we’re lucky, a couple of them are still in their rooms…

—Is Mr. Couture unharmed?

—Yeah, he’s fine. Well, he seems fine to me. He’s a lot stronger than I remember him to be…Are you done?

—Are you talking to me?

—Now here’s what we’re gonna do. Take these and put them in your pocket. I know they’re tie-wraps. Take this gun…

No, I don’t want you to shoot anyone. I want you to give it to me when I run out of shells and reload the one I give you. This is a Mossberg 500. It holds five shells in the magazine tube. You put them in like this…There’s room for one more in the chamber here…

No, Vincent, we’re not gonna kill anyone. These are nonlethal bullets. Are you good? Can you do this? Good. Now load yours.

—Mr. Couture has received no military training. He may get you both captured or killed.

—He’ll be fine…No, Vincent, you’re doing great. One more…That’s it.

The machine shop is locked at this hour. Sea lock and the power plant are closed. That means all the guards should be at the entrance or in the main hallway. Look in the bag. These are stun grenades. When we get to the hallway, I’ll need you to grab two of these, remove the pin here, count to three, and throw them as far as you can away from us. That should disorient however many guards are there for a few seconds. Hopefully, that’ll be long enough for me to shoot them. Then you follow me in and you tie the guards’ hands together with tie-wrap…

No, that’s not it. I wish it were. Those grenades will make a lot of noise, the shotgun too. Whoever isn’t in that hallway, and the guards at the entrance, they’ll either wait for us or they’ll come for us. Whatever happens, we’ll have to improvise a bit. If you need to, you just shoot, then pump, then shoot, then pump—just like in the movies.

—Mr. Mitchell. I could not help but overhear your plan, or lack thereof. Are you sure you do not wish to reconsider your choice of weapon? Need I remind you that the guards you are so intent on keeping alive are using live ammunition?

—I’m well aware of that part. Vincent, are you ready for this? Cool! Just stay behind me…

We’re at the corner to the main hallway. I see two men talking along the wall, two more sitting at a table. No, make that three…Take the stun grenades out of the bag. Remember, count to three, then throw them away. Try to throw one as far right as you can. Oh, and don’t look. On my count, three…two…one…now!

One guard.

Two.

Vincent, come on!

Three!

Four!

Five. No! Come on, stop moving. Five!

OK, Vincent, tie them up…No, not like that, hands behind the back. Like that, don’t be afraid to pull. You want this to be tight!

Five guards down, plus one at Vincent’s door. There’s one guard with Alyssa in med bay; that leaves anywhere from zero to five guards at the main entrance. Vincent, give me your shotgun and reloa…Get down!…

—Mr. Mitchell, are you hit?

—There was a guard in the bathroom. He went back in when he heard me scream. Vincent, give me the gun and grab a grenade from the bag…Whenever you’re ready…Five, four, three…

Hi there! You probably can’t hear me, but my friend here’s gonna tie your hands behind your back. If you move, I’ll have to shoot you, so…don’t move. Tie him up, Vincent! Go! Go!…

We’re done here. That leaves the main entrance. Vincent, get a grenade from the bag. Let’s go!

Chances are they’ll start shooting at us as soon as I open this door. Get the grenade ready. And…here…goes…Vincent, don’t pull the pin! Shit, quick, throw it in the bathroom! Go! Go!

—What is happening, Mr. Mitchell? Talk to me.

—There are only two guards at the main entrance. They have their guns on the floor and their hands up in the air. I guess a few of them were still in their rooms. Hi, guys!…Yeah, I didn’t sign up for this either. Would you mind putting your hands behind your back so my friend here can restrain you? It’s only for a few minutes, then the Marines will storm in, and they’ll cuff you all over again. Vincent, hurry!

We’re a few steps from med bay. There should be one guard with Alyssa. Vincent, do you want to do the honors?…Just throw your grenade in there and disarm the guard…

Kara’s sedated and strapped on a table, I don’t think you can disorient her any more than she is…Here you go. Get in there!

I told you he’d be fine, sir. You should know the kid was smiling through most of it. I think he might have taken a little pride in improving his tie-wrap technique. I just hope he doesn’t figure out what was going on in there.

—Are you referring to the tissue samples Ms. Papantoniou was collecting?

—She’s not collecting tissue, sir. That’s why I called you. I swear, I had no idea what she was doing when I signed up. I just thought I could help.

—I believe you. Now tell me what you witnessed.

—Well, you know Alyssa’s been collecting samples from Kara and Vincent: blood, skin, bodily fluids. When I went to see her this morning, she had Kara in a…She didn’t have any pants on…I asked what was going on, and she told me she was removing eggs from Kara’s ovaries.

—Is that what prompted your rebellion?

—I wasn’t finished. She told me she’d attempt in vitro fertilization the next day. Could she do that, sir?

—My understanding of IVF is very limited, but I do not believe she has the necessary equipment. She does have access to cryogenic material, however. She could freeze the ova and semen samples from Mr. Couture. She would need to take them to a clinic outside the compound. The eggs and semen would then be thawed. Those that survive the process could be fertilized and left to develop for a few days. Most clinics will now perform what is known as blastocyst transfer.

—I don’t…

—A blastocyst is an embryo in which cell division has occurred enough times in the first few days. The embryos that have reached that stage can be transferred into a host after five days with a reasonable chance of success.

—You mean into another woman?

—That is correct.

—That’s insane!

—Indeed. Your decision to intervene was timely.

—I would never have agreed to help her if I’d known. You know that, sir. Don’t you?

—I do, and you have told me already.

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