Episode 1: The Escape
The dark night was so murky she could barely see the road in front of her. Escaping from the Facility was a blur. The memories of her time there were quickly fading. But she did know one thing… she was in danger and she had to get away.
“There is no use running, Jenna,” said a voice over a loud speaker. “Wherever you go, we’ll find you.”
She had trained daily at the Facility. They had forced her. Running, weight lifting, weapons training, fencing, whatever they deemed necessary. What they were training her for, she didn’t know. Everything was secret there. But the training was helping her do one thing… escape. That much had backfired on them.
The precious memories of her family were a glimmer at the back of her mind. She didn’t want to lose them. She didn’t want to lose the essence of who she was, but she could feel it all slipping away like water through a sieve.
The Facility had changed her, altered her in some way. But for what purpose? Why had they captured her and changed the landscape of her brain? She could almost feel the connections firing differently. She was afraid of becoming someone else. Who was she without her memories?
Footfalls pounded behind her. Facility soldiers. She veered off the dirt path and into the wooded area at the edge of the compound. It was harder to patrol in the dense trees. Maybe the cover would help her disappear.
Helicopter blades whirred and the craft set to the skies. They’d pulled out all the stops to capture her. She pushed herself harder, pumped her legs faster. The helicopter searched for her with a high powered spotlight. The brightness weaved in and out of the forest, almost as if they would see her without seeing her.
She cringed internally. The Facility must have tagged her with a GPS tracker. It was the only explanation.
Jenna grunted against the pain in her calves and fell forward as the incline steepened. Her hands caught her weight, but she was weakened from overexertion. She’d never pushed herself this far before. Muscles gave way and she found herself lying in muck.
“Get up,” she encouraged herself. “Get up and move!”
Somehow Jenna found the energy and launched herself deeper into the woods. A cabin emerged in the distance. She raced toward it. This might be her only change to get rid of the GPS and be free of their control.
The door wasn’t locked, which was both odd and helpful. She didn’t question her luck.
As she ran into the main part of the house, she door suddenly slammed behind her. She whirled around at the unexpected sound. A man stood there in silent fury, a baseball bat in one hand.
“Is all that commotion out there for you?” the man asked, agitation tinting his voice. “I live here away from the world to stay away from trouble. I don’t need the hassle.”
Her eyes observed him while bending over to catch her breath. “I don’t have time to verbally spar with you. Here is the situation. I think I have a GPS implant and I need to get rid of it.”
The man arched an eyebrow. “If I deactivate it, you will leave me alone?”
Her eyes grew wide. “You can do that?”
“Piece of cake.”
He rummaged through a drawer pulling out odd devices and placing them on the counter. Each one was more complex than the next.
“You an inventor?”
“You don’t look old enough to be retired,” she said as the pile on the counter nearly overflowed.
“Not my choice.” He shrugged. “Ah, here it is.”
The device didn’t look like much. I was a simple black box with various buttons along the top. When he turned it on, the colorful lights flickered and she could feel something in her hand wiggle.
“What are you doing?” she asked rubbing the tender spot on the top of her hand.
“Helping you.” His eyes zeroed in on her movement. “There it is. This thing is always dependable.”
“There what is?” Jenna asked.
“The GPS. You’re rubbing it.” He pulled a scalpel out of a kit on the counter. Three items fell off the ledge in his haste.
“What are you doing with that?” she asked, fear touching her voice.
“Cutting it out.”
Jenna flinched away, pulling back from him.
“They’re out there getting closer,” he said. “This is your only chance at freedom.”
“You’re going to do surgery on me? Right here?”
“No, calm down. The device should be just under the skin.” He gestured to a chair. “Please sit down. And try to think happy thoughts.”
She looked away and held out her hand.
“What’s your name,” she asked trying to keep her mind off the blade entering her skin. “We should probably be on a first name basis. I mean, you cutting me open and all.”
“Hank Carter. Please to meet you. You?”
“Jenna. My name is Jenna.”
Outside she could hear the people drawing near. She barely felt the slice of the blade. Her breath hitched.
“They’re getting closer.” Her breath became fractured as each inhale came faster and faster. The fear of being caught, of going back overwhelmed her senses.
“Try to breathe slower or you’re going to pass out,” Hank said, but his voice suddenly seemed far away. She looked in his direction but a white light circled the edges of her vision.
Jenna’s mind swirled as the room began to spin and then everything went black.
“This is rather unorthodox,” said a woman sitting behind a bank of computer. Shelved books were the only thing behind her. Her blonde hair was styled in a French twist but her accent wavered between Dutch and British. “We don’t take in people off the street.
The woman’s name was Candice Kent. She adjusted her nearly invisible glasses.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Hank said with sarcasm. “I thought you were interested in intelligence from inside the Facility.” His outfit was quite a contrast to Candice’s prim and proper attire worthy of a librarian. He wore a blue running jacket, gray t-shirt and paint splattered jeans.
“We are,” she said simply.
“This girl escaped from inside the compound. I’m sure she’s a font of useful information,” he said. Then as an after thought slammed down the GPS chip he’d taken from her hand. It was now in a box that jammed the effectiveness of the signal. Candice regarded the unusual gift.
“Come on! This is more than you’ve had on them for years,” Hank said, his gestures wildly animated. “That chip in itself is a gold mine.”
“He’s right.” Another man descended the staircase and entered the control room. His name was Bailey Chase, director of the Knights Foundations division called The Trust. “Get the chip down to R&D. This may be the breakthrough we’ve been looking for.”
Candice nodded, grabbed the GPS and hurried off.
“We need to question the girl. The Facility has taken one of our people,” Bailey said, his British accent stronger than Candice‘s.
“One of our people got in there and can’t get out?” Hank asked in surprise. “How is that possible?”
“It’s the son of Graham Gray. His name is Phoenix. It seems since the Facility can’t get us, they’re going after the one thing that makes us vulnerable… our family.”
“Gray? I didn’t know he had kids.”
“It was a closely guarded secret until Phoenix and his sister, Scarlett, stumbled across an operative in trouble in Bulgaria.”
“Who was the operative” Which agency?” Hank asked, his curiosity getting the best of him per usual.
“Ethan Fairchild. Fifteen years ago the two became involved in Ethan’s mission for a covert branch of the Knights Foundation called The Legacy.” Bailey walked to one bookshelf, pushed a button and revealed an opening in the books where a pot of tea and two cuts hand been placed on a silver tray.
“Neat trick,” Hank said.
“Would you like some tea?” Bailey asked.
Hank shook his head and Bailey continued as he prepared his tea.
“From that moment on the two were on the radar.” Bailey sipped at his tea gesturing for Hank to take a seat. Couches and chairs littered the library. “Abraham Moses recently took over managing control of our parent company. He sent Phoenix out on an unauthorized mission to find Faith Fairchild.”
“Isn’t that Ethan’s sister?” Hank asked.
“Yes. Both Phoenix and Faith disappeared after the mission in Bulgaria. Only Phoenix was recovered. I believe Moses was pressured to find Faith. While she was missing and the search nearly given up, a woman showed up claiming to be Faith. She looked exactly like Faith, knew her entire history.”
“A clone?” Hank suggested.
“We’re not sure, but the faux Faith has been linked with this Facility. We need to know what they’re doing in there. Faith, Phoenix and now this girl, Jenna. Why were they chosen and what is the aim of the Facility?”
Candice returned from the R&D lab passing by the room where Jenna was sleeping. She opened the door a crack and peered in. “Ms. West?” Candice said in her light British lilt. “Ms. West? Are you awake?”
As she opened the door farther, she realized the room was empty!
Candice quickly surveyed her surroundings and found nothing. Jenna had vanished. She ran into the hallway and opened a panel. She it a button than sounded an alarm through the compound. She ran down the stairs and into the grand library. Bailey and Hank both wore concerned expressions on their faces.
“What’s happened,” Bailey asked.
“It’s Ms. West. She’s disappeared.”
“What?” Hank shook his head and paced the floor. “I saved her hide and now she escapes? That’s gratitude for ya.”
“We may have a bigger problem, gentlemen. The fellows in R&D found residue of a strange compound on the tracking device you pulled from Ms. West.”
“What sort of compound?” Hank asked.
“They don’t know exactly what it is, but the compound has properties that change brain chemistry. They surmise that she could be losing her memories or even her mind.”
“Oh, my,” Bailey gasped.
“Oh, my, is right. We need to find her,” Hank said.
Candice moved to the computer lined against the far wall and brought up the internal security cameras.
“Where is the one from her room?” Bailey asked. Candice’s fingers flew across the keyboard as she pulled up the camera of his request. “Run it back to before she disappeared.”
Candice zeroed in on two people entering Jenna West’s room. It was time stamped over an hour earlier.
“How did they get in here?” Hank asked. “Don’t you have security precautions?”
“Of course we do,” Bailey snapped. “It’s state-of-the-art everything around here.”
Candice picked out the individual mug shots from the video. One was of a young woman, the other of a young man. She began running a comparison against a national database.
“Do you recognize either of them?” she asked both men.
Bailey shook his head. Hank, however, had another thought.
“I’ve seen the girl jogging around the Facility. It’s been a couple of weeks, but I think it’s her.”
“So, the Facility has reclaimed her and can get past even the best security precautions. How can we win against such an enemy?” Candice asked.
“We just have to outsmart them,” Bailey said simply. “I’ll gather a team together.”