Chapter 12

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I come to with a hangover worse than that time I tried to keep up with Father's Reno buddies. Someone is undoing the arm straps of my chair.

"Dad? Connor?" I open my eyes.

"Shh," Mason hisses.

I freeze. Let him untie you before you say anything, Regan. As I watch him fumble with the ankle straps, it all comes back: my drug-induced interview with Blofeld-Hitler, him losing his shit and leaving, and his weird plan for me to be his Doom-proof baby factory. Only now that I'm in my right mind again, I don't think it's funny at all.

And I told him where Father was.

Mason finally gets the last leather harness off and I jump out of the chair before he can change his mind.

"Spare gun?" I ask, holding out my hand.

Mason shakes his head. "No time," he whispers. "It's all going to shit in here, we..."

"Good," I say as I wrench Mason's arm into a lock behind his back. With my spare hand I take his pistol from its holster and tuck it into the back of my pants.

"Ow," he whines. "What the fuck are you doing? I'm here to rescue you!"

I slam his face into the interrogation chair. "The fuck you are!" He swings a fist wildly to hit me but he telegraphs the punch and I duck, kicking his legs out from under him. Then I'm seeing red, kicking wildly at his face, his ribs, his junk. "This is all your fault, you piece of shit!"

"Regan, wait..." he begs between kicks.

I stop. "What could you possibly say that will convince me to stop kicking your ass?"

He spits out a gob of blood and phlegm. "It isn't safe here."

"Ya think? You got us all into this shit-storm. You are not the least bit trustworthy!"

Mason sits up, clutching his ribs. "Look, I know his plans. Doctor Lessing. I've been trying to stop the League for years, but I needed them to trust me, and I had to find a way to bring someone in who would take them down."

I fold my arms and shake my head, trying my best to quell the ire bubbling up from my chest. "Not good enough! For all I know, Jen and June are dead, possibly Father too, not to mention all the others on both sides of this conflict, some of whom I had to kill myself. Maybe if you had let me in on your plan, Jarhead, but now I have no choice but to assume this is another lie concocted to save your own chicken-shit life."

"It's not a lie," he insists, propping himself up using the chair for support. "June and Jennifer are alive; Doctor Lessing has breeding plans for all the women, with the help of your foster dad's research. When I stole the RV, I was expecting just you and him to..."

I interrupt him with a laugh. "He's my real dad, Jar-Jar." Mason winces and looks away. For a brief moment, I am filled with doubt. "What could possibly make you think otherwise? More of Herr Doktor's crazy lies?"

"I...it's not my place to..."

I take out the pistol and tap it against my hip. "What do you think you know?"

"Regan, we really need to get out of..."

I pistol-whip him. "Shut up! You owe me a lot more than answers! I can leave you for the merciful Kawitzen to deal with, or you can face my justice right here, right now." The barrel is against his forehead. He does his usual shaking, crying, boogering and pants-pissing, but I'm way beyond pity.

"Just...just calm down," he pleads, wiping off snot and blood on a sleeve. "I only heard it from the doctor. He was going to match us together because he said I'm a 'good specimen'."

"Ugh, gross," I mutter. "Keep talking."

"Well, I didn't understand it all, but he was going on about you and 'engineered chromosomes' and DNA samples he took from the RV, and..."

"What the hell does this have to do with my father?"

"I..." Mason gulps. "Please don't kill me, Regan!" He breaks down into a tirade of begging and blubbering.

"This doesn't make any sense," I muse, more to myself than to Mason, who is on the floor pleading for his life. "Seventeen years ago, cloning and splicing were a thing, yes...but engineering?" I tap the barrel of the pistol against my chin, then glance down at Mason. "Well, you're about as useful as you've ever been. Get up."

"Are we..." sniffles and snot abound as he lifts himself to his feet. "Are we going?"

"I am. Sit down." I gesture with the gun.

"But..."

"I'm giving you one chance, Mason."

He sits in the chair and I strap him in, ankles and wrists.

"But...what if someone finds me?"

"Tough break; you've proven I can't trust you at my back. So you'd better hope that anyone who finds you has the same sense of justice that I do. And while you're at it, you'd better hope that everyone on the Kawitzen side is still alive." I turn to leave.

"Regan."

I don't turn around. "What?"

"I'm sorry."

I grab the doorknob. "Don't be sorry. Be a better person."

I leave the interrogation room, hunting for Father, Doctor Lessing, survivors, and answers.

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