Chapter Twenty-Part Two ~Travis~

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Even though the flight to L.A. was relatively short, it felt like it took forever. I get out of my seat and hand Sanders Aiden's cuffs. "You handle him. I'll meet you at the car."

  Upon exiting the plane, I'm immediately greeted by some guy wearing what looks like a mechanics uniform. "Lieutenant Brennan?" he inquires.

"Yes," I reply.

  "Follow me," he says. He leads me across the airstrip and into one of the three large hangers sitting before us. I have no idea who I'm meeting up with since I never gave Jim the opportunity to tell me. But all I can say, is that this better not be a fucking waste of my time.

  He brings me to a small room, located in the very back of the hanger. It's empty when I enter, and this thoroughly annoys me.

As the guy begins to close the door, I grab it, stopping him. "This meeting needs to happen now. Relay the message."

He nods and shuts the door.

  I look at my watch and begin pacing. The room is set up with the basics, a small oval table with chairs, and against the back wall sits a table with coffee brewing. I immediately help myself to a cup, and it tastes like shit. I bend down to open the cabinet below in search of some sugar and that's when someone enters the room.

  I turn to look, and I cannot believe who is standing before me. It's Brad, the guy who interrogated me after Maddie's disappearance. "You've got to be fucking kidding me," I say, shaking my head in disbelief. 

  "I see you remember me, Lieutenant," he replies. He crosses the room and offers me his hand to shake.

  "How could I forget?" I respond, and eyeing him suspiciously, I shake his hand.

  Gesturing towards the table, he replies, "How 'bout we take a seat and get right to it. Jim said you're anxious to get to the compound."

  I take a seat across from him, shitty coffee still in hand. I'm not willing to offer him anything. He can talk. I'll listen.

  "I realize you're upset. Things didn't go as planned earlier. I apologize for that. On a rare occasion, things slip through the cracks," he offers as some sort of consolation.

  "Spare me your bullshit apologies Brad. Tell me, how is it that Jim already knew what went down before I even called him? How is it that you two already had it planned that I'd meet you here? Yet you expect me to believe that pivotal intel, like the fact that other Hunters and my Colonel, who were trailing so closely behind us, managed to slip through the fucking cracks. If that's the case, your cracks are black holes Brad, and your operation will fail." I lean towards him. "So do yourself a favor, don't insult my fucking intelligence. Jim set me up. That's why we're sitting here, isn't it? And I want the truth or this conversation is fucking over."

  Brad leans back in his chair and sighs. "The truth. Jim and I go back a long way. We served together for many years until he lost his daughter Hannah and went civilian." He pauses at the mention of her name as though it pains him, then continues, "My daughter Becca is a Breeder too. Like Jim, I believed in the cause. I believed wholeheartedly in my government...in my country. Hell that's why I served, and that's why like Hannah, Becca turned herself over willingly when she tested positive as a Breeder.

When the program began, family contact was allowed. Initially they even offered visitation, but over time things began to change. Visitations were stopped completely, and the only form of communication permitted became through mail. Letters were opened and read before leaving the compound or ever reaching the girls. Not long after that, all forms of communication were banned. The reason given? Contact with family made it harder on the girls...made them miss home even more, they were becoming increasingly depressed, despondent even. The real reason? It's a business. These girls are not human beings in the eyes of our government. They are property and what they provide...human life...is nothing more than a commodity."

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