Mr. Goode was a logistician at heart, and he had set up a system for the population of his factories. The women would board the Mytro first, with their children. The men would follow a few hours later. If the Mytro could carry 100 people—crammed like sardines— per car, they could clear out the camp overnight.
If there was any insurrection or, more likely, activity from the Italian military, they would let the refugees out in Rio, where the hope was they would be swallowed up by the sprawling favelas where Brazil's poor lived.
Mr. Kincaid, alone in Building 13, was in charge of loading the refugees onto the Mytro through a portable door. There were two in Goode's headquarters—the one that led to the oubliette and the other that led to a station built by Perdurabo himself. The rest of the men had gone to prepare the Breach for the first workers.
Mr. Kincaid looked out the window on the blue tents flapping in the wind. His heart thudded with fear. He hadn't wanted to do this—any of this—but Mr. Goode had ways of convincing poor urban archeologists to join his cause, mostly for the money. He needed the money. He kept telling himself that.
Some of Goode's men were already going from tent to tent preparing the women to move. Kincaid had seen what the Breach was going to look like—it was just another tent city, but one from which no one could escape. These workers would be underground forever—a fact Mr. Goode never mentioned to the refugee elders
with whom he negotiated.
He could imagine the headlines tomorrow: "Italian Refugee
Camp Found Empty." The mission of the Mytratti was to stay secret, and this would cast a bright light on just how these men and women disappeared. Mr. Goode had arranged a ship to sink off the coast of Sardinia to point the authorities in the other direction. Mr. Goode had prepared everything.
Forever. That word kept rolling in his mind. Forever. These men and women would live underground forever.
And Ernesto? Agata? Claire? The beautiful Claire? And Agata's father, wherever he was? Mr. Goode wouldn't let them get away.
"Kincaid. Everything's ready?" said one of the hired men, his bulk filling the doorway. Behind him a group of women and children stood quietly waiting. The doorway to their doom stood against the other wall, and Kincaid heard a train roll into the station. But he pointed to the oubliette.
"Yes, I think it is. After you," he said. "That's the one, right there."
"You sure? Mr. Goode said it was the bigger one," the big man asked.
"I'm sure," said Mr. Kincaid. The big man grabbed the door handle to the oubliette and twisted it like he was wringing out a towel.
In a flash, Ernesto was out of the oubliette. The back of his hand connected square across the big man's face, and Mr. Partridge, in a blaze of limbs, took the big man's legs out from under him and tackled him, holding his thick arms against his body. Agata and Claire came out, blinking in the light.
The train behind the other door chimed and rolled away.
Mr. Kincaid's head fell to his chest. His face red, he fought tears. Ernesto turned to Mr. Kincaid, who raised his arm in halfhearted defense.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm so sorry. Goode promised me the world. I can't do that to these people, no matter what he gives me."
"Where are they?" asked Ernesto.
"The Breach. They're preparing the Breach."
"The Breach is about to collapse," said Agata. "The Nayzun said
Mr. Kincaid shut the door on the line of women waiting to leave the refugee camp. A clamor of protests rose up.
"You promised us freedom!" cried one woman.
"You don't want this kind," said Mr. Kincaid as he shut the door. "Please, go," said Mr. Kincaid. "I'm sorry, Agata. I let greed
make my decisions."
Agata grabbed a few zip ties from the big man's pockets. She
zipped the hired man's hands together while he still lay prone on the floor, and then Mr. Kincaid held out his hands and she zipped him tight. He nodded toward the other door.
"Get out while there's still time. More are coming any minute." "We're going to the Breach. We have to stop this," said Agata. Ernesto opened the door as another train rolled into the station. They boarded, and Ernesto said the name of the huge, empty
station made by one of the most elusive Mytratti of all. Above the door, as they rolled away, Agata read the name of this portable station: Bahnof Perdurabo.
YOU ARE READING
Imagine if, right now, clattering underneath your feet was a secret train system that could take you anywhere in minutes. Imagine a trip full of mystery and excitement from New York to Barcelona to the wind-swept coast of Italy to the edge of space...