TWO

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When I was released from the hospital I expected a police cruiser to meet me at the front, but there was no cruiser. Instead a large, black van stood idle outside the front exit of the hospital. I thought about making a run for it, but realized that would be a stupid idea considering I still had a massive headache and my friends were in trouble.

A large man rounded the front of the SUV. His tall figure towered over me as I tried to remain stoic, his eyes scanning my own.

It wasn't Agent Chapman, which wasn't a surprise, but his demeanor was similar: an impassive expression and dark eyes that watched me intently. The only difference between him and Chapman was his smooth, brown skin. Was every man that worked for the NIA bald and emotionless? They reminded me of clones.

He opened the passenger door for me. "Get in."

"Chivalrous," I joked, earning me a glare from the nameless agent.

Without any more hesitation I climbed inside, he closed the door and walked around the front. It was odd because I should've been in cuffs and on my way to jail. Yet here I was with a government agent who was about to take me to only God knows where.

It wasn't how I had expected to spend my weekend, but it was better than prison.

"So where are we going?"

"Los Angeles. That's where our branch is located," he answered bluntly.

I looked out the window in disbelief. That was over two hours away from here in San Diego. Would Derik and Willi be there waiting?

Trying not to freak out I leaned my head back, wondering what I had gotten myself into. I played back my conversation with Agent Chapman but couldn't recall him actually saying my friends would be there. For all I knew I could be leaving Derik and Willi behind as I sat in the car with this stranger.

See? This is why I shouldn't be allowed to make decisions.

Before I could open the door and hurl myself to my death we turned into a parking lot, which then turned into a runway.

My heart hammered harder than on the night our bank job went wrong. There was a chopper awaiting us, the blades standing still for the moment. I had never flown in my life, and my first time would be while I was in the hands of our government. Typical.

Bringing the van to a stop my chauffeur ordered, "Come on."

I should've guessed there would be a chopper waiting. It seemed as if these people had no time to waste, and a two-hour drive was like slowly peeling off a band aid. Flying now seemed more reasonable.

I walked behind the tall man, wondering if all of this would eventually be for nothing. What if I did what they wanted and failed? What if I succeeded and I still got thrown in prison? What would happen to Anna then?

My panic was cut short when the door to the chopper opened, and to my utter surprise Willi and Derik were already there. Unlike myself they were in cuffs, but the relief erased all of my fear.

"Lex!" Willi beamed, but his eyes lingered on my bruised forehead.

"Seems like they trusted you enough not to need cuffs," Derik smiled, although I could tell he was extremely uneasy.

Before I could even get a word out my nameless driver addressed us.

"You're here because your agreement to help was unanimous," he stated, those dark eyes connecting with me. "You're loyal to your crew, even when faced with failure, and we need your help."

Willi, Derik and I never allowed our attention to waver.

"Even though you aren't prisoners, cooperation is advised if you want it to stay that way," he finished.

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