Lvi. trading lives

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THE JAIL CELL WAS DARK, and grey mold festered on the crevices between large, cool stone. The mold was either carelessly unsupervised or purposefully ignored. Either way, these quarters didn't suit anyone—even those that betrayed the country.

It had been six months since David was first brought to the CIA. He still refused to say much actual information, including his last name, instead preferring instead to taunt and mock. Though Ian would never admit it, he'd snicker every time an "asshat" or "wanker" was thrown out.

He still believed in the CIA. Ian had spent his entire life serving the agency that he was born into, the one his parents had died for. Their work was honorable, important, and prevented countless other deaths. It was a legacy that Ian, and his brother more so, was eager to uphold, even if that meant undergoing rigorous and consistent testing.

It must have been three or four in the morning when Ian would come by weekly to meet with David. The now seventeen-year-old and convict enjoyed each other's company. Ian would always press him on what exactly he did to be imprisoned by the CIA, and David would always divert the topic. He was a strange case. While most prisoners were kept in secure but technologically advanced facilities with 24 hour security, David was kept in a room with only cameras but no audio. The cameras would also be largely off, as if someone didn't want the secrets in this room echoing and recorded.

Ian brought some food everyday from his dinner for David, who spent his days being subject to bland food on the other side of the imposing, metal bars. David requested a bag of chips each time, and he never wanted the noodles or burgers the dining hall served. Ian tossed the bag of Lays over to the inmate.

"When are you finally gonna tell me your life story?" Ian asked as he took a seat leaning against the wall.

Crinkling plastic filled the space as David opened the bag. "Now actually," Ian couldn't believe this was happening, "I think my time is about to come to an end."

Ian raised an eyebrow. He seemed healthy. Though there could have been asbestos in these walls. Maybe he should get checked out too, since he was spending so much time down here.

"I'm not ill," David said, reading his mind. "But James is getting impatient."

"Who's James?"

The inmate let out a joyless chuckle and tossed a chip into his mouth. "That's right, you don't know the Director's name."

"That's for security purposes. I don't need to—"

David raised a hand. "James Patrikson. The Director's name is James Patrikson."

Ian jabbed a fork into his leftover alfredo. "Has this been some weird manipulation attempt for me to let you escape? If so, I want my chips back."

"We were colleagues. I was an anonymous source working for him. My last name is Snow."

Ian snorted. "So Director Patrikson is just keeping his buddy in jail for old time's sake." He got up and turned to leave the cell.

"He's going to threaten to kill me tomorrow," David suddenly said.

Ian faced the man who looked at him with blazing green eyes and hands draped inconspicuously against his lap. He was confident, proud even. He didn't look like he was going to die anytime soon.

"What do you mean threaten to kill you?"

David crumbled the empty bag of chips into a ball and threw it through the metal bars back to Ian. "Before I go on any further, I want you to bend these metal bars. I know about your strength, Ian Blackwell."


David continued without missing a beat. "Decades ago my wife was dying. Cancer. It'd metastasized, and she was pregnant. She was a brilliant scientist. She created an experimental cure for herself, though we found out later the cure had passed the placental barrier to our daughter."

Ian didn't really know what to say. Regardless, whatever reason that you're in here, it's for the greater good. "I'm sorry to hear that about your wife," he finally settled.

"Do you know how a cancer tumor operates?" David seemed intent on steamrolling over any of Ian's reactions.

"Cancer is an uncontrollable mutation of the cells without any apoptosis; it doesn't self-destruct like a regular cell would."

"Precisely. A mutation of the cells. And the best cure to destroy mutated and uncontrollable cells is—"

"—a constantly mutating solution."

David grined at the quick-thinking junior. He began to understand why Director Patrikson chose Ian for his attempts. David told Ian everything else that happened afterward. Director Patrikson recruited David anonymously to work for the CIA on finding a way to manipulating physiology to help soldiers at the front lines before any of our enemies could. But then the international community collectively banned human genome manipulation after countless exposes of abuse in experimentation. David agreed to stop, but the Director continued his works in secret.

Ian took all of this information in with the initial "question everything" mindset he'd learned from years in the field. Though David had a genuine tone in his voice. Ian quickly shook that thought away. Anyone could fake a genuine voice.

"Why tell me all of this?" Ian baited.

"You have every right to distrust me. But I need your help. Patrikson wants to find my daughter. He's realized there's nothing he can do for me to turn her over. So now, he's going to... tie some loose ends."

Ian's gaze flickered to him. "I'm assuming your daughter was the only successful...child. And whatever was used on her was also used to replicate my strength."

David looked at him with a bittersweet smile. "Except not completely. I'm sorry Ian, but you're dying too, just not as noticeably."

Octavia: "Sorry for the late update! Our author was too busy getting the stomach bug this weekend."

Sophie: "Right, cause you choose to get the stomach bug."

Ace: "Vote because there's only ONE CHAPTER LEFT for book one!"

Skye: "What? What happened to me?"

Xavier: "Is my dumpling ever gonna be okay?"

Chase: "You're kidding right?"

Ace: "Guys, don't worry. I'm sure all our answers will have to be answered next. After all, I'm literally still in jail."

Daniel: "Where you belong."

Ian: "Literally if you guys keep talking I will shoot myself. Just be patient."

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