Friday, July 06, 2007

Story 22

[NOTE: This is part of a progressive story. The first entry is here. Check the blog label 2007Story for all entries]

     Tony huddled in a corner of the dark room, his back pressed against the concrete wall. The cold concrete was comforting. It let him know that he was somewhere safe at least. In his hand, he clutched the note he had received two years ago. That note had been his ticket to meet with the Commander. And from there, it was his ticket to this black abyss. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. The images in his mind were brighter than the blackness surrounding him.

     Tony was a Freshman and one of only 3 known students who had ever worked with the Commander during his Freshman year. Many speculated as to how he was able to get inducted in so easily, but only Tony knew the truth. His older brother Mark had been the acting Commander 2 years before Tony became a Freshman. Upon choosing his successor, Mark made it clear that he wanted to see Tony rise in the ranks of the Commander regime and one day take his place at the head. Tony never knew who the new Commander was, only that he was a Senior when Tony was a Freshman and one of his major acts of power in his final year was to induct Tony as a junior member.

     Mark had never told Tony much about the Commander. Only that it was a prestigious opportunity and it would give him great opportunities he may not achieve otherwise. During the first few months working in the underground operation, Tony became more and more disgusted at the way things operated. The kids working under the Commander with him took things far too seriously. Some of the missions they undertook were outright illegal and many resulted in serious harm.

     During Christmas break, Tony undertook a secret mission of his own. He had some knowledge of the Commander's headquarters and he had also learned that the Commander would be operating only via email or telephone over the break, which was enough to convince him that the Commander was going out of town for the holiday. The security around the headquarters was tight, but Tony had always been good with electronics and technology so he was able to enter the room undetected. The various computers were all locked down tightly and he didn't have the time or resources to break into them. Instead, he found a few hard copies exposing thievery against the school involving lesson plans, tests as well as the school bank account information with receipts for small withdrawals every few weeks.

     After clearing his tracks sufficiently, Tony anonymously deposited copies of the information on the desks of Principal York and Vice-Principal Johnson. After Christmas break there was a school wide investigation. The school bank account was closed. A "teacher's day" was scheduled where no classes where scheduled so that teachers could revise their exams. A few of the Commander's top henchmen were outed and suspended. The Commander was never directly exposed, but the administration was now fully aware of his existence and was more wary in the future.

     Life within the Commander's organization was much more intense. The Commander was certain that the infiltration came from inside and as such he placed everyone under severe scrutiny. Not wanting to draw attention to himself, Tony played the part of the willing servant for a few more months. Finally in March, he was called to the Commander's office and relieved of his duty. No details were given and Tony never got a straight answer as to what happened.

     However, on his way out of the Commander's office that day, a note was passed to him indicating that his place within the Commander's organization would be certain the following year. Tony never found out who sent the note, but he received more notes in weeks to come. The notes indicated that Tony was in line to become the Commander in the coming years.

     When school started the next fall, a new Commander was in place. Tony received an invitation to join but declined. He was then forcibly taken to the Commander's office and asked why he declined. Unable to give an answer acceptable to the Commander, he was tossed from the room, but not before another note was shoved in his hand by the Commander directly. The handwriting was the same as the notes from last spring.

     Tony had kept the note and looked at it often. At first glance, it looked like a coupon. The text itself was confusing though. A scrambling of letters and numbers. It took him days to decipher the message. When he did, he found an email address, a phone number and an invitation. The Commander told him that there would always be a place waiting for him as long as the current Commander served. All he had to do was send a message or make a call.

     Footsteps scraped on concrete. Tony shot his eyes open and looked around, still trying to adjust to the total darkness.

     A clang of metal.

     Light exploded into the room, a slender form silhouetted against the light.

     A deep voice grunted at him, "YOU come with ME now!"

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