The first thought through my head was something along the lines of "I hate you!", and then it turned into "Nice one." I wasn't sure what to do. I mean, I had met these people and they fed me in their home, and now they're here...which means they're Echo's too…Then why was their firewood wet? Lydia was the first to break the awkward silence. "I apologize for always meeting in these weird situations, but once we found out who and what you were we had to move quickly. The truth is we have a situation-."
My dad stepped forward. "Wait, how do you know my son? They've been out of the service for two years, and I made sure their records were wiped from everything so they didn't have to mess with any of this!"
"Right behind 'where is the knockout meds', I was kinda wondering that..." I said. I could tell there was a lot of pieces were missing and my dad and Charlie were already in an argument. Lydia was trying to calm my mother who was furious at the condition I was in and Bri was just standing there, waiting for me to make a move, but before I could say anything, the Stranger in the corner takes their baseball cap and mask off and reveals the face of a girl in standard Echo armor. "Knock it off!" she said. "We have a problem on our hands and it's not going to get done like this!"
I wasn't sure what surprised me more…the fact that she acted like a warrior about to chop my head off, or the fact that everyone actually stopped when she yelled. London tried to calm her down. "River, we can't just-"
She interrupted him. "I have been up all night trying to find a way into Lockdown and I have come up empty! I am sleep deprived, without coffee, and now we have less than a month before we have to make a move." She slouches against the concrete wall. "Do not tell me what I can or can't do."
Charlie replied. "You're right, we don't have much time. We need to explain the situation a little more. I'm glad to know that we don't really need to explain who is who." He looked at me and gestures towards the wall. "Alex I do believe you and River met in the alley."
"That was you?" I asked. River nods without even as so much as a glance towards us. I pointed towards her. "You owe me pain drugs."
"I apologize for the abruptness but we need to get this fixed rather soon or things will get much harder around here."
Charlie gestured towards the tables and we all sat, except for River, who just slid to the ground and hid her face. "Here is the deal. A team of ours was on a mission to sabotage a base about fifty miles from here. They were on their way out when they ran into some Kilos. My men mentioned that they were harder than usual. We suspect that they got some new technology from the Kilo Hunters. After that we lost radio contact and all we can assume is they are being held and interrogated. Three of our best people are being held in Lockdown and we estimate they have less than a month before the enemy figures out they won't talk. The plan is to get in, and get them out."
Lydia came in where Charlie left off almost like they knew what they were going to say. "The problem we're running into is that they have vamped up the security now that we attacked them. We were hoping that with your parents training…that you might have a way to get passed all of it."
"No." my mother said. "There is no way that I will let my children go through what they did again. They're fifteen!"
"their first mission was when they were eleven. They're Echo's!" My father said.
"I won't let it happen."
"I do believe we should let the ones being recruited make this decision." Charlie said in a matter-of-factly kind of voice.
That's when everyone in the room turned their eyes towards me and my sister. I was nervous for sure, but I looked at Bri, and she had a look of confirmation in her eyes. "We're in" we both said in unison. My mother wasn't happy, but she said nothing more on the matter. My dad nodded his head to tell us we are doing the right thing.
"When do we get started?" Bri asked.
"Unfortunately," Charlie said. "This is the time we all leave you to say goodbye to your parents. I'm sorry… but they cannot stay much longer before someone notices. They must get back home."
The four of them excited, and my sister and I probably sat there and hugged our parents for close to an hour before they let go. "I hoped this day would never come." My mother said as she wiped the tears from her eyes
"Remember," my father said as he pulled us close to him one more time "count on the training I've given you. Most importantly count on each other. And always, always remember how proud of you I am."
"Thanks dad." We both said.
My mother smiled and gave us one more hug, then said "we should get going, I love you both very much."
Now it was our turn to start tearing up. "I love you too mom." I said. Bri was too busy trying to keep it together to say anything. My parents both walked outside and closed the door behind us, leaving me and my sister alone in the room.
"I can't believe we just got shoved into an army… again." Bri said.
It wasn't long afterwards that Charlie and River came back in the room. "Alright," says Charlie. "it seems that your dad says you will be able to get into the base just fine. I'm going to leave you three to it. Come get me when you have something."
River went passed us to the table and took the back pack off of her shoulder. It was full of gadgets, but she pulled out three camera-type spheres the size of baseballs and set them on the table. We all watched in silence as River set the three cameras (as I found out later, I was wrong) on the table. After what seemed to be a few minutes she flipped a few switches and stepped back. It turned out that it was a 3D projector that looked to be showing us the facility, or the "Lockdown", as River called it.
"I can't even tell you how many times I have looked at these plans trying to find a way in." River said. "I sure hope your dad was right about you two being able to do this."
"Did you try parachuting in?" We both said in unison. That's how we did it last time. I thought.
"you two really need to stop saying the same thing, it's starting to creep me out… and yes we thought about that, but they just installed AA-Turrets with thermal technology. It'd never work."
"How about getting into the back of a truck and getting in through the front?" I asked.
"Where the thermal would fail, the X-rays wouldn't."
We stood around the map for a good thirty minutes asking what has already been thought of, when Bri all of the sudden got excited. She walks around to the other side of the map and points at a building across the street.
"How far away is the top of this building to the top of the Lockdown wall?" she asked.
River goes to her back pack and pulls out a tablet, types something in and a line goes from the tip of the two structures. "Exactly forty seven feet and two inches" River replied. "Why?"
A smirk came across my face as I realized that Bri had just figured out a way to get in. "Bri's planning for us to jump."
"How is that even possible?"
"Our dad showed us how to, is there supposed to be rain this month?"
"In two weeks it's supposed to pour more than it has all year. It's supposed to be just warm enough not to freeze."
"Great," my genius of a sister said, "because that's when we'll be going.
After a bit of discussing we realized how hungry we were and River called someone and a few minutes later someone brought in snacks and bottled water. The three of us spent the next three hours carefully planning our route we would take once we got in. getting into the place was easy. Our dad taught us last year how to jump further by using a shock wave right as when we jumped. Then while you're in midair you turn invisible. The only problem about the maneuver is turning invisible makes the temperature around you drop below freezing, which is why we needed it to be cold outside and raining for it to work. River was surprised that she hadn't thought of that before. Apparently most people weren't taught how we were. Score one for my mom and dad!
Once inside the walls we decided it was best to take the most direct path to the center building where the team was last seen. It was also decided by River that we needed to stay close to the backup generators so as to not be detected by the thermal detectors. It also turns out that as part of our exit plan we blow the generators. The explosion should be enough to cover the sound of us blowing a hole in the wall and escaping through it. We all agreed that this was the best way to save the captured team and in the meantime we should train.
"Alrighty then," Bri said, "let's go get Charlie.