Both Taylor and Carey’s heads snapped up as the metal door opened. Mark was standing back against the wall with his eyes closed and he didn’t bother opening them.
“So sorry to make your acquaintance under such harrowing circumstances…” the doctor’s voice came through as he walked toward Taylor’s cell, “but it’s good to see you back nonetheless. Please place your wrist against the door here.”
Taylor looked over his shoulder at Carey. His eyes were red but gave away nothing.
“Just a formality, for the record,” Morris insisted as if to pacify them.
Taylor then took a deep breath and stood from the bed to make his way to the door. He saw Mark’s eyes on him as he held his arm up for the scan.
“Designation: C-1. Alias: Jordan Hanson.”
“Taylor,” Morris nodded before moving on to Carey’s door.
“What does this matter?” Carey’s eyes narrowed, “what’s with all the formality? We’re just your playthings anyway.”
“I assure you Mr Miller, this is not ‘play’,” Morris insisted, “and we do fully intend to have you on your way again. Our men on the ground were just a little startled by last night’s events and I guess you could say… panicked.”
“They’re not the only ones,” Mark muttered from behind him.
“We had guessed,” Morris assured over his shoulder, “yet another reason it is good to have you here. We can all take a moment to calm ourselves down.”
“I don’t consider being caged a time to calm down,” Taylor folded his arms, not having moved from the door otherwise, “I just want to go home.”
“Yes, well… we do also have some questions for you before you can go,” Morris shot him a glance.
“Of course you do,” was Mark’s retort.
“About what?” Taylor frowned, “your guys know what happened, we had nothing to do with it. If they hadn’t have been there Colin would still be alive.”
“We are taking statements from each of them,” Morris nodded, “but I was speaking more of your relationships with Mr Reis.”
“Relationships? I didn’t know the guy! Yesterday was the second time I’d ever seen him!”
“Then why – Mr Hanson – were you at his apartment barely a week ago?”
“Don’t answer that,” Carey scoffed as Morris made his way back to Taylor’s door.
“It doesn’t matter now anyway,” Taylor realised aloud, “Colin had an important meeting with a chapter of the Italian mob to settle some accounts. He was certain if he didn’t show, they were going to kill him.”
He shook his head.
“Like I said, it doesn’t matter now. You got to him first.”
“Rest assured the last thing we wanted was Mr Reis’ passing,” Morris insisted, turning to walk back to Carey’s door again.
“That’s not what it looked like last time he was here,” Mark spoke up, “you had him on oxygen, under sedation.”
“We were monitoring him yes,” Morris considered, “Mr Reis was susceptible to a heart condition. I take it he didn’t share that with any of you?”
“What heart condition?” Taylor frowned.
“Do we have it?” Mark was suddenly paying attention.
“We haven’t monitored any of you long enough to find out, but I’m sure you would have shown physical signs by now. Please place your arm here,” Morris indicated Carey’s door, “we had records of Mr Reis having surgery back in 2010 to remove part of his rib cage.”
Taylor felt his face go red and quickly turned away so Morris wouldn’t see. Carey had opted to go to the door which helped to cover for him.
“Designation: C-2. Alias: Carey Miller.”
“Thank you Carey,” Morris nodded, placing the scanner into his coat pocket and walking away.
“Why his rib?” Mark’s eyes followed him.
“A story for another time perhaps,” Morris offered a smile, “but as we’ve already discussed, you boys have nothing to worry about. Especially if you come straight to us with any health issues. I’ll be back this afternoon to give you all an update on where we are, and where we’ll go from here.”
Taylor ground his teeth as Morris disappeared, glad he hadn’t noticed his reaction. Carey took a seat on his bed again as he looked him over.
“What is it?” he asked, catching Taylor’s attention.
“I don’t wanna say,” his eyes narrowed, unsure of who might be listening in.
There were surveillance cameras stationed at either end of the corridor but he didn’t know if they included audio. He wasn’t going to bring up Isaac’s name unless he absolutely had to.
“Unless it’s going to help us get out of here, I don’t care,” Mark assured, “so what do we do now?”
“What can we do?” Carey scoffed, “we just have to sit and wait and hope for the best at this point. I doubt anyone’s going to come and save us this time.”
“No, I haven’t heard anything,” Jesse shrugged, “not since talking to Taylor the other day. Why, you think something’s going down?”
“I’m sure it is. They all had deadlines to meet and have missed them,” Alex replied.
“What do you want me to do?”
There was a pause on the line as Alex considered.
“I don’t know,” he admitted, “Mark and Carey were prepared to take on the labs. I can’t send you in there on your own.”
“I mean I’m game,” Jesse pulled the phone from between his ear and shoulder before closing the hood, “if you could talk me through it, but it depends how messed up this whole situation is I mean… I got people to consider.”
“And so do they,” Alex agreed, “I can’t ask you to risk yourself.”
“I dunno about that,” Jesse considered, “I mean I’ve already got this thing in my arm, they know where I am if they want to come get me. They haven’t yet.”
“We don’t know what they’re doing with the other three yet, maybe it’s only a matter of time,” Alex reasoned, “let me check the feeds from Nevada and get back to you.”
“I’ll be here,” Jesse assured before hanging up.
He paused as he looked the car over. Stopping only to rub the grease from his hands, he picked the phone up again and dialled the number for 3CG. The only other numbers he had were Taylor’s cell and home but he figured they’d be useless (and he knew Taylor wouldn’t like him calling the house in case one of the kids picked up).
A messaging service answered and he rolled his eyes waiting for it to play through.
“Uh… hey. It’s me. But, probably not ‘that’ me. If you know what I mean. Uh… If Ike or Zac get this… you know what? Never mind.”
He was about to hang up when he heard a click. Pausing for a moment to see if someone had picked up, he sighed with relief when he heard Zac’s voice.
“Who is this?” he’d asked.
“Uh my name’s Jesse, we haven’t met,” he scratched his head, “but I wasn’t sure if you guys had heard what’s going on yet or not.”
“That’s a ‘not’. What do you know? Where’s Taylor?!”
“We don’t know yet for sure but we think the labs have him. And Carey… and Mark and Colin,” Jesse added as an afterthought, “so everyone but me and Alex. A’s going to do some stalking for us and figure out if they’re there or not.”
“So you don’t know where he is.”
“Uh… nope. Not yet,” Jesse couldn’t help but wonder why he’d called in the first place.
“Can you find out?”
“I hope so. I mean I’m guessing it’s the same place they took us all last time and I know the guys broke Colin out so… I’m kinda just waiting for Alex to call back. I’m sorry. I’m kinda freaking out a bit here and I figured you guys might need to know that maybe you should be freaking out too because I mean Tay’s actually gone whereas I’m just kinda ‘here’ wondering if I’m next.”
There was a pause on the line that made Jesse bite his lip.
“Sorry. I’ll call back when I have something.”
“Thanks for the update,” Zac came back, “can I give you my number so you don’t have to call here again?”
“Sure,” Jesse darted around to the side of the car to grab a pen and paper from inside so he could write it down.
“Care I’m sorry.”
Taylor and Carey both looked up to where Mark was standing back against the wall with his arms folded and his eyes closed.
“For what?” Carey frowned.
“For this. This is my fault.”
“How do you figure?” Carey was genuinely confused, “you think we wouldn’t have ended up here anyway?”
“Not if I hadn’t let him get the gun.”
“You didn’t know,” Taylor shrugged, “you didn’t know what he was going to do.”
“I knew he was upset,” Mark stared him down, “I knew that he was desperate to stay away from them. I should have put two and two together, and I didn’t.”
“None of us want to be here,” Carey amended, “doesn’t mean I’m ready to kill myself over it.”
“And you don’t know what he went through after we left,” Mark pointed out.
“Do you?” Carey hit back immediately, “what did he say to you? Did you ask about the missing time?”
“I did,” Mark nodded, “but he didn’t make a lot of sense.”
“What are you talking about?” Taylor looked between them worriedly, “he looked fine to me.”
“He wasn’t,” Mark scorned.
“What are you hiding?” Carey’s eyes narrowed, before he visibly jumped as the door opened again.
Morris had returned along with two other masked men in lab coats.
“Sorry to leave you waiting all afternoon,” he apologised, but it didn’t seem genuine at all, “Carey Miller you are free to go.”
“What? Why him?!” Mark pounced.
“Why only me?” Carey also frowned as the two handlers came to unlock his door.
“We still have some questions for Taylor, and Marcus needs a new implant,” the doctor’s eyes went to Mark, “don’t worry, they’ll follow you shortly.”
Mark cursed under his breath.
“What questions?” Taylor’s eyes were on Morris, “why can’t we do it now?”
“One thing at a time,” Morris insisted.
Carey didn’t bother standing from the bed, seeing the black hood already in one of their hands and the tranquiliser in another. He forced himself to keep his hands flat on the bed as the one holding the hood took hold of his head and the other depressed the needle into his neck.
“How long is it going to take?” Taylor stood from the bed, the sight making him even more nervous, “I really need to get home!”
“Patience,” Morris looked him in the eye again, “have I given you reason not to trust us so far?”
Taylor paused at that. Personally, they hadn’t. But after what had happened to Colin…
They were distracted by Carey collapsing back onto the bed. The hood was quickly placed over his head and his wrists were promptly tied.
“Where are you taking him?” Mark was at his door, looking apprehensive.
“Back to his previous drop point I’d assume. That will be up to the Los Angeles drivers,” Morris gave him a nod as Carey was taken out.
“Hurt him and it’ll be the last thing you ever do,” Mark warned them as they passed.
Morris turned to watch them leave, not moving himself. Nearly as soon as they’d cleared the door another man entered and handed him the tool he’d used to insert the tracers into their arms last time.
“I’ll need some help with this one,” Morris armed it, “call someone to help you restrain him for me.”
Mark was already pacing with a look that could kill. Taylor sat himself back down on the bed, already feeling like he could cut the air with a knife. He didn’t know why they couldn’t just get on with asking their questions before this so he wouldn’t have to be here while Mark was about to fight.