Janie, still at the bottom of the stairs, tapped the interrogator’s shoulders. “Well, I reckon Dani’s right you did free us. I still don’t know why, though. Ain’t nothin’ in this for you, and neither of us would’ve made it out if you hadn’t decided to do the jailbreak.” A tear welled in her eye, then ran down her cheek. “You think you could get Brett out? Get him to Britain with us?”
The interrogator swallowed. “I liked Brett better than you. The only reason you’re here and he’s not is because you had the know how to get out. He didn’t.”
Janie’s expression softened. “So he’s not getting out, is he? They’re going to kill him, aren’t they?”
“Just get on the plane,” the interrogator ordered. “I gave you what I could. Be thankful for that instead.”
Janie’s face turned into a scowl. “Don’t expect thanks from me. You don’t get credit for solving problems I know you helped make in the first place.” She turned to the plane, entered the door, and walked with Dani into the back.
The engines got a little lowder, and Rebecca looked at her watch. “This is your last chance, you know,” she said. “Regulations gave us a tiny window to takeoff, so I can’t hold the plane any longer.”
“I know,” the interrogator said. She shook Crowe’s hand. “You just prepare your bank account for that billion dollar annuity, ok?”
Crowe bit her lip and wrung her hand from the interrogator’s grasp. She hustled up a couple steps and into the plane. Tarmac workers pushed the staircase away from the door, but Crowe turned to look back. “You’ve been a real sport with this, you know – so I thought it only fair to tell you not to try too hard with the blackmail, ok?”
The interrogator’s hair rustled in the engines’ wind. “What? Why?”
“Look, the timing of this flight isn’t an accident.” Crowe bit her lip, then sighed, though the sound was lost behind the roar of the engines. “What’s the point of an annuity that big? Easier for your agents to just come in and kill everyone involved. No, I took the lump sum from the BBC and Al Jazeera. We’ll be flying toward Asia, and when this plane’s out of range of the American missile defense system, that interview airs worldwide.”
The interrogator rushed to the plane. “What!? That wasn’t the deal!” She jumped, her fingers finding hold on the bottom of the plane door.
Rebecca closed the door a bit, clamping it on the interrogator’s fingers and forcing her to let go. “You could have come with us – but dear, what did you expect? The existence of that video made me, you, and everyone on this plane and in this building a liability. Your crazy government thought it was acceptable to abduct thousands of people in order to keep this under wraps – they’re willing to do anything.”
“You’ll start a war! A war no one can win!”
She opened the door slightly to yell out, “This war was started as soon as your crazy scientists made your chimera. Whether I broke the story or someone else did, it was destined to happen. Now I suggest you back up – this plane’s going to take off, and it won’t care if you’re in the way or not.”
Rebecca Crowe slammed the door to the plane shut.
The interrogator, holding her bleeding fingers, looked longingly at the revving engines, felt the air being sucked into the jets, the heat from the burning fuel. She ran out of the line of fire to where a man with lamps waved the pilot to a safe takeoff. She put a bleeding hand up to the place on her arm where a needlestick drive sat under her skin, irritating and raw.