By the end of the first week imprisoned in the Hong Kong base, my companions and I had found many new unexpected problems in our plan of escape that needed to be fixed immediately.
It was day eight of our twenty day stay when I had finally been able to get my hands on a blue print of the base from our insider, Sui Ling. I sat all the prisoners down in a corner of the room to go over the plan. In that corner, our secrecy was safe from the prying eyes and ears of our enemy.
I crossed my legs and examined the paper quickly. There were sixteen other prisoners in the cell along with my team of five; seven of them were American, two of them were German, one was French, one was English, and three were from Africa. I looked at each individual huddled around me in turn.
“I have finally managed to get a map from Sui Ling.” I start. There is a cheer, but I quickly raise a hand to silence the group.
“Starting out, William come closer.” I look around as Will emerges and stands by my side. I put a finger down on the paper and all eyes follow it as I begin to explain.
“To get to the roof you must turn right then head down, passing three intersections, until you reach the staircase.” He follows my finger as it traces his path to the stairs.
“Jamie!” I say loudly, catching the eye of my half sister. She stands up and moves in closer to me so she can see the paper, now spread out on the floor.
“The reactor room is here.” I point, “To get there, you need to take a left then go down five intersections. On you sixth, take a right, then, at the next intersection, take another right, go down eight intersections, take a left at the next, then a right at the one after that. The door should be dead ahead after that.” I tell her, my finger creating a new path. She nods quickly before retaking her seat.
“Ulna, have you found a way to get out of this hell hole?” My eyes search for the Russian’s face amongst the others.
When I hear her voice, my eyes immediately find her, “There is an access point to every watch tower that is blocked by one door. The lock to this door as a four digit pin, but it runs off the electricity of the base. Once you shut the power off, I should be able to break the door to the gate tower and then open the gate from there.”
I nod and find Robin and Don, standing next to each other on the outskirts of the group, “Take your time leaving the building. Also, you might have to delay reinforcements so that Ulna has time to open the gate. Will,” I look at the teenager to my right, “if Ulna gets into a spot, I want you picking off tower guards. The wall is pretty open at the top, so that shouldn’t be hard.” He winks at Ulna.
“I promise I won’t shoot you.” He tells her sarcastically.
I smile a little as my eyes scan the group, “The armory isn’t far from here. Take a left and it is the sixth door on your right. Remember to grab only the weapons you know how to use.” There is a murmur and a flourish of nods.
“Jamie, how are we doing on our little forcefield problem?” I ask my sister.
“I think I fixed it.” She responds pleasantly. I raise my eyebrows and she elaborates, “Well, the forcefield was designed and programmed to hold humans, but the big mistake was that the programmers didn’t think anywhere past that. Watch!” Jamie pulls out a fork from lunch earlier and army crawls over to the forcefield.
Slowly, she slides the fork towards the field, but, unlike a finger, the fork does not stop as if there was a wall. Instead, its prongs slide right through the field as if it wasn’t there.
My little sister quickly snatches the fork back and scuttles back over, “You see, the field was only programmed to contain organic matter. Things like metal go right through it. So, I can throw a bomb right through it, the bomb would ‘splode and blow up the console, and guard, shutting the shield down.” She explains, handing me the undamaged fork for inspection.
I smile and point from Will to Robin, “That’s settled. You two are in charge of the other two guards.” The two exchange a look of understanding before the group breaks up and returns to their earlier engagements.
My gaze follows some of the children for a moment or two before it returns to my little sister, who was now focused on her puzzle pieces, “How long until you get the bomb done?” I ask as she inspects a piece.
Her heavy brown curls fall over her face as she thinks for a moment, “Well,” She quickly tucks them behind her ear, “it will take me about four more days to collect the equipment I need, and…”
“Wait, I thought you had everything already!” Will cuts her off.
Jamie glares up at him, annoyed at being interrupted, “I do, but I don’t have the equipment I need to put it together. Building something like this isn’t easy with limited supplies.”
After a moment of haughty dignity, Jamie addresses me once more, “It should take me about four days to get the equipment, and a week to put it together.”
“A week?!” William exclaims, goggling at her.
“Yes, a week, and that’s if I rush it. I can’t work on it more than eigtht hours a day without arousing suspicion, and, unless you want me to screw up, I need to be steady and focused.” She holds out her hands, black with ash and warmed by leather gloves missing the finger tips.
The fifteen year old American looks at her sourly, folding his arms in defiance. A second later, after the two exchange a glare, Jamie’s eyes return to me, “Which also means that I cannot be suddenly disrupted.” I nod, understanding her meaning.
I look around me. Our group of five sits in a circle around Jamie in the top left hand corner of the room. Robin was toying with the fork that Jamie had used, Ulna was sharpening a butter knife with a rock, Jamie was carefully inspecting her precious metals, Don was leaning against the wall next to the field, muttering to a guard, and Will was lying down with his eyes closed.
We all were so young. Perhaps being young could be an advantage, but it inspired no confidence from older people. After all, it was like Sui Ling said, how could a group of children do anything against an entire army of full grown men?
I didn’t want to die so young. I hadn’t even got a chance to live my own life or to have a boyfriend. I hadn’t got the chance to be with my sister in a healthy, happy environment. I wanted a chance to live a life before it was taken away from me.
For the period of waiting, all I could do was think about what I wanted to do when it was all over. I even asked the others what they wanted to do once they were free.
Only Robin could give an answer, “I want to eat a chocolate éclair.” He told our group of five at lunch one day.
It brought smiles to our grimy, parched lips, and we raised our metal water cups over our heads.
“To chocolate éclairs!” I toasted. We all clashed our cups and toasted to the thing that was a beacon of happiness. It gave us confidence in our plan.
It made us smile.
To Be Continued…