Continuing the story of The Cells, a Primetime Adventures game. I feel like I should remind you that Cathy is a guy. Zach just gives out irreverent nicknames.
Spotlight character: None for this episode.
"Zach, there is almost nothing else to learn here. Unless you've got something else that you're not telling me then it's time to go."
"There's another set of cells," replies Zach.
"On site or another site?"
Zach turns to Sgt Cathy. "Does your handheld have something about Odessa on it?"
"So it's a secret complex," muses Zach.
Private Thompson says, "That has a kind of block-ops feel to it, sir."
Zach says, "Alright Lazarus, you want to get out of here. Just one last thing. I want to see my cell, then we can go."
Lazarus turns to the sergeant. "How much time do you think we have before the General's people get here? They know we're here. I'm sure of it. Nobody leaves facilities like this unattended and unwatched. And if not them then it will be someone else." Turning back to Zach he says, "Zachariah, you have five minutes."
He finds the cell and remembers the moment he stepped into the cell for the first time, realising that he'd made the wrong decision. It's a stark, empty room. He tries to turn around to convince the guards he's changed his mind. He puts up such a fight that he is sedated and locked in. As he passes out he says, "Call my dad. He'll tell you who I am."
Back in the present, Lazarus is trying to leave the Cells, fearful of whomever might be watching. The four of them reach the edge of the facility doorway and are about to step out as a shot rings out. Private Thompson's brains splatter over Zach. Sgt Cathy grabs Zach and Lazarus and pulls them back behind cover.
"Down!" Cathy shouts. "Stay down! Do not move, the two of you!" He pulls out a gun, ready.
"What... what the fuck?" pants Zach.
Lazarus' pulse races. He's had a lot longer to be afraid of death than anybody else.
"They shot him!" says Zach.
"Yes," says Lazarus, "and we are alive. It's shit. I'm not going to argue with you about that, but you need to keep it together now."
Lazarus, former canon of the Path, knows the secrets of the confession booth and knows Zach's father. "You don't want your dad to find out you died a coward, standing up. You have to keep it together and get through this, otherwise he will think even less of you than he does now."
The underhanded plea fails. Zach doesn't keep it together and aimlessly runs back into his Cell to curl up into a foetal position on the floor. Cathy attempts to fight off the attackers and dies in a hail of bullets. Although they aren't dressed like soldiers, they move like soldiers. Lazarus sees five different ways out of it but spends so long considering which is the best that he and Zach are overrun and black-bagged.
Lazarus, hooded, has his hands zip-tied behind his back. He's hauled into the back of a van and hears, "We've lost visuals on the other one. Bring up infra-red and schematics. Hunt him down and bring him back."
Radio chatter continues. "Yes, we've got one of the targets."
The camera cuts to inside the bag. Lazarus is mouthing a calming, meditative mantra to regain focus in the middle of the chaos.
The attackers, carrying an assortment of weapons and wearing irregular clothes, give all the appearance of a military unit trying not to look like a military unit. Although he can't see through the bag, Lazarus reconstructs the scene in his mind from the sounds of the action around him. "If he wanted me dead, I'd be dead now. What do they want?"
Back in the Cell, Zach hears booted feet approaching. His survival instinct kicks in and he scrambles to find another way out. He leaves the cell and goes down every stairway he can find. Down, down, ever down.
The not-soldiers call out, "Hey mister pretty boy. You're just pissing us off. The longer you take the more I'm going to take it out on you."
Zach finds a spanner and throws it far away from his position to try and trick the soldiers. They fall for it and run in the other direction. Now free to choose his escape he remembers that they've captured Lazarus.
Zach find his way to a radio. He picks it up and tunes it until he hears voices.
"You there, General?"
"No one here by that name. Come out, boy. Make it easy on all of us."
"Have you killed my friend?"
"Not yet. We can do that quick or slow."
"I doubt my actions are going to influence your decision in that regard."
"Oh you'd be amazed." There's a sound of movement and the sound of a grunt as Lazarus' voice can be heard in the background.
"Back off, General. I've got options."
"I think you'll need to be more persuasive than that."
Zach hears footsteps coming closer to him. He tries to change radio channel to find anyone else. "To anyone who's listening! This is the son of Cardinal Erasmus Templeton. I'm being hunted down in the Cells by the General and his men. They're not wearing military fatigues. They're acting upon their own to take out the established government."
He's in luck's way. A news helicopter has been passing by and veers around towards the cells. A powerful searchlight flashes over the facility. LAzarus hears a soldier say, "Sir, we've been compromised. Option two? Yes? Immediately."
Lazarus is picked up immediately, with the sense that he's about the get a bullet in his head. He has a moment of seeing all his plans unfinished and lamenting this horribly. However, he's thrown from the back of the van and lands heavily on the ground. The van races away.
The spotlight from the helicopter catches Zach running out towards Lazarus. Lazarus stands on his own two feet and walks upright.
"Look," he shouts, "if you're someone I know, please take this bag off my head."
Zach unzips the black bag. For all of Lazarus' composure he can't help but breath a sigh of relief.
"Thank you, Zachariah."
"For what it's worth... well, I think I've gotten us into some deep shit."
"Yes, well we'll even out ledgers later."
The news that night carries two stories of paramilitary attempts to destabilise the government. It plays beautifully. The story of councillors inspecting a government facility and then being attacked closely follows on the story of the funeral. In the story Zach says, "I suspect that the people behind this were also behind the tear gassing as well."
The media starts asking questions. Uncomfortable questions about the General actions for the year of the Cells. All those helicopters. All the people who disappeared.
I just want the guards to say to Zach, "Yes we know who you are" and close the door.
When Zach has tricked the guards and is compelled to rescue Lazarus, "Lazarus, you *are* a monster!" "What, with these puppy dog eyes?" "Yes, made from real puppy dogs!"
"Great, I've got a bag over my head and my hands tied behind my back and I'm not paying anyone to do this to me either."
Zach puts the hammer back in subtle.