Razor Mountain — Chapter 29.2

Razor Mountain is a serial novel, with new parts published every week or two. For more info, visit the Razor Mountain landing page.

Christopher studied the faces in the room. Again, there were a myriad of different expressions, from those who looked confused or irritable to those more prepared to believe. If this had been a movie, Christopher thought, someone’s face would betray their guilt when Cain accused them of harboring a murderer. He didn’t see anything like that, but he supposed that whoever had done it had already fooled him once, back when the deed was done, and he had known more back then.

“Look,” the Secretary of the Treasury said, “If this man really is God-Speaker, shouldn’t it be a simple thing for him to tell us who killed him? Or are you claiming that he doesn’t know either?”

“That would make sense, wouldn’t it?” Christopher said. “Unfortunately, I only just visited the chamber. It’s been a long time, and the jump was unexpected, for obvious reasons. I’m beginning to recover my memory, but it’s going to take a while. Days, at least.”

“Why bother revealing yourself now?”

“We thought it best to have it all out in the open,” Cain said.

“I’m still curious how you got here,” said a voice from the far end of the table. The tall, skinny, bald man.

“Well,” Cain said, “I had agents around Christopher for years. I had them push on things here and there, where I could. For example, making sure he got a promotion that would put him in the position to travel north.”

Christopher’s eyes widened.

“No shit. I thought some things about that whole process seemed strange. You had people in the company?”

“Of course.”

Christopher shook his head.

“So Sean Wallace probably did deserve the job more than I did. I thought he was going to get it.”

Cain frowned at him.

“Does that really matter at this point?”

“No, I suppose not.”

“In any case, an opportunity to get him to Alaska finally came up. At that point, I decided I had no choice but to bring someone else in on the project. I told Cas what I had been doing, or at least what little she didn’t already know. We put a team in place. We made arrangements so that Christopher would be on a plane with our people. He would be drugged, the plane would be taken off the grid, and would land here, at the airstrip.”

“We have an airstrip?” Christopher asked.

“It’s tight and carefully camouflaged,” Cas said, “and only used for special cases and emergencies. But yes.”

“As it turns out, the airstrip wasn’t used,” Cain said. “You got on the plane, but the plane never arrived. We lost contact with the team during the flight. We were only able to find the crash site a few days ago. I thought we would have nothing but forensics to try to piece together what happened.”

“That certainly seems to paint Cas in a suspicious light,” said a man in a smart green uniform. The name rose to the surface of Christopher’s mind: General Simon Reese, Director of Military Operations. His purview would be mostly local to the mountain; the military administration. No doubt one of the people who would most often vie with Cas over certain arenas of authority.

Cas held up her hands.

“Cain had access to all the same information I did.”

“No offense, Cas, but I’ll reserve any judgment,” Cain said. “Perhaps God-Speaker can shed some light on what happened?”

Once again, all the eyes in the room shifted to Christopher. He took a deep breath.

“I don’t have all the answers, but I can fill in some blanks. I woke up on the plane—drugged, I now realize. I discovered pretty quickly that it was empty. No other passengers, no crew, just me. I would have to guess that your team bailed out while I was still sleeping, and they assumed that I would ride that plane right into the side of a mountain. Instead, I tried to fly it, and when that failed, I jumped.”

Christopher remembered his confused thoughts in those frantic moments. The drug they had given him was certainly part of it, but there was something else. He remembered waking up, seeing a strange vision of a cave, hearing strange voices. He remembered something compelling him to fly the plane, to change direction, and finally, to jump into the lake.

His eyes widened. “I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know I was God-Speaker. But some part of him must have been awake in the back of my head. I changed the direction of the plane, and I jumped. I don’t know if that’s something I…Christopher…would have done on his own. I landed in a lake and somehow managed to swim to shore. I was hurt and I’m sure I was verging on hypothermia. Practically delirious. I found a bunker, one of the furthest of the old Razor Mountain out-buildings, although I wasn’t aware of that at the time. And when I punched some random keys on the keypad, it just happened to be the right code.”

“God-Speaker guided you,” Cain said. He wore a faint smile and glaze-eyed look of religious conviction. It made Christopher uncomfortable, but to the God-Speaker portion of his mind, this seemed only appropriate.

“The bunker saved my life and gave me the opportunity to recover,” Christopher said. “Not knowing who I really was, or where I was, I only hoped to be rescued. But days went by with no sign of human life, apart from the cryptic things I occasionally heard on the radio. Eventually, I decided to investigate other locations marked on a map that I found in the bunker.”

“The numbers station,” Cas said. “Coded orders.”

“Did you sense that you needed to go toward the mountain,” Cain asked, with the air of a defense attorney leading the witness.

“No, not back then,” Christopher said, honestly. “It was just a strange-looking peak in the distance. All I was hoping for was to find people and get back home. So I made a makeshift sled, packed supplies, and set off. I won’t bore you with the details, but I hiked until my supplies were gone, and all I had managed to find was what appeared to be the ruin of a building.”

“Where were you, exactly?” Cain asked. “It could have been that failed Tokamak site from the ’40s.”

“I don’t think it’s important,” Christopher said. “What matters is that I was out of food and lost in the woods, and I probably would have died if someone hadn’t found me.”

“Who found you?” asked the bald man at the end of the table.

“Some exiles,” Christopher said. “Traitors who fled the mountain and were holed up in another one of those old out-buildings.”

“Hold on,” Cas said. “You’re telling me there is a group of deserters that left the mountain without authorization? Why hasn’t this come up in any of our cabinet meetings?”

General Reese held up a hand.

“That situation is already handled. Two of the traitors gave themselves up, along with the positions of the rest. We rounded them up a few days ago.”

“All of them?” Christopher asked.

General Reese glanced away for a moment, and Christopher read a flash of uncertainty on his features.

“There’s one who is still at large, but the situation will be wrapped up soon.”

“I want them unharmed,” Christopher said. “Especially the girl that your soldiers are no doubt chasing aimlessly through the woods right now.”

“I don’t think we should be discussing sensitive intelligence in this meeting,” the bald man at the end of the table said, “at least until we understand this situation.”

“He clearly already has knowledge of the situation,” General Reese muttered.

“Write it down,” Christopher said, pointing at the general. “No harm to any of them.”

“They’re traitors.”

“They’re the only reason I’m here, alive, right now,” Christopher said. “When I was lost in the woods, and someone from the mountain was taking pot-shots at me, that girl got me out safely, and those exiles took me in. Granted, they immediately interrogated me, but it was a much more pleasant interrogation than what I received when I got to the mountain proper.”

“How did you finally get here?” Cain asked.

“Those two traitors who gave themselves up,” Christopher said. “They wanted a little extra bargaining power, and at least one of them was convinced that I was some kind of spy. So they tied me up and snuck me out from under their compatriots. Then they brought me here, gave me up to the authorities, and begged for mercy.”

Christopher turned to General Reese. “Did they get any mercy?”

“They’re incarcerated in preparation for military tribunal,” General Reese said.

“So was I,” Christopher said. “I was thoroughly interrogated in a variety of ways that we will reevaluate in the near future.”

“Our methods with outsiders are not new,” General Reese said, scowling. “Perhaps you’ll be able to remember who instituted those policies in the next few days.”

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Author: Samuel Johnston

Professional software developer, unprofessional writer, and generally interested in almost everything.

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