“Come on guys, I couldn’t sleep. I was just getting some fresh air.” Two security guards accompanied Brody back to his dorm. “The night is the time to do it, right? The air smells less like it’s loaded with chemicals then. Didn’t think it’d set off an alarm.”
Luckily, Brody had heard the alarm and was already on the way back to his room when the security guards found him. “Are we not allowed to leave our bunkers after dark? In all the years I’ve been here, no one told me.”
“It’s for your own safety. If you’re having trouble sleeping, let your supervisor know and he can get a doctor to give you something.”
“Thanks, guys, will do,” Brody said with a wave as the door to his room closed. More drugs was the last thing Brody wanted. Now, he had to wait another day before figuring out what the hell Carrie was doing here, and why she was dancing maniacally with Yevgeny Gromov.
No way he’d be able to sleep the rest of the night with that madness he’d seen in Carrie’s face still so fresh. What had they done to her?
He called Alex and brought him up to speed with what happened.
“Dancing? He was dancing?”
“Yep, your friend seems to have a thing for Motown classics.”
“He’s not my friend.”
“Maybe now would be a good time for you to tell me what you know about him. I mean besides the fact that he’s a whack-job.”
Midnight strolls apparently set off alarms, but midnight snacks were less frowned upon. So, they decided to meet in the mess hall within their bunker.
Brody walked in to the hall to see Alex and Leiming hunkered over something and deep in conversation. He eyed Leiming suspiciously. “Couldn’t sleep either?”
“Nah, man, the raspberry sorbet they got here was calling my name.”
Leiming did have an open container of sorbet in front of him. He also had some detailed plans of the complex. Alex explained, “We found some more maps that may be useful to you.”
“Yes, very useful,” Brody said. He remained suspicious. “Something tells me you two aren’t the run of the mill hackers who usually come to this place.”
Alex and Leiming exchanged looks. “No, we aren’t,” Alex said. “Sit down.”
As Brody turned his seat and straddled it, Alex started their story. “We met in the States. We were recruited together.”
“Recruited?” Brody asked.
Alex continued. “I was born in Russia. My mother wasn’t well, so my grandfather sent me away to the States where I lived with an uncle in Michigan, near Detroit. I moved back to Russia when I was six, a few years after the Soviet Union fell. I kept going back and forth from Russia to the States for school.”
“Okay,” Brody said.
“I’m fluent in both Russian and English, in both languages, in both cultures,” Alex said. “I got a degree in Linguistics from Northwestern. All of this to say, I was a good candidate for recruitment.”
Brody nodded and looked at Leiming. “And you? Did you also know everything I was supposedly training you on with the translation work?”
“Not exactly. I didn’t specialize in language, just coding. Which, I guess, if you think about it, is language, too,” Leiming said. “I’m from New York, born and raised. My grandfather came from Hong Kong and was active in the Flying Dragons in Chinatown. After they disbanded, all connections to Asian gangs in New York were followed closely for years. My father became an informant for the heroin, and then fentanyl, trade. And the organization found me helping him with some coding when I was a kid. It was my tech skills that made me a good candidate for recruitment.”
“Recruited into what?” Brody asked.
Alex and Leiming answered in unison: “We’re FBI.” Alex went on. “But with only a fraction of the support since we’re not officially agents, especially now that we’re not in the States.”
Brody’s theory that he wasn’t in the States was confirmed. “Where are we?”
“In Russia,” Leiming said. “We send information to the FBI’s global operations. We work for them, giving them intel on cybercrimes.”
“Okay, then, now that we have all that cleared up and I know that neither of you need to be trained in translating English idioms, let’s get to the heart of the matter, shall we?” Brody stung from being manipulated by these boys. Why did the supervisor pick Brody to train them? Couldn’t they have made a fool out of someone else? Why were the spooks always following him wherever he went?
Those concerns could wait though. Something much more urgent needed to be taken care of. “Who the hell is Yevgeny Gromov and how do we get Carrie Mathison away from him and out of here?”
“Well, I’ve got the cameras taken care of,” Leiming said. “I can write a hack pretty easily into the alarm you set off tonight. We still need to distract Gromov somehow.”
“Let me take care of that,” Alex said. “The question is when.”
Before either Alex or Leiming could answer, they were distracted by noises outside the mess hall. Their shift supervisor was at the door.
“Everything okay in here, guys?” The supervisor looked to the three of them huddled at the table. He walked the perimeter of the hall checking windows and doors for any other occupants up past their bedtime. “Maybe time to call it a night? Save some sorbet for the rest of the guys.”
They rose to go their separate ways with an unspoken agreement that the mission would be prepped and continue the next day.
Naturally, Brody got very little sleep that night.
Was Carrie in a manic state? Is that what mania looked like? Brody had never really seen her sick. Would her illness make her not recognize him? Or was it something else? Did she really forget? Was she here working a mission? Was she seducing Yevgeny Gromov as part of that mission?
All the unknowns. All the things he could have known about her if only his story hadn’t taken precedence. The Turned Marine tattooed across every second of the little time they spent together. She never got to show him all of herself. The craziness surrounding him was enough to keep them both busy. She never had the chance to just be. Yet, she still managed to be so totally herself, the inside of her soul worn on the outside. Despite the subterfuge her job required, she never held any of herself back. She was trained to not show everything she was thinking, but she always let you know what she was feeling.
All the clichés in the world couldn’t provide an adequate description of the sunshine her face would break into when she was happy. And, when they were neck deep in mud and silt, she was the flash of gold, lifting him up, carrying him when he couldn’t carry himself. Despite his very external drama spinning around her internal drama, she gave him everything she could, she gave it all up. Fucking completely, like she said.
And what had Brody given her? The way he had treated her outside the police station, after he’d sent Estes to her house. The bile of it came up in Brody’s throat. How could he have been so heartless, so cruel? Telling her to leave him and his family alone, that she was wrong about everything, obsessed, sick. None of which was true. And then her forgiving him anyway, helping him as far as he wanted to be helped. Saving him as far as he wanted to be saved. She would have gone on saving him, over and over again, if he’d let her. She would have made it her life’s mission to keep him alive, with or without her. So fucking crazy and stubborn. So much fire in something so tiny.
Did he owe her? No, it wasn’t that. What they had was never transactional like that. It wasn’t a game of life-saving tag, with his turn now to be “it.” It ran deeper. It was all the sensations of being in each other’s orbit, the charge that passed when they touched. The warmth of it when it was good, fueled by an image of what could’ve been had the world around them allowed it.
All he knew at this moment was that he had to get to her. Hear directly from her what she was doing here. And let her see him alive. He needed to let her know he was alive all this time. And she needed to know that not a second went by all this time that he hadn’t thought of her and remembered.