Originally written August 2015.
I burst through the door like I was running from the apocalypse. For everyone here, it might actually be the end of the world.
"We have to get out of here! They are gonna attack us with..." I stopped when I saw her. She was tied to a chair in the middle of the operations room, looking miserable, surrounded by several of my coworkers, both scientist and security. Then I saw the boss. sitting in another chair off to the side, somehow looking even more miserable.
"So there really is an attack?" one of the guards asked as eyes turned from me back to the prisoner.
She sighed, "That's what I've been trying to tell you."
"But you won't tell us how you know, or how it will happen," he countered.
Her eyes dropped to the floor.
"It doesn't matter," another added. "Nothing can get in here. Even if they could find us, the doors are impenetrable without authorization from inside."
I looked at her and her eyes met mine, pleading. "Not if they don't come from that direction." I corrected.
Several scoffs echoed among security. "We are hundreds of meters underground," one explained, talking as if to a child. "And the rock of the mountain above is laced with traps and bombs for anyone attempting to drill another path."
"And to the sides?" I asked.
"Sides?" he asked. "How could they..."
"A drilling submarine from deep in the sea not far off," I said, explaining what I had heard in the bar.
Silence was the only response I got for a while.
The boss stood up, tears forming in his eyes. "You knew about all of this, didn't you?”
She nodded. Obviously, he had discovered the truth I had tried to explain to him about his new love interest. Though it had only gotten me suspended, not tied to a chair.
"That's why I came back to get you to leave with me!" she cried. "Please run away with me before they come!"
"Let them come," said the head of security, pulling out his pistol.
"You don't understand," she sobbed. "We'll all be dead before you even see them."
I stepped forward again. "She's right. Apparently, they have some kind of weapon attached to the submarine that fires a deadly radiation that can penetrate right through the dirt, rock and walls of our little facility, killing us in moments. Then all they have to do is wait till it wears off and then poke their way through and everything we have built here will be theirs."
The weapons lowered, uselessly.
"Untie her," the boss said, his voice hollow. "Let her go."
"You aren't leaving?" she asked through tears as her guards loosed her bonds.
"I won't just hand over my life's work," he said with a little more emotion in his words. "It might be pointless to resist, and die while they still take it all. But I can't just abandon it. Anyone who wants to leave can do so."
Nobody moved. With the situation changing so suddenly, they didn't know what to do.
Then I walked over to my desk, footsteps echoing through the cavernous room, and sat in my chair, ready to continue what I had come here to do in the first place.
The traitorous woman dashed from her chair to the boss, wrapping her arms around his neck. "I'd rather die at your side than live in a world without you."
His hands slowly lifted and inched around her waist as his face softened. He said nothing, but as their eyes met, he smiled.
It was very faint at first, but the rumbling grew louder and louder with each moment, until it deafened every ear in the room. People dropped to their knees so they wouldn't fall from the tremor that rattled the facility. Coffee mugs fell off tables to crash on the ground as everyone looked for the cause, confusion on everyone's faces.
Metallic screeching pulled all attention to the wall just to the left of the large display screen, and before long it twisted and split, breaking outward, into the room. A rotating, sparkling point pierced its way through, rotating as it reflected the light in the room like a disco ball. Further and further it intruded, growing every second until the drill gave way to the dark grey hull of a decently sized submarine. The spinning slowed as the rumbling lessened. I smelled the salty wetness of the sea, leading me to find spouts of it pouring from cracks between the broken wall and the submarine. Not enough to be concerned over though.
A hush came again as the drill settled, leaving only the quietly splashing water and remaining pebbles that dropped into it.
The quiet was broken by the crackle of a radio turning on and the ruffle of the soon-to-be speaker's clothing.
"What are you doing?" the voice came. "We came to rescue you."
"I really do love him," she replied in a fearfully confident voice.
"Oh, good grief," the voice exclaimed. "You were our best agent. I don't want to have to replace you."
"I know where I belong," she answered, grabbing the boss even tighter.
"Well, crap. We are too close for the radiation now. Guess this will have to be done the old-fashioned way." And the radio went silent.
Four panels on the side of the hull flipped open and rocket launchers popped out, taking aim at different occupants of the room.
"Wait!" I screamed, jumping to my feet and putting myself between the guns and my friends. "I think I have a way to settle this."
The radio crackled back on. "And what would that be? There is no way you can harm me. Negotiating won't benefit me at all."
"You don't want to damage this facility any more than you have to. That is obvious from your initial plan to use radiation."
"I challenge you to a coin toss contest. If you win, we leave, no more fuss."
"You can't!" the boss yelled, but I calmed him with a wave of my hand.
"What is more important to you? This place? Or her?" He couldn't respond to that. I knew it was a tough question for him to answer. But it didn't matter. I had a plan.
"And if you win?" the radio asked.
"You give us a better chance. You come out with your men to fight face to face. Even a rain of small caliber bullets will do less damage than a few rounds from those things." I pointed at the machine guns trained on me. "And I bet you have way more men in there than we do. The fight won't last long, right?"
A pop and pressurized hissing preceded a door opening in the submarine with a rope ladder that lowered to the watery floor.
Our nemesis stepped out and made his way down, chuckling. "I accept." He waded through the water and up the steps to the rest of us, followed by dozens of his men. At least three times our number. "I like you. You are funny. What is to stop me from finding and killing you all after I win and you vacate?" The smile that curled within that greying goatee made my hair stand on edge.
"You accepted. I trust your word. You wouldn't want a guilty conscience, would you?" I smirked as friendly as I could.
A few of his men chuckled, but this man scowled. Maybe he didn't like the mention of his conscience.
"Coin toss contest, you said?"
I pulled out two coins from my pocket. Each had a figure of the Disney castle on one side, and the opposite side had Buzz on one, with Woody on the other from Toy Story.
"The characters are heads, castle is tails." I handed him the coins for inspection. "We each flip one, and heads wins over tails." I took them back when he handed them. "First one to win twice is the winner."
"Sounds fair." He nodded his balding head in approval.
"Which one do you want?" I offered.
He thought for a moment before deciding. "Woody."
I handed him the cowboy coin. "Onto the ground so everyone can see," I said as I positioned the coin on the back of my thumb. "Ready?"
We both jerked our hands upward and the pair of cartoon icons spun into tiny gold orbs over our heads.
I had this dream only a week ago or so, and I found that as I analyzed it, it was more than just a dream of spies and adventure and life or death stakes in secret facilities with weapons that seemed to come from science-fiction. The issue of trust seems to pop up several times in the narrative. And it makes me wonder if it is trying to tell me something about my life, or if my life is informing the narrative of my dreams.
Recently, I was with my girlfriend at her apartment. We had finished dinner and an episode of Sherlock, which is an amazing show, and were just cuddling. I noticed a gleaming wetness in her eye just before she buried her face in my shoulder.
Did I do something?
Shake of the head.
Did I not do something?
Shake of the head.
Was there something I could do?
Shrug of the shoulders.
With a little more cajoling, I derived that she was having an issue with trusting me. She assured me that I hadn't given her a reason not to trust me, but with her ex-husband and ex-boyfriends, her trust had begun to run thin. Apparently, she had promised herself that if she ever got in a serious relationship with a guy that had an ex, she would talk to that ex about the potential husband.
When she said that, I gave my blessing. I have nothing to hide from her. Especially when my ex divorced me for her own reasons. I'm not saying I was the best husband ever, but neither was I a cause of pain and suffering of any kind. I thought we were both happy until everything came crumbling down around me.
Anyway, that experience luckily didn't give me any trust issues, because she never tried to hide anything from me. I can only try to imagine what my girlfriend is feeling with the past she has had.
Is she feeling like the boss did right after he found out he had been betrayed and lied to? Empty and hopeless, focusing all her energy on her worldly goals to the point where she would die for them without any other care.
Is she feeling like the enemy? Upset that one he had cared for wasn't what she seemed and trying to kill the hurt emotion by killing its source?
Is she feeling like me when making the wager? Hopeful that her clear communication is understood and wishes honored even though she has that inkling that it might not be a good idea, so she makes a vague and indescribable backup plan?
She is such an open book that I don't have any trouble trusting her. The only issue that might ever come up with her that is similar is mistaken perspectives or emotional assumptions. But you get that when you are in any kind of relationship with anyone. And those can be fixed with clear communication.
I honestly believe that most problems and issues between people or cultures could be solved with clear and heartfelt communication. Sadly, most people aren't that willing to have that kind of communication. All they want to do is shout so they will be heard above everyone else without listening. And communication is always a two-way thing, even if one person is completely right and the other is completely wrong. You can't get someone to believe a truth you have until you listen to the reason they believe the lie.
And then there are the people who care nothing for others. The sociopaths and wackos that only care about themselves and how to get exactly what they want, no matter the cost to others. And those are the people that give so many others complexes and baggage that they will carry around the rest of their lives. It's my opinion, but I believe that a lot of these people are in very powerful positions in business and politics. But this isn't surprising when their ability to control and delete any emotion also allows them to adopt any emotion at will that will manipulate and influence those around them, convincingly lying their way to the top of whatever they set their targets on.
I'm kind of rambling, but I just find it sad how little trust there is in the world these days. And I like trusting people. I like being able to turn my back on someone and know that they will support it instead of stabbing it when they think it will benefit them.
My girlfriend has contacted my ex, but without a reply. When I asked if this concerned her, she said that it didn't. The fact that I was openly willing to let her talk was enough to gain my trust. And I don't plan on losing that trust.
Even if I don't know if I can trust certain other people, I will always make the effort to trust others before anything else. The benefits of open relationships, whether friendly or romantic, far outweigh the risks avoided when closing yourself off.
I know that this could lead to heartache on tremendous degrees. But, hey, if I can take the chance to save my friends from horrific deaths by tossing around some Toy Story coins, I can continue to offer my trust to those around me. And I hope others can take that same chance with me.