Editor’s note: This column is part of a fictional weekly serial.
Alicia got out of the car first, keeping the gun trained on her father, as she carefully shut her door and walked around to his side. He made no move to escape before or after she opened his door and gestured for him to get out; rather, he simply stood and looked around bemusedly and stretched.
“I’m gonna need you to walk now, Dad.” She pushed him towards the building, following him at a safe distance, eyes roving for security cameras or guards.
“Alicia, dear, I haven’t said anything up to this moment because that dreadful implement you’re waving about has placed a bit of an edge on our conversations, but I have no idea what’s going on and frankly you’re beginning to frighten me.”
She eyed his back. He was wearing an oversized sweater, something his sister had probably knitted twenty years ago, and from here she could see his expanding bald spot. He projected innocuousness, despite his normally aggressive demeanor, and for this reason more than any other she felt validated in her suspicions.
Edgar had steered them towards what appeared to be the main entrance, but she gripped his elbow and redirected him around the right side, where the building abutted the woods most closely. At a single unmarked, handleless door, she unhesitatingly entered in a passcode to a keypad and was granted access. She caught the door with one hand as it opened outward, listening for an alarm or footsteps. Hearing none, she again motioned for Edgar to precede her.
“Frankly I am outraged by your conduct — kidnapping your own father, and now breaking into this — what is this, a government complex? We’ll both be tried for breaking and entering, or treason, or…”
She didn’t answer. In silence she moved them through dim hallways, walking in shadows and checking every space even though the building was clearly empty for the weekend.
At last they came to a set of glass double-doors, the entrance to what looked like a laboratory. Here Alicia stopped, facing Edgar at last.
“You want to talk, Dad? Let’s talk. You left a lot of messes in your wake when you took that amnesty plea from the government and came back here to retire. We’ve been cleaning up for you for long enough. Yes, ‘we’. You said you never wanted crime to become the family business but I think you always knew I’d follow you in. I was going to wait it out, see how long you could keep up this act, but we’ve had to bump the timeline up a bit. Project Extraction ring any bells? You never visited the lab yourself, did you? Well, surprise, Dad. It wasn’t the government that settled you in that house, it was your old company. Because we knew someday this project would be ready and you’d be the only one who knew how to finish it. It won’t die with you. At least not yet.” She leveled the gun and said calmly, coldly. “Open the door, Pops.”