Evans stared at me, waiting for an answer. I had to think fast. The SEALs hadn’t been here long, but I had no idea what they knew, and what they might find out. Anything I said could incriminate me. Anything I didn’t say could incriminate me. All I knew is that the Russians had probably taken everything. All the equipment from the pods: the EMDs, the medical kits, the computers. It was all gone. All that remained was a sea of blood. A bit of gray flesh here and there. The soldiers stomped around in their heavy boots, photographing the evidence and placing little numbered markers next to the more interesting bits. I started to feel sick.
“Wayne?” Evans, the red-bearded soldier said. “You ok?”
I bent over, trying to head off the nausea. A couple of soldiers walked into the room, removed their hats, and tapped off the snow. A cold gust of wind swept in behind them. One of the soldiers carried a small, clear plastic bag. I squinted at it and suddenly my heart pounded in my ears. He shut the door and stomped his feet on the wooden floorboards.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be much help,” I wheezed.
“I know a lot of weird stuff happened here. But we need to find out—”
The soldier with the bag approached another soldier with a graying beard who was on a satellite phone. “We found this down in the valley, sir.”
Evans leaned in. “Wayne?”
I clutched my mouth as my stomach strained to void itself.
Childress arched forward. “You ok, buddy?”
The gray bearded soldier put the call on hold and inspected the plastic bag without opening it. Then he looked at me. I bit my lip and looked away. He crossed the room and tapped Evans on the shoulder. “See what you can make of this, Charles.” he said, and stepped away, returning to his sat phone.
Evans examined the bag, and turned it over, furrowing his brow. He passed it to Childress who repeated the process, and asked, “You know what this is?” He held the bag up, Spegg’s EMD, crushed and broken, resting at the bottom. They would find my fingerprints all over it.
I leaped up, holding my mouth. My stomach lurched. Evans scrambled out of the way as soggy bits of the partially digested protein bar spat through my fingers.
By then every soldier was staring at me. I ran for the door, vomiting as I hopped over pools of blood.
“Wayne!” Evans called out. One of the soldiers darted out of my path as I stumbled past him. I threw the door open and puked into the snow. Another soldier outside shouted something and I heard footsteps pounding behind me. I ran. Spegg’s image appeared in my mind, compelling me to flee. “Stop him!” Someone screamed. I didn’t get far. Two or three SEALs were quickly on top of me. “Careful with him!” Another soldier yelled.
My hands were quickly zip-tied and they yanked me to my feet. I spit snow and puke out of my mouth, struggling against my bindings.
“Where you think you’re going, son?” A dark-skinned SEAL grumbled into my ear.
“Alright, alright,” I heard from behind. They turned me around. The older, graying SEAL strolled through the snow and handed the sat phone to another soldier.
“No more questions,” he said, frowning at me. “Orders are to transfer the prisoner to the Nimitz immediately.”