“If the passengers noticed a sudden jolt, they didn’t show it. The helicopter continued rising, steadily, and then began to soar in the opposite
direction of the IBSI’s HQ, a sheer drop of hundreds of feet suddenly appearing beneath me. I kept my gaze firmly upward on the aircraft’s
underbelly, even as my palms felt sweaty against the metal. Swallowing hard, I glanced upward toward the closed door. Finding my balance on the
skids, I pulled myself up into a standing position, even as I reached up and rapped loudly against the metal.
There was a beat, and then the door slid open. I slipped a hand through the crack and forced it open wider before thrusting myself upward and
landing on the floor of the aircraft. Gasps of men swept around me, including from the white-haired man.
I shot to my feet as several guards around me clutched their guns.
I fixed my gaze on the old man’s. “You recognize me, don’t you?” I said steadily.
“How could we not?” he managed.
“I need you to discard everything that my father just told you,” I told him sternly. Somehow, I had to keep the major news portals open. The
government operated all the main news channels—both online and offline—and if they were shut down, it would cause confusion and panic among
people, and it would hamper the speed at which the truth was currently being spread to the public.
“I am with TSL,” I said. “You need to give us a chance to fix this. If you give back full control to the IBSI so easily, then nothing will ever have a
hope of changing. You watched my broadcast, didn’t you?”
The man nodded, as did every other man in the chopper. I couldn’t help but notice that their grip around their guns had loosened a touch.
“Then you’re fully aware of how the IBSI has been deceiving you and the world. You are desperate right now. But that’s exactly where the IBSI
wants you—in a place of blind need and helplessness. If you don’t give TSL a chance, then nothing ever has a chance of changing, and the IBSI
will only grow more and more corrupt.”
The man’s brows knotted. “Have you not heard what’s been going on?” he said. “Have you not seen ? We are in a state of emergency! Lives are
being—”
“I know,” I said heavily. “I know. I’ve just come from the epicenter of the Bloodless infestation in Chicago. If you glance down over the city, on
the other side of the river, you will see members of TSL already there combating the situation. Albeit not as effectively as we would like to yet…
We need more time to prove to you and the world that the IBSI are no longer needed.”
The man rubbed his temples, looking uncertainly to each of his colleagues. “Time is exactly what we don’t have, Mr. Conway.”
“Then buy some,” I said, glaring at him. “Even if it’s a few hours. Buy some .”
I knew that if the government hesitated in shutting down the news portals, my father, too, wouldn’t hesitate to wreak more havoc. It was vital that
we stop them from regaining full control while keeping the news channels open, because if they were allowed to reassert their boundaries, once all
the news feeds did flow freely again, the IBSI would only be considered even more of a necessity than they’d been before. Even though we had
broadcast their corruption and downright inhumanity, all of it would get swept under the carpet in light of the threat of the Bloodless flooding their
residential cities and suburbs. Everybody would be convinced once and for all that it was not possible to live without the IBSI, even if they wished
that they could. There would be no more opening for TSL in the public’s minds after such a horrific and widespread failure. Everybody would be
desperate for the boundaries to never fall again, regardless of what it meant giving up in return for their safety. There would be no room left for
morals, truth, or dignity to play a part in anything.
This was exactly my father’s plan. I could practically see the wheels turning in his head as I imagined him flying back toward base.”