STRATAGEM Chapter 19
‘TERRORIST’ WAS ONLY THE FIRST WORD in the CNN list of suspected crimes under Derek’s name on the television. He blinked in disbelief as the scrolling marquis spewed out the terms biological agent, murder, Federal Authorities, abduction…
“Derek,” Mom said, her jaw fallen open. “That’s not your driver’s license on TV, is it?”
“It is. But I swear, I didn’t do anything like that.”
Next came the picture of the kidnapping victim.
“That’s me!” Paige said, pointing to a photo provided by the NYPD. “I’m on TV!”
Everything Mom and Paige said from that point faded into the background as he tried his best to take in what the reporter said about him. They were connecting him to the plane crash, the deaths and infection of hundreds in Manhattan by use of a biological agent, the abduction of Paige, and the murder of police officers and hospital staff.
“…even listening to me, Derek?” Mom said, her voice uncharacteristically intense.
“What? Oh, sorry. I just—I can’t believe what they’re accusing me of.”
“How could any of that be possible?” She said, trying to keep Paige busy with the puzzle they were working on by handing her another piece and pointing to the place it belonged.
“I wish I knew why they’re blaming me. All I know is that I woke up, a plane crashed in Central Park, I found Paige barely alive and brought her to the hospital where everyone was dead—”