Blind Ridge, the Spokane River, Republic of Idaho
20 September 1989
Glittering sunlight slashed under his eyelids. He was cold, and his first impulse was to pull the blankets up but he couldn’t find his blankets or his hands. In dream state he had imagined that Eleanor was kissing his ear. Awake he realized that it was the river lapping the side of his head. He reassessed his situation and savored the irony of it. It was Assessment, after all, that had brought him to his present state.
Immersed to his chin at the edge of the burbling Spokane, hung up on a gravel bar, Harry wondered that he had not drowned. He remembered hitting the river clean and plunging into the center channel. Amidst the swirling silt and bubbles as he tumbled along the riverbed was — something — hard and moving fast, that rolled across him and sent fire up his spine. Then nothing.
Then awakening and long periods of reflection. It had to have been a sizable chunk of debris that followed him from the blast. He couldn’t decide whether or not he wished he could feel his legs. After all this time in the cold water they couldn’t be in very good shape.
“Captain! Captain Gideon!” He heard a faint call, then the clicking and grinding chirp of boots on river gravel. “Over here!” The voice grew stronger as it approached. “I think we got another survivor!”
“Careful, Corporal,” came a second voice, “don’t move him yet.”
It was that doctor, that woman doctor, Gideon. He tried to quell his emotions. He’d left an Aryan officer alive — a captain to take charge of the camp. More fool he. Hydra had too many heads. He struggled to check his frustration. It wouldn’t do for the Guard to catch their President’s assassin crying over spilled blood. If they wanted to patch him up and stand him against a wall, so be it. One more life was still a modest price for a monster like Adam Schickler.
“Easy, mister. We’ll get you fixed up.” The Guard hovered over his face, then turned and shouted into the distance. “Dressed like labor, ma’am… It’s, uh… It’s Mr Davis!”
“Davis?” The woman’s face came into his view and smiled sadly. “You’re in a bit of trouble here, mister. Can you feel your legs at all?”
He shook his head.
“Run fetch Mr Mackenzie. Hurry!”
“Yesss!” agreed Harry. “Sugar. Must speak to Sugar.”