Kepa walked through the door. The inside of the large room was nondescript. It was a large circle, with a row of doors that ran its circumference. Inside the circle were various tables and chairs.It reminded Kepa of a cafeteria as much as anything. Everything was white: the walls, the tables, the chairs, even the doors. A few people were scattered, sitting in twos and threes, at some of the tables, but for the most part, the large room was empty. Kepa didn’t see any computer screens or any of the technology that defined the cavernous operations center they had just escaped.
“This is the baserri?” he asked Latxe as she led him across the room to a desk that sat directly opposite to where they had entered.
“Bai,” she responded. “We call it the baserri because of its simplicity. It doesn’t have any of the fancy equipment, to minimize our chances of detection. It’s a waystation, if you will, a place for us to regroup after events like earlier.”
“You mean, that happens often, when they find you?”
Latxe shrugged. “I wouldn’t say often, but certainly more often than we would like. Fortunately, they haven’t found this place.”
“Yet.” A large black man sat behind the desk. The left side of his face was heavily scarred and Kepa noticed that his left arm seemed different somehow. The coloring wasn’t quite the same as his right arm. He wore a simple white shirt and what looked to Kepa like blue jeans. “But they will,” continued the man, “someday.”
“It’s good to see you too, Jorge!” Latxe went around the desk and gave the man a hug. “It’s been a while, but I see you are still your same grumpy self.”
“Someone has to be,” said Jorge roughly, though a hint of a smile peaked through as he spoke. “You fools are too reckless out there.”
Latxe shrugged. “We aren’t going to change things hiding all the time.”
Jorge grunted. “Just wish I could be out there with you all, I guess.”
“You know we need you here.”
“Yeah, yeah…” began Jorge before cutting himself off. He looked over at Kepa. “And who is this? I don’t recognize you.”
“This is Kepa,” said Latxe. “Olatz recruited him and his friend, Maite. Maite was captured in the raid.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Jorge, genuine concern in his voice.
“Mari… I mean Olatz said we’ll get her back,” said Kepa.
“I’m sure we’ll try,” said Jorge in a way that left Kepa unsettled. But before he could question what Jorge meant, Jorge had pulled two spheres out of the desk. “Rooms 103 and 156 are available,” he said as he tossed a sphere to each of them. “Olatz isn’t here yet, but she always likes to take the long way. She should be here soon.”
“Mil esker, Jorge,” said Latxe as she led Kepa back into the common area. “It’s been a long day,” she said. “Go get some rest. When Olatz gets here, we’ll figure out what to do next.”
Kepa nodded absently as he looked at his sphere. 156. He found the door to his room, about halfway around the circle from the desk to the now-missing door they had come through. As he approached his room, the door automatically opened and he stepped inside. The door silently closed behind him. It wasn’t a big room, but it was clean, almost sterile. There was a cot and a strange pod next to it, large enough for him to step inside. He ignored the pod and collapsed on the small cot. Within moments, he was fast asleep.
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