Halo: The Unchained

Going to summer camp is just about the worst decision Ryan Winters has ever made. Spending three months with a bunch of idiots who think "tru dat" is correct grammar is certainly not his idea of a good time. But, according to his adoptive mother, he isn't good enough at pretending to not be a mutant. So, off to summer camp, trying to spend more time with the human persons so he can learn how to be a human person. There is only one problem:
Ryan isn't who he says he is.
In a desperate attempt to keep his past hidden, Ryan tries to navigate life at the campsite while drawing as little attention as possible. But, when an unlikely person discovers the truth, Ryan is forced to choose between the fate of the world and the life he has always wanted to live. Now, Ryan has never thought of himself as the type to help people.
Little did Ryan know, all it would take was an interdimensional messenger, his ex-best-friend, and a giant robot from hell to prove him very, very wrong.


12. The Interrogation from Hell (Literally)

The Interrogation from Hell (Literally)

Shivers ran down my spine as he called us. What?! Both of us?! "What happened to 'individual' interrogations? Is lying a part of the FBI job description, or is it just you?" The bitterness in my voice could fill an ocean. Whoops. That wasn't supposed to be said out loud. Everyone's eyes were on me.

Steve frowned deeply and looked at me. "Seeing as those both of you found the necklace, we want to talk to both of you together first, then separately. Now follow me." He turned and led Gigi and me outside, followed by Natasha. I could have sworn that as we left, she smirked at me, and my heart dropped to my feet, my breathe caught in my throat, my stomach turned into knots (The list goes on and on, I’ll spare you the details.) She knew. I could feel it. I had to get out of there. Leave. Change my name again. I could do it. I could leave again. I did it once, I could do it again. I took a step back, desperate to get away, to fly out that window again.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. You can get out of there. There are 36 ways to get out of this building. Just get to Route 25 and you’re home free. Just breathe.

Gigi caught my arm.

"Where are you going, Ryan? What's wrong?" She whispered, pulling me along with her. I cursed to myself. I was stuck. There was nowhere to run. God, did I really think I could just fly out of here? It was the middle of the day! They’d spot a flying teenager a mile away! You don't get very many of those hanging around.

I took a deep breath. If they saw me shaking, they would know. I had to just... Keep calm. Perfectly calm. "It's nothing. Just not very fond of policemen, that's all." I whispered back. She seemed to buy that.

We were lead to a large tent marked 'INTERROGATIONS.' It sat in the middle of the campsite, taking up most of the free space we had. Inside, there was a whole set up already happening. In the middle was a table, with a light hanging from the bars keeping the tent together, and a couple of chairs. On the far right side, they had a little station set up with snacks and drinks, and on the other were desks with a bunch of files, all relating to Jared Hall.

Steve motioned to us to sit down. Natasha took the chair across from us—no, across from me.  She took the chair where she could look me in the eyes. Where she could stare into my soul and took everything I had left. I couldn’t tell if I was hyperventilating or not breathing at all. I just had to look at something else— think about something else.

Don’t give her the satisfaction of seeing you squirm. Not again. Never again.


I turned to Mr. FBI, watching as he opened a notebook and took out a pen. He then preceded to set a recorder in the middle of the table. Why did he need both? It seemed rather excessive if you ask me. Still, for whatever, he felt the overwhelming desire to both document what we said by hand, and take a recording. "So, it is to my understanding that you both found the locket, is that correct?"

Gigi nodded and smiled. For whatever reason, she wasn't nervous at all around them. Probably because Hell Week before a play was scarier than anything either of them could dish out. "That's right! Ryan and I were talking over by some bushes when I spotted something shimmering in the bushes! I picked it up, wondering if maybe someone had dropped it, but when I opened it up, I saw a picture of little baby Jared Hall! So I knew that it had to be something important."

Steve scribbled at the notebook as Gigi babbled. He looked up at me. "Does her statement sound correct?" He asked. As if I was going to know better that she.

I shrugged. "She's the one that picked up the thing in the first place. You should listen to whatever she has to say." I was trying not to make eye contact with Birth-Giver, but she kept staring at me. Her eyes were sharp and painful, like they were cutting into my skin. She was trying to break me.

But I wasn't going to let her.

Breathe, Ryan. Just keep breathing. They have no reason to suspect you. Not yet.

"I see... How far up the trail would you say you were when these events took place?"

"About an hour up the trail," Gigi said seriously. At least she was around to take this seriously. Meanwhile, I was quietly dying. 

No big deal. 

"Seriously? Only one hour? It felt like three." I said.

"No, it was definitely only one hour." She held up her watch as a visual aid. "I was keeping track."

Steve sighed. "I'll say it was about an hour." He sounded exhausted— not that I blamed him. Honestly, I felt kind of bad that he had to deal with Natasha on a regular basis. I sure as hell couldn't handle it.

Natasha leaned forward. "Pardon me for interrupting, but I have to ask... Do either of you have any other information about my little boy? Anything at all?"

Gigi's face fell. "No, Ma'am. I'm sorry, but the only information I know about the case is from News channels and reports I've heard. Nothing that could help you."

She put on a sad smile— which I read as completely fake because she was just a load of bull shit, but for some reason, everyone else was completely convinced. "Don't worry about it, dear. I just had to know. What about you, young man?" She turned to me.

I flinched.

It had been ten years, but the fear was still there. The fear of being hurt. Of dying before I even had a chance to live. I was scared. Scared of her. Scared of her strength, her lies, her complete inability to understand human emotions, or have any amount of sympathy or remorse. I was terrified of her. I always had been, and I always will be.

I sat tall. I looked her right in the eyes. I didn't budge— couldn't budge. Any hint of weakness would count against me in the end. "I'm afraid I don't have any information either. Current Events isn’t my best subject, I’m afraid.”

She looked disappointed— disappointed in me. Hey, look at that. For once she had a genuine look on her face. What growth. "You know, it is a crime to lie in here."

If there was one thing I inherited from her, it was her intense ability to pass off a lie as truth. As much as I hated saying I inherited anything from her, the lying was something that could come in handy. I put on a look of innocence. "What in the world makes you think that I'm lying? I'm only a teenager, you know. I don't know much about this case regardless."

We stared into each other's eyes for a long time, and I knew how this was going to go down. It was going to be an uphill battle, both of us fighting for dominance over the other. If I won, I would get to stay in the happy, healthy life I had grown comfortable in. But if she won...

If she won, I was really going to die this time.

Steve looked over at Natasha. "I don't think he's lying, Mrs. Hall. There's no need to jump to any conclusions." His voice was hushed, but Gigi heard. She looked over at me, questions in her eyes. Questions I would never be able to answer. I looked over at her and shrugged. It was all I could offer.

Natasha sighed and put her hands in her lap. "You're right. I'm sorry. It's just... You look... So much like him."

My jaw clenched.


That was her plan. Get me in here with someone else— isolate me, but not completely—to get them to suspect me. Just one person was enough to completely shatter my entire existence, after all. My whole deal was that no one could know. I got lucky with Josh, I wasn’t going to get that lucky again. Not when she was here. Not when she could get me—lock me up again, and this time, make sure I couldn’t get out.


Gigi's eyes widened a little, and Steve frowned. "Do I? That's funny, he was only seven when he was lost. Can you guys really guess what he would look like ten years later?" I challenged, my heart pounding. I wasn't going to let her win.

Steve frowned at Natasha. "Mrs. Hall, I agreed to let you sit in on the interrogations, but please, do not make any accusations that cannot be backed up with hard evidence." I flashed her a little grin. One point for Jared. Take that, bitch.

I waved my hand. "It's alright. I'm sure that losing your kid is pretty hard. You want to hang on to every little strand of hope, even if it seems crazy." I emphasized the word crazy just a bit, hoping that maybe I could plant the belief in Steve's mind that Ryan was separate from Jared.

Steve nodded. "Why don't we move on? I have a few more questions for both of you about the situation, then you both may go." Gigi's eyes remained locked on me for a few moments before she turned her attention back to the questions being asked. I may have been able to move Steve off track, but Gigi had caught onto something. I didn't know what, but I had never been able to lie to her. She had this ability to see right through it, every time. That was why I never spoke about Jared Hall around her.

I knew she would figure me out.


The questions continued for quite some time. We were questioned together, then they sent me back and talked to Gigi, then had us switch. My interrogation was more along the lines of a silent battle between me and my mom— me trying to convince Steve that I didn't know anything, and her trying to convince him I knew more than I was letting on. At some point, I must have zoned out, because I can’t remember anything else about that room other than her eyes and the light that swung low and foreboding above the table. In the end, I had exhausted both of them, and I even think I convinced Natasha— even just a little bit— that I wasn't who she thought I was.

Two points for Jared, three for Ryan—I get an extra point for not killing her.

Gigi was waiting for me outside the tent. She looked up at me, flashing one of her brilliant smiles. "Hey... That was kind of intense, wasn't it? I want to cool off a little... Can you come with me? To the lake?"

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