The Freshman Ch. 28bycaligula97236©
Chapter 28 - A playbook for the opposing team
The following several weeks passed uneventfully for the residents of Huntington Hall. Cecilia continued telling Jason to push Ken and Lisa in their studies, and made herself available to various residents who were having problems with their midterms. Of course, there were the inevitable crises over panicked freshmen and failed tests, but the RA's tight grip over her residents ensured that the 2nd floor had the fewest academic problems of the entire dorm.
Lisa and Ken were forced to take a break from their sexual adventures for a week while they waited for their welts to heal. However, the party changed both their characters and how they treated each other. As a couple they had endured a very strange, but very powerful experience that drew them much closer together and intensified both their personalities.
Lisa now understood why Ruth Burnside had wanted her to undergo a switching herself before inflicting a punishment on Ken. The pain they both had endured became a shared experience that made them much more serious about their relationship and about life in general. It greatly strengthened their feelings toward each other and brought about a psychological commitment that neither felt prior to the beginning of March. The change was especially noticeable in Lisa, who was forced to respect Ken after he made it through a 25-stroke switching without any noise or crying.
Cecilia and Jason noticed Ken and Lisa spending much more time together during the weeks following the Mardi Gras party. The most obvious change was their workout schedule, because Ken dropped working out with Jason and Lisa dropped working out with Cecilia. Instead, they went to the gym together.
Both the RA and her boyfriend felt a bit put-off by being ditched, and the only solution was for Cecilia to start working out with Jason. The change in the workout routine led to another change in their relationship. Jason was determined to teach Cecilia how to swim. Now that he had her in the gym to himself, he told her that after working out, they would change into swimsuits and meet at the pool. When Cecilia hesitated Jason commented:
"Look, this means enough to me that I'm willing to buy a swimsuit and actually wear that stupid thing in the pool. I need your cooperation on this, because I don't want to see you drowning. I think that's reasonable, to not want you to drown."
Cecilia complied, reluctantly showing up at the university pool in a one-piece swimsuit. The first time she saw Jason in swimming trunks, she thought he looked a bit odd, given that she was so used to seeing him naked. However, she quickly set that thought aside as he handed her a swimming board and continued the lengthy process of teaching an adult how to swim.
The swimming lessons became an important part of the over-all change in the relationship between Cecilia and her boyfriend. She had to struggle with a deep-seated fear of taking her feet off the bottom of the pool, and at the same time make herself completely dependent on another person to avoid any mishaps in the water. As long as she did exactly what he told her, she was fine. If she deviated from what Jason was telling her to do, invariably she found herself struggling in the water and her boyfriend immediately grabbing her and guiding her back to the edge of the pool to catch her breath and calm down. The water taught her a hard lesson; that she was not to disobey him while they were in the pool.
Over time the helpless child-like feeling Cecilia suffered while in the water diminished, as she slowly learned how to stay afloat and not panic the moment her hands or feet weren't touching something solid. Then, right before Spring Break, Jason gave her a major test. She had to swim the entire width of the pool on the deep end, taking no breaks and not touching anything. He swam alongside her, but offered no assistance other than being there to help her if she panicked. She didn't panic. She made it all the way across and didn't panic! When they made it to the other side she hugged him, because she had just overcome one of her biggest fears. She still had a long way to go, but for the first time in her life, at age 20, Cecilia finally was swimming.
Spring Break came just a few days after Cecilia's successful first swim. For most students Spring Break meant fun and a break from classes. However, for Jason and Cecilia, Spring Break meant nothing more than being separated for a full week. For him it meant a bleak sojourn at his parents' house in Wisconsin. For her it meant a long week trying to get caught up in her studies and night after night of lonely sessions masturbating in her room.
When Jason got back to Wisconsin, the mood in his family's house was more sinister than ever. Cassie did not look good at all and was completely uncommunicative. Mrs. Schmidt didn't look good either, but Jason almost didn't see her at all during the entire week. She had quit overseeing the preparation of the family dinners and now spent all over her time at the country club, right up until it closed.
No one in the house was speaking to anyone else...at all.
The changes Jason noticed in his mother and sister were nothing in comparison with a subtle change Jason noticed in his father. The change was not something that was obvious on the surface; Mr. Schmidt was as overbearing and belligerent as always, but still, something was not right. There was something odd about his father's behavior, a weird vindictive look in his expression, as though he were concealing some evil secret. It almost seemed as though the secret was something Mr. Schmidt really wanted to brag about, but couldn't. It seemed as though...as though there was some crime or awful deed he was about to commit.
Jason was intimidated by the cruel satisfaction radiating from his father every time he talked to him. He presumed that Mr. Schmidt was about to strike at some business associate, which certainly would not be the first time. Mr. Schmidt already had ruined several people's lives and always felt deep satisfaction whenever he managed to incapacitate a rival or, better yet, take down someone stupid enough to trust him.
Jason knew something evil was coming.
On a pleasant Saturday afternoon, the first full day of his Spring Break, Jason stepped outside to contemplate how thoroughly his family was contaminated. The lives of Cassie and his mother were ruined. Even his father's life was ruined. Whatever was good in Mr. Schmidt's soul had long since drained out, leaving behind nothing but greed, not just for money, but also for the ability to control as many people as possible and ruin their lives. Greed and meanness, that was all that was left in the soul of Jason's father. Mr. Schmidt had become a sociopath, a cruel caricature of the American Dream that had turned into the American Nightmare.
Jason went back inside, his thoughts in turmoil over the psychological poisoning of his family. They had arrived all right, not to any state of happiness or security, but quite the opposite. He felt as though Hell had surfaced to engulf the oversized house and the four miserable people trapped inside. He yearned for a happier time, or at least for a time when he had the illusion of happiness, when the future seemed open to him and he could enjoy the other people in his life.
Jason's thoughts drifted to his junior year in high school and that wonderful summer that followed, a time before the events that ruined his senior year began to unfold. He thought about his high school memorabilia, wondering what he might still possess that he could take a look at. He went into the basement and dug through a couple of boxes he remembered packing the previous year before going to college. He found some certificates from his time as a track team member and his high school annuals. He opened the annual from his junior year, and several photos and cards fell out. A pain shot through his heart as he opened up the picture from his junior year, a prom portrait of himself and Amanda Galloway. There were various holiday and birthday cards from her, and several small studio portraits. He thumbed to the page of his annual she had written into, forcing himself to read her message. The words from his old high school partner were the words of someone who thought the relationship would be permanent, written about four months before Jason began pursuing Heather Jones.
Amanda...she was gone...completely gone from his life. There was no way he ever could face her again, nor any way he ever would want to. What a waste...but that was the reality he had created for himself. He had lost Amanda due to his own stupidity, and as a result had ended up with Cecilia. There was an irony in what had transpired over the past year. Amanda, as nice and affectionate as she had been, could not save Jason from his character flaws. Cecilia, not so nice, never tolerated the weaknesses that had destroyed his relationship with Amanda. Thus, it was Cecilia, not Amanda, who was destined to share her life with him.
As Jason consolidated the items he wanted to keep into a single box, he heard his father's voice through the air duct. Hmm...that was interesting...so the air duct in the basement seemed to carry sound directly from his father's home office. He was vaguely curious to know what his father was doing; spending all that time on the phone behind the room's locked door. He moved closer to the duct and listened...
"Look...I'm telling you we've got it covered here in DC. That shit-bag and his crew don't have any friends here at all, except for a couple of Liberals in Congress. Well...and the Foundation, but who cares about that fucking batch of welfare-state shitheads? We'll handle all the press releases and the news items...we'll just run it all through our friends and that's the story everyone will be hearing...Look, I'll send you the drafts and then you can see for yourself that we're ready to roll...No, I'm telling you we've got it taken care of...we're defending free markets, that'll be the party line. Who's going to argue with that, except for the Foundation's fag professors, and who gives a shit about them?"
There was a long pause, then another call.
"Alright Cutter, I think we're good to go on the press stuff. We've got our people ready on this end, once the shooting starts. Now, you're sure you know where their Prime Minister is going to be on the 23rd...you're totally sure? Damn...so you're taking out his kids as well? The kids, huh? Fuck...and I thought I was ruthless...OK, I'll write that in... What about Dukov...so he's still going to Athens? You're still good to go on the plane crash? OK...good. Good. Let me secure fax you what we have so far, and then you tell me if we're not ready....OK...OK...Great! The 23rd baby, the 23rd...I just wish I could be there pumpin' rounds myself. Yeah...we'll show them. By the way, how many people do you think you got storming their capitol? Sounds good...Danube City...OK...OK, Cutter, that's great!"
Jason stood in the basement in a stupor. What the fuck...was there going to be some sort of attack on Upper Danubia? All his father's talk of "everything being ready" and "the plane crash" and "people storming the capitol" and "Danube City..."
Jason's father picked up the phone again and began talking in German. Unfortunately Jason did not understand German, but the tone of his father's conversation was similar to the two English conversations. He thought he could make out several place names related to Upper Danubia or its southern neighbor. Yes, most definitely Mr. Schmidt was up to no good.
Jason was faced with a dilemma. If his father's associates were planning something evil, wasn't it his duty to try to stop it? But then, wouldn't that entail betraying his father?
Fortunately Jason did not pause long to ponder the moral dilemma he was facing. He could worry about that later. What he needed was to find out exactly what was going on. He sneaked upstairs and passed near his father's workroom, but couldn't hear anything through the door. He would have to return to the basement and put his ear near the air vent. Then, he had an idea. He didn't understand German, but his grandmother did. Would it be possible to get a tape recorder and record what his father said, then have his grandmother translate it? He had an old casette tape recorder in his room that was pretty sensitive, so perhaps the idea of recording his father's conversations would work.
Jason grabbed the tape recorder, checked to make sure the batteries were still working, and carried the device back to the basement. He followed the air vent to find the spot where his father's voice was the loudest and keyed the machine to start recording. For the next half-hour Mr. Schmidt chatted confidently in German, blissfully assuming no one could hear him. Even if they did, no one in his family would understand what he was saying. He hung up and there was a very long silence. Then he picked up the phone yet again, and started talking in English about his work as a lobbyist and discussed several payments being made to various re-election campaigns for congressmen. There was another long pause, and some more talk about Upper Danubia. Then Jason heard the following:
"You know, my idiot son's little crack-whore girlfriend actually likes that fucking commie bastard. You should've heard her last Thanksgiving...it was kind of funny to listen to her, when you think about it..."
Imitating Cecilia's voice he continued: "'Isn't that up to the Danubians? It's their country. Don't they get to choose who's gonna lead 'em? Isn't that what democracy's supposed to be all about?' Well, at any rate, it's gonna be a hoot looking at that little cunt's expression when you guys have things wrapped up. I'm gonna have to get my moron son to bring her back just so I can see that little bitch's face."
With that comment Mr. Schmidt resolved Jason's moral dilemma. He was sick of being referred to as an idiot and a moron, and he certainly did not appreciate his girlfriend being called a "crack-whore" and a "little cunt". He no longer owed any loyalty to his father. Whatever it was that his father's associates were planning, he would try to stop it.
Jason went into his own room, put the tape recorder under his blanket, and turned it on. Sure enough, it had recorded his father's voice. The recording was barely audible, but if turned up to maximum volume it was possible to make out what he was saying. Jason wrote the date and time on the tape's label and put it in a tape box. He then made sure he had several more cassettes and extra batteries. Whenever his father was on the phone, he would be in the basement trying to record what he was saying. He would be patient, gather as much information as possible, share it with his grandmother, and then figure out what to do.
Jason spent the next three days watching his father. Whenever he went into his office, Jason was at his post in the basement with the tape recorder. When his father was not at home, he spent time on the Internet and with an atlas trying to learn as much as he could about Upper Danubia and its neighbors. His father was mentioning a bunch of place names that seemed important. Very quickly Jason educated himself about the politics and geography of various countries, to be able to recognize names and places that came up in his father's phone conversations.
By Tuesday morning Jason had six cassette tapes full of his father's ramblings in both English and German. During the entire time he was making the recordings he kept his eye on the office door, wondering if there was any way he could get in. The door was always locked, whether Mr. Schmidt was in the room or not. However, the very fact that it was locked hinted that items were in there that might solve the mystery of what exactly was going to happen in Eastern Europe on the 23rd. Jason absolutely had to get in and see if there were any papers to supplement what he had recorded. Then, he had an extraordinary piece of good luck.
The house was totally empty except for Rita, one of the Schmidt's two maids. Jason slept in, after having been up most of the night in the basement with his tape recorder. When he woke up, he wanted to see if his mother was still at home to ask her something. He went into the Master bedroom and saw Rita standing at the dresser, next to one of his mother's jewelry boxes. The box was usually locked, but she must have picked it open. He quietly moved up behind her, curious to see what exactly she was doing. The maid was looking over several items, apparently trying to see if she could take something that would not be missed.
Rita squealed in terror when she realized her boss's son was standing right behind her.
"Mr. Jason...I just clean...I no..."
A large batch of keys tumbled to the floor; the keys Mr. Schmidt had given her to be able to access the rooms to the house. The keys, and the maid's terrified expression, gave Jason an idea.
"Rita, about those keys. Do you have a key to my father's office?"
"Do you have a key to that office? Can you get in there?"
"Yeah...I got key, but your father, he say me, you no open door."
"You let me in there, and we're even."
"I open door? But your father, he say no."
"You let me in there, and I won't say anything about the jewelry box. If you don't let me in, I will."
With a very nervous expression Rita unlocked the door.
"You no say...?"
"I won't say anything about the jewelry box. And you won't say anything about me being in this room. Get it? You won't tell anyone I was in this room."
"Yes, Mr. Jason. I no say nothin'. Thank you."
Jason set about exploring the room. He was careful to remember how everything was arranged; concerned that when he left the room would look exactly as it had when he entered. He calculated he had about four hours before his mother or sister might return. His father would not be back until much later, so Jason had plenty of time to go through the office and see what was going on.
The first thing he noticed was a box of passports. The passports were not Danubian, but instead from its southern neighbor. Each passport had multiple stamps and visas, including Danubian visas that Jason suspected were forged. He went into Cassie's room, grabbed her digital camera, and began taking close-up pictures the front page of each passport. There were folders of documents in various foreign languages, including Danubian. Jason did not have clue which ones were important, so he spent an hour scanning them in Cassie's computer and then saved the images to a temporary folder in her hard drive. When he returned to his father's office, the next thing he noticed was a box of floppy diskettes sitting near the folders. He took the diskettes into Cassie's room, and, without opening any files, simply copied the contents of each diskette into a new directory created for that purpose. He transferred the passport photos as well, burned everything to a CD, and then returned to the office with the camera.
Jason found maps of several cities, full of handwritten notes, times, and other markings. Jason scanned the maps and burned a second CD. Then, he found what he was looking for, printed drafts of several press releases concerning a coup in Upper Danubia's southern neighbor, covered with his father's handwritten notes. The press releases were dated April 23. There were some drafts of official correspondence, apparently intended for various diplomats and US congressmen, explaining the setting up of a provisional government and justifying the shooting of several officials and their families. There were other documents, including drafts of future contracts between Mega-Town Associates and several Eastern European officials. Jason recognized some of the names, but none of them were people currently in power.