"Welcome to Alcatraz, everyone. Im Warden Sherko."
When he entered the room, the Warden welcomed everyone like a host would their guests.
Unlike the cold, arrogant Deputy Wardens welcome, the Warden was smiling a lot. However, his smile did not look sincere. It felt like just a show that he had to put on.
His tone became more official as he started telling them more.
"Alcatraz is not big, and I am responsible for a lot of things around there, so I could not receive you when you first arrived. I am really sorry about that."
"Especially after this recent incident. My anxiousness really got the best of me."
Warden Sherko opened his speech with an apology before he started to explain why he had hired Kieran and his team and invited them to the island.
"Everything started a month ago. I believe Gilfren Hatch is a familiar name to all of you. He was the leader of the infamous Hatch Heresy, a sadistic psychopath with a personality disorder, who caused the suicide of over a hundred people."
"When he was captured, he was transferred to Alcatraz."
"The prisoners of Alcatraz are basically criminals that no other prison can keep locked. We are talking about vicious, satanic criminals, or criminals who possess a unique set of skills. Alcatraz is the only place that can hold those prisoners in."
The Wardens face expressed a sense of pride as he talked about his institution. That feeling looked a lot more sincere than the smile he had given them earlier.
The Warden continued, "That was also true for Gilfren Hatch. He was transferred here about a year ago, and was held in an isolation cell. His abilities to seduce people with his poisonous mind were rendered completely useless."
"As a result, he fell into despair and eventually took his own life... Or at least, that's what we thought."
Warden Sherko paused a little.
"What happened then?" Kieran asked, representing the team after his deal with Lawless.
"Suicides. Mass suicides. One after the other, prisoners took their own lives. Although there had previously been cases of prisoners who could not go on anymore and had chosen this path, it was not as frequent after Gilfren Hatch died. Within one month, six other prisoners died in their own cells!"
"That, in combination with the local Alcatraz legend, caused some bad rumours to start circulating around the prison."
"That was the reason I hired you."
The Warden raised his head and looked at everyone in the room, eventually fixing his eyes on Kieran.
"Mr. 2567 here has proven his abilities to be useful, and I hope that everyone else in this room possesses the same abilities that he does. Jack here will be your guide and liaison for the next week."
The Warden stood up, preparing to leave the room.
"Sir Warden, can we visit the cells of the prisoners who committed suicide? And the prisoners files, well need to see those as well," Kieran said.
The Warden nodded. "Of course. Ill give most of my authority to Jack here. If there's something that Jack cannot do for you, you can contact me through him."
"Thank you very much. Well solve this as soon as possible," Kieran answered.
His answer seemed to satisfy the Warden. There was a smile on his face again as he left the room swiftly.
When his footsteps could no longer be heard, Lawless started to mimic his manner of speech and mock his words.
"What did he mean by 'I hope that everyone else in this room possesses the same abilities that 2567 does'? This guy is brushing us off! He wants to drive a wedge between us! Did he just hire us to cover everything up and put on a show for people?" Lawless said as he munched on his cigar, taking a deep puff and blowing out a giant ring of smoke.
He looked at Kieran, who had been in deep thought ever since the Warden had left.
"2567, what do you think?" Lawless asked.
"Gilfren Hatch, the leader of the Hatch Heresy. Even if the Warden is really brushing us off and using us as a cover-up, the things he said would still have to be true. Prisoners really did die one after the other after Gilfren Hatchs suicide. If that was a month ago, the clues left behind must have already faded away. Still, if we were to start investigating, that would have to be our starting point!" Kieran said.
"Ill stay back and protect our employer." Lawless nodded, agreeing with Kierans statement and setting his own mission.
"Ill stay back too and get some rest," Zywane, who had been pretending to be asleep on the bed, said as well.
"Good luck," Starbeck wished Kieran in a friendly tone.
Kieran nodded before he turned around and left the room.
Three of his team members had a completely different attitude than him, but no one could blame them.
Lawlesss duty was to protect Starbeck.
Although Kieran did not know how much Broker had paid Lawless for his services, he was sure that his salary had definitely been higher than his. At the very least, it would have been reflective of his seven cleared dungeons.
If that was not the case, then Lawless, who had previously advised him "to fully explore all the Sub Missions in every dungeon", would not have been sitting around casually doing nothing.
Starbeck wanted to be protected. His only goal was to clear the dungeon safely. Therefore, staying at one place seemed like the best choice for him.
No.1 and No.2 would just follow their employer's orders.
Zywane was not planning on resting there for long. He was just waiting for Kieran to go off so he could head off to a different site to perform his own investigation.
Kieran knew it in his gut, but he could not care less.
It was his right to fully explore all the Sub Missions in the dungeon. Kieran was not so dominating as to claim all the Sub Missions for himself.
After he left the room, Kieran headed towards the Security Monitor Center. Jack, who had been sitting at his post, stood up.
"Is there anything I can help you with, Mr. 2567?"
It seemed that after the Wardens personal orders, Jack had become a lot more polite to Kieran and had become familiar with his odd code name.
"I need to go over to the heresy leaders cell to investigate. If its possible, I would like to go there through the third floor," Kieran voiced his strange request.
"The third floor? Yes, of course!" Jack seemed a little startled by the request, but he acknowledged it without protesting. Then he asked, "What's so special about that place?"
"The buildings first and second floor are divided by a concrete wall, but only the third floor has a passageway," Kieran answered his question without getting straight to the point.
"It was for the Wardens convenience, so he could inspect the prisoners easier. The Warden likes to enter the cell area as he comes out of his office. Of course, anyone else can use that passageway as well, as long as he is not a prisoner!" Jack explained, adding a joke at the end.
The two of them went up the stairs.
"Does that mean that the passageway was purposely left behind?" Kieran asked, squinting his eyes.
"The passageway was carved two years after the Warden got promoted. Truth be told, it has been really convenient for us all. Some of us have even made a habit out of this. We access the cell area through the passage rather than outside, from the west side of the building," Jack said.
The Warden had ordered the passage to be carved out? Just for convenience's sake? Question marks started popping in Kierans mind, but he did not press the matter any further.
He raised his head and looked ahead as the third floor stairway appeared before him
He had his reasons for choosing to go that way rather than trying a new experience.