~*~ The events of this story will incorporate external added elements from the author's imagination into the already rich and exhilarating canon narrative of the HBO original series, Oz. For the most part, the canon of the series will remain intact to preserve a sense of realism to the plot, while also being sensitive of the time flow of events occurring within Oz.

~*~ Although the characters to be featured are prominently factual in their given genre, they are the sole property of Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, and are copyrighted to Rysher Entertainment and HBO. All original characters are of the author's creation and belong to him alone and, as with the rest of the story, may not be replicated or redistributed in any way without formal consent from said author.

~*~ Underage reading or any other illegalities is neither encouraged nor condoned in any way by the author. He also will not tolerate any form of plagiarism towards any of the words to come, as they are his and his alone. The principal objective is that of enjoyment and entertainment to you, the reader.

~*~ Address any type of question and/or feedback to jc71883@hotmail.com, making sure to add a relation to the story on the subject line of the e-mail to guarantee its reception.



Miguel Alvarez waited patiently for communication outside of Solitary but was disappointed each day when nothing came with his lunch. He knew it was too good to be true, but he wanted someone to talk to so badly that he depended on the vÝbora. His bite was far worse than his bark and Alvarez was never one to play with snakes nor had he known how to control them. He waited each day but O'Reily had not been back to deliver food since the last time. Maybe he had gotten into trouble and was in the hole or the cage.

Since Jenkins's death, the hacks kept the little windows on the doors open more frequently to keep a better eye on the inmates. The room was still confining to him but he had not lied to Father Mukada when he had told him that his mood was stable. Alvarez had not had any flare-ups since shortly returning to Solitary for killing Vasquez and he wanted to keep it that way. He was still a little loco, but he did not wanted to injure himself since being on the medication Dr. Nathan had prescribed him.

It was a mistake to place as much emphasis on the vÝbora as he did---an especially dangerous mistake. Ryan O'Reily was notoriously known for putting himself first above anything else. He cared about himself and took care of Cyril---but it was because of him that his brother was in Oz in the first place. The Irishman was selfish and devious. Every word he said had been carefully thought out beforehand. In the past, Alvarez had mainly avoided contact with him if he was able to because starting a war with him was not a wise decision---especially when El Norte had been willing to betray him at any given second.

"Fucking O'Reily," he said to no one but himself.

He had not bothered to go to the open window because the bastards out there were pissing him off. Robson and Hughes slung insults at each other almost every second and it was like his own hell. The racist Nazi had a black playmate to tangle with, so he was happy to get to pass the time by acting like an asshole. Hughes was mainly off his rocker since his attempted assassination of Governor Devlin and had no problem throwing gas into Robson's fire. They were both made for each other in the Latino's opinion.

Alvarez decided to pass some time by masturbating. It was not exactly the best environment to get into the mood in, with Robson and Hughes constantly shouting at each other, but he was itching for some release. The pills Dr. Nathan gave him had messed with his sex drive a few times before but he was not going to tell her that. It would have made him appear weak and less of a man. His drive would be gone for days but then come back in full force. When he felt his balls churn against the fabric of his boxers, he knew it was back.

When he walked over to the shower with his back facing the window and pulled down his pants, he was already achingly hard and his head was so sensitive to touch. He pulled foreskin back and scraped his finger against the head of his dick. It sent ripples of pleasure throughout his body and he thought about having sex with Maritza. He thought about holding her and touching her intimately and her soft hands roaming around every inch of his exposed flesh. He needed this release.

"Robson, you are one ugly motherfucker!" Hughes maniacally laughed out.

"I don't see you modeling in Milan, you black bitch," Robson said as he flipped him the finger through the opening in the door.

"Hey, shut the fuck up! I'm trying to masturbate!" Alvarez yelled because they were killing his mood.

"Fuck you, Alvarez," Hughes said and went about his rant.

"Quiet!" Officer Smith yelled. "The warden is on deck."

"Yo, yo, Glynn! I need an appointment," a few of the inmates screamed out to the warden.

"Hey, Glynn, you get me excited," Alvarez looked back and smiled when he knew Glynn was looking into his cell. "Why don't you hold my dick?"

The warden ignored him and went over to Hughes's cell. It was quiet enough for him to concentrate on Maritza's hands and her lips and her tongue. She used to use the tip of it to touch his chin and run along the bone of his jaw. Then she came back and went down the other side. Alvarez loved the intimacy as he closed his eyes and stroked his dick---it was begging him for release. He had to use some of his precum as lube because his hands were dry.

Alvarez grunted as he pleasured himself thinking about being that close to someone again. Oz had robbed them of their manhood---they might as well have chopped all their dicks off during processing. He was so horny and lonely and just wanted someone to touch him again. He had sex with a few women when he had escaped and he missed them now more than ever. He missed the closeness that two people were able to feel.

"Uhh---yeah! Fuck!" the Latino muttered under his breath.

His stroking sped up to create a necessary heat between his hand and his dick and it felt as if he was a boy scout trying to start a fire out in the woods without any matches. He bucked his hips back and forth and let out an otherworldly groan as cum erupted from his hypersensitive dick and landed on the shower floor in front of him. Alvarez kept pumping because he was still horny but the satisfaction was too great so he stopped and rested both his hands against the wall to keep himself from falling. It was an intense orgasm and was mainly because he had not pleasured himself in over a week. Solitary was gobbling up his manhood.


He had called out to Cyril again to get up and get ready for count and breakfast but he was only talking to himself---again. O'Reily cursed when he realized he was the only one in his pod. He wondered how Cyril was and also how Gloria Nathan was going to answer him. He had tried his best to stay away from the infirmary to give her time to think about his proposition. It was a life-changing decision after all and he did not want to pressure her.

Breakfast went by and the inmates returned to Em City shortly after. He headed immediately to the computer room from his pod when he saw it was unoccupied. O'Reily carefully slid out the piece of paper the loco Latino had written to him and quickly started to look up the words before anyone was able to walk in and notice what he was doing. The Irishman did not know why finding out what the words meant was so important to him, but he found himself thinking about them more as the days passed. He had been lonely since Cyril was taken into protective custody.

He was pissed at Alvarez for making him work this hard to figure out words but he was also intrigued by the concept of them passing notes to one another. O'Reily scribbled down the words in English and bolted back to his pod to read them and write back the appropriate response. He was on delivery duty since Cyril had been taken away. O'Reily had not had the time or the computer room to himself to figure out what the hell the loco Latino was saying. All he had known from reading the note the first time was that Alvarez had called him vÝbora again. Viper.

"Hope, huh?" he laughed.

Lunchtime was soon so he had to make a note quickly before he got going. Pancamo and the rest of the Italians were already heading out of Em City so time was limited. He sat on Cyril's bunk and thought about what to write. He figured it best not to use names, as Alvarez most likely had as well, so that nothing could be traced were any of the notes ever found. He kept them in a safe place though. O'Reily just wrote something quickly and placed it into his pocket before heading out.

In English, man. That way I don't have to translate shit and I can get back to you faster. Think, loco.

The Irishman rushed to the cafeteria and immediately started loading the trays that were finished into the cart to get ready to go. He opened one of the trays and looked at its contents, like he was examining it. And, he realized he was. O'Reily was looking for any hairs or other objects that did not belong on the food tray. When no one was looking, he snuck in a few extra pieces of chicken nuggets and vegetables on the tray, along with the piece of paper, before sealing it back. The tray went of the very bottom of the cart for Alvarez.

The boys in Solitary were acting out---O'Reily suspected it was mainly that babbling idiot, Hughes, so their windows were closed and Officer Smith was adamant in not taking his charm today. He was not going to be able to see or talk to Alvarez today so he slid in the tray carefully as he could and went on with the rest of his deliveries. The place was fucking depressing and a small part of him wondered how the Latino was surviving in there. Fuck, loco.

He had not expected a reply so soon from Alvarez but, when he was in the kitchen emptying the leftover contents of trays in the garbage, that familiar white strip flagged him. O'Reily scooped up and put it away for later as he emptied the rest of the trays and carried them to wash. He missed having Cyril there to talk to and mess around with as they did their duties in the kitchen together. He missed watching his brother play with the soap bubbles like he was taking a bubble bath. O'Reily heaved a big bag of trash and went over to the dumpster to throw it in.

"What the fuck?" he asked when he saw a bloody hand in the dumpster. "Oh-ho! Shit! Hey, Officer Robinson, you---you might want to come check this out."

The officer came over and saw the situation and got on his radio, "Central, this is sixteen. We got a forty-four in the cafeteria. Lockdown! Lockdown!"

O'Reily looked over to Supreme Allah as they were being shuffled back to Em City and said, "Tug Daniels is dead."

They were all locked in their pods as the body was recovered from the dumpster and identified. The look on Supreme Allah's face when he had told him whose body was in the dumpster made O'Reily smile. The man was worried about his life---so worried that he probably did not have time to think of the murders he and Keller had pinned on him. That was a good sign that the Irishman's troubles with Allah were about to be over soon. He took out the new note from his pocket and unfolded it.

That fuck is really driving me loco---he never shuts up! Thanks for the extra food. That's not cool about your brother, vÝbora.

It was as he suspected. Hughes was the one acting out. And Alvarez had found out about Cyril being put in protective custody. For a man in Solitary with a very limited supply of information, he surely kept up with events happening outside. O'Reily had to smile at the last part of the note. It made him feel---different. He brushed it off and was about to write something back when the buzzer rang and the lockdown was lifted. He headed over to the guard tower and Officer Murphy.

"Hey, Officer Murphy. I don't feel so hot," he was whispering and stroking his throat.

"What's the matter now?" Murphy did not hide his skepticism.

"Throat's sore."

"Geez, you know, you been getting sick a lot lately."

"Yeah, it's been the weather. It's killing me."

"Uh-huh. Well, got news for you. Dr. Nathan's not in today," the officer told him.


"How do you feel now?"

O'Reily put his hand down and stopped whispering, "I want to go see my brother in protective custody."

"What a shock."

He followed the officer away to go see his brother. Dr. Nathan was not in and he wondered why---wondered what happened to her. O'Reily almost wanted to ask Murphy but he kept his cards up. The reason would reach him eventually. This prison was a thriving grapevine with a wealth of information for those who knew where to look, and he did. They entered another part of the prison and Murphy left him.

"Ryan!" Cyril called out.

"Hey, Cyril, how you doing there, bro? You okay?"

"When---can I leave here? When can I come back to Emerald City?"

"I don't know. Dr. Nathan promised that she'd help us out, but she's gone. So as soon as she comes back, we're going to work on getting you out of here. God, this place sucks. I know you're lonely."

"It's not so lonely now that Henry's here," he gestured to the cell across his own.

"Hi-ya. My name's Stanton---Henry Stanton. You're Ryan, right? Cyril's told me all about you," the man from across the cell greeted.

O'Reily turned back to Cyril and said, "What'd you say?"

"Oh, nothing incriminating," Stanton answered.

"Well that's good, you know, because I figure, guys in protective custody then, well---he must've, what? Ratted on his friends?"

"Nah. No. Some Aryan threatened to separate me from my genitals so the warden thought a timeout might ease the tension."

"Don't be telling nobody our business, okay?" O'Reily seriously told his brother.

"I don't. But Henry's nice."

"I like your brother," Stanton said.

"Hey! Henry, do you mind? I'm trying to have a private conversation over here," the Irishman snapped at him.

"Hey! Knock yourself out."

O'Reily ignored him and focused his attention back on Cyril. He kept the name in his mind though---for later. His brother seemed to be doing well in protective custody. He was coloring and generally seemed okay. He spoke about the things he and Stanton talked about---it was all rather harmless, but O'Reily knew better than to let his guard down in Oz. He told Cyril again not to discuss their business with anyone before the officer came to take him off to dinner duty.

He was late and Pancamo gave him that stare again so he quickly got straight to work. Most of the inmates were already eating and he went back into the food cage to get the list of things they needed for the next delivery. They were running low on supplies but one truck was scheduled to come in tomorrow. O'Reily checked through the list as he walked around the large pantry and was writing stuff down.

An idea jumped into his mind and he looked around to see if he was alone. Behind several giant cans of cranberry sauce---no one ever ate the stuff, was a wealth of contraband food items that had been snuck into Oz. There were things ranging from Gatorade bottles to Twix bars---the Italians sold it to whoever could afford it. O'Reily reached his hand far behind, knowing exactly what he was looking for. He had just slipped the item into his pocket and securely replaced the cans of cranberry sauce when he felt a hand rub against the back of his thigh, under his ass.

"Oh, Jesus. What do you want?"

"Just because we're not fucking anymore doesn't mean we can't still be friends," Howell wanted a response from him.

"Yeah, right," he was uninterested.

"I hear they're shipping your brother off to the loony bin."

"Yeah, because of you accusing him of attacking you without provocation," O'Reily said and he was getting angry.

"I was being neighborly. He hit me with a tray," the ugly hack almost wanted to laugh at him.

"Neighborly? Right."

"Here's the deal. I'll tell the warden not to send Cyril away if you tell Cyril he should let me fuck him."

"What?" O'Reily wanted to strangle her right there.

"I want to fuck your brother."

"Uh-uh. No chance. I don't want you going anywhere near my brother," he aggressively warned the dyke.

"Okay, but if I don't get anywhere near him, you won't get anywhere hear him, either," Howell taunted him.

"You know what, Howell? You're one sick fucking bitch."

Her words stuck to him as he paced his pod late at night. If Cyril went to Conley, they would never see each other again. Dr. Nathan taking the day off had him worried as well. He was unsure of the time but he knew it was late into the night, or possibly early into the morning. O'Reily went to the door and looked out at the quad as he thought of a way to take Howell out of commission---at least until the issues with Cyril blew over. A smile adorned his face when something came to him.

Still, after forming a plan to deal with his situation with the ugly hack, he was not able to fall asleep. Then he thought of Alvarez and remembered he had to write him back. He dropped down and looked for his pants in the dark. Its pocket revealed the note and he retrieved it before he grabbed a notebook and headed back up to his bunk. O'Reily opened it and read as he thought of possible responses. He was going to do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return. It was unlike him---and especially so in this hellhole.

How'd you hear about him? Saw him today---he looked good. I fucking hate his place! You like grape, loco?

The Irishman quickly placed trays onto the cart because he was anxious to start his rounds. Pancamo was all over him so he just wanted to load up all the trays and get out of there. And, he wanted his plans for Howell to take flight. She was never going to get her hands on his brother. He was going to kill her before that ever happened. O'Reily finished loading the last of the trays and headed off to Unit J first. The first step had to be made to control the cunt of a hack.

"Deputy Dog, arroooww!" he announced himself by howling like a wolf.

"O'Reily, it's about time, I'm famished," Yood said.

"Things are pretty quiet in Unit J these days, huh?"

"Well with Basil dead, Hughes in Solitary, it's just me and her Highness," he motioned to the ugly hack, who was on the phone in the office.

"You don't like Howell?" O'Reily asked, as seeds began to be sewn.

"It's like being shackled to the bride of Frankenstein," he laughed.

"Hey, Alvin, old pal. How'd you like some extra vittles? I'm talking chocolate bars, Newman's Own popcorn for that microwave of yours."


"All you have to do is just, you know, make sure that Howell has a little accident."

Yood looked at him and firmly said, "I'm no killer."

"No, no, no," the Irishman stopped him. "I' not saying kill. I'm talking maybe a busted leg, arm---just something to take her out of commission for a week or two."

Howell entered and barked, "You about done, O'Reily?"

"Oh yeah, I'm done."

He shot Yood a passing smile as he rolled the cart out of Unit J and towards Solitary. Getting Howell out of the way for a few weeks was easily worth some candy bars and bags of popcorn. The glint in Yood's eyes said that he was contemplating the offer, but O'Reily had already read him---he was going to do it. How the former cop was going to accomplish it he was unsure of but he did not care. He was going to be rid of her for the time being.

O'Reily rushed over to Solitary and stopped down the hallway before the entrance just as he had done before. He slid out a tray and opened it to place his note neatly inside for Alvarez. He looked back to make sure he was alone before he reached into the front pant pocket of his kitchen whites to retrieve the grape blow pop he had stolen from the Italian stash. He remembered many times in the past where he had seen a lollipop wrapped around the Latino's lips. He sometimes sucked on it as if he was kissing it---or making love to it. O'Reily replaced the tray and pushed forward.

The Irishman sat in his pod after lunchtime and thought about Alvarez. Their note passing had become a great amusement to him and he found himself more and more looking forward to what the loco Latino had to say with each new note. He had given him the blow pop because he had wanted to, not because he had wanted something in return or it had been some kind of master plan. It was a genuine act of kindness without any strings attached---and that was rare in Oz. It was even rarer that it came from someone like Ryan O'Reily. He laughed at the thought of Alvarez sucking the pop in Solitary when someone approached his pod. The thoughts quickly hid themselves away and it was back to business as usual.

"Howell broke her pelvis," Liam Meaney, a fellow Irish, informed him.

"Oh, sweet," he was not able to contain his excitement.

"And she'll be laid up for a while."

"Oh, I'm just crying invisible tears."

"Heh heh."

"How's your new cellmate?" O'Reily asked.

"Oh. Connolly's an ass. Says I'm not true Irish."

"He tried to pull that same line of shit with me. Don't worry, he'll come around. Hey, Liam, check on a guy named Henry Stanton. He's down in protective custody with Cyril."

"No problem."

The grunt was gone. He liked Meaney, but the kid was young and inexperienced so he had to learn to ropes. He looked up to O'Reily and did whatever he asked without much convincing so he was the perfect foot soldier. The problem was that the Irishman did not want a grunt. He wanted a powerful ally that was going to bring as much to the table as he did. But, he had to resign himself to dealing with Meaney and find a way to get through to Connolly. Pancamo opened the door to his pod a few minutes later.

"The truck just came in. Inventory time, spud," the muscular Italian said.

"Fuck you, dago."

O'Reily walked around the food cage and browsed the list he had attached to a clipboard, checking off the new inventory. Pancamo was busy setting up the kitchen for later so he mainly left him alone. He worked his way through all the newly brought food supplies and went back to the same large cans of cranberry sauce and to the hole in the wall that was concealed behind them. O'Reily picked up a red one and stored it away before he heard sounds coming from the side room and went to see what was going on.

"Hey! What the fuck is going on here?" he yelled as he saw Timmy Kirk and Jim Burns drag Padraig Connolly into the room and started to beat him.

"Keep away, O'Reily, this is none of your concern," Kirk said.

"I see two pussy Bible-belters wailing on a fellow Catholic. Yeah, that's my concern."

"Come on, motherfucker," Burns approached him.

"I'm not going to swing on you, Burns. Not yet. I have God on my side," O'Reily said because he saw Cloutier enter and looking upset once he noticed them.

"Kirk, you meet me in the library. Burns, I'll talk to you later," Cloutier said and then looked at Connolly. "My apologies, sir."

O'Reily walked over to help him up after the other three men left. He was a little bruised and banged up, but it was nothing too serious. Connolly thanked him and O'Reily told him to wait for him in the upper tier of Em City. He nodded and left as the Irishman quickly went back to the food cage to finish his work. This could not have worked out better if he had planned it himself.

Connolly and Meany were in front of their pod when he entered Em City. He hopped up the stairs and grabbed a table for the three of them so that he could learn more about the man. The terrorist spoke about how he was going to get out of here as well as his past experiences with violence. It was progress geared towards O'Reily's greater good.

"In 1972, fourteen Catholics were slaughtered," he said.

"What did they do?" Meaney asked.

"They committed the hideous crime of walking down a road. My mother ran out onto the street and grabbed the neighbor's son out of the stampede. The entire time, a British soldier was holding an L-1 A-1 to her head. He yelled on at her to get back. She didn't and he fired," Connolly said.

"Oh, shit," O'Reily said as he listened.

"We all call that day Bloody Sunday," he said as the buzzer sounded around them.

"Oh, it's visiting time. I got to go," the Irishman said to the two of them.

"Who's coming?" Meaney asked.

"My mom."

"You treat your mother right, Ryan?" Connolly asked as he looked at him.

"We've been separated since I was a baby---we only just found each other but, yeah. I treat her right."

He sat in the visitor's room and listened to his mother talk about life with his asshole of a father. He had not worked up the courage to ask the questions the really wanted to, but it would get there eventually. Suzanne Fitzgerald smiled at him as if she knew what was on his mind. Her smile was so warm and motherly.

"I know you wonder why I left. And each time I've come to visit you I've wanted to tell you the whole story but---" she said but stopped.

"Hey, tell me now."

"The sixties were a mixed up time. We were living in a cold-water flat near the University and while I did what wives did in those days, outside the streets were on fire with protest."

"The Vietnam war," he said.

"Yeah. I would carry you out into the crowd and listen to the speeches and then one day something just clicked and I had to join. I had to leave."

"Yeah, but---but why didn't---why didn't you take me with you?" O'Reily asked the question he had wanted to since they met.

"Well, because my friends fought for peace. We armed ourselves. We were militant."

"And someone got killed?"

"Yeah," his mother replied sadly. "And I ran. And I kept running."


"And so, now, after thirty-five years I've decided to stop the marathon. I'm going to turn myself in," she told her son.

"But what will happen?" O'Reily grew concerned and asked.

"I don't know what'll happen to me and I don't know if I'll go to prison, but I wanted to see you again and spend a few hours with you and get to know you a little before whatever happens does happen," she rested her hand on his and said.

"No. No, no. No, I can't lose you now. Not after all these years. Fuck that. Don't give yourself up."

"I have to, Ryan. I'm no good to you unless I'm true to who I am."

"Fuck," O'Reily said and was hesitant. "Look, I wasn't going to tell you this, at least, not yet. What if I told you I can fix it so we can be together?"

"What do you mean?" Suzanne Fitzgerald's eyes grew with curiosity.

"A friend of mine is going to help me and Cyril escape."

"No Ryan. Don't do that."

"Why the fuck not?"

"Because you'll have to spend the rest of your life doing what I've done---lying and hiding and living in fear and denying who you are and that's a life without meaning and a life without meaning is no life at all," she held his hand and told him as the buzzer sounded.

"Visit's over, O'Reily," the guard told him.

"Mom," O'Reily said as he hugged her tightly.

"You called me `mom'," she happily said. "I love you, Ryan. I always have and I always will."

"Bye," he let go of her hand.



He watched her disappear from the room and cursed again. She did not want him escaping but he had limited options left. He had to protect Cyril. Constantly running was not going to be such a bad thing---and he knew he would never get the urge to turn himself in like she did. It was all contingent on Dr. Nathan helping them. The stakes were so high and O'Reily could not afford to lose.

Later in the afternoon, he convinced Murphy to let him go see Dr. Nathan. He had given her a few days to think about what he said and he wanted an answer now. Most of the patients in the ward were calm and silent and the nurse had gone to the lounge to get coffee so O'Reily walked into her office and closed the door behind him.

"Hey," he greeted.

"Hey. How's Cyril?" Dr. Nathan asked.

"Well, he's a little anxious to get out of protective custody but he's okay. Hey, did you, um, did you give any more thought to what we talked about?"

"Any thought? Your little proposition had me sleepless for three nights," she confessed.

"And what have you decided?"

Dr. Nathan went in her lab coat pocket and pulled out the shamrock necklace that had belonged to Patrick Keenan and said, "Here."

"Why are you giving me this?" O'Reily looked confused.

"Ten minutes ago, the warden asked me if I knew anything about Keenan's death."


"I lied and said `no'."

"Oh, man. Thank Christ."

"Ryan, as we speak the medical board is deliberating whether or not I'm qualified to hold this job. They're questioning my ethics, okay," she said with hurt in her voice. "My initial reaction was: `How can they do that?' But you know what? Now I'm questioning my ethics."

"Look, love is more important than ethics," he said to her.

"Well, now, how would you know what? I mean your ethics, what few you have, are completely screwed up."

"Whoa---why the fuck are you doing this?" O'Reily was offended and angry by her comments.

"I should tell Leo you beat Keenan to death," she was struggling to keep her emotions in check. "I should do it. But I won't. God help me."

"Hey, Gloria," he tried to reach out for her arm but she pulled away.

"I'm not going to help you escape. Do you understand that? I will not do it. And if you ask me again, I will tell the warden everything. Officer, we're done here."

"I do have ethics. And they're not screwed up."

A small part of him expected she was going to say no---it was in her nature as the honest person she was. O'Reily did not fault her this---her honesty was one of the things he loved about her. But, he had begun to feel that love straining with everything that was going on with Cyril and now his mother. He was always going to be grateful that she had saved his life, however. She had protected him when he was not able to do it himself.

O'Reily returned to Em City and went for the computer room to get his mind away from Gloria's bombshell announcement. He was counting on her to take him and Cyril away but the plan fell apart before it got off the ground. He started looking up the events that Connolly had described to him and Meaney before Suzanne Fitzgerald came to visit him. O'Reily left and walked upstairs to Connolly's pod when Hill and Poet came into the computer room.

"What do you want?" Connolly asked when O'Reily entered.

"I've been on the computer, reading about the troubles. It's not at all about God---it's about the money. It's about the Protestants taking Catholic land. How could you not hate the British? I mean, if you got any balls at all then you'd better be IRA. You know, fighting for what's rightfully yours."

"And what good does your newfound knowledge and all this enthusiasm do for either of us?"

"I want to be a part of something. Something that matters," O'Reily said but Connolly laughed at him. "Don't laugh at me, Connolly. Hey, everyone knows I get things done. That's my talent. Let me help you do something for the cause, hm?"

"All right. I know what we should do."

He followed Connolly out of his pod and they went down to the laundry room. O'Reily had no idea what was going on and they had to wait a few minutes before everyone else had cleared out of the room. Connolly instructed him to gather up some supplies and he did so. The Irishman still was not able to get a read on what was going on.

"Hey. Two gallons of bleach," O'Reily rested them on top of the table.


"All your whites are clean so, uh, you going to tell me now why you need this stuff so bad?"

"Can you get me a wristwatch?" Connolly ignored him and went on.

"Wristwatch? Why?" O'Reily asked but Connolly quickly pushed him against the washer and in no time had a knife pressed against his throat. "Connolly, what the fuck are you doing?"

He smiled diabolically and asked, "Would you be willing to die with me? Would you? Bleach and the wristwatch are part of my grand scheme."

"Which is what?" O'Reily said and was weary of the blade puncturing into his neck.

"To make a bomb. You and me, O'Reily. We're going to blow up Em City."

A strange sense of power surged through O'Reily as he heard what Connolly was planning. The man had since retracted his blade and took the supplies they had gathered out of the laundry room and left him alone. He watched Connolly leave and wondered if this was really going to happen. It was farfetched and crazy but Connolly was not working with a full deck of cards in his head. An officer banged on the glass, notifying him that count was soon.

Inside his pod, every ounce of his blood felt exhilarated at the prospect of building a bomb to go off inside Em City. He looked over at Connolly's pod but saw nothing. O'Reily stripped out of his clothes to get ready for bed. He found himself sleeping naked more, now that there no one was in his pod and then he remembered he had things in pockets. He searched through them to get the slip of paper from Alvarez and dug into the other one to get the cherry blow pop he stole earlier from under Pancamo's nose. The Irishman hopped his naked frame into bed and put the lollipop under his pillow for safekeeping before he folded open the Latino's note and read it again.

Cherry, Irish. It's all about the cherry. But thanks. I heard Smith talking to someone about it. The hacks pass information just as fast as the inmates do.