This is your future and your present. Your present, because the seeds of what are to be have already been sown in your lives. Your future, because this is what will happen if humanity does nothing after seeing these words. These are the events which have happened, the events which have shaken my world to the core. All has come into upheaval, it seems. I no longer know who to trust, what to trust. I pray for your sake and for the sake of your world that they don't happen to you. I can only hope that you will stop these events from happening to us, but then again...perhaps anything you do can do nothing to help us.
But perhaps you can be saved.
"What is our progress on Legionary I?" Branning asked, reaching for his coffee, glancing across the table at the man who wore a white coat, with lab goggles pulled down from his face.
The man frowned. "Not as well as we'd hoped. We have a Chaser-we were lucky to land her-and a handful of Seekers. Shadows, we've got nothing, except for your friend, I forget his name. The one who goes and makes contact with clients."
"That's unimportant for now. And I can't afford to use him for tests. Those make him useless as a courier. So you're saying you need more Chasers, and more Shadows? That can be managed. What else do you need? The government will be impatient."
"That should be enough for now. We're making progress on the sequencing, but they're not taking very well to the grafting, for the most part. But give us a little time, we should have it. I think we know what the problem was, we just need a Shadow, at least. Can you get us one?"
"I'm working on it. It will be there."
The man nodded. "That's good, just as long as we have it. I hope you get it quick, then we can get rid of these threats."
"Yeah, every one of the techs has been getting them. Usually e-mailed, sometimes on good old paper. Delivered by secret, of course. They wouldn't show their face. People who can't appreciate the work we do. Don't they get that we'll be saving our country with this?"
Arthur Branning sighed, and sipped from his coffee. "Unfortunately, they don't understand. But they will. It will just take some time. We have to show them, first. And they will all see." He smiled. "The bill's about to pass, so we're good. So now it's going to be time for us to pay up. I trust, then, that we can have a demonstration Legionary ready. You say the sequencing is almost complete? Good. The grafting...well, let's hope it goes better next time. I'll get you the Shadow to work on, and then hopefully we'll get some progress made."
"Trust me, Mr. Branning, we will."
"Excellent. How's Thomas been doing?"
"Very well. He'll take your place well when you decide to retire."
"Good. If that's so, then, I think I'll let him run it for the rest of the day. We will succeed, Doctor."
"That we will."
Jim groaned, and blinked, watching everything slowly come into focus. A well-groomed face came into focus, a face which nodded as Jim opened his eyes, and tried to sit up. The dark-skinned man groaned, "Why didn't they shoot me?"
"Tell me your name, and then I'll give you some explanations."
"Jim." He felt a man helping him to a seated position, and he blinked. "Where am I, and who are you?"
The man smiled. He was well-dressed, and the room in which both of the men were was actually well-furnished. Both of them were seated in mahogany, padded chairs. There was a chandelier in the room, and a hefty bookshelf on one side of the room. Jim shifted on his couch, and could feel the bandage on his head. He looked back at his host, who was looking intently at him, examining him. The man stood, and began to pace around the room. He walked back to a desk, and picked something up. Then, turning back, he put the something back on the desk, and moved closer to Jim.
"I suppose I should begin by introducing myself. I am Paul Diorco. You may or may not know my name, depending on how much of a city person you are. I am rather infamous around this city for being one of the leading mob leaders...and a good deal of men fear me. Of course, you don't need to worry. My Jenny tells me that you saved her."
"Indeed. My right-hand man was escorting her back to here, when some of my other men came up, killed him, and then were about to...well...I'm sure you can...figure that out. And they were about to have their way, too. Until you came along and killed them all. Some of my more faithful men found you with a gun, and Jenny spoke up and saved your life there. I'm glad she did, because you saved her." The man was smiling. "Is there anything that I can do for you in return?"
Jim grimaced, feeling his head, and looked back. "First, some food...and then I need help. I'm trying to find my father. Peter. Peter Eastman. He...was an arms dealer, and the cops got him. My family's been living out in the country, and I don't know a thing about what's happened to my father. I want to find him. Or just to hear something about him...all I want is to know that he's there, I want him to be safe...but I want more to know that he's there. I've spent too much time...not knowing a thing."
The man nodded. "Well, I'll try and help you there, Jim. First, let's have dinner, shall we?"
Senator Thomas Prowetts sat down opposite the majority whip, Senator Richard Branton, and took a drink from his cup of water. "So, a long morning of debate."
"That's for sure, Thomas. Let's cut to the simple truth."
"Which is almost never simple."
"Point taken. Regardless, what do you want?"
"How is support among the party, Dick? I want to see how the bill is doing."
"It's on the razor's edge, so to speak, Prowetts. Are you sure that it will be so successful? One event...and it could all tip."
"I know. Don't worry, it won't be the end of everything if it fails...but work like you've never worked before, get support among the party. And then we'll have an excellent shot at passing this. I'll see if I can garner support for the bill among party members."
"Excellent. Here's to Legatus."
Ashley turned her head, listening to Jaime and Jessie squabble. Twins...they might as well be a trio. What a noise! She turned, and walked into the kitchen, where the two little girls were fighting over a colorful spoon.
"I had it first!"
"Did not, I saw it!"
"You didn't grab it!"
"All right, you two, stop it...now!" Ashley shook her head, and stepped forward. "Now...Jaime, didn't Jessie have it first? If she did, she gets to use it today...but tomorrow, you can use it. Understand?"
The girls nodded, and Jaime let go of the spoon. Their mother sighed, and turned back. Troy had come home, but he was talking on the phone now. She glanced over at him...and saw that his face was more haggard than usual. More weathered, it seemed. He glanced over, and saw her. Immediately, he walked out of her line of vision. Ashley frowned, and sat down. She paused...and then rose again. Slowly, silently, she approached her husband, and paused, just around the corner from the phone conversation. She remained quiet, and listened.
"Tonight, then. I'll be there. Midnight. I will be there. Then stop harassing me."
The conversation stopped, and Troy stormed around the corner. Ashley watched him walk past her, and felt the anger that was streaming from him. Anger...and fear, of a sort. She bit her lip, and slowly walked back towards her girls. Midnight...at midnight, she had something to do, it seemed.
Senator Young smiled, evading the press corps as he tried to grab a seat at a sidewalk café. He pursed his lips, glancing out at them as he ordered a quick drink, and momentarily ran his hands through his hair. Perhaps they would catch that on tape. So be it. Maybe he could afford to let them see that side of him. He wasn't superhuman, after all. He looked back at them. The press corps...however much power they held, it didn't matter any more. The young politician sighed, and thought about the events of the day. All the debate, all the fighting, all the ground gained by Prowetts...
"I wouldn't move if I were you. Any last words you'd like to say?"
Jon glanced over, and stared into the face of the man who was brandishing a dagger, standing in the shadows beneath the umbrella. His eyes searched the assassin's gaze...the other man was ice-handed, ice-souled. He looked, and saw the killer's eyes. Total apathy. As long as there was money on the other end of the knife, or the gun...This man is a born killer. Jon bent his gaze even more upon the man. Because there was a strangeness about him. A strangeness...and a sameness, at the same time. The Senator looked closer.
Kinship...a spark of kinship...could he be-yes, it makes perfect sense. One like me.
The man paused. "You...your eyes...I can see, feel..."
Jon nodded, and slipped his opponent a card from his pocket. "There's a card, it has contact information for me on it. Be sure to get ahold of me. I can help you."
"I am Sam Browning...you will hear from me...now...my employer...would be very distraught...if I left without trying...so I must attack you..."
"And fail. I understand."
Sam lunged forward, and Jon twisted to the side, grabbing at the man's wrist. Sam shrieked, and pulled away, running. As the buzz of reporters and police swarmed around him, as he sat clutching his bleeding hand, Jon looked out for a moment, and saw Sam vanishing into the crowd. He smiled. I will help you, Sam...and perhaps you can help me.