A Castle Reborn I By R. Cary
A Castle Reborn
By R. Cary
Los Angeles, CA
‘Sigh’, Natalie rolling over stretching out her arms.
How did you sleep Natalie?
Fine. Why are you watching this guy Priest?
Just my morning routine Natalie. Well, sometimes. I normally watch CNBC news with Kramer at 6 am. He has the best metaphors for buying and selling. Then, CBS this morning at 7 am with Gayle. This morning I woke up a bit earlier and just turned it on, the TV. Natalie.
I am lying, I get up at 5 am and do yoga every morning and was embarrassed to have you catch me with my ass in the air.
You do Yoga Priest?
Every morning. And I meditate.
Well, I figured you meditate. You are a fucking Priest. That is your job to meditate. But yoga, yoga is for chic's. I don't even do Yoga.
Well. Now you know Natalie. I do yoga like a chic and I watch Gayle. Coffee?
Black please, like always. Now turn this shit off Mr. Priest. He is such a pussy. Conservative fuck who was involved in the race wars as a Republican Congressman in the 90's and is now liberal as shit, bitching and whining about The President every fucking morning. You know, I stopped subscribing to the NY Times because every page was about him, The President. I don't want to have to hear about him here.
Like I said Natalie, I am normally doing Yoga. Here's the dam remote. Put on what you want.
The Priest throws the remote at Natalie, landing on her pillow where she is resting her head. More like hiding her face. She quickly grabs it and throws it at the TV, as if this will turn off the TV somehow. She meant to hit the Priest, but couldn't bring herself to do so. The Priest is her only solace in her life. Her peace from what she thought was the bull shit of her daily life.
This was Natalie's typical routine. Work, drink, yell, scream, sleep. Work, drink, yell, scream, sleep. Work, drink, go see Priest when she was too tired to yell or scream, rinse, repeat. 3 years into the Bureau now. Every day haunts her. She hears the echo of her father's footsteps; sees the grave of his life she now walks. While she is a top agent in the Los Angeles field office, her life in the Bureau is like a ghost of whispers. Constant solitude even though she is surrounded by hundreds of people daily. This, she can't escape. Her feeling of loneliness, of being alone. Only the Priest made her feel not alone. Around everyone else, she is a bull of horns. Tall, purple eyes with tanned blonde hair, thin lips to match her thin frame, long gentle fingers that can caress someone like the Priest with care reaching their soul or grasp you like the talons of a hawk. Lately, her life has been more about preying than caressing one's soul, especially her own.
‘Thanks’, Natalie says. ‘You make the best coffee’. . I have to get to work. I wish I could just stay here.
The Priest noticed, she didn't say, ‘I wish I could stay here with you’. Natalie tended to run to him when life started beating her up. Every time he could see the exhaustion on her face and blatant desire to escape. He understood though, and he didn't mind. After all, he is a Priest. Sleeping with drunken women isn't exactly welcomed by the Catholic Church, so the ease of this relationship suited him.
The Priest himself was no Saint. His path to becoming a Priest was built off the pain of his life, not his angelic birth. His desire to help has come in many forms, including many years ago working with the FBI in Chinese espionage. He excelled at rhetoric and dialogue control and could hold a conversation with just about anyone in the world. Some called him a liar and manipulator, he viewed it as connecting to people, which is why he became a Priest after his time putting the Chinese in prison. To help people by connecting to their souls. But his life as a Priest was unfulfilling in many ways, something he never felt at home doing, like always feeling like he is an impostor in his new role in life. No longer flaunting his pretty blue eyes among the Chinese elite, swaggering his way into the hierarchies of China's black-market dealings, causing him to always feel a need of wanting, a need for more. He missed the thrill of conquering an individual, breaking into their consciousness then giving them the perception of their desires. In the end, they all walked away in handcuffs or dead. He became a Priest.
Natalie. Slow down, the world isn't even moving yet. It isn't even 6 am yet.
I know, but I have to meet with the Assistant U.S. Attorney to gain a warrant against this fucker's old business partner. Dems won the house, so they have been subpoenaing The Presidents records and there's shit everywhere.
Are you still working in the Organized Crime Unit?
No, I moved into investigating bull shitters.
Who do you think? Look at the TV. Natalie pointed at the TV, The President just came on interrupting Morning Joe.
Today, January 20th, 2022, The Chinese attempted to launch multiple mid-range nuclear weapons towards the State of Hawaii and the State of California. Through our advanced Space Force Agency we successfully deactivated the weapons destined for America before they could launch. I have authorized the Department of Defense to deploy 250,000 troops to the Korean Peninsula and have activated our emergency missile defense system in the region. We are currently in talks with the Chinese. I am here, right now, demanding the Chinese to stop or face nuclear destruction in minutes. America, trust me, we are perfectly safe. If I were China, I wouldn't dare try again...
What the fuck Mr. Priest? You better start praying. Because so far, it working. How the hell did things get this far? We have a guy I am investigating for robbing anyone and everyone and he is right there, deciding the fate of all of humanity.
The attack was stopped, right? Maybe God is listening.
Or, we are just smarter than the Chinese Priest.
Maybe Natalie, but here is what I know. No one is dead, yet. Until someone dies, there is still hope.
Natalie’s phone rings. ‘Here we go Priest’. Yes Bryan. Shit. Are you kidding me?
You are wrong Mr. Priest, there is no more hope.
What happened Natalie?
The President was on Air Force One since the attack. 6 minutes ago it was shot down. No survivors are expected.
Now President Mike launched our nuclear arsenal at China about 90 seconds ago. We are at War. Better said, the end of the world begins now.
Not if I can help it, Natalie.
What, you want me to pray?
No, we are going to DC.
What are we going there for?
For your father.
My father is Dead! Why would you!
He is dead in 2022. Not in 2016 Natalie.
Waking up in his room of oriental decor, almost overdone, Agent Jackson begins his day. Isn't being in China enough, he thought. Why all the extra decor? It seems unnecessary, the decor, passively noting as he prepared for his day. 4 a.m. every day, Special Agent Jackson woke, went directly to the shower and got ready for his day. Barely even a thought entered his mind. By 5 a.m. he was out the door every day. On weekends he would be at his kitchen table by 5 a.m. reading the NY Times. Today, today is Sunday, Sunday June 5th, 2016.
Agent Jackson was working with China's Ministry of State Security regarding potential interference from Russia in the run up to the 2016 Presidential election. China, catching a sniff of making good with the U.S. found potential threats to our electronic electoral process while hacking the U.S. . They so kindly decided to share the information. Reluctantly, Agent Jackson had headed to China, really just as a symbol of good will rather than gaining any real knowledge the NSA hadn't already found. His meeting is in a few hours, at the home of Chen. Agent Jackson would receive a traditional Chinese welcoming in Beijing, in just a few hours. He had to prepare. The meeting was more so about posturing his jaw more so than anything else. His role was to be polite, thankful, respectful, and courteous and be on his way. Unfortunately for Agent Jackson, this is China. Nothing is as simple as it seems. Especially when the Chinese are watching your every move.
Dulles International Airport
Priest, you haven't said a word to me. You threw me on this dam flight to DC. I am hung over as shit. You wouldn't let me recover with a bloody . The damn world is ending and you are praying for 8 hours. I have had it. At least we are off the flight.
The Priest quickly analyzes his surroundings, ignoring Natalie and dragging her by her arm, hardly noticing she is there, as if she were a piece of luggage. Trying to tap into his old skill sets to take in the busy airport with rows of people miserable as hell. Everyone stuck where they are till flight restrictions are lifted, which isn't anytime soon. The fucking President was just killed. He notes, mentally, everyone here is tired, angry and in one spot, just waiting. Throw them out. Who is moving, who is here, not tired, not angry, focused? Who doesn't look like they have been here for 10 hours? Those are our guys.
Natalie, you see him, buying a coffee, being ever so polite with the cashier to appear 'normal'. Does he look tired to you? ‘No’. And that guy on the corner 'standing up', staring out the window, he looks as fresh as a butterfly when the rain clears. ‘Ya. So’? Look for more that don't fit as someone sitting in an airport for 10 hours.
Because those people, we don't want to meet.
And Natalie, I wasn't fucking Praying. I was getting ready.
‘Your newspaper Mr. Jackson’. Agent Jackson noted the oddity of the knock, but thought nothing of it, just as he hadn't thought anything of the excessive oriental decor in his room.
Agent Jackson opens the door.
A thin Chinese man is standing right in front of him with two larger males, well over 6 feet tall and each about 220 on each side of him. In the foreground is even something worse, the barrel of a gun inches from his forehead. Agent Jackson fights his initial reaction and slowly puts his arms up and backs away. The Men walked forward in pace with him. Not saying a word, Agent Jackson goes down, only seeing a blur of his surroundings as his head bounces off the wall and finally, the floor. He is out, cold, with three unknown men towering over him. His eyes shut. His only thought. The Priest, Natalie.
Agent Jackson opens his eyes. Remembering his last thoughts, then the men, realizes quickly what kind of situation he is in. One you don't get out of by choice.
You see, Agent Jackson just didn't work with the FBI, where he built a career starting in organized crime, specializing in Asian crime syndicates in Los Angeles then into foreign intelligence and national security stemming from his experience investigating the Chinese-American Drug trade. Agent Jackson had spent a lifetime around China and its connections to the United States for the Bureau. But this trip, paid for by the FBI to assess the risk of a foreign operation on Chinese soil, was bluntly for the CIA. Agent Jackson was recruited in 1992 as a simple messenger on his trips to China. Now, he is much more. Part of a society manipulating and maneuvering the United States interests in China. As a result, he is sitting in a room in Beijing China with three men most likely just as trained as him holding his life in their hands.
Agent Jackson. I am Xi.
I understand you are here to meet with Chen. That is a few hours from now, no?
Don't worry. I am just making conversation as you say.
I need a favor from you Agent Jackson. May I call it that, a favor?
Agent Jackson nodded.
Chen, well his security team is gonna give you what you call a dossier on Russian interference with your alleged democratic elections. I want it. You will bring it to me.
Agent Jackson knows the only option is to agree and give no sign of otherwise. Acquiesce to the fear and they will believe you. Keep them in perceived control in the outcome they want and you can get out of this, for now. Cut and dry. You waiver, you are dead.
Agent Jackson nodded again in agreement.
Mr. Jackson, don't worry, we will come get it from you.
As they left, Agent Jackson sat there, on the bed, not much different than he did when he woke up. Analyzing the potential outcomes, weighing all parties' interests without having enough knowledge to do so. He never heard of Xi. Still, only one thought came into his head. Give them the information. If I run, I am never safe here again. If I give the information and nothing else, they will kill me. But if I give them trust I can get to know them.
Agent Jackson closed the door to his room, grabbed his newspaper and sat at the small Chinese table in his room and began reading.
Agent Jackson arrives in a black SUV. Everyone dressed in white, except the young Chinese women utilized as decorum, they had flowers on their dresses and Agent Jackson of course. He is in an MIB suit. Some things he just couldn't part with.
Mr. Jackson, I am sorry for the spectacle, but it is our way. I know you Americans care more about getting things done than display's for formality.
Agent Jackson immediately notices Chen's catering to him.
So now, we can get 'down to business' Agent Jackson.
It is very simple. Here is all the information we have on Russia attempting to interfere with your election. It is a brute force hack of your electronic electoral system.
Already knowing there is always more to these situations, Agent Jackson politely takes the files, not raising a question that will cause Chen concern. Letting him believe this is as simple as it appears to him and that he is gracious for the jester, passively thinking, what is the real message? The Chinese are never simple. On the outside Asians in general appear simple to Americans. But Agent Jackson knew better. Behind those eyes of theirs is a whole world being built. Today, he entered two men's worlds. He just wasn't sure why. In time, he would know why and deconstruct their mindful visions of their world they are manipulating. He will play their mule, for now.
Agent Jackson and Chen engage with each other for a few hours and then Agent Jackson is released from his duties. Being taken back to his room in the black SUV he arrived in, knowing Xi is nearby, he asks the driver to stop and wait for him. He wanted a newspaper. Before the driver could realize it, Mr. Jackson was gone into the streets of Beijing, buying himself a few hours. A few hours that will raise the suspicions of both men, possibly causing them to fear their worlds they are building are suddenly under threat. Now, Agent Jackson was in control. Now, Agent Jackson will be able to see the minds of both men.
Dulles International Airport
Priest, behind us.
Just keep walking Natalie. They will follow us at 4, 6, 8 O'clock. We need to get lost, to break their span. No, got a better idea. We can't lose them; they are too good.
I am a federal agent Priest. I don't run away from people. They try to lose me, not the other way around.
Natalie. We are at war. Remember that. And these guys probably had something to do with it. Feel me? To them, you are with me. Being with me means you are a threat.
How the hell are you a threat Priest? Are you gonna throw your Cross at them?
Funny Natalie. Funny. Just keep walking.
Let's bring them to an empty turn, you bait them Priest, I shoot them.
Natalie, there are a million cops here at the airport. Just don't rustle them, they need to keep following. Make them feel comfortable so they don't drop off when we reach security.
You and I keep focused on where we are going. Show them our focus. Let's get to security. They won't touch us here, too much risk. As soon as you see a cop, walk right up, keep eye contact, and tell the cop ‘don't look’, flash your badge. Tell them, ‘The three men behind us have been following us. Please stop them at security’. The cop will clearly see them, as we are the only one's walking out of here at a pace. Everyone else is sitting down, miserable as shit with the delay. Won't be that hard. I will continue through security. Follow me through.
Perfect Priest. I like it.
The Priest passively begins to walk through security. Natalie pans to her left, keeping her right hip open with her on her side, just in case. She demands the eyes of the police officer standing just to the left of security and begins to speak, smiles, then walks back to her right to go through security, without even a sniff for these guys to pick up. She sees the Priest and it hits her like a truck. Who the hell is the Priest? He didn't skip a beat. Almost stone-cold analysis of the situation. Not one emotive response. I know he worked with my Father sometimes. But like that? He was turnkey. Regardless. What I do know now. The Priest is a badass.
Sir, we lost them at the airport. We got held up at security.
The Priest. Those eyes of his. That is his real talent. He hides behind those eyes of his. I bet you think he didn't notice you.
Sir, we were very careful.
But you got held up at security?
I assure you that was no accident.
What do we do sir? About the Priest and Natalie?
Deter them. We lost our window. Communications will be up again and the FBI will know her exact whereabouts. We can't be part of a missing FBI agent investigation. That is a last resort.
For now. Find them. Follow them. And don't worry about getting made. Rather, make it clear you are there. Let them know we are with them each step they take. Besides that, do nothing.
I have to get to the office. The world is on fire. And people like me have to put out the flames.
Washington DC, Hotel
Nice moves Priest.
Let's turn on the TV and see if the world is burning. Have you heard anything yet?
No, the phone is charging now. Besides, most communications would be shut down. I will call from a landline once I put together a story as to where I am. What are they saying on the news?
At 9:02 am Eastern Standard time the United States launched multiple mid-range nuclear missiles towards China. Seconds after the launch, China called for a temporary peace agreement. The attack was aborted and the nuclear warheads exploded over the Pacific Ocean.
I repeat. At 9:02 am Eastern Standard time the United States launched multiple mid-range nuclear missiles towards China. Seconds after...
Breaking News, The Secretary of Defense will now fill your screen
As you all know, we have been attacked and are in a state of war. We are moving our defenses throughout the Asian Pacific Ocean. During our movements and nuclear launch, we received word from China that they are issuing a temporary peace agreement and will stand down. The President immediately ordered the of our nuclear assault on China, whereby the warheads were destroyed over the Pacific Ocean. Simultaneously and consistent with China's denial, our intelligence community, the United States Air Force confirmed the missiles and the plane that attacked Air Force One, with The President on it, were Russian in origin. Russia is denying this allegation. At this time please remain strong. The President, our intelligence communities with the Department of Defense are working to build a coalition to gather as much intelligence as we can to strike back at whoever is the cause of this war. We stand as one. The world stands at one with us. Be vigilant. And America, keep your faith. My prayers are with you.
Priest. Maybe your meditation worked? We all still have time. I bet you Russia started this whole thing. Let China and the U.S. nuke each other so they are left standing. Conniving fucks. I could just put a bullet right through Putin's head, with an extra grin on my bullet. And what the fuck was that Priest? At the airport.
Something your father taught me.
Exactly, how close were you and my father?
Natalie. As you know, I wasn't always a Priest.
I know you worked with my father on Asian crime syndicates.
It was much more than that. Our success turned us into spies. Our engagement with Asian crime syndicates in LA led us to bigger and broader investigations into China. Our success led to unparalleled information in China, turning over broader worldwide investigations. At the time, China was a hub of criminal and international crime rings that would reach the level of Heads of State. We, as a country, penetrated every country's activity through our work. The CIA took over after that and me and your father had a decision to make. He made his, I made mine. He kept going. I gave up. There is a difference between doing what is right and doing what is asked of you by your government. Since 9/11, we tended to overreact and I couldn't bear the burden of possibly harming people out of suspicion. I made my decision to become a Priest. Your father made his, which cost him his life.
My father was a spy?
Not just a spy. He was they spy. All those trips to China. FBI? He was a hub of information. The point man for the Alpha and Omegas.
What the hell is that?
An organization that seeks to manipulate the world in our favor. Kind of like those secret societies you hear about on the History channel, but real, impactful, and deep.
My father was a member?
Unfortunately, yes. I refused to join. I always viewed them as a group of guys that needed something to believe in, kind of carving their own destiny gig. Your father joined so he could be a perspective on reason and in some form, agreed to their cause. But since your father's death, I have always feared them. And now we are at war? I can't help but think of their involvement, especially with The President or, X President. This probably bolstered them.
Did they kill my father?
I don't know. No one knows what happened to your father. China refused to budge; back channel talks never worked. So, we all, especially you, were left without answers.
Mother fuckers! Why did you never tell me?
You were never with me fucking sober enough to mention it. Remember, you only come to me when you have problems. Not when things are fine.
Natalie calls in. ‘Ya, I am in DC’. ‘How did you get there’? ‘Flashed my badge, jumped on a flight with a friend. I have been trying to get a hold of you’. You were directed to DC about 2 hours after we talked this morning Natalie. You need to get to headquarters now. And don't let your phone die again. Completely unacceptable. Next time you get fucked up, plug in your phone before you pass out. Am I clear?
Yes sir. Let DC know I am on my way. And Mitch. As of right now they think you got me here efficiently and quickly. Let's keep it that way.
This time. Whatever you are wanted for at Headquarters. Don't fuck it up. I am counting on you to make us look good out here on the West Coast. Call me when you are done.
Yes Mitch. And Mitch. Thanks.
Priest, I have to run. It so happens I was directed to get to DC headquarters. I need to get there immediately.
Natalie. Be careful. I am sure the guys who came for us at the airport will be around.
Priest. I am a federal agent with the FBI. I know how to take care of myself. Just wait for me here.
The Priest sits in the room with his thoughts and begins to Pray:
Dear Father, forgive me for my sins I am about to endure. I have vowed a life of peace, a life of helping others. I will stay true to my one path in life. Our world is at war and I have the ability to stop it. I am highly conflicted about the decision I am about to make. Please give me the strength to endure. I, of all people, know there is purpose in all our decisions. That each obstacle in life is an opportunity to overcome. I believe the challenge in front of me is to overcome my moral conflict and do what is right, to help people. I am asking for forgiveness. But I cannot stand by and watch the world destroy itself. I care too much. My heart is bleeding with too much pain and compassion for others. I am asking for strength, for the Blonde Beast to rise inside of me building piercing eyes of endurance with a brute will of strength delivered from the holy spirit. I was once a warrior. I ask for my inner Wolf to be fed once again. 12 Hail Mary's.
Washington DC, FBI Headquarters
How are you Natalie? You got here swiftly. Any problems with your flight?
I'm good Kilmr. And no. I jumped on with other agents traveling on a public flight.
Good. Some agents are having a hard time getting here.
Let me give you the rundown as we walk Natalie. We are putting together a task force to unravel this. Our role in this, Natalie, is to prevent the world from ending. Finding the truth matters. The CIA is running all over the place but are stuck in the myths of what they are being told. They are getting so many stories they are unsure of what to trust. We are the FBI. We follow facts, we construct a narrative and we deliver what happened. That is the role you are in Natalie. Like the others. You have been following the money and links between The President, Russia, and any businesses or business associates intertwined. I believe in your memo you called it a 'pile of shit'. It is much more than that. FBI Director James has brought each of you investigating varying aspects of the Russia connections or alleged connections together. What we know is this. The President was not 'in collusion' with Russia. But Russia manipulated social media to rally his base. That is a fact. We were busy defending the cyber-attack aspect so we missed the propaganda. Let me leap forward from there. China attacked us. Right? Why? We don't have a why. We know the plane and missiles that took down air force one was Russian in origin. Can you see where this is leading?
Are you saying Russia caused China to attack us?
Yes. That is the narrative we are building. Natalie, we need your help constructing the financial narrative. We are casting a wide net to construct a narrative out of the web of facts. Now, everyone is in here working already. Come on in. We have a meeting in 2 hours. All agents from the FBI, HSI, CIA, NSA will be here by 6 pm. For now, get to work. Break down what you know into a quick and palatable format to produce to your team. You have until 10 am to have your narrative built, any questions? I am sure you are blindsided. We will fill in as we know more. For now, we are all still in the blind. It is up to us to give the President, the people, the Department of Defense clarity so decisions can be made.
No. I am good.
Okay Natalie. Thank you for coming quickly. 2 hours. Have it ready.
Natalie finds an open space; cracks open the laptop in front of her and doesn't skip a beat. Profiling her narrative into a pattern of behavior and consistency for predictability of future actions. But on the back of her mind rests what she even came here for in the first place. The Priest. He said my father was alive in 2016. What the hell was he talking about? I assumed he was referring to some old case, something that could help us now. Damn, I should have asked before I left the Hotel. But I was too focused on what was going on. Knowing we are all on a timeline to find the truth. That is what we do at the FBI. Always. Find the truth. That fact is what keeps me alive and fighting each day through all the bull shit. I hate the bull shit. But truth matters. Focus Natalie. Shit, I am still hungover. You haven't eaten. No drinking Natalie. The world needs you, for once in her life she thought to herself. Rather than I need. The Priest needs me. A look of grit and determination comes over her face. She pushes her strands of hair back behind her ears. One big puff of air and she is once again determined.
FBI Headquarters 7 pm EST.
Cameras flashing, the reporters gathered outside FBI Headquarters looking for some information of hope. Director James walks astutely and calmly to the microphone, clearly showing his collectiveness, giving the world his body language displaying his confidence in what he is about to say.
At 5:20 pm the President and Department of Defense were given a narrative constructed by our joint task force with CIA, HSI, NSA. We address the public with a statement of confidence in this narrative and assure the American people, all resources are being funneled to this narrative.
Around 5:55 am today, China launched an attack against the United States. Our presumption is they did so under false pretenses and false information being funneled to them. Our relations with China have been under intense pressure, as economic policies began to threaten the financial structure of China's once robust economy. The information delivered to China over the previous 8 months is believed to have caused China's attack on our Country. Our narrative is consistent with China's behavior post initial attack on the United States. At this time, I cannot comment on the details of our investigation. Myself, the FBI, CIA, The White House want the American public to know, at this time, we are in a temporary peace agreement with China and communications are ongoing. We have no belief, knowledge or any cause to believe that China will attack us again. I will take your questions where appropriate.
Director James, MSNBC here. Are we still moving warships to the Korean Peninsula?
Are any other countries involved?
Yes. England, Germany, Italy have all sent warships to the Korean Peninsula according to the DOD Secretary Don.
Who sent China the information?
We are still investigating the information falsely given to the Chinese government.
Was it Russia?
Again, we are still investigating the information. At this time, I cannot comment further on the investigation.
Sally from CNN. We are getting news that two ballistic missiles were shot down on U.S. Soil. Reports are coming out that they were 2 miles out from the white house.
Can you confirm this?
No, at this time we cannot confirm this.
How many casualties so far?
We have estimated nearly 500,000 lives are here that would not have been if it had not been for our defenses and the brave decision by former V.P., Now President Michael to halt our attack on China.
Our only known casualty is our now former President. I assure you. We will find who killed our President and hold them accountable. The FBI is leading the investigation with military intelligence with all intelligence agencies funneling their information to our headquarters. This is what we do. We will find the attackers and advise DOD.
Thank you for your time.
Natalie sneaks off at the end of the press conference, finished with her work. She needs to see the Priest. She needs to eat. No drinking Natalie. No drinking. Stay focused.
The only thought pounding Natalie's mind. What is the Priest looking for with my father and 2016? I need to find out. Get to the Hotel Natalie. Get to the Hotel.
Washington DC, Hotel
Natalie enters the hotel room, gasping for air, staring blindly as she crawls onto the bed. I, I just need to lay down.
What happened Natalie?
I don't know. I need to eat. After the day was over, I left, figuring all was under control for the day. And then my thoughts became consumed with getting here to the hotel, well, more so to you. You mentioned my father. Are you looking for some file or something, maybe a case he was working on in 2016? I can help, furrowing her brow as she focuses on the idea then letting go as she loses focus, her eyes staring off lacking focus, realizing she cannot hold herself up any longer. She moves towards the pillow, laying herself down slightly, easing into a comfortable position until she accepts, the thought of her father is too much. All the pain of missing him overwhelms her and she will not fight it anymore, at least not tonight. She acquiesces into a position of comfort the Priest has never seen her in.
The Priest sits beside her, brushes her hair behind her ears, a touch of comfort he knows Natalie can feel and tells her,
‘No Natalie no. Not a file. Your father is in 2016.’
Washington DC, Hotel
Natalie wakes up gently, rising slowly but fluidly.
No answer. Her thoughts right back to her father. She is holding back a feeling she isn't ready to recognize.
She gets up, looks for something to eat. There is some pizza sitting on the kitchenette, half eaten and some warm soda next to it. She grabs a slice of pizza, as cold and dry as the weather outside and swigs down the lukewarm soda. As much as she could till her throat burned too much. Dizzy, light headed, exhausted, she places her hand on the small fridge in the room to keep her balance. Switching back between the soda and the pizza until she feels her blood sugars rise.
Priest. Where is he? My father. I have to find him. Again, exhaustion consumes her, having just enough energy to get back to the bed. Her entire body in a compulsion asking her to rest. As if she needs to prepare, like the Priest for what she is about to do. Still not clear to her.
Again, her thoughts arise, ‘my dad, Priest, 2016’. Her last thought was one of fear, realizing the world is at war for the first time. Natalie had a way of removing her emotions and barreling through life. It finally caught up with her and what matters to her is her father and the Priest. She lets go. Her head rests more comfortably than it has in years.
The Priest knocks on the front door and waits passively.
Shortly a man opens the door still dressed in his work clothes.
Kilmr. Missed us at the airport today? Tell me. Was that CIA or Alpha Omega’s ordering you?
Neither. It was me.
Agent Jackson returns to his hotel. 8 pm. Walks straight into his room, setting down his jacket with the file still in his coat pocket. Not even a flinch of concern for the inevitable. This is what he does. 30 years. Just another walk in the park for Agent Jackson. Fluid, seamless and right on cue.
Agent Jackson opens the door.
I see you took a detour. I knew you would come back. Took some time to make a copy? Smart move.
Some security, says agent Jackson, as he walks to his jacket, he turns his back to Xi, showing his lack of concern for his safety. This was Agent Jackson's specialty, reaffirming mannerisms.
Agent Jackson. I thank you. You are a big help. Do you think you may be of help in the future? You have proven your knowledge of our business and you met your commitment without question.
Agent Jackson simply nods and bows.
Xi tells his men something in Chinese and then walks out the door.
Beijing China, Chen’s Home
Did Agent Jackson give the file to them?
They are leaving Mr. Jackson's Hotel now.
Should I follow them sir?
No. The information was received by them. That is all we needed. They will believe we are not on to them.
Let them go on their way.
Shortly after leaving Chen’s home, Agent Jacksson at an undisclosed location.
‘I had to ditch my ride. A man named Xi wanted the file’, says agent Jackson.
Good. Won't they get suspicious? Of course. That isn't my concern. I just need to show up. Won't they expect me to make a move? More importantly, it will give them confidence in me.
Ya, I guess it would. Smart move.
Like I told you. This moment, this action can either be the end of civilization or the saving of civilization.
This file only shows Russia's attempt to attack our cyber security and impact as a threat. There is much more to it. This is the shuffle, their right jab while the left hook is coming.
What we have to do is expose the real attack on our democracy through psychological warfare or easier put, fake news to get one of the Republicans elected. When He gets elected the world order falls apart and his aggressive actions on international business causes severe waves in the international economy, most notably Chinas. War is inevitable.
And Natalie is counting on you, whether she knows it or not.
Well she is counting on us, don't you mean?
Priest, would you want some Brandy? It is my nightly routine. Well, a bit more than a routine.
No Kilmr. What is it you want from me? The Priest walks over to the seating area, comfortably grabbing the first chair he sees.
You know what is at stake, Priest. It is up to people like me to get the world through the chaos it finds itself in. This wasn’t exactly our plan. But as of now, things are working out just fine. Tomorrow will be a pivotal point in this process. And you, you are now an outsider. While you were never in, denying our offer, denying your future, you have knowledge of some of our operations. You jumped on a plane to DC. What the fuck do you expect would happen? Uh, Priest? You should have just stayed out of it. More so you should trust us. You were never a threat going off and living your life as an actual Priest. From the Blonde Priest penetrating world criminal organizations and Heads of States to a real-life walking talking preacher. I never saw it coming. I wonder what Agent Jackson thought of it? Anyhow. You know exactly why we came for you. Now you are here. I am going to ask you one time. What are you doing here?
I came to save The President's life. I came to stop the end of the world. The Priest engaging with a blunt and cordial conversation. Kilmr is a practical man. Not a fanatic. The Priest knows saving the idea of America is the path to pursue with Kilmr.
Now how are you gonna do that?
You know exactly how Kilmr. In fact, I got something for you. Where is Agent Jackson Kilmr?
Lost in China, like the soul of the world.
He is in China Kilmr. But what year?
We shut down operation Lazarus Priest. It proved unsuccessful.
Maybe, but you wouldn’t know it unless you were the one traveling. You would never know in fact if it worked, because history would be altered. I am gonna raise this a bit Kilmr. Tell me, did The President actually win the 2016 election? Did you go back in time and have Comey make those statements? Did the Democrats choose Bernie over Hillary but you changed it?
Absurd Priest. I couldn’t even see this coming. Hillary would have worked just fine. Her hawkishness in international affairs was well suited for our goals. Priest, your mind is getting to you. Maybe too much time praying?
Maybe. But something went drastically wrong. That is what I do know Kilmr. From one moment to the next the world went astray. In fact, since 2016 has anything made any sense?
Priest, slow down. Yes, I agree. We had to take drastic action. That I will admit. But I assure you, none of us altered history or attempted to. We are managing this as best we can. The President dying was an unfortunate side effect of our actions. But as of now, stability is in the air. America regaining its authority is in the air. An attack on us brings sympathy and puts the world behind us, in our rightful role in the world. That is our starting point. As of this moment, everything is fine. In fact, this is a relationship building phase. Today is pivotal. Maybe the world will realize how real the threats are. Maybe China will realize what a war would be like and Russia as well. Give them some perspective outside of their constant desire to defeat us. Something they clearly cannot do. Maybe they will begin to understand while we are on top, we give like no other has or will. Imagine Russia or China in control?
Kilmr. I agree. But there is a fact. Things are off. Something went drastically wrong. Can you agree with that?
Yes, Priest. I can. We can. So, what is next?
That is up to you Kilmr. Are you gonna let this happen? From our conversation, you are clearly hiding something. You are the point man now, taking over Agent Jackson’s role. Am I mistaken? So, at this moment, you decide the strategy. So, let me put my proposal in front of you.
Let me go back. Let me go see. We already have one of us there now? What harm will it do?
Is she going with you?
Natalie? Yes. But she doesn’t know it yet.
Well, you are right, Priest. Something is off. Something went wrong and there has been something hanging over my head. What if Russia did impact the election and the natural outcome did not occur.
Kilmr, has Russia had any success in infiltrating Lazarus or anything similar in development?
No. We know that for a fact. Why would they need to, they are doing it in real life. Remember, Russia views themselves in a historical context, similar to Hitler. They view themselves rising as the natural outcome, an inevitable fact. They will be as patient as they need to be. But, okay Priest.
Ok what Kilmr?
You and Natalie go back. You know the risk. No one has ever returned. For now, this is just you, me, Natalie.
Of course Kilmr, at least until I get some answers. At some point she will need the full picture.
Not until you are ready to get resolve, with your clear plan decided upon. The last thing I need is one of my agents knowing about me and the Alpha Omegas. Let alone that I am her new boss in DC.
Kilmr. You need to get us in the White House, to Lazarus.
That will be easy. Natalie is FBI, you are a contractor with the CIA or were. Are any of those not true?
Without referring to was and is, I guess you are right.
And Priest. In case I don’t see you before you leave, I appreciate your desire to help. If you see Agent Jackson, let him know how we are doing. He always feared the risk to our organization going astray. We are still on track.