Bringing Back The Dead -
In a future world, restoring life after death has become possible. Science and the understanding of DNA has given man the ultimate power. 'The power to restore life.
So what do we do this knowledge? - we use it as a prize on a Reality TV show.
LifeGiver - Second Chance is a Reality TV game show. It is the most popular TV Programme in the world. An audience of billions regularly watch in the hope that someone they know will win the greatest prize -A Second Life
Pavel and Peta Savitch have applied to be contestants on the show . They have a story they believe you will want to hear. It's the heart breaking story of the tragic loss of a child. But they have secrets. Can they convince the world they are telling the truth?
Its the public who will decide who will be resurrected, but Bringing Back The Dead can have consequences
Vanburdens voice echoed through the apartments amplified smartphone system. His thick Texan drawl was deep and warm with a hint of corny cowboy charm. He was calling to extend his now regular invitation for Steadman to join him at one of his 'get togethers' 'just me and a few of the boys' he said matter of factly.
Steadman felt a little uneasy listening to the Casual manner of the invite. He was tempted to connect with the caller and make some kind of excuse before declining the invitation . He had a mental flashback to the last 'get together' just thinking about what happened gave him an embarrassed flush, if anyone had been in the room His uneasiness would have been quite apparent. He was relieved when the call ended and the apartment fell back to its orderly silence.
Steadman sat quietly considering what to do about this latest invitation. He'd been telling himself why he really should cut back on attending Vanburdens little parties. The obvious reason being it could compromise his position at the Ministry for Regeneration Assessment, or department RegA. As it was more commonly known. As the ministries lead assessor Steadman was well aware of the importance of his position and why people like VanBurden and his business LifeGiver would want to try and influence him. These parties were to buy favors, he knew that, but he wasn't the only one being wined and dined, most of the guests where in the same business. He chose to tell himself that he was there to do some networking and to catch up with some old friends.
His position at RegA was too important for him to risk being compromised As the senior assessor he was responsible for making the final recommendation on who would and who wouldn't be granted the life re-affirmation protocol. Or as he was described in a particularly over the top tabloid article once, as the new age Jesus, the LifeGiver’s, the man with the power to decide do you deserve to be brought back from the dead.
Steadman knew that invitations like these were a perk of the job. Some people he knew liked to take advantage of the opportunities He on the other hand usually avoided contact with most of the schmoozers wanting his company . With Vanburden however it was different, maybe it was his hokey cowboy charm, or the fact that his parties were what you might call eye openers.
As corporate client control director for 'LifeGiver' the private life regeneration fund. He had Carte Blanche to show his guests a good time. His VIP party list was usually an eclectic mix of science, celebrity and of course the bizarre. Steadman had come to realize he liked bizarre in fact the more bizarre the better, and that scared him and that's why he was sitting alone in silence thinking.
Steadman was one of an elite group of decision makers who where described again in the tabloids as the movers and shakers in new life regeneration. Vanburden and his company LifeGiver was part of a multi layered business consortium that had invested heavily in the field of regeneration. They courted Steadman and his cronies for their power to grant approvals and licenses. All regeneration research was strictly controlled and monitored. Authorizations had to be obtained before any form of regeneration. And iit was Steadman who gave the final say on a life giving protocol.
Their was nothing they wouldn't do for these chosen men and particularly someone as influential as the head of RegA. Nigel Steadman
It was this over the top generosity that had always made him hesitant about attending. They called it a 'get together' but it was so much more. After reluctantly showing up at his first party and seeing so many familiar faces, It made it an easy decision to say yes to the next few phone calls from Vanburden. It's work he told himself. That was at first.....
A constant refilling of his glass meant he'd lost track of how long he'd been at the party. He stood unsteadily cupping his drink and watching the X rated floorshow amongst a crowd of familiar faces. He smiled when he heard a voice he recognized shout, mother of god I've seen everything now a girl two guys and a son of a bitch monkey were does Vanburden find these freaks
Steadman looked around the room like some superior voyeur, he told himself that tonight he was only here to observe nothing else. He acknowledged the nods from a few Regen, business acquaintances A waiter approached and without asking replaced the glass he was holding with another one full of vintage brandy. He accepted the drink without comment, he was trying to act bored and disinterested he’d turned his back to what was now becoming a very explicit floor show, but the roar of the crowd made it hard not to turn and watch, and he was soon engrossed by the spectacle before him. He was both excited and shocked in equal measures by what the quartet of performers were doing all in the name of entertainment. Of the family variety this certainly was not.
I'm surprised she can walk he heard someone say. Steadman watched for as long as he dare, before deciding it was time to move on and look for some other less guilty pleasures.
Vanburden seemed to have a sixth sense for these kind of things and as if by magic appeared at Steadmans side with a very young oriental looking girl.
you ready for some fun now, he said, one arm draped around the young girl the other holding a bottle of expensive looking Brandy he took a big swig then roared with laughter, before announcing
Steadman meet Fun
he presented the girl to him then took a step back and began laughing even harder Steadman looked hesitantly at His host unsure how to react, he felt clumsy and didn't know what to say or do, so Vanburden took the initiative and stepped forward and placed his arm around the pretty but petite looking girls shoulders. Sensing Steadmans reluctance he whispered cheerfully under his breathe
relax amigo she's legal.
then resorted to his booming voice again even seen her papers He laughed loudly then took a swig from the bottle and deliberately topped up Steadmans glass, before continuing.
She looks so sweet because she bathes in asses milk every day, and then without warning spun her round and lifted her skirt. She wore no underwear, he bent her over to show off her nakedness more fully, the girl didn’t resist
see what I mean he stroked her flesh take a look at that ass he growled
lasciviously then roared with laughter again then spanked the girl hard, which made her flinch before straightening her up and spinning her round then guiding her into Steadmans arms. The girl without hesitation draped herself over him then drew him towards her snd began seductively kissing his neck. . At first he wanted to recoil and to push her away, but he hesitated and feeling her warm body separated by the most flimsy of dresses and the warm intoxicating smell of her perfume he allowed himself to be entwined by the girl Vanburdens watched for a few seconds then roared again look at you two he cooed, before pulling a swig from the bottle he was holding. Steadman was no longer listening the girl was drawing him towards one of the sofas like a moth to a flame, he allowed her to push him down before she straddled him then began kissing him again
Enjoy your Fun….shouted van burden through a wide grin, their was no reply, so he watched them for a few more seconds before turning away. In that instant it was if a light switch had been flicked the smile was gone and a stern eagle eye scanned the room before picking out his next target. Then the switch flicked again. The eyes sparkled the smile returned. Jonesy he shouted you son if a bitch get your ass over here. From nowhere another young girl appeared she stood silently next to him, and waited whilst he threw his arm around the man
Jonesy he bellowed how about having some fun.
When Steadman woke his head was throbbing he was alone in his own bed he didn't know how he gotten there it scared him that he couldn't remember. He reached to the bedside table and searched around for some pain relief tablets he fumbled with the packet which spilled its contents onto the floor he managed to find a strip which he shoved into his mouth. He chewed at the edible packaging then swallowed the dry powdery beads. The pain left his head immediately but he still had a nervous churning in his stomach he felt scared, he felt like something might have happened last night, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn't remember anything.
He lay in bed for long time trying to remember but it was no good. He remembered arriving at the party he remembered Vanburden asking him would he like to have some fun and then blank. He eventually decided to try and think about something else so he limply raising his hand and waving it like a wand at the TV wall before it flashed into life. He heard the familiar opening bars of LifeGiver - Second Chance the hugely popular regeneration show. The booming anthem pierced his ears, before the excited cackle of the presenter announced
Welcome to LifeGiver
This was followed by a Deafening round of applause from the packed stadium crowd the sense around sound amplified the noise and made the bedroom quake Steadman felt like he had been catapulted into the center of the crowd he waved his hand furiously to Change channels and the sound immediately subsided and was replaced to the more Somber tones of the news anchor Walter Cronkite as he reported the top news story of the morning
A grim discovery over on the East river this morning. The mutilated body of a young girl had been found, have an on site report coming up...
Steadman stomach took another role and his head began to throb again
Inspector Dexter le Roy chose to take the J train to the East river crime scene. Taking the subway may give the impression he was in no hurry to get there, but traffic in New York had become so bad that the subway was the fastest way to get around town
He wasn’t surprised to see several other members of his murder squad dotted around the carriage along with two of the CSI team and someone who Le Roy recognized from the coroners office. they all acknowledged The detective, as he walked along the train trying to find a free seat. Eventually he found a spot. He was in no mood for conversation, so he fumbled through his pockets to find his cell and began checking his messages.
the Cell was everybody's refuge. A quick glance along the carriage would have revealed long lines of bowed heads. a small pocket sized tv screen jutting out from their hands. They cell was the lifeblood that controlled people's life's. everything from bank accounts to what you would be eating for dinner Shivie Sylvester assistant crime scene DA sat in the next carriage. He was busy constructing a menu for his family he was programming the ingredients he would need, he was going through his larder and fridge inventory and remote programming his smart box cooker to prepare a family dinner whatever wasn’t available was ordered automatically and forwarded to prep central ASCO the supermarkets hot word for shopping distribution and prep meal forwarding. Taking the J meant Shivvy would have dinner ready for his wife and kids when they got home this evening.
it was also his turn to do what his wife partner liked to call the chores she was a history master and enjoyed using oldie worldly words around the house so Shivvy chores included programming the home cleaner the washer dryer and the ironer the auto air con purifier which would desensitize the house remove all bacteria and foreign bodies and the self cleaners which would diffuse and disinfect the bathrooms and toilets as well as auto clean all the externalwindows and frames. The solar chargers where set to boost for the heat and electrical storage services. He placed his daily order for cheap rate power, hopefully they'd have enough back up stored to avoid getting caught out during the surge blackouts that usually hit around the golden power hours of 4- 9. A cheap rate full charge could last around six hours and would mean a low blast bill which should help them avoid the high rate tariff for fuel and power which kicked in between these times. Shivvy was paranoid about Missing the cheap rate charge option a missed booking could mean you end up with jaw dropping weekly tariff being applied to your quarter pay.
The tabloids where always blaming the power barons for the shortages and blackouts. His wife had rold him that In the last century the black market currency was drugs and booze these days it's gaz or fuel derivatives. The power black market was so huge. The world governments introduced 'Powerbition' to try and control the demand, instead it made the problems worse. Wars were fought over fuel. The world was enslaved to the 'Powerstocracy' Those fuel rich Emirates who's corrupt new money leaders called the shots on who gets the fuel and how much they pay.
Shivvy's wife's called the multi layered business conglomerates that had gained control of the fuel markets 'The Mob' and those faceless board members were Al Capone and his pals. Shivvy didn't have clue what she was going on about sometimes but as he had to remind himself she's a history geek, who knows these things. Her job it was to teach children about the 'Future Past' This source of history teaching was based on the theory, if we can understand our past we can influence our future. Something he intended to do sometime soon. He'd like to know just how the hell we got into this mess. And more importantly who the hell was Al Capone.
By the time LeRoy and the rest of team arrived at the crime screen the news crews were already set up and broadcasting. LeRoy was considered a TV face. He'd made the lower pages of the celeb magazines which was enough to make him the departments go to guy when ever their was a particularly lurid crime.
LeRoy was particularly popular on the news hour shows he'd gotten some good reviews for his previous crime scene interviews. The Mayors office focus groups had scored him highly, and few private acting classes had raised his TVAbility rating. His own office chiefs liked to have him assigned to the high profile cases Which suited him. A good TV profile meant he 'd have a lot more choices when he looked at his options after the NYPD.
His agent had told him he had film star looks and he should always play those looks up. She also told him to always dress well, you never know who will be watching. And it wasn't a bad thing when your plastered all over the nightly news. His profile meant he had over a million subscribers to his face time TV channel, The sell on promotions and tie ins he'd attached to the site helped to give him a healthy additional income.
Fo the one off crimes being the face of the NYPD wasn't a bad thing and usually the good guys got the bad guys, but as he read the prelim report on his Cell he wasn't feeling his usual confident self. He hooked up a screen conference with the on-site team who had arrived earlier and had began examining the crime scene. He'd seen the body and a layout of the area. DNA tests had not yet identified the girl, which was unusual and had started alarm
Bells ringing. The case officer in charge had asked for verification tests because of what he called some 'anomalies'
You need to see this for yourself was the message he received from the detective in charge. Officer Hobson He was LeRoy's off screen police partner, they'd worked together on a lot of cases, it was usually Hobson who did the leg work. And LeRoy who took the plaudits. Not that he minded. He was what you called 'Old School'. He just enjoyed the work.
The detectives initial on the scene report didn't sound like good news. He was already preparing for the worst when the train arrived at the station. He bustled and barged his way into the crowd of people leaving the train. He hoped to blend in with the rest of the team but as soon as he left the carriage he was spotted, then swamped by the waiting press corp.
Anything you'd like to tell us inspector shouted Lucy Vine a reporter from NYNN the syndicated worldwide news outlet. She spoke for the four or five other on the scene crime reporters, Their cameras whirring away. All pointed at him, he tried to look studious and business like. He hurried along the platform
The press posse in tow. He then stopped for effect and turned to answer the reporters question.
Nothing yet Lucy, He was aware the camera would be looking for a good shot so he deliberately gave them his best angle, aware they would be looking for a quick passing shot for the breaking news headline teaser.
Live Air time camera reports were always time sensitive. He knew he had to have something for the on the hour headlines, so he didn't waste time posing, he needed to get a few facts and a little bit of background, just enough for a few choice sound bite quotes that would then give him a bit more time to dress the story for the big news hour that came later.
I'll be back to you at 10 to the hour with a preliminary and victim details, and I hope to have something very interesting for you later. the news stations loved a good tease,They could pad out the hour with all kinds of speculation.
The tempting tit bit got the news reporters very excited - Lucy Vine turned to camera
So breaking news and you heard it here first. Inspector Dexter LeRoy expects a break through in this case imminently. More later back to the studio..
LeRoy was about to rush off but held back when he heard The reporter finish her report.
Hey Lucy come on! He shouted grumpily.
The reporter looked non Plused,
'Hey Dexter you said it yourself something interesting..., she smiled sweetly
So wanna give me the scoop?
LeRoy smiled back
Later... He shouted as he bounded off to find his team.
Pavel and Peta Savitch waite quietly in the outer reception hall at LifeGiver International HQ. It was the companies showcase building and dominated New Time Square. The couple say nervously, waiting for their names to be called. They held each other's hands tightly as they watched the constant hustle and bustle of the building. The reception was a hive of activity several receptionist where busying themselves as a constant procession of visitors presented themselves.
Everywhere large screens beamed down life affirming images of the wonderful LifeGiver world we lived in. The sun was setting on an expansive savannah grasslands. A lazy heard of wilder beast munched on their bounty. Before switching to the miracle of birth and a doctor holding forth a new baby for a grateful mother to hold.
The Savitches watched wide eyed as the images reflected the hope and expectation they both felt. They squeezed a little bit tighter when a family portrait flashed on the screen. The happy smiling faces of several generations gathered together for the staged photograph.
Tears began to form in Peta Savitches eyes as a young girl riding a small tricycle began nervously pedaling whilst being encouraged by a loving Mother and father. Her husband seeing the tears dabbed at his wife's eyes
Courage mother he whispered
Time drifted by slowly until the appointed hour when a spritely Colby Mcgivern an Approvals Officer for regeneration referrals stood before them and pumped their hands
Welcome to LifeGiver he announced I hope this will be the day we can give a life back to you. It was the standard text book greeting for all prospective contestants. Not that they were aware of this, but it made the Savitches beam, and hold each other a little bit closer, before they burst into uncontrollable floods of tears.
As an approvals officer at LifeGiver displays of emotion such as this were normal. In fact it was positively encouraged if the family was chosen to go forward to the live TV shows. Mcgivern didn't speak. He let the couple share their moment. The Savitches had ticked the first box.
LifeGiver - Second Chance, was the number one rated reality show in the word. Its franchises were syndicated to every country, and it's audiences were in the billions. As a revenue generator it was a financial cash cow like no other.
It's premise was simple, families where nominated in the hope of having a departed relative returned to them. They would tell their story live on air before a telephone poll would choose a winning family who at the end of the show would then have their relative regenerated subject to Federal approval.
The Savitch's story was one Mcgivern had heard a thousand times before in one form or another. So It surprised him that they had reached this stage of the process. The producers has recently complained that the stories where becoming a little bit familiar and they needed some fresh new and exciting scenarios to keep the public entertained.
McGivern had reviewed their case file. Their son Peter aged five had been tragically killed in a hit and run. The car was stolen and the killer had never been caught. Sad, but not enough to excite a worldwide audience thought the approvals officer.
He continued thumbing through the notes. The families back story was interesting. They had arrived in America as political refugees, five years ago escaping from the power wars that had swept most of Eastern Europe and the Arab regions. Their son Peter had been born on the 4th July. The Couple had lost two other children in their journey to freedom.
There was then a section on why the family had been selected for suitability assessment. He was surprised when he noted the authorisation signature. Interesting he thought. Mr Vanburden was one of the LifeGiver presidents. Why would he endorse an application as straightforward as this he wondered. McGivern wouldn't normally have wasted his time with the interview, but if Vanburden is taking an interest he had to at least go through the motions. Not that he thought they had a chance, but it wasn't worth upsetting the boss.
He read through the file, trying to find reasons why Peter Savitch was under consideration to be a candidate for the show. There were photographs of the boy, he looked handsome with his deep dark piercing eyes. The family had provided lots of grainy images and short GIF's of him that would make a good supporting package. They had a short film of the boy holding his first baseball bat and blowing out candles on his birthday. Another of him playing with a puppy, all perfect images to support the families loss, and hopefully get people to pick up the phone and vote for little Peter to be given a second chance. There was also an interesting TV news piece about his birth. A reporter doing a human interest story on 4th July babies had happened to film The boy and the family highlighting their story. A patriotic Independence Day birth was always a good angle, but was it enough? He doubted it.
Mcgivern lead the couple to his office. He offered them drinks which they politely declined, then sat opposite them and began reading their file once more. The husband and wife sat close holding each other's hands. Mcgivern acted out his role to perfection. He pretended to read the pages flicking back and forward as if comparing stories. It was a game. He was not so much considering the merits of the families tragedy, his job was to assess if the mother and father where charismatic enough to be given air time on the number one prime time TV show in the world.
Satisfied he given the file enough consideration he closed it sat back and smiled.
Firstly let me say, we here at LifeGiver feel your pain and understand your loss. We meet with thousands of families who had similar stories as yours, but the good news is that sometimes we can help.
He gave them a little reassuring smile, then went back to reading their file. He was waiting for a reaction, and he wasn't disappointed. it was like they had been given a little hope. The couple had been sitting nervously, but just the suggestion that he might be able to help them made the couple move a little closer. They squeezed each other a little more tightly. The mother began crying the father tried to be strong but he began crying also he kissed mother on the forehead. They looked at one and other lovingly, smiling through the tears.
Ticked another box thought the assessor. He gave them a minute then spoke.
Please, don't get to carried away this is the early stages we still have a long way to go. I've read your story, he patted the file, then found a photograph of Peter he studied the glossy image
Poor boy, so tragic, what a waste, my heart go out to you, I know the pain never goes away. He paused again. And looked at the couple thoughtfully,As if he was undecided.
The mother and father were hanging on his every word what was he going to say, was he going to give them back their son where they really going to get a second chance?
Finally he continued...
I love your story, you should never lose a child like this, you've had to live with this tragedy for how long...he shifted through the file to find when Peter had died but before he could speak Pavel gave the answer he was looking for
five years he offered,
At the same time, he saw the date written on the papers argh yes, five years he studied the couple then gave one of those I can't believe it shakes of his head then repeated five years...I think your deserve a second chance
A little bit of him felt awful for spinning such corny lines, but marketing and his script editors said this is how he should play this out. This is what he should say, no deviations, after all this was all being recorded to possibly be used in the live shows. once suitably edited of course. And he reminded himself LifeGiver president Mr Vanburden had endorsed this application personally.
The Savitches knew nothing of this of course. Their words and responses were natural and from the heart. What they didn't know was that those responses where being monitored, In another room sat a focus group. A panel of real time observers, who were assessing their suitability. Carefully designed reaction counters were marking the couples every moment. How the panel reacted to the couple would decide their suitability to go forward to the next stage of the process.
Mcgivern deliberate pauses where to allow the panel's scores to be calibrated and fed back to him before proceeding. The production editor was directing this little drama from another studio and would guide him through the interview.
'Ok, Colby a little voice said into his ear piece. Feedbacks good, numbers are high, they got a like ability level of 8. Their a few cosmetic issues, he needs to lose some weight, she needs a tan, and new hair, but that's fixable. We are good to go for the next level, so let's go with it'
Mcgivern listened to the instructions, without any emotion. When the editor had finished speaking, he allowed himself a few seconds, then shuffled the papers in the file in front of him into a neat package. He focused on what he'd been told, then looked up and smiled, 'Now like I said if it was me, no question, he looked at the photograph again , Gorgeous kid, he said again and meant it. The kid had Holllywood 'A List looks. Pity he was dead he thought. The camera loves him.
He stood up for effect, two pairs of eyes followed him as he began to step around the desk. He settled back using his arms for support then began speaking softly and warmly
We have millions and I do mean millions of people who want to be in the position you are in today. They have lost friends and family and they want the chance to bring them back. LifeGiver Second chance gives people that opportunity, but the question is .....
He paused, again for dramatic effect, but also for future editing time should they need it. the Savitches dare not speak. After a suitable lapse and a queue from his editor, he continued, but this time his voice was a little bit firmer.
When it comes down to it what makes you different? Why should we bring back Peter ..
The question hung in the air, their was a silence in the room broken by the producer in Mgivern’s ear
'Ok pause again there Colby, no prompts let them speak when they are ready.. The assistant followed his instructions to the letter. A few seconds passed, then the editor spoke again. 'Adjust your stance and move your arm its in shot I just need a clear frontal on the family. Mcgivern casually adjusted his stance stepping slightly to one side so the hidden camera could cut close up to the now perplexed couple.
Eventually having considered the question thoughtfully, and as if on queue the husband began. He spoke slowly and stutteringly, his mid European accent added a charm to his delivery which McGivern knew the producers would like.
The Editor wasn't as impressed. As he'd hoped. 'Ok check sound the guys mumbling' he said. 'Colby do something get him to look to camera and open his god damn mouth so we can hear him.
Colby acted instantly he darted forward,
Sorry Pavel, he leaned forward and patted the man reassuringly on the shouldered them subtly pulling the man forward so straightening him up so he would speak more clearly. I have a bit if an ear infection could you just speak up a little, I know this is so important to you both and I want to hear what you've got to say
Mcgivern gave them both a comforting smile he patted the mothers hand, then moved himself back to his seat behind the desk
You where saying, he gestured to continue,
The husband acted as if he'd been told off by the director. He cleared his throat sat up a little straighter then began again
'That's better cooed the director'. Pavel was talking directly to the camera although he did t know it. His face was hard and weathered. He looked like a man who had suffered hard winters. his skin had that toughened look of the land. The director was writing lighting notes, for future use. He had that tired weary look that framed right could look fabulous. His broken English added another touch of authenticity that might endear him to a wider audience. Pity the storyline was so weak. He was going to make notes but threw down his pen. no point he thought, so he sat back and listend.
When we came to America it was for a new start. We had lost everything our home our family. We had no jobs, no money and no future, we had nothing. America took us in. Standard opening thought McGivern, who sat listening intently. He nodded when appropriate, which gave Pavel
The confidence to continue. His voice ride up a tone as he warmed to his subject. You gave us a fresh start a chance to rebuild. But then it was taken away when we lost Peter. A moment of silence was followed by a pat of encouragement from his wife. We are broken we need this. He pleaded. He leaned forward,but not so far as to spoil the shot. The Director refocused the camera, the frame was still good, so did t bother to break McGiverns apparent concentration.
Pavel was firmly holding his wife's hand. She did t acknowledge her husband, she was staring my intently at McGivern looking for a hint of approval. It made him feel uncomfortable, he chose not to look at her Incase it broke her husbands intensity. It worked. He continued, but now he sounded flat his words fading away to a whisper. After Peter was born the doctors said that Peta would not be able to have anymore children. He let the last part of his statement hang for a few seconds brushed away a welling tear and cleared his throat and sat up straight. before he spoke again. so you see this is our last chance to live the American dream as a family. His presentation complete, he sat back and hugged his partner.
Mcgivern nodded once more.Then sat back in his seat. He wanted to appear as if he was making a thoughtful and considered decision. Meanwhile the backroom assessment panel where co ordinating the focus group reaction to what they'd heard. To buy himself some time, he opened the families file again and began turning pages. It looked like he was checking facts. It was just a facade. What the Savitches didn't know was McGivern had no say what so ever. He was an actor employed for his theatrical skills.It would be a focus group who would decide if the families story was suitable to be told on TV.
The silence was broken by a voice in McGiverns ear. It was blunt and cold hearted. It's a no, they've got nothing, get them out and well hear the next story in twenty minutes, Go and get a coffee.
Mcgivern didn't respond. He gave a resigned smile closed the file and looked up at the hopeful couple. He done this do many times now, He thought he would be immune to feelings by now, but it still killed him
when he had to deliver the bad news. It should have been easier, after-all he'd expected a no just from reading the file. The story was weak, it was one he'd heard a thousand times before. The parting words of the executive producer of LifeGiver - Second Chance still ran through his head as composed himself to deliver the bad news. We need fresh stories, new angles. Get me something new today. Matt Franklin morning mantra to his team before the production crew and assessors began their daily trawl of people's sadness and despair.
Pavel, Peta, he began, Yours is a truly sad and desolate story, to lose two children, then to overcome so much to make it to America where you rebuilt your lives with your beautiful som Petet is truly inspiring for so many. It is the American dream. McGivern would often tell his friends that delivering the bad news was like clubbing a seal. He imagined the look in their eyes would be the same as he delivered the blow.
The look of hope in both of their faces could be almost to much to bare, if he hadn't seen it so many times before. Now here comes the hammer blow, he thought.
Your story like so many others whilst tragic doesn't lift you above the rest, and whilst every way you are deserving of this second chance so are so many millions of others, and because of that I'm afraid I'm going to have to say that unfortunately LifeGiver will not be able to give you that second chance.
He tried to give a consolatory smile and shuffled the file, not wanting to make any further eye contact with a now whaling mother being comforted by her equally upset husband.
Mcgivern liked to give them a few minutes to recover, he felt it was the least he could do. But not to long he wanted to grab a coffee before his next meeting, and he had to place his power order before lunch if he wanted to avoid a huge energy bill.
The wife was still head bowed weeping, as he stood hoping this would be a signal for the family to join him as he exited the office.
What do you want, said the husband unexpectedly,without looking up.
Want? said Mcgivern taken slightly aback nobody had ever offered him a bribe before.
Look Mr. and Mrs. Savitch it's not about money. Very few people in the world could afford the cost of a procedure like Life Reaffirmation. Never mind complete the very strict protocols required for the authorities. Our show looks for deserving families that have earned a second chance. We see so many deserving couples, this is just the first stage. Should you reach the televised portion, then it would be the world public who would be making the decision. He was trying as best he could to explain the realities of the television programme. You've both seen the show, you've heard their stories so you will know how difficult it is to stand out from the crowd, to make a case that would sway the voting public into giving you this gift of a life, ahead of any other worthy cause. So you see, it might seem an awfully harsh decision now, but imagine the disappointment should you get through the live TV stages, and then to be told when you are even closer that it's not going to be possible bring back your son.
He hoped he said enough. It was totally off script but he felt it summed up the reality of their situation. He made a note to raise it at the next production meeting. The script team will have to put something together. Unfortunately it wasn't enough and the Savitches sat silently staring at him. Which unnerved him.
A voice in his ear didn't help the situation. OK Colby stop playing nice we need the office back for the next interview get them out.
Look guys, he began...Like I say yours is a desperate story, but it is one of many many we hear everyday...,,,
The husband held up his hand,like a schoolboy waiting for permission to speak, McGivern stopped speaking. And allowed the interruption. What if I tell you a different story, said Pavel.
Woah woah said a surprised voice in Mcgivern ear shut the front door and sit your ass down I've got a feeling Colby.....
Hobson was standing around drinking coffee with the rest of the team when Le Roy arrived. He had no time for niceties, he was on the news clock now. Ok show me what you got. He gestured to his partner to join him, and they moved swiftly across the yard to where the dead body lay illuminated under a large arc lamp. He walked around the marked off area, then squatted down to study the crumpled naked body of the girl. He was surprised that decomposition had not yet set in. The body was marked, and he took out his pen and began probing the deep cuts on the torso.
Let's talk about the lacerations said Hobson, matter of factly. Pharensics says they where caused by nails. What like builders nails said LeRoy thinking that would explain the irregularity and depth of the tears nothing surprised him or any of his team anymore they’d all been doing this kind of thing for too long and they thought they'd seen it al when it came to how people kill. they were past being shocked
No no said Hobson they're finger nails and that’s not all DNA tests say the nails belong to a fully grown male silverback gorilla. LeRoy literally jumped, what the ....the words faded away. He was impressed.
He stood up and took a step back, he studied the jagged tears to the skin from different angles . The rest of the team moved closer to get a better look and to hear the rest of Hobson’s report
'So here's the thing, we've done two comparison DNA tests now and both have produced positive matches the scratches. They were definitely made by a silverback gorilla however, King Kong isn't the only one to leave their mark, unless he's learned some nifty knife wielding techniques. She’s had her throat slashed, the wound is clean so it looks like it was a blade, most likely a medical knife, maybe a scalpel.
And here's something else for you to think about no finger Prints anywhere the place is clean as a whistle, And if that didn't blow your socks off, No DNA match, or blood type from the body, Nothing nada zilch the girl don't exist on any database
A collective woah! Of disbelief Came from the assembled team they buzzed with the enormity if what they just heard. Not having DNA was impossible it was the structure by which we all existed, it was the string the tied the world together. but Hobson wasn't finished he spoke over the din.
And just for good measure she's been vacuum wiped clean.
Glances and puzzled looks where exchanged around the team, but nobody spoke directly to the senior detectives. They just grunted in disbelief. Then took stock considered the implications, then stared at the body in disbelief.
We'll take her back to the morgue for a micro DNA scan but looks pretty much like the same M.O. as the girl they found up in the Bronx.
LeRoy nodded he didn't respond, his body language gave nothing away. He just stood looking thoughtful for a moment before he spoke.
Ok a full visual and data scan, sweep the place again, then check it in, box it up and let's get outta here.
The team were disappointed, they wanted a reaction from the boss. Something they could join in with. Instead everybody moved away,keeping their thoughts to themselves, nobody was saying anything.
LeRoy knew what they were all thinking he'd been exactly the same just a few days ago. Hobson and Shivie Sylvester were talking quietly to each other, LeRoy gestured for them to join him away from the rest of the team.
This isn't what it seems guys said LeRoy, go with me on this and I'll explain it all later. The two men nodded and returned to the rest of the team.
Shivie Sylvester was feeling confused his role as a crime scene DA was to advice the crime team how to proceed, once the victim and the criminal had had been identified. It was pretty straight forward, everybody’s DNA was recorded and was available on a huge worldwide database. When a crime occurred the criminal could be identified pretty quickly. Even when it was a planned crime and the perpetrators, thought they could cover their tracks, by wearing gloves and overalls, they would usually be discovered, but these types of crimes where very rare, and even the most professional criminal couldn't leave a crime scene completely clean. There would be clues which would eventually be discovered by the investigation team.
Shivie's job was to make sure the correct procedures were followed at a crime scene, to ensure that once the perpetrators had been identified, an arrest could be made quickly. That meant signing off the necessary DNA subpoenas and warrants which would need to be authorised, and then made available when requested. If these processes where carried out correctly, the trial and conviction process could be concluded usually within 48hours.
The reason why most murder cases were solved so quickly and without appeal would be the infallibility of DNA as evidence. It was accepted universally that everyone has a unique DNA string. Advanced in criminal science had meant that once a suspects DNA has been identified, their trail they left could be followed. Once entered into the DNA tracking system a superpower search engine could trace the criminal and map his movements and of course his hiding place within minutes. Shivie just made sure the cops followed the rules and didn't make any processing mistakes before they picked them up. It was the sound of LeRoy's voice standing close to him that roused him from his thoughts.
Ok guys, LeRoy spoke quietly to Shivvie and Hobson so nobody else on the team could hear.
Let's keep this in-house for now said the senior officer firmly So what's going asked Shivvie inhospitable own hushed tone.
Leroy took a look around to made sure none of the other team could overhear their conversation. The reason the victim has no DNA is because she’s not human she’s a clone, same profile as the body they found up in the Bronx.
So what are we doing here, said Hobson, sounding confused. If she isn’t human why are we treating this like a murder, LeRoy didn’t have to think about an answer, because, he had asked the same question, and Luther Brock the chief coroner at GlenTech had told him. Because we don't know if the murderer knows that, Just think about what they did to her, and what she had been doing herself, she was sexually active had been drinking and taking drugs. That’s not clone behavior, that’s human behavior. The privileged officers digested their bosses answer, before Hobson followed up his first question. The other one, the one in the Bronx, was she or it, he was unsure how to describe the victims, Where they murdered the same way? Hobson struggled over his choice of words how do you describe what they had discovered. Leroy gave a nod, That would explain the crime report, continued Hobson. it said they couldn’t get a DNA trace because of a contaminated DNA reader and then they say she had an anomaly with her DNA string whatever that might mean, he looked annoyed, So it was all bullshit? One prize pile of it I’m afraid said Leroy. Moving on, he had summed it all up, Look this isn’t the kind of thing you shout about he said, we’ve got to keep this to ourselves until we can figure it out. Both men nodded in agreement, He continued, so we need comparisons, he looked at ,Hobson, I'll get on to it as soon as they’d finished here. LeRoy advised him to contact Luther Brock at GlenTech morgue and fill him in on what we’ve got, he’s aware of the situation. He turned to Shivvie, What do you think?
Shivvie had neen feeling uneasy about being on an un resolved crime scene case. Now his mind was blown. No DNA was one thing but the victim not being human. He'd never heard of anything like it. He was used to all crimes being solvable
Even back cases were being resolved. Using time elapsed DNA samples to resolve old crimes had become a business for Some enterprising ex. cops. A couple of Ex's He knew had set up a buy out team that won a contract to go through pre compulsory DNA criminal cases. They received a bounty for solving crimes, and their clear up rate was nearly 75%. Eighty year old guys in nursing homes where being pulled in for murderers they committed in their teens, But this was different, No DNA so no victim, so how can it be murder, how can you arrest someone for killing a clone? And who had the technology or the expertise to build these things in the first place.
LeRoy was thinking about what he was going to say at the press conference he was due to give shortly, He'd need authorization before he could say anything that might be at all revealing. He couldn’t tell the world that they didn't have clue who the victim was, let alone that they were clones. Time to call the boss he said to the watching officers
LeRoy had been at Glen Tech two days ago, he thought it was just going to be an informal off the record briefing about the first dead girl. Her body had Been found under the Bronx expressway in a drain tunnel. His boss captain Marine was at the meeting as was lead coroner at Glen Tech Luther Brock. Brock was recognized as a leading expert on DNA profiling and had been part of the NASA team that had pioneered life strain auto tracking. Which was a form of the old super advanced Google Earth satellite technology.
Being able to track a person through their DNA became possible when it was discovered that not only is DNA unique but it has one other personalized characteristic, it resonates it's own sound wave. A wave that once identified can be traced tracked and pinned down. It was NASA Scientist who having managed to harness these unique frequencies then went on to develop the super technology required to trace people through their DNA coordinates.
At Glen tech the two officers where taken to one of the operating rooms where the girls body lay naked on an mortuary slab. Brock was waiting and wasted little time on niceties he delivered his report concisely
The victim was of Asian persuasion she was 15 and was sexually active she had had her throat slashed and had been tied up and beaten. She had also been slashed by a Silver back Gorilla but that didn't kill her, it's my guess the monkey scratches came later. The body had been thoroughly vacuum wiped and their were no traces of any other DNA saliva or bodily fluids present.
Her blood type is a synthetic Miss -match and she has no recognizable DNA. She does have a mutated version which is neither unique or traceable in other words she is what old time police officers used to call Jane DOE - She's perfect in every way apart from one other thing, she's a clone, Now this my friends is a first....,,,,
Brock went on to give s full anatomical report on the body, How all her body parts were synthetic, from her heart to her brain all realistic in appearance but actually manufactured parts. Slicing open the brain revealed a micro computer. It had left the two men confused, so was this a murdered girl or just a broken toy asked Marine
LeRoy was remembering the meeting as he pressed Captain Marines office number
The police captain picked up and introduced himself, then waited for LeRoy to speak.
You ready for a second one, he said. He then went on to explain the circumstances of the latest murder. This is going to get us a bad bad press, said Marine. A victim, and we’ve got nobody to pin it on. its unheard off and they’ll want to know why. He chose to call them victims, because without an ID they couldn’t be anything else. He told LeRoy, He needed to bring his 'A'game, to the TV preser he was going to give in about Five minutes. They discussed options on what they should and shouldn’t say, Then LeRoy had an idea, which made Captain Marine smile.
The two men spoke for a few more minutes before LeRoy finished the call then gathered the team around the body..
Captain Marine sat silently thinking through the natures of the two most unusual crimes. Which he was 99% sure were connected. He played out the conversation he was going to have with the mayors office. We've got a killer on the loose, he would say. We’ve found bodies that would be true even if it was a little vague. Could he tell them they’re just not human?
He knew what ever he said it was going to take this case to whole new level. His conversation with the LeRoy had been Procedural they discussed how they were going to catch a killer
The conversation he was about to have with the mayors office was going to be about damage limitations avoiding bad press, was all they would be interested in. The mayors office would want to take charge of the story. This was the TV sideshow that always came with cases like this, He knew he didn’t have the time to be sidetracked so LeRoy's little story may just buy them a little extra press free time. Meanwhile he had convened his own special meeting with security experts and government special agencies for later today. Such was the significance of this crime. Cloned humans where now a part of society, but regeneration was strictly controlled. It took a DNA protocol to bring back someone who was dead, but with Synthesized DNA, that could change everything.He asked himself Is killing a regenerated clone even a murder. They had found two dead bodies, It couldn’t be just chance that the two victims would have no DNA records, Is this some kind of new age Serial killer he wondered. He flicked through the case file to date. It was incomplete, he scrolled through the data, and shook his head in disbelief, This is 2152 and we’ve got a big nothing, he was frustrated. He threw the file on to his desk. We should have at least a something he thought. he tried to reassure himself with the thought, If we can catch Jack The Ripper, we can catch this killer
The celebrated 19th century serial killer Jack the Ripper was one of the first retro DNA trials. Richard Cornwalliss the Queens physician had been identified after a DNA investigation and the partial rebirth of one of his victims Mary Kelly for a TV show back in 2100. By them DNA evidence was already infallible. Once matched it was foolproof. Such was the weight of support for the reliability of DNA It was quickly acknowledged by law makers all over the world. It became a tenant of international law. It's unique properties made most criminal processes an open and shut case.
What worried. captain Marine, was who was clever enough to create their own synthetic DNA. And who had the capacity to make their own clones. and why kill them. Even more puzzling why would they kill them as if they they were human.
Ok guys, said LeRoy gathering his team around him once more. Here's what we got. He began filling in the police team with a version of the truth, A female victim, who we cannot ID at this time because the DNA profiler is playing up and Hobson here, pointing at the on site lead detective, Hasn't bought a back up which I can't believe.
Everyone turned to Hobson, who faked remorse and played along, Sorry guys, He held his hands up in a gesture of surrender.
Hey no problem chief I've got an analyzer , we can use that. Said one of the field technicians. This took Hobson an LeRoy by surprise they looked to each other stuck for an answer, when Shivvie the on site District Atorney spoke up
When did you last have a calibration, he asked, the technician. he didn’t wait for a reply. We need daily calibrations reports on DNA field analyzers now. The guys all looked at one and other,Since when said a voice
Since now dipshit said Shivvie angrily. If the lead doesn't have DNA tester then the test is null, I ain't proceeding without an authorized tester. They all shrugged and turned back to LeRoy lolling for an overrule.
You heard the guy he said. The Inspector felt a moment of relief, but it was to be only a brief respite. He knew that they could have a new analyzer on site in minutes if they wanted.
He chose to not mention that option and continued, So here's what we got the young lady has been savagely attacked, she has numerous slashes to her body....
The meeting ended shortly after, and the team quickly bagged the body and loaded it into the Tech service vehicles that had now arrived on the scene and would take the body to the mortuary at Glen Tech. Hobson and Shivvie watched as LeRoy began addressing the assembled press teams. All the other police offered and technicians, turned to look when they heard the roar from the press corp.
Are you serious shouted Julie Vine from NYNN. Hers was just one of a brace of reporters all screaming to be heard and have their questions answered.
Hey Julie I find this as hard to believe as you do. The girl has been attacked by a Silver Back Gorilla she has huge lacerations across her body DNA tests have identified the marks.
So what your saying is King Kong's back on the loose in New York! Said another hack
Looks that way said the smiling policeman posing for photographs but ignoring the barrage of questions from a skeptical press corp.
He'd spun a story so wild it might just be true. It had gone out live on TV and a focus text would have told him he was scoring 9's. He smiled once more and with a final flourish announced
Look guys if you'll excuse me we've got a monkey to catch. A final smile a barrage of camera flashes, and he rushed away.
No sooner had he gone than the reporters turned direct to camera and began embellishing the story so far. Directors were flashing up images of Giant silverback Gorillas and of course black and white grainy images of King Kong fighting off vintage fighter planes perched on top of the Empire State Building. LeRoy's story may be a little short on truth, but it gave Him a little more time, The news channels didn't care. This story was TV gold. A manic Monkey on the loose in New York shouted the first tabloid headlines.
The on site investigation was packing up. The team had combed the area but had found nothing. LeRoy sat alone on the J train travelling back into town. He was reviewing and comparing what he had so far on the two murders, and he'd concluded their wasn't much.
His scribbled notes told him, they were cloned girls aged between 16 and 18 both had been found naked with superficial brushing on their bodies and their throats had been slashed. Apart from that the girls looked pretty healthy. Their was no signs of any physical mistreatment . Their hair and make-up was in good condition and they were clean, which told him that they hadn't been held against their will, and had been looked after. So it would appear that they hadn't been held anywhere against their will. In the hours before their death They had been sexually active. Although none of the bodies had any traces of the partners semen, or saliva, which they could identify. The bodies had also been swept and cleansed of any traceable DNA or finger prints. Which was beyond belief. On the plus side they did have the gorilla slashes which would give them something to go on, how many silver back gorillas can their be in New York State? He sent a message to Hobson..... What's the latest on the hunt for King Kong? Whilst he waited for the detectives reply, he gave himself a refresher on DNA. He found a U tube idiot guide channel and watched a short Film on the subject
It was like they said on the packet an idiot guide. The educator was trying to keep it as basic as possible. No hi res graphics. He stood in front of a old fashioned blackboard with chalk note bullet points, and stick man graphics for illustrations.
In The last 150 years breakthroughs into DNA profiling and DNA application sciences had made most genetic related illnesses a thing of the past. DNA stream science combined with stem cell genetics had made regeneration a reality. It was back 2052 that Professor Nicholas Prosser and his team had pioneered genetic DNA regeneration.
The Frankenstein formula as it had been called developed an early stage crude technique, which brought back to life recently dead rats.
Professor Prosser discovered major breakthrough was the discovery that DNA strings have a life of their own and are not controlled by the body which hosts them. In simple terms when you die your DNA lives on it has its own energy source. It took a further 50 years for scientist to be able to work out how to harness this energy and use it to recreate living human life forms.
In 2100 the firs human was resurrected or as it became known rebirthed. The birther was selected by a world wide lottery his name was Jonas Humpner he was Austrian unfortunately the shock of his rebirth and the publicity surrounding it was so much that he committed suicide two months after his regeneration, he was not brought back again.
Over the next fifty years science refined their techniques and alongside other advances in prosthetics neuro sciences, computer applications and Artificial intelligence integration. Rebirthing became an accepted medical practice Its pioneering technology although hugely expensive at first had now became commercially viable and personal regeneration is now available to buy. The LifeGiver corporation offer this service and further details are available on request. Immortality is no longer a possibility,it is a reality. The guide ended with a message from our sponsors the LifeGiver corporation. LeRoy didn't wait for the commercial. He skipped onto another short DNA info guide. He fast forwarded through the intro. He stopped scrolling when he saw an image of a map with a flashing light. A voiceover was explaining something.
One of the most profound discoveries in DNA science techniques and tracing was the ability to identify an individuals location from their unique genetic source code. The resonating code was like a homing beacon. Once a strings frequency and resonance was identified, it's location could be traced then cross referenced onto a map. Once a DNA string has been logged it is stored in huge data capture vaults. LeRoy began smiling when he heard the next part. These records are kept under the tightest of security and are very rarely accessed, except under circumstances of great importance. And when every other option of locating a person has been exhausted. LeRoy realised this last bit was only included to satisfy the civil liberties groups, who constantly complained about infringements on their personal rights. LeRoy knew these databases where accessed a thousand times a day. In New York alone.
The problem was the general public. They didn't realise just how much safer they were thanks to DNA tracking. They wanted their city to be crime free and safe but didn't like the idea of being under constant surveillance. LeRoy agreed with the arguement but had come to realise you can't have one without the other.
Nothing had raised as much debate in society as the the science of genetics. It was considered to be dangerous and anti-religious by many. Apart from the implications to civil liberties. Their was long drawn out court cases which ended up at the world courts. After years and years of arguments, it was finally agreed that whilst the logging and recording of peoples DNA would take away the rights of the individual its benefits to society outweighed the arguments against it and so should be sanctioned as a legal and lawful.
The use of DNA records came to a head In 2075 after the pan African food wars that spilled over into parts of southern Europe. The world council led by the big 5 nations of the USA China Russia India And Brazil agreed that as part of restoring order and restricting cross border terror travel. They would sanction two things. Firstly they took over the running and monitoring of the worlds financial and banking systems. And secondly they made the sharing of DNA profiling and personal data records compulsory. These two monumental decisions had massive repercussions for the world security. Previously each country had been responsible for the capture and storage of their own DNA records. The sharing of this information began once it was made compulsory for anyone wishing to travel to any of the big 5 countries to make their DNA available. The big 5 then shared this information with each other. Who then encouraged the satellite states under there spheres of influence to share the DNA record for all their citizens. Within ten years 75% of the world population was DNA secure. That was how they described how everyone’s genetic code was being recorded. The next stage was for it to become compulsory for all new born children to have their source code recorded at birth. Within a generation 99% of the worlds population had their unique DNA profile recorded.
The benefits of DNA capture quickly began to produce benefits for society such as no longer needing to have any physical form of ID. No more passports or photos or passwords. bank cards became obsolete . Technology firms designed low cost DNA scanners, such as the Iscan which allowed all kinds of businesses to incorporate DNA technology into its processes. Banks and savings societies under the watchful eye of the world council were able to regulate accounts using only the account holders DNA sampling as ID. Within 5 years all accreditation and identification was centered on DNA ID analysis. This central financial control helped put an end to Petty bank fraud which disappeared almost overnight, In everyday life those constant requests for passwords and different forms of ID which were asked for billions of times every day became obsolete. The benefits were immense. Not only to the individual but to the state. Regulated identity control put an end to credit card fraud, which freed up huge reserved assets for productive investments. The black economy disappeared when paper money was withdrawn. Your DNA was your access to your funds and bank accounts. You paid for and bought everything through a scan of your DNA. This was the only recognised form of ID you needed.
As the technology flourished the applications it could be applied to became endless. skin scanners became the only accepted method of payment. A portable Iscan swiped across your flesh was all that was needed your source code was matched via the super band highway and then cross referenced to your bank account the money was debited the seller received the green light ( that was the buzz phrase you heard a thousand times a day) and the sale was complete. the paradox for society was that as the control of the state over the individual become tighter, so society became freer
What became apparent was that money truly had been the root of all evil. As personal wealth became more transparent, Their was no point hiding it away under the mattress or in off shore bank accounts The state controlled all forms of banking. They knew everything about you and about your finances. All transactions were recorded stored and monitored If you had it it could only be through hard work or good business and there was A DNA trail to prove it and that trail was monitored 24 7 by the most sophisticated super computers, who micros managed and controlled every aspect of your life. The state had been in control for so long now that the majority of people neither knew nor cared. Life for most people was good. Their was no longer any need to question why or how. The original concept of Big Brother had long been consigned to the dustbin.
The info guide ended just as The J train pulled into Leroy’s station, His phone flashed with his final reminder to purchase his power requirements for the day warning of the excess charges. There was a link to reserve his power therms, he was about to connect, then two incoming flashes distracted him. One told him the dead girls body had arrived at GlenTech. The other told him they'd found the monkey. The power order would have to wait. He pocketed his phone and hurried to find the subway exit.
Steadman was on call hold, he had been waiting for a connection for over forty five minutes. A reassuring voice would regularly break through the transcendental mood music reassuring the caller that Senior Vice President Vanburden was aware he was waiting and would connect with him as soon as possible.
His in house TV network was still set to mute. Steadman stared at the screen blankly. The grainy black and white images of a giant model monkey swatting at planes whilst holding a semi clad young women, wasn't registering with him. He was nervously biting his lip, he could taste blood in his mouth, but he didn't stop. He was angry at being kept waiting so long by Vanburden.. The synthesised voice was making him even more frustrated He wanted to hear a human voice, or at least an operator, who he could berate with 'Don't you know who i am'. But the telephone system wouldn't give him the opportunity. This was a state of the art communications systems human contact was not required. A soulless robotic LifeGiver voice softly announced on first connection that a message was delivered instantly to the recipient of the call and he had acknowledged your presence, and would appreciate your patience in waiting.
Steadman didn't know how much longer he could put up with this. His nerves were shot, He was on his third draft of an XL pain relief sedative. Despite its claim, to be the ultimate relief for all health problems. His mind was in still in overdrive, so many questions, so many bad bad thoughts. It was more than a hangover. He'd gotten drunk at the 'Get Togethers', before, but he'd always remembered how he got home. No matter what state he had been in, he would take a powder and come the morning he'd be fresh and alert, the drink and drugs completely flushed from his system. He'd also have a clear recollection about what he had done the night before, no matter what. But this morning was different. No amount of drugs could make him feel better or remove the uneasy feeling he had about what he may have done the night before. The music stopped and the voice once more repeated it's apologies on behalf of Mr Vanburden. The niceties of how important hisu call was only made him angrier.
If it so important answer the fucking phone he bellowed before launching the phone across the room, in a furious rage.
VanBurden noted the flashing on hold green light blink one last time, then go dark. Steadman's face had disappeared from the screen. Vanburden gave a smile of satisfaction, this was turning into rather a good day he thought. He slipped the portable into his pocket and turned his attention back to the large screen on the far wall of the conference suite. The other executives looked to him for a reaction. He cracked a large smile then stood up
Ladies and gentlemen I think we just hit the mother load.
He beamed at the image of Pavel and Peta Savitch frozen on the screen.
I think we should watch that again he said
The lights in the conference room dimmed and the images on the screen came to life.
Pavel and Peta Savitch shifted uneasily, Pavels arm was hooked around his wife's shoulders, she had nuzzled in tightly to the nook of her husbands shoulder, and was dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief.
Ok, said an unseen voice, we are ready
The now familiar voice of Colby Mcgivern began speaking.
So Pavel, you say you have a story you would like to tell us
The couple shared a look that said so much about how close they where. They didn't speak, it was the unspoken gestures that revealed the depth of their feelings for each other, he tenderly removed his arm from around her body and she caressed his face. As he freed himself from their embrace. A watching audience would find it hard not believe that their's was a deep and honest shared love.
Free from Peta embrace, Pavel began speaking to his inquisitor. Slowly and thoughtfully the camera still hidden began closing in to a tight shot of his head an shoulders
The watching boardroom audience sat silently as the unfolding drama began. It was Vanburden who spoke in a hushed tone, to anyone who might be listening. I like the camera work here, anyone know who's directing this he's really catching a mood.
A voice spoke from the darkness
Send him a well-done note and bottle of something from me will you said Vanburden appreciatively
Will do said the voice
Back on the screen Pavel Savitch looked nervous, he wasn't speaking he looked like he was in prayer. He was summoning up the courage to say what had to be said, Peta his wife reached forward gently squeezed his hand and whispered softly, 'Tell him Pavel,it will be ok.' He gave her a little nod of appreciation, and squeezed her hand a little tighter. It seemed to be the spur he needed. He nodded once more this time it was more to reassure himself that what he was about to do was the right thing. He gave his wife a final smile, then looked across the desk to Colby McGivern and towards what was supposed to be a hidden camera and began his story.
'People say they would do anything for love,' he paused his voice was croaky a little dry. He swallowed then reached forward and took a sip of water. The drink did the trick, his voice was clearer now. but would they, he looked at McGivern and paused, as if giving the audience the opportunity to consider the question. Would you? He motioned to his inquisitor sitting opposite, McGivern didn't respond. He was an actor by trade he knew how to use silence to draw out the dramatic tension of the occasion. It also looked like he was considering the idea and it allowed him time to give the question the gravitas it deserved. A watching audience would also be giving the question their own consideration, satisfied he'd milked the moment enough he finally replied
'This is your time Pavel the world need to hear your truth...,'
'A sharp response, I like this kid who is he again,'said VanBurden.
Colby Mcgivern, came answer.
He's doing a good job....complimented VanBurden A fine job
Back on screen Pavel took his queue. And continued.
Back in our home country we had a beautiful life we had jobs a home and two beautiful daughters Mischa and Elsa. He paused then repeated the word, 'Beautiful' very softly.
His eyes stared into the distance, as his mind drifted back to happier times. Before snapping back to the present. His wife still sat silently her head bowed the handkerchief playing across her face as she continued dabbing at her eyes.
When the war came it was quick it took everybody by surprise, ours was a peaceful country, we where oil rich I was an engineer, we had a good life. But people became frightened when money became outlawed, the people became angry, we were set in old ways. The introduction of DNA banks was a bad thing. It was like we had everything taken from us overnight. It was a crazy time, lots of people believed they had no future how could they live without money, they did not understand. The Army of Allah seized their opportunity. They became strong very quickly, and the country fell apart it seemed like it was over night. My Government like many others didn't care about the people they where only concerned about protecting their fuel. The Army of Allah didn't care either, they were brutal. They demanded that everybody join them or face the consequences. The ordinary people could either stay where they where and join the rebels or flee and those that ran and were caught were killed....If they were lucky
At this point the programme director prompted the interviewer to get more details
Cory Mcgivern interrupted politely
Pavel, could you explain what you meant when you said, if they where lucky?
Pavels voice became angrier the bitterness in his voice was obvious
Pause it, said Vanburden Let's have some background on the Army of Allah.
A moments silence then a voice spoke up from the darkness.
Ok so here's a potted history and I'm paraphrasing....the voice stuttered as he picked through the important points
The army of Allah was as a throw back to those despot fanatical armies that flourished in the last century.... Their leader was a man called Ramal Khan He was a grade one psychopath a charming intellectual. He believed he was the re incarnation of the prophet, Aren't they all someone else quipped. The reader wasn't put off and he continued.... he claimed he was here to complete the Jihad that had raised hell in the last century. he demonised the West, as you would expect. Anybody who didn't join his cause paid the price. It's estimated he was responsible for the death of over five million people. Says here he would murder for effect, their was no depths he wouldn't sink to get what he wanted. He enslaved whole regions of the Middle East and Eastern Europe before he was killed in a targeted drone strike ten years ago. The army just fell away after his death stability returned to the region. About five years ago. The army of Allah still exists but it's tucked away safe in some god forsaken regions of Pakistan and old Russia. The last thing we have was a video message a few weeks ago. It's the usual stuff. They still claim that the Army of Allah is ready to strike again. Blah blah blah... They say they are waiting for Ramal Khan the Messiah to return. Blah blah blah That day will be very soon they are telling their followers to be ready.more blah and that's about it he finished.
There was a moment of silence before VanBurden said tetchily ok let's get on with this, press play somebody
Pavel began speaking again
It's so easy to say that you would do anything for the ones you love, but when it comes to it and you have to make choices.' He stopped speaking, and as if he knew the camera was there all the time, he looked hard down the lens. After a long uncomfortable pause, he began again.
Life was good we lived well. That was until the bombings began. Then Everybody was scared. The police and the army just disappeared . He looked shocked by this. how could they he asked. It was if he knew he was being filmed, He looked straight to camera his eyes pleading, How could they do that just leave us...He was addressing the camera directly now. The watching audience in the LifeGiver boardroom were loving it. .What are you supposed to do when somebody turns up in the middle of your town and then blows themselves up, When you get a phone call telling you your friends and family are dead, That your brother has lost both his legs in an explosion......Why? For what .......What had we done to these people....Pavel was shaking his head in disbelief. He took another sip of water then resumed his story. Everyone was to scared to leave their homes. So we waited hoping that it would all end that they would go away. But it didn't. Then they came this army of Allah, but they were not an army, they were boys, they would just take over a village at a time and kill all the men and boys who refused to join them. He paused once more as if for effect. His voice lowered as if he didn't want anyone to hear the next part. The men where lucky.....For the women and children it was far worse.
The women became slaves. just their for the pleasure of these boys, he sounded bitter now, . They didn't care. I heard what they did to the women and the young girls and even the children and it was was truly terrible. His faced had turned ashen as if he couldn't believe himself what he knew to be true. He had to pause he looked so shocked by what he had revealed.
His faceless inquisitor allowed him a short time then asked softly and sympathetically
So is that what happened to Mischa and Elsa.
Van Burden got a little annoyed at this, ... dam him for that he bellowed, that was a beautiful moment, he should have milked it, the guy was doing a great job making great TV, he didn't need to be prompted. See if we can edit that out,
somewhere in the room a secretary was scribbling notes.
Ok let's go... The tape resumed.
The prompting brought Pavel back, he began speaking quietly once more
Finally they came to our town, we all knew about what they had done. A friend called us and told us that Peta mother and sister had been killed, in a way that was a relief it meant they wouldn't suffer. My father and brother had disappeared probably dead, everything was happening so quickly, people just packed up and fled. We did the same. First we went to the mountains, people said the army would come soon and take back our town. So we waited, and yes their planes bombed the town, again and again, we watched until their was no town left. And still their flags flew above the mosques, and from shells of buildings. The Planes kept attacking the town but no soldiers came to take it back. Eventually their was nothing left and the bombings stopped. Then out they came from their shelters the Army of Allah They crawled out like cockroaches from what was left of our beautiful town and began their march to the next one. And so we moved on also. We stayed ahead of them. But it became more difficult, food became short then my beautiful children became sick....
Pavel reached forward and took a drink from the bottle in front of him. Nobody else spoke, his watchers allowed him to gather himself for the next part of his story. Satisfied, he put the bottle down and resumed. The water had cleared his throat and their was a renewed clarity to his voice
A driver we met took pity on us and offered us a ride to Presnow on the coast. It was one of the protected ports. It was a power port. so it was heavily fortified. The army of god where massing for a major attack on the city I remember driving through the mountains and seeing the port laid out before us. It looked untouched. Huge tankers lined up in the bay waiting to dock and collect their precious cargo's a flight of attack helicopters buzzed our wagon, they hovered ready to obliterate us. We were an easy target. And we expected to be blown to pieces at any moment. But the driver had made this run a thousand times he stopped then came to us were we where crouching and pulled at our daughter Mischa, leave her she's sick I roared but he took no notice and continued to drag my little girl out of the wagon. We both pulled at the child to claw her back but he continued grabbing at her. then his partner appeared a loaded weapon in hand he pointed it at us and roared at us to leave her it's good! He said, We had no choice we had to trust, reluctantly we let go and Michas limp body was dragged away from us . Once at the doors, he arranged her body and carefully lifted her from the truck. We didn't understand what he was doing until he raised her lifeless body into the air and turned to the squad of predator helicopters waiting for the command to attack. He looked to the sky's and raised her body a little higher as if making some king of sacrifice. He stood motionless for several minutes, before the drone from the copters engine grew louder. They swept towards us we gathered together and held each other tightly thinking this was the end, the engines roar became deafening as the swept over the top of us then began to fade as they flew away towards the mountains. The driver and his partner roared with laughter they turned back to the open doors and pushed the still lifeless Mischa back along the floor.
We are safe now he growled then slammed the doors shut. We raced to our little girl but she had a fever and was still unconscious. mercifully unaware of what had just happened.
When we stopped again the driver became more talkative he told us he had used our sick children to help him with his smuggling business, that's why he hadn't charged us any money. The army thought we where making a mercy trip to save our little girls. He warned us to do as we where told, if we where stopped again and they didn't believe us we'd all be shot. We of course obeyed and played Along with the drivers scam. When the army did stop and search us there could be no denying that Mischa and Elsa where both very very sick so they waved us through. A few hours later we reached our destination.
It was obviously to anyone watching that the story was becoming difficult to tell now. Pavel looked shaken. He took another drink and tried to compose himself once more. He turned to his wife for reassurance, she gave him a comforting smile and reached out and drew him to her chest.
The watching producer allowed the emotion to play out it was all good television and only added to the drama. When finally Pavel had recovered he kissed his tearful wife and reassured her,
it will be good, he whispered before he turned back to face the man who be believed held his Fate in his hands.
He nervously began to tell the final part of their story.
Once In town, the driver must have felt guilty about his deception and said he really did want to help us now. Out beautiful children where close to death, he gave me an address and told me to go and see a man who could help us to board a ship. I searched the town. When I found the man he wasn't interested he told me to go away, however when I told him who had sent me he agreed to help. I had gone alone to our meeting fearing it might be a trap. So I told him of My wife but not our children, he said to come back later and he would see what he could do. We found a deserted warehouse close to where we would meet, and we made our children as comfortable as we could. The girls were still very Sick but I comforted my wife with the news and that the ship would probably have a doctor who could look after our family and make them well.
He had to pause whilst he wiped his eyes he wanted to compose himself, before he continued. Once he was feeling in control he continued, We sat waiting for the hour of our meeting, we were cradling our two beautiful daughters they looked so peaceful. It was then that Peta told me she was expecting another baby I was so happy, it was the first good news we had in a long time. We huddled together and made plans for our future. When it was time to go to our meeting I was very scared, we had decided we must tell our new friend the truth. I thought he would understand, But when I told him about out two daughters he said he could no longer help us. He could get us a passage for two people on a Super Fuel Tanker that was sailing to to America, but only two places, no more. He was firm, even when I begged him And I offered him everything I owned. He said be couldn't help us the decision was final either we take it or leave it. He grew angry he said there where thousands of people who would pay a great deal for those places. He said He was doing this as a debt to an old friend, and now that the debt had been honored he no longer cared. I begged him and eventually he said he would give me one hour. The ship left in two hours, but if we did not return in time he would offer the places to someone else.
There was now total silence in the conference suite, the audience had been hanging on every word they heard. That was until Vanburdens phone began flashing and the moment was broken. all heads snapped back and looked in his direction. Steadmans face illuminated the screen a message said he was on Hold - dam, thought VanBurden. Carry on he yelled.
Pavel was trying to continue but he was speaking more slowly now, the swelling volume of tears making his words difficult to understand he tried to brush the tears away but they just kept coming. Reliving what happened next was becoming difficult. His wife learned forward and held him. Then she let him go and she whispered, let me. He turned to her to say something but it was to late Peta had began speaking to the invisible camera
She sat forward and wiped away her own tears and began, her voice had a defiant tone her thick eastern European accent was hard edged and strong her broken English fighting it's way out.
When Pavel told me what had been said. I was frozen with fear. We had been through so much now this, it was like a huge weight had been dropped on me I couldn't breathe. I had never known a feeling like it. Pavel said we cannot go it was all four of us or none. I reminded him there would be five of us now. We had our little Mischa and Elsa so weak and dying, and then their was the new life growing inside me. A life that had never known war or fear, who had never been scared or hungry. It was a new life, a life still full of hope. My poor babushkas even though so young had known and seen so much, now they where going to die. If not tonight then very soon. They could not live much longer not like this. They had been sick for so long, they had not eaten for days, they were weak so so weak. I knew they would die very very soon. And Yet my baby could live, could have a chance, Pavel had been told only two us could have passages but there could be three of us.
Then Peta stopped, and nobody spoke. It was an almighty crushing silence. It was the silence that came before some monstrous revelation.
What Peta said next didn't disappoint.
So I removed the pillow that was supporting Mischa's head. She didn't notice it gone she remained still and at peace. I kissed her tenderly and held her for the last time. Pavel did the same. We said a prayer, then I placed the pillow over her face and pushed down. She moved slightly at first, then relaxed and within a minute it was done. We did the same to Elsa only this time it was Pavel who pushed down on the pillow. When it was done. Our two beautiful girls were finally at peace.
It was like that massive weight Peta had talked about earlier had been lifted, she had relived the story and finally told someone their awful truth. Her tears where flowing freely Pavel sat with his head in his hands. But Peta found the strength to finish the story
She took a deep breathe composed her self and continued. This time in a more matter of fact tone
We covered the bodies in newspapers clothes and blankets and set fire to them. Then we gathered our things and went to face our future. Six weeks later we arrived in New York and our beautiful baby boy was born and our new life began.
The Savitches story now told. It was the watchers turn to cry. The boardroom was filled with tears. Vanburden turned his attention to his team. He watched dispassionately as they shared tissues or blotted at their eyes. after an appropriate silence a voice speaking into Colby’s hidden earpiece broke the moment.
Ok guy come back now. Easy don't be to hasty in your reactions, but just so you know that was the most fucking amazing LifeGiver story I have ever heard. It was just off the scale and we've got it all on film. Colby accepted the compliment without comment. He breathes deeply and tried to get his racing heart back to somewhere approaching normal. The voice in his ear spoke again.
Now thank the couple tell them their story was tragic and how much you appreciate their honesty. You need to give us some time to pass this on upstairs. Offer them some food and drinks. I’m going to get you out of there and get some of the hospitality team to come and keep them company, Nobody else knows apart from you me and the crew, so lets keep it that way, he said firmly. We need to talk to management and get this processed as soon as. He finished with a 'final Good job guy'.
All those sitting in the board room heard the off camera conversation and VanBurden echoed the compliment. Good job indeed
The lights in the boardroom came back on. There was a buzz about the room. The reactions from those assembled was electric. Some were stunned, so shocked by the revelations they had just heard. Others were buzzing with anticipation, these were the commercial types, the ones who could see the advertising revenue they could generate from such a controversial storyline.
VanBurden felt the frisson and he liked it. He stood up and gave a broad smile, everybody turned to look at him. He pointed at the screen and the frozen image of the Savitches, The mother load ladies and gentlemen the mother load. He purred softly.
Steadman slumped to the floor. The monkeys that seemed to be permanently on the TV were annoying him he waved his hand towards the TV wall. The channel changed and a repeat cycle of Celebrity LifeGiver was just beginning. The muted opening credits where rolling through, A montage of formerly dead celebrities passed across the screen. The format never changed A photograph of their former self, was followed by them appearing newly rebirthed. They spun around theatrically before beaming a broad cheesy smile. Then holding the pose for the obligatory photo opportunity, followed by the wild gesturing and fake air kisses as they walked down a huge catwalk to the rapturous applause of the assembled crowd.
First on screen was Timothy Spendly a celebrated clothes designer. His flamboyant dress sense and decadent lifestyle had made him a gossip column favourite, before his death twenty five years ago. His grizzly murder, had been a feast for the tabloids. He had been kidnapped by an obsessed fan. Such was his notoriety that there had been a worldwide manhunt. It was three weeks before his rat eaten body was found in an abandoned warehouse out on New Yorks East East River. DNA profiling had captured the kidnapper very quickly, but he had hung himself before he could tell the authorities, where he was keeping his captive. The case had gained notoriety after police had complained that if they had been allowed to administer the now legal Pentothal V truth serum, they could have saved Timothy Spendly's life. They claimed the drug was so effective he would have probably revealed where the body was before he took his own life.
After the outcry over the death of the much loved designer. The demand for using truth drugs in criminal matters became overwhelming. The use of truthers as they were called became legal and admissible evidence in court cases. Pentothal V was at the time the recognized standard for truth accessibility. Within five years It was on the world statute books and accepted internationally as a source for identifying the truth.
Once truth drugs became admissible evidence, in courts of law, it wasn't to long before it began to be used in everyday life. Businesses wanting to establish if people were telling the truth about themselves on their application forms or when the applying for finance would have to agree to having a 'truther ' administered. Such was its efficiency it had a 99.99 correction evaluation. It had become common practice for a truther test to be part of any dispute or adjudication. Job interviews, family disputes. All could be settled by taking the truther test. Its application had been refined to a simple finger pulse applicator applied a thin layer of the solution to your skin, which once absorbed, not only monitored your blood flow and serotonin levels, it also detected adrenalin and heart rate anomalies which indicated to within 0.01% if you were telling the truth. Its results were so spectacularly accurate It was declared unbeatable. The best minds both criminal and logical on earth had tried and failed. Meanwhile for three weeks Timothy Spendly's had remained chained to a wall. Finally his decomposing rat eaten body was found. However none of this was apparent to the excited audience. They cheered their former idol now restored to good health and looking better than ever.
Thanks to the advances in prosthetics the reproduction quality of the former designer was a perfect copy in every way. Scientific aging had identified that 25 was his optimum regeneration age. This meant that the rebirthed Timothy Spendly now walking down the catwalk to the applause of the crowd, had never looked better. He had been restored to an age when he was in the prime of his life.
Laura Pearson from the Rebirthing Authority stood watching from the wings. The terms of the contract between the Authority and the LifeGiver organisation was quite specific and binding. All the celebrities regenerated had a limited extended lifespan. In this case. Two months. This was the length of the TV series. After that time the regeneration protocols which had allowed the celebrities to be rebirthed would be switched off. In other words the celebrities would be put back to everlasting sleep, or returned to their resting states as the Regeneration liked to call the process. Of course this was carried out under the most intense of security blankets. In no way we're the celebrities to know or to be advised of their limited rebirth. In fact it was Pearson’s job to literally pull the plug should any of the chosen ones show any sign of the rebirth having an adverse effect on them or any of their family or friends.
Laura Pearson's role was to oversee The contract of approval for the rebirth. The approval process for celebrities was long and intense. Their had to be ethical reasoning for allowing the regeneration. As part of her job at the Rebirthing Authority, she was responsible for preparing an evaluation of the nominated candidate, before passing her approval recommendations to her immediate superior who in this case was Steadman. Who would then carry out a further evaluation before delivering a final decision on the suitability of rebirthing the candidate.
Laura viewed the spectacle of Celebrity LifeGiver - second chance with disgust. It had turned possibly the greatest most life enhancing process ever discovered into a lurid game show. Had those pioneers of genetic sciences envisaged when they made their earth shattering discoveries that one day it would be used to regenerate amongst others a clothes designer a failed comedian and a host of other non descript nonentities. She became angry when she saw the list of candidates. There was a mountain of potential subjects who she would have loved to be seen given the opportunity to be rebirthed. Yet her boss Steadman had over ruled her recommendation and agreed to authorise the regeneration of Jazzie Fernando an adult film star. She raged when she confronted her boss. How was someone like her given the opportunity to be born again, she had argued furiously with her superior. After her decision to reject the application for Fernanodo's rebirth, had been overruled by her superior. Steadman had tried to explain that whilst accepting her argument that rebirthing had to reflect the cultural history of our civilization. Those chosen had to be from a wide and diverse pallet, and encompass the many different strands of our past. The short period of rebirth should reflect our society. Blah blah blah she paraphrased in her head the rest of Steadmans flowery prose as he tried justifying why a stripper should get a call back.....- Horse shit she thought....
She couldn't watch anymore and turned away as the thunderous applause greeted the semi naked star as she tottered down the catwalk in a pair of unfeasibly high shoes. . She smiled to herself when she thought bitchily that actually their wouldn't be much work required to bring it back the former silicone enhanced showgirl. She was nearly 90% plastic before she passed anyway any how Meow...
Van Burden spent the next few hours tying up the legalities of having the Savitches on the Live shows. When he was satisfied all the arrangements and clearances were in place, and the final members of his team
We're ushered out of his office, he poured himself a large glass of 100 year old 'celebration' Bourbon. He settled back into his arm chair and savored the first mouthful, a satisfying taste if ever their was one he thought. He nestled further into his chair and stretched out his legs across his desk. He checked his watch it was two fifteen AM he gave rye mischievous smile, time to call Steadman he thought.
Steadman hadn't moved. He was slumped against the wall of his apartment, he'd slept fitfully for most of the day, he didn't have the will or the energy to get himself up and go into work. He had phoned his office and made a feeble excuse about having to organize a new power supplier and needed to do comparison checks, he wanted to make sure he got the best deal.
Nobody had questioned his absence, Why would they, he was the boss. He only answered to first Council ministers and as they were elected they relied totally on his intimate understanding of Regeneration for their decisions. Knowledge is power they used to say. And what Steadman Knew, made him indispensable to the ministry. Not that he ever abused his position. And yet he kept asking himself with all this power and authority why was he sitting in the dark feeling scared.
What was he frightened of. What had he done? He was trying to remember anything he could about last night when his phone began vibrating
The ping made him jump, he saw the face of the caller and pressed the answer button. Steadman you son of a gun, chortled Van burden. Apologies for the lateness of the call but you'll never believe the day we've had. He was racing through his words the excitement obvious - We've struck LifeGiver gold today son, I can't wait for you to hear the story and meet the family.
Steadman listened but didn’t respond all he could hear was Vanburden prattling on outlining some tale he didn't care about, Steadman hadn't activated the Face time screen, so it was just the hollow voice that echoed through the apartment. Hey buddy switch on your camera so I can get a peak at your ugly mush, drawled the cowboy.
He didn't switch on the camera but he did begin speaking. I've been trying to call you he said monotone. Vanburden wasn't apologetic at all. I know son but like I say I've been busy as hell. he paused but hey buddy I'm here for you now so how can I help.
Tell me about last night ? It was Vanburdens turn to pause, it was a long deliberate silence, if Steadman had chosen to switch on his FaceTime screen he would have seen the cat who'd gotten the cream Vanburden sat contentedly looking out of his window at the brightly light city landscape and smiled.
When LeRoy arrived at the old Dock yards, there wasn't much of a crowd. He spotted the news crews and skirted their cordon to avoid any questions. He tried to blend into a group of dock yard security guards standing around talking and drinking coffee. Thinking he hadn't been recognised, he made his way to the police line and hopped over the barrier a watching officer saw him and illuminated him with his torch. He shouted for him to hold it right there. This drew the interest of the news crews. When they saw it was the familiar face of LeRoy they raced towards him shouting for a statement. The officer also got closer and recognising his superior, he apologised and gestured for him to carry on, LeRoy thanked the cop and quickly walked away, ignoring the press Corp shouting his name.
He saw the arc lights from the field team. Hobson was crouched over the body of the dead silverback. Several other officers where searching the area for any clues or DNA traces.
He's a big son of a bitch isn't he said LeRoy. Over Hobson's shoulder. The officer looked back awkwardly, So who killed the monkey said a smiling Leroy. Hobson returned to studying the huge bulk of the dead silver back. He was examining the gapping wound in its neck, he shrugged probably the same guy who killed the two girls, same M O, He cut the big guys throat. Leroy was impressed with the killers handy work, how do you garrote a monster like King Kong he asked, he hunched down and joined Hobson, then did his own examination of the slain apes wounds.
Hobson thought he had the answer.
You get him off his face on drugs then he's just a big baby....LeRoy stopped his examination, You telling me someone drugged the silverback first then cut his throat.
Hobson shrugged, why else would you give a monkey drugs. LeRoy went back to studying the beast, no prints I suppose, correct said Hobson, how about witnesses? Another shake of the head, one of the uniformed officers walked over to them, Hey guys he shouted, got someone who say they saw the motor that dumped the ape. The two detectives looked surprised, Well what do you know said a smiling LeRoy. Did it have any markings? Asked Hobson, the policemen checked his notebook. They said it was government, they thinks it was the Regeneration Authority
Steadman sat in Vanburdens outer office, the meeting was supposed to be at eight he'd been there since just after seven it was now nine fifteen. He'd gone from feeling sick with worry to being furious at being kept waiting. The only thing that kept him calm was watching a group of young children playing contentedly in the play area on the other side of a plate glass wall separating the offices. The children all dressed alike looked to be aged between two and four. If the children were making a noise Steadman couldn't tell, but they seemed happy. They where peacefully at play. He wondered why LifeGiver would have a crèche on the executive floor of their prestigious world headquarters. Maybe like the images of wild animals and Arctic tundra’s that lined the walls and billboards. The children were just another tool to promote their corporate goodness.
He was so engrossed he didn't notice Vanburden standing over him. 'Fascinating ain't they champs' he said softly. Steadman was taken by surprise and jumped with a start. 'You said eight' he growled accusingly. 'Since when have you been one of the time police', Vanburden jokingly replied. As Steadman stood up a huge Texan arm folded around his shoulders and pulled him tight, then guided him towards his office he leaned in close and said quietly Quite a night wasn't it, hope you had a lotta fun......
Colby Mgivern sat in a large spacious office with LifeGiver second chance Vice President Ted Burstyn and his production team and last but not least the Savitches
Burstyn handled the formalities,
Mr. and Mrs. Savitch or may I call you Peta and Pavel. I'm Ted Burstyn I'm the Vice President of LifeGiver second chance. You know Colby he said gesturing towards the now familiar face who had first spoken to the family, and these other group of reprobates he waved his hand towards the assembled team scattered about the room are my and shortly to be your support team.
The Savitches gave each other a hopeful smile.
Burstyn acknowledged this and gave a little smile of his own before continuing
Let me begin by saying what tragic but wonderful story you told to Colby yesterday. I have to say that when we watched the playback the whole team where in tears.
A collective nod went around the room. Before he carried on.
Yours was the kind of story we wanted to tell on Second chance, and families like yours are the kind of people the we at LifeGiver want to give a second chance too.
To Peta and Pavel this was like hearing that they had the winning numbers on the lottery. They jumped up and hugged and cried then hugged again before rushing across the room and hugging the VP which made him cry as well. Then Colby Mgivern was dragged in, before they began hugging each other once more.
Burstyn allowed them their moment, he was enjoying their happiness as much as they were.He was unlike most of the execs at LifeGiver who saw Second Chance purely in financial terms. If the Savitches story could increase the company’s turnover, then shareholders would cry their own tears of joy. With Burstyn it was different, he understood business and the importance of profit, but he could also appreciate human emotion. What was a money spinning TV show to some was a chance to give back and do good to him. Seeing the couple sitting opposite looking so happy was his money in the bank.
Before he could let the family become to emotional he pulled the meeting back to some kind of order.
Now business like he continued, We dint have much time until the live show is to be aired, and I have to tell you, whilst I think your is a very strong and emotional story, you have some pretty stiff competition from all over the world. Let's me start explaining to you the format of LifeGiver Second chance
He looked towards his assembled team and singled out a pretty young girl named Lucy to explain the show.
She stood up smiled then addressed the couple.
Peta and Pavel when you where selected to come and meet us the other day your application was one of several million worldwide who had applied for this opportunity. The story you told Colby was as we've all agreed, was both tragic and deeply deeply moving. However as Mr.Burstyn has explained you have now been fast tracked to put the sadness of your experience up against a selection of stories equally heartbreaking and equally worthy of a second chance. You will present your story to a worldwide audience who will vote on who is the most worthy and the prize will be having your loved one regenerated or brought back to life.
Lucy smiled and sat down the Savitches smiled back and giggled a little giddily. Burstyn looked disapprovingly at the couple, he felt he was still struggling to get the couple to understand the importance of what they were being told.
I would now like to invite Lawrie to give you a little bit of background on the LifeGiver protocol. A more studious young Assistant now rose to her feet. She produced a remote pointer and illuminated a holographic image of Peter which made the Savitches jump with fright. Peta reached out to the now animated little boy as he chased after a ball around the office. The reproduction of the little boy was 100% authentic. Even with the limited resources and the short amount of time they had, they had managed to recreate an almost perfect holographic copy of the child , Lawry allowed Peter to play for a few minutes, she even allowed her a few words which made the parents cry, before she switched off the hologram and replaced it with a 19th century wax work dummy.
3. In 1835, Madame Tussauds' opened her first wax works. The exhibition was a collection of wax sculptured reconstructed models of famous characters of the day. Their then followed a selection of holograms showing the very raw but perfectly sculptured models that had been on display at the exhibition. Lawrie let the audience and particularly the enthralled Savitches absorb the content before she changed the visual to a small spinning book shaped computer then she announced
1. The laptop was invented by Adam Osborne in 1981. It was called 'Osborne 1' It wasn't until 2005 before a screen was built into it Langham's team all feigned interest in the presentation, but the truth was they seem it a hundred times before. they played games on their cells or checked power rates for the day. The Savitches were unaware of this indifference and watched fascinated by the content and the clever graphics. The presentation breezed along so quickly If they had questions their was no pause for them to ask, Lawrie was moving on, she too had delivered this presentation a hundred times before. The First implantation of a totally artificial heart happened On April 4, 1969, Domingo Liotta and Denton A. Cooley replaced a dying man's heart with a mechanical heart The image of the internal frame of a human body was now slowly revolving around the center of the boardroom the heart was illuminated then dimmed and the lungs began to shine
In 2014 - scientists created the first working synthetic human lungs.
There then followed a series of robotic arms and legs moving at first crudely and looking cumbersome then in a series of montages the robotic metal arms with wires and bolts switched to a synthetic human arm suspended in mid air yet moving freely the fingers flexing, the hand twisting and turning. To all intensive purposes this was a human fully functioning arm.
Then a human figure appeared Debbie announced this is Jonas Humpner, n 2100 he was the first human to be rebirthed.
Hummer looked frail a little startled, but he moved freely, he spoke a few words the language sounded German. His wife came forward, and they began to waltz around the floor. Though looking weak his movement was good. Then suddenly Humpner disappeared and The title sequence for Celebrity LifeGiver appeared and the current crop of celebrities have their twirl then walked confidently down a catwalk to the applause of an appreciative audience. It carried on for a few more minutes then Lawrie
Gave a final split hologram one of Madame Tussards original waxwork model and the tottering Jazzie Fernando adult film star tottering down a catwalk
Both are models, copies of their originals, but thanks to the advanced in science and technological break through’s we have gone from this, the original waxworks dummy became highlighted it was still and stiff. To this, Jazzie Fernando became illuminated she walked freely and confidently down a catwalk smiling and gesturing to an adoring crowd. When she reached the end of the projected catwalk she disappeared and Lawrie sat down and the lights came on.
The LifeGiver VP was now standing in front of his desk directly in front of the Savitches.
What we tried to do there was show you how the technology has evolved over the years. To get to the stage we are at now in rebirthing.
If you are chosen and you win LifeGiver Second chance. You will have Peter back again he will be reborn.
The Savitches say silently, unable to absorb the enormity of what was being offered to them.
But let me be clear about this, he continued this is a competition, which, for you to have your sonback you have to win.
Without prompting the watching couple nodded eagerly, Burstyn knew he had their full attention now so he continued a little bit more firmly he wanted to make sure they got his point.
You have to give yourself totally to this process, you have to answer every question you are asked truthfully you have to give everything to the team if you are to have any chance.
he paused, then gestured around the room at his associates, who having heard this script lots of times before knew this was their part, they all focused on the couple a mix of suitably excited and thoughtful, they gave off an air of that they wanted to help them win. A couple of the team gestured, a thumbs up from one, a clenched hand on the heart from another.
The watching family acknowledged the group with their own humble gesture of hands in prayer and silently mouthed thank you
Satisfied that he gotten his point across, he continued, Now you are going to go with the team they are going to have to get a lot of information together about you and about peter and more importantly to collect the vital DNA samples that we need to make the perfect model of Your son. You also have to have an assessment with the Regeneration department, without their approval and cooperation we will be unable to continue Colby here he pointed to the young assessor who they had known just a short time but was now such an important part of their lives.
will be your chaperone, and will be with you 24 -7 until this thing is done.
The couple and the now promoted Mcgivern smiled broadly at each other.
At this point Burstyn hesitated for moment he was trying to find the words to convey the next part of his speech, this was the part he always found the most difficult to deliver.
Now, you both have to understand some thing’s about Rebirths
LeRoy and Hobson sat silently in a waiting room at the department of Regeneration. It was cold and sterile, and everything echoed. It had that air of reverence about it that made you feel like you shouldn't speak, and if you did it should be in hushed tones.
Hobson whispered to his boss
So who is this guy Steadman again
LeRoy flicked on his cell and typed in his name a photograph popped up and brief biography. He read out the brief biog. He's the head of the governments Regeneration Authority. He's responsible for DNA research programme and authorizing rebirthing protocols.
So he's the guy that lets you bring people back from the dead? Said Hobson
That's about the size of it said LeRoy
He's kinda like Jesus then I suppose mused the detective
LeRoy was about to respond when the door opened and woman entered the room , she gave the men a broad smile then approached them and extended her arm both men stood to shake her hand.
Inspector LeRoy, let me apologize. Our Senior Mr. Steadman is away on private business today I'm his assistant, Laura Pearson, how can I help.
She beamed a friendly smile I've seen you on Crime Time your very good she complimented. LeRoy liked this girl already a looker and a fan, he thought.
Thanks but this is my day job, he countered. Then getting back to business he said, I'm trying to trace one of your vehicles.
That shouldn't be to difficult do you have is plate number I can check the logs.
See that's the problem, we don't, All we know is it was a Parker transit, black in colour, it had your departments livery on the side and it was uptown sometime last night..
Pearson looked puzzled, We have over 20 vehicles in and out of our pound,24 7 its the nature of our work, we are on call and making deliveries round the clock.
It was Leroy’s turn to look puzzled,
You didn't happen to have a silver back gorilla in here last night by any chance.
The assistant began laughing inspector if your looking for the King Kong I've seen on the news I'm afraid your out of luck. We don't deal in animals this is human life research facility.
LeRoy smiled at the absurdity of the idea himself. I know sounds crazy, but here's the thing. King Kong's dead, they found him dumped in the dock yards last night. Our whiteness said they saw one of your wagons driving away after they dropped off the body.
Your not here to see if we can regenerate him are you, she said half jokingly
LeRoy considered the question for a moment , that's not a bad idea he mused,
Well you'll have to speak to Steadman about that and he out all day
When will he be back
Who knows he's trying to negotiate a new power supplier,
Hobson sympathized, good luck to him, its a crazy business trying to get a good power deal, wish I could take time off work and do the same
Satisfied their no more to be said, and smiled if their's nothing else I can help you with gentlemen, I'll tell Mr Steadman you called and you'll be in touch. She was about to leave when she joked oh and I'll mention your idea about King Kong
LeRoy returned the smile then added and when you've gotten hold of him if he's OK about bringing back the monkey you might want yo ask him about access to the records for those trucks.
She smiled again then left, Hobson looked at his boss so are you thinking about bringing back the monkey then?
LeRoy smiled maybe not the monkey....
Burstyn switched on the hologram of five year old Peter Savitch. He replayed the piece they'd seen earlier of the young boy chasing a ball. It had the same effect and a collective smile filled the room.
Is this your son asked Burstyn
Yes-said Peta, looking confused but nodding at the same time.
Burstyn removed the image and replaced it with a different one. It was a young tall but handsome man
He works shoulder length hair and had a thick beard, he sat at a desk working at a computer, he looked studious.
Do you know who this is asked Burstyn
The Savitches looked at one and other the face was familiar but it was nobody either of them knew.
No said Pavel, we don't know who he is.
Look again said Burstyn, pointing towards the hologram which was in loop mode so it continued to repeat.
Look at those eyes, how dark and fierce they are, don't you think they resemble Pavel’s,
The Savitches looked at one and other, the seed of what was being suggested was beginning to grow. Burstyn continued
That long dark hair, was like Peta's hair once was rich and dark like his.
The couple were no transfixed by the image
But Burstyn continued so tall so strong so handsome, he has your soft features Peta but your build Pavel.
It was Peta who spoke hesitantly afraid to ask she whispered.
Is that Peter?
Burstyn spoke hesitantly, If Peter is to be regenerated this is how your son would look. Peter will be grown up.
It was to much for Peta she collapsed onto the floor, in a flood of tears. Her husband dropped beside her and tried to console her, the group surrounded them in a show of concern. One handed Pavel some water and a paper towel he began gently wiping his wife's face.
Burstyn tried to restore order,
Ok guys stand back its just a shock for Peta, let's give her some air and she will be fine.
Pavel had now helped his wife to her chair and she sipped at a glass of water, her husbands arm was draped around her shoulder.
Burstyn, satisfied, she had recovered sufficiently tried to continue. He spoke softly and compassionately.
I'm sorry that was such a shock to you both, but the nature of regeneration is that the candidate is rebirthed to their consensus age. What that means is we make a decision at what age would they be in their prime, when were they at their most productive. And most importantly when they come back will they be able to lead a fulfilling life with the people who they love.
He now paused and allowed the couple to absorb what they had just been told, but also sure they had the couples full attention for the next bombshell.
If we bring Peter back he will never grow old
The couple had, had many shocks over the last few hours, but this seemed like the biggest, they were literally speechless so it was the Vice President of LifeGiver who said what they both had been thinking
Your Peter will become like that other famous Peter a 'Pan'
Vanburden was enjoying Steadmans discomfort, and why shouldn't he it had taken him twelve months to catch this big fish. Some people call what he does 'shmoozing' but that would be doing such a disservice to his black art. His method of seduction would begin with an depth background check. He would get to know his prey intimately before they would meet. It would begin with a chance meeting, which would lead to some casual chat, followed by a coffee, then lunch. Just soft probing to tease out what makes the guy who is the head of the Regeneration Authority tick. He wanted to be his friend, and his hokey cowboy act was always a winner. Once he'd won them
Over it was easy. He could usually find out what ever he wanted from his weakness to his vice. Vanburden had been in the game long enough to know that everyone had what he liked to call a 'taste' it was just a matter of finding what Steadman’s was.
In the end it was usually one of three things sex drugs or money. it took a couple of invites to his special parties or 'get togethers' as he liked to call them to find his taste, The parties where usually wild crazy affairs, where every vice,want and need could be catered for.
Shocking at first for any newcomer, but addictive in so many ways. VanBurden was the master host. It didn't take long to discover that Stedman enjoyed the company of young girls. And once he'd sampled the many pleasures on offer, the fish was hooked. It was them a question of how long they wanted to play him before he asked for some payback. VanBurden was content with how things where progressing the pieces where falling into place. Now it was time to turn the screw a little.
He guided his guest to a seat and then took his place across from him a huge oak desk separating them both
Vanburden was enjoying his guests discomfort so decided to add to it, in his hokey cowboy drawl That was quite a party we had the other night, he mused
Steadman wasn't in the mood for small talk, he looked angry and scowled at the statement
VanBurden was enjoying teasing Steadman. Partner, can I just ask are you ok, coz you look like you've been out in the desert for to long, can I get you something, a drink perhaps, maybe a pain killer, or how about a doctor, we got lots of them here. He let out a jokey laugh, which Steadman failed to see the funny side of.
Steadman was trying to stay in control, he was furious with himself for allowing Vanburden to trap him like this, He was sure as soon as he'd seen the Texans smug little faux face that he knew something about last night. It was just a mater of how long the cowboy wanted to draw this game of his out. What scared him was what was the price He have to pay for his foolishness. VanBurden had trapped him, and now he felt stupid. He'd always been aware of this kind of thing. So many of his colleagues had abused their position. And eventually been caught He had always told himself it wouldnt be him, he was to clever, to wise, an old head. What a fool he told himself OK so I've been stupid, but it's done now let's get it over with pay the price and what's done is done. Then he swore to himself that once this was over he would never be trapped like this again. he tried to take some comfort from the fact that OK, he'd done something wrong maybe? But how bad could it be, Even though he didn't know what he had done, what could they do, he wasn't married so no threatening to tell his wife, drugs were all legal so no problem there, it would photographs maybe a Gif image they'd threaten to show to his Minister. That wouldn't work either, he was to important to the authority, it might be embarrassing but their where a lot of guys doing the same kind of things as him at those parties they'd understand they'd forgive. Things will work themselves out.
Steadman was brought back to reality when Vanburden began speaking. His brash southern drawl broke his train of optimistic thought. His blazé mental high had only been temporary. The voice made the vicious stomachs churning return. The cycle of trying to remember what might have happened the other night began again.
I don't think you've ever been in my office before have you partner,.
Steadman despised the fat Texan sitting opposite. Here swore to himself he would get his own back for this. For now he just wanted to correct him and point out that they were not and would never be partners, but he never spoke, he allowed him to continue, VanBurden carried on the one way conversation as if it was just two friendly guys shooting the breeze,
This is LifeGiver's home, he began, it's the center of our world . He stood up walked to the window and looked down on the ant like colony below. A city going about its business unaware it was being watched. VanBurden spoke with a sense of pride. This is the heart of LifeGiver when it beats the world listens.' - And the world feels that beat everyday. He was addressing Steadman but not looking at him instead he concentrated on the world beneath his feet.
I always get a kick out of this, seeing all of those itty bitty people and thinking how much we are part of there lives and they don't even know it. He mused, Being up here, it's like being God he sounded whimsical, up in the clouds controlling everybody's lives. He smiled and returned to his chair
Steadman could no longer control himself, he snapped,
So you think your like the Lord almighty now do you up here in you ivory tower.
Vanburden looked at him and smiled, but it was a sneering dark gritted smile. When he spoke his voice had a menacing but controlled tone to it.
Oh yes my friend, you had better believe it. For you I am the Lord God almighty. And you shall know my Wrath and feel my pain, I giveth and I taketh away.
Steadman shifted uncomfortably. VanBurden's mood had changed it was dark and scary and he feared the worse, he wasn't wrong.
Vanburden stood up quite unexpectedly and pointed an accusing finger at Steadman
You have sinned my friend he boomed, he pushed back his chair and walked around the table to stand in the centre of his office. Steadman had know choice but to turn in his chair to follow him, he was scared he wanted to leave, he considered making a bolt for the door, but his escape was now blocked, as Vanburden stood between him and the exit.
Before he could do anything however VanBurden began speaking to him. Do you know your scriptures son, he asked, Steadman was frightend now didn't like this old time religious tone, scriptures where did that come from, he thought he was confused. , VanBurdens voice had grown stronger, deeper and louder. His accusing tone was now fully apparent
Do you know your bible. The question was kind of sung this time. When Steadman didn't answer it was repeated as a full-blown shout
Do you know your bible! Yelled VanBurden
Steadman was now scared, very scared where was this going? The bible was a pointless sham everybody knew that now, It's purpose had long been forgotten. With his now manic expression and religious overtones. the man in front of him might be a little insane, Stradman thought it was time to go and stood up to leave.
Sit down sinner, roared Vanburden, Steadman squirmed back into his seat,now to Frightend to disobey his accuser.
Do you know what the sixth commandment is he asked?
Steadman looked dumbstruck he was now rigid with fear. He shook his head.
Vanburden raised his hand looked up to the sky and spoke
Though shall not kill, he said softly, then paused still looking to the sky, absorbing the words. He took a breathe, before repeating a little louder
Though shall not kill,
He paused again looked up to heaven once more as if taking divine guidance, then turned to Steadman pointed accusingly and roared THOW SHALL NOT KILL!!
The accused and the accuser eyes locked, Steadman was paralyzed in fear, his trance was broken when as if by magic the room went dark. A moving hologram appeared in the center of the room where Banburden had stood. . A naked girl lay draped across a blood drenched bed her throat lay raw and exposed where the knife had done its work. The blood soaked killer sat next to her he was naked his face and body smeared with her blood ,he held the knife proudly and smiled at the camera then addressed it
Well that was fun......
It was Steadman.
LeRoy nursed his coffee whilst his superior tapped nervously with his pen, where is he, he grumbled, cross towns down there's been a power out said LeRoy. They where waiting for Luther Brock from the GlenTech pathology labs to arrive. Traveling in the golden power hour was always difficult. Huge power Demands meant public services would be the first hit. These power cuts would remain on until the city authorities negotiated a new tariff. Or adopted a new supplier. The power availability market operated like the old stock markets that used to exist on Wall Street. Traders would buy and sell power on spot markets. High demand meant higher costs, to those traders handling the cites power budget, buying short or not enough meant savings had to be made to cover the deficits. This is where the city outages came in. Basically the power went off until the budget balanced. This could be minutes, or in the middle of winter, or after a freak storm, hours. Once demand had been so great, and the city budget had been so low their had been a city wide power out for three days. No matter how much pressure they tried the power barons refused to give the city anymore credit. 600 people died during that outage. News reports had reported that traders had said this would only be a fifteen minute outage, then the budget would available and power usage would be given the green light.
When Brock did arrive he just took his seat without any apology, why should he he thought, it had nothing to do with him. He did however warn the others I'm out of here in 22 minutes another outage is booked for 6.30 its planned to last for one hour forty two minutes, I will not be sitting on a stationery crosstown for that long, he said firmly.
Ok let's make this quick then said Captain Marine. He looked over to his Lead Detective LeRoy, Tell him what your thinking.
Colby Mcgivern escorted the Savitches to their temporary new home. It was a luxury penthouse suite on the 49th floor of the LifeGiver building.
The Savitches were amazed by the splendour of their new surrounding. They looked out of the huge glass windows in awe at the sprawling city below. Their newly appointed chaperone Colby McGivern allowed them a few minutes to enjoy the spectacular view before he Interrupted them.
These last few day have been pretty full on. As he was saying the words he realized what a huge understatement that was. He felt embarrassment for not being able to give the enormity of the opportunity it's full weight. He felt like he like he was a tour guide telling his clients they must be tired after a sightseeing trip around the city. He was struggling to find the words. Peta Savitches came to him and hugged him Thank you, she said. She was joined by her husband and they gave himself group hug and repeatedly thanked him for everything he'd done for them.
Corby McGivern also had a lot to be thankful for. He had been bit part player in the LifeGiver show. Now he had access to Rebirther it opened a whole lot of new doors and opportunities. The family may be getting their son back. But he was getting his own reward. A few days ago he was a lowly assessor. Now he was now on the LifeGiver corporate ladder. as a chaperone to the family of possibly the most controversial story ever to be featured on LifeGiver second chance. It was hard to know who was the most pleased.
I'll leave you to get settled and I'll be back in the morning when the real work begins
A final hug and he was gone. The sort closed, and the Couple were a lone for the first time in the last forty eight hours. Peta smiled at her husband It begins she said smiling
He removed a small silver crucifix from his pocket. He looked at it for a second pressed the arms of the cross-together he heard a faint click
He looked up and smiled at his wife
Steadman sat motionless staring at the floor. He was saying over and over it wasn't me it couldn't I would remember, Vanburden didn't care, he was enjoying his feeling of moral superiority. Steadman disgusted him. He wanted to tell him just how much he despised him, how his acts where an abomination, how he would rot in the fiery halls of hell for what he had done, all for the pleasures of the flesh. - but he didn't he still needed him to do some things for him first.
Satisfied he allowed him long enough to feel sorry for himself, he offered him a drink. Steadman shook his head, then looked up and asked, so what now,
This rather surprised Vanburden He hadn't been expecting the question; in fact he was hoping for a little more time, he wanted to build up Steadman’s fear factor before he made his demand
He decided to change his tack and went back to his hokey cowboy persona
Well partner as I see it we've got two choices, the correct thing to do would be to go to the authorities report this get it straightened out. Of course it was a mistake, wasn't it? He allowed the now weeping man to plead his innocence, but he remained silent apart from his sniffles.
Or we could make this all go away,
Steadman’s head shot up like a startled rabbit, he looked stunned, how?
Vanburden loved the predictability of humans, given the correct prompts they could be made to say do or react in any way you choose. He had his man, he would have liked to play with him like a cat with a mouse for a little while longer, but the plan was in motion now and everything had to be ready.
LeRoy summed it up, So here's what we got two dead clones, with No prints and no DNA our only witness is a dead silver back Gorilla who is now also deceased. However we did have a breakthrough this morning, got ourselves a Witness. One of dockyard guys thinks they saw the van which dumped the monkey. He says the van belonged to the Regeneration Authority, we visited their headquarters this morning but the director wasn't available, we have been trying to contact him but he not available so we'll visit him at his home later then go back to his office and check out the vehicle logs. Brock was checking his watch he had twelve minutes - all great but I didn't need to come all the way down town to hear this he was getting grumpy at what he thought was a waste of time.
Ok, I'll hurry it along, said Leroy, so here's the thing the girl at Regen made a joke she said she thought I was there because I might want to bring back the monkey, now if the monkey could talk I'm sure he had have a tale to tell, but as monkeys can't speak that would be a waste, but then I thought what if we could get the girls to talk. What if we brought one of the girls back.
Cory Mgiven arrived promptly at 8.00 he was surprised to find the Savitches ready and waiting.
As PA to the family it would be his job to make sure they were at all the appointments and briefings that would be required before go live day which was now only Twenty seven days away. He would coordinate their schedule with everyone else's from production to background checkers to medical DNA verification and of course the Regeneration Authority without who's stringent approval ratings and the release of the necessary rebirthing protocols regeneration would not be possible
They where waiting for their car and driver, Mgiven thought this would be a good time to recap everything that was discussed yesterday, and a brief timetable for this morning. This was as much for himself as the family after all it was a lot to take in for everyone.
So from now on it is really important that you understand every step of the way. ( this first part was standard LifeGiver script which he must deliver verbatim,) The Savitches where unaware that from now on they where being filmed at all times. A 24 - 7 production team where monitoring them, recording every action and reaction. Real time producers were editing logging and processing.
Last night Mgivern and a team of LifeGiver lawyers had spent several hours with the couple finalizing contracts and disclaimers. Rights issues, and copyright laws were read out and signed. Nominal fees and bursaries were agreed, (although this was only a short conversation as the family where happy to do this for nothing.) Follow up rights and ownership was agreed. The rebirthed Peter Savitch although represented for the Televisual content as their former son was technically a clone. Whilst the DNA content would be authentically his, the rest of his shell ( they had to call his body a shell for legal reasons.) belonged to LifeGiver. They therefore had the rights to do what ever they chose with him, which included having his Protocol terminated at life span age 50 or upon the death or mental or physical incapacity of his last remaining parent.
This was the most difficult part for any rebirthed family to understand. The cloned Peter whilst having all the genetic characteristics of what would have been the real Peter, was still only a Clone, his brain was a computer, his heart was a pump, the blood circulating his body was a fuel substitute used to integrate his DNA with his body. His flesh though human to the touch would be synthetic. The everyday actions such as eating sleeping and reproduction. would continue, but would serve no purpose, as the body would neither grow, deteriorate or reproduce.
To anybody who didn't know Peter Savitch would be a normal twenty five year old young man who had been in restive state for twenty years and had now been returned to his family.
His life clock would be programmed to randomly switch off after. A new life span of twenty five years. Again he family would find it difficult to understand that whilst they all aged their cloned sibling wouldn't. The protocol directive had agreed that living after that time and with no deterioration could cause significant mental problems for the clone and anyone associated with it.
The Regeneration authority would require irrefutable evidence that you are who you say you are and that the material and samples you provide for the protocoling belong to both yourselves and your dead son. Any dispute or discrepancy would void all contracts and agreements and the regeneration would be terminated. The Rebirthing authority also reserves the right to terminate regeneration at any time.
The Savitches had happily signed all of the contracts without question. But now Pavel Savitch had a question, for their newly assigned PA
Last night they called our son a clone they said he was made from synthetic that he had a computer for a brain, yet he would be our son. They said he would walk and talk and know all about us just like our son. And he would know us as his parents, forgive me but how can that be.
This was another stock LifeGiver scripted answer although on this occasion it could be adapted to suit the client.
Mgivern gave his version of the answer, now I'm not a scientist and I don't know the full technical terms, or but from what I understand, we are all just the shell cases that hold us all together. Inside our heart is just a pump our brains are computers, but what makes us humans is our minds and our life experiences. All of those things are stored in our DNA. Each string contains information about us it contains the core of our memory and thoughts. Scientists have managed to translate these strings of information into codes, that computer programmes can understand. They can then turn these thoughts into actions and responses, they can a lifetime of experiences can be identified and loaded into the computer which is now the brain and that brain can act and react as the former self did, the artificial brain is so sophisticated it can take in the new life experiences and process them alongside the past life, and when that process is complete you have what to all intensive purposes is a regenerated body. Who thinks acts even talks like its former self.
Pavel thought about what he had just been told. So We will have the old Peter back he asked.
Mgivern was off script now, but thought his answer would be acceptable. No you will have an older wiser Peter, one who you can love like you did before. Remember it is not only Peter who is being given a second chance so are you.
It was Peta turn to ask the question, but will he be the same loving boy?
Mgivern's confidence was growing now, he'd gone off script, but it didn't care because what he was telling this hopeful family is true and made sense
Look if Peter was a loving happy little boy before that's what will be coming back, just like if he had been a psychopathic mass murderer in his past life that's the boy you would get back.
The Savitches couldn't help but smile at this answer, their was even a glint in Peta's eye.
LeRoy and Hobson where disappointed when they arrived st Steadman’s apartment they buzzed his door several times but got not reply. Steadman rang his cell number but again no answer, Where does a guy go to buy power in this town said Hobson remembering his earlier conversation with the assistant at RegenA. Let's do a locator on his phone find out where he is and go and see him, said LeRoy noted now with trying to catch up with a civil servant, the trail was going cold and he had a ton of calls from the news stations wanting an update.
Hobson did the search and whistled, will you look at that he said, locator says he's at home, made a call about two minutes after we arrived, LeRoy looked at the small screen a locator map was pinging at this address.
He's in there, said Hobson he just doesn't want to come out.
Look said Vanburden it happened, now we have to deal with it. We can do that your name will never come up their will be no link back to you nobody will ever know.
Steadman looked incredulous of course they will know my DNA will be over her, even if you burn the body they'll still find traces of me. And what about the girl won't anybody miss her? Friends, family. Somebody will report her missing then a DNA trail will start and pretty soon she will show up.
Vanburden smiled, listen here sport, I said I'll take care of it and I will, you just relax and put it behind you.
But she's dead for god’s sake I can't just forget about it
But you have to partner, you really do, Vanburden came around the table and stood behind his conquest, he began massaging his shoulders now let's calm down shall we he purred.
Steadman whispered I can't I've killed someone and I need to tell the police I need to tell them, he began weeping, but the big cowboy hands continued to massage the taught shoulders
Ok sport he said, but perhaps you might want to tell them about the other girls as well, he stopped wahat he was doing and returned to his seat
Another hologram began playing
Turns out killing young underage girls is becoming a habit of your, you might say you've got quite a taste for it
One of Vanburdens assistants had driven Steadman home. Neither he nor the driver spoke. Not that he was in any mood for conversation. It had taken over an hour to calm him down the tranqs helped, but the gut wrenching twisting in his stomach would never go away. He played over the conversation he'd had shortly before he left LifeGiver
Vanburden had made it sound all so simple in the end, just one favor that's all he would ask, and for that he would make everything go away forever. He knew it wouldn't be that easy but if he was true to his word then maybe it could be after-all. So why didn't he believe him. All he had to do was to authorize the protocol for one regeneration. He'd shown him the file. It was a sad story but then they all where. He said everything would be above board, they would pay all the fees and securities, so he wasn't looking for a free one, he just said some of the kids family background was a bit sketchy on account of them fleeing a war zone and all their records being destroyed, but as they'd been here in this country twenty years, and LifeGiver's own checks had given the family the green light, everything should be fine. They just worried that some of RegenA's rules on the family history protocols could be breached. He said I know you guys can make exceptions , he wanted Peter Savitch to be one of those. Now is that to much to ask
Steadman couldn't think of anything that was going to make any difference. They had him, what choice did he have. Vanburden have given him a stub memory stick to down load the required protocol. It wasn't a big job in fact it would take seconds. He decided to just get it over with and do it. It's some bodies kid he told himself, what harm can it do?
The apartment doorbell began ringing.
Mcgivern made the introductions.
Miss Pearson, this is Peta and Pavel Savitch, we at LifeGiver are hoping to be able to give them a second chance.
Ok cut shouted the production assistant, he looked at the Savitches, sorry guys you where out of focus, on the intro, can you give us amounted to refocus the cameras then we are going to do this again from the top.
Laura Pearson was still angry , it may be authority policy to be accommodating at this stage of a request for regeneration, especially as LifeGiver was such a huge sponsor of their department. But she wasn't going to be a MItv show pony. For the second time in recent days she was sickened when she thought how such revolutionary technology had been wasted. Reduced to fodder for a game show. Had we wasted so many of our brilliant minds so we can put a brain in a porn star like Jazzy Fernando, she thought, a brain she probably never had in the first place. DNA research technology was about so much more she told herself every time she reviewed a request for regenerating a failed Celebrity.
In the building where she worked their where studies going on into many life enhancing fields from food science to life expectancy. New discoveries and new applications in this amazing field where being made everyday. And did any one sit up and take note? No they where all to interested in DNA the game show.
To many in the field life regeneration was like an old tower computer, of its day it was ground breaking, but the technology moved at a pace. That big bulky machine was shrunk to the size of a small tablet the size of a portable phone. It had the capacity of a thousand of those old computers; it could process information and carry out hundreds of operations simultaneously quicker than the blink of an eye In the field of life regeneration advances and discoveries where being achieved at the same breathtaking pace.
Restoring life or Bringing back dead people had now become a side show its novelty and its application long since been exhausted and then devalued through its exploitation by Television.
The original idea of bringing back the greatest minds in history was breathtaking to be able to have a televised meeting between the greatest minds of our time such as Einstein and Steven Hawking was supposed to be an earth shattering opportunity for mankind to tap into an untapped seem of brilliance. Unfortunately it was a damp squib they turned out to be a couple of old duffers, of their time they were exceptional. But the extraordinary levels of information and the technology which now existed was difficult for both men to comprehend brilliant though they where, the gigantic leaps in science that had been made over the centuries had left them far behind. They where allowed to continue to catch up for a couple of years but when it was found to be pointless, they quietly had their life clocks stopped.
Regeneration was like when the CD was first introduced to replace vinyl records. Everybodyhad a wish list of the music they would like to have in this new format. It was the same with all those personalities from the past. Newspapers ran poles and competitions to vote for which historical characters its readers would like to see regenerated. At first it was welcomed by governments.as they pandered for votes promising to bring back such figures as John F Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln if they were elected. And one Democrat did. He authorizedthe Rebirth of JFK only to have somebody shoot him again in Dallas at the same spot. He was on what the Democrats called ' A No Hard Feelings Tour. The shot like the first one destroyed his replicated brain, and it was decided that the cost of new one was to much in the austere times during the power war years. And he died for a second time the shooter was never found.
The idea of human regeneration was losing its impact and its novelty value, that was until MItv invested a huge sum to restore the legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite. Once restored, he had lost none of his gravitas. He was a huge success, he was followed by other legendary broadcasters such as David Attenborough and Sports commentators such as Howard Cosell. Their knowledge and passion had transcended their original death and they where welcomed back by an adoring public.
The world governments where frightened of the consequences of a regeneration free for all, so they secured all the Protocols required for interfacing with the Regen super computers that acted like the brain and recycled the jumbled strings of DNA helixes into an adaptable computer programmes. These could then be micro digitized and became a new kind of string that controlled the new body as if it was human.
Whilst the idea of being able to bring back the dead caught the public’s imagination, it was found to have very little practical application apart from the novelty value. Meanwhile the real benefits of DNA micro research could be found in the fields of medicine and science. Sub tropical diseases had almost been eliminated. Hardier growing crop strains were helping reduce food shortages. Each day a cure or a fix for what a once life threading disease was being announced to the world. All this was now yesterday’s news or a few lines hidden away deep in the sections known as other news.
The advances in these fields of science,, where of no interest to the public. There were only two things most people seemed to care about. One was where they where going to get the cheapest power from. And who had been selected for LifeGiver second chance.
The public was still obsessed with regeneration but now it was all about the novelty factor and human-interest stories. Everybody had somebody they wanted to bring back. The worldwide success of the LifeGiver franchise meant it outstripped every other broadcasted Television programme. The demand to watch it was so great it was being blamed for the power outages in some states when it was being shown. Whilst science had turned its back on bringing back the dead, the possibility of it being achieved was still there and it had to be regulated. The Regeneration Authority was a world government appointed body. It's principal was Nigel Steadman born in England but now an American citizen. He had majored in life regeneration DNA micro research, but he'd joined when the programme was winding down. All the great minds had moved on to medical and commercial research programmes. When the demand for commercial Human Regeneration grew he was one of the few still specializing in the field with any knowledge or interest in its commercial applications. His peers accused him of selling out. Not that he cared. At The Regeneration Authority he was top of the tree.
Ok let's go again said the voice.
Laura Pearson moved to her mark
Miss Pearson, this is Peta and Pavel Savitch, we at LifeGiver are hoping to be able to give them a second chance.
Cut and print that's a wrap were outta here.
Steadman was whispering into his phone. 'It's the police they are outside The fear in his voice was obvious
Vanburden was almost as shocked As Steadman When he heard the panic in Steadmans voice. His first thought was, is this a secure line, He felt relieved to see the little trailblazer security light was flashing indicating the signal was being scrambled and could therefore not be coordinated or traced by any tracking device. Not so Steadman's Cell the police would already know he was making a call just not to who. He relaxed a little knowing his whereabouts where secure for now, but for how long.
'They know' squealed Steadman 'they know.'
'That's impossible,' growled Vanburden growing angry that his plan may have been compromised so early. He decided the best course of action would be to was to to calm Steadman down for the moment. He took a deep breathe to compose himself before he spoke. ' Steadman, listen to me partner. They can't know anything, it's impossible, only you and me know the truth, and I have no intention of saying anything, you've just got to trust me and hold your nerve. They know nothing so relax.' Steadman didn't answer.
Vanburden could say with some certainty, that nobody else knew what had happened to the girls or why they had been killed. Neither of the girls would ever be identified and the cleansing of the bodies had stripped any foreign DNA away for safe measure. He had been meticulous in his preparation for this event. Steadman was the only weak link, and Vanburden knew he had to play his fall guy very carefully. He spoke softly trying to calm and reassure him that everything was going to be ok.
Now listen my friend he purred, and believe me. The police are here for some other reason, Now you have to relax calm yourself and face them. If you don't then you'll come under suspicion. Now take a hit of something, and man up and go and speak to them apologise and tell them
You e been feeling unwell, it will be fine trust me. Now go and answer the door, then call me back when they've gone.
Vanburden put his cell down, and a heavy silence once more engulfed the apartment. The calm
Lasted a few seconds, before the doorbell rang again.
With the help of Mcgivern, the Savitches ran through their story for what seemed like the hundredth time that day. The emotion had gone. Pavel told most of the story, Peta joined in where appropriate. When they got to the part about killing their children. The assistant director interrupted.
Excuse me she said, did I hear you correctly you say you murdered your children.
The Savitches both nodded
She was shocked, more shocked than she had ever been in her life. It was like being hit with a thunderbolt. To actually hear of such a brutal act being delivered so casually. They murdered their children, she repeated it to herself because she couldn't quite comprehend it, A mother and a father were openly admitting to murdering their two innocent children. How could they, no matter what the circumstances. She was speechless;she was also boiling over with anger.
She put down the pad she'd been taking notes on, and tried to compose herself, she took some deep breathes, be professional she told herself. She drew Mgivern's attention, a word please she said, and lead him away to a quiet corner of the office where she hoped she would not be heard. It was like a lamb to the slaughter.
Are you fucking kidding me! She exploded, but in a whisper, They murdered their kids and you expect me to give the protocols to bring back another one.
Mgivern was taken aback, not by the Savitches but by the anger expressed by miss Pearson. he hadn't expected this reaction this was meant to be a formality.
Look, he said this all may have come across wrong, they've had a long day they've told this story a whole bunch of times, they have become desensitized to its impact, especially telling it to somebody for the first time. Maybe they didn't give it the right gravitas, maybe they rushed it and it came out wrong, but they'll work on that I promise.
If it was possible Pearson was even more annoyed now,
Oh so if they'd given it the right amount of gravitas, she emphasized the word gravitas with imaginary quotation marks. I would be little bit more understanding about them killing two kids. Their was an edge of sarcasm to her tone, before it switched to pure anger. she poked an accusing finger, she no longer cared who heard what she had to say.
This is not an audition for your bullshit game show. We are talking about restoring real lives here, not giving murderers second chances
Despite her anger Mcgivern was not moved. He handed her the written testimony. Here read the script, your supposed to ok this thing.
Fuck you, she said throwing the papers in the air then storming out the room
He turned and smiled at the Savitches they were not smiling in fact they didn't look happy at all, they looked frightened. He tried to make light of the situation.
He spread his hands, and forced a smile, Like they used to say Houston we got a problem.
LeRoy and Hobson were about to leave when snuffled voice, spoke through the intercom. Can I help you it asked?
Mr. Steadman it detectives LeRoy and Hobson from NYPD could we talk to you for a minute.
I'll be right down.... LeRoy wanted to say can we come up but the voice had gone. They waited a few minutes then the door opened and muffled figure appeared wrapped in a blanket. LeRoy's first thought was this guy looks like shit.
How can I help you asked Steadman brusquely . The detective was taken aback he at least expected to be invited in. So he smiled politely and asked can we come in,
No, came the reply what's this about,
Stranger and stranger thought the policeman, OK he said, his extended pronunciation of the word conveyed enough surprise to prompt Hobson to join the conversation
Did you not get our message, we've been trying to contact you all day, it was his turn to be brusque,
No, my portables been playing up I have t been able to use it all day. Why lie, thought the two officers almost simultaneously, they exchanged surprised looks, OK said LeRoy again but this time with a hint of innuendo.
Sorry to bother you at home but we are investigating a rather unusual incident which we think one of the Regeneration Authority vehicles may have been involved in. We need to see the motor logs for all of them for the last 48 hours, and to check them over.
When Steadman heard what they wanted he felts a if a huge weight had been lifted. Just a problem at work, that was it, probably a fender blender, he thought or maybe worse a hit an run. His mood visibly lifted,
Of course officers, not a problem, can it wait until tomorrow, his mood had certainly lifted, it was now almost light.
LeRoy checked his watch it was getting late, and he needed a little time to do some checking on Mr. Steadman, he was definitely hiding something he needed to find out what it was
Tomorrows fine he said he smiled as if he was genuinely grateful. And Steadman returned a smile almost as broad his fever now miraculously lifted.
Say ten o'clock at the Regen building
Ten would be excellent came the reply, see you then.
He was about to turn and close the door when Hobson stopped him, did you sort your power supplier out, Steadman looked confused,
Sorry, was there a problem?
No problem replied, Hobson
Steadman gave a little shake of head then a final smile before turning and closing his door.
The two policemen stood looking at the now empty space. Hobson took out his Cell scanner,he set it to trace and keyed In Steadman’sdetails, it wasn't long before it pinged.
He's making a call, said Hobson, the receivers got a scrambler can't see who he's calling.
Curiouser and curiouser, said LeRoy.
Vanburdens phone pinged, he saw Steadman’sface, the image annoyed him and he disconnected the call.
He figured if he was calling then the police hadn't come to arrest him, which meant he could wait. Now wasn't the time to be burdened with Steadman’s tears. He had bigger problems to resolve. He pressed the intercom, find me Doctor Guppta he barked.
Laura Pearson had, had a bad day. She'd missed the cut off to buy her power quota, the markets where now closed, so she stood in the rain in a queue to buy a six thermo power bar. This was a temporary power supply contract,that should give her enough fuel credits to to get her through the night. It was an exorbitant price to have to pay, but it was this or no heat or light for the next twelve hours. Buying your power from street vending machines was always priced way over the top, but she had no choice, she'd had no time that afternoon to buy an online cheap fuel contract, so she had to do it this way. She cursed Her boss Steadman for having the foresight to take the day off and negotiate himself a new power supplier. She made a mental note that when got on the cross town she'd sort her diary out and do the same herself. A voice announced that their would be a power dip in thirty two minutes, and would last seventeen minutes. She calculated her time window. Her train would arrive in six minutes, her journey should take a further twenty minutes, which means she had six minutes to get from the station to her apartment and take the elevator to her 29th floor apartment, before there was a power blackout. The last thing she wanted was to be caught in the elevator, when a power drop kicks in. On the other hand she didn't want have to take the stair, or have to hang around the cross town station, where they had emergency lights for seventeen minutes. She cursed how tight her timings where, this day just goes from bad to worse she thought.
After she'd stormed off from her meeting with the Savitches, she made some preliminary notes, to pass on to Steadman, listing her objections to their request. It was pretty straightforward really it was a flat rejection, on the grounds of previous criminal activity. Any form of crime was grounds for immediate rejection of an application for regeneration. She would prepare her formal rejection tomorrow. Her afternoon was scheduled for a meeting with some high powered Euro court lawyers. The case involved centered around a disputed will. The deceased was a Russian Power Baron. He controlled several very large Petro chemical factories in Eastern Europe. He was a major supplier in the power fuel chain. He had had a volatile relationship with family and had rewritten his last request, on several occasions, and with several different law firms. When he had died the family had disputed the benefactors. This was a multi billion Eurodollar business that had been in dispute for several years. Having been unable to establish the authentic benefactor of the business, all parties had agreed to apply for short-term regeneration. This would involve the man in question being rebirthed for a maximum of 48 hours, in that time either the gentleman would confirm his last will and testament, or a Truthie would be administered and the benefactor would be revealed.
Requests for this form of regeneration where quite common. The huge sums of money involved, meant that the expense of regeneration, which was considerable would prove negligible, should the outcome be in your favor. The legal arguments were normally about money. Who pays, which costs, and time frames. These meetings could go on for hours, which in this case did. It meant that there had been no time for private business, hence standing in a queue in the rain in a busy subway station trying to buy a power bar.
Pearson stood on the crowded platform waiting for her train. The board said it would arrive in 4 minutes, and was at 89% capacity. She looked along the platform which was 100% full, she needed to get on this train so pushed herself to the front, she stood between the lines showing where the doors would open, when the train stops.
She was having such a lousy day she decided to cheer herself up and took out her Cell and checked out the linked up status of the smiley detective LeRoy who she had met the day before. His status was single and available, and his partner profile and lifestyle rating was a very impressive 8. She considered her own status which was also single and available, and after checking his partner history and feedback reports, she decided he could be worth going on a date with. On impulse she decided to message him. In the office environment messages would always be formal and constructed correctly. Linked Up was far more informal, it's language was far more relaxed and a little but flirty.
The arrivals board gave a one-minute warning and the crowd began to shuffle forward, Pearson, took a step towards the edge, to ease the pressure, still constructing her message to LeRoy. She wanted to give him a signal that she was available and would be up for a date, if he was interested. He'd seemed friendly enough in the brief meeting they'd had. They'd even managed to share a joke, although she couldn't remember saying or doing anything that he might have taken as sign she was interested. So thought she'd still keep it cool and playful. Going to keep the mystery she thought. she began typing
Theirs something I think you should know call me
She felt the grip tighten, before a hard deliberate push into her back, the force propelled her forward and off the platform onto the track. She landed face down, then staggered as she tried to get up. The people watching on the platform began screaming, She heard them but was dazed, it was another noise that made her look up. She turned her head only to see the fast approaching cross town train directly in front of her. Its brakes were squealing, but it was still travelling at considerable speed when it hit . The impact forcing her down onto the tracks the engine and carriages sliding gracefully over her now crushed body.
LeRoy’s Cell pinged. He gave a smile of surprise when he saw Lauren Pearson’s face, and a strap line that said he had a message on chain link, he flicked to the page and opened the message, He smiled again after he read the note.
What do you make of this, he handed his phone to Hobson, who read out the message loudly
Theirs something I think you should know
He considered the cryptic note. why couldn't she call? LeRoy had been thinking the same thing, then said I think we could be about to get a break. Let's call her.
He pressed call, it connected, but then switched to her message service. He heard Lauren Pearson’s cheerful voice asking him to leave a short message, He smiled when he heard her voice, he remembered her joke about the monkey, hey got your message he said, so you've changed your mind about King Kong. we need to talk call me.
The two detectives descended the stairs into the bowls of the the subway system, then went their separate ways. LeRoy promised to call his partner if he got a call. He was heading towards the cross town train but was surprised by a wave of people heading towards him. A medical team was close behind and made him jump when he heard a loud voice urging the crowd to get out of their way.
Stand aside shouted A subway patrol officer who made a path, for the emergency guys carrying some heavy equipment through the mass of now retreating travellers,
what's going on asked LeRoy,
Had a jumper on the cross town track replied the guard.
LeRoy checked his watch fifteen minutes until the power out. He decided to go and find a bar and kill some time. Something wasn't right about the message he'd received from Lauren He decided to call her again, but it went to message, straight away this time. Why wasn't she picking up? He did a locator search. He was surprised to see they where both in the same subway station and she was close by. He looked around hoping to see her, but the crowd had stopped moving, everyone was just waiting now for the signal to head back to the platform. His tracker was still pinging her location, but now it was moving. He was going to follow it but saw the signal was approaching so decided to wait and let her come to him. The signal slowly pinged its way towards his location, He heard one of the station guards shouting a warning to everyone to stand aside they where coming through. He could see the paramedics approaching pushing a mobile stretcher. As they got closer so did the signal, the ping was stronger now, he looked around, where was she he thought. He stood to one side as the trolley passed and the signal was now pinging off the charts. He strained to see where she was, the crowd flowing towards him to avoid the medical didn't help, and he was pushed out the way by the force of numbers. He recovered and the signal had now passed him and was moving away. The trolley and the paramedics were slowly moving through the crowd and so was Laura Pearson’s mobile telephone signal. she must have walked straight past and they hadn't Seen each other, he couldn't believe it. He followed the signal it was moving away from him now. The crowd of frustrated passengers was growing all the time. He managed to get into the wake of the paramedics which made moving easier, but he couldn't understand how his target was still moving so freely, she was so close yet where was she. The Paramedics reached the elevators, and where waiting for a free carriage. The signal had stopped moving . He looked around the mad of bodies all waiting patiently for their trains. He was frustrated, why couldn't he see her. And then he realized why, the trolley began moving again, and signal pinged. He watched the trolley with a large body bag set atop, enter the lift and the door close. The locator began a low rhythmic beat as it rose up the floors to ground level. He watched the floor indicator stop, then saw the signal move out of the elevator and then forward and towards the subway exit.
He switched off the locator, then called Hobson.
It was Luther Brock and Captain Marines turn to wait. LeRoy had been briefing the search team he assembled to accompany him to the Regeneration Authority building, Shivvy Sylvester had ok'd all the procedural agreements, he would accompany the team in his role as crime scene DA. LeRoy had gotten Marine to declare the Regeneration Authority a potential crime scene, which meant a full investigation team could be made available.
When LeRoy arrived for the meeting he wasn't alone, he had brought the DA Sylvester and Hobson his lead detective with him.
Marine was reading over the autopsy report Brock had prepared on Laura Pearson, their wasn't much, she'd died instantly from the impact and the rest of the damage was as Brock described it 'Collateral'.
What I don't understand, said Marine, looking up from the report, was why she didn't call?
Maybe she couldn't maybe she was being watched offered Hobson
A security recording from the platform was ready but paused on a large screen. Marine pressed play and everybody began watching the tragedy that was about to unfurl. Their was no sound. The victim was visible her head bowed typing into her portable device. The film played on the approaching train now visible. For a moment their eyes where drawn towards the train before switching back to watch what was about to happen to the victim. They watched and saw her forced off the platform onto the track.
LeRoy took control of the remote and stopped the recording; he didn't want to see what happen next. He rewound the film and enhanced the magnification so it focused in the area directly around her. He played it forward again slowly this time. She was still typing into her portable, that's when she must have been sending you the message said Hobson. Then something or someone made her hips tighten then an unseen force pushed her forward. LeRoy stopped rewound again and enhanced the magnification further. She was typing her body stiffens then she jolted forward. A mass of bodies surrounded her, it was hard to see if anyone was making a forward motion to deliberately push her. He stopped rewound and played. Then magnified the Image He did it several times. The assembled team watched in silence until Sylvester who like everybody else was concentrating on the screen said what they where all thinking, what aren't we seeing. The film was frozen again at the moment before she was pushed.
It was Brock who saw it, she's smiling he said.
The Savitches arrived at their former home with a team of LifeGiver production staff, and the obligatory film crew who were now recording their every move.
The production coordinator, or PC as she was known, was a a wiry looking girl who didn't bother to introduce herself. She had already let herself into the apartment, and had began the task of searching through contents. When she saw them she ignored the owners and spoke only to Mgiven. She was blunt and got straight to the point. So here's what I need, to know, did the kid get buried or cremated? If it was the latter do you still have the ashes? She looked at the Savitches directly for the first time. they shook their heads. She then rattled off a list of other possible sources of DNA. The kids clothes, anything personal such as a hairbrush toothbrush or a razor, Mgivern's wanted to remind her that Peter was only five, but she wasn't interested in making conversation she was rattling on with her list. We need photographs, birth certificates passports, and any trophies, awards or mementos you might have.
Mgivern's was embarrassed by the abruptness of the PC, he felt he should apologize for her brusque manner. but decided it was better to let it go, she was gone now barking orders at the rest of her team. He gave a little shrug, and said, sorry about that, its just that we are going to need anything that you may have had of Peter’s that we can get a good DNA sample from. I know its been a long time but DNA lives on if you have anything at all no matter how small we may be able to harvest it. He wasn’t hopeful, the apartment was a ramshackle mess which meant that their would be a lot of cross contamination. Finding a good match could literally be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
I have a phial of his blood said Peta,
Bingo said the coordinator, who had heard the conversation from the bathroom.
Peta went to the bedroom, and retrieved a small suitcase from under the bed. The PC and a couple of members of her team stood over her as she opened the case and revealed a treasure trove of memorabilia, celebrating the short life of their son Peter. His Clothes, toys, books, and a small box, which sat on top of the pile. Peta opened it to reveal a small bottle filled with a rich red ruby liquid, next to it a lock of hair secured with tape.
Is this all his stuff asked the co-ordinate. the mother nodded and pushed the case towards her to check for herself, she poked around with a probe, moving the clothes to one side to check what was underneath. Satisfied she had what she needed, she surprised everyone when she bellowed, OK we got what we need, get the doctor in here.
A small pasty Arab looking man entered the room; he was sweating, and looked ill. The PC addressed the family for the first time directly;We are going to need blood and some swabs for comparison tests. Need to make sure you are who you say you are and you and the kids blood are the same. Mgivern Cringed at her crassness, but she was oblivious. Ok Doc, she said do your stuff.
Come with me he said nervously, whoa whoa, whoa said the PC where are you taking them. The doctor looked even more nervous now, The bathroom he said hesitantly, I need somewhere that is at least a little bit sterile, he looked around the apartment in disgust. The PC didn’t argue, she shrugged and turned her attention to the bed and the small case which her team was in the process of bagging and labeling. satisfied, the doctor ushered the couple into to he bathroom, Mgivern was following, before the doctor turned and barred his way, you will not be needed he barked, stay here. Then he turned and closed the bathroom door once the three of them where inside.
The doctor held his finger to his lips, so they wouldn’t speak, then he began giving orders, speaking first to the wife, he asked officiously, Can you take off your coat and roll up your sleeve please. Mrs. Savitch obliged playing along with the charade. The doctor then went to his medical bag, and produced a phial of blood with Petra Savitches name on it. He then produced a long test tube which contained cotton swab buds, again with her name on it. He placed them both on the bathroom stand. He then addressed the husband. Now you, can you do the same please Mr. Savitch, remove your jacket and roll up your sleeve. He to obliged and a similar phial and a test tube where taken from the bag both had his name on, and where placed alongside the others on the shelf. He then took some blood stained cotton wool and some tape and stuck it to each of their arms. He looked at them both and gave a brief smile, before turning and opening the bathroom door; You can come in now if you must he said to Mgivern who had been waiting patiently on the other side of the door. The Doctor scooped up the bottles and test tubes, and pit them in a zip lock bag. Who do I give this to, he asked holding up the bag. I’ll take that said the PC snatching the bag, checking the details, then announcing ok we are done lets get out of here. The team as one stopped what they where doing and headed for the door. The PC took a final look around then she too, the doctor followed without appearing to speak to with of the Savitches, but sometimes a look can say so much more.
Pavel was about to ask what next, when the room was filled with the hustle and bustle of a film crew. Mgivern checked his schedule next up was the film inserts for the show, shot at the families home and the retelling of their story to camera.
The new Production coordinator bounced up to Mgivern and the Savitches and introduced himself. Hi guys I’m Joe Candy and I’ll be producing and directing this little epic of a life story of yours. He was bursting with smiles and energy, he pumped Mgiverns hand then Pavels,,before scooping up Peta and hugging her in his bear like grip.
Oh my baby you’ve been through so much but I’m going to make it so much better for you now. Peta was quite taken aback by the hug, and nervously thanked him. It should be me thanking you he said, my god, your story its tragic and heartbreaking and yet so uplifting at the same time, then turned to anyone who would listen, do you know what I mean, he pleaded. It was Mgivern who felt obliged to respond, with an understanding nod of the head. Which encouraged Joe Candy to carry on, I'm honoredto have this opportunity. He then hugged her again, before fluttering his hand across his face, Oh My God look at me i’m a wreck and he we haven't even started filming yet! He pulled away took out a perfect pink pocket square and began dabbing away at his eyes then fluttered his hand again, finally, his emotions back under control, he announced. Enough, we’ve got work to do. Hair and make up he called. Let's get this story told to camera. Then he flounced out of the room shouting Coffee where's the coffee.
So she's smiling so what said Hobson, he was confused. LeRoy tried to explain. The last message she was sending said she had something important, that's what she was typing, he pointed to the screen, so why was she smiling? If it was so important, what was so funny? Brock had stopped listening a while ago he was looking at something else on the film. Look at the guy directly behind her, the guy who we think pushed her, they shifted their focus, and studied him he wore a hooded coat the hood pulled up to tight hide his identity, play the film said Brock but half speed he requested. The film began playing they watched Pearson being gripped then lifted, she reacts with surprise, she rises up and is forced forward before going off the platform, and onto the track. As the very end the hands of the killer are extended and briefly exposed, before being covered up by the swell of the passengers all around them. Brock shouted stop. LeRoy pressed pause, Now focus in a little more and rewind a frame at a time. LeRoy was controlling the remote, he slowly increased the definition and the screen expanded the hands eventually came into focus, one frame at a time. All of a sudden came A whistle from Captain Marine, what have we here he said. Looks to me like red nail varnish said Hobson.
Curiouser and curiouser mused LeRoy
Has anyone ever dealt with anything like it, asked Hobson; He stood up his silhouette casting a giant shadow across the screen. Thinking out loud he began listing the craziness of the case so far. We got two dead clones bothwith no DNA, no fingerprints and fucked up blood, The deceased was attacked by a fucking gorilla, we've got his big monkey ass prints are all over her, but, no human prints However we know the monkey didn't kill them, He paused to gather his thoughts again before he continued, Then our only witness, the monkey, turns up dead. So then we get a break the truck they carried the banana muncher in , was spotted. Dropping him off. Turns out the vehicle belong to the Regeneration Authority. The girl we go see about checking some of the wagons sends us a message, and before she can finish it, gets herself pushed under a train. Her murderer could be a woman coz she was wearing red nail varnish. He paused OK, have I missed anything here? There was no reply, Is this making any kind of sense to anyone?
Silence descended across the room they all studied the screen and tried, as Hobson had asked make sense of it all. Then LeRoy spoke up Me, I've got an idea he said. Pardon my French, captain he said addressing his superior, but thank fuck for that, now how about explaining it all to me.
I got a better idea, said LeRoy why don't we let someone else do the explaining he said. Like who said Captain Marine, sounding skeptical,
Lets ask one of the girls. He said firmly. It was Shivie Sylvester who spoke for the first time, he asked said what everyone else was thinking, How?
Let's bring one back from the dead.
Son of a bitch said Marine sounding shocked then he began to laugh Sin of a bitch he repeated in between fits of laughter.
Vanburden was in a conference call, he felt like the cat who had gotten the cream. As he talked confidently to a packed room several thousand miles away, Gentlemen you will have your beloved leader returned to you within a week, subject to all our requests being implemented.
A swarthy military type stood up and stepped closer to the screen. He spoke excellent English, Sir We have completed all the transactions ahead of your schedule, The power fields are now signed over to you. Our memoranda of intent places all fuel sources held under the auspices of the Army of Allah, to be controlled and managed by the LifeGiver Corporation. In short Mr. Vanburden you are now the proud owner of the world richest reserve of power and fuel. Those resources are secure and you have our sworn oaths that the Army of Allah will respect your rights, in perpetuity in honor of your services in our holy war, and for returning to us our beloved leader Ramal
Allah Akbar said the officer finally then returned to his seat.
Allah Akbar indeed said Vanburden. The settled back in his seat, Now gentlemen this is how we will return Ramal Khan to you.
LeRoy and Hobson sat watching the children at play. Sound didn't carry through the glass panel, but they all looked content, A group of young nurses attended to them, the children were all of Asian descent Chinese maybe Japanese, but certainly not western. the minders began gathering the children together, they assembled without protest and marched out of the room. Hobson commented on how the supervisors were dressed more medical than nursery school, In Their scrubs, gloves and masks these where the strangest looking nursery nurses he had ever seen and he made a point of telling LeRoy so.
I can't decide if this is the smartest or the stupidest idea you've ever had he continued, looking around the room a little bit in awe of being at the home of LifeGiver. Let's just go with the flow said LeRoy, as the Arctic tundra rolled across the large screen that had come to life on one of the walls of the spacious waiting area.
A secretary approached the two men and extended her hand to greet them, Hi I'm Mia, she was small and attractive and like the children oriental by birth, Mr. Vanburden is available to see you now. She directed them to join her employer in his office. LeRoy stopped listening the moments she extended her arm he was transfixed by her long slender fingers, whichwere tipped with a rich ruby red varnish, the same color as that worn by the person who had pushed Laura Pearson under the train. Hefollowed the trail of her hands transition as they elegantly flowed to the side of her body. His attention was fixed on the girl. Got something Hobson asked under his breathe, maybe, said LeRoy his tone suggesting he was considering something As they entered the room he tugged at the detectives sleeve. say nothing he mouthed. Hobson gave a short nod, then looked across towards the window where a Stetson wearing cowboy figure stood admiring the view. He turned smiled at his guests then returned to his desk. LeRoy did the introductions and thanked the VP of LifeGiver for taking the time to meet them.
How could I refuse said Vanburden your request intrigued me. Please tell me more, but first can I offer you coffee. Without waiting for an answer he called for his secretary Mia to return, which pleased LeRoy. Coffee for our guests please my darlin, his fulsome hokey cowboy act was now to the fore. I've been a fan of yours for quite a while inspector, Leroy was surprised that he knew who he was. He was even more surprised when he complimented him on his crime time show, it's is addictive, he continued, we should talk about getting you something on one of our channels. LeRoy almost blushed at the flattery for a moment he was distracted by the thought of having his own show on the worlds biggest TV network. The cowboy had thrown him with the carrot he was dangling. It was Hobson who got him back into the real world, maybe because he was a little bit put out because Vanburden wasn't trying to kiss his ass.
Cute kids he said, changing the subject referring to the crèche they been observing earlier. Oh those guys said Vanburden pointing towards the door, and the room across the corridor where the children had disappeared. Orphans, the village where they lived in China was wiped out in a mudslide. Did you catch the story on LifeGiver news? Hobson wasn't doing hearts and flowers today Can't say I did said Hobson, not wanting to fall into the same trap his boss had. .One of our CEO's Wood King was out there in China working on a LifeGiver project, he got caught up in the tragedy and so of course did we, He brought the kids back with him. We've kind of adopted them, turns out they had brothers and sisters but no moms or pops, so we brought them out too, or as many of them as we could. It's been a terrible business but you do what you can, said Vanburden. He gave the story a further moment of reflection then moved on. The young secretary entered through a side door. She carried a tray of drinks; she placed it on a side table, then served each of them a cup of black coffee. LeRoy's eyes focuses on her hands again, he asked for cream, and she returned with a jug and began pouring her hand directly in front of his face as he held the cup up. Say when, she said. LeRoy smiled and allowed the cup to fill. Satisfied he'd seen enough he said When, as requested. The secretary smiled and returned the jug to the tray, then withdrew from the room.
We hope you may be able to help us with a problem we have, said LeRoy, Vanburden lookedeager to hear how he could be of assistance to New Yorks finest, LeRoy leaned forward, Firstly sir, could I ask that everything we discuss today is in the strictest confidence, Vanburden, held up his hands, my lips are sealed gentlemen, he looked positively excited by what he was about to be told. LeRoy continued, We are investigating an vey unusual murder, Vanburden, was sitting forward listening intently, The victim had had her throat slashed, and the body was dumped. That’s shocking said Vanburden, shaking his head in disbelief, Leroy agreed, shocking he said, but believe it or not not so unusual. Really said Vanburden looking surprised, You don’t hear those kind of stories on the news channels very often. Leroy agreed, Unfortunately crimes of this nature are to frequent to be headline news, however this one is a little bit different. really said Van burden he looked intrigued, As well as having her throat cut, the victim had slashes to the body, these slashes turned out to be from the nails of a Silver Back Gorilla, A gorilla burst out Vanburden, He looked uncomfortable, he said he was shocked and told the policeman so, he sat back a little bit deeper into his chair, trying to disguise his growing uneasiness he had a bad feeling now and didn’t like where this was going.. but Leroy did and he was watching his body language, the subtle change in expression, his eyes widening as the story unfolded, his feigned shock at the revelation about the gorilla, LeRoy knew right away that behind this facade the man sitting opposite him already knew everything he was being told. Good old-fashioned police instinct told him Vanburden was guilty of something, the question was what. He thought it was time to drop the big bombshell, but half of him thought he already knows what’s coming, but I’ll do it anyway. He continued, so we’ve got a victim, with her throat cut, and gorilla marks all over the body. he paused for effect, and to let Vanburden start to wonder, where was this going. Satisfied the penny was dropping, he started again, And if that wasn’t enough the victim is a clone. Van burden was now sitting as if he had been pressed into his chair by some invisible force. He forced a look of surprise, A clone he said, really, LeRoy acted as shocked as the VP of LifeGiver, I know can you believe it, so here’s the thing, we thought how can we find out who did this, oh did I mention the clone had no recognizable DNA, that was another first, anyway we thought Perhaps you here at LifeGiver may be able to help. It was Leroy’s turn to sit back and wait for a reaction. Van burden sat still, the cogs in his head turning furiously, as he desperately tried to stay calm, and not give any sign he knew what the policeman was talking about. Finally he spoke, My oh My what a story, can you believe it. It was if a Hicksville cowboy had just rode into town, Vanburden, used hokey Texan drawl, to mask what he was thinking. Well Detective LeRoy that’s quite a story, he shook his head in disbelief Leroy was to long in the tooth to be fooled by this act, but he played along anyway. He decided to counter it with his own dumbass act. I know, he said can you believe it, his voice full of wonder. Meanwhile Vanburden was regaining his composure, It was if playing the dumbass cowboy was a shield to hide behind. He began to smile again, So how can LifeGiver help he asked, He was trying to make it about the company not himself thought LeRoy, It was like a boxing match, It was LeRoy’s to pump in a few jabs, hoping to wrong foot him again, Do you know anybody at the Regeneration Authority, he inwardly smiled, a clever move he thought, Vanburden drew back into his seat again, it was a subtle jerk, but LeRoy saw it, A low blow to the gut, he thought. It was the reaction he had been hoping for, Vanburden stuttered for the first time now, He pulled up his guard again. I know a few people he said cautiously, we have dealings with them For our TV programmes. He was expecting to be asked about Steadman, but instead LeRoy asked do you know Laura Pearson, Another blow to the stomach. Of course Vanburden knew who she was, he also knew she was dead. LeRoy thought he had him on the ropes now, but he didn’t go in for the killer punch, Instead he held back and just stayed silent. Silence usually works , nobody likes silence it was uncomfortable, and Vanburden looked uncomfortable.so he took out his cell and as if consulting some note scrolled to Laura Pearson’s linked profile. He pretended to check some details, which he could see was now making Vanburden very uncomfortable. Yes Laura Pearson he repeated, died last night, very suspicious circumstances. Vanburden shrugged, Terrible terrible, he said but as I said detective we meet a lot of people at the Regeneration Authority, I may have met her, Should I know her he asked. LeRoy remained casual No not necessarily, he said it was just that we had a meeting with her recently just before she died, she gave me an idea. And I thought I'd run it past you. He smiled and sat back, If we could bring back one of the victims just for a short time, we would be able to ask her about her murder, and maybe catch the killer. Van burden, pretended to give the idea some thought. Leroy was thinking this was a one sided fight, Vanburden was going down any time now, but he wanted to give him a little more before he finished him off. You know this could be the basis for a LifeGiver TV series, or even a movie, he turned to Hobson, and started speaking tohim about the mystical romance of the criminal, and about their always being a femme fatale. Everyone loved a good crime drama, he said, Especially the old time ones, where the scorned, gangsters moll, gets her revenge on her bad boy lover. He now turned back to Vanburden, Imagine getting revenge from beyond the grave. The cowboy was down but he wasn’t out, thissounds like it could be an amazing story, he tried to look excited at the possibility. Did See there, the detective almost shouted pointing at Vanburden’s puzzled face but looking at Hobson. He thinking about it it, right? He gestured towards Vanburden encouraging him to nod. He sees it he said, You do see it said LeRoy again. He was playing with him now, but something happened to Vanburden, It was if a light had been flicked on a jolt of energy surged through the VP of LifeGiver, he’s got nothing he’s just fishing he thought. . His old self-assurance and cock sure friendliness returned. he beamed, Hell yeah, I see it, The two men smiled at one and other, Vanburden looked at the policeman as if to say, Two can play at this game. LeRoy knew he’d given him his best shot and he hadn’t crumbled, now it was just about sparing for points. Hobson sat confused, He didn’t know what was going on, all he could see was two men grinning at each other like oafs, what had he missed?
Back to business thought LeRoy, So here's the thing Mr. Vanburden we were hoping that LifeGiver may be able to provide us with the means to regenerate our witness, we have the body, which of course means we have a form of DNA, what we need is the respirator and a functioning AI or Artificial Intelligence processor. Van burden pretended to be considering the proposal and what would be required. Your right he said you’d need The respirator to temporarily control the bodily functions such as the heart and the lungs. I wonder though will intelligencegenerated in the cloned brain still allow the body to function. Well we’ll find out won’t we said LeRoy, and then Van burden continued. Then their was the little matter of obtaining the regeneration protocol, which would we would need to act as the catalyst for the rebirth.
I suppose you’ve got your permission from the Regeneration Authority he said matter of faculty. No not yet said LeRoy that's next, came the reply, I was hoping to speak to Miss Pearson, but as that is not going to be possible, I will have to speak to the director Mr. Steadman. Vanburden interrupted now, if your having any problems I’m sure we will be able to twits their arm, he joked and LeRoy beamed, That's a very interesting offer he said, then turning to his partner wouldn't you agree detective. Hobson said nothing.
The silence to last for to long, before Vanburden continued, Now gentlemen, back to business much as we would like to help, a procedure like this would be extraordinarily expensive, who would pay for this. If Vanburden knew one thing it was that federal or state departments don't like spending money. A case like this could fall apart because nobody was prepared to pay. LeRoy wasn't going to be bluffed over money, so played his own joker, I've spoken to the high ups already and they think it would be worth cost, so don't you worry about who's paying, a crime had been committed and we want to catch the killers. It was Van burdens turn to play his ace, Has it he asked, it was LeRoy turn to look unsure, I'm sorry he said, it was Vanburden turn to play the fisherman. You said a crime, but if they were clones then where's the crime. Check mate he thought.
The detectives stood up to leave. Vanburden stood between the two men, his arms draped over there shoulders. He guided them to the door his brash confidence fully restored. Get back to me gentlemen, if you get your authorization. And I hope you catch your killer. And then he added. Maybe if this doesn't work out we can make you the star of police show he smiled at the though? So did LeRoy, Who me, he said Feigning modesty. Hobson looked to the sky in disgust.
The two men continued discussing the possibility of a TV career as they walked out of the office. , LeRoy began to to spin his fanciful police stories, and Vanburden seemed enthralled, he kept asking questions, and the police officer kept him entertained with tales of the seamier side of gangland. Finally, LeRoy, wound up the conversation, Vanburden said his people would be in touch, about TV opportunities, LeRoy said he would arrangedelivery of the body for processing and then rebirthing. Van burden, said that if they could get approval and the financial agreement, they could use, what they called one of their 'test beds’ It was part of their research facility that was available for trials and rebirth simulations. It would probably take about 48 hours to set it it up and to run the protocols through the system once everything was installed and the body was modified for regeneration. LeRoy finished by asking for some contact points and who his team should liaise with. Vanburden reeled off a list of names and numbers, the policeman began patting himself down looking for a pen and paper, he began searching his pockets awkwardly, Vanburden, recognizing his dilemma said allow me, and began scribbling down the LifeGiver contacts then handed the completed list to LeRoy, who studied it then asked could He borrow hos pen for one minute, the pen was passed over and LeRoy admired the LifeGiver symbol on the side, impressive he said, keep it Vanburden said as a souvenir. LeRoy smiled said thank you then put the pen and the paper in his pocket, we'll be in touch later today. Look forward to working together said Vanburden, Mia will show you out. Mia as if by magic appeared, and directed the police officers towards the exit. The smiled and walked out to the outer office, accompanied by the secretary, once outside and the door was closed LeRoy began coughing, he bent over as if in pain, Hobson tried to comfort him, you ok he asked, the inspector stood up, something must have gone down the wrong way, can I get you something, a drink of water offered Mia, that would be great said the detective. She rushed away and LeRoy composed himself, What’s going on here, said Hobson a note of confusion in his voice. LeRoy smiled but not at his partner at the secretary returning hold a glass of water, He carefully took a sip, and said thanks Mia smiled and said goodbye then returned to her own office. LeRoy looked around then poured the remainder of the water onto the floor, then he carefully placed the glass, in his pocket, oops looks like one if the kids has had an accident, he said to Hobson and the two men headed for the elevators. We need to find a DNA scanner announced LeRoy
The investigation team had discreetly assembled at the offices of the Regeneration Authority. When LeRoy and Hobson arrived they wentstraight to a Tech van and had the pen Vanburden had used swabbed, and analyzed, then did the same with the glass Mia his secretary had given to him. The fingerprints and the DNA from the pen belonged to the Vice President of LifeGiver. The glass however, was a different matter, no DNA match and no fingerprints. LeRoy relayed the news to his superior. Who visibly let out a sigh of relief. He also gave him a run through on the meeting he'd had with Vanburden and the possible connection between the Vice President of the LifeGiver Corporation and the senior director at the Regeneration Authority.
Keep digging were Marines final words to his officer.
LeRoy found Hobson, ok, so lets go get a spade
Steadman arrived early, he felt a lot better, He'd had a sleepless night thinking about nothing else other than what Vanburden had asked him to do. He'd finally convinced himself he could do it. And if he was clever, nobody would question the decision.
He knew his assistant wouldn't agree, but then she doesn't agree with most of what they where doing anymore. Maybe he should think about moving her to another department, and getting someone who was more understanding about the important work they where doing at the Regeneration Authority.
When he entered the buildings reception, The assistant who should have been there to greet him was missing. He looked around and saw her, sat at her desk crying. He saw a bouquet offlowers on her desk and thought it must have been boyfriend trouble.
He was about to tell her to pull herself together, when she saw him and rushed to the desk, Oh Mr. Steadman isn't it terrible about Laura
As soon as the lift doors closed he tore at his pockets to find his communicator. His hands shook as he scrambled through the pages to find his mail server. The first message that caught his eye had the now familiar crest of the New York Police Department followed by short memo from NYPD metro services informing him they had been trying to contact him regarding one of his employees. They wanted him to call them as soon as possible. He ignored that and switched to the on line news feeds and searched until he found the link to the story, He skimmed through the headlines, unable to believe what he was reading. They called it a death in suspicious circumstances. He staggered into his office locked the door, slumped to the floor, and called Vanburden. They know he hissed into the phone.
Inspector LeRoy NYPD, I have an appointment with Mr. Steadman. He presented what he believed was his winning smile to the assistant who greeted him at the now bustling reception area. I'll tell him your here she said and sent a message to his office. Expecting an immediate reply she was surprised when their was no response. I'm sorry he must have stepped out.
LeRoy looked to his crime scene DA Shivie Sylvester who was loitering in the background, what do you think he asked. Your call I'll back you up said the DA. LeRoy nodded ok let's do it. He turned to Hobson he was about to authorizehim to search the Authority car pound and Seize the vehicle logs. When a familiar Texan drawl drew his attention. We meet again inspector....
The production crew who had searched the Savitches apartment where carefully unpackingtheir finds. Anything that may have anysignificant DNA was separated and handed over to the implantation team. The doctor who had travelled with the team completed the documentation relating to the fake blood samples he had supposedly taken from the family. He then delivered his precious cargo to the medical regeneration team. He watched from the observation window as the suitably dressed medical team prepared the now assembled clone. A name tag hung on the wall with his name on it. It said he was a 22 year old boy called Peter Savitch, but the doctor who’s name was Chandra Guppta knew differently. Through the glass he watched as the team prepared to regenerate the leader of the Army of Allah Ramal Khan. His heart swelled with pride, as he observed the man whose destiny was to return and strike at the heart of the infidels. A blood infusion drip was connected to his arm. A slow flashing light indicated it was active slowly pumping the life giving fluid into the torso. He looked perfect in every way, it thrilled the doctor to know that the time was nearly upon them. Satisfied that he was alone in the room he took out his cellphone communicator and took a photograph. He admired the still photo then added it to a file and posted it to his contact.
At The National Security Agency headquarters at Finchley Belt, an alert bell pinged, the agent manning the terminal looked up from his newspaper, and announced to anyone listening looks like one of our boys got a message
I'll check it out after lunch, said the station controller. Note and log, and trace the source, he's not going anywhere.
Steadman took the stairs to the central Regen computer mainframe floor. He gave a cursory flash of his security tag to the guards on duty, and passed through the gate, and entered the mainframe lobby. A few technicians and software engineers sat at their terminals. Nobody acknowledged Steadman had entered the room, which suited him. He chose a free station that was remote from the rest of the workers, and logged on with Laura Pearson’s ID code. He knew nobody ever checked the time stamp on the entry, but just in case he didn’t want to use his own ID. He visited the mainframe hall several times a day, so him being here this morning would mean nothing to anybody who may have seen him come in. He’d taken a handful of painkillers, they didn’t take away the fear, and they just numbed his senses. He logged in and entered the restricted Protocol generation programme. Because every protocol was unique,It was impossible to steel the code, as once generated it had its own one time source code that could only be associated with a matched DNA string. This protocol was the booster that reenergized the dormant DNA strings and made them active again. Van burden had given Steadman what was called a memory stick that contained what he called a ‘Target String’ This was a sample DNA taken from the subject who was being regenerated. The derived protocol would attach itself to the string, which would then reproduce and populate the other strings in the system. Once introduced into a life form, it would accelerate the memory growth from the original DNA strings history, or in simple terms once the body was alive and functioning it would restore its sensory memory. Advances were being made in Artificial Intelligence all the time and and with each new discovery it was possible to fill in more and more of the gaps.. When a body was regenerated, It would look like its former self, it would have the feelings and emotions of its former self, and it would have a basic knowledge of who they once where, They would be told at first only that something had happened to them. it would be up to a support team of
Family, friends, and who ever had brought them back to restore their memories and remind them of their past. However scientists at LifeGen had been working on accelerating this process, by increasing the capacity of the artificial Intelligence simulator or the new brain.
Steadman’s task was to produce a protocol for a young boy called Peter Savitch, The small stub memory drive would supply the basic details, and once assimilated a protocol would be generated which would then be reloaded onto the memory drive which could then be uploaded into the body, which would act as the catalyst for the boys regeneration. Stedman’s clearance level allowed him to access the programme and load in the details. It only took a few seconds for the source code to be generated then downloaded. A message flashed telling him the protocol was now complete, but a warning that no further regeneration codes could be accessed for this DNA string. Satisfied his work was done, he switched off the terminal, and left the mainframe hall. He used the stairs again and left the building by the delivery entrance. He didn’t see LeRoy and Vanburden chatting away at reception.
Doctor Guppta received the message and left the observation room. His orders had originally been to stay around the regeneration hall, and make sure everything went to plan. . That was until a minute ago. Now everything had changed. He hadn’t expected the call or his new instructions. But he had to be prepared for anything, That was the nature of his work. He took his medical bag, and left for his rendezvous.
Steadman messaged Vanburden it was short and to the point. it just said, Got it.
Van burden took the message whilst still talking to LeRoy; he looked at the screen, then put the cell back in his pocket. Quite a coincidence we meeting like this he said, I’ve been talking to my people over at Discovery, that’s our new talent department, about you. And I have to say your on the radar, Expect a call Inspector, he turned to leave. LeRoy wasn’t as easily flattered this time. Mr. Vanburden he said, You didn't come all the way down here to tell me that did you?
Vanburden smiled broadly, hell no, I came to see my friend Mr Steadman, but the pretty ladies he gestured to the receptionists, and assistants who all smiled at the compliments, that our mutual friend isn’t available. which is a pity because I was hoping to talk to him about your little problem. Seems we’ve both lucked out today hey,
You’ll still be able to help though won’t you asked Leroy, was talking about his fake gangster regeneration plan, Vanburden was being cagey, well that kind of depends on us getting our protocol doesn’t it, we don’t get that and I’mafraid your little plan falls down, LeRoy smiled, I’m sure that once we catch up with Mr Steadman, Im sure he’ll be only to happy to help us as much as he can. Van burden gave a curt little smile. I’m sure he will. He turned and left LeRoy watched him go, lets check those vehicle records.
Ok so lets take a look at that file, said the station chief. The agent opened the message and a photograph of a man lying in a hospital bed revealed itself. Those standing around studied the photograph for clues. Ok so where was it taken, one asked. Time Square came the technician’s reply, have we got an exact location, sure have came the reply 32nd Floor of the LifeGiver building. Do you think he’s dead asked a voice; He’s on a drip so maybe not, came the reply. What about a name on the board there, who is he. Peter Savitch age 22 that’s all we’ve got. We did a records check, and we’ve got nothing. He doesn’t exist. There was silence whilst the group absorbed what they knew and what they could see. The controller spoke, why did somebody take a photograph of this man, have we done facial recognition he asked. On it said another voice. And how is he using an unregistered Cell. Ok lets get a team on the caller , where is he now? once the message was intercepted by back tracking to the source they could trace all his movements form then on. An agent had been monitoring the cell since the message had been sent. He’s on his way down 6th Avenue, he reported, Ok let's track him and see what he’s up to. The meeting was about to break up when a voice stopped them in there tracks, Guys, you aint going to believe this but we got a facial match, they all stopped and turned, on the screen wall was the photograph of Peter Savitch next to it appeared another face. They were identical. A voice asked who is It? It was the controller who answered. Its Ramal Khan, he said
In Peshawar, a small boy ran through the back streets, he avoided the crowds, and constantly checked to make sure he wasn’t being followed. The envelope he held was gripped so tightly they anyone wanting to steel it would have to break his hand and tear back his fingers before he would let it go. He was running so hard and so fast, he never saw the Police Patrol, posted on the street corner, Hey, shouted a burly sergeant, where are you going in such a hurry, and noticing the envelope he asked and what’s that in your hand. The boy backtracked and turned to run in another direction, The Policeman’s stick lashed out and cracked him across the head. The boy was dazed but carried on running. Hey come here he shouted, The other officers began laughing and jeering as the boy staggered down the street. The sergeant couldn’t be bothered giving chase so returned to his squad and took out a cigarette. Fuckin kids, then he laughed, but I cracked him no? he repeated the action of lashing out with the stick, then he and the other officers all began laughing the boy forgotten.
The blood trickled into his eye, but he didn’t stop not until he reached his destination. he knocked at the door, and it opened slightly, what do you want asked a gnarly old woman, I have an important message for the Khan, he whispered. The door opened a little wider, and the woman dragged the boy inside. wait here she snarled, then left the boy standing in the passageway. a few minutes later she returned, what is your message she asked. Its for the Khan only said the boy boldly. The khan is a very busy man she said even angrier now, give me the message before i beat you. The boy stood defiant; so the old woman set about him beating at his head and body, give me the message she shouted. The boy tried to protect himself as best he could. Shouting no its for the Khans eyes only. The racket grew louder until suddenly the door flung open and a giant of a man stepped out enough! he shouted and tore the two combatants apart. He dragged the boy by the arm into the dimly lit room. What business do you want with me he asked. I have something for you he said, and stretched out his hand with the envelope in it. The Khan hesitated he looked at the packaging; he wanted to be sure it wasn’t a trap. The boy look nervously at the giant standing over him. Open it said the Khan. The boy looked scared, but its for your eyes only Khan, said the boy. Open it he repeated, a little more firmly. The boy was hesitant, what if it was trap? he thought, he slowly peeled back the top as ordered then widened the gap for the contents to be exposed, although he dare not look inside. he offered the package to the Khan again, and again he refused to accept it. Turn it upside down and empty the content onto the floor he said, The boy didn’t hesitate this time, he spun the envelope over and shook out the contents. A photograph floated to the floor. The Khan watched it fall, it landed and settled face down. He picked it up then turned it over. He studied the photograph for a what seemed like a lifetime before he looked up with tears in his eyes, and turned the photograph to show the old Woman. It was the grainy image that Guppta had taken earlier of a boy laying on a hospital bed. He smiled at the old woman. My son is alive he said, He stepped forward and embraced the old woman, she joined in the tears. How can this be she asked? It is written said the Khan, It is written. The boy stood silent and still. He wasn’t sure how he should react. Finally the couple broke their clinch and the Khan turned his attention to him. Have you spoken to anyone about coming here?, He asked, the boy shook his head. Have you spoken to anyone since, you where given this, he held up the photograph. again the boy shook his head. The khan looked at the blood still trickling down his face. How did you get your wound he asked his finger now probing his scalp, to check if it was real? The boy flinched at the sharp pain, then told the Khan how he had be chased by the Police sergeant. The Khan sat silent. This policeman he asked finally, did you speak to him, No No protested the boy I turned and ran, he caught me a blow but I was to fast he said proudly. Did he follow you asked the khan. Again the boy smiled, no sir i was to fast. The Khan nodded then smiled, good good he said. still standing he beckoned the boy to him. He held out his arms and embraced the boy still only a child. You have done a great service for the army of Allah and for my son the great Ramal Khan if we are to win this holy Jihad, we have to make great sacrifices, you have made yours my son. The boy entwined in the mans arms smiled. he felt like he was snuggling further and further into the great mans body and his hold on him was growing tighter and tighter. He tried to disengage from the hold pushing back slightly at first to allow himself to breathe but as the pressure on him grew stronger; he had to push even harder to be released. He wanted to shout but his face was now pushed deep into the mans chest. The pressure was growing and growing he was kicking and struggling, but the Khan would not release him. He tried to stretch his arms and gouge at the mans face, but his strength was leaving him, he felt himself growing weaker and weaker. He felt something crack then another, crack, but he was powerless to do anything now. His breathing was becoming slower and he felt light headed He could hear a voice repeating the words Allah Akbar, it was spoken at such a slow and rhythmic pace, that Just before he died he too wanted to join in the hypnotic chant, Akbar, Allah Akbar.
The Field office was now a hive of activity one of the screen walls was filled with information about Ramal Khan, and a Field specialist was giving a background briefing to the team on Ramal Khan the former leader of the army of Allah. He explained how he had been killed in a drone strike five years ago. His death was a major victory for the world alliance, And a crushing blow to the army of Allah. They had become a powerful revolutionary army that controlled vast areas of the Middle East, Eastern Europe. And of course the tribal lands of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Once he was dead the army fell apart. There was nobody strong enough of charismatic enough to lead them or carry on the fight. They simply melted away after he died, and little had been heard of them since. After the briefing had finished The controller asked the specialist to prepare an update on the status of the Army of Allah, and a command and control chart of who's who in the organization now, and more importantly where they.
One of the officers not at the briefing was still monitoring the Cell. He's moving again on 6th avenue, he announced The doctors phone was now compromised and being used as a locator by the secret service team. But they still didn't know who he was. Another agent shouted out that the surveillance team was on its way and would be on site with visuals in approximately eight minutes.
A Drone had been giving Ariel imagery, but was limited due to his location. Ok he’s stopped at a newsstand, on the corner of 6th and 53rd, he’s transmitting, shouted another voice.. Ok said the station controller sitting center stage, his team positioned at there posts all around him. The severity level had been raised, and the monitoring station had been reclassified as to major incident suite. lets see what and to who, he said. The content of the message was flashed up on the huge situation board, which took up the whole of one wall of the room. It was the same photograph of Ramal Khan. The recipient of the message was ID’d he was the owner of the newsstand, and his details and a photograph appeared on a side screen. Just like the doctor his Cell was compromised, He’s leaving the newsstand and is going back up 6th. Surveillance team there in four minutes, Newsstand guy transmitting said a voice. The message appeared on the screen it was the same photograph, Recipient I’d said a voice, sending again, it was a repeat of the first message. Got the recipient, said a voice. the flow of messages from the Newsstand guy continued to flow, and every recipient was noted and logged, but then they to started messaging and gradually the numbers grew and grew. It was the same photograph, being shared firstly between tens, then hundreds, This is going viral. The numbers receiving the message then resending was now to large to manage. The watch commander transferred the monitoring and recording to an automated control system, He asked for a flash map to be put on the screen to show how many times the message had been re-sent, and where too. The computer calibrated the information, and an earth map illuminated the wall. Thousands of time dots all representing the spread of the message flashed on the screen, and it was growing and spreading all around the world. The commander looked around at his team who had all stopped what they where doing and where looking at him. Nobody spoke but they all wanted to ask the same question, what now. He was calm and coolly said, Guys, this is getting serious. Time to up the level. He reached for his phone and called the Deputy Director.
Hobson and the field tech team, didn’t take long to find the wagon they had been looking for the DNA detector, picked up the Gorilla’s traces pretty quickly. they also picked up source material from the two dead girls, As neither of them had recorded DNA, they where starting a new search string for them. Brock was working on the samples he had from the victims to see how he could adapt their synthetic DNA into the worldwide database. Until then the hunt for the killer would rely on good old fashion detective work, which meant they where searching all the other vehicles for clues. LeRoy had asked that he be informed as soon as Steadman was found, but an hour after they had arrived, he had still not turned up. His phone had been switched off, not that it made any difference its signal was still traceable. The fact that the locators told them that it had been dropped down a steam riser, meant Steadman was trying to hide,
Guppta entered the 58th street subway station and purchased a cross town ticket. As normal the station was full, he made his way to the platform, and joined the surge of people waiting to board the train, he positioned himself behind a young backpacker, his bulky pack was slung low across his back. It was easy for him to slide his cell into one of the many pockets. satisfied that it was safely hidden he withdrew, and made his way to the stations exit. The monitoring team, still following the cell and not the man, reported him boarding the train, the surveillance team would pick him up at the 1st Avenue stop if he doesn’t leave the train before then.
As Guppta climbed the stairs he buttoned up his coat pulled up the collar and took a beeny hat out if his pocket and pulled it down low over his ears. As he reached the top and emerged back onto 6th Avenue he was already unwrapping a brand new cellphone. he rested against a wall and took out a small notebook he flicked through the pages until he found what he was looking for. He read the numbers then entered them into the cell.
Steadman was also making a phone call. He was sat on a stool at the New York Central Library and dialed the main office number for LifeGiver. An automated system offered him a choice of options until finally the option of speaking to an aOperator was offered, please press 0 the voice said. He did as he was asked, and an operator connected with him instantly. LifeGiver how may I help you, said the cheerful voice. I'd like to speak with Mr. Vanburden please, certainly said the operator, and who can I say is calling. Steadman knew better than to give his own name, Tell him it's Mr. Fun. And what business is it you have with LifeGiver she asked. Tell him I'm in insurance and I have a policy I’d like to discuss with him. Thank you said the operator. If you'd like to hold the line, whilst I check if Mr.Vanburden is available. The line went quiet for a second, then a heavenly choir began serenading the caller. It's took a few minutes but finally their was click and the familiar cowboy twang of Vanburden greeted him. Why Mr. Fun, I've been expecting your calls how are you, Steadman had deliberately called the Maine switchboard, he knew his call would be more difficult for any external source to hack into. The voice in his head was wanted to rage at Vanburden but what actually came out was calm and controlled, maybe it was the fact that he was in a library made him speak quietly. He chose his words carefully; still frightened somebody could be listening to the conversation he spoke in code. I have some concerns I hope you will be able to resolve. Vanburden’s voice sounded syrupy and thick. Why Mr. Fun that's what I do for a living, Now what say you and I discuss this over a coffee. That sounds like a very good idea said Steadman, let me just resolve a few local issues said Vanburden, And I will call you straight back. He didn't ask where Steadman was he just asked for his number and then asked you still having problems with your cell? Yes said Steadman, I seem to have lost it, pity, still you can pick one up really cheaply at any store. so it should be easy to replace. Steadman took the hint, might not be a bad idea, what say I call your office in about an hour and we can hook up, I have a very interesting policy that will be exactly what your looking for. The conversation was amateurish and crass, anyone listening too it would have would understood the inference in a second. But nobody was, and they were not prepared to risk being caught. The two men continued playing at being under cover spies for a few more minutes. Steadman agreed to get himself a disposable cellphone, and ring Vanburden back when he had it. All phones had to be registered and logged within one hour of being activated or they would be locked and barred. But as this was only going to be the briefest of conversations that would not be a problem. All they would do is confirm the meet point.
The next conversation Vanburden had wasn't as guarded. The Lake at Central Park, then come back here he ordered brusquely.
The surveillance team boarded the train at 1st avenue as planned. The command center has told them that the suspect was located in coach F. Unfortunately this was the JFK airport express, and was packed with commuters and travellers returning to the airport to catch flights home. Sheer weight of numbers meant that it was impossible to move through the carriage without drawing attention to themselves. The best carriage they could get on at was B but the monitoring team said their prey was stationery, he must have got a seat, and didn't appear to be positioned near a door which was important as getting off the train
Was more difficult than getting on most of the time. So many people fighting to board the train meant you often missed your stop because you couldn't get off. Seasoned New Yorkers new that your began your battle to disembark the train at least two stops before yours, just so you could get close to the doors. The station controller didn't like that they didn't have eyes on Guppta, but as long as they still had the monitor on him the situation was relatively controlled. At the next stop 2 if the team managed to get from coach b to coach D but a third agent got swallowed up by the crush and was unable to re-board the train. Son of a bitch! Cursed the controller. The train pulled away the next stop was in Queens in eight minutes. Ok get a team there and make sure they get on the correct god dam coach. Do what ever you have to do, but I want a visual on the suspect in eight minutes. The room scrambled and back up teams where dispatched the team in coach C where told to make sure they do whatever they have to do to got on Coach F at the next station. Satisfied they'd got the message across agents in the room sat quietly watching the flashing dot proceed along its track the Queens station was highlighted, and the train was now four minutes from its destination. The agency had called in special on standby subway security who were based at Queens to support the on sight agents and make sure they reached the carriage without the train leaving without them. The ion going information stream was being related through the hierarchy, then suddenly and unexpectedly the train stopped. The room sprang to life the controller boomed what the hell just happened, A few seconds passed before he got his answer. There’s been a Power Out. Power people estimate it will last seventeen minutes. The controller slumped back into his chair, he composed himself and picked up his phone let me speak to the Director he said.
Guppta was walking around the Central Park lake for a second time. He moved at a leisurely pace, taking in the park and its visitors. He tossed bread to a small flock of ducks, geese, swans and other wildlife that appreciated his generosity and followed him in a gliding procession.
Steadman had been sitting nervously on the park bench for over thirty minutes,. He had called Vanburden at LifeGiver as soon as he had unwrapped the Cell. As well as the phone, He bought the phone from a stationery store opposite the Library, he called Vanburden and instructions had been specific, Make your way to Central Park as quickly as possible, go the lake and find a free bench, then wait you will be contacted. Now dump the cell. Steadman jumped at the last instruction as if the cell had become burning hot. He found the nearest bin and threw the thing away. Unfortunately he forgot to turn it off. He then carried out his orders and set off for the lake. It would have been quicker to hail a cab he thought than walk the twenty blocks to the park as fast as he could, he tried to walk quickly without running. He had been sweating before the phone call now he was gushing. He mopped his brow and the back of his neck then his face and hands. The handkerchief was soaking wet after he had finished and he had to ring it out to get rid of the excess water. . He thought about why Vanburden had told him to loose the cell, then the answer came to him and he walked a little faster,
He just used his credit card, shouted Hobson, The chief of detectives was studying vehicle records. He looked up when he heard the news, Hobson was reading from a small portable monitor, which fed him with his updates, He bought a Cell on 5th Avenue, Just getting the number, we'll have him on track in s couple of minutes. LeRoy smiled. The system worked, he thought, since money was now virtual, and currency in any form no longer existed, Once Steadman used his card it was immediately flagged up then marked, then intercepted. His card was flagged the moment he paid for his cell. Then once the phone was identified it could be monitored. Ok got him said Hobson, LeRoy stopped what he was doing and went and joined his lead detective, who was stillness giving a running commentary. Got the Cell number, He s moved up the block from the store and he's stationary. Should we go get him he asked LeRoy, who nodded, pick him up but leave him a few minutes before we move in, lets see if anyone turns up to meet him. On it, said Hobson a cell to his ear ordering his team into action. LeRoy asked for a drone or a surveillance camera feed from the area. Then went back to the vehicle records.
Good news, said the agent to his station controller, We've got a full team at Queens once it arrives. OK said the controller powers back and moving again in one minute, get ready. The assembled team resumed their state of readiness. Powers back somebody called out. The flashing light on the screen began moving again. It wound its way towards The illuminated Queens station sign. An on site agent announced he could see the train approaching. Another said he was ready change carriages once it stopped. Their was then a short silence before a voice from the Queens team echoed through out the command center, ok I'm in the carriage can't see the target yet. Another two voices announced that they to where in the carriage and could see the target. He described him then did a visual recognition scan. He was a Danish student, and he had a flight booked for later that day to Copenhagen the team did a quick search and history but got no flags or warnings. The station controller clenched his fists in frustration, when he realized they'd been tricked. Ok this is busted, he announced. the cell was probably stashed somewhere. No point pretending now. Stop the train, call in NYPD and get the carriage sealed. Search the guy. A minute passed before one of the on board team announced he had found the cell it was in a backpack. Let's get a DNA trace right away. Their was no Tech team there so they would have to wait for a local police team to check the phone for prints and DNA before they could renew there tracking. Let's get back to the original boarding point and start again. The controller took a minute to assess the situation be fore he updated the Director. This was no amateur, He'd used field craft, so he must be trained. The photograph he'd distributed was of the dead leader of the Army of Allah. The picture had now gone viral. Why had he stirred the pot? Why are they all getting excited about a guy who doesn't exist? Lots of unanswered questions, thought the controller, to many unanswered questions. He isn't like it, and neither will the director. `````
Satisfied that Steadman wasn't being watched, and neither was he, he took a seat in the bench next to him. Steadman was shaking with fear, his discomfort obvious. Guppta felt sorry for him, he gave him a friendly smile, to try and put him at ease. The gaggle of geese and assorted park life where still there and quaked and barked to attract his attention, still wanting to be fed. My children he said, gesturing to the assorted array of birds. He smiled and flung another handful of bread at the flock. A small riot began as they fought over the scraps. They are like children; so needy he said, If you feed them, and promise them more they will follow you anywhere. Steadman watched the birds fighting over the food, once it had been greedily swallowed; they waited expectantly for the next serving. He looked at Guppta and wondered if he was his contact. He didn't have to ask, Guppta spoke to him quietly, Do you have something for me. He asked casually. Steadman nodded then fumbled in his pocket to find the stub drive. He was shaking, Easy easy whispered Guppta no hurry take your time. Steadman realized, how he must have looked he was probably drawing attention to himself. So He slowed down, still panickinghis heart raced as he searched for the elusive stub. When he found it, he felt a wave of relief. He pulled it out and was about to hand it over, when Guppta placed his hand calmly on his arm, Easy my friend no rush, just place it next to you on the bench. Steadman obeyed, and the doctor slid his hand across an palmed the drive, then slowly drew his hand back and placed its contents in his pocket. Stedman was about to ask what now, when a group of school children on seeing the flock of birds, joined them the y mingled with the birds and cautiously the tried to touch them. A duck quaked loudly, which made the children jump then laugh with excitement. Gupta's attention was now focuses on the children, he was smiling at the new arrivals and they returned his look of contentment. Unfortunately Stedman wasn't feeling anything like happy. Guppta produced more bread an threw it to the birds to the delight of the children. A small child approached him, Would you like to feed the birds he asked. The boy smiled; Here I've got something for you. The boy smiled again then ran away. Children, said Guppta giving his own chuckle of delight as they ran amongst the birds making them squawk, flap their wings and grow angry at the intrusion at meal time. A whistle blasted out a shrill pitched note, whichmade Steadman jump, Children, Shouted a voice of authority. It was only one word but, the group responded instantly, their play stopped, and they assembled in a perfect order in front of their carer.
We do it for them you know, said Guppta gesturing towards the children who where now leaving the park and heading towards a waiting yellow school bus. Steadman, wasn't interested, he couldn't care less about the children he only cared about himself. Not that Guppta noticed his gaze was transfixed on a spot somewhere in the middle of the lake, His meandering ramble had a tone of sad inevitability. We give of ourselves so that they can live in a better world, our reward will come in the next. He turned to Steadman; he took his hand and held it between his. Do not fear my friend you have done a great thing today. Being told not to fear only made him feel more fearful. He wanted to draw his hand free, when he felt a scratch on his palm. He still wanted too, but he felt a sudden numbness travel through his body. Some realization that something was happening to him flashed across his eyes. Guppta gave him a comforting smile, relax my friend, you have performed a duty that you must be thanked for personally. Your work in this world is done. Now you must receive the greatest gift from Allah himself. Steadman was frozen, literally, he couldn't move his life was draining away. His eyes where glazing, if he could he would have cried. He had never known such fear, and yet their was no pain, just the debilitating feeling of his life force passing away. Guppta released his hand, then sealed the cap on the drug spiked ring that had administer the poison. Steadman was now close to death, his breathing had slowed to a short wheeze, Guppta moved his body into a relaxed pose, he took a pair of sunglasses from his top pocket and placed them on his nose. His body was now rigid he could neither call nor reach out for help. Resigned to his fate, he welcomed his painless trip to oblivion, he was paying for his crimes he thought, Guppta was satisfied his work was done, he slowly drew himself up and studied theformer head of the Regeneration Authority to make sure him being now dead, wasn’t to obvious. A passer by would see a gentleman enjoying the afternoon sun, and the view of Central Park Lake. Maybe this evening when it's gets dark someone may get suspicious and check if he was ok, but by then he would be long gone and the next stage of the plan would have begun.
He leaned over Steadman for one last time and whispered in his ear. Thank you my friend Allah Akbar. Then he walked away
A small boy mounted the steps onto the bus at the top stood the teacher; she smiled as she helped him up. He held out his closed hand towards her. A present for me she glowed. He released the stub drive into her upturned hand
Take your seats boys and girls shouted the bus driver he honked the vintage quaking horn
All aboard the LifeGiver express, he called out, then honked the horn again.
The Savitches were exhausted. They had spent the day preparing for their LifeGiver - Second Chance show. The producers had raced into the production suite earlier that afternoon in a panic, The Peter Savitch story had been bumped forward in the schedule; it was to go out tonight. They had flooded the studio with extra production staff, to cope with the extra graphics, and the video inserts, that would now have to becobbled together. Executive producer Brunton was angry, In all its years Second Chance hadnever bumped a story. Why now, he wanted to know. He was complaining to LifeGiver Vice president Vanburden, He wanted to know what was going on, this is highly unusual, and if word got out could compromise the programme. Vanburden through a reassuring arm around him and told him not to worry, and to let him deal with it.
The Savitches had not had any opportunity to talk privately, since they had been chosen as contestants. They knew it would be intense, but nothing could have prepared them for the whirlwind that had been their last forty-eighthours.
Their chaperone Mgivern had told them that all the filming and recording was complete, there would be rehearsal in two hours until then he advised them to rest. Peta complained of feeling unwell and asked to see a doctor. The young assistants heart sunk, she had to be well in time for the evening show, rest he sad rest, a doctor will be with you shortly. Pavel said can it be the doctor who took our blood samples, their is something I would like to ask him of a personal matter. Mgivern didn't argue or question his request, eager to please he just reassured the couple, Not a problem, I'll go and get him, you just rest. Without a goodbye he raced from the dressing room..
By the time officers had arrived at the location they where supposed to find Steadman he was well gone. They fished the cell from the bin, and scanned it for DNA, which was immediately converted into a traceable signal. The tracker pointed his location as Central Park. LeRoy told the officers and the team to pack up and reassemble at the corner of 5th and Central Park East. He showed Hobson what he found in his trawl of the vehicle records. The truck with the DNA samples present, had been under special assignment to LifeGiver incorporated, for the past three weeks, it was returned last night.
LeRoy's Cell rang, it was one of the of the detectives who had gone to pick up Steadman. He listened whilst the detective relayed his news. Good work he said, then hung up. Hobson hung back to hear what was so good. Just did a last number redial on the phone, and guess who he called? Hobson shrugged, surprise me he said. LifeGiver said LeRoy.
Vanburden was observing the Savitch boy; one of the medical team was replacing a drip feed. The senior regeneration engineer reported to his supervisor that everything was ready. Once the protocol was administered it would take approximately six hours for it to populate the system, and then a simple body charge would start the heart pumping, which provide the power for the brain to function. He estimated full functionality would be available in four and half hours. Vanburden checked his watch. Show time was at nine, which would make the timings perfect. The engineer was about to say he did t think they'd meet the deadline because they hadn't received the clearances or protocols, when Mia appeared and handed the stub drive to the engineer. How did you get this he was about to ask, when Vanburden interrupted him brusquely, Just get it done, he needs to be ready for ShowTime. He didn't wait for questions or objections he turned and left the room, leaving the engineer open mouthed. He had a million questions he needed answering, most importantly where was the written authority he needed to proceed with the regeneration. Vanburden never gave him an opportunity to ask he just turned and left. The engineer looked at the stub, Fuck it, he shrugged his shoulders and picked up the preparations checklist for final regeneration.
Guppta watched Vanburden leave; He was dressed in medical scrubs and a facemask to hide his identity. He blended into the general activity of the medical suite. The medical engineering team were busying themselves with their tasks and paid no attention to another technician inspecting the body. Guppta familiarized himself with all the tubes and connections. A lead ran from a console to small barely visible connection in the boys hairline, another was pumping fluid into his arm. He was about to lift the sheets, and check beneath when the door flung open and a loud voice shouted No peaking! Gupta dropped the cover and jumped back in surprise, much to the amusement of the team of four who had now entered the room. Have you finished said the man who had put the fear of God into him moments earlier. Guppta was relieved he still wore his surgical mask, his identity still hidden. Yes I have finished he said, and stepped back, allowing the men to approach the body. Without Ceremony they pulled back the bed sheets, they then removed the tubes and wires and pulled off the surgical gown, leaving the body naked and exposed. Guppta was horrified. The leader asked cheekily see anything you like, Guppta turned away and pretended to busy himself at a surgical console. The others all began laughing, The leader of the group, realizedhe caused Guppta to be embarrassed and tried to apologies, Sorry guy, this won't take long we'll be outta here in no time. He then began lifting prodding and probing the body and stretching and pulling at the legs. Guppta regained his composure, What are you doing he asked, We are from the prosthetics department, just doing a final limb and body assessment, making sure the old fellas is in full working order. He smiled, as punched him in the arm then the stomach. Guppta didn't speak he couldn't, he was too angry. He watched the men get on with their disrespectful body check. They lifted probed and twisted everything from the toes to the lips and nose. Everything was checked, then they turned him over and did the same again, bending and shaping the legs, then pulling back the head and stretching the ears. If he'd been a real person he would have been screaming in pain at the torturous techniques being used. Finally satisfied, all the working parts were functioning correctly. The leader gave a final insult by slapping him hard in the bottom which made everybody apart from Guppta laugh, before they rolled the body back, and began a final round of tugs and pulls of his face and teeth. The checklist complete, the team leader said, He's all yours knock yourself out. Then they left. Guppta was angrier than he could imagine, He returned to the body and checked the face for marks and bruises. He had just watched the great leader Ramal Khan be beaten abused and he stood by powerless. As they abused his body it was all he could do not to fling himself at them and inflict the same punishment they had delivered with such relish. I'm sorry he said to the still lifeless corpse. He said a prayer as rearranged his gown and the covers.
He had just finished when the team of technicians returned, ignoring Guppta began switching on consoles and pushing forward machinery around the body. Ok guys lets bring this baby back to life. Said the chief technician. The bed gown was removed again, but more respectfully this time, and what looked like the breastplate of a suit of armor was placed across the chest. A mask was placed on his face. And his legs and arms were secured. A loud powered compressor roared into life and a machine that consisted of a series of pumps and filters was attached then began rising and falling. Guppta blended into the rest of the regeneration team that had now filled the room. The lead technician sat at the main console and announced dramatically OK guys we are introducing the protocol. He typed in a series of codes, then placed the stub drive into an input port. A series of numbers and hexadecimal strings raced across the screen. The page filled and refreshed and continued this process for several minutes. Until it sent an illuminated message - process complete
The technician rose from his chair and moved to the body he took out a stethoscope and listenedat the chest, he drew back an eye and passed a light across the lens. Satisfied he stood back took off his mask and announced with great relish,
The assembled team clapped cheers and whopped, Guppta staggered backwards, unable to believe what he had just heard. He said a prayer of thanks, then quietly left the theatre.
The Gulfstream super jet had been on standby for weeks, but the change in plans meant The Khans departure was far more hasty than had been originally planned, They had left Islamabad several hours ago, and now the pilot was reporting that they had just crossed the New England coast. The Khan called his Chiefs together and made them go over their plans for the final time. They could hear the pilot reporting engine problems and asking for permission to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport which was at Throopsville a small private landing strip near Fulton in New York State.
The airport was chosen because it was small but was capable of handling the Gulfstream. New York air traffic control wanted to check that their was emergency services and customs facilities available at the airport before they would give clearance. A few minutes later and a hasty call confirmed that the airport could handle an emergency landing. You are clear to land at Throopeville, was the message from New York air traffic control.
The pilot changed frequency and contacted the control tower at Throopesville. He reported a fuel warning light, and the flight controller gave the pilot permission to land. The passengers all readied themselves, The Khan checked his gun for a final time, not that he needed to, He'd already checked it several times during the flight,
Like all the other men on board, he was ready.
The wheels touched down and the pilot drew back on the throttle, and then applied the brakes. The jet slowed and the pilot guided the plane off the runway. And towards the small cluster of buildings that served as the arrivalslounge. Two police cars drove out from one of the hangars and took up station on either wing they kept formation until the aircraft was signaledby the ground crew, a flashing light directed it towards an arrivals gate. The signal to stop came and the pilot switched off the engine. Everybody except the Khan rose in expectation. Instead he took the hoot graph of his son. His heart swelled with pride. I'm here my son he whispered.
The terrorists, their guns primed watched as the staircase was pushed up against the aircrafts door, their was a knock and the cabin steward, unlocked the door and drew it open. A stiff blast of Cold American air entered the cabin. Nobody moved. Footsteps clanked up the metal stairway, everyone on board readied themselves, then a head popped through the door. He studied the men for a second then gave a broad toothless grin
Welcome to America Allah Akbah, he said Allah Akbah came the reply Allah Akbah they shouted over and over.
Finding Steadman wasn't difficult; he was sitting by the lake where Guppta had left him. LeRoy ordered his men to stay away, until they knew what or whom he was he waiting for. One of his men had secured a remote micro camera close enough to keep Steadman under observation. LeRoy and Hobson watched carefully, I don't like it said LeRoy he's to still, he could be asleep said Hobson. They looked again for a few more minutes, still nothing; Lets go and get him said LeRoy. Hobson made the call and within seconds a swat team had him covered and were barking commands, One officer slowly approached and prodded him, he got no response so he tried again, he pushed the body and it slowly keeled over and lay motionless on the floor. The Swat team where still cautious, they still aimed their guns at the body fearing it could be a trap. One officer cautiously moved forward and examined the body. Satisfied he was dead. He signaled for the team to stand down. They withdrew and Leroy and Hobson took their place. They gave the body a quick search, found nothing then stood back and invited the forensic team in to do their work.
Hobson’s cell buzzed, he took the call, he was smiling at what he heard. Well wadda ya know, he said after he finished the call. Someone's just reported a missing Silver Back Gorilla
Guppta made his way to the Production floor, and made his way to the dressing rooms. He was still wearing his medical scrubs, one of the production staff directed him to the Savitches room. He entered without knocking, which made the couple jump. It is time he announced. The Savitches fizzed with excitement. Is it done said Peta, Guppta nodded Ramal Khan is alive now we must save him. He took two small hand guns from his medical bag and handed them to the couple. They took the weapons and expertly drew back the barrels and loaded a bullet into the breach. Guppta was about to tell them more when their was another knock followed by Mgivern pushing open the door, Sorry guys but I can't find your doctor so. He stopped abruptly when he saw Peta Savitch holding a small hand gun, he looked confused as he turned and then saw the doctor, He to was holding a gun, He was about ask what was going on, when Guppta struck him on the side of the head. He fell to the floor. Guppta and Pavel picked him up and dragged him to the bed. What now asked Peta standing over the now unconscious chaperone, she watched a trick lie of blood make its way down his face. Guppta stood beside her. He looked at the boy but felt nothing . Kill him he said. Peta took a pillow and covered his face then pushed down hard. I feel like I've done this before she said coldly
Vanburden was on a conference call with his friends in the Middle East. I have good news gentlemen, your package will be available for collection anytime after this evenings show, I'm afraid Mr. Vanburden their has been a change of plans and we will be collecting our 'package' as you call it, their was a note of distaste as he said the word a little sooner. Vanburden gave a throaty little laugh, Well I'm sorry boys it was his turn to sound a little bit condescending, but that just isn't going to be possible. We've got a TV shoe to put out and your boy is the star of our show, he ended with another little laugh. He pushed himself a little deeper into his chair an air of smugness about his actions, that sent out the message, what are you going to do about it. The was no response, satisfied he had won the argument and was now calling the shots, he carried on, confident now that he was in charge.
Here's what's going to happen. We are going to have our show, Peter, or who ever he really is will be chosen, he will be brought back from the dead, and then reunited with his family. After the credits role, feel free to do ever the hell you like with the boy, but not until after the show. Hisvoice had been steadily rising as he gave out his terms and conditions, until he reached the final sentence Do I make myself clear, he roared. His fists where red with rage, he wouldn't allow anything to upset the running of the show. The voice amplified around the office was perfectly calm in its response. Thank you Mr. Vanburden you have made yourself perfectly clear. The connection clicked and the voice at the other end was gone. Vanburden took out a bottle of bourbon and poured himself a large glass, He raised it in the air as a toast, The show must go on, he said then took a long swig, before pushing himself back into his chair and propping his feet on the desk.
The mail delivery truck pulled up outside what passed as the departure lounge. The driver jumped out and called out, Mail's up anyone want to give me a hand. He made his way to the rear of the truck
And threw up the sliding door, by now at least one of the porters would have been here with a truck, to help him load the sacks, but not this afternoon. He called out again, Guys, get out here will ya, I got more deliveries to make. Still nothing, he went to find somebody to give him a hand, it struck him how quiet it was, their where usually a bunch of people around either pilots or porters but not today, strange he thought. When pushed open the doors, he was not prepared for the horror that confronted him. dead bodies lay heaped on the floor two more where hanging from beams their arms hacked off. The stench of death made him gag. He turned around and ran out of building, and he kept running until he reached the main gate of the airfield, satisfied he was far enough away, he turned and looked back in disbelief, he couldn't believe what he had just witnessed. He took out his Cell and called the police.
The coach hit home time traffic and slowly joined the procession heading towards the city. Ahead the New York skyline loomed brightly against the late afternoon sun. A cell phone pinged and all heads turned, they waited in anticipation as the recipient opened the file
Ramal Khan WA sat upright I a wheelchair, their was a one word message - LifeGiver
So the guy reported the Monkey missing yesterday, nobody flagged it up until this morning when local PD gave him a call. Hobson was relaying what he knew via a conference call to Captain Marine, and to LeRoy who was sitting next to him in the car. He told PD the monkey had been booked to perform at a private party, and was due to be returned the next day. He didn't show, The guy said he was paid extra to keep quiet about the booking but when he didn't get King Kong back the next day, that’s when he gave us a call. So who booked him, asked Marine, Who booked him not so important, said Hobson, it's who paid that's the interesting part. So who paid said Marine tiring of the game, LifeGiver incorporated, announced Hobson proudly. Marine went quiet obviously thinking We’ve got all the pieces, be said but how do we make them fit, I'm not seeing any picture here, He was about to continue when another cello his desk pinged, Got to take this, he muted the channel to his officers. LeRoy told Hobson to drive back to the LifeGiver building. They were just pulling out into traffic when Marine reconnected. He sounded shocked Jesus Christ just got a call from upstate; There’s been a major incident at a little backwater airfield in Throopesville. Looks like terrorists, we're closing down the city, this investigation is going to have to wait. The mayor is initiating lockdown. Get to your assembly point and keep your frequencies open. Operation Lockdown was only instigated in a state of emergency situation. This was usually triggered by a terrorist outrage. Each NYPD officer had a specific assembly location. Once there they would remain at their designated station until the order was rescinded. By coincidence and being city cops LeRoy and Hobson's assembly point was Time Square. Therest of the city where still unaware of the outrage, and carried on about their business, Hobson was driving and switched on he emergency blue light to clear himself a path. The dull whale of police sirens filled the air.
LeRoy logged onto the emergency procedure file and reminded himself of what he should be doing once on station, which in summary concluded shoot and kill anyone who looks suspicious or who may be a threat to national security.
Time Square was the wrong place to he looking for threats to national security. The whole central exhibition plaza was filled with any number of suspicious looking characters. LeRoy had a team of ten plain-clothes officers as well as about twenty to thirty uniformed officers. The uniforms where their for show, it was the undercover team that where mingling and singling out suspects. Les go over by the LifeGiver building said the inspector, Hobson followed, they both out on sun shades, even though it was getting dark, it allows them to look around more easily without it becoming to obvious they where looking for anything out of the ordinary. It was Hobson, who tapped him casually I the shoulder over at two o'clock a guy in a baseball cap, I'm sure I saw the butt of a glock sticking out of his pocket before he pushed it back down and out of sight. Leroy didn't react, he slowly turned away looking for a break in traffic to cross the avenue. His discreet radio Mike was in the arm of his sunglasses, everyone in the team had heard Hobson's report, they where the closest but the others in the team tried to discreetly change there location to get closer to the suspect.
The suspect was obviously scared, he wasn't a professional terrorist, he just looked like a boy caught out on maybe a robbery. This was t his lucky day thought LeRoy, his hand was now clutching his own gun. He released the safety and moved around the suspect so he was directly behind him. He gave the signal to Hobson he was a out pounce, when an unknown voice broke the radio silence. Inspector LeRoy and team stand down I repeat stand down, do not not apprehend the suspect I repeat do not apprehend the suspect continue your surveillance. Leroy was frozen, his heart had been pumping so fast, he thought he had been in charge of the operation. He recovered his composure and ordered his now confused team to return to the Square. The suspect had no ide how close he had been to being caught, or worse shot. Leroy walked away from the suspect in the opposite direction, he found a discreet doorway just off the square and he slumped down in a doorway. Satisfied that he to wasn’t being watched he asked the Unknown voice, What the fuck just happened there and who the fuck are you? It was a question everyone on the team would have heard. They would have also heard the answer, Pick your scrawny ass up and get in the car. A blacked out land cruiser screeched to a stop on the roadway a few feet away and a door flew open, Gat in someone shouted. LeRoy followed the order and rushed to the vehicle, it was moving before he had a chance to close the door.
Guppta had outlined his hastily concocted plan to the Savitches. Ramal Khan is alive but not yet conscious, it will take a few more hours before he iis fully awake. By then the War of holy wars will have begun, and we will strike blow the likes of the infidels have not known for hundreds of years. We struck once before but we where weak and we panicked. History tells us we failed because we didn't strike again quickly enough. But not this time my friends. This time we are in the ground not locked in airplanes and this time we are many. The Savitches sat a little closer Pavel squeezed Peta's arm we are ready Doctor, he said proudly. I know said the doctor, he reached over and patted them both on the shoulders, you have both done so much. Ramal Khan will thank you when he wakes and so will his father when he arrives, the couple looked shocked, The Khan is here, said Peta unable to believe that the two leaders of the Army of Allah where to be reunited together in of all places the home of the great Satan New York. Soon my brothers and sisters,very soon.
The land cruiser travelled two blocks to 3rd avenue and the other passenger on the back seat asked Leroy to get out and go into the back room of the Deli. Nobody had spoken during the short trip, it seemed pointless to ask questions now. LeRoy entered the coffee shop and walked to the back, nobody challenged him but he was obviously being watched, nobody would be allowed into the heart of a secret location like this unless they wanted them too. Leroy was still wore his sunglasses with the built In ear piece he heard his detectives identify another suspect and again they were ordered to stand down. He sensed the frustration in his officers voice, they couldn't believe suspected armed terrorists where being allowed to roam around the heart of New York and possibly carry out atrocities. LeRoy shared their frustration. A secret service agent greeted the detective and escorted into an office that was a hive of activity, banks of screens flicked between different views of Time Square. Individuals where singled out and a camera was permanently trained on their every move. LeRoy studied the screens he was impressed by the thoroughness of the operation.
Inspector LeRoy, said a voice, and an outstretched hand welcomed him. I'm deputy director Frank Preston, sorry we have had to keep this all so cloak and dagger, but we are in the center of what you could describe as the perfect shit storm. He ushered the policeman to a chair We haven't got much time and this is a pretty fluid situation, but I'll try and explain as much as I can as quickly as I can. The agent directed him to look at the wall of screens. At the moment we have identified seven potential terrorists who are armed and waiting for a signal to commit a terrorist act of some description in Time Square. We have marksmen trained on them, that's why we asked your men to stand down. But they are the tip of the iceberg. Another face appeared on the screen he was identified as a young Ramal Khan. Another face was super imposed over his, it was the LifeGiver patient Peter Savitch. The overlay was a perfect match. The first Photograph was of a deceased terrorist the connection with the second man we haven't been to establish yet. But what ever the connection we have several heavily armed terrorists in play in one of the most populous areas of New York City. We have also just had a major terrorist attack at a small private airfield in up state New York. The reasoning behind it has not yet been confirmed, but we believed it's connected to the arrival of a private Jet, which claimed to be having engine difficulties, and asked for permission to make an emergency landing. So far we have we have twenty-threeconfirmed dead. The passenger manifest has not been recovered, so we do not know who or what was on that jet or where the passengers are now. We have to assume they are making their way to the City. And if that wasn't enough of a big deal. Take a look at the screen a map of inner city New York exploded across the wall. Filled with yellow dots. The DA continued, each Of those dots have in their possession a photograph of the second person you saw earlier. We believe they are at present making their way to Time Square. We estimate that within the next thirty minutes we will have over two hundred would be terrorists assembled in Time Square. The policeman gave a low whistle. Why not just arrest them all starting with the guys already in the Square. The DA have a cynical little laugh,
Have you forgotten the first amendment of our constitution The right to bare arms. Everyone of those guys is a straight up green card holding American Citizen, who has every right to carry a gun. We can't do fiddly squat until someone actually draws his weapon and threatens a member of the public. We anticipate that all those little buddy dots are armed as well, and we can't do a thing about it. he walked round the desk and sat next to the policeman, so you can see inspector , the only way we can stop world war three breaking out in the heart of the big apple is if we can figure out what the hell is going on and with a dead guy and a guy who has never existed.
The two men looked up at the screens, more dots had arrived in Time Square. Surveillance officers were barking out commands and calling up additional marksmen, and giving them coordinates for their target.
Hers the thing said LeRoy I think I might have something. Do you know what LifeGiver is he asked, An agent began reading a scripted breakdown of The LifeGiver corporation, including affiliates and associated companies when he had finished LeRoy said And? It was a question. There was a collective silence, holy shit said the Policeman, do none of you guys watch TV. There was still silence. Jeez.... LifeGiver second chance the biggest syndicated TV show in the world. Billions and I mean Billions if people are hooked On the show. LeRoy shook his head in disbelief, come on guys work it out. For LeRoy it all suddenly made some kind of sense. Dam, I think I know what this is all about. He took out his Cell and pressed call, The DA tried to interrupt but he held his hand to his face, one minute he said and smiled politely, Hobson, answered, listen to me and be quick, We need medical scrubs and an ambulance, a pause whilst Hobson grumbled and moaned about what's going on. I'll explain when you get here, he paused and looked around the room, guys where are we he asked. Somebody called out an address. Got that he said, now hurry.
The super dream coach was in slow moving traffic, it crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. The Khan shouted out, how much further, to the front of the bus and to the driver in particular. About forty blocks came the shout back. The Khan cursed do not speak to me I the language of the dogs he spat, How far he growled. . The bus fell silent, and the driver answered timidly this time, About Two miles My Khan. The Khan looked thoughtful and stood up and surveyed the ancient New York landmark. He smiled, and shouted I like this bridge and so do New Yorkers, then he roared, Stop the bus. The brakes squeezed and he screeched to a stop. The bus was approaching the end if the bridge and as it stopped so a procession of docile drivers making their daily drive across the famous old landmark, were aroused from their slumber and reacted I blind panic to avoid a collision. Following behind reacted in panic. The blasts of honking horns began Immediately. Not that the driver or any of the crew paid any attention. The Khan called up two of his men. Allah Akbar he said now go and let the dogs know we are here. The chosen men returned the blessing an d a collective chorus bid them farewell as they made their way to the front of the bus and disembarked. Once they where on the ground. The driver gunned the engine and pulled away. The two men watched the bus pull forward then stepped into the void it had left. The car immediately behind expected to follow in its trail but the driver was surprised to see what the coach had been replaced by. What the….He never got to complete his final words as he was sprayed with automatic riffle fire. The windshield shattered and he was knocked back in hi seat by a hail of gunfire. The two me moved forward quickly and dispatched as many of the drivers and passengers as they could. The element of surprise was total, and the number of dead quickly rose into double figures. The whole of the bridge was now becoming blocked one driver trying to race past the assassins was stopped with a small grenade. The explosion forced the car off the road and over the stations into the river below. Those on the cars now backed up seeing the carnage unfolding ahead of them began panicking and scrambled to get out of their vehicles and du back across the bridge. The killers weapons where fitted within light beam targets. Once spotted with the beam of orange light meant certain death from the hail of bullets that where following just seconds behind. One driver was hit by the beam looked down In horror at being singled out, seconds later he was torn apart. By now the police stationed on either side of the bridge we're aware of the carnage and where making there way from either side towards the killers. For the first time the gun fire was being returned and the terrorists crouched behind a flame engulfed vehicle as the bullets ricocheted off the bodywork. The two terrorist smiled at each other I like this country said one smiling broadly me too said the other. Before he stood up and let rip with a Long burst of gunfire. See you in heaven he shouted, then started forward, save me a virgin shouted the other man who stood up and began firing in the opposite direction. And for good measure he threw several grenades one after another. Allah Akbah he shouted loudly until he was cut down on a hail of gunfire from a now circling police helicopter. The second terrorist was similarly dispatched,but not before he had taken several more lives.
It makes sense, said one of the tactical analysts who had joined the hastily assembled meeting. The Assistant Director was distracted by an loud shout from across the room. Get on this now guys major incident in play on Brooklyn Bridge. A circling drone was beaming pictures onto the screen of the outrage that that had just taken place. Who's covering it , asked the Director. NYPD are dealing said his tactical commander. He addressed the room Ok people lets here some theories. There was a collective silence as everyone gathered their thoughts. It's a distraction said. LeRoy who had only been in the room a short time considered himself part of the team. How come said one of the analysts. Because said LeRoy pointing at the image of Ramal Khan, That's why they are here. Everything else is collateral. They want us to believe it's another 9/11 but this is so much more. He turned his attention to another screen, the one beaming graphic images from the Brooklyn Bridge. This is he swept his arms around, Is confusion, He could be right interrupted one of the analysts, The bridge would be a secondary target. Ok said the Director I'm buying into it, So If we assume that thisdiversionary tactic. Guys came a voice Grand Central station loud explosions and casualties. NYPD responding. Police commissioner has requested National Guard support to be escalated. President has readied state of readiness and moved to Fallback 0ne. Fallback 0ne was the presidents state of emergency headquarters, that is only brought into play during a crisis that could be considered a threat of national significance. The Assistant Director announced we are now in a state of emergency. LeRoy spoke to the director You where right it is the Perfect shit storm, the Directors eyes raced between screens and images of destruction. He had a Cell pressed to his ear waiting for a connection with another director based in DC. He took time to answer the policeman Question is how are we going to clean up the mess. LeRoy's cell buzzed, and he looked around for the exit. An agent raised his hand and pointed to the door he had entered to by. Let's start by getting rid of the prize he shouted as he raced out. Call me said the director, under different circumstances those words would have been funny. LeRoy Bastille found time to smile as he reached the front door of the Deli, and he saw Hobson parked at the kerb in a NYPD ambulance. Shivvie Sylvester was sitting in the passenger seat. Claim shotgun he shouted. Do you have one asked the chief of detectives? Nope but I've got this he brandished a Glock automatic.
The first thing that struck LeRoy was the calmness. So different from the chaotic scenes taking place In the command center just behind the Deli's front door . The sound off whaling sirens in the distance filled the air and the whirl of police helicopters and news choppers fought for air space. But just off Time Square it was just a normal day. Filled with tourists and people going about their daily business. Let's get in the back said LeRoy and the two men quickly jumped out and joined him. he was sitting on the portable stretcher, tearing off his own clothes and replacing them with the medical scrubs the detectives were already wearing. LeRoy as about to fill them in with what's been happening when two of the field Tech agents joined the meeting. Glad we caught you said one, No time for introductions, boss said we should get you tagged. We need a DNA trace source from all of you. Without ceremony he pulled a handful of sterile needles and one at a time drew blood from each of them. The needle was then handed to the other agent who processed the trace on a DNA tracker, their strings where then coordinated and their location recorded. Once the tracker was in place their movements where now being monitored, and the tracker began to ping. Satisfied they were hooked up to the tracker, they packed up wished them good luck and left.
LeRoy then began filling them in on the terror attacks that where in progress, and the suspects now assembling in Time Square. Hobson was listening intently but wasn't satisfied you haven't told us why, LeRoy shrugged it's got something to do with Steadman I'm certain, they want tobring a dead terrorist back and they are using LifeGiver to do the work. Steadman gave them the protocol then they killed him. These attacks are smoke screens. The dead guy is the real target. What they want to do with him is unclear, but we can't let them get to him. I don't get this why can't we just turn up flash the badge and arrest him. Two things, firstly he has done anything wrong, so what's the charge? and secondly he doesn't exist he's a clone! How can we take into custody a robot?
Hobson grunted, Shivvie Sylvester appreciated the dilemma. We ain't got a prayer, so what's the plan, LeRoy smiled, we are going to steel him, Shivie looked surprised. Correct me but aren't we members of The New York Police department. And what you are suggesting is technically kidnapping. No countered LeRoy it's technically steeling he's not a living person remember. And what I'm thinking is not steeling, it's steeling if we leave the building, I'm thinking more about moving.
Hobson shrugged, you got me. Sylvester was silent, LeRoy knew he was thinking through his proposal. As a crime scene District Attorney it was his job to make sure when a crime had been committed, the correct procedures are followed to ensure a successful conviction is secured. But the first thing he learned at DA school was - Establish that a crime had been committed, then proceed accordingly. He was asking himself the question is LeRoy proposing they commit a crime? He thought about it then spoke, its doable he declared.
LeRoy patted his partner, ok so here's the plan.
The Dreamliner coach approached the location of The LifeGiver building on the corner of Time Square a police officer flagged down the coach and spoke to the driver. Squares closed carry on through he prompted. He was about to walk away, when the driver called him back, officer, OK if I just unload my party their tourist here for the LifeGiver show, we're late and they're outta Towner’s, I it'll take two minutes. The policeman was taking a call on his radio. So was only half listening he shouted two the driver, two minutes, then hurried away towards the center of the square. Where reports of gathering of protestors where beginning to chant.
The passengers on the coach quickly disembarked and hurried towards the LifeGiver building before joining the queue for there place in the audience for tonight’s worldwide broadcast of LifeGiver - Second chance.
The Khan was the last to leave he coach he stood in the doorway and breathed in the Foul New York City evening air. He surveyed the garish lights and decadent facade. His face was a picture of disgust and hatred. He turned to the driver and gave him his thanks and his blessings. He confirmed the pick up location, then growled Be there I want to leave this land of Devils as soon as possible. . The driver bowed then gunned the engine and drove away.
The ambulance arrived at the security entrance at the rear of the LifeGiver building, the gate man, approached the driver window, and tapped on the glass. Hobson lowered the glass, Problem? He asked. Looks like your double booked laughed the guard, one of you guys is here already parked up around the corner, looks like you've had a wasted trip. Don't think so said Hobson, got a party of old timers in tonight, producers asked for two ambulances available, the guard checked his sheet, nothing here he said, goanna have to check with the production office. He was about to walk away, when Hobson called him back. You kidding me he laughed, you goanna try and get hold of production crew this close to show time? Another vehicle had now pulled up behind and honked his horn. The security guard came back checked his sheets see I got nothing down, the vehicle behind honked his horn again. The guard leaned back and took a look to see who was in such a hurry, he recognized the driver and gave them a short wave, Deciding it wasn't worth the hassle He stepped to the front of the ambulance and took the registration number, OK pull up round the side next to your buddy go to reception and they'll sort your passes. The barrier rose, and Hobson proceeded to the designated parkingspace.
Guppta stood in the building reception withVanburden’s assistant Mia. They watched the queue forming outside on the piazza for this evenings show. He watched the coach stop and the policeman approach the driver then watched as he left and the passengers disembarked and crossed the road. His heart swelled when he saw the frame of the Khan standing in the doorway. He said to Mia quietly, He's here. She took this as her queue to approach one of the ushers who where part of the crowd control and introduced herself, then said, A party of international visitors have just arrived, they are the guests of Mr. Van burden, please have them escorted into the building then taken to the hospitality suite. On floor thirty. The usher acknowledged the request and hurried to find the VIP's. A few minutes later a party of about twenty five roughly dressed men where standing in the foyer looking up in awe at the glass roof hundreds of feet above. They where guided to the elevators and to the reception suite. When they arrived Vanburden, was already there and waited to greet them. as they entered. He was told that twenty-fiverepresentatives of the reforming council of Allah would be attending the show, and they were to be given every hospitality. Vanburden had been expecting dignitaries of some description. When the rag bag collection of Arab tribesmen entered the room he was taken aback to say the least. However he'd been in the game long enough to quickly recover his composure, and he welcomed his guests with outstretched arms. Gentleman he beamed, welcome to LifeGiver. Waiters stood to attention then stepped forward with trays of drinks and canopies. A bar stocked with alcohol was manned by two good-lookingfemale bartenders who where topping up glasses of champagne. The men scrambled for the food and drink, and fought over the champagne. . The Khan as was his way was the last to enter the room. He had held back to speak to Guppta. They spoke in whispers. It ended with a nod from the Khan. The doctor bowed then left when the Khan entered the room he raged when he saw the indiscipline that had overtaken his men. Stop! He shouted loudly. As one, the men withdrew and stood away from the waiters. The room fell into an embarrassing silence. It was Vanburden seeing the leader of the group enter the room attempted to brake the tension. He stepped forward. Smiled broadly and said, Mr. Khan welcome to LifeGiver. I hope you are going to enjoy your evening. The Khan ignored him. He was glaring angrily at his men, his disgust was all to apparent. How long did it take for you to descend to the dog in the street, he spat. The men hung their heads. Vanburden tried to defuse the tension again, thinking a bit of hokey cowboy charm would work, now Mr. Khan try not to be to hard on your boys. He would have said more but was interrupted by the leader who looked at the waiters get out he said. The serving staff mostly young men, scrambled for the door, fearing the consequences of being the last to leave or being seen to be dawdling. Vanburden was himself a little nervous now, He decided he had done his duty and been civil to his future partners, now it was time for him to leave also. Well Mr. Khan I have a few things to do before the show, so I think it might be best if I gave you boys a little time to rest, An usher will come and collect you shortly before the show begins and escort you to your seats, then afterwards we will return here and you will be able to collect Peter, before your trip to the airport. he hoped his nerves where not to obvious. This was not the kind of reception he was used to hosting. He smiled and was about to leave, when The Khan planted his hand on his shoulder, stay he ordered. Vanburden was scared, but not to the point where he could be bullied. Thank you Mr. Khan but I have duties I have to attend to before this evenings show. He attempted to break free from the khans hand still resting on his shoulder, until he was swung round and the arm became a choke hold as he was pulled into the Bulging chest of the Khan, and then his vice like grip tightened across his wind pipe. The Khan spoke menacingly into his ear. You will leave when I say, now we have business. He released his hold and pushed Vanburden to the floor, where he coughed and spluttered as he tried to recover his breathing and his composure. The Khan circled him. Pacing like a cat, as he tried to stand Vanburden felt a vicious kick in his thigh which forced him back onto the floor, he tried to lift himself and a boot pressed into his back forcing him down again. He lay flat wheezing with exhaustion. He hesitated scared of the consequences if he tried to get up again. He looked nervously around to see where his tormentor was. He could see everyone in the room was staring at him, and he felt their combined hatred. This was not the plan he thought. He decided to try one more time to get up, slowly one leg raised at a time then a hand then an arm, and he pushed himself gingerly up. The Khan was now sitting on the edge of a table. He smiled broadly Mr.Vanburden, shall we start again, the LifeGiver man staggered, A chair for our host somebody. One young foot soldier picked up a seat, and placed it a few feet from his commander. Vanburden made his way nervously to the chair and sat down. Their was an eerie silence in the room, The Khan allowed his host to sit down and regain some of his composure. Then he began to speak. Firstly may I thank you for your hospitality. I told my men about your companies generosity and you did not disappoint. Now we are here for one reason only to collect Ramal Khan. Shortly you will take me to see him. Vanburden listened but he was thinking more about how his body was beginning to ache. It had been a long long time since anybody had hit him, let alone kicked him. He had forgotten the pain, now he had had a reminder, and he also remembered the pain didn't go away very quickly. He was beginning to feel sick, his side ached and his throat was burning. He began to say, that it might not be possible to visit the set so close to ShowTime. His voice croaked. The Khan began to laugh, You think I have come this far to be denied seeing my son. Even in his present condition Vanburden was surprised by what he just heard the Khan say, His son , he thought, he was quickly regaining his composure, Sorry he said, but you won't be able to get access to back stage now, the show goes live in less than fifteen minutes, your son, will have been moved to a holding area in preparation for him being brought onto the stage. He is now in the final stages of regeneration, it's a complicated process that has to be carried out in a restricted environment, so you see it's just not going to be possible.
The Khan rose from his seat and walked over to where Vanburden, was now slumped. He lifted his head then lashed out with the palm of his hand, the slap struck him squarely across the face. Vanburden flew backwards off his chair and landed on a heap on the floor.. His face was stinging, he felt a swelling beginning form under his eye. The Khan stood over him and he braced himself for a kick. Instead he spoke calmly but firmly. I said I want to see him now., Vanburden looked up fearfully he'd had enough - let's go he said
The assistant director was taking in information and reports at a rate of knots. Along with his team they where command and control, for New York City. They were issuing orders to the field team and. relaying information to DC. The Brooklyn bridge attack seemed to be over. It had been a blood bath but now it was in a recovery situation. It was a NYPD incident now although it was being monitored, and support was available if required. The Grand Central station bomb attack had been a suicide bomber. The director himself had made the decision to step back from that event and concentrate on Time Square. A senior analysis team was put on lock down to monitor and advise the New York team, they had concurred with LeRoy that although outrageous as they where, they where not the main Event. A report from Pakistan has raised warnings flags, Ramal Khan's father known as the Khan had disappeared, along with several of his senior aids. There had also been a massive increase in telecom chatter between known cells and groups. The transmission had been a one word cypher. The word was LifeGiver. Additional support teams had been deployed in the Square itself and the surrounding areas. Captain Marine from NYPD was coordinating police support, roads where temporarily closed and traffic diverted to allow ease of access.
The number of suspected terrorists now assembled in Time Square was into the hundreds. There was now far to many to be dealt with by marksmen alone, and now there was the added problems caused by the volume of tourists and Theatre goers who where filling the heart of the city. The difficulties in controlling the situation, was escalating, The terrorists where growing in confidence as their numbers swelled. They where now congregating together and had began chanting, the name Ramal Khan was being sung loudly. It didn't help the police or the security services, that the group was being swelled by a rowdy mob of the resident Time Square protestors who didn't need any encouragement to bait the police and scuffles where breaking out. The demonstration was now becoming a tourist attraction. Sightseers were stopping to watch and even take photographs. Their presence was only adding to the confusion. Extra police officers arrived, and where herdingthe protestors away from the center. But this was only adding to the confusion and making it difficult to single out prime suspects and agitators.
The Assistant Director monitoring the situation took the decision to stand down the police, and see what happens. They took the decision believing the leaders would become easier to identify. It was the King Pins who would instigate the attack when it comes. These were the ones they needed to neutralize. The foot soldiers would melt away if they could be taken out. He checked his bank of screens but particularly the one set aside to monitor LeRoy and his team.
Getting into the car park had been a challenge, but obtaining full clearance pass was simple. They even used their own NYPD.ID's. The building security used a standard DNA match up, which was confirmed, and when They asked for full clearance for the building including access all areas. The green light flashed and they where free to roam at will. Under the guise of medical support The building security manager was happy to oblige, feel free to he said, always glad of a few extra pair of hands around, LeRoy noted how unaware he was of what could be potentially about to happen. They asked for a building layout including fire exits and evacuation plans. And they got it no questions asked. A security tablet was loaned to them containing schematics and directions between departments. One of the building security officers did comment that he hadn't seen them here before, but he recognized LeRoy from somewhere. A moment of mild panic occurred when he looked at LeRoy and asked him directly where did he know him from? The small time TV personality shrugged, before the guy clicked his fingers, he asked if he ever went into an Irish bar over on 2nd avenue, which LeRoy answered honestly and said he did, thought I'd seen you around, why you always drinking with cops he asked. LeRoy shrugged they tell the best stories he laughed patted the guy on the shoulder and walked away. It was Hobson who stopped and turned to the security guard, which floor are the Second Chance contestants on? Thirty-two one floor above the studio. Thanks, said Hobson, one more thing he asked, how long until show time. The officer looked at his watch fifteen minutes, better hurry safety doors will close in Five minutes. ok thanks said Hobson, they walked towards the lifts, hope we've got good seats he said.
Guppta and the Savitches stood besides the now semi conscious body of the boy who was the rebirthed Ramal Khan but for the purposes of LifeGiver- Second Chance went by the name of Peter Savitch. His name hung from the headboard of his bed. The assistant producer looked flustered. He held up his clip tablet with the running order on and called for their attention. Ok guys, 15 minutes until show time, you'll be on last so that won't be until 35 minutes after we start. Remember when your called on stage it will just the two of you. He spoke to them like they were children. In different circumstances his condescending tone would have demanded some kind of a response, but the Savitches weren't listening. They were to busy watching the comings, and goings around the studio. They looked on everyone as a threat;a new medical crew arrived at the side of the studio. The AP raised his voice to attract their attention. He clapped his hand on the tablet, please this important their are going to be billions of people watching. You want their votes don't you? The naughty Savitches considered themselves told and gave him their attention. Guppta had also spotted the new arrivals on set and continued to watch the newcomers. Something wasn't right about them, he thought They where looking around to much as if they were searching for something or someone. The AP was still to get the Savitches to pay attention. Guys Your son, he pointed to the bed, will be here, Now listen this is very important, he will be live monitored. He is now semi conscious, but, and it's a big but, there will only be full regeneration if the people vote to bring him back. If he is not chosen, the regeneration procedurewill be terminated immediately, do you understand. He waited for an acknowledgment from the family, when it didn't come he prompted them again, People he clapped his hand, I said do you understand. Pavel Savitch looked at the producer properly for the first and only time, He is coming back he said firmly. The AP shook his head and walked away. Nobody noticed.
I don't like the look of those men said Guppta, What should we do asked Peta, Nothing can stop the broadcast said Guptta. He was about to go over and investigate further, when The calm of the backstage studio was disturbed by A loud Texan drawl, bursting through the studio doors. Good luck guys, he was bellowing he waved and shook hands with staffers and technicians. Normally an intrusion this close to broadcast time would have been met with calls for security, but this was Mr. Vanburden the Vice President of LifeGiver. The man who pays all their wages so his visit although unexpected and unwelcome had to be tolerated. Those in his path where greeted with compliments of, Good job, or have a great show with a pat on the back or a touch of the arm. His broad smile and Stetson hat couldn’t disguise the bruising on his face. The only negative comment came from the Assistant Producer who didn't recognize the VP at first, what the hell, he shouted angrily until he saw who he was venting his anger at. Mr. Vanburden, he said nervously, good to see you. Vanburden gave his usual broad smile, he wasn't listening, he patted the producer, just goanna have a word with the Savitches and wish them luck, The AP was going to tell him, he couldn't, that nobody was allowed to approach the contestant so close to show time and especially as the bodies where in the final stages of regeneration, but he didn't think it would have made any difference what was the point, he was the boss, so he pointed him towards the Savitches.
Vanburden homed in on the Savitches, and made his way across the studio floor. Despite his obvious discomfort he never dropped the act, always smiling and waving to the production staff. and acknowledge all the technical team and floor crew who where milling around waiting for show time to begin. His guest trailed behind, he was not as animated. He was looking around the room wary of everyone, but nobody was brave enough to make eye contact. Vanburden saw Gupta and the Savitches and made a beeline towards their station. He greeted the parents with an over long hug. The Khan stepped up and gave the couple s nod in acknowledgement, is everything ready he asked Guppta. The. Doctor nodded we will stay with the boy until he is on the main stage I will speak to him and tell him what is happening once he is conscious. The Khan nodded again then stepped forward to look at the boy, he studied him without speaking. Then he reached forward and stroked his face. Soon my son, very soon. A tear welled and began to slide down his cheek. After a moment the cold hard look returned, and he readied himself for what was to come next.
You know what you must do Guppta? Yes my Khan I am ready. Bd you my brother and sister he said taking the surrogate mother and fathers Hands in his. They too nodded then leaned forward and kissed his hand. We too are ready said Peta. Good then let us begin. Now where is the Directors booth he asked Guppta? The doctor turned his back to any preying eyes and took out a small map showing the layout of the theatre one floor below, from where the LifeGiver show would be broadcast. He pointed to the box where the director would be coordinating the broadcast from, and then he pointed out where he the Khan and his men would be seated. They where seated on the back row. Which was directly in front of the control suite. We will not do anything until they announce Ramal Khan has been chosen to be reborn.. He then addressed the Savitches, We Will then join you on stage. And together we will proclaim Ramal Khan has returned.
Vanburden had been listening to the Khan and Guppta and was growing more concerned with every word he heard. He leant into the huddle, Sir, he was addressing the Khan, that is not our deal he was angry but he spoke in a whisper. What you are planning is not going to be possible. Do you know what you are asking?, They will not allow it. The Khan broke off from studying the plan, he looked at Vanburden, And is going to stop us , he purred. Vanburden was having a moment of clarity, he understood, the audacity of what the Khan was about to do, and by association LifeGiver was a part of. You can't he said more urgently louder this time, The Khan had tired of Vanburden and his weakness, he turned back to Guppta and the Savitches Allah Akbar he said he patted his sons face for a final time then turned to leave, let us get to our seats Mr. Vanburden, I believe the show is about to begin. He pushed past the LifeGiver president and made his way towards the exit. Vanburden watched him go the called after him I won't let you he shouted, The Khan stopped in his tracks he turned slowly to look at Vanburden, his time was measured and controlled, but their was an undercurrent of anger We have a deal he said, by now the confrontation was the focus of everyone in the studio. Not that either of the men where aware. Deals off partner said Vanburden, gathering enough courage to switch on his Texan bravado. The two men faced each other like some old time western shootout. It was the Khan who blinked first. Mr. Guppta will explain said the Khan softly, then turned and left the studio..
The three officers watched the confrontation indisbelief, what the fuck was that about asked Hobson, I haven't a clue said LeRoy, but whatever just went down, tells me things are about to get real interesting. I think we need to get out boy out of here He gestured towards the party of four standing over the bed. Vanburden was animated the three others stood silently listening. He turned to Sylvester, Have we actually witnessed a crime yet, he asked. Sylvester shook his head nothing, you can't arrest a guy for whispering, did anyone think to get facial recognition. Shit! Exclaimed Hobson, I’m on it he walked swiftly to the door hoping to catch up with the suspect. LeRoy turned to Sylvester, check the tablet schematic for the any other exits and service elevators the detective did a quick search, theirs a service lift over in the far corner he pointed in the direction. A medical team arrived at the patient’s bed, Vanburden was now seated, the medical team began giving the final regeneration boost to the boy. The Assistant producer raced over guys he clapped to soon to soon. Nothing has been decided yet. Guppta stepped forward, it has been decided he said calmly. the AP was speechless. He couldn't look at Guppta; he gripped his board a little tighter to his chest. The medical team had momentarily also stopped; they too thought it was unusual to give final regeneration before the results had been decided. Guptta turned to them, Proceed he ordered. This time nobody questioned the command,they just carried on.
So go have a word with The family, check there papers are all in order, said LeRoy, Are you fucking kidding me, said Sylvester, it will blow the case of it comes to trial. Their lawyers will get it thrown out on a technicality, Lets face it we haven't got any cause. LeRoy stopped him, look if I think what's going to happen happens bringing this to trial will be the least of our worries. We have to stop the broadcast and that means getting the body. Go talk to them take them to one side and leave me to deal with Vanburden. Sylvester didn't understand but knew they had to do something. Ok, he said, what are you going to do asked Sylvester, me smiled LeRoy, I'm going to figure out how I'm going to get that body out of the studio without anybody noticing. Sylvester shook his head, becareful was his final words, I'll be fine said the detective; Hobson will be back in a minute so he can help. Sylvester began his walk across the studio floor. LeRoy made his way around the perimeter of the studio. He passed a waiting area were several studio assistants where standing around talking, the paid no attention to LeRoy or noticed when took one of the empty wheel chairs that where pushed up against the wall.
Hobson took a guess on where the Khan was heading, he arrived in the lobby just as the lift doors closed. It's direction was down, so he guessed he would be heading to the main studio to take hi seat for the show. He saw the illuminated sign for the fire stairs and raced towards it, the cold stairwell lights where in sharp contrast to the brightly light business floors. He took the stairs two at a time as he descended the stairwell grew darker a bulb had just blown. His foot falls echoed through the cavernous space that linked the building from top to bottom. As he reached the show floor he was in almost darkness only the doors exit sign guided him. He reached the door and fumbled for the handle to open it. He was to busy trying to open the door to see the Khan step out of the shadow, or the monstrous arm which immersed him in a vice like choke hold, he fought to release the grip, but it was pointless, when with one twist Hobson's neck was snapped like a twig. He fell lifeless and the Khan satisfied he was dead released his hold. The body slumped to the floor he bent down and searched the man he took his gun his police badge and the contents of his pockets, and then dispatched the body down another flight of stairs, with his boot. Hobson rolled down the cold concrete steps until he landed on the next level, where he remained, cold, still and very dead. The Khan took several deep breaths; he composed himself then brushed and straightened his clothes. His calm restored, he took a final look at the body of the dead detective, then opened the door onto the studio floor, and stepped out and joined the crowd waiting to enter the theatre. He caught the eye of some of his men and they came and stood by him. He spoke to them, casually before they drifted away and passed on their leaders message. some returned to the waiting line others walked back to the fire escape and skipped through the door from where the Khan had emerged, and made there way upstairs to warn Guppta.
Sylvester took out his detectives badge and displayed it on his medical scrubs. Pavel Savitch spoke under his breathe, one of them is coming over he said, I see him said Guppta just be calm. The medical team where giving the body a final check over and declared that his status was now a light sleep, he could wake at any time said one of the techs. Guppta acknowledged the tech but was more interested in the detective his gold detectives badge was now glinting under the studio lights. He was getting closer. He checked on Vanburden, he was starting to come around. After his outburst, and his threat to cancel the broadcast. Gupta had no choice but to stun him with a 5000-volt tazzer. The jolt had temporarily paralyzed him. He was now seated the residual shock still spinning through his body. If anybody asked he would say he had fainted. Guptta could have dispatched him in the same manner he had dealt with Steadman, and ultimately that will be his fate, but the broadcast had not yet taken place only then could he be disposed of like all the others.
Guppta casually slipped the safety catch of the handgun he had in his pocket. The Savitcheshad done the same. They gave the detective a smile as he approached them. Good evening Mr.and Mrs. Savitch, detective Sylvester NYPD sorry to bother you could I have a quick word. The couple hadn't expected this, and their tension was visible. Sylvester gave them a broad smile, should only take a minute he reassured them. Guppta gave them a short nod, as if to say it's ok go with it. They returned the detectives smile although their nervousness was obvious. He guided the couple away from their son and pointed at a free desk and asked them if they'd join him whilst he checked a few details.
The Assistant Producer rushed through the studio with several members of the production crew, and security staff. There he is shouted, and pointed directly at Guppta. The doctor was caught by surprise thinking the game was up he was about to draw his gun. When the security guard shouted quickly doc you've got to come there's been a terrible accident. Guppta felt an initial huge whoosh of relief, which was then replaced by a huge whoosh of anxiety, I can't he protested I have patient here he pointed at the now stirring Ramal Khan. Leave him, said the security chief, he's a clone this is a real person, he's fallen down the stairs, he could be dead hurry. The guard manhandled Guppta and dragged him towards the door, Guppta was helpless, he forced them to guards to stop, my medical bag he shouted, the group stopped and the doctor rushed back he pretended to search for his small case. His mind was racing, how could he avoid responding, they still didn't know what was going on, he couldn't risk jeopardizingthe mission, not now, not when it was so close to its glorious conclusion. The Savitches had disappeared around a corner so were unaware of what was happening, he just had to pray to Allah that everything would be fine, and he would return quickly, before the boy was taken to the theatre.
Come on doc, urged the guards, coming, said Guppta and he headed for the studio exit doors.
LeRoy couldn't believe his luck he cut across the studio floor still pushing the wheel chair; to the medical bay .a medical nurse was checking the boys stats. Vanburden was groaning. Son of a bitch he cursed. LeRoy approached the bed and looked at the boy he was waking. The boys eyes flickered open, morning sleepy head said the policeman. He drew back the bed sheets, much to the surprise of the medical orderly, what are you doing he demanded to know. Change of plan said the policeman, he can't be moved, his regeneration isn't complete yet. He tried to step between LeRoy and the boy in the bed. Stop he demanded. Who authorized this? The policeman politely moved the orderly to one side. These are Mr. Vanburden’s orders, He turned to Vanburden who although groggy and in pain was awake if not fully alert. LeRoy bent down and took him by the collar, these are your orders aren't they Mr.Vanburden. The policeman stared intently into his eyes, the look said I Know what your doing. Vanburden looked scared. Yes he whispered. Yes said LeRoy loudly he say yes, now help me get junior here out of bed and into this wheelchair. The policeman turned back to Vanburden Where would you like me to take him sir. The Vice President looked confused, he didn't understand the question. Which floor would you like me to take the patient to, he sled again firmly this time?Then the penny dropped forty-two he said take him to forty-two. Ramal Khan was now sitting on the side of the bed supported by the orderly. LeRoy supported him from the other side and then guided him to the wheel chair. He was awake but disorientated. LeRoy was racing to cover the boy with a blanket; he placed his feet on the rests and turned the chair around. Would like to lead the way Mr. Vanburden said Leroy firmly. Vanburden didn't question the request; he stood up a little shakily and used the wheelchair as a support. Ok let's go said LeRoy smiling. Thank you he said to the orderly who looked on as the two men and their patient headed for the service elevator. Vanburden was shaking. Are you crazy, do you even know what you are doing. LeRoy smiled oh I know Mr. Vanburden but do you. The bell chimed and the lift doors parted and the men entered the carriage and selected floor forty two the executive floor.
The doors where just closing when the Khans men rushed into the studio.
Holy shit. Said the field agent, everybody looked up, just got this from Pakistan station. After thatreport about the Khan and his men going off radar, well they widened the search pattern. He hesitated think you better take a look, he transferred the image from his small screen to the large main room screen the Assistant Director and his team stopped what they where doing and watched as the trace expanded across the Middle East then across Europe, then the North Atlantic Ocean, the North East Coastof The United States came into view and the trace continued, a pale light illuminated over New York City. the trace grew brighter as it made contact with its source. It began to home in on the city as it narrowed down the source. A street map appeared and the trace began to fine-tuneitself along the contours of the avenues and streets of central Manhattan. it finally settled on Time Square and one particular location, the LifeGiver building. The Assistant Director picked up a Cell he heard a click. Get me the president.
The two strangers looked around the studio. Their was no way they should be in this area, one of the production crew approached them, sorry guys but this areas off limits, if you'd like to turn around a take the elevator down one floor you will be in the theatre. She attempted to guide them to the door but was met with the flat of one of the men's hand straight into her face. The blow shattered her nose and she repelledscreaming, the blood gushing through her fingers. She was screaming and several other assistants ran to support her.one of the security team on duty free his weapon freeze he shouted, which sent the whole of the studio into a blind panic, one scream lead to another which lead to a stampede as the production crew and regeneration technicians ran for cover. In the midst of the confusion one of the terrorists drew his gun and sprayed the room with gunfire. The security guard was an ex. Cop who'd never drawn a gun in anger, was shaking so much he dropped his weapon he bent over to try and recover it but was driven into the floor with fourwell aimed bullets drilled into his body by the second gunman. There was lots of screaming now, as blind panic took over the studio. Everybody seemed to freeze. Down! Down! Shouted the gunman. Everyone obeyed and dropped face down. One gunman continued the search, where is he shouted. He grabbed one of the production crew he pulled him to his face and screamed where is he before I kill you. The assistant was crying I don't know who you mean he said. The gunman lifted the gun to his head and squeezed the trigger. Even louder screamserupted. He dropped the now decapitated body his own face smeared with blood and walked over to the next technician trying to lay still on the floor he pulled him up by his hair where is he yelled. The man just cried he couldn't answer the question because didn't know what he wants talking about. He shook his head I'm sorry he said pleas he begged I have children, the Grumman held him up by his hair, u hope they prey over your grave. He then dispatched him as he had the first. Now he roared I will ask once more where is he. A medical orderly raised his hand, he's gone he said, the terrorists walked across the bodies laying on the floor, he stood above the orderly, where is he, He raised his gun and forced again the terrified mans head. I don't know he said the fear choking him. The gunman drew back the hammer on his gun, the orderly began screaming I fear they took him Mr Vanburden and another man they put him in a wheelchair and got in the goods lift over there. He's telling the truth said a voice it was Peta Savitch, she said some words in a foreign language which the terrorists seems to recognizeand the smiled and waved. The Savitches had been as terrified as everybody else, when the terrorist had entered the room. The policeman had turned quickly to see what the commotion was; he was about to draw his gun when he was struck by Pavel, a fierce blow to the head with the butt of his own gun. He knocked him cold. They left him unconscious with a gapping wound on his head, that had begun to ooze blood.
They waited for the right moment to join the compatriots, not wanting to scare them, and risk being shot themselves. Now everything was under their control, they identified themselves and came to stand with their army of Allah brothers.
One of the terrorists used his cell to call another of the men who was standing beside the Khan. He told him what they had discovered, the footsoldier passed on the news to his leader. The Khan listened impassively, then spoke to the man sitting on his other side. in a hushed tone, he then handed him something, then the man got up made his way to the exit. Several of the other occupants of the back row stood up to join him. He signaled to two of his men to wait by the door of the director’s suite. Nobody comes or goes he whispered the men's nodded and removed their automatic weapons and readied them. The leader of the group was a man named Ahmed; he walked towards the usher who was standing at the end of the row. He was gesturing for the men to take their seats the show was about to start. He silenced him with a bullet to the stomach the man took in a deep breathe before falling down. He was propped in a seat and the terrorists slid past him and out into the theatre lobby.. They all grouped together. There was nobody else in the foyer. Everyone had gone in to watch the start of the show. Ahmed took out the gift the Khan had given him. It was a New York City police scanner. It was amongst the things the Khan had taken from the detective he had murdered. Ahmed switched it on and typed in the name Vanburden. A second later a yellow light pinged and a location was revealed - forty second floor he announced. The men dispensed with any Pretense and took out their weapons. A loan usher happened to walk through the foyer he was open mouthed at what he saw. The men locking and loading their guns paid him no attention. He even excused himself as he stumbled into one group of terrorists. One Grumman even apologized for blocking his path.
The Khan signaled to another soldier, who took out his cell and made s call. He spoke quietly as he issued his orders. The call just happened to coincide with the opening overture for LifeGiver Second Chance and the a booming voice announcing the prophetic words, Let the show begin.
Indeed said the Khan, smiling, Indeed Let the show begin. He thought. He settled back into his seat and savored the moment.
So where is LeRoy now asked the deputy director. A screen appeared on the media wall. It highlighted LeRoy's location. forty second floor said one of the agents. Call him he ordered we need to warn him. We've tried said the agent, he's not picking up. He A low thud shook the building, a small blast in Time square is it a suicide attack asked one of the agents. To early to say said another agent monitoring the situation. The Time Square's surveillance cameras, where being fed directly into the command center. There was no sound but the visuals showed a mass of people running away in every direction from the central plaza. A spotter on one of the rooftops was providing a commentary. Looks like it was a small Controlled explosion in the central plaza could have been a Suicide attack still unclear. Several dead,or injured. There was a pause and the fizz of radio static was the only sound in the room. A number of small groups not tourists are making there way through the square, they are using the confusion as a shield. Shots fired shots fired, said a voice. One of the analyses watching the screens remotely chipped in, it's a diversionary tactic, they using the gun fire to drive the crowds in the same direction. He seems to be right said another agent monitoring the flow the crowd has turned and is heading towards the Southern end of Time Square. The analyst came back on line it's our opinion, they are driving the crowd towards the LifeGiver building. The assistant director in charge of operations asked one of the communications team sitting closest. Get me LeRoy or one of his team; also give me the commander of the Special Ops team. One of the agents tried to contact the police officers Cells. Others, where giving the special ops team the green light to enter the building and find The Khan. The command team relayed the Latest DNA position for the target. Meanwhile on the thirty first floor on the theatre studio. A yellow light flashed.
Ladies and gentle boys and girls around the world welcome to LifeGiver second chance my name is Chance Mancino and have we got a very special show for you tonight. The audience gave the slick presenter a thunderous round of applause. Chance Mancino was described as having the most recognizable face in the world. The LifeGiver show had an audience of Billions. It's formula was simple you nominated somebody for regeneration, you came on worldwide syndicated TV and told your story. The world then voted if you were chosen your loved one would be brought back to life. LifeGiver Second chance had become the most popular show in the world. No other programmed had the appeal or the audience figures. Life giver’s income from the show was enormous. Its popularity was on a scale like nothing else. It's presenter was a global superstar.
Mancino continued with his opening monologue, before he introduced the four contestants with his now legendary and much copied catchphrase, Now ladies and gentlemen boys and girls
Let's bring back the dead....
The whole watching audience joined in with the chorus. Let's bring back the dead echoed through homes, bars, and restaurants, in fact anywhere an audience was tuned in. When Chance began his Let's bring....half the world joined in.... Bring back the dead they cried in unison.
He then ran through each of tonight's contestant’s stories briefly,
First up was the Pilipino nurse who had saved thousands of children in an African hospital from disease, despite being infected with a deadly virus herself. She had worked tirelessly and had died having just saved a young child's life.
Then their was Sylvan Tostard, the Asian philanthropist who had spent his life doing charitable works, he had built schools hospitals and daycare centres.throughout the Middle East and Asia. He had been shot by a psychotic fan, who believed only in death would his generosity be appreciated.
The third contestant was Ann Marie Shelby, an Australian single mother of four children, and surrogate mother to four more. She had contracted pneumonia and had died leaving the family without anybody else to support them. If Ann Marie is not successful her family will be split up and taken into care.
Finally their was Peter Savitch he was Four when he died and his story is both shocking andgraphic.
As each contestant was introduced a package of photographs and movie clips that punctuated their lives passed across the screen. The vivid images along with an appropriate backing track, gave all the stories an intimacy that couldn't fail to create a winning formula for the programmed makers. It also helped those the contestants where chosen worldwide, which helped made its popularity a global phenomenon.
Once the introductions were complete the families and friends were invited on stage along with the tantalizing images of the semi conscious bodies of the contestants they lay on the edge of life, their return dependent on you the viewer picking up the phone. Their could only be one regeneration. Those that lost were disqualified from applying again their loved ones lives finally extinguished forever. The audience was taken on a cleverly woven path of emotion from the highs of seeing a dead person brought back to life. To the despair of a family seeing someone they loved so close to life having their flame extinguished for a second and final time.
Let's go to break said Chance and when we come back we will meet the families. The Audience relaxed as the house lights came up Five minutes said a floor manager, informing those lucky enough to he able to attend how long until the show would resume. The Savitches had left the holding area and had come to the main studio they had been replaced by several more of the terrorists who held the production crew hostage. The Floor manger spotted them and ran over to them angrily, what are you doing here, you should be in the wings in make up and why aren't you dressed he tried to gently push them out of the theatre and towards the side of the stage. Pavel gripped his hand, don’t touch me he said, the grip hurt the man and he winced ow! he said loudly, Pavel pushed him away and made his way through the audience to find the Khan. They have him he said. The Khan smiled we know where they are we will have him back in time, go and enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame. Pavel bowed and walked back to the side of the stage as requested earlier, his wife filo we'd close behind. Neither acknowledged the floor manager as they passed him, he lowered his head choosing to ignore them also. The Khan turned to another of his men. Tell them it is time;tell them to bring my son here now.
The forty-second floor was quiet; most people had gone to watch the show. Nobody had spoken during the elevators ascent. Vanburden was still wincing with pain of the tazzer and the realization that his plan was falling apart. LeRoy couldn't find his cell he must have dropped it somewhere, without Hobson and Sylvester, he had a real problem contacting the outside. His only consolation was the DNA tracker that had been set up before he'd left the control center. They'd know his location and by now should have worked out that if the LifeGiver show had begun and he wasn't on the theatre floor then he must have managed to secure the body of Ramal Khan.
Where would be safe Mr. Vanburden asked LeRoy, he pushed open the door and they where in the crèche. A dozen babies looked up at the three men and the nurses jumped up they would have screamed only they saw their employer. Carry on ladies he gushed, we just need to borrow one of your beds for a short time thank you. LeRoy pushed the wheelchair into a small room it had a single bed in it, and LeRoy transferred the still drowsy boys body from the chair. He stretched him out and covered him. For the first time he studied his face. It struck him that the boy he was looking at with his perfect features, wasn't actually a boy he was a clone. It was hard to believe. He studied his face trying to find flaw. He touched his skin, it was he warm, his breathing was normal. He felt real. It was impossible to tell that he had been man made.
Vanburden interrupted his moment, A perfect specimen wouldn’t you say. LeRoy had to agree. How, he asked. Vanburden gave a a chuckle, How? Science, inspector, He Is the sum of mans endeavors over thousands of years. Science and greed has led us to this, he gestured at the boy, we have used the worlds greatest minds, to create a reality show contestant. Through the appliance of science we have created a life form Who's function is to be the star in a TV show. LeRoy stopped him, But this boy is no ordinary clone is he? Vanburden laughed, Do you really believe that, Vanburden shook his head in a sort of disbelief, then turned and walked away. The detective looked surprised and called after him , But this is Ramal Khan the leader of the Army of Allah isn't he? Vanburden stopped and turned to face him, Is he? Or is he Peter Savitch the victim of a hit and run accident, taken from his parents aged four and now regenerated as a twenty two year old man. LeRoy looked confused? I don't understand. Vanburden gave him a rye smile. Who's the hick cowboy now inspector? LeRoy left the bedroom and followed Vanburden, who was now sitting down and poring himself a glass of bourbon. His assistant Mia stood beside him. I hope you don't mind I thought we may need Mia, LeRoy eyed the assistant, So I'm guessing she is one, he said, One what Vanburden teased. Mia stood impassively she didn't acknowledge being the center of attention. LeRoy spat it out a clone, a robot, a toy what would you call her? I call her my assistant inspector, and a very efficient one at that. He smiled at Mia who returned his complimentary acknowledgement. Is she also an efficient killer, asked LeRoy? The implication was obvious. Vanburden smiled. Murder is a human trait he replied cryptically. LeRoy understood, but rather than press it he returned to his original question. I asked who the boy is? The boy, said Vanburden, Will be who ever you tell him he is. The detective stood back and considered what he had just heard. He left the room and was on his way back to speak to the boy when he spotted a telephone. He picked it up he heard the tone then an automated voice came on line. How can I connect you the smiling voice asked? Captain Marine New York police Department. The voice repeated was that capital Coleen at the New York Teeth Department. I'm sorry we have no record of this number. LeRoy repeated his request only this time sounding each word loudly and clearly CAPTAIN MARINE AT THE NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT. Thank you said the voice she repeated the request correctly this time. Then tried to make the connection. A few seconds past before the dull buzz of a distant Cell filled LeRoy's ear. After a couple buzzes an answer machine kicked in. This is Captain Marine can't take your call right now, leave a message and I’ll call you back there was the ding of a bell and it was LeRoy’s turn to speak. He had to smile at the absurdity. Hey captain it Inspector LeRoy, sorry to bother you I guess your busy right now. Sorry I've lost my cell and my two detectives. I'm on the 42nd floor in the crèche; love to see you I've got guests. Call me. He hung up the phone and went to the boys bedroom. As he walked he took out his gun released the safety and drew back the breech their was a heavy clunk as the bullet lodged itself in the chamber. He smiled, what now shouted Vanburden, who had been watching him. Maybe we watch a bit of TV and wait for the Calvary to arrive. Vanburden smiled and poured himself another glass of bourbon and whispered something to Mia, which made her smile.
LeRoy switched on the television the familiar theme tune to LifeGiver Second Chance playing
The sound of the bomb exploding caused a panic. The crowd that had assembled raced away from the scene. the tourists who where simply enjoying the spectacle, joined the stampede. The surge was orchestrated, to force the crowd in one direction. Gunmen fired their weapons in the air for the first time. The crowd responding to the shots ran in the opposite direction, as was part of the plan. The marksmen on the roofs responded to the shots from below by singling out anyone with a gun exposed, but rather than helping prevent a disaster, it only encouraged a panic. Ordinary tourists couldn't distinguish the terrorist from the innocent bystander. Seeing a man suddenly cut down only raised the terror level. The terrorists coordinating the incident couldn’t have asked for anything more. The crowd stormed through the Square until they reached the LifeGiver building, the security men welcomed the fleeing visitors through their door believing they where sheltering from the attack only to be cut down by a hail of bullets from the automatic weapons many of the terrorists now flooding into the building had been concealing. The buildings own security guards where now replaced by guards loyal to the Khan and the Army of Allah. They took up station in the reception and outer foyer. The police had been powerless to prevent the stampede and had assembled on the corner of 40th street. Some had joined the terrorists and attempted to gain sanctuary in the office building. Once through the door however they were mercilessly dispatched in a hail of bullets. The gunmen cheered as they fell. Meanwhile on the 32nd floor the LifeGiver broadcast continued. The terrorist knew that their brothers in arms had now entered the building and were waging thefirst battle between the Army of Allah and the great Satan. They had now taken control of the Directors suite. They had warned the production crew to continue as normal with their broadcast and nobody would be harmed. The frightenedcrew did as they were ordered and tried to continue as normal. The Khan now left his seat and joined his commanders in the theatre foyer. The elevator gave a ping warning of its imminentarrival and as one they trained their weapons on the doors before the doors opened the occupants were chanting Allah Akbar, they tumbled out waving their weapons in the air. They didn't expect to see so many guns trained on them and they fell silent and cowered in fear. The seasoned terrorists lowered their weapons. And began laughing heartily. They where the foot soldiers, who had joined them from the street. They looked up timidly and joined in the laughter as they realized they where amongst friends.one man stood up ahead of the rest he opened his arms in welcome, You guys, he shouted in a broad New York accent.
The Special Forces commander and his team approached the rear of the building stealthily. Dressed head to toe In black they blended into the darkness. The gatehouse was now empty, so they raced through at full pelt and made for the delivery bays. They rendezvoused between the two NYPD ambulances positioned just in front of the doors. Satisfied that enough of his men where now available they prepared to storm the building, unsure if anyone was waiting to ambush them when they entered the building. The commander He was about send forward his first team, when two massive explosions ripped through the parked ambulances simultaneously. The twenty or so special agents where torn apart by the blast. Those approaching were knocked over by a combination of the force of the explosion and the collateral shrapnel generated by the bombs. In all thirty men were dead or horribly injured. Those yet to enter the car park withdrew quickly radioing through an emergency call and demanding medical support urgently.
The boys eyes opened slowly, hr couldn't focus. He felt something brushing across his nose, he also felt a weight across his chest, which although not uncomfortable, was making his breathing difficult. He slowly raised his hand and wafted it across his face. His first instinct told him it was a fly and yet as it brushed across his face for a second time, he knew it was something else. The weight across his chest shifted, which made him close his eyes tightly and then open them again and focus. He saw the baby, who on seeing him open his eyes smiled and giggled. The boy slowly returned the smile, Hello, he said croakily. He wasn't prepared for the deep New York Hello to you too, that he heard returning his greeting. He closed his eyes again only to feel the weight on his chest being lifted, He opened his eyes again to see a tall tanned man In medical scrubs standing over him. Hello Peter said the voice., Good to have you back
Guppta had killed the security guards and the assistant producer on the stairwell, they lay next to the now cold Detective Hobson. He had taken particular satisfaction in shooting the Assistant Producer, he had taken a dislike to him from the moment they had met.
When he returned to the holding studio, he found the production crew laying face down on the floor. Two terrorist watched over them. The other contestants had not been regenerated. They lay cold and motionless in their mini studios. A fixed unmanned camera was used to beam shots of the bodies when required. As Ramal Khan was the last story to be told, it hadn't been necessary to show any pictures of him laying on his medical trolley yet. Guptta worried that if he was missing it could alert the producers and the broadcast could be stopped. He took one of the dead production crew and placed him on a trolley he covered him with blankets and bandaged his face to disguise his gunshot wounds. He placed the trolley in the bay assigned to Peter Savitch. He made it look like all the other holding bays with the contestant waiting to be regenerated. If the remote camera was activated they would see a body like the others waiting to be brought to the studio to be restored to life. Satisfied that thebody would pass an informal inspection, he went to find Vanburden and Ramal Khan.
LeRoy was sitting on a stool holding one of the babies. He's beautiful Peter and he's your son. The boy looked confused he said couldn't remember him. He looked like he wanted to cry. LeRoy tried to reassure him, Hey it's understandable said the policeman. This was so difficult, he was making up the story as he went along, the boy was alive but his memories had to be restored, if he could plant confusion in his mind now it might save them later he thought. The policeman new very little about regeneration apart from killing him he didn't know what else he could do. He thought about shooting him, right now that would be the easiest thing. It would solve everything. But he couldn't do it, it would have to be the last resort. He told himself, but even then it would be so difficult, even though he tried telling himself that he wasn't a human he was a clone, he was a robot, but When he had looked at him laying there asleep it was hard to believe he was man made. He was breathing. He had movement. He cried! He had emotion and his features were perfect, but the truth was scientists created it all in some laboratory. They had made something that was a living and breathing being. He was not a criminal or a terrorist he was a clone. His memory was a computer chip. If he could corrupt that chip for just a short time, then maybe they could avert something terrible happening.
You've had a nasty accident, a bad bump to your head. That's why you’re so confused. Theirsprobably lots of things you don't remember at the moment. I'll try and help. Your name is Peter Savitch and you have been in a road accident your wife is in another room. These are your twin sons he bounced one of the boys on his knee the other balanced at the side of the bed. The boy reached forward and held his hand he shook his head, I don't remember he said. LeRoy gave him a warm smile. Hey it's ok it's understandable, but we are here to help. The boy looked around, this looks strange, he said about the room, LeRoy didn't try explain, just rest he said, the boy didn't listen, my wife I don't remember her name, how is she? Where is she. LeRoy stood up and scoped up the children you just rest I'll explain everything later. He left the room and went to find Vanburden. The nursery nurses took the children, LeRoy told them
To gather everyone and leave the building he told them to take the elevator to the basement and leave by the service exit, don't leave by the main door he told them. The nurses where Scared and tearful, don't worry ladies he said, you'll be fine, but you must leave now. Vanburden was on his cell, LeRoy asked have you got a signal, its internal said Vanburden. If you’re speaking to our friends downstairs you are making a big mistake. Said LeRoy. I'm speaking to Mia my assistant, I've asked her to get me some pain killers and another bottle of bourbon, who knows when I'll get the chance to drink it again he joked.
LeRoy smiled at the irony. Do you want to tell me what's it's all about, asked the detective. It was Vanburden’s turn to smile, where do I begin,
A hastily assembled meeting was taking place at the command center. Captain Marine and Luther Brock from NYPD had joined the team from the various agencies and security divisions. The deputy director delivered a summary of the present situation. There was now a siege developing in the area in front of the LifeGiver building all the terrorist who had assembled inTime Square have now taken over the building and barricaded the entrance. A bomb planted at the rear of the building killed twenty officers and injured a further ten, we have recovered the bodies, but believe their could be other booby-traps in that vicinity, so we are reluctant to attempt entry from that location. What about the broadcast asked someone. One of the tech analysts stood up and answered the question that is continuing at present, we believe they have taken control of the production suite, which means they are controlling the output. The have switched the signal to a wireless server which is being transferred and looped over hijacked networks then bypassing the main broadcasting outputs and fed into the transmission network. Captain Marine from the NYPD spoke up so can we shut it down or not he asked. No came the reply, not unless we can shut it down from the production suite source. Marine gave a bit of a gruff, So what's the plan then he asked. It was the deputy Director who rose to speak now. We believe The terrorists are now contained within the LifeGiver building, Time Square and the surrounding streets and avenues have been closed. We believe the immediate threat, has been localized. We have Special Forces and tactical support in place. We are assessing an entry strategy, and we hope to force an entry shortly. It was Luther Brock. The deputy director knew who he had also spoken to him about his initial report on the murdered girls or clones as they turned out to be. If LeRoy's theory is correct, we have, he stopped and checked his watch, Thirty five minutes until the boy is regenerated and declared to be the reincarnation of Ramal Khan. The listening audience synchronized their watched but some where unsure of the significance of the number. For the benefit of the team can you explain why we have thirty five minutes asked the Deputy Director. Brock stood back up. Because in the thirty five minutes, or should I say thirty four minutes now. The LifeGiver Show will reach its finale and a life will be restored. In this case it is more than likely to be Ramal Khan. They will wait until the end for the spectacle. The bells whistles and showboating that they use to add tension to the shows climax. And then like Frankenstein’smonster, reborn Ramal will stand up look into the camera and declare the mother of all holy wars and those millions of followers will rise up and they will follow his command and we will have a third world war on our hands His somber analysis of the situation left everyone stunned at the enormity of the situation. He let the silence linger for a moment then spoke. But he said I may have a solution.
The nurses had gathered the children and stood waiting for the elevator. LeRoy was back talking to Peter Savitch he was filling his head with his as much of fictitious background as he could create. He was sowing the seeds of confusion and doubt. So your wife is heavily sedated, the children your boys are fine, all your family are waiting to see you. Your mom, has been here for days, she has just stepped out for some air, she will be so sad to have not been here when you woke. The boy believed the story, all though he confessed that he couldn't remember a thing. He'd been in a deep sleep he had had the weirdest of dreams scary frightening nightmares;he'd seen death and suffering. He'd dreamed of dead people, and worst of all he dreamed that he had been responsible. He was becoming agitated, why is this all I can remember he asked. LeRoy tried to console him, relax buddy you've been through a hell of a lot, they've pumped you with drugs and pills, but your back now forget all that it was a dream it never happened. You are Pater Savitch you are husband a dad and a schoolteacher he added for good measure. The seems to pacify him, I'm sorry but I can't remember my wife's name, he said almost apologetically, The detective patted him gently on his arm Its Laura he said, Of course Laura I remember now said Peter.
LeRoy checked his watch; the show had been on air for thirty minutes just another thirty to go he thought. He was worried about Hobson and Sylvester. He hoped they were OK. Mia had arrived and was talking to Vanburden. LeRoy wasn't worried his game was up. If stays here he has chance of staying alive, if he goes with them he's a dead man. He checked his watch again. The nurses had dressed the children, and where waiting patiently for the elevator to arrive. their where six babies, LeRoy thought he had seen more, but he couldn't be sure. He was about to ask one of the nurses whether that was everybody when the lift doors opened and the nurses where caught in a stampede of boots and screaming voices, as Ahmed and his group burst out of the carriage and bundled into the nurses and the babies. The nurses joined in the screaming so did the babies, who was the most surprised was hard to tell. The terrorists quicklyrecovered their purpose and rounded up the nurses and children and forced them into a circle. They stood over them
Menacingly pointing their weapons where are they, Ahmed screamed. The nurses were to scared to speak the cowered and screamed.
When LeRoy saw the men and the confusion through the glass partition. He quietly withdrew to the crèche he signaled to Vanburden and Mia to join him in the small bedroom where Peter Savitch was. They too heard the screams and rushed to join him. Once inside, LeRoy closed the door and locked it. He then pushed a small cabinet in front of the door, as he was doing so he realized how pathetic the idea was, once they started searching they would find them in no time. And he would be shown no mercy. He checked his gun, again he realized he had no chance, against such a heavily armed gang. He could hear them outside in the crèche. He considers his options, and their wasn't many. Somebody tried the door, he quickly turned to VanBurden who looked as scared as he felt. Mia on the other hand looked impassive, it was then he remembered she was a clone too. He turned back to the door. There was a commotion outside as the men tried to decide the best way to overcome whoever was inside the room. Stay away he shouted, get back we have Peter Savitch here if you come in I will kill him. The boyon the bed was weak but tried to sit up, what's happening, who are these men. Why are you threatening to kill me he asked weakly? LeRoy knew keeping the boy confused was the only way he might be able to still save this situation. Somebody outside shouted into the room. Open the door and give us Ramal Khan or we will kill the children. LeRoy hadn't thought about the children, he had been to busy thinking how he was going to save his own neck. His heart sunk. Vanburden spoke for the first time. Let them he growled. LeRoy was shocked he looked at Vanburden in disbelief. What said the bruised and battered cowboy, looking surprised, then he smiled, it was one of those smiles you give when you realize something, oh you think those kids Are real don't you? LeRoy looked shocked, Vanburden smiled even wider, son they're just as fake as everything else round here. They’re notchildren they're toys clones robots call them what you like they are just here to add a bit of color. You didn't believe that bullshit story did you, LeRoy remembered the first time they had met and the story of the orphans. Jeez detective,he shook his head the drink had obviously dimmed his senses and his awareness of just how serious a situation they where in. I will count to five open the door or we will begin with the Women, fuck'em slurred Vanburden, they're fake too. LeRoy turned and slapped him across the face hard. He recoiled under the blow, listen you son of a bitch said LeRoy in a minute an army of screaming terrorists are going to burst through that door, when they do your hokey cowboy bullshit isn't going to save you. We've got to stop the broadcast. They can't go can't go on global TV and present the boy as Ramal Khan. They heard two shots and lots of shouting and screaming LeRoy spun round and pointed his gun at the boy, what are you going to do asked Vanburden. What. I have too. He was about to shoot the boy then out of the corner of his eye saw Mia She was swinging the bottle and crashed it down on his head. LeRoy was knocked off his get the gun went flying out of his hands before he crashed to the floor nicked out cold. Vanburden was taken by surprise, but had no time to waste, the detective lay crumpled to the floor, Vanburden twisted his body so he was face down. He took the gun and fired a shot into the ground, he was going to fire a second and thought that Rhe detectives injuries wouldn't deceive anybody he was still wearing the medical scrubs, he took a guess he was right handed so placed the gun against the fleshy part of his right shoulder and pulled the trigger, as he did so he said you'll thank me later, the bulkwtt burst through the material entered his shoulder then left via his upper arm a blood stain appeared in seconds and the cotton tof the medical uniform sucked up the fluid and a huge stain of blood quickly appeared. Vanburden had no time to admire his handy work, he urged Mia to open the door, whilst he dragged the semi conscious boy from the bed. the door was only open slightly before the terrorists raced in and dragged Vanburden away from the boy. I saved him he yelled I saved him I shot the policeman, they looked down and saw LeRoy now with blood streaming from his wound he looked dead. Ahmed gave the policeman a kick just to check, satisfied he took over from one of his men who where supporting the boy they had dragged from the bed. Ramal he said it is me Ahmed, you are back. The boy looked confused, what are you doing what is happening, I don't know you. Ahmed smiled you are Ramal Khan, no corrected the boy I'm peter, Peter Savitch my wife is Laura where are my children what have you done to my children he screamed, he began weakly beating at the men holding him. Ahmed rreached out and held him what have they done to you Ramal. They placed the boy kicking and screaming in the wheel chair and hurried to the elevator.
Despite all that was going on inside and outside the building the LifeGiver show continued. The audience was unaware of what was going on. They whooped and shouted on queue, the stories where all tragic and couldn't fail to tug at the heartstrings. Peter Savitches story was the last to he told. The story was a masterful recreation of the Savitches Lie. The camera panned the audience. As expected tears were flowing when the part about how they had killed their two daughters was revealed. It had been skillfully edited; the original interview had Been intercut with a reconstruction of the scene in the warehouse where they smothered the young girls. One woman cried out No, when Peta pushed the pillow over the first daughter. It was powerful stuff. When it was finished. Their was a hushed silence,before the host broke the tension with the words, The. cell lines are now open. Let's have recap on tonight's contestants. A montage of the show so far then followed. The floor manager signalled the audience that they had now gone to tape, meaning the next part was pre recorded and normally they would be free to stand and maybe go to the bathroom. He was about to make the announcement when he was loudly interrupted, sit down boomed the voice followed by several gun shots into the air. The audience panicked andbegan screaming, but as a man did as they were told. You will stay seated they were ordered. The room went quiet a armed man made his way to the stage. From now on you will follow my instructions. Is that understood, nobody spoke he called the floor manager to him, when he was a foot away he shot him, the audience screamed again. Silence he shouted, I said is that understood . A murmur of yes's filled the room. Good he said now sit and wait when I signal you cheer is that understood nobody spoke so he raised his gun and pointed it at the audience, I said is that understood. A collective shout of yes brought a smile to his face. A voice from the directors voice announced five minutes until we return to a live feed.
A loud screaming interrupted the moment. The theatre doors pushed open and a man kicking and screaming was wheeled into the theatre. All heads turned. The khan saw it was his son and ran towards him. Is he shot he shouted, No Khan said Ahmed struggling to hold the man in his chair. He has madness my Khan it is the policeman and the infidels he pointed at Mia and Vanburden who were being roughly held by other members of the group. The Khan ignored his struggling and reached for the boy. He took him in his arm and held him tightly. The boy at first struggled but then went limp he folded himself into the man. Who am I he asked crying uncontrollably. You are Ramal Khan you are my son said the old man softly. No that's not true I'm Peter Savitch I have a wife I have two children I have seen them. The Khan recoiled no he said no you are Ramal Khan you are my son he proclaimed angrily. The boy shook his head no I'm Peter Savitch.. The Khan stepped back to look At the boy. He was a perfect copy of his dead son. His fury grew, he raged at Vanburden what devil sorcery is this he is supposed to be my son. What have you done to my son. He lashed out T the Texan knocking him to the floor. Treachery he screamed. He took out a large knife Vanburden was screaming his protests it wasn't me it was the policeman it was LeRoy, the Khan wasn't listening tell me infidel tell me or I will kill the girl, Vanburden carried on protesting it was t me it was LeRoy he has brainwashed him in some way. Lies shouted the Khan, lies he screamed again. He plunged the knife into Mia Infidels, he screamed. Mia absorbed the blow to her stomach but co tinted to stand, as if nothing had happened. Fluid pumped from the wound, but she didn't flinch. The Khan stood back unable to believe what he was seeing. His men too took a step back amazed that the girl still stood She's a clone said Guppta standing in the doorway pushing a gurney with a body on it. The doctor made his way through the men to the girl he tore open her shirt to rebalance the gash and the fluid running from the wound. It's compound oil. Its what makes her work; you kill her by stopping her heart or destroying her brain. She will cease to function once her fluid has drained until then she has merely sprung a leak. Guppta guided her to a chair. Sit my dear, it will be over shortly. Thank you doctor Guppta said Mia, Can I get you a drink. Guppta patted her on the shoulder,Thank you my dear, you just rest. the boy still sat with his head in his hands crying. their was a silence I the studio as everybody waited to see what would happen next .they watched Guppta return to his trolley, he pulled back the sheet to reveal Detective LeRoy tied to the bed. Maybe he can help us. two minutes until we go live a voice announced
Final Chapter ......
LeRoy is back on the theatre floor called out the agent monitoring his DNA trace. The analysts in the room went into a huddle. Give me something quickly gentlemen asked the controller. Ok looks like he's back In their through choice which means he's with the boy. That means when they go live the boy will be shown to the world. The Director related the news to a hastily assembled security council including the Secretary of State and a host of generals. Luther Brock the former NASA specialist was furiously typing into his laptop.When do think you will be ready, asked the Director. He didn't look up, I'm ready, just give me the word. The Director considered the information,
Do it said the Director, Luther Brock, theatrically pressed the send key, and within seconds the area around Time Square was plunged into darkness. The LifeGiver building however, was still bathed in light. Its occupants unaware that an unscheduled power out was now affecting the whole of NewYork city.
The Director switched to another comms channel. A Delta Force was on standby, waiting for the call. They where stationed in Central Park in their Stealth copters, waiting for the order. He gave the green light and within seconds they where in the air and making the short hop through the self imposed darkness to Time Square. Another Delta team used the blackout to make an entry to the rear of the LifeGiver building they swept through the basement, carrying out Their orders to dispatch all hostiles with extreme prejudice. Those supporters of the Army of Allah who tried to defend the assault, where shown no mercy. Such was the speed and efficiency of special forces that they quickly reached the ground floor and took those terrorists who had barricaded the entrance to the building by surprise. They had positioned themselves to defend an assault through the main doors. They hadn't expected the Delta Force to arrive from behind, and then to face a ferocious onslaught and a hail of silent tracer gunfire. They had no chance to carry out their threat to kill the hostages. They had formed a human Shield across the front of the building, Now any of the terrorist who moved towards the hostages were targeted then despatched by the marksmen positioned on the plaza in the front of the building. The gunfight became more of a turkey shoot. The inexperienced foot soldiers supposedly protecting the entrance were dealt with quickly and ruthlessly. No quarter was given and the fire fight was over in a matter of minutes.
The reception and lower floors of the LifeGiver building entrance were now under the control of the special forces, the doors where opened and a flood of police entered the building to sweep up any remaining terrorists who may be alive or hiding. Those people still trapped in the building on the upper floors took the opportunity to make their escape.
The reporter Lucy Vine From NYNN, was the first journalist in the hallway. She and her camera team, had tagged onto one of the first police support unit to enter the building and where feeding live reports to a worldwide audience. They were tagging the office workers as they tried to get away. Her editor encouraged her to get closer to the action, and she obliged by moving into the fire stairwell which was crowded with people coming from the floors above.
Guppta untied LeRoy and he Was lead to the stage, where he was seated next to Vanburden. The boy was also sitting on the stage in a wheelchair. His arms were secured to stop him struggling. LeRoy felt weak from the loss of blood, he winced from the pain in his arm. The bullet had passed straight through the flesh of his upper arm. A huge patch of coagulating blood stained his shirt, Guppta had roughly fashioned a bandage to stem the flow. The khans lieutenant Amhed stood in front of him, and leaned in close, What did you do to the boy he shouted angrily The detective wasn't intimidated. He forced a smile, then said, I told Peter the truth, He looked over to the boy and shouted Hey Peter, don't believe them they are lying to you, He would have said more but Ahmed lashed out with his fists and tried to land a punch, LeRoy saw the blows coming and ducked. He was shouting, Remember You are Peter Savitch, they are trying to trick you. He was wrestled out of the chair by several heavily armed supporters of the army of Allah. They forced him to the floor where the carried on kicking him until he went silent. A voice from nowhere announced. We are going live in 3- 2- 1 and we are live. The Red light flashed to signal. It was time to announce the second coming of Ramal Khan to the world.
The director took reports from the teams in the field. All reported they were making progress within the LifeGiver building, they where encountering minimal resistance. The Special Ops team that had taken off from from Central Park had now landed on the LifeGiver roof top and had disconnected the broadcasting aerials and servers. The analysts and planners in the command and control centre where aware that the battle hardend foot soldiers where positioned on the theatre floor. They were considering how they would approach the challenge of overcoming the terrorists with the minimal amount of collateral damage to the two hundred hostages they where holding.
Luther Brock was frantically scanning through the Regeneration Authority mainframe files. He thought it would be easy enough to log into former Director Steadman's account and issue a 'kill' request for the the boy. This would not only instantly shutdown his functions and the artificial intelligence which controlled his brain. It would also put to an end any chance of regeneration. His plan had fallen apart when he discovered that their had been no activity on this account for several weeks. The protocol must have been derived from another user. He consulted with the tech team at The mainframe sight, who said their was only two id's capable of authorising Regenaration protocols. And the owners were both now dead. Steadman's user history had been clean, so it must have been produced by his Assistant Laura Pearson. Brock's problem was Miss Pearson's user ID had been changed. Their was no record in any of the logs of the new user ID. For Brock's plan to work the only hope was to identify Her new username and then log into her account. As she generated the protocol, she would be the only person who could kill it. The director called to him again come on Lurher we need that ID. A huge list of usernames scrolled before his eyes. Its like trying to find a needle in a haystack he thought.
A huge army of Allah flag was draped as a back cloth across the stage. The cameras had Been trained on to it since the going live light had become illuminated. The Khan stood to the side of the stage. Before he walked on to face the cameras and the millions and millions of people he believed would be watching the broadcast. He turned to one of his followers, How do I look he asked, the man brushed down his leaders jacket and straightens his collar. He looked him up and down before announcing, You look good Khan. The Khan grunted his thanks. He looked around to make sure everybody was ready, satisfied he walked onto the stage and stood in front of the camera.
The agents in the command and control centre, stopped for a moment and watched the TV screens. The flag of the Army of Allah was for the first time being flown on American soil. It sent a shudder through Secretary of State and his assembled military commanders. Blocking the comms links had prevented a madman broadcasting his message of hate to a watching audience of millions. The special forces had redirected the signals to secure channels which allowed the security services to watch the now private show. If the Khan's plot hadn't been foiled they along with millions of others would have been watching the most powerful country in the world being taunted by a terrorist group who had brought death and destruction to the worlds capital city New York. Already questions were being asked how a group considered defunct, and of little significance as a threat had managed to carry out such an audacious plot. The plan may have been foiled, but Intel from foreign embassies around the world were reporting major disturbances in support of the Army of Allah. Despite the technological superiority of the forces of the America, they were unable to stop the information being broadcast on the dark net websites. Events like this couldn't be kept a secret, and the legitimate news channels were now hinting at the possibility of a major terrorists coup. The normal TV signal outputs had been blocked so nothing could be confirmed, but it was being heralded as a major breaking story with more details to follow.
Lucy Vine was being urged by her editor to find out the truth and get the scoop. As she button holed as many as of the fleeing workers as possible nobody was able to give her any information on what was happening on the upper floors. She was getting nowhere until she had a brainwave.
The Khan stood tall on the stage. This was his greatest triumph. To stand before the world having struck a blow against the great Satan he was about to begin his victory speech which would end with him unveiling the mighty Ramal Khan brought back from the dead, when a voice broke in, sorry Khan we have lost our comms link they have disconnected the output signal, we are no longer broadcasting. The Khan was incandescent he roared like a bear, which made the audience scream in terror. Call them and order the to restore the link or we will begin killing the hostages. The audience screamed in fear and rise up to try and escape. A blast of automatic gunfire made them drop down and cower in their seats. Ahmed took the Khan to one side and quietly gave him his council. He began by apologising for the setback as if it had been his fault. then cautioned the Khan, Whilst I agree with your plan I fear the great Satan would rather allow their brothers to die than have you broadcast our triumph. The Khan hammered his fist. Their must be a way.
As they considered their options the silence on the stage was broken by the buzz from a cell. The Khan spun around and looked at his men. Whoever had disobeyed the strict orders to keep their Cells switched off.Would pay. He was looking forward to discovering the culprit, killing somebody with his bare hands would release some of his frustration. He looked at the men in the stage but the buzzing was coming from somewhere closer. There was Vanburden and the Detective tied to their chairs, but the ringing wasn't coming from them It was closer. He looked around the floor but could see nothing, then finally he looked at the bound and now gagged Ramal Khan. The nose was coming from his chair. The Khan looked to Guppta, who understood his gesture, and began searching the boy. He found the Cell lodged down the back of his seat. It was LeRoy's he must had dropped it as the escaped from the studio. Guppta picked it up and read the message in the screen Lucy Vine NYNN. Guppta smiled I think we may have our signal he said. Smiling.
The message was short it said sorry can't talk, I'm in a bit of a spot at the LifeGiver building big story about to break if you want a scoop. Get over here with a live camera feed. Come to the 32nd floor far riser stir well and I'll meet you. hurry! She messaged back I'm here now be on the stir well in 5 minutes. She rushed through the building away from the centre and from where all the commotion was, her editor had given her the green light. He told her to he careful. But He wasn't worried LeRoy was a wannabe TV star, he wouldn't want to he where the billets where flying but he'd be close enough to make himself look good and to give NYNN the scoop. She was surprised when she reached the staircase to see them empty, she expected to see a large force of police and soldiers blocking any attempted escape by the terrorists. Her sixth sense told her something was t right.The moment she opened the fire exit door she was engulfed by between ten and twenty theorists who pushed her over and began dragging away her Recording equipment and camera crews technical kit. Guns where pointed into their faces and they were screMed at in Arabic. A body forced itself to the front pushing away the gunmen. He swore viciously at the stackers. it was Guppta and he reached down and helped the reporter up from the floor. A thousand apologies madam, these men are oafs. He looked around and swore again, the men fell acknowledged and allowed him to pass escorting Lucy Vine and her crew. Now miss Vine I apologise again, but we must hurry we have a story that will not wait. As the began to climb the stairs they passed the dead bodies of the Marines and police who had been assigned to protect the stairwell and had failed in their task. Lucy Vine felt physically sick.
The Khan had taken his reborn
Son to a quiet are of the studio and had been trying to talk to him. From his actions it was obvious he was having little success. Finally frustrated he brought the boy back to centre stage. LeRoy was slumped in his chair. He was weak he had lost a lot of blood. Vanburden by comparison was sitting upright and alert. Although obviously scared. The Khan began speaking to him angrily
You where to deliver my son to
Me. Vanburden didn't like the tone sensed the Khan's anger was about to be unleashed on him. I can fix this he burst out, Please let do this I can do it. He was pleading for his life now. I have honoured our side of the deal. He looked around the room and ended up staring at LeRoy, what we have is Is a misunderstanding. Give me a chance and I can resolve it. He ended with a hopeful smile,. The Khan looked cold. He drew closer to Vanburden and took a large knife from his belt. The Texan tried to draw away, his terror was plain for everyone to see. The knife flashed in front of his face then dropped down. Vanburden feared the worst he expected to feel the cold steel plunging into his heart instead he felt his arms loosen. The Khan had cut the ties. And as he did his face came close to his, Fix this he said icily.
Guppta was breathless by the time he arrived at the theatre. His guards pushed Lucy Vine and her crew through the doors after him. They were herded into a corner. They didn't put up any resistance they were glad if the rest. Guppta raced to the Khan and gave him his report. The crew had a portable transmitter they could broadcast from anywhere. The Khan seemed pleased. Bring them to me he ordered. Guppta gave the order in his native Arab tongue, and the crew of three where pushed forward towards the Khan. Lucy Vine ever the journalist was taking everything in, she was already composing the opening chapters of her book which would tell the story of this extraordinary event. She felt a mixture of fear and excitement, as she stood before an ox of a man. Do you know who I am he asked. She shook her head without a second thought. Which threw the Arab, she hadn't even trying to recollect him. I am the Khan he announced, I represent the army of..,Lucy held up her hand, he stopped speaking. He paused, Just a thought she said, Could we film this, she smiled, pleasantly, It was a totally disarming request, which took him by surprise. He paused, he considered her request then said, Yes, why not, shall we do that but again? She smiled again, Please, she said, If you don't mind. He smiled curtly, and retraced his trod. Lucy urged her team, come on guys time is news let's get set. Charlie check the comms link. The film crew, of cameraman and sound and comms engineer, proceeded as a if their arrival on the st of a major terrorist incident was just another day at the office. Link up said Charlie, after turning a few knobs and raising a few faders. He put on a headset and then began a dialogue with what looked like himself. Ok got it, good to go, yeah I'll put her on. He turned to Lucy , its Ed ( short for editor) and handed her a head set and Microphone. She held the piece to her ear. Then carried on the same one way conversation. Yeah Ed it's a scoop says he's called the Khan, yeah yeah she gave a short laugh, which angered the Khan, which she noted, and paused took a few deep
Breathes, she remembered this was no ordinary news story. She tried to focus. She bent over the stood up straight. Ok she said. And we are good to go.
I'm Lucy Vine from NYNN. We have been given exclusive access to the thirty second floor of the LifeGiver building, where tonight, an extraordinary act of terrorism is occurring. I have with me Khan from the Army of Allah. She swung round to face the Khan. So Khan would you like to tell the watching world what his is all about and why you have carried out this awful act. The Khan beamed as the camera focused in on his face - thank you Lucy for this opportunity
Shut them the hell down. Raged the director from the command and control centre. The link from the White House was flashing incandescently. Obviously keen to pass on the same message. Can't do it said a comms guy. They are t broadcasting via a known link. The networks dont want up lose the story and are bouncing the signal around the world so we can't stop it. Get the network chief on the cell, tell him to cut the transmission or well bust his ass within the hour. To late He's had their lawyers on the phone already they've served a civil restraining order under the freedom of information statuette. Going to take a Supreme Court judge to agree before we can shut down the broadcast or the station. The Director swore furiously under his breathe. He ran his fingers through his hair and tried to calm himself. It was a set back but it didn't change anything. They still had to mount an assault on the theatre, and neutralise the terrorists. He had no choice but to carry on. The NYNN
Channel now occupied a quarter of the screen wall. The Khans grinning face was a sickening sight that was now being watched by a worldwide audience. He had gotten his broadcast.
So said Lucy Vine, You say the boy is your son the legendary Ramal Khan. And you duped the TV programme LifeGiver second chance into regenerating your son. With the intention of rekindling the fire that burned across the world when he as the leader of the Army of Allah. The reporter was being fed the fruity prose by a team of experts back in the studio. Each question was scripted, hastily approved then fed down her earpiece before being flawlessly delivered. The camera crew switched between interviewer and interviewee seemlessly. The Khan quickly got into his stride, after delivering he prepared rant on how Anerica and its friends where the enemy of the free world. And how this was a blow for those in the world who were not free. Lucy listend to the answers then asked when can we speak to your son. The cameraman tried to pan to the boy still strapped into his chair, but the Khan knocked the camera away No pictures of Ramal he raged. The turn of temper quite surprised Lucy and her crew. For the first time they too looked scared. The Camera had dropped down and was focusing on the Khans feet. He saw where it was pointing and lifted up the lens and guided it until it was pointed back on his face. he took a step back to allow it to focus, by now the cameraman had recovered and was back controlling the camera if a little shakily now. The great Ramal khan will be revealed shortly he continued. Lucy now spoke, Time for a short break but please join us when we return we will exclusively reveal the rebirth of one of the worlds most notorious terrorists Ramal Khan. She paused. And we're clear, said a voice in their ear. The camera man and the sound guy rekaxed and Lucy took a deep breath. What is happening asked Ahmed angrily a commercial break said the reporter, then added Got to pay the bills. She arched her back in a stretch. Then for the first time had a proper look around the the theatre. It was then that she saw Dexter LeRoy unconscious and covered in blood. She let out a little scream and ran to him oh my god Dex. She crouched down and held his head then. Hugged him oh Dex are you ok. What have they done to you. LeRoy was half conscious but managed to say, it's nothing just a scratch. Which made the reporter hug him just a little tighter. Then she realised she was hurting him and tell eased him. She stood up angrily and announced to anyone of the terrorists who might have been listening. You animals, you'll pay for this. The Khan looked at her than burst out laughing, he was joined by his men. Who also found her outburst hilarious. Then he quickly stopped laughing and turned angry get back here woman he ordered. No more questions you will film and broadcast everything. You stop filming and you will die. This was no idle threat. The tone of his voice was enough for the reporter and her crew to know not to test the Seriousness of his intent. The crew picked up their equipment and began filming.Lucy took a final look at the helpless LeRoy,but she remained silent.
Vanburden had been thankful for the distraction of the news crew. It gave him a chance to think of a plan. He had an idea and he was btalking it over with his assistant Mia. Her body was covered in what looked like blood, but was in fact a synthetic body fluid. She was still operating normally as a clone would. The wound hadn't effected her brain yet, it would gradually slow down her functions but for the moment she was operating as normal. She held a cell pad and was typing furiously. You, shouted the Khan towards Vanburden. Come and do your work. Vanburden acknowledged the request with his hand, then carried on speaking to his assistant. A rough pair of hands settled on his shoulders and tore him away then pushed him towards the stage. We have no time my friend the world is watching, he pontes to the film crew who were no capturing their conversation and broadcasting . Realising for the first time to his horror his hands shot up to cover his face. He turned his back on the camera not wanting to be recognised. Shut that off he shouted angrily. The Khan just laughed.then delighted in saying, To late Mr. Vanburden you are the president of LifeGiver you are the one that made this all possible. Come turn and receive the thanks of the supporters of Allah. Let the world see your face. He reached forward and drew down Vanburdens hands they stood face to face eye to eye. Look into the camera he said and show the world the face of the man who is responsible for bringing back Ramal Khan. Vanburden was glad he was being held by the Khan, because he felt himself sinking, but the Khan was t finished he spun the man around and held his face to the camera. Then he spoke, This man gives life and I take it I will take his if he fails now, if I were watching this I would tell my friends my neighbours to watch this broadcast it is about to reach its climax. A voice in Lucy's ear said they had gone to a commercial break again. The networks where probably charging the highest rates ever for advertisers, such would be the take up on this broadcast. Lucy interrupted the Khan, excuse me sir Networks are on a short break, she said meakly. The Khan released Vanburden, Do it now or be prepared to become a martyr.
Vanburden stood in front of the boy, he was still tied in his chair, his head was bowed but he was awake.
He looked towards his assistant, On my signal Mia, he called. She didn't respond.
The camera crew was now focuses on Vanburden, The Khan stood behind the camera, as if he was directing a film. Lucy Vine stood behind him. Everyone was looking at the now dishevelled cowboy and the boy in the wheelchair. Vanburden asked for the lights to be dimmed on the stage. Suddenly the thud of muffled explosion outside the theatre made everybody turn. The terrorists in the the theatre braced themselves, they readied their weapons. A flurry of activity made the Khan along with everybody else turn and look to the back of the room nervously. They heard the low pops of gunfire. They waited anxiously for something to happen. One of the soldiers entered the room and rushed to the Khan and Ahmed. All eyes followed the man. He spoke quietly to the leader and his commander. They have reached the stairwell but cannot get any closer. We can hold them but I don't know for how long. The Khan looked thoughtful but not concerned. Our work here will be soon be completed. Return to your post, and do your duty. Allah Akbar. The soldier returned the blessing then raced away. Those hostages in audience watching the meeting had hoped for a sign that their ordeal might've about to end. The meeting failed to reveal anything. And as they watched the terrorist scuttle away and the Khan casually turn away their level of collective fear and despondency was raised up a notch. The Khan was used to playing these high stakes games and kept a straight poker face, even though he sensed their time might be short. He looked sternly at Vanburden and urged him to hurry. now everyone in the theatre was looking at the two men on the stage. Lucy Vine slowly began to step backwards. She tried to casually edge across the floor until she was besides The policeman LeRoy. She pulled up a chair and sat beside him, she couldn't help herself, she had to put her arm around him, it was all she could think to do, he looked so awful she just wanted to try and comfort him. She thought he was still unconscious, until he spoke quietly without lifting his head. Do yo still have your ear piece in. She was taken by surprise but tried not up show it. Yes, she whispered, fearing that everyone in the room could hear her. Their was a pause, she wondered if he had heard her. Then LeRoy spoke again. Carefully, take it out and put it in my ear. She didn't reply this time just slid her arm casually to her ear, she consciously played with her ear and her hair, before sliding the the earpiece out. She felt self conscious, expecting at any minute one of the terrorists would rush over knock her to the ground and beat her or worse. So as to not draw attention to herself, she waited a minute. Before pretending to comfort the policeman again, she caressed his cheek and rubbed the side of his face before she fumbled the earpiece into place. He immediately heard the editors voice, speaking to the crew. It's working he said to the reporter, Than you. Lucy Vine couldn't help herself she had To warn the policeman. Dex your baddly hurt you can't do anything they will kill you. He forced a quiet laugh don't worry I've been in worse scrapes than this. Is your Mike on he asked. Yes she said. It was a small lapel microphone very indiscreet. ok now you have to speak to your editor, tell him he needs to set up a link to the police command and control centre tell them I'm here and we have a comms link. Tell them to do it now. Lucy turned away and began speaking as if to herself. She didn't know if it was being received, because LeRoy had her earpiece. She could tell from his reaction they were being sceptical about his request. Tell them I don't give a dam said LeRoy forcefully tell them to dial 911 and ask them to put them this is urgent they have to be connected through to captain Marine. The link went silent just as Vanburden began speaking.
The boy was confused. He sat still, his head bowed. He could have been asleep. Vanburden stood over him. Who are you he said, the boy didn't respond, so he lifted his head and slapped him hard. The boy jumped as did everyone else, including the Khan, his men were more than shocked they were raging Ahmed was in-sensed. He began to barge through his men. he pushed them aside as he raced towards the stage.The Khan held out an arm and stopped him. But Khan he pleaded he struck your son! It is an outrage. The Khan remained calm. Their will be plenty of opportunities for revenge if this does not work my friend. He patted Ahmed on the arm and looked back at Vanburden. It was the kind of withering glance that said do not try my patience. Vanburden inwardly felt a wave of relief. He knew their was only one way to make this work and giving the worlds most dangerous terrorist a slap would be the least of his worries. the slap had shook the boy awake. He was now sitting forward and alert, he glared at the Texan. good thought Vanburden who stared back coldly. He spoke again louder and angrier this time. I said who are you. The boy looked defiant I am Peter Savitch. Wrong answer said Vanburden and stepped forward and slapped him again, even Harder this time. A red mark appeared on the boys cheek. He was straining to get out of his seat now. I'm telling you I'm Peter Savitch he shouted. Vanburden took a step back. Them looking thoughtful he asked, How do you know? The question hung in the air their was no answer, so he repeated the question. Again silence, the boy was looking off into space. He had taken his eye off his inquisitor, so didn't expect the hard slap that stung his cheek. I asked you a question and I'll ask you again, How do you know? Ahmed was straining to attack The man who was beating his beloved leader. The Khan's hand rested on his arm,exerting just enough pressure to hold him in check.
The boys eyes where wet with tears. Vanburden's stinging blows, where having their effect. The boy was angry, he was sitting up he was alert. He was following Vanburdens every move now. Conscious he would be struck again if lost concentration. Meanwhile his tormentor paced around the stage. Vanburden was feeling strong. He felt empowered. Have you ever killed anybody, he asked. The boy became animated, No never, he shouted. For the first time he looked towards the audience Never, he said firmly, in that moment Vanburden pounced and struck him again. The sound of the slap echoed through the now silent theatre. The camera was capturing everything. It wasn't only the people in the room who where witnessing this, so was the collected security agencies assembled at the command and control centre. And a worldwide audience watching the events as it happens live on channel NYNN. The boy didn't care about the audience. He was pulling at his restraints, he was desperate to get out of his seat He lunged at Vanburden, who for personal safety had taken a step back. The boys face was red as he strained to be set free. VanBurdens face contorted his face twisting into a manic vision. He pointed his finger at the boy and shouted You boy are Ramal Khan leader of the Army Of Allah. You are a killer of men and conquerer of lands. Vanburden looked towards Mia, who seeing his signal began to broadcast a montage of images and Gif's.firstly came images of the leader of the the army of Allah as a boy then a young man, images of the family then an explosion followed images of the carnage of war. The photographs of death and destruction where broken up by flash back visuals of Ramal Khan in battle dress. Standing proud holding an assortment of weapons from automatic rifles to pistols swords and rocket launchers. You boy are Ramal Khan leader of the army of Allah this is your legacy shouted Vanburden as if he was an old time preacher. His voice trailed away to he followed by the sounds of rocket fire and explosion that accompanied by a montage of images of war. You made this happen shouted Vanburden his finger pointing at the boy in his seat. No shouted the boy No, yes said Vanburden yes you Ramal Khan. The next scene was of dead bodies. Piles of bodies, as laughing Ramal Khan held up a head and smiled then through it away much to the amusement of the men on the film with him. Another image appeared it was Ramal Khan with a hostage he held a long knife to his throat he spoke a few words then began to saw through his captives throat. The blood spilled from the wound but the butcher continued his work without thought. Its not me said the boy in a whisper, he was transfixed by the images. it's not me.
A few blocks away at the command centre another audience watched their screens with the same morbid fascination. Lurher Brock was the exception. He was scrolling through pages and pages of names. Looking for one that might strike s chord as a possible alias account for the late Laura Pearson. An assistant was scrolling family trees and associates for possible matches, without any luck. The commander of the Delta force interrupted with a brief radio update. The cackle of the radio chatter which caught everybody's attention. He reported that they had reached the mezzanine floor below the theatre, the sound of heavy automatic gunfire played as background noise to his report. He seemed quite calm as he completed his report with the news that they where about to go for a final push onto the theatre floor. It had been agreed by an executive order from the president, that for crimes of terror, their would be no stand off or negotiated settlement. He believed that extremists would always be a threat if they remained alive. The fact the this particular terrorists action was being played out to a worldwide audience on U S soil meant that their could only be one end result. As the president had once said, Terrorists must not win.
Mia was cleverly creating the images being shown, she was showing Ramal Khan then an clip of some outrage if atrocity. As each new clip appeared, the boy would shake his head furiously and deny it was him. And each time Vanburden would scream its you Ramal Khan its you. The boy strained at the tighs on his arms and his legs flayed. No No, he was screaming.
It was like tormenting a tethered dog The more he barked the more Vanburden teased him. The Khan was bristling, struggling to contain his inner rage.Armed wasn't as controlled. He was jumping up and down with rage. He wanted to tear tormentor apart. He too was like area there's dog pleading for the Khan to unleash him.
Everything had stopped the command centre. Everyone was watching the news channel. They couldn't believe what they where seeing. He's like a caged monster said one of the agents.
The words struck Brock like a thunderbolt. He fingers hammered on the keyboard as scrolled through alphabetic list of names with access to the control protocols for Regeneration. Neil he stopped and there it was user ID he was looking for he was certain of it.
He typed in the name slowly and carefully one letter at a time
M A R Y S H E L L Y
He pressed return,and received the response instantly
He shuddered with excitement. Got it he announced
Everyone stopped and looked at Brock. The director left his desk and stood beside him. He looked at the screen, It says password?
Brock nervously pressed the keys he believed would open up Laura Peasrons secrets
F R A N K E N S T I E N
He pressed send, the screen went blank
Then a message appeared
REGENERATION AUTHORITY PROTOCOL ACCESS PROGRAMME
WELCOME MASTER I AM IGOR I WILL BE YOUR ASSISTANT TODAY
A small icon of a little monster appeared next to a flashing cursor.
The director patted Brock on the shoulder. His achievements didn't need words. He walked back to his desk,OK we're in let's go
The screen was showing clip after clip of bodies. Dead ones,Multilated ones, charred bodies, hanging bodies. The images where graphic and chilling. Vanburden was orchestrating the boys emotions. When He sensed the boy was becoming numb he would step in and strike the boy.Which had the effect he wanted. The boy lashed and kicked out. Each time Vanburden would retreat to a safe distance from the now crazed boy. He shouted at him you are Ramal Khan who are you you are Ramal Khan. He stepped forward and attempted to slap the boy once more. This time it was he who was surprised. The boys hand suddenly snapped free from its restraint and caught the blow. Vanburden hand was locked in a vice like grip. He struggled to free himself A new fear gripped him, when the boy began to draw him closer. It was Vanburdens turn to lash out and kick. The blows had no effect,they glanced off him. The boys strength was immense, he drew Vanburden up then wrapped his hand around his neck. He began to squeeze. The man from LifeGiver was having his life taken. The punches he threw had little effect. They where now standing face to face.
The Khan brimmed with excitement. Ahmed watched in awe. The audience was dumbstruck horrified at the transformation.
The boy snapped his other hand fee from its bonding. He tugged back Vanburdens head by his hair. His anger had transformed him. He looked like he was consumed by maniacal rage. His face was red from the blows. Sweat ran across his brow. He stood tall, dangling Vanburden like a puppet. He slackend his grip on Vanburdens throat, but still held him by his hair. The big man began spluttering and coughing, he gulped for air.
The Khan looked on in admiration Ramal he said softly you are back.
Ramal Khan looked Vanburden,coldly in the eye. Ask me again, he hissed. Vanburden. Was still gulping for air No, he said shaking his head as he gave his reply. Ramal Khan slapped him hard. It was like hammer blow across face. Again, ask me who I am. Vanburden wanted to cry from the sting of the blow. He hesitated trying to decide if he dare ask the question, fearing the consequences. Deciding he had no choice he whispered the question, Who are you? The boy leaned forward and spoke into his ear. He whispered, I am your worst nightmare. He immediately felt his throat tighten as the vice like grip returned to close off his wind pipe. His eyes bulged and he kicked and fought to break the grip. still holding his hair The reborn Ramal Khan gave a sharp jerk, which snapped Vanburdens neck. His body slumped and Ramal Khan let go of the body and it dropped in a heap onto the floor. He took a step back and closed his eyes. He was breathing heavily, his body was tensed. Ahmed looked to The Khan, He is back he smiled joyfully. Yes, purred the father. Who released his grip on Ahmed's arm and allows him to go to his son to welcome him properly. Ahmed was so excited he ran towards the reborn Ramal Khan his arms outstretched. The boy felt him approaching calling his name. He opened his eyes, their was a look of cold madness in his stare. As the man rushed towards him, he expertly stood to one side and taking Ahmed unexpectedly, reached out and took him in the same hold he had held Vanburden, only this time he reached down and took a large knife from the terrorist belt. Ahmed like Vanburden before him was powerless to break the hold, and was even less powerful once the boy had brought the knife up and cut his throat from ear to ear. That was for my babies he whispered. The blood burst from the severed artery, and splashed across his face and body, not that he was aware. He again dropped Ahmed but not the knife. The man fell to the floor and kicked and spluttered as he bled to death.
The Khan along with audience watched in stunned silence. He couldn't believe what he had just witnessed. His oldest friend murdered by his reborn son. He was filled with a mixture of awe and amazement to see his son, returned as the cold merciless killer that had lead the army of Allah to great victories. But he raged at the loss of one of his greatest allies.
The camera team had filmed everything the shocking scenes has then been broadcast to the world. The agents and police officers in the command and control centre had been glued to the same TV station. They had reacted with the same degree of shock as the audience sitting in the the theatre The assistant director spoke for everyone when he said This is getting a little bit scary now. He was about to say something to Brick when he was interrupted by Captain Marine. Its LeRoy he's in the theatre. He's been shot but he's ok. using the reporters ear piece, so we can get messages through. OK said the AD, tell him to sit tight this is going to be over in a minute. He then turned to Brock. He was still logged on to the Regeneration protocol programme under Laura Pearson's dummy ID. Her icon Igor bounced up and down on the screen waiting for his command. Let's shut this thing down now said the AD. Brock typed in the command terminate, Igor appeared Are sure master? he asked, Brock typed in the word confirmed. Igor's image appeared against the backdrop of a medieval castle. When
Brock hit the send key and his request was confirmed, Igor's Imoji turned around and walked back through the castles gates . The screen refreshed and the character now appeared in what appeared to be a gothic laboratory. He walked over to what looked like a an ancient control board with a large switch on it above the switch was the name Peter Savitch. at the moment it was in the on position Igor moved the switch to off. The sound effects made a large clunking sound and the room went dark. It is done master said Igor. They audience in the room all looked back to the TV screen. They expected the clone to be lying in a heap on the floor dead, but instead he was striding about the theatre attacking anybody who crossed his path. The AD looked to Brock for an explanation. Brock said nothing. I don't know he said. Was it the right clone he asked. Brock typed in the question how many regenerations have I completed. One said Igor in response. Then Brock typed in another question. Who have I terminated? Igor appeared to consult a big old book. One said Igor Peter Savitch was his name and you terminated him today.
Then why is t he dead he typed. Igor consulted his book again before he answered. Because we could t tell him he said. He isn't receiving the signal. The AD banged his first dam it, One of the tech guys in the room spoke up we are jamming signals sir, nothing is getting in we need to get him out in the open or stop blocking. The signal. The AD went to his link to Secretary of State and his advisors for a decision. Your call guys he said. One of the advisors spoke. At the moment have everything controlled. They can broadcast sure, but can't talk to each other. Once we allow a signal into the building who knows what they could do. It would change the dynamic. We either draw him out preferably to the roof, or we wait for our guys to knock down the doors and terminate him face to face. How do we draw him out said the AD. A voice came over the broadcast coins list. it was a News reporter Kucy Vine. LeRoy said he can get him to the roof.
After the clone of Ramal Khan had attacked Ahmed, those loyal to their former leader ran to his aid. The clone thought they where coming to attack him and he lashed out at them. A few he caught with his flaying knife. One stopped to check a slash across his belly. Before he could stand up he was grabbed by the hair, his head tugged back and his throat slashed open. The clone of Ramal Khan was relentless now he lunged and stabbed at anyone who came close. The Khan urged his men to be calm they penned him into a corner of the stage area. He was like a caged beast, waiting for an opportunity to pounce . One man got to close and was gripped. The clone hung on whilst the man man screamed and fought to escape. Others joined in to free their brother. And in a panic one fired his gun at the clone. Three bullets tore into his stomach. For a moment he stopped and looked down at the holes which where now wet with an oozing flow. The camera crew where still filming, and the world witnessed in disbelief, as attacked his captors with renewd vigour. Screaming in anger and rushing at the nearest person his knife drawn and slashing. Everyone backed away and some turned and ran. The watching security services where powerless. They discussed options then suddenly the screen went fuzzy and the signal was gone. coy The audience where now no longer frightened of their captors, more the monster that had been set free and was now killing mercilessly. They climbed over their seats and trampled over each other to get away. They pushed past the terrorists who were supposed to be guarding them. They pushed their way towards the exit doors the weight in numbers driving them on. And as they pushed through the exits they ran into a gunfight between terrorists and Special Forces. The crowd didn't care the pushed on and ran. In the confusion, some where hit they fell but nobody stopped to help. Such was the panic the gunfight was suspended as hundreds of people raced towards the emergency fire escapes.
LeRoy forced himself to stand, he was weak but felt strong enough to walk. Help me Lucy he said, we have to get the boy. Dex your crazy we need to get out of here. The camera crew had seen the clone looking at them, and that was enough, they dropped their equipment and fled, along with everybody else. They had joined the mob fighting to get out of the theatre. Fallers had blocked the exit people where climbing over the mound of bodies lying in the door way.
The Khan had taken a step back along with everybody else he now had Guppta with him. We can still do this my friend he said. I believe you said Guppta.
LeRoy pushed against the rushing throng. He fought his way to an open space The clone stood knife in hand watching the people leave. He was breathing heavy his face covered in a mix of blood and sweat. LeRoy shouted to him Lucy liked at him in horror Dex what are you doing. He ignored her. Peter Peter its me, we have to get out of here, the policeman raided his good arm to signal him. The boy looked at him curiously trying to remember where he knew him from. He began walking towards him.. The long knife extended. Lucy gripped LeRoy's arm tightly. Ramal stood in front of him the knife pointed at his throat. They stared at one and other. You are hurt said the clone. LeRoy let out a hugge sigh of relief. I tried to tell you these guys are not good for you, Peter we have to get out of here. LeRoy reached out to take his arm, the boy recoiled the knife rose up to protect himself. Their was a moment of tension both men froze. LeRoy with his arm extended. The clone with his knife poised to strike. Then the boy loaded the knife and took LeRoy's arm. The policeman was glad of the support he fell into his Shoulder, and the clone supported him, carefully turning him and waking with him towards the exit. The gunfight has resumed in the hallway and a crowd where blocking one of the exits. Nobody had thought of finding another way out, and LeRoy motioned for them to stop, not this way, he shuffled them around and the made for another door this one had nobody by it. The Khan and Guppta watched. Without speaking they followed their Ramal Khan the policeman and the news reporter who seemed to be tagging along.
Their was nobody at the chosen exit it was a side door that lead to a stairwell. The noise of the crowd, faded once they passed through the door. A voice in LeRoy ear told him to take the boy to the roof.. They where about to descend when LeRoy stopped. Your babies they may still be in the crèche we should go and get them. The boy didn't speak he just turned around and began helping LeRoy to go up the stairs.. We can't walk all the way said Lucy Vine, who has said nothing since the boy had taken over helping LeRoy. We don't have to said the policeman. We can go up one floor then take the lift. Everyone is busy below so it should be safe. The carried on up slowly and for LeRoy painfully up two flights of stairs. Lucy Vine was struck by how tenderly the boy was helping LeRoy..he was supporting his arm and guiding him. Carefully one step at a time. Such a contrast to the wild frenzy she had seen him displaying earlier. LeRoy was right the floor above the theatre was deserted. When they reached the elevators, and pressed the button an empty car arrived within seconds. The fact that this had all been arranged by the security services who whee now controlling most of the building and the elevators. The buildings security camera links had now been restored and LeRoy's progress was now being monitored. They arrived at the 42nd floor it was dark and silent evidence of the terrorists presence was obvious the floor was a mess pushchairs where overturned and the bodies of two nurses lay on the floors. The boy left the policeman and began running frantically from room to room. LeRoy was about to shout the boy and tell him to leave it, it was a waste of time their was nobody here. The boy appeared carrying a small bundle. My baby he said. He was smiling through a stream of tears.
What next said the AD in exasperation. He threw his glasses on the table in frustration. Let's reevaluate how do we deal with him having a child as hostages. A group of advisors stood together drawing up an off the hoof contingency plan. When Lucy Vine who still had her radio Microphone voice broke through the radio chatter. LeRoy said the babies are clones do nothing the plans the same we are going up to the roof. The AD shook his head in disbelief, Oh boy! I'm not going to ask. Ok let's finish this now, he sounded exasperated. One his team confirmed a Delta team was on standby for support. Stand ready said the AD. He put his glasses back on and returned to watching in security camera focuses on the crèche.
The boy was holding the baby close to his chest. Where are the others he asked, LeRoy approached him, Peter we have to go, we need to go and speak to the police and tel them what's happened. The clone who now thought he was Peter Savitch shook his head, No i need my other baby I'm not leaving them again he looked at the baby and held them a little tighter. How about we leave him here with my friend Lucy, we can go up to the roof and wait to be rescued. The boy shook his head, No No he said LeRoy put his good hand on his shoulder, Those men, who came here earlier will come back, they want to kill you, I can help you and your child but we have to get to the roof. LeRoy reached down and took the baby. The boy reluctantly released the perfectly formed clone, and LeRoy passed it to the reporter, she reluctantly accepted the bundle. She was cumbersome, unused to children and especially holding babies. LeRoy showed her how to cradle the baby to her chest. Then warned her, Make sure you look after Peter's son for him until we can get some help. He said. Lucy nodded, And tried to give the clone a reassuring smile. It didn't help, he looked heartbroken. She couldn't believe how easily the boy had been transformed from a monster to a loving father. She looked at the baby he was perfect, she couldn't believe it was a robot, the detail was amazing. It was a faultless replica. And before her stood another perfect replica. This one was showing real emotion. He believed he was was Peter Savitch because Leroy had told him he was. She was filled with a sense of wonder and amazement. Here was a man made creation demonstrating emotion and love. And yet, only minutes ago he had been convinced that he was a monstrous killer, and had demonstrated his murderous skills. . She felt a huge well of pity,for him. He was being used in such a shameful way. He was a man made robot who believed he was human. It was heart breaking to watch, as he looked at the child with such tenderness. His love for the child was so obvious. She thought she would never be able to truly explain the poignancy of this moment.
It was LeRoy who broke the moment. He steered the boy away towards the elevator. We have to go and make everything safe he said. When everything is safe for our escape, then we can come back for Lucy and your baby.
LeRoy pressed the call button and within seconds the elevator doors where opening. The voice in Leroy's ear gave him instructions. When you reach the roof make your way to the helipad and wait. We should be able to instigate the shutdown protocol,Leroy couldn't respond, he had no transmitter, but he found the elevators security camera and looked up at. He felt sick not for himself but for the clone. Who still had his arm looped around his shoulder to support him. He looked at him, Thanks he said. The boy didn't respond. He seemed preoccupied, perhaps the close down procedure was starting.
Brock was still logged onto the Regeneration Authority mainframe. The close down protocol was waiting to be activated. Igor the programmes emoji was flashing on the screen. Suddenly the screen came to life. Master said the emoji I have a signal, would you like me to proceed he asked. Brock relayed the request to the Assistant Director.
He checked the threat board. The terrorists in the theatre had been subdued. The reception and foyer area at the front of the building was now secure. Calm was being restored around Time Square. A mopping up operation was taking place in the building, hunting down those terrorists who had managed to escape during the confusion. The Khan was was amongst those who and could not be accounted for. Satisfied the situation was now stable. He issued the order. Terminate. There was no theatrics from Brick this time. He pressed the key to confirm the request. Then watched as Igor the emoji, closed his book and turned to the control panel, and operated the switch. Sparks and flashes of electric added to the well constructed drama on screen. Igor turned back to face Brock. It is done master he announced, will their be anything else. Brock typed in No, then the screen changed to a counting down clock face. Beneath it where reducing numbers. It's a ten minute countdown he announced. The computer screen was transfers to the main display wall. And everybody stopped and looked at the split screen. One half showed the countdown the other showed Leroy being supported by the Clone being helped into the roof.
The wind was gusting, which made the rain swirl. A controller told the detective that the termination protocol had been activated it would take another eight minutes and forty two seconds. Leroy wanted to ask how it would be, how the boys life would end. Would he feel pain, would he suffer. Kill time was the request to the policeman. As the stumbled across the roof, he felt like it was dead man walking the boy was being so caring, unaware his fate had been decided. His short life would extinguished very soon.
Why have you brought me here? Asked the clone. The question was unexpected, Leroy remained silent he didn't know how to answer. Is it to kill me. The detective wanted to say no, but couldn't so remained silent. He stopped walking and looked at the boy. Look Peter, he began, trying to find the words to explain. But he couldn't so they just stared at one and other in silence. It was the boy who broke the awkward moment. Who am I, he asked timidly. It was a question he really didn't want to know the answer too, but knew he must ask. His mind was filled with so much confusion. I couldn't remember anything, and then you told me I was Peter Savitch. And I believed you., I wanted to believe you I wanted to be good. When I'm with you I feel like the person you say I am. And yet when I was with those other people, he paused he looked like he had a great confession he needed to unburden. When I was with those other people, and that man who said he was my father. He said I'd done such terrible things. My heart was saying No, I couldn't do those things, but head was saying yes you can and yes you did! I felt evil, I wanted to kill, I watched those films and it made me feel strong. id. I wanted it to be me that did those things. He stood up in a mix of frustration and anger. He began pacing around, not knowing what to do with himself. Leroy could only watch he was feeling very weak, he had lost so much blood. He was powerless to do anything, Come and sit down kid, was all he could say. The boy ignored him he walked to the edge of the skyscraper building and looked down on all the tiny pin prick flashing lights so very far below. He leaned so far over Leroy thought he was going to jump. It crossed the detectives mind that him throwing himself off would be a good thing. But their was still a part of him that wouldn't let that happen. Kid he called. The shout brought the boy back from the edge. He looked up to the heavens and let the rain wash over his face. Then shouted. I want to be good.
You are my son, you are Ramal Khan. You are not just good you are great. The voice was almost purring. The boy and Leroy both looked around in surprise. The Khan stood beside Guppta. No shouted the boy I'm evil. The Khan still smiling walked towards the boy his arms outstretched. finally to embrace his son. But the boy turned away No I'm not your son I want to be Peter. I'm Peter I'm good. The Khan walked past Leroy without giving him a second glance. The detective could only watch he was struggling to remain conscious. The boy was retreating he was standing on the edge of the buildings precipices, a flimsy rail the only protection from falling over the edge. The Khan stopped. Fearing his son might jump. Guppta had joined him. He stood beside the Khan holding what looked like a small package.
You are confused my son, said the Khan these people have tricked you. He looked at Leroy, then walked over to him and pulled back his head. The detective, was powerless to resist. He drew out his knife. He is the seed of this poison. He made to slash his throat, but before he could the boy kept forward and tried to wrestle the blade from his fathers hand. The Khan had immense strength, but surprisingly so did the boy. The older man tried not to hurt his son he shouted for him to stop, but the boy wasn't listening, he was like a rabid dog reigning blows onto the older man. The Khan was absorbing the punishment, trying not fight back. He was being mauled by the boy, when all of a sudden his attacker went limp. Guppta stood behind him he held a length of pipe and he struck the boy across the back. The blow had made him release his grip and he fell back. The Khan and his son lay next to one and other on the floor both struggling to regain their breathe. It was the boy who began rise first. Guppta slammed the pipe into his back again, and down fell the boy. The Khan struggled to stand, What are you doing he said still breathless from his beating. My Khan we have failed he is tainted, we cannot bring him back now. Let us leave here whilst we can. The Khan lashed out at the spy. Never he roared, his strength restored. The man went tumbling to the floor. He was stunned but tried to speak. My Khan don't you see he isn't your son, he is a clone, a robot. A toy, a puppet. No roared the Khan he picked up the pipe and brought it down across the back of Guppta's head. The man died instantly.
The boy tried to crawl away, but it was hard to move. He felt strange, like a fog was descending. He managed to stagger to his feet, but found it difficult to move. The Khan was now standing in front of him. He held Guppta's package. Only it wasn't a package it was something wrapped in a blanket. The Khan peeled back the layers to reveal a small baby. Look Ramal he said look what I have brought you. The boy was even weaker now he stretched out his arms. Give him to me he pleaded, but the Khan shook his head. No my son he said, you must realise how evil this world is. They have poisoned you with this son of Satan. He looked at the baby, I must rid you of the poison. He turned and walked towards the edge of the building. His intentions obvious. No no shouted the boy. The Khan turned his head yes he repeated. He carried onto towards the rail. Suddenly a helicopter gunship its lights beaming focuses on the Khan. The fraught from its rotors blowing the men backwards. A loudspeaker message ordered the man to stay where he was. It's to late shouted the Khan, who struggled against the fake towards the edge.
The countdown clock in the command and control centre was down to thirty seconds. The room was silent as they watched the final scene play out. It was obvious that the boy was close to termination, his actions were slow and laboured. He was reaching out to the Khan, pleading with him. For something. Whatever was in the bundle, the boy wanted it. Could be a bomb was the general consensus. When it looked like the Khan was going throw it from the top of the building. The commander ordered the helicopter pilot to stop him. The visuals switched to the choppers onboard camera. The headlights of the machine illuminated the Khan and the bundle he was holding so closely. From nowhere the boy leapt onto the Khan the where fighting over the package.
They say in times of threat and danger some primordial strength can be summoned. The boys life was now within seconds of ending, yet he was fighting like a madman.
The Khan felt the boy land on his back and try to pull him back. He lashed out with his free hand, but the boy managed to break the blow then spin him around the bundle dropped and the two men wrestled towards the edge. I did this for you my son said the Khan. The pushed against each other tumbling on the brink. No I did this for my son said the boy. They fell off the edge. The boys life terminated within seconds of falling over. The Khan want so lucky his life ended several seconds later as he crashed onto the roof of a police car parked in front of the Lifegiver building.
The room was warm, the aroma was familiar but he couldn't quite place it. His eyes were closed but a chink of bright light snook under the lids. He slowly began to peel them open. The room was bright and glowing. He felt strange, he couldn't remember anything.
Welcome back sleepy head said a voice, again it was familiar but he couldn't remember where he had heard it before. His eyes now fully opened, a figure stood before him. He was smiling, Hello he said. Hello came the cautious reply. How are you feeling he asked. The man thought for a second then said I don't know, I can't remember anything. Well that's normal. Said the man. Let me start by introducing myself to you again. Hi I'm Detective Dexter Leroy I'm from The New York Police department. The man on the bed felt an Icy chill. The bed suddenly began to buzz and the head rest began to rise, so the man was sitting up and could see there where several other people in the room. The detective was still smiling.
Now I've introduced myself I better remind you who you are. You are Mr Steadman you once worked for the Regeneration Authority. That was until you did a very bad thing. The detective let the statement hang there for a moment, then continued. Is their anything you'd like to say before we charge you.
Steadman swallowed hard.... I wish I was dead. He mumbled. Leroy smiled, you've been there and done that, now your back.