The Assassination - Part VII
04/01/2006 - "Jonathan, are you sure you want to do this? Dr. Maximus will kill you while he has the chance."
Jonathan was looking straight into the eyes of the man in black they'd befriended, whose name was Jason. "We don't have much time," he replied firmly, "I'm sure." Jonathan cast a nervous glance up and down the hall. It was only beginning to sink in that he might actually die tonight, but he stood firm in his choice, even though inside he felt like a little boy afraid of the dark. He felt weak, vulnerable. The feelings were flowing over him so fast that he couldn't even identify them all. Jason was disturbed by how quickly Jonathan had grown deathly pale, but still, Jonathan just encouraged him to hurry.
At length, Jason said, "Jonathan, I'm afraid I can't allow you to do this."
"Why not?" Jonathan pressed, "My son-in-law and my best friend are dying in there!"
Jason sighed, but it was more out of stress than frustration, "Look, Jonathan," he whispered and moved in a little closer so no one would overhear. "You don't know what's going to happen next, but I do. I've traveled forward in time myself. I've seen different versions of realities...ones where you didn't die, and ones where you did. You will be doing the future world a service by saving your own life tonight."
Jonathan just shook his head. "The future without me can't be as bad as the future without them." He was not giving up without a fight.
Jason had reasoned that he should not tell Jonathan about the assassination plans, but he feared it was the only way to get Jonathan to cooperate. He was just about to spill the plans, when he saw someone approaching behind Jason and motioned for him to stay quiet.
Jason didn't have to turn around to know it was not a coincidence that one of his former compatriots was passing by. Cold metal handcuffs clamped down on his wrists, confirming his suspicions and two strong hands on his shoulders forced him to the ground.
"I can't believe you were stupid enough to betray Dr. Maximus! Did you really think nobody would find out?" the man said.
Jonathan was looking for an opportunity to help, but found none. He had a sense of loyalty to Jason, even though they had not known each other long, because he had put his job -- not to mention his life on the line to help Jonathan. Jonathan was determined to do something, but he also knew that he didn't hold a strong chance of getting past these guys alone. Even though there appeared to be only one, Jonathan was sure everyone in the building was aware of his presence. He also knew that if he was captured, he could give up the idea of saving Roy and Elijah. He wasn't sure if it was right or wrong, but he chose not to act. He would've tried to escape, but there was nowhere to go.
Jason and the other man, whom Jason called Jack, both acted as if they didn't even realize Jonathan was present. They only looked at and spoke to each other.
"I didn't expect to get away with it at all," Jason was saying, "but I had to do what was right."
Jack delivered a severe blow to Jason's head, knocking him out.
A door opened -- once again, one Jonathan would've never known was there because of the incredible camouflage technology -- and Dr. Maximus himself stepped out. He looked down his nose at Jason. Take him to the security room," he said, and he and Jack began to head down the hallway in the opposite direction..
Jonathan couldn't fathom the idea of them failing to notice him in his all-black clothes with the white surroundings, but he almost wondered if they had until Dr. Maximus paused. He turned around and his eyes met Jonathan's. Dr. Maximus' gaze alone seemed to pierce like a dagger. Jonathan had heard it said that the eyes are the window to the soul. If that was really true, he concluded that Dr. Maximus' soul was dead. It was far too cold and dark to be alive. "Hello Jonathan Moore," he said, and his tone matched what Jonathan percieved of his soul. "I'm voting for you."
Jonathan was afraid, but all Dr. Maximus did was turn back around and keep walking. Jonathan recalled Jason's words, "Dr. Maximus will kill you while he has the chance," and wondered what was going on, but he decided that, rather than wonder, he would use the advantage it gave him.
Though he felt it was a vain hope, Jonathan was not about to give up on the only opportunity he anticipated having to save Elijah and Roy. Knowing there couldn't be more than fifteen minutes left, he would forever hold the responsibility in his heart if they weren't saved because he'd prioritized helping Jason first. He quickly ducked into the room from which Dr. Maximus had come.
Unlike the completely white monotony of the rest of the building, this room was tastefully adorned. The decor was contemporary, but very classy -- and there was lots of color, but not bright colors. Colors like dark shades of royal blue, forest green, tan and burgundy. Jonathan suspected he'd stumbled upon Dr. Maximus' private office. He wasted no time in making a beeline for the computer.
In the lower right hand of the screen there was a digital stopwatch counting down -- from thirty minutes, Jonathan presumed -- with only ten minutes and twenty-five seconds remaining. A camera somewhere in the room where Elijah and Roy were being held captive was transmitting live video feed. To Jonathan they barely looked alive. Letters so small that Jonathan could hardly read them were scrolling continuously across the bottom of the screen. They read, "DNA code unauthorized, box effect in progress. Please remove your hand from the mouse or type the password to approve yourself for authority over black box weapon functions from black box and computer keyboards". Jonathan typed everything he could think of, to no avail. The clock seemed to Jonathan to be ticking twice as fast as it actually was, now with only six minutes remaining. He lifted his chin and sent out a prayer for help. When he did, his eyes fell on a poem painted on the wall above the computer. The last two lines were emboldened. Without hesitation, Jonathan typed them in, though he almost feared typing such a phrase. "Box effect reversed" flashed across the screen in bright red letters. Jonathan looked back up at the poem above the computer with disgust. Though he knew he shouldn't be after all he'd discovered about Dr. Maximus, he was amazed that the man appeared to believe this with all his heart. The poem was Invictus -- Latin for unconquerable -- by William Ernest Henley and the emboldened phrase read: I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. The words were so far from true. Jonathan felt renewed determination and conviction that this "Dr. Maximus" must be stopped. Before leaving the office, he grabbed his pocketknife and scratched the entire poem off the wall. Stepping back, he surveyed his work with satisfaction. Then he thought of one more thing. He grabbed a Sharpie out of the pencil box and on the wall in the bare space wrote his own personal favorite quote -- the Jonathan Moore paraphrase of the famous quote by Robert Lee Scott -- "God is my pilot, I'm just the co-pilot".
Then he left to let Elijah and Roy out and attempt to save Jason. He thought maybe three going for it would be better than one. Once in the hallway, though, he realized it would take him a while to find the door to Roy and Elijah's room. Unsure because of the monotonous surroundings of even the direction to go, Jonathan just began to run. For about five minutes he ran and heard and saw nothing different. He was sure he was visible on every computer screen in the building by hidden cameras in the hallway. Because he knew he did not stand alone, he did not lose hope in his heart, even though the situation seemed pretty close to hopeless. Suddenly he paused to listen. He had heard a faint voice from behind the wall. He backed up a few feet and put an ear to the spot from which it came. "The red keyboard...use that" Sr. Maximus' voice was saying.
Jack's voice replied, "I've never seen this before."
"It's for the big event. We'll test it now."
"You must be really excited to invent a new weapon for one man."
"Trust me, he's worth it."
Continued next month...