02/01/2007 - "Wait a minute, Anna, hang up the phone!" Roy exclaimed.
Anna had already begun to call an ambulance for Jason, but clicked the phone off with a questioning look.
"Roy, what are you thinking?" Elijah said. He was angry because he did not understand his friend's actions, but felt he didn't need to because he just knew they were wrong. He took the phone from Anna and started to dial. "We have to help Jason," he said.
Roy knew, having worked at the hospital, that they would need some ID and an explanation of what happened. Wagon Wheel did not need another "Mystery Man" -- not now, or ever. Especially not so close to Election Day. Roy tried to stop Elijah verbally, but Elijah was shutting him out, so he resorted to physical force. Neither friend would harm the other, but they were both determined to overpower each other until Jonathan stepped in.
"What are you two doing?" he shouted, "This is getting us nowhere!" He took the phone and returned it to Anna.
"I used to work at the hospital," Roy interrupted with an urgency in his tones, "I can help Jason, but if we take him to the ER, we'll need to tell them who he is and what happened to him. You all know we can't do that."
Jonathan turned to Elijah, who nodded his agreement.
"Let's start by getting him into the guest room," Roy said.
Jason's recovery, though quick for the injury he'd sustained, seemed much too slow for the rest, who not only cared about Jason, but felt as though their lives, Jonathan's in particular were somewhat dependant upon him. By the end of the week Jason was well enough that he, the Pattersons, the Cohens and the Moores began to discuss the assassination.
Elijah showed Jason the cell phone he'd found in Maximus' hospital room, and the films they had discovered. "They're all from the alter-reality described in the letters that were in our photo album," Roy explained, "but we have no idea how they managed to film us in that cabin."
"Bring me your cell phone," was all Jason said in reply.
Jason nodded, so Roy brought it, only to have it smashed on the desk.
"What are you doing?" Roy asked, more confused than angry because Jason had earned his trust.
Jason sighed. "I want you to think back to everything you know or saw about your alter-reality. Do you remember when Elijah and Jonathan left you alone in the cabin? It was the day that Elijah's parents were killed in the auto accident. They returned to town and left you alone in the cabin because you had been injured. After a long time, you worried that they might not come back, so you called Jonathan's cell phone."
Roy nodded as he recalled the detailed narrative he'd written himself. "Jon had been captured and one of Maximus' workers answered the phone."
"That was my old buddy, Jack," Jason continued. "While you were on the line, I downloaded all of the information on your cell and set up a film process I invented myself that works through the phone line. The camera that filmed everything that happened in that cabin, and possibly some of what's gone on these last couple of weeks has been your own phone.
Roy was dumbfounded. "That means they've seen everything that happened even up to this minute!" he said.
"Yes, but I can fix that." Jason turned the swiveling office chair in which he sat to face the computer and tapped a quick message on the keys. The screen, which had been showing Elijah's desktop, went blank. Then a floor plan appeared on the screen, with little red dots in every room. "This is the layout of the Chandler Building," Jason explained. "The red dots are all the computers Dr. Maximus owns and I'm about to reprogram every single one."
"Won't he know it was you who did it?" Jonathan asked.
"Yes, but with his computers all scrambled he'll have no way to track me down and stop us until all of this is over."
Elijah, Roy and Jon watched as Jason's hands flew over the keyboard. It had been less than five minutes when the screen went blank again and the words, "TOTAL SYSTEM RECONSTRUCTION COMPLETE IN 10, 9, 8..." began to flash.
And I thought I was good at this stuff! Elijah couldn't help thinking as the countdown continued until it reached zero and the normal desktop returned to his computer screen.
Jason turned to face them and rested his elbows on his knees. "Now, does anyone have a plan?"
ELECTION DAY 2024
Jonathan and Lily Ann looked wonderful, decked out for the inaugurational ceremony. Elijah wished so badly that he and his wife could relax and enjoy this very special day in her father's life, but he was hardly able to give them more than a compliment that morning as he, Roy, and Jason were working out the final details of the day's agenda.
Elijah knew that his responsibility was to attend the ceremony and stake out the situation. He left Anna at the hotel with Elizabeth, for her safety, but they were connected by his cell phone at all times as they watched the event from the hotel TV. Roy and Jason had the dirty work.
"I know that it was your own math figuring that gave us this genius idea, Roy," Jason said to the elderly doctor, referring to the plan to prevent Jonathan's death, "But I think it best for your own safety that you stay behind. Besides, I've been looking for the day I could put Maximus in his rightful place. A large part of the mess the world is in right now was my doing and now that we have the chance to fix it, it's my responsibility, not yours."
Roy refused to let Jason go alone, so the two of them decided they would go together to back each other up. Careful farewells said, knowing they may be the last ones, Roy and Jason departed from the US capital, DC, for the Chandler Building by way of the "yellow mouse" device they had become so accustomed to. Roy knew that once they had put an end to all the "time travel" that he would no longer have that available and he was going to miss it.
Once he and Jason had arrived back in Wagon Wheel, Jason worked his computer magic, disarming all of the security cameras surrounding the old, dilapidated place and they positioned themselves on the perimeter. Both of them had a stack of explosives in backpacks they had lugged along and were prepared to run to a sheltered place nearby within the ten seconds they would have, once they'd started the detonation process. When their clocks said twenty till, they would begin to position the explosives. Until then, all they could do was wait.
Roy was afraid. He could not believe that all of this had happened, to him much less! He concluded that he would again never think that living in Wagon Wheel was dull!!!
Jonathan was nervous. Even if he made it through the ceremony, there was still the speech – and the job!
Lily was proud of her husband, but very afraid it might be her last day by his side, so she cherished every minute of it.
Elijah was afraid as well, of course. His mind was in a blur and he hadn't really processed everything that was going on, but he felt like that was a good thing, because he knew that if he understood it all, he would be even more afraid, and might possibly fail at his job.
Anna and Elizabeth felt very helpless and prayed nonstop the whole time.
The time seemed to pass even more slowly than they had anticipated, but at last it was twenty till twelve, the ceremony had already started and Roy and Jason began to place the bombs all around the base of the Chandler building. When they were finished and had returned to their place their hearts were racing, adrenaline pumping and sweat ran down their faces. There were now only ten minutes left until the detonation.
To Elijah, the ceremony seemed to be going smoothly until he heard Anna and Elizabeth talking to him on the other end of his phone. "We see him, we see Maximus! He's right by the front! You have to stop him now!!!"
The familiar red hair was not difficult to spot in a crowd. Elijah felt lucky to have an enemy that was so easy to identify, but the lucky feeling did not linger as tried to inconspicuously approach the foot of the steps. He could see the red keyboard in Maximus' hands and knew that his plan was to kill Jonathan as soon as Jon reached the front of the platform. Jonathan had already stepped onto the platform. Things were happening way too fast!
Elijah contacted Roy and Jason, hoping they could detonate the bombs early. "We would, Elijah," Jason said, "but unless we wait until twelve sharp, all it will do is blow up the building, and what we need to do is much more than that or we will face this whole scenario again as soon as Maximus travels back to before it happened and changes it. Try to stall it!"
"Stall what?" Elijah asked in panic, "The presidential inauguration ceremony? How, pray tell, do you suggest that I do that?!"
"I don't know, but figure something out."
Elijah slammed his phone shut. He kept his fingers crossed and his eye on Jonathan, who was, for the time being, standing in the back. He also kept an eye on his watch. It was seven minutes and eleven seconds until twelve o'clock. What normally would have seemed like a short time was way too long!
Anna and Elizabeth's eyes were glued to the screen. They could see Dr. Maximus in the very front row and they could see a red keyboard in his hand. Apparently, it was the new murder weapon he was so excited to use. They saw that Elijah was just a couple rows back and they could see Jonathan up on the steps.
Two uneventful minutes passed and then Jonathan began to approach the front. Elijah wanted to call out a warning to Jon, but he knew if he did that, Maximus would just activate the weapon early and he would have accomplished nothing by yelling, so he did the only thing he could think of to do and jumped Maximus, making an attempt to wrestle the keyboard out of his hands. Immediately all of the media and security attention turned from Jonathan to him. Some armed officers tried to pull Elijah off Maximus, but Elijah just shouted at the top of his lungs, "Help me, he's going to assassinate the president!!!"
Jonathan himself ran down the steps and began to help. The police tried to stop him for his safety, but he said, "That's my son-in-law, let me help!!!"
With the wrestling match at the inaugurational ceremony going on, Roy and Jason were still waiting outside the Chandler building, detonators ready, as the minutes ticked by. They knew their timing was of utmost importance because even if the assassination was prevented, they would still constantly have to battle Maximus' schemes if they didn't take care of him once and for all.
Elijah finally managed to get the keyboard out of Maximus' grasp, and he smashed it into the pavement. With the police surrounding Max, and all guns aimed at his head, one of them said, "You are under arrest for--" but before he could finish, Dr. Maximus pulled out a yellow mouse, held it up and disappeared.
Roy had the detonator in his hand and was counting seconds until he had to push the button. When his watch said ten seconds until twelve, he was supposed to activate the bombs. His watch said there were forty.
Suddenly, Jason jumped up and took off toward the building. Roy looked up, "Jason where are you going? You're going to get yourself killed!" he exclaimed. That's when he saw Dr. Maximus running their way.
"Maybe," Jason said, " but he's going to try and stop us. Don't let anything get in the way of you pushing that button!!!"
Roy was having a hard time keeping himself from watching his friend instead of the timer. He was afraid that Jason would get caught in the explosion or killed by Maximus in the meantime, but he also knew that what Jason said was true. One man's life in exchange for many, while heartbreaking, was the right thing to do and Maximus could certainly overpower Roy if he tried. Roy only wished he didn't feel that Jason's blood would be on his own head if he detonated the explosion. Roy looked up just in time to see Jason deliver a final blow to Maximus and run in his direction. It seemed like slow motion as Jason shouted, "Push it now, Roy! Push it now!!!"
Roy didn't bother to double check his time, but pushed the button and ran for the cover. When he reached it, he turned back around to watch his friend. Maximus appeared unconcious and was right in the middle of the Chandler property. There was no question that he would be caught in the crossfire of the explosion, but Jason, while he ran with all his might, was still too far away from the shelter. Roy reached his hand out, but Jason was still several yards away when the bombs went off.
Roy couldn't bear to watch, but he looked at his clock to be sure the time was accurate. 12:00 PM. They would never have to face Maximus again. No war for Jonathan during his term. No more time travel. No more being watched by a practically undefeatable foe with every move you make. Finally they could have normal lives again, but at the moment, Roy wasn't sure it seemed worth Jason's life. Life is a precious gift. Something to be treasured and treated with respect. He was so confused and torn as he boarded the flight to Washingto DC. He and Jason had picked up tickets the week before. The flight was to leave shortly after the explosion so they could celebrate with Elizabeth and the Cohen's in DC. How would he tell them about Jason? He couldn't stop thinking about it as he gave the other ticket away.
The flight was long, but it seemed even longer because Roy did not know what to do with himself. He couldn't bring himself to watch the movie, read or sleep. All he could do was cry and pray. He received three phone calls on his cell phone while in the air, all of them from the crew back in Washingto DC, but he didn't answer. He thought it would be better to tell them the news in person and besides that, he didn't know what to say.
When he finally arrived, they were all waiting for him, even Jonathan, the president. Elizabeth rushed to greet him. "I was so afraid when you didn't answer your phone! I thought maybe you hadn't made it!" Then she looked into his face and saw the tear streaks and swollen red eyes. "What's wrong?" she asked, her voice trembling a little bit.
"Jason didn't make it," he said, the tears spilling freely again.
What seemed like it should be a happy occasion was marred by the tradgedy that accompanied it, but the friends were able to have peace, knowing that it was Jason's choice to give his life for the rest of their safety and stand up for what was right, and they knew that he died a hero, so somehow their grief was not as crippling. They stuggled for months to come, though, because even though they had only known him for a very short time, he had received a place in all of their hearts, both for helping them, and for just being who he was.
Roy Patterson and his wife, Elizabeth, Jonathan Moore and his wife Lily Ann, and Elijah Andrew Cohen and his wife, Anna were able to live out the rest of their lives as normal people, but about Jason and everything that surrounded their meeting him in the first place they never, ever forgot.