Part 56 of an original tale that delves into the unexplored realms of the human mind. Hired by her lover to find a raven haired beauty, Benjamin Bering must avoid the local police as well as the agents of a nonexistent government agency who are after him and the woman. There are just two problems. The woman is in a coma and her body has been stolen. (Part 1 can be found HERE.)
Carried by the wind, the dust and smoke had dissipated enough to reveal the scope of the devastation. Where once Check Mate Dating Services had stood lie two acres of smoldering ruins. The only structure still standing was the maintenance shed which was situated at the far end of the property.
On the other side of the lot I could see some of the others milling about. Michelle was kneeling before Michael who was covered with the lab coat the intern Dave had been wearing. To their left sat the dazed owner of the property, Bishop King. There was no sign of the two Feds who had accompanied him. Behind King, Brock O'Day was busy slapping at his clothes in attempt to remove the dust that had settled upon him.
From the corner of my eye I spotted Stu Jankowski approaching my position. Stu was the Editor-in-Chief of the Boston newspaper which employed me as an investigative reporter. It was ironic that the story on which I'd been working was indirectly responsible for the carnage before me.
"Stu," I sobbed, "Rosie ... she didn't make it."
"I'm sorry, Ben," he said patting my shoulder, "she was one fine lady. I know it's of little consolation but she did save the rest of us."
I shook my head and pointed to my left, "The two receptionists are over there. One is unconscious, but the other one is dead."
I felt a sudden tingling sensation within my head. I rose to my feet, looked around and uttered, "Rosie?"
"Ben, she's gone," Stu said.
Then the tingling became stronger. I grew tense, closed my eyes and opened my mind in eager anticipation.
"Ben? Can you read me?""Rosie! You're alive!" I whooped. "Thank God!"
Although stunned by my conversation which appeared one-way from his perspective, Stu slapped my back and shouted to the others, "Rosie's alive!"
Michelle chimed in, "Thank goodness, you made it Rosie."
"I'm okay. It appears my old man built this thing to survive anything short of an atomic bomb. I was out cold for a bit from the blast concussion, but otherwise none the worse for wear."I started walking toward the ruins and said, "Rosie, I'm going to try find your location. We can clear away some of the rubble and get you out of that thing."
"No! Not now, Ben. There isn't enough time. You and Brock have to get to Government Center. The President must not give his speech using the words that will be planted in his head.""Rosie, how can we prevent him from giving his speech? With all the Secret Service men all over the place, we won't be able to get anywhere near him. Don't forget, I'm still a wanted man!"
"You must listen, Ben. You still have the dis-abler device that you received in a package? You will be needing it.""Yes, I have it in my pocket, but I don't understand. What's it do?" I pleaded.
"I will explain, but I must first explain what has already happened. The altered speech has already been transmitted from this location to a receiving station located on the roof of the Portland Street warehouse."Jesus!" I exclaimed. "How can I hope stop that kind of technology? Do I stand in front of the President with a giant mirror and reflect the signal harmlessly into space?" Exasperated, I ran my fingers through my hair and asked, "So, when does this dis-abler device, as you referred to it, come into play?"
It will then be sent to another receiver which is on the roof of the Saltonstall Building. That building overlooks Government Center. That receiver is loaded with a voice recognition program which has been uploaded with recordings of the President's voice. When the President begins to speak, the transmission will be immediately activated and beamed into his mind."
"You will need to position yourself between the President's podium and the Saltonstall building. Also, you'll have to be within a hundred feet of the President."That's all there is to it, Rosie? It's a piece of cake!"
When the transmission first enters his mind he will pause and a confused look will be on his face. It is at that moment that you must point the dis-abler in his direction while pressing the right-hand button. That will erase the implanted speech. Then you will press the left-hand button on the device, which will erase his memory of the transmitted speech. At that point, your mission will be complete."
"Ben, I never meant for it to sound easy, but it must be done. There is no other way.""Swell!" I mumbled. I then realized that Michelle and O'Day were standing next to Stu. "I assume you got all that, Michelle."
"Yes, and I was filling in Sergeant O'Day during Rosie's exchange with you," she replied.
"That's a lot of cake to swallow," he directed to me. "Ben, we'd better hit the road now. I figure that if I drive thirty or forty miles per hour over the speed limit, we'll just about make it to Government Center by the time the President starts to speak."
I nodded in agreement, "Hell, if we were able to survive this place blowing up all around us, I think that flying down I-93 at a hundred miles per hour will feel like a fairly tame joy ride!"
"Ben, good luck to you and Brock ... and godspeed."I placed my hand on Michelle's arm and asked, "Michael? How is he?"
She smiled and said, "He's awake and he's going to be okay. He is only now remembering that he is in my body, and I in his. He has no memory or knowledge of being wired in that tank. In fact, the last thing he remembers is when those thugs attacked us that night."
Dave came running up to me and said, "The local police, fire department and rescue squads are on their way." He was grasping a cell phone in one hand. "I called 9-1-1, so don't worry. They'll get Rosie out of there."
"Ben! You and Brock aren't on the road yet? I'll be okay. The capsule is on backup batteries. The old man was prepared for a god-damned siege. I have oxygen for two hours. He stocked the place with a half dozen bottles of water ... and you aren't going to believe this! He even had two bottles of scotch hidden under the seat!"I couldn't help but chuckle and stated, "Rosie, it looks like you're as snug as a bug in a rug! Go easy on that scotch!"
"I'm going to start hitting one of those bottles pretty damned soon if you and Brock don't get your asses out of here and on the highway!""Brock has the motor running!" I announced at the same moment that he pulled up beside me.
"Hop in, partner," he shouted, "we've got a lot a road to tear up!"
My head was thrown back and I was still trying to fasten my seat belt as the vehicle's tires screamed in protest while part of their surface was being left behind, burnt into the pavement. They were subjected to even more torment as Brock swung the vehicle into a violent one-eighty turn that sent us hurtling off the lot and onto the narrow road that would lead us to the junction of I-93.
"What the hell?" Brock roared.
I looked up to see the two Feds who hadn't been accounted for on the lot after the explosions. They were standing in the street by their sedan which was partially blocking our path. They were waving their arms for us to pull over. Swearing, Brock slammed on the brakes.
"Damn!" he growled. "I thought those sons of bitches bought it back there in the building!"
Their guns were drawn as they approached us on either side of the vehicle. "Get out of the vehicle!" one them shouted.
"Hey, asshole," Brock sneered at the one nearest him. "We haven't got time to pick up strangers. We have to get to the President!"
The other one had his gun pointed at me through the passenger side window, "We cannot allow you to threaten the President. Get out now!"
"Brock," I whispered, "they're part of the plot." I tapped his leg with my hand and extended a finger straight ahead.
I didn't need to spell it out for him. He slammed the accelerator to the floor and we lurched forward. Acting on instinct I threw open my door and it slammed into the agent throwing him onto the curb. "How many points for Federal agents?" I yelled to Brock.
He laughed as we hurtled toward the car in our path, "Ben, I'm beginning to like you!"
The other agent managed to get off one shot which shattered the rear window. Brock snarled and shouted, "Bastard! You'll be hearing from my insurance company!" He glanced at me and ordered, "Brace yourself!"
We slammed into the front quarter panel of the agent's car, effectively plowing it off the road and onto the grassy berm. We heard another shot as we disappeared around a bend in the road.
"I never liked those creeps from the moment I first laid my eyes on them," he offered. "If they weren't working with King, then who the fuck's signing their paychecks, Ben?"
"Who knows, Brock? Some power hungry Senator or Congressman with deep pockets?" I replied. I thought for a moment and said, "It could be the other party who's involved in the same research as King's."
Brock's side view mirror suddenly exploded. "Christ!" he shrieked. He glanced into the rear view mirror and cursed, "More Feds! In another car!" He swerved into another lane as we were approaching the ramp to the Interstate. "Those Feds are like flies after a pile of dog shit. They're everywhere!"
Without slowing down we veered onto the on-ramp on two wheels. My heart began to pound like a bass drum when we flew past a sign that read 'Wrong Way.' "Brock!" I yelled. "This is the North exit! We're going the wrong way. We want I-93 South!"
(To be continued with Part 57, on Friday, 6/12, with A Nice Day For a Drive.)