They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-
When we turned the corner around the server we stopped dead in our tracks. Bathed in the light from a recessed fixture in the ceiling stood ... Bishop King.
A smile formed on his lips as he spoke, "Greetings, Ben and Susan."
"It can't be," Michelle muttered, "You're dead."
"I have a lot to tell you," King said ignoring her remark. "There are conspirators at work, ..."
"Something's not right here," I said approaching him.
"... conspirators whose goal is absolute power, ..."
He seemed to be in an unblinking trance and continued to speak even as I was reaching out to touch him.
"... absolute control of the country and all of its citizens."
"What the..?" I gasped as my hand passed through his body. His form flickered and began to fade.
"A hologram!" Michelle exclaimed.
I nodded, "Yes. King must have recorded it sometime ago. It must have been pre-programmed to activate when we entered this hidden lab."
I removed my hand from the beam of light and the figure reformed. The image of Bishop King was standing still but no longer spoke. Michelle stretched out her arm and allowed her fingers to dance in the light. The image came to life again.
"Welcome, I've been expected you," began the prerecorded voice. "Greetings, Ben and Susan. I have a lot to tell you. There are conspirators at work, conspirators whose goal is absolute power, absolute control of the country and all of its citizens."
Michelle again reached into the beam, wiggled her fingers and again the image of King froze. She glanced at me, shrugged and explained, "I don't know how I know, but that pauses the recording. If I repeat the action, it will resume."
She was about to reach out but I grabbed her arm. "Hold on a moment. He referred to us as Ben and Susan. Don't you find that as being odd?"
She stared at me quizzically, "No. Michael, he was present when our minds were transferred from our former bodies into the bodies of Michael and Michelle. He would've known that we were actually Ben and Susan."
I pointed at the holographic image and said, "Take a closer look at that face. When the transfer took place he was an old frail man. Don't forget, he died shortly after Ben and Susan's bodies were buried."
"My God!" she remarked. "This face is one of a much younger Bishop King, younger by at least ten years, than the man we knew."
I grimaced and said, "Unless he happened to have had an older recorded image of himself, which I seriously doubt, it can only mean that this hologram and the recorded voice were made long before the events of a year ago."
"But," she countered with skepticism, "that doesn't explain how he would know that Ben and Susan would be standing here in this lab. How could he possibly know that you and I would see the hologram and hear the recording?"
I tilted my head in the direction of the idle image, "Perhaps, he ... it will tell us."
Placing her hand in the light and moving her fingers the projected image once again came to life.
"That you are seeing and hearing this can only mean that those conspirators have begun to implement their takeover. They have realized the power of my research and have perfected the technology. My life's work has given them unfathomable power."
As if he was aware of our presence, King's gossamer finger pointed at us. He shook his head and resumed his programmed narrative, "I foresaw the government's and military's self-serving interest in my research. I knew that in time they would want total control. I knew I could not allow that to happen. Therefore I developed Persephone."
Dangling the digits of her hand into the light, Michelle waited until King's image grew still and remarked, "Persephone?"
I rubbed my chin and mused, "If I remember my Greek mythology, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. She was abducted by Hades and taken against her will beneath the earth where she eventually became the Queen of the Underworld. I believe she was also associated with the changing of the seasons."
Michelle patted my back and said, "I'm impressed. Hmmm ... Queen of the Underworld, eh?" She was thoughtful for a moment and extended her arm, "Let's see what else he has to say."
"Ben and Susan, you were the unwitting subjects I used to put Persephone into play. In order to do so I had to transfer your minds into new bodies, erase your memories, and implant new memories. I then buried post hypnotic commands deep into the recesses of your minds. Those commands could not surface unless you have been returned to your original bodies. It is those those commands that have allowed you to find this secret laboratory."
Michelle's frantic fingers froze and silenced the image again. Her face was no less pale than my own. She staggered on her feet and grabbed my arm to steady herself. I too felt a sense of vertigo and leaned against one of the servers for support.
"Wh-what? Original bodies? This is madness!" she shrieked.
With a violent fit of rage I yelped, "No! It can't be true!"
There was a shuffling of feet somewhere behind us. It was a familiar voice that spoke, "Sometimes the truth is more difficult to swallow than the lies."
Professor Jordan stepped out the shadows and cast a furtive glance at the hologram. He moved past us and placed his hand into the beam of light which embraced the image. The light was doused and the image vanished. He then turned and faced us.
"You ... you knew about ... this?" I stammered.
He grinned, but it was a menacing grin. "Of course. I recorded it."
Identity Crises )