Friday, April 29, 2011

Butterfly Dreams (56)

(A sequel to The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray.)

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)-
You Can't Choose Your Relations

Through all that had taken place over the past year, Michelle had been strong. At that moment, however, the defensive walls she'd built around her emotions began to crumble. Rosie had struck a raw nerve.

I could empathize with her, having had the same reaction when I'd learned that Jeremy Baxter was my twin brother. Even though the minds of Ben Bering and Susan Parsons had been respectively transferred into the bodies of Michael and Michelle, there had remained trace memories of them within our brains. While the minds of Ben and Susan and their memories dominated us, there were fragmented memories of the real Michael and Michelle within us. Michelle would have to learn to cope, as I had, with a past she'd never known to exist.

The professor waited for his declaration to be absorbed by Michelle before speaking, "Neither Michelle nor her sister Vanessa Manning ever knew of the existence of a sister. They were raised in separate homes, thousands of miles apart."

"Vanessa Manning?" Michelle uttered. "Why does that name sound familiar?"

It was Faye who spoke up with the answer, "The First Lady ... Vanessa Addams! Her maiden name was Manning!"

"What? But she doesn't resemble me ... she doesn't even look like Michelle Gray," Michelle countered trying to maintain her persona as Susan.

"Manning? In Nam, there was a First Lieutenant Manning," Brock O'Day mused, "... Thomas Manning, I think. He was killed in the same incident when Jimmy was wounded when we were trying to get out of the country. Any connection?"

Jordan nodded, "He was Vanessa's and Michelle's father."

"Whoa!" Michelle interjected. "That can't be right. That would put the First Lady and me ... Michelle in our mid-forties. I ... she's only twenty-five!"

When Jordan gnashed his teeth and raised his hands to his temples it was evident that he was evoking the mind of Bishop King. "It would be apropos for me to say that you can't choose your relations. I'm afraid it was my suggestion that several of Gates' officers should make deposits at a certain bank."

Baxter nodded, "That bank of course was a sperm bank!"

"Yes, Jeremy." King acknowledged. "As we all know now, I foresaw even then that since our involvement in Vietnam was not a declared war, there would be future problems for those veterans, living and dead, to receive their proper benefits. Things have improved over the years, but there are still those who are denied not only benefits but recognition for their service to their country. Alas, it is the families of those who fell over there who still suffer from the neglect."

"For all of his insatiable hunger for power," began Stu Jankowski, "Julius Gates did try to look after the welfare of those who served under him. He and Mr. King approached me about covering a story of a widow receiving the sperm of her deceased husband."

"She gave birth to twins, but they were not identical," said King picking up the story and glancing at Michelle. "Financially as a widowed single mother, she didn't think that she could raise both children. It was easy enough to convince her to give the child up for adoption."

Michelle grimaced but was waiting with baited breath for the rest of the story. "So she ended up in the home of a family named Gray ..."

King smiled, "Randall Quigley Gray, or R.Q. as we called him, was the man responsible for virtually all of the programming behind the mind research. He and his assistant ... Jimmy ... " He paused and glanced at Brock O'Day, "... together they developed the neural nano-implants."

"Where is this Mr. Gray? How come we've never heard his name before now?" I asked.

"Yes," Michelle asserted, "where is my ... Michelle's ... step-father?"

"I'm afraid," King swallowed, "that R.Q. is no longer with us. He was a victim of Julius Gates' treachery several years ago. There were other victims too ..."

"He's been eliminating anyone and everyone with knowledge of the mind research," I mused aloud. "Once he's powered up this current program and linked to the satellites ... then all of us here ... are expendable."

Brock O'Day growled, "Then Jimmy's death was not a case of him being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Jimmy was the target and the ransacking of Ben's apartment was just a cover?"

"It's true that Jimmy was a target, but they were looking for the discs and tapes of the experiments in Ben's apartment too," King responded. He eyed Brock for a moment, "Sergeant O'Day, I know Jimmy was your close friend, but what did you know of his family?"

"Family?" O'Day said quizzically. "As far as I know, his parents were dead. He always said that his army buddies were his only family."

"He lived across the hall from my ... Ben's apartment," I offered. "We spoke often, but he never mentioned having any family."

"Jimmy understood how ruthless Gates was. He met with me and Professor Jordan to express his fears that Gates suspected that he might be playing both ends from the middle. When he heard that R.Q. Gray had died in a mysterious accident, he was worried not only about his own welfare but that of his younger brother."

"Brother?" O'Day barked. "Jimmy had a kid brother? Who ...?"

King didn't answer the question directly but continued with his narrative, "Jimmy agreed to have his mind tapped to have knowledge of his brother to be erased from his mind. Before that was done, he arranged for his brother to be transplanted with memories of another life. The brother then moved in with the Gray family as their adopted son."

Michelle gasped, "Then he would have been Michelle's step-brother?"

"Damn!" I muttered. "When you said we can't pick our relations, you weren't kidding. But you people have had no problem picking our relations for us!"

"Mr. King ... Professor Jordan, whoever you are at the moment," Michelle cried, "who is Jimmy's brother ... Michelle's step brother?"

King looked at me and said, "Michael, I can tell by the gleam in your eye that you know who he is."

I nodded, "Yes. It can only be ... David!"

To be continued ...

An Immortal President



Sandee said...

David? David who? You lost me on this one. I'm guessing I'm way too tired tonight to figure out who David is. Right over my head.

Have a terrific day. :)

Hale McKay said...

David is the computer tech who was at the Nursing home when Rosie was abducted. He was also the one "working" for Gates in the first story and used an alias "Tsunami Tommy." He switched the devices on the plane that gates was going to use on his uplinks to the satellite.