Copyright 1999, Lyta. All rights reserved. No part of this story may be re-posted in part or in full without written permission from me.
Disclaimer: Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict is copyright 1998, Tribune Entertainment Co. Its characters are used without permission, no infringement is intended.
Title: The Earliest Days
Summary: Jonathan Doors takes the first steps in the organization of the Resistance
Spoilers for “The Once and Future World” and The Arrival by Fred Saberhagen.
“The Earliest Days”
They buried his wife and father on the same day. Perhaps it was fitting that the day of the funeral was a miserable one, as though even the Earth itself mourned the two snatched from life as a result of Taelon actions. Jonathan Doors watched the coffins of two of the three people he loved more than life itself being lowered into the ground with a face seemingly carved of granite. He knew that if he let one iota of his feelings out then he would be hard pressed not to do something stupid.
His gaze flicked to Da’an, the so-called North American Companion, but to Doors he was a murderer plain and simple.
“The best con-men in the galaxy,” Jubal had called the Taelons after relating his experience with the Taelon Lekren in 1936. Jonathan shivered in a way that had nothing to do with the uncharacteristically cold rain that was now falling over southern California. If Jubal’s prediction was at all accurate then the Taelons would begin implanting people with CVI’s soon.
‘We have to get our hands on one of those things at the first opportunity.’ Jonathan thought. He almost broke down and cried at the thought of the Taelon’s putting one of those things in Joshua. He could not allow anything to happen to his son, his son who had his mother’s beautiful eyes.
The rest of the burial service passed in a blur and he left as early as he could. He drove straight home, heedless of the speed limits he usually observed and wandered around the grounds of the home he had until recently shared with his wife, Amanda. Memories of her were everywhere, in the yellow roses in the garden, the faint wheelchair treads in the hall carpet, the clothes still hanging in her closet, and in the furnishings she had chosen. Jonathan loosened his tie and hung up his coat, Amanda had always hated it when he and Joshua left their clothes laying about.
Everything seemed so empty without her. For a moment Jonathan debated whether or not to sell the house, but that seemed a betrayal of Amanda’s memory. He would not live here much longer but he would eventually give it to Joshua.
His global beeped, pulling him out of his reverie and Jonathan quickly put on the impersonal mask again. Renee Palmer’s face stared at him from the screen. Though she too wore something of a mask, he could see the concern and understanding in her eyes. From anyone else it would have made him want to scream, but Renee had lost both a husband and a child in rapid succession and new what it felt like to have her world pulled out from under her like a rug.
To her credit, Renee skipped over the cliched expressions of sympathy and cut right to the chase.
“We went through all of our archeological sites and compared the symbols against those used by the Taelons. One site was a perfect match.”
Jonathan slumped into a chair. Amanda had liked Renee, though she had teased him that she ought to be worried about her husband spending so much time with a beautiful woman. “Which one?” He asked, his voice suddenly seemed old and tired to his ears.
“The Peru dig.”
“The one with the structure underwater?” Jonathan asked dredging up the memory of the briefing had received on how expensive and difficult any work on that site would be.
“Yes. We had considered it to be too expensive to excavate, but now it appears that decision will have to be evaluated again.”
“If its Taelon, I want it excavated, no matter the price tag. Quietly, use only our best people and make sure no one finds out. I know this might seem paranoid, but too much of my father’s story checks out.”
Renee smiled sympathetically. “In the paranoia department you are far from alone. I attended a meeting by a group naming itself Black Wednesday that has sworn to remove the Taelon presence from our planet by any means necessary at the slightest hint of duplicity. They are only one of hundreds of such groups.”
“See if you can find out how serious they are. Also, the my father mentioned a device called a cyber viral implant, CVI for short. Its an device implanted directly in the brain. From what my father told me it rewires a person’s brain and makes them fanatically loyal to the Taelons. The sooner we can get our hands on one, the better. Find out who the Taelons would be likely to recruit and see if we can’t begin cultivating them, but at the first sniff of a CVI pull out. I don’t want our mission coming to Taelon attention just yet.”
“I understand. I’ve already got some of the best people working on translating the Taelon language. Its pretty complex, but they estimate eight months to a year given the examples from Peru as well as the news.”
“Good work and keep me informed.”
He laid his global on a table and stared out the window. “We’ll beat them Dad, I’ll make sure we find a way, no matter what it takes.”
Jonathan had always had a great deal of appreciation for competent military types. Unlike the late Colonel Shelby, Captain Lili Marquette seemed to exude confidence and professionalism. It had taken him quite some time to find someone in a position in a position as close to the Taelons as hers, but it had been worth the wait.
Your main assignment is two-fold: information retrieval and the recruitment of new agents. I am particularly interested in scientists with access to their technology. WE cannot win if we don’t know what they can do.”
“I’ve worked undercover before.” Lili reminded him calmly. That she kept her cool elevated his respect for her several notches.
“For brief periods of time, yes. I saw your record and it is quite impressive. But this assignment could have a duration of years. I want you to insure that you are not caught. If the Taelons find such a high ranking Resistance agent it would prompt them to look harder for others. Our intelligence network is still relatively weak as it is.”
“One last thing.” Jonathan leaned forward and looked deeply into Lili’s eyes to gauge her reaction to what he was about to say. She did not pull back or flinch. “I’ve heard disturbing rumors about Taelon interrogation methods…”
Lili laughed. “If I’m caught I know how to take advantage of opportunities.”
“Good, then I look forward to hearing from you again.”
The woman left, closing the door quietly behind him and Jonathan leaned back in his chair. When Dr. Julianne Belman had first approached a local cell with an offer of information two weeks ago he had been skeptical. Screenings and checks had seen her cleared through the various security curtains until she was brought to his office after being intercepted on her way home from work. Even Lili Marquette expressed her confidence in the doctor.
Jonathan fingered the cool plastic of the case Belman had given him and smiled. It had taken them over a year, but the Taelons finally had begun using cyber viral implants as Jubal had feared. The first was on James Pike, a notorious serial killer. After the operation, Belman had been disturbed by how easily the Taelons could alter someone’s loyalties and personality. Her discomfort level only increased when she was asked to begin implanting Companion personnel. She detailed how a married FBI Agent named Sandoval had suddenly gone from a warm and happily married man to an icy eyed person who had his wife placed in a mental institution used by the FBI when they wanted to get rid of someone.
Jonathan shuddered. It would have taken something pretty strong to made Sandoval do that to his wife if what he had read was at all accurate. Yet another marriage destroyed by the Taelons.
Now the Liberation had all the information Belman could muster, plus several implants the doctor had reported as defective and destroyed. She was even confident of removing the motivational imperative. It was programming the CVI to report a completely functional MI that was the difficulty as Belman’s specialty did not lay in programming.
Fortunately Jonathan knew a hacker called Augur who would relish both the challenge and the payment and not brag indiscriminately.
“You said you have something to report.” Jonathan inquired of the shuttle pilot after she had asked how he was. Eddie Jordan had done a wonderful job, as had Belman, and the world now believed him among the dead. It pained him to deceive Joshua in this manner, but it was a necessary evil. Joshua had to be insulated when the truth came out.
Captain Marquette nodded. “You asked me to let you know about any new potential implants, well Da’an is interested in William Boone.”
Doors recognized the name almost immediately. “How interested?”
“Boone’s going to be made an offer soon.”
“Keep me posted.”
Lili nodded and walked toward the exit. Jonathan picked up one of the globals with the special security programming from Doors International and called Renee.
“Its nice to see you looking well,” Renee said without mention of his name as they had agreed on. The globals might be scrambled and secured but one never knew who might be listening.
“Is the special CVI ready to go?”
“Its been ready for three months, Belman checked it out and it passed the Taelons systems. The only concern now is whether the modified MI will work. Do you have someone in mind?”
“William Boone. I’ve been informed that the Taelons will try to recruit him in the next few days. I want everything you can find on him, but be careful as Sandoval and his cronies will also be conducting further searches for information on Boone.”
“I will. I understand what is at stake.” Renee paused for a moment and looked away. “It was hard seeing you get shot, even if I knew it was staged. Take care Jonathan, I’ll be attending your funeral soon. I don’t want to have to break out my sedate black dress for another anytime soon.”
“Thank you, Renee.”
Jonathan closed the global and sat down in a chair, staring at the hard rock walls around him. “Well Dad, Amanda, I’ve passed the point of no return. I’m committed to the Resistance and I will do whatever I can to prevent your fears about what the Taelons plan for us from coming true, Dad. Joshua is as safe as I can make him. I’ll never let our son come to harm, Amanda, I promise you.”