Lighthouse Keeper V

Lighthouse Keeper V – Final Mission

Return from Guantanamo Bay

Dr. Givens stood motionless as the group of seasoned heroes saluted in reverence their brother in blood. Jack was beaten, broken, and yet held every sacred confidence of those standing before him. The men of CIA’s Black Covert Corp served their country with honor and stood for each member without exception. They saluted their brother and stood for his wife, the woman whose devotion and tireless resolve brought Jack home.

Jack looked at each man, his friends, in relief as fear burned in his veins. He slowly nodded his head. Each man on queue dropped their stance and walked to the gurney. Shanon looked into each man’s eyes grateful for the skin they could not shed.

“We have been through too many hell’s Jack. We will get through this too.” Steve stared into Jack’s face taking Jack’s hand. Jack nodded slowly.

One by one, Casey, Frank, Kevin, and Shadow took their friends hand with respect in words of encouragement. The last one to walk to Jack’s side was Paul Givens. Paul was Jack’s closest friend thought to have perished that fateful night of Yurchenko’s ambush. “Jack, it is so good to see you. If I can come back from the dead, everything is not only possible but also probable. We are here for you Jack.”

Jack stared into the face of a man, as close as his birth brothers, in disbelief. The medical team loaded Jack into the back of Dr. Given’s private ambulance. Vincent handed Jack’s medical file to Shanon.

“I will see you back at the house?” Shanon said looking up to Vincent.

Vincent smiled. “I will be there Shanon.”

Shanon turned to Dr. Givens. “Dan, thank you.” Shanon embraced their long time friend. Dan Givens performed both of Jack’s previous brain surgeries. He was also responsible for saving Shanon’s life when Agent Johnson fired upon Jack, shooting Shanon in the chest. Dan embraced Shanon, speaking softly in her ear. “I will do everything in my power to help.”

Dr. Givens and Shanon climbed into the back of the ambulance. Dan sat at Jack’s side. “Jack, we are going to my private clinic. I want to evaluate and study all the reports. We have a lot of work to do. Your physical, mental, strength as stalwart determination will again be tested. If anyone can defy the odds, it is you my friend.” Dan said with his hand on Jack’s forearm.

Shanon held to the gift of Jack’s freedom from the modern day concentration camp, as his final release from all charges. He almost died preserving his eternal mission to protect citizens of the world. Still she had to live with brokering his release and the terms set, void of consequence for those above law and conscious.

The complete picture began to steep into her mind. The papers she signed to gain Jack’s freedom came with a clause. Those responsible for this deliberate act of terrorism leveled against her husband, would forever walk free from persecution, and moral accountability.


The journey back to a full life took seven months of physical therapy, speech therapy, and psychological therapy for Jack. With the constant moral support of Shanon, his parents, Maliseet teachers, Hania and Biyen and brothers in blood, Jack exceeded what Project Nine induced. The group, who wanted the Supreme Agent physically, mentally and permanently impaired, sanctioned the torturous beatings.

Four months had passed. Jack was walking without assistance. As far as those in the clinic knew, Jack’s verbal progress was moving forward. For his audience he began to string complete sentences together. Jack’s family knew he was able to function at one hundred percent but understood this information had to be guarded.

Monday morning Shanon dropped Madeline at school then drove to the clinic. Shanon walked into Jack’s room. The bed was made. The room was void of Madeline and little Jack’s artwork. Shanon left the room quickly wondering if Jack had been relocated. She checked the physical therapy facilities the rooms were empty. Shanon’s last stop was speech therapy. The door was open, the room empty.

Shanon was bewildered wondering where the staff was and most of all Jack. She decided to walk out to the garden located behind the facility. Sometimes Jack would spend time in solitude gazing at the hills of Malibu.

Shanon touched the automatic door switch, her eyes danced. Jack stood in the midst with the staff behind him. A long table decorated in brilliant balloons, cake and iced champagne in front of Jack. It was the banner that first caught her eye, “HOMEWARD BOUND”. Shanon stood dressed in a beaming smile as pearls of joyous tears streamed down her face.

Jack walked strong, his eyes, those dark blue windows of power seared through her being with electric life. He wrapped her into his wings of potency. Shanon locked her arms around his neck resting her face as her body trembled in glorious release. It had been a year since she and Jack were together in their bed, in their home. Now it was but hours away.

“Don’t cry beautiful one. No more tears my love.” He whispered, kissing her face tenderly.

“Jack, I could not allow myself to miss you, to want or need you. Now, we are finally going home. You… you gave us this delicious freedom.”

“I did not win our freedom alone my princess.” He stared into her eyes.

The staff applauded in resounding harmony. Jack and Shanon turned to their beloved caregivers, and profound friends. Shanon embraced Dan first, kissing his face. She walked down the line, embracing then kissing, Sam, Nate, Jim and each attendant, from those who served Jack his meals to those who monitored his vitals.

“All of you are angels whose devotion and dedication will live in our hearts forever. This was a long journey with one common goal. Because of your unique talents, our journey now moves to a new frontier. Jack is walking out of here without assistance. He now can speak the thoughts in his mind. I thank you with all I am.” Shanon’s beautiful smile and expressive, passionate eyes reached all in attendance.

“If I may speak for everyone,” Dan began looking at the group. This victory was made because our patient would not quit. We were successful by the inspiration of a man who pushed harder and did not know limitations.”

All cheered and applauded Jack. Jack smiled as his shining eyes walked from each person standing before him.

“I know it is early but I say it is time for cake and champagne.” Sam’s melodic voice resounded.

As glasses toasted, smiles and laughter filled the garden from the beds of flowers to the water flowing from the fountain into the crystal pool of water. The glasses empty, cake half gone. Jack stood up with the grace and agility as natural as breath to his body.

“Shanon’s eloquent speech represented…clearly the feelings I have for each of you. I…I want to say one more thing. Without Sam’s drive and sense of humor. I would not be standing with you.

Jake’s…limber…hands took away my locked muscles. Abbey, your smiles when you served my delicious meals made me feel at home. Jim…you pushed me hardest with your military per…persona…intuitive understanding, of how I would respond best. This was my home for many months and each of you made it a place of warmth.” Jack’s face was shadowed in sincerity a glow that captured all.

Sam and Jack loaded Jack’s suitcase and personal items into the back of the Escalade. Jack closed the hatch. He embraced Sam with the strength and purpose of a man of dedication and appreciation. “I will see you soon my friend. We will be calling you for a Southern meal at our home.”

“I will be there Jack.” Sam grinned placing his hand on Jack’s shoulder.

“Jake, we will be extending the invitation to everyone.”

“I look forward to the call Jack.”

Shanon slipped into the driver’s seat. Jack closed the car door and fastened his seat belt. He looked over at Shanon and smiled his perfect smile. “Let’s go home Shanon.” He placed his hand on her headrest as she turned over the engine with those pearls slipping from her eyes.

Shanon turned onto Pacific Coast Highway, his hand on the back of her head. Shanon again could define paradise in his simple touch. “I had forgotten how good this place feels.” Jack said looking out the window.

“I fall in love with the sights and smells each time I look out into our haven.” Shanon reached over and rested her hand upon Jack’s tight thigh.

He wrapped his hand around hers. “It is our haven Shanon.”

Shanon looked into his eyes. “It is everything Jack.” Shanon spoke softly as pulsing passion radiated through her body.

Shanon turned off the ignition. Jack looked around the expanse of the yard. His eyes glistened in brilliant appreciation as he inhaled. “Are we really here or is this a dream?” He removed his seat belt, leaning in he placed his scarred hand of strength upon her face.

“We are here my love, and our life is a beautiful dream.” Shanon smiled through moist eyes of supreme gratitude.

Shanon leaned in and pressed her lips upon his without control. Gone was harbored sensuality as in the past months. Jack’s lips enveloped hers. In moment their bodies, mind and souls united in unleashed freedom of passions explosive fire. The high shrill voice of excitement broke their trance as their son raced to the SUV with Lucy chasing after him. “My daddy IS HOME!”

Shanon laughed. Jack released the door and stepped out with his arms open wide. Little Jack stopped short.

“You can jump in my arms Jack. Daddy is just fine.”

Jack did not jump. He flung his body into his father’s. His blonde curly locks bounced as his electric blue eyes were filled with his father’s face. Shanon’s face glowed in perfect pleasure. Jack kissed his son’s face over and over then lifted him above his head then back to the security of his chest. “You are stronger than anyone daddy.”

“I don’t know about that Jack but I can still lift you.” Jack laughed.

Little Jack wrapped his arms tight around his father’s neck as Jack carried him into the house. Shanon and Lucy began carrying Jack’s suitcase and boxes of home made treasures into the house.

“I can get those things.” Jack turned around quickly.

“You just carry your son. We can take care of the rest.” Shanon grinned.

Rosie raced into the living room. “Mister Jack, you are home!”

Jack placed his son on the floor as he took three long strides to Rosie. He wrapped his arms around Rosie as her tears flowed, hugging him.

“I am home Rosie. I missed you.”

“Oh Mister Jack, I missed you. We are a family again Mister Jack.”

“Yes, we are a family Rosie.” Jack bent down and kissed Rosie’s mature cheek. Her hair still tucked neatly in a bun. In the many months since he last saw her, fingers of gray spun through her black hair. Her dark eyes still shined in devoted acceptance as the spray of lines from embedded smiles walked toward each temple.

“Daddy, will you kick ball with me, please?”

Jack looked at Shanon and smiled. “I’m going outside in the warm, fresh air and kick ball.”

As Rosie worked the dough for the biscuits, Shanon pulled out Jack’s scotch, his glass and placed them on a silver tray, resting it on the table in the corner of their bedroom. Opening the closet door looking through all the lace lingerie Jack had given her. She decided on the simple, white satin gown, short, with lace dipping low resting upon her breasts. Removing it she placed it on the end of the bed.

Looking at her watch, it was time to pick up Madeline. Shanon walked out to the yard. The guys were still kicking ball. Jack again moved with the accuracy, agility of normalcy. Their laughter rang through the air as the sun bathed their faces in its perfect light.

“It is time to pick up Madeline. Who wants to go with me?”

“I want to stay with daddy, mommy.”

“Why don’t we go and surprise Madeline at school, Jack?”

“Alright daddy, that is a good idea.” Little Jack beamed.

They climbed into the SUV. Shanon looked in the rear view mirror. Her son was seated in his booster seat, staring forward at the back of his father’s head.

“Daddy, Madeline will be crazy happy when she sees you.”

Jack laughed. “I promise you Jack, she will not be as crazy happy as I am.”

“Daddy I am happy for mommy most. Maddy and me had each other. But mommy was alone.”

Shanon looked briefly over to Jack and smiled tenderly.

“Jack, when did you become such a big boy?”

“A long time ago daddy. I had to be big daddy to help Uncle Steve, Paul, Casey, Frank and all the guys build the little house.”

Jack smiled and looked at Shanon. In his eyes the shadow of regret. “It is a beautiful little house Jack and was a good home for Steve and Paul. I know they could not have built it without your help.”

Shanon pulled into the pickup lane at school. She looked over at Jack and grinned knowing he would get out and find his daughter. Jack smiled back then placed his hand on the door. “Jack, daddy wants to surprise Madeline, can you wait in the car with mommy?”

“I can wait daddy. Madeline needs to be surprised by herself.”

Jack walked to the base of the long stairs descending the front door of the private Catholic school. He stood next to the row of manicured bushes. All four doors opened wide as students poured pass the threshold in their school uniforms.

Madeline was in the second wave, embroiled in conversation with her best friend Ashley Whitney, whose long curly blonde locks and blue eyes and thin framed made them look more like sisters. Madeline felt her father’s presence. In guarded disbelief she stopped in mid-conversation and began to cautiously look around. Her eyes locked onto her father’s eyes. She hesitated momentarily, trying to process the image only feet before her.

“Daddy” She said softly, her lips smiled her eyes glistened as tears of release formed immediately. “Daddy!” She ran into her father’s arms and collapsed her tiny body in his embrace.

“Hello my angel, you look so beautiful.” Jack kissed her pink cheeks.

Madeline wrapped her arms around his neck with all the strength in her body. She buried her face in his neck. “Daddy, I missed you being with us every day.”

“I missed you my angel.” Jack smiled staring into his daughter’s beautiful face.

Ashley stood in front of them staring up at the tall man, who looked like a movie star. Madeline put her hand on her father’s face. “Are you staying home with us?”

“Yes, Madeline, I am staying home.” Jack kissed her forehead.

Madeline looked over and saw her friend waiting, watching in mesmerized awe. “Ashley, this is my daddy, he is back home now.”

“Hello Ashley, Madeline has spoken about you often.” Jack said bending down looking into her face smiling.

“It is nice to meet you Mr. Smith.” Ashley stared in childish wonder at this handsome man.

“Ashley, I will talk to you tomorrow. We have to go home.” Madeline gushed taking her father’s large hand, the safest place she knew.

“Ok Madeline, see you tomorrow.” Ashley grinned still staring at Jack.

Jack carried Madeline to the car. She rested her head upon his shoulder. Life was again perfect.

That night magic returned. Shanon and Jack sat with their children, Jack reading bedtime stories to each. Both angels dropped off to sleep in their father’s arms. The expanse of love ringing through Shanon’s body for their gift of time was unlike any other time in their lives together. Perhaps it was due to their tumultuous prior year or maybe, just, maybe, the promise of a future free from peril or threat was not a dream but reality.

Shanon took Jack’s hand as they left Madeline’s room. “Would you like to sit on the patio and share a glass of wine?” She spoke softly, looking into his precious eyes, a sight that the end of time could not diminish or alter.

“Lead the way my beauty.” Jack touched her face, holding her face in his eyes.

Shanon slid between his legs on the chaise. He lifted her glass, placing it in her hand, and then took his glass. “To the love of my life, Shanon whose love and life gives me everything.” He pressed his warm lips upon hers, holding them for the many months he only dreamed of being with her.

Shanon wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him with all the love and devotion of her eternal being. Her body alive, her mind secure in constant pleasure.

“When I was at the Bay, in the night I could feel you breathing next to me.”

Shanon looked into his eyes, seeing the trace of torment beneath his peace. “I was with you Jack, even in my fear and weakness.”

“Shanon, you have never been weak. Fear, Shanon, I have seen you stand down fear more times than I care to remember.”

“It was different this time Jack. When I returned from the Chateau, I could not function. I gave up Jack. If it was not for Hania and Biyen I don’t know where I would be today.”

“I could say the same thing. We are so fortunate Shanon. The right people are always put into our lives at the exact moment we need them.”

“Always Jack.”

On March 8, Shanon and Jack arrived at the villa in Cancun for a week getaway. Shanon unpacked the groceries as Jack walked around the property making sure all was in order. It had been a few months since the last visit.

The sun was high in the sky, the weather a perfect eighty-three degrees with a slight warm breeze. Shanon walked through the house opening windows. The four-bedroom villa two years old, its cotta stone frame melted into the environment.

Shanon slipped into shorts and tee tied her hair into a ponytail and walked out to find Jack. He was sitting on the wicker love seat with his feet up on the ottoman. “You looked relaxed.” Shanon grinned sliding in next to him. He wrapped his arms around her pulling her into his lap. Pressing his warm, wet lips upon hers, holding her so close she could feel his racing heart.

“You are frisky.” Shanon giggled.


“It is perfect here.” Shanon ran her hand through his hair.

“Almost, but I know what would make it so.”

“What would that be?” Shanon grinned.

“Two Tequila Sunrises.”

“Sounds good, are you going to make them?” She asked capturing his eyes.

“I am. I will be right back. Also I am going to change out of these jeans.”

Jack lifted her from his lap onto the loveseat. Shanon laughed. She closed her eyes taking in the dry heat exhaling slowly.

Jack put together a pitcher of drinks and cut up limes and grabbed maraschino cherries dropping the fruit into a sealed container. Filling the cooler with ice, two glasses, cheese, and bread he placed the container of fruit on top. He walked out to find his wife in the same position she found him earlier.

“Let’s go to the beach my love.”

Shanon opened her dark green eyes looking up at the most stunning man created. She stood up and grabbed the folded beach chairs. “I’m ready.”

On the beach, with drinks in hand both relaxed watching the rhythm of the ocean. Shanon draped her legs over Jacks. Looking at him now was seeing him in a light as never before. His face was one of complete ethereal satisfaction. Life bestowed its gifts of normalcy, future plans and daily schedules upon them.

Jack’s body and mind had fully healed. Indeed in the best physical and emotional shape of his life. At fifty-one Jack was as agile, muscular, toned, as a man half his age. His mental state calm, with wisdom’s acute precision. No longer were the echoes of neither forewarning, nor an agents’ calculation playing constant in the background of his mind.

The balmy breeze ran through their hair while caressing their bodies. “It just doesn’t get better than this.” Jack looked into her eyes. His blue eyes sparkled in the sun’s gleam. A thin spray of fine lines pulled from the corner of his eyes enhancing those almond blues.

“Jack, being with you, today as eight years ago when I first walked into your life, is a gift unending. You are right, it doesn’t get better than this.” Shanon’s face mystic in its glow of love held his heart with pure life giving breath.

“Shanon no matter what we lived, I never once wanted to be anywhere that was not in your eyes.”

“We did what we had to do. We are here together and each day we get to watch our children grow and listen to them fight.” Shanon laughed.

“I love their fights, Jack Jr. knows just what buttons to push of Madeline’s. I am hungry. What about you?” He asked.

“Yes, I am starved.”

“Why don’t I put potatoes on the grill then those T-bones?”

“I am up for it. I think I will collect some mangos and cut those up for a sweet treat.” Shanon kissed his precious lips.

“My first choice for a sweet treat is you but the mangos will work for now.” Jack rested his hand on his wife’s cheek, not the one on her face.

While Jack was inside prepping the steaks and cleaning potatoes, Shanon walked into the tree-lined area next to the house. As she sorted through the mangos picking out four perfectly ripe fruit, a dark feeling from her past tingled up her spine. She stood silent listening for break in the breeze. Turning her head slightly her sense of smell ignited.

Shanon turned casually. Her senses were on high alert. Holding mangos in the bottom of her shirt walking slowly to the villa. From her acute peripheral vision she saw movement in the throng of trees. She kept moving in relaxed motion to the front porch.

Only a few feet from the base of the stairs on the south side of the villa she caught additional shadows. Jack appeared at the door with grill tools and two potatoes. At that moment Shanon jumped from the ground to the top of the porch dropping the mangos she pushed against Jack’s chest. “Go inside!”

Jack grabbed her arm pulling her into his body. He moved in swift defense pushing through the door. In one precise movement he grabbed the long sofa shoving it next to the door.

“Come with me.” Jack grabbed his wife’s forearm and raced up the stairs to their bedroom. Lifting up the mattresses he pulled out the nine-millimeter handgun removed the safety then slid with Shanon in his grip to the outer wall. Melting into the wall he carefully looked out the patio doors. Jack looked back at Shanon shaking his head in disbelief. He tossed the gun to the bed.

“It’s secret service Shanon. Let’s see what they want.”

Jack took Shanon’s hand as they descended the stairs. Shanon stopped reaching into her bag still on the kitchen counter top. She pulled out her cell phone cupping it in her hand.

Jack moved the sofa, opened the door walking out to the porch. “Alright gentlemen come in and do your job.” Jack extended his arm then stepped aside as three Secret Service agents walked into the house then up the stairs.

Shanon stood motionless and expressionless. Her mind swimming in theories, none of which evoked feelings of goodwill. In anger she collected her breath. The men panned out checking out every corner of the house. Once satisfied the home was free of threat, a unit of agents converged on the property. Covered in the midst of these astute agents, the President, his aid David Moorehouse and Senator Dylan Edwards, Head of Intelligence.

All entered the house. The President ordered the agents out with the exception of one,
CIA Agent, John Wolf. Jack stood next to Shanon. He wore no emotion upon his face. His eyes held President Keegan in concentrated indifference.

After the secret service agents departed the interior of the house, Agent Wolf walked to Jack. Jack’s eyes were not focused upon Wolf’s but knew Wolf’s next move. Jack with the accuracy of the superior agent in one perfect move grasped Wolf’s right arm.

“That is not necessary Agent Wolf.” President Keegan quickly interjected.

“No it is not necessary, my gun was on the bed upstairs.” Jack said looking at Agent Wolf.

“Please sit down sir.” Wolf directed. Jack released the agent’s arm but did not release his eyes.

“Yes, sit down everyone.” Shanon said without emotion.

President Keegan walked over to Jack extending his hand. “Commander Smith it is a honor to meet you sir.”

Jack shook his hand, looking directly into the President’s eyes. “Thank you sir. Please make yourself at home.”

Wolf walked over to the door standing in relaxed attention. His eyes moved throughout the room but rested on the legend before him. Of all the men in the room, Wolf read every file on Jack Smith. Wolf’s toned forearm still throbbed from Jack’s iron grip. It was Wolf’s silent dream to work with the supreme agent.

“Jack, I want to first introduce you to Senator Edwards.”

Senator Edwards stood up clasping Jack’s hand. “I am familiar with your work Senator Edwards.” Jack answered looking into the Senator’s eyes.

“Dylan, next to Jack is Shanon Smith.” Keegan said smiling.

Shanon shook his hand. “Good to meet you Senator.”

“Shanon Smith, I watched your interviews and was captivated. It is a sincere pleasure to meet you.” Edwards smiled.

Shanon sat down next to Jack. Her heart raced in her chest. She knew they wanted something from her husband. This time their lives were not going to crash down, not for this President, any individuals or consequence.

“Jack, I’m sure you know I have closed the Bay. I want to apologize as a citizen, man and President, for the injustice measured against you.”

“Closing the Bay was a good choice, the right choice. There is no need for an apology. It’s over. I have my freedom and most important I am living a normal life with my wife and family. You did not come to Mexico to apologize. What is on your mind Mr. President?”

“Jack, I don’t know if you want me to discuss this topic in front of Shanon.” Keegan answered looking directly into Jack’s eyes.

“Shanon does not need to leave.” Jack retorted.

“Jack, this is regarding Project 9.” Senator Edwards interjected.

Jack looked down, exhaled slowly. He leaned forward and put his hand up as ringing began in his ears. “Do not say another word sir.” He stood up and took Shanon’s hand.

“I will be back.”

Jack walked Shanon to the porch then to the side yard. “I need to talk to them Shanon. I don’t want you to hear what I have to say or what they will say. Please trust me Shanon.”

“Jack what is this Project 9?” She grabbed his forearm.

Jack looked down then into her eyes. “Shanon this is the one thing I cannot and will not share with you. I will straighten this out. Please wait outside.” Jack placed his hand tenderly on her face.

“Answer me this one question. Can this harm you in any way?”

Jack smiled. “No my love, not in any way.”

Jack kissed her lips then stroked her thick hair. “Please trust me.”

“With all my heart.” Shanon answered looking into his now agent infused eyes.

Shanon watched Jack walk back inside the house. She looked to the beach as her chest seized in panic. It was all beginning again. Their days of bliss would be measured.

Jack closed the door looking back at Shanon walking to the beach. He looked at Senator Edwards. Jack’s eyes were steel cold. “Do not ever bring up Project 9 around my wife. Do you understand me sir?”

“I apologize Jack.” Senator Edwards face flushed.

“Yes Jack, I too apologize. We could have handled this better.” President Keegan concurred.

“In case you have not read my file lately, I am out. I have been out for years. I did not delve into Project 9 then and I will not get involved now.”

“Jack we understand fully. We would not be here if it were not of dire necessity. Please hear us out Jack. I give you my word after we present our case we will leave if you wish us to do so.”

“Look, I do not want any part of this. I don’t want to hear your case Sir.”

Jack looked at the man of small stature sitting quietly on the chair in the corner aid David Moorehouse. David placed a cell phone to his head turning away from everyone, speaking quietly. Jack looked to Agent Wolf then scanned the area. Jack felt there was a surprise on the horizon.

Agent Wolf sensed Jack’s caution.

Jack heard the silent footsteps. He turned to the kitchen. Steve Rybek and Paul Gregory walked through the doors. Jack crossed his hands resting them on his chest. Inside anger pulsated. He knew if big man and Paul were brought into this meeting the situation was more than “dire”, it presented as catastrophic.

Jack turned to the President. “You are not playing. The big guns are now aligned. Let me guess, the manufactured pandemic is in place.” Jack stared with disdain covering his face as close as pigment.

Steve placed his hand on Jack’s shoulder. “Good to see you again, you look great brother.”

“Yea, great. Isn’t it amazing what time without the game will do for a man?” Jack embraced his mentor, his friend.

“And just as you thought you were free, they come again.” Steve smiled.

“Jack, it is so good to see you.” Paul said embracing his friend.

“You know what Paul we are too old for this bullshit.” Jack shook his head.

“You have all the parties assembled.” Steve looked at Senator Edwards.

Steve and Paul stood on each side of Jack as a sign of unity more potent than time, condition or disasters. Agent Wolf found it difficult to hold his demeanor. These men standing before him possessed more wisdom, fortitude and power than every current man in the agency combined. He shared the same air as the men of greatness. Wolf knew these three men were a force greater than any battalion of record.

“Jack, it won’t be so bad this time. The group will come together one final time. We can finally clear the way and put it all to rest.” Steve spoke partially in code and completely from the heart.

Jack exhaled long then sat on the sofa. He knew this was to be the mission of all missions. Project 9, Powers of the Secret Society embedded with control over all nations. Now a collective few are gathered to attempt to break the layered hold of the supreme whose power took seed before WWI.

Project 9 is a collective hidden organization controlling government powers, health care, economy, media, Wall Street, and Wars. The reigning propriety of this entity from its conception was to control population. The motivation was not wealth for their empire was absolute. Their impetus lies in the gluttony of supremacy over human life.

“Before you pull the data from the briefcase let me give you my spin over the impending, calculated, annihilation of millions. First the fear is permeated through all media channels. Create the fear first next the government sweeps in with the solution. The masses will stand in line under any and all conditions to have the cure administered in one quick flesh penetrating injection.

There will be causalities, some will have preexisting ailments others will be healthy, twenty and thirty something and of course will present with cancers and neurological disorders then dot in a measured amount of infants dying from what will be deemed “sudden infant death syndrome”.

All were given treatments of death to reinforce the panic. There will be a few designed adverse reactions just to give the illusion of fallibility. In the end millions will be given a vaccination, which in time will foment new diseases and sterility all in the name of keeping the industries profitable.

Leading the lambs to the proverbial slaughter is big business and control. The Nazis knew that fluoridating water takes away the innate human ability to question. They masterfully tainted the waters in the concentration camps resulting in breaking the will of the majority. The United States has been poisoning the water systems for decades.

Project 9 has successfully invaded our foods through genetically modified organisms, our water supply with caustic chemicals, and by flooding livestock with antibiotics and growth hormones. These insane measures result in the human bodies inability to fight disease.

So you want our group of broken men to save the world. There is one truth we have learned, the world does not want to be saved. I know how to protect my family and I am not going to war again. The price is too steep. I am not leaving my family with souvenirs. My wife has one too many physical scars and my children are not going to sacrifice for the world.

You brought in my brothers to induce memories and play upon our bond. I can say without hesitation we do not want to fix this mess. Break the corporations, those who send work abroad. Write legislation demanding that all new medications be tested for five years before they are released on the public. Instead of sinking billions into the creation of new drugs, open the gates to preventative care and holistic measures.

You want to defeat Project 9, cut off every company who takes their business outside the United States. Cut off the ads for medications from penis dysfunction to dry eye syndrome. Mr. President take the country back from the Corporations, that will be the death of Project 9.”

“Jack you are right on every point but it takes time and we do not have time. The CDC is in a race as we speak manufacturing tainted vaccines. They are providing these to the world over.”

“Force them to trial the vaccines. I’m sorry sir but you are the President.”

“He can’t tip his hand Jack, not yet.” Edwards broke in.

Jack looked at Steve. Steve held Jack’s part telepathically. Steve knew Jack’s thought of intervention, the way of covert execution.

“Do you understand sir, even considering such an act against Project 9, will guarantee your demise?” Jack looked at the President without flinching.

“Jack, that is why we need you and your group. I would never attempt this without your leadership. I am the only one you will communicate with. There will not be any written record of this operation.”

Jack shook his head lifted his hands in front of his chest. “Sir, I am not going to die for this country or any other. I have a life now, the life I choose.”

“If I may intercede. We were able to gather information from a nameless source. Jack, the group is very interested in gaining your trust and friendship. The nine powers want to bring you into their circle. They know of your disdain for the government. All we need to do is send out the right messages and they will contact you.” Edwards’s eyes pleaded with Jack.

Jack’s eyes traveled to the ceiling. Deep in his soul he wanted to take the members of Project 9 into the light and let the weight of their corruption crush them under the courts of public justice. Jack rose from the chair and moved to the door. “I am finished. This is a battle I will not enter, not today or a year from now.”

“Jack…Senator Edwards began as he watched Jack place his hand on the doorknob. Vice President Haney is one of the under members. Haney is mounting a deliberate attack upon this administration. An attack more sinister than any act he perpetrated in the eight years in office.”

Jack froze in his steps. The heat of anger exploded through his veins. The man whose direct order to the prison doctor set in motion the termination of he and Shanon’s unborn child. The same man who orchestrated the attack on Seabrook and the loss of good agents.

Jack calmly turned on a dime, his hands moist in perspiration. Jack looked at Edwards then to Steve. Steve recognized Jack’s expression of cold resolve. Crossing his arms over his chest Jack shook his head slowly. “You have my attention.”

Steve braced, knowing what ever decision his friend made, whether he agreed or disagreed, he would stand with Jack. A collective sigh was the only sound to penetrate the room.

Jack took the folder from Senator Edwards walking to the dining room table. He motioned for Steve and Paul to join him. Together the three began examining the file. The rest of the group stayed in the living room sitting quietly while legends quietly discussed options.

Jack walked back in the living room. First, I will bring in the rest of our group. Because I trust no one other than these men to work with us and watch over my family. Next, we will have complete and I mean complete anonymity. If at any time one man in this group senses a problem, we are out.

“Jack I give you my word, only myself, Senator Edwards and Agent Wolf will know of your existence. Whatever resources you need will be available to you immediately. I agree, if ever you or your men feel your mission has been compromised, remove yourself immediately.”

“There are nine, yet you have only four names on the list. This is a problem.” Steve added.

“That is why we need Jack on the inside. As much as Haney detests Jack at the same time, he is the greatest advocate for bringing him into the circle. Haney knows Jack cannot be broken and believes once he gains Jack’s allegiance, he will possess the most powerful human weapon on the earth.” Edwards said looking directly at Jack.

“This is the part I don’t like. Look, Jack will go in without any monitoring. Basically he will be among them naked. Only after he gains their trust can we then plant a bug upon him. This group has not contained control for generations by being careless.

You men know what Jack has been through. That he can walk upright, speak and function today…look, I have known this man for over twenty years. I know what he’s accomplished. Jack is human he bleeds. I don’t want to think about how this will affect his family. That is all I am going to say.” Steve delivered his words in the calm, force filled manner, which served and propelled the many agents under his command.

President Keegan looked into Steve’s face. “If I thought for a moment any other man or group of men could infiltrate Project 9 stopping the genocide, I would have not come here. Yes, Jack’s blood has spilled too many times. I meant it when I said, I would accept any decision, I give you my word, this is the final mission.”

“I will take this final mission. If I don’t make it out of this one, I want your word my wife and family will be protected and cared for, for the rest of their lives. Financially, we are secure. I will be exact. I want doors opened for them.” Jack stood tall looking the President in the eye.

“It will be done Jack.”

“Agent Wolf, would you please take a bottle of water out to my wife. Tell her it won’t be long.”

“Yes sir, immediately.” Agent Wolf walked quickly into the kitchen, opening the refrigerator door and removing a bottle of water.

“There will be no calls to my home, no exception. From this moment forward you will contact me personally on a line triangulated by Paul. Paul will relay all communication. He is the only one I trust to protect us on both ends. You will speak to Paul not to me. That being said, Paul will form his own access to the satellites and trust me, you won’t even know he is manipulating signals. No one has caught him yet.” Jack grinned briefly.

“Alright Jack. We will wait to hear from Paul. In the meantime we will set the stage.”

President Keegan stood first and took Jack’s hand. “You will have my full cooperation and protection. What ever you need is at your disposal. These men as those before them have manipulated this world for nine decades. They need to need to be made impotent once and for all. Maybe we cannot undo all the wrongs perpetrated upon this world. At least we can cripple this group once and for all.

Jack, Agent Wolf is the one man I trust not only with my life but also with the lives of my family. I would like you to consider him as a member of your group. Perhaps to act as a source of support in the wings.”

Jack exhaled looking quickly at Agent Wolf who stood stoic yet his blood was racing through his body, hoping Jack would agree to bring him in as a source of confidence.

“Right now Agent Wolf needs to remain with you Mr. President. I will use him as a contact to access information and open up lines.”

“Alright Jack. This is your game. I assure you, we will be with you when the final nail is executed.” President Keegan said shaking Jack’s hand.

Shanon stared out at the Pacific Ocean instinctively she knew a tsunami had taken fold. Rage began to embrace her mind and body then the sobering call of resolve captured her soul. She watched the President and his men exit her home and disappear into the brush behind the villa.

Jack looked at Steve then Paul shaking his head. “One last mission. Are you up for this one Big Man?”

“I want to take them down. We’ve wanted this for a long time. My question is, are you up for this Jack?”

“Yea. I want to burn Haney and those above. It is personal this time.” Jack’s eyes steel cold as the agent was born again.

“I will gather my equipment and move back to the guest house in Malibu.” Paul answered knowing there was no way to change Jack’s mind.

“Paul, no one can hack or create Proxies better than you. Steve, why don’t you contact the rest of the team and get them ready to roll. I think it would be best if you two were gone when I drop this bomb on Shanon.”

Steve shook his head. “What are you going to tell her Jack?”

“I don’t know yet Steve. I can tell you, it will not be easy.”

Paul and Steve exited through the back of the villa. Jack walked over to the bar and pulled out the scotch. He drank down two short ones quickly then walked into the living room with a bottle of water.

Shanon opened the door her eyes focused, penetrating as she held Jack’s mind in her dominant resolution. She raised her hand, inhaling. Her eyes were captivated, intense, knowing. “Do not attempt to justify, convince, or capture my sense of compassion. What ever it is they want you to do holds no guarantee that you will come back to us intact.

Jack I cannot put the pieces back together again. I will not prepare our children to function without a father again! And I will not wash blood from my hands and body.

I do not want to know about this mission or the catastrophic cost if you do not participate in this battle of mind, body and soul.

If you have made the decision to take up the sword then you go alone. Before you leave, sit down with our children and tell them of your decision. When you walk out of our home, you walk alone Jack. I will not stand by and watch you destroy your life, my life and the lives of our children. I cannot do this again.”

Jack’s soul felt suffocated with each word she said. He knew she had every reason to feel this way. His face shrouded in sorrow as the shadow of conflict saturated his face. He stepped to her in love, in desperation.

Shanon raised both hands as a barrier she shook her head. “Don’t Jack. Tell Paul and Steve to find another place to set up base.” She moved past Jack as a cold breeze followed. She walked up the stairs and to their bedroom.

Shanon closed the door as breath raced in her lungs. She locked the door then changed into jeans and white tee shirt. Filling her bag with cosmetics and a change of clothes she picked up her purse. Placing her wedding rings on the nightstand.

Jack stood in the living room, his heart racing in his chest. For the first time in their lives, he did not know what to do. His gut said to let her cool off and give her space. His heart wanted to rush to her, plead, and beg, for understanding and support.

He heard the engine of the jeep. Jack raced out the back to see Shanon driving up the road. Rushing into the kitchen, he grabbed his cell and dialed her number. Shanon’s eyes stung with tears as she reached inside her bag and turned off her phone.

Jack placed the phone on the counter. He ran his hand through his hair trying to catch his breath. “She will be back. She will be back.” He tossed the plate of steaks back into the refrigerator then opened the cabinet door staring at the scotch. Jack slammed it closed then picked up his phone and walked out to the porch. Dropping into the chaise he waited.

Shanon pulled from the gas station with cooler of bottled water and back onto Mex I80D. She did not know where she was going except back to California. There were moments when tears stung her eyes yet the broader part of her being held comfort in stoic tenacity. No more battles. If she had to live a life separate of Jack, she was prepared to move forward. There had been too many wounds, scars, lessons and loss.

In bloodless wounds she drove on in the dark. She was tired of running from hell and too tired to crawl. All she wanted was distance between the inevitable of Jack’s coming consequence. There were mountains of souvenirs in their life together, memories to fill this lifetime but little reprieve. This path, Jack would walk solo with only the imprint of yesterday.

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