Friday: Battle Ground - Dr. Elizabeth Bannon Series Book 4
Stepping into the busy department store, he blends in with the evening rush of shoppers. Daring not to look behind, he moves forward focused, and enters the food court towards a newspaper stand. Grabbing the evening paper, he quickly browses the other titles on display, uninterested in the news but taking the opportunity to survey his surroundings. Ignoring the noise of chatter, rattling of dishes and footsteps of passersby, he relaxes somewhat having shaken his two followers. Returning the paper to its stand, he gravitates towards the exit of the food court and crosses the mall towards the blue neon sign displaying men’s sportswear. He steps inside, and casually spends some time browsing the racks before plucking a zipper hooded top, and heads for the dressing rooms. Once inside, he sits, exhaling deeply.
It’s only been a week since he started his first mission for the Massomite Order of Monks, collecting specific intelligence under the instruction of Abbot Fernando. All the other monks he met who were out on intel missions were all aware that the information collected is being recorded and held by the monastery. The true purpose behind the creation of the monastery manuscripts is unknown to the monks, but it is to be guarded devotedly and protected for God on earth.
At the age of twenty-six, he is one of the youngest monks to be recruited for external missions for the monastery. He is still adjusting to his new agent’s name of Gabriel, an apt name he believes for the work he is doing as the messenger of God. But for a reason, not quite sure to him, he believes his task is different. It is too specific, and he is sure it has something to do with Dr. Bannon. Ever since her arrival at the monastery, the world of the Massomite Order has altered, now a target by secret undercover operation agencies. Everyone questions who she is and why the abbot would harbour her within the monastery walls. Did it have to do with the manuscripts they are compiling? Did she come to warn the abbot? Gabriel is not sure, neither are his fellow monks, but following his mission briefing, he met with Dr. Bannon briefly. She did not say much, but spent most of her time analysing him.
A sound outside disturbs his thoughts. His body tenses for action, with focused eyes on the blue curtain in front of him. A man’s voice penetrates through to his small space, followed by the sliding of the curtain in the next changing room. Allowing his body to relax, the young monk contemplates his next move. It’s time to return to his mission and his thoughts recollect one of the few things Dr. Bannon had said to him prior to starting his mission. He was informed that something big would soon happen, and when it did, he had to collect the feedback. He stands and exits the changing room, moving towards the back exit of the department store and onto a side street, illuminated by the orange hue of the night lights.
Dr. Jessica Sali surveys the office over and over. It reflects a standard office with a desk and furnishings, brightly lit with the exception that it contains a window, drawing her eyes into an expanse of darkness. Water surrounds her location accrediting Dr. Bannon’s story of an underground bunker, which she stated is used for carrying out experiments on patients, testing the Azack Programme, creating an evolutionary step for the human race and seeking ways to eradicate large portions of Earth’s population.
Jessica’s abduction came without warning; she should have been more cautious considering the information she had become privy to regarding the agency Project God Trials. No one at the Arant Research Facility has become knowledgeable about what she knew, and her work on providing the antidote for the H48-64 virus was restricted at the highest level. Dr. Bannon had sworn her to secret not to have her name mentioned. Jessica always thought Elizabeth was neurotic, but not excessively so. She had carried out some investigation on Elizabeth and often questioned if there was a reason for her employment termination at Claremont Hospital. Elizabeth had a reputation as an esteemed psychiatrist, but something changed when Jacob Fontain was assigned to her as her patient. Rumours were rife. However, knowing what she now knows, and to actually be in the underground vessel, she believes Elizabeth had been telling the truth and Dr. Speel is implicated.
The door opens to her rear, bringing her attention to Dr. Speel entering and moving towards his desk. She saw him briefly the previous day; now is her chance to question why she has been abducted. Jessica is unsure how this is going to play out.
“Dr. Jessica Sali, what a pleasure to have you here with us. I’m sure you have many questions.”
“Firstly Dr. Speel, I would like to know what you want of me. Why you abducted me is obvious considering what I already know about Project God Trials and the H48-64 virus.”
“It should also be obvious that I don’t need you here to tell me about Project God Trials,” Dr. Speel replies sharply leaning into his chair.
“It’s the virus! You’re after the one item you don’t have and the thing you need desperately for your Azack Programme to continue. You need Dr. Bannon’s blood, or at least for now, an understanding of how it works.”
“You tested it. You synthesised an antidote to the virus of Quesser Creek. You know, Dr. Sali, that Elizabeth’s blood is exceptional.”
“It’s exceptional alright from a scientific and medical point of view. It would combat all of the world’s deadliest diseases, but that’s not what you want it for, is it Dr. Speel?”
“You know how the world works. The pharmaceutical sector is a trillion dollar industry. A perfect euphoria for mankind can never exist as greed and corruption will always have a place in our hearts. To answer your question, what do I want from you? I want you to tell me all you can on Elizabeth’s blood.”
Jessica moves uneasily. She is not sure of her next hand and what she can bargain with.
“Besides all of this being professionally, medically and ethically wrong, why would I want to assist you on this quest of destruction?” she states as she remains strong before him.
Dr. Speel chuckles lowly sitting forward on his chair, placing his hands on the desk in front of him.
“Because you already have and are involved. You see, you have produced a cure for the H48-64 virus, a purposely engineered virus by the agency Project God Trials, and if it becomes public knowledge, it was you, Dr. Sali, who synthesised an antidote on behalf of our agency.”
A chill runs through her body on hearing the words. She is unable to play this dangerous game. She rests her eyes on him, watching him reach for his desk drawer and remove a yellow folder placing it in front of him.
“You see, Dr. Sali, when I first discovered that the Arant Research Facility was involved, it sprung a question in my thoughts. How could that agency have got mixed up in all of this? Was it through Elizabeth? The answer was no. Elizabeth had no contact with external vendors while working at Claremont. But what surprised me even more was to discover that it was through Abbot Fernando that the initial contact was made between you and Elizabeth. Now how could an abbot of a monastery, based all the way up the Siarc Mountains, miles away from any form of civilisation, not to mention a closed Order, without possessing any form of electronic communication, know of you!?”
“Elizabeth was right about you. You’re a dangerous man, and one who needs to be stopped.”
“I’m not interested in what Elizabeth Bannon says about me. You believe that Project God Trials are hiding valuable information from the world. The same can be said of the Massomite Order of Monks. In this folder is a very interesting read about the history of the monks, the good abbot and you. Doctor, you’ll give me what I want, or the contents in this file will be made public, backing up the original claims on the mysterious and secret library in the abbot’s possession and your relationship to him.”
Her stomach twitches, tightening her body. She never had a hand to play against him.
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