Kandar Episode 35 the journal
A soft whisper interrupted the steady rhythm of the drums. The voice was weak and cracking, but it was just enough to register on Jack's ears. His mind jumped back to his own body from the computer downstairs, where he was searching for a clue to the drugs the Cross had been feeding Jessie. He knew it was a dead end as he had done this search many times before, but it made him feel better. The pills did not match any shape, design or color of any known brands or manufacturer. The compounds they had derived from the few tests they had managed to get back were completely unknown. Their origins were as much a mystery as the Breeding program, Project Nephilim, that Jessie claimed to be a part of; the truth behind the mind prison, Amenti, that Jack was in; and the enigmatic God code that 30 Bit System and the Cross were obsessed with.
With his full attention on Jessie now, he tried the tricks Jessie had tried to teach him. 'Has the target's breathing changed?' He listened carefully trying to compare it to the rhythm that he had been listening to for hours. He was unsure, it was so very close to the same. 'Did the body temperature change?' No, he still felt cold. 'Screw it!' he thought. "Jessie?" he spoke softly, as if he was afraid to know the truth. Afraid that Jessie would not wake up. "Jessie?"
The cold dull ache from his waist down, told Jessie that he had been laying on the tile floor for a long time. He could feel the softness and warmth of a body behind him and there was an arm around his neck. The arm was not tight nor did he send any ill intent, it seemed to only to be there for support. Drums were playing softly through nearby speakers. It was an upbeat rhythm, using several different kinds of drums, no other instruments enter to song in the few moments he had listened. 'Tribal maybe?' he thought confused. The scent of dried blood and bile brought the events before he passed out, crashing suddenly back into his mind.
He reached up slowly, fighting the pins and needles in his arm, and patted Jacks arm that was around his neck. "I'm ok, Jack... I'm ok now."
"Oh, thank the Gods you woke up!" Jack exclaimed hugging Jessie tightly. "Though, I hardly believe that you are fine, just look at yourself, you're a bloody mess." He released his hold on Jessie and helped him sit up straight.
"I'm..." his eyes focused on the mess in the floor by the table and the bloody trail leading to himself. His clothes were all matted to his skin with the dried blood. "I'm sorry, Jack, I'll clean this up." Jessie's strength had not yet returned to him and he struggled to get up in vain. With a sigh, he succumb to just sit on the floor a while longer.
"Like hell you will!" Jack blurted out. "You're gonna' sit hea' till you are fully ready, then you'll go clean yourself up," he commanded. After seeing the look on Jessie's face as he looked over his shoulder at him, Jack dropped his tone down to a solemn timber, "I'll take care of the floor mate, just...just rest."
There was a long spell of only the drums playing, as they just sat there staring at the kitchen floor. Jessie was still collecting his wits and Jack was unsure of just what he should say, he had never seen Jessie in this bad of shape before. Jack scrambled to his feet to fix Jessie a glass of water, which Jessie took gratefully. Jessie nursed the glass of water with small, slow sips at first, making sure it was going to stay down. The cool water from the tap helped his dry, scratchy throat and he was able to speak clearly. "How long was I out?" His voice was full of concern, something Jack was unaccustomed to.
Jack had only rewind the recording on the main frame to the moment Jessie had passed out. For Jack, this action was nothing more than a thought in his mind, all the house recorders were time stamped, so it was just simple math from there. "Eighteen hours twenty three minuets and fourty one seconds, from the time you hit the floor, until you awoke just now. Thirteen hours eleven minutes and twelve seconds since your last upheaval and convulsion."
"Convulsions?" Jessie quizzed "There were convulsions?" Jack just nodded. Jessie shook his head slowly in disbelief. He looked up at the ceiling then rubbed his eyes for a moment, trying to clear the sleep sand away. He made a face and squinted as he looked back up to the ceiling at the speakers. A futile gesture as the view did nothing to help his comprehension of what was being played. "Umm... what are we listening to?"
Jack looked embarrassed as he scrambled for an answer. He did not want to sound desperate as Jessie seemed to be a bit of a fatalist on the topic of his own demise. "Oh, that? It's nothing important, it's just...these drums...from...umm" Jack had nothing up his sleeve for this and stumbled. He was desperate, and willing to try anything that might help regardless of how minute the chance might be.
Jessie sensed his friends nervousness and stepped in. "Nice rhythm, and seems kinda familiar. Is it from one of those cartoons you watch?" There were other things to worry about right now, this held no importance it was just curiosity.
"They aren't cartoons, and no, it's from...umm... Ceiling Kitty." He was unsure if he should tell Jessie what they were really for. He knew Jessie would worry more about his reaction to what happened than his own self. "She said it was a... soothing kinda... thing like...meditation stuff?" He was stumbling on his words badly. 'That was mostly half right, I hope he does not sense me lying.' He watched Jessie stand slowly onto shaky legs. He wanted to help, but held himself from doing so. Jessie would have to do this on his own. It was nothing that Jessie had ever said, it was just something about him Jack had observed over the few years they had been working together.
Once on his feet, Jessie leaned back against the counter to brace himself as the blood returned to his leg muscles. He rubbed his temples with the heel of his hands hoping his vision would clear faster somehow. 'This is not good,' he thought.
"Why don't you go take a shower and relax for a bit...on something softer than a tile floor. I'll brew some tea, while I clean this up."
"What the hell did they do to me?" he looked at Jack who seems just as lost as he was as he shrugs. "It can't be some insurance policy against going rouge, or there wouldn't be other rouge agents or hunters. Do we have any more...no, I bet that's what they want, keep me strung out on their drugs just like the slaves, so I have to come back."
"We are workin' on a solution, mate. None of the medications you were takin' had a name of any kind on it, just some strange set of markings, so we can't ask any one for it or research it. We have not found what the numbers on the bottles meant as they don't match any nomenclature, anywhere. We have been through a lot of the Cross' data bases without even finding the breeding or training program you were in. Though, on the bright side, Skygod sent me a note saying they found a blood expert that might be able to help." Jessie raised an eyebrow at that comment. "They are arranging transportation for him to the hospital. You are going to have to go down there and let him have some blood, and that's an order." Jack stuck his chest out trying to look bigger and imposing.
Jessie just smiled feebly at Jack, he knew they are trying hard to help him and that all of Jack's bravado was well intended. "It's almost morning," he exclaimed, pointing at the digital clock on the counter. "Miss Kitty was suppose to hit that mock town last night, what happened?"
"They are on the way to New Cannon now. I will give you her full report, after you shower and eat something, and not until then."
Jessie chuckled at Jack, "you are a great friend." He felt weak, but for the first time in over a year his head was not hurting, it was a great relief. "You, all of 30 bit, Miss Kitty and the whole gang, you're all stupid for following me, but I'm grateful for each and everyone of you."
"On the contrary, following you though hazardous, has been the best decision any of us have made. Now, I'm not letting you die yet, so stop it, and go take a shower." Jack stood resolute pointing down the hall towards the bedrooms and the bath.
Jessie started towards the hallway, but stopped short. He looked over his shoulder with a quizzical look on his face. "Stop what?"
Jack furrowed his brow at Jessie, before walking away towards the pantry to get the floor steamer. "Being sentimental, it's not you, and it worries me."
Jessie watched him walk away, wondering if he was now endangering the rest of the guild. He was always so sure of himself, but as more and more lives depended on his action he had started to question himself more. "Not many people would go this far, just for a friend."
"And yet, you have so many that would around you." Jack turned with the steamer and pointed it at Jessie. "Think about that while you shower or I'll wash you with this." Jessie couldn't help himself and laughed hard. "Better yet, think about how far you have already gone for them."
He did mull over the question as he wondered down the hall to his room. 'I have only done that which needed to be done for each of them, kill, nothing more. I am no savior. We are all in this life because we...' His thoughts stopped there as he contemplated the real reason. He retrieved some clean clothes from a bag in his room, a towel from the cabinet in the hall and headed to the bathing room. 'Before now, I had never given it any thought. We did this because we were good at it, but thats not really true. We do these jobs because that is how we survive. Have I really done something special? How can a killer be special?'
After a long, hot shower, Jessie dressed in the clean clothes then went back to his room and sat alone for a while to finish gathering his thoughts. After a long spell, he brought out his backpack from the closet. It was close to the one he had while he worked for the Cross, but this one had a few extra options and did ot have a Cross logo on it anywhere. The pack was also heavier, not just for what was inside, but also because of it's design; Nanotech cloth for bullet proofing, Shantcy Coat under that for a water tight seal, and PowerDome lining for an added electrical shielding layer to protect the high value electrical components he had stashed inside from surge or EMP's. The carbon-aluminum frame did not add much weight, but with all that he kept inside it still weighed close to 85lbs.
Though there were lots of side pouches and clips for holding various items, he went straight for the main pouch. He slipped his thumb under a small outside pouch and pressed in an opening. A small pin took a tiny blood sample and the top flap unlocked. After emptying the contents of the main pouch, he was able to open a hidden compartment in the lining on the bottom. From inside there, he withdrew a medium sized journal that appeared to be leather bound. It was well worn from years of use and abuse from his travels, though still plain to see on the cover was an embossed thick silver X, extending to all four corners. Entwined around the cross was a gold rose vine with a few white roses and lots of thorns. It the top triangle space created by the cross was the great seal of New Cannon, in the left was the agency's symbol for assassin in red, to the right the symbol for his rank in white and to the bottom, embossed in black, was the face of a wolf.
He opened the lock on the seal with his thumb print, just like the back pack. The journal opened up to a tri-fold. The right leaf held a nice pen set made of silver, two memory sticks, two small steel tubes not much thicker than the pens, and a well worn holograph picture of a beautiful lady in a elegant blue dress with fine white lace trim. A black velvet ribbon held his place close the three quarters of the way through the journal. He studied the last entry for a moment remembering where he was and what had happened. Seeing that the page was almost full, he turned to a new page. He drew one of the silver pen from the side and began to write. He started with the curret date and his location as each of his entries did.
4TH Age 2213th year 6th month Mechi 35th day Fenrisdag
'I passed out vomiting blood yesterday, making this the fourth time. Again, I was lucky that it was not in the heat of battle, but it did happen in front of ZeroJack. There will be no denying I am getting worse now. ZeroJack says they have found another someone that might can help, maybe. They are moving them to the underground hospital first, so they cannot call the cross on me or suddenly decide to kill themselves like the others. I need to stay here until the mission is done. My hope of this passing is fading. The events are getting closer and I am out for longer each time. 18:23:41 this time according to ZeroJack and he is always spot on. The only upside is this is the first day in well over a year that the headache has actually stopped. Jack thinks it comes and goes only because I do not want to tell him it just varies in intensity. He worries enough as things are. I know they did something to all of us that were in Project Nephilim. We all showed special abilities and aptitudes, greater speed, and strength than normal Humans. We all showed much greater hearing, sight, and sense of smell. They told us it was generation of breeding, but I really question that now. Only two others left there alive, that I know of. Five years later, I still cannot find even the first clue as to what happened to them. It does not help that I only have their code names, but that was the design of the project. If I make it to the end of this mission, that will move to the front of my list along with training the others. Should I fall here, I am certain Katrina will lead them well, I'm just not ready to die yet, to much left undone.'
He closed and resealed the journal, tucked it back into it's secret compartment in the backpack, then carefully placed everything back into the pack in correct order into it's own special place. After he closed and locked the backpack, he removed one of the panels of the wainscot on the interior wall to the bathroom, and stuffed the pack inside. With the panel neatly back in place he headed for the basement to see Jack.