“He’s by far the most promising recruit we’ve seen in the history of the program!” The medical director says to Fredrick Prophet as he leads him down the hallway.
“And his DNA analysis?” Fredrick asks.
“80 percent match, sir.” the medical director smiles as he opens the door to the room where Cadet Lee sits quietly reading through a history book on mid-American history.
Fredrick motions to the medical director to leave as Cadet Lee abruptly closes his book, places it on his desk, stands up, pushes his chair in, and stands at attention saluting Fredrick. Fredrick smiles, “I’m not one of those, Cadet Lee.” Cadet Lee relaxes and let’s out a big sigh.
“The medical director tells me you’ve shown the best results of anyone he’s ever seen in the program. I know that might come as a surprise to you given your subpar grades.”
Cadet Lee doesn’t understand where Fredrick is going with the conversation, so he remains silent and keeps his stern face.
“I have a special assignment for you, Agent Lee.” Fredrick says as he looks out the tiny window in Cadet Lee’s room.
Cadet Lee’s stern composure turn to surprise at the sound of “Agent Lee”. He cracks a smile and almost laughs in the process.
“I’m not joking about the agent part, Lee.” Fredrick says, not even turning around to see Cadet Lee almost laughing. “You have something within you of particular value, and I’m hoping for you to reach the potential I know you’re capable of.”
“With all due respect, sir, I’m not sure I understand what you’re talking about. I don’t even know why I’m still in this program. I should have failed out months ago. I’ve seen others with better grades get kicked out. So, whatever you’re talking about, I don’t understand, sir.” Cadet Lee says as he sounds disappointed in himself.
Fredrick turns to Lee and looks him in the eyes. “What you can’t see, I’ll help you see, Agent Lee. The confidence you lack is a minor hurdle for you to reach your full potential. You are destined to change history, Agent Lee. I’m here to take you to the next level.” Fredrick smiles. “You’re next round of training starts now. Come with me.”
Cadet Lee flattens his smile and has a dumbfounded look on his face. Fredrick walks over to the door and grabs the handle. Not turning around, he says to Cadet Lee, “Don’t pack anything. My team will take care of it. Your sole responsibility from this point on is to follow my orders, Agent Lee.”
Cadet Lee lies submerged in a float tank with a series of wires connected to his head. He’s in a deep state of meditation as Fredrick Prophet and a team of scientists monitor his vitals and an application that’s providing them with direct insight into Cadet Lee’s near real-time brain functions.
“Maurice, how’s everything looking?” Fredrick asks the lead scientist directing the operations.
“It appears that Cadet Lee is the closest he’s been in months, Fred. If he can maintain this level of meditation, we should be able to make contact within the next 10 minutes!” Maurice responds in suppressed excitement.
They continue monitoring Cadet Lee for another 10 minutes as Fredrick begins to grow increasingly anxious. The program suddenly begins printing data to the screen at a rate that nobody can read! Cadet Lee’s body jumps suddenly in the tank and he awakens. He’s pulled out of the container and several scientists help him untangle himself from the mess of wires he’s become trapped in from thrashing around uncontrollably in the tank.
“What was that, Fred!” Cadet Lee yells into the rafters, knowing that Fredrick is monitoring him along with several other scientists in the observation room up on the mezzanine. “What in the crazy ass hell was that Fred!” He yells again!
Fred runs down the stairs, “Lee! You did it! I need you to tell me everything that happened!”
Cadet Lee jumps out of the tank, snapping several of the wires in the process and shoves the scientists away from him as he heads, drenched, towards Fredrick in a rage. Just as he’s about to reach Fredrick, he drops to his knees and then collapses into convulsions. Fredrick rolls Cadet Lee on to his side and then removes his sports coat and covers Cadet Lee’s naked body and comforts him until his body stops convulsing and Cadet Lee falls into a deep sleep.
Cadet Lee feels warm sunshine on his face as he awakens inside of a dream state. There’s a beautiful grassy hill in front of him with a single large Terebinth tree at the top. A glowing orb shoots out of the tree and begins to swirl around him, and he begins to spin in circles trying to catch the orb until he blacks out and awakens in an empty building.
A man who is just a silhouette walks towards him and begins speaking even though he has no face or mouth, “Agent Lee, it’s nice to finally meet you. Welcome to our home.”
Cadet Lee looks around at the empty surroundings. “Our home?” He asks.
“We’re going to be spending some time together, Agent Lee.”
“Fred? Is that you? Are you playing some sort of mind game with me? Nobody calls me Agent Lee except your stupid ass.” Cadet Lee says with anger as his relationship with Fredrick Prophet has greatly soured over the months they’ve been working on Project Bishop.
“No, I’m not Fredrick.”
“I’m not God.”
The figure chuckles, “No, Agent Lee.”
“Do you have a name?” Cadet Lee asks in confusion.
“No, Agent Lee.” The silhouette responds.
“That doesn’t help much. How should I address you?”
“Just call me.”
Cadet Lee waits for an additional response and finally breaks the awkward silence. “Why am I here?”
“To spend time with me.”
“And why are you here?”
“To spend time with you.” The silhouette responds.
Cadet Lee throws his hands up in despair and places his hands on his hips, looking disgustedly at the silhouette. He begins walking to his right away from the silhouette and notices that the walls of the empty building are moving so that it appears he’s in the same place in the middle of the empty room. He turns back to the direction of the silhouette, and it’s gone.
“Where did you go?”
The silhouette suddenly appears in the same location it was before and begins walking towards him. Cadet Lee starts walking towards the silhouette and the two begin gliding towards each other until Cadet Lee finds himself floating inside the silhouette. Suddenly he begins to feel like he’s falling faster and faster until his flesh and bones disintegrate from his soul and his soul splatters on the ground.
He watches as the puddle of his soul slowly spreads out on the floor of a semi dark room. There’s a light source, but he can’t tell where it’s coming from.
“Who are you?” He hears a strange voice he’s never heard before. “What are you doing here?”
He answers back, “I’m Agent Lee. Who the hell are you?”
Agent Lee waits for an answer as he hears the other man breathing heavier with each passing moment.
“How can I help you Agent Lee?”
“You can start by telling me who you are.” Agent Lee demands.
“Who sent you?” The voice demands back.
“The Bishop sent me.”
“Which Bishop, Agent Lee?” The voice asks in a more relaxed tone.
Agent Lee responds to several more questions with information Fredrick has been training him with for the last several months. The voice sounding less and less skeptical with each question.
“Call me Mr. Phillips, Agent Lee. Tell the Bishop I need three days after the data drop. I will speak with you soon.”
Agent Lee looks confused, but Fredrick had prepared him for this moment for months.
“Congratulations on the promotion, Agent Lee.”
“Thanks, Mr. Phillips.”
“Oh, and Agent Lee, watch out for that first drop. It’s going to hurt.”
Agent Lee suddenly feels himself dropping again. Faster and faster. This time he feels the pain as his flesh begins to disintegrate from his body.
Agent Lee suddenly wakes up in a hospital bed. A doctor is sitting at his bedside and touches him on his arm.
“Agent Lee”. She says softly to him in a soothing voice that immediately calms his anxiety.
“How did I get here?” He calmly asks the doctor.
“Fredrick brought you here. I’ve been monitoring you for the last six weeks.” She responds.
“I’ve been out for six weeks?”
“Yes, Agent Lee. You might feel a bit weak. From not moving much, but we’ve been taking very good care of you. Fredrick himself has been changing your sheets and rubbing the skin treatment on you.”
Agent Lee looks confused and starts to respond, “but he’s an asshole, Doc.”
The door opens and Fredrick enters the room. The doctor stands up and walks towards Fredrick. “He’s doing well. I briefed him on his status, and he was just telling me how thankful he was for your care.” She says to Fredrick.
“I bet he was,” Fredrick says. He walks to Agent Lee’s bedside and places his hand on the guard rail. Looking at Agent Lee with a big smile, he turns to the doctor. “Doctor, Harvey, can you bring in the transcripts from the session so that I can review them with Agent Lee? Thanks.”
Agent Lee is a bit nervous the evening before his third trip for Project Bishop. He’s sitting with Fredrick, Doctor Harvey and Maurice Lane, the chief scientist, as they paint the picture of the most important, and final phase of the project. Agent Lee is to deliver the final set of data that will be necessary for Mr. Phillips to complete Operation Bishop.
Over the last several months, the friendship between Fredrick and Agent Lee has greatly improved as Agent Lee now understands the full scope and importance of the work Fredrick has chosen him for. Plus, he’s learned to understand why Fredrick had to keep him in the dark about the true purpose of the project at the onset.
Fredrick has become a father figure to Agent Lee, a father figure he never had growing up. As he’s staring out the window, Agent Lee thinks back to the conversation he had with Fredrick a couple of weeks ago.
“Fred, I have to tell you something that’s very important to me.” Agent Less said to Fredrick.
“Go ahead, son.”
“See, that’s exactly it, Fred. I never had a father growing up. He died before I was born. You’ve been the closest thing I’ve ever had to a father in my life.” Agent Lee’s eyes welled with tears. “You’re more of a father figure that I think an actual dad could even be. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in me and supporting me through this entire project.”
“I appreciate the sentiment, Lee. It means a lot to me. This project is your destiny. It’s been generations in the making. In many ways, I feel like your father. In full disclosure…” Fredrick paused for a moment as Agent Lee felt like he was giving great consideration to what he was about to say next. “Your father and I worked together, Lee. I made a promise to him that I’d watch you and shepherd you if anything were to happen to him. He was a great man, Lee. He understood just how important you were going to be. He too believed in you as I do.”
Stunned, Agent Lee was at a loss for words as Fredrick continued. “The truth is, Lee, your family has been a target for generations because of Project Bishop. Same with Doctor Harvey and Director Lane. The coup plotters changed Oswald’s name to Lee Harvey to send a signal over the generations since 1963 that your lineage and Doctor Harvey’s lineage are to be targeted. Someone’s a trader, Lee. I’m not saying you or Harvey, but I’ll be honest…”
Agent Lee had never seen a more serious look on Fredrick’s face, “I’m not ruling out Maurice, Lee. Don’t give him all your trust. If you ever wanted fatherly advice that’s it. Don’t fully trust Maurice.”
Agent Lee contemplated the enormity of what Fredrick was saying. “You think my father was killed because of me?” He asked.
“Absolutely, Lee. Someone on the other side found out who your father was. I think that was one of the reasons for the name change. It wasn’t to just let us know that they figured out we went back and faked the assassination. It was to leave a breadcrumb for the future so that someone could find it and attempt to thwart Project Bishop. Your entire lineage has been a target, and your father was the closest they ever came.”
Agent Lee sits across the table from Doctor Harvey as they eat their regular pre-meditation breakfast. “Are you ready to make history, Agent Lee?” She smiles.
“You ever wonder if all of this has any point to it?” Agent Lee asks.
“I’m not sure what you mean, Lee. We’re saving a great man’s life.”
“Are we really? In all the history books, he’s dead. And the agency we’re working for and the men I’m talking to back in 1963 are all implicated and blamed for the assassination or at the very least not stopping it. What’s the point?” Agent Lee says frustratedly pushing his bowl of oatmeal away from him.
Doctor Harvey slides the bowl back closer to Agent Lee. “I know it’s not easy for you, Lee. I know this whole experience is borderline torture for your mind. You need to eat.”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“Yes, Lee, I believe this all has a point. I believe we’re answering a higher calling than we could possibly understand. And most importantly, I believe that you were given a gift.” She places her hand on Agent Lee’s hand and continues. “You were given a gift that allows you, and only you to make this happen. Now, if you want to know why I think you were given this gift, I can’t even begin to fathom. I’m a pretty smart woman, Lee.”
Agent Lee interrupts, “You’re absolutely brilliant, Doc.” He smiles.
“Thank you, Lee. Despite all that intelligence, I haven’t a clue who chose you or why. What I can comprehend is that it’s you. You save this man’s life. You make history, and the world is a better place because of it.” She pauses as she searches for the right words to say to Agent Lee.
“Quite honestly, Lee, I think the world is a better place because they think he’s dead. It allowed him to operate behind the scenes and engage with the deepest members of the teams that all lead to us sitting here this morning.”
Agent Lee smiles at Doctor Harvey as the two stare deep into each other’s eyes. They become almost lost in each other’s trance as they’ve become close partners during the execution of Operation Bishop.
“Let’s go make history, Doc!” Agent Lee stands up and the two hold hands as they walk towards the observation room.