When Brett came home on August 4th, he found a large envelope in his mailbox. He immediately went to his study and opened it up. Inside were some pictures of Marcus Kelly getting out of a car and going into a building. The building was the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington DC. There was also an architectural floor plan drawing of the building. There were some circles on the drawing. There was a circle around the main elevators, another around the admin offices and a smaller circle over what was labeled as an office, but within the office was some hand drawn design that added some walls and another door and in one corner was a smaller enclosed place that was circled and labeled elevator. A note was written in the corner near this small circle.
I found someone who works in the admin offices that for a few hundred told me that there is a guarded elevator that goes down in this office area. The young lady identified both Archer and Kelly as using that elevator.
Further in the package there was another set of pictures that showed Archer leaving the building. In one of the pictures he was shown with Marcus as they left the building together. There was a CD ROM disc in the package with a sticky note attached.
Everything I've found so far is on this disc, including all the info from both packages. I'm still working on this. Watch your back with these people.
He put the disc in his computer and perused the contents. It was pretty much what the note had said with a few extra bits of information and a few more pictures. He took the disc out and put everything away and locked it in his safe where he had the other information stored. He knew he needed to let his friends know about what had been found out and keep them updated with any further information. However, with the birth of the eight babies imminent, he thought that the extra worry that he might cause by telling them about this, might not be worth it. So he decided to hold off for a little while yet. It would also give Mac more time to get more information for him.
As for the ladies, most of them were on maternity leave for the last couple of weeks before the expected birth of their children. In the ensuing weeks since he and Richard had met, Richard would meet with Brett by coming down to the lab to see how things were going. So Richard was almost as nervous as all of the soon to be parents. The plan was that after the babies were born they would all be brought in at the same time for regular checkups, the room that had been set aside as a medical ward originally had been remade into a nursery ward. There were eight basinets set up with all the monitoring equipment that they needed to take care of and run tests on the babies.
Finally the expected due date of August 6th drew near and there were several groaning women who just wanted these kids out. None of the fathers went into work that day and waited for their wives to tell them it was time to go to the hospital. Finally Kathy's water broke around three in the afternoon of August 5th, and that was like the dam bursting. Soon the calls came in over the next few hours from the others, telling them that they were heading to the hospital as well. It looked like it was going to be an interesting night.
Labor and Delivery at Stony Brook Medical Center was a scene of barely controlled chaos. For the next few hours as their waters broke the women came in to have their babies. By eight pm, there were eight couples crowded into Labor and Delivery rooms. The staff did their best to keep the women comfortable. Just after midnight, the first baby was born; it was Kathy and Brett's. From that point on, every hour another of the babies was born so that by eight in the morning all of the babies had entered the world. There were no problems with any of the boys.
As their babies were born, the parents finally got a chance to get some sleep. The mothers in the bed and the fathers in a roll away bed inside the labor and delivery room with their wives, and the babies were taken to the nursery. After getting a few hours of sleep, Brett and Kathy got a chance to really meet their new son, James Richard MacLeod. When the nurse took James back to the nursery, Brett let Kathy rest and he made his way around to the other rooms where his friends were and he had a chance to meet each of the other's boys. He had a small notebook that he wrote down each boy's name.
James Richard MacLeod
Joshua Eric Barrett Stuart
Dylan Bradley Mason
Sean Michael Peterson
Ethan Ryan Merrill
Ian Michael Kelly
Logan Henry Badger
The new mothers spent most of the day resting, while the fathers gathered at the nursery window looking at their sons. Throughout the day their other friends came by to see the babies and congratulate the new parents.
They stayed overnight and the next morning with the babies and mothers doing well, they were discharged home. All of the couples stayed home for a few more days. Eventually the guys went back to work while the mom's stayed home to take care of the babies for the next few weeks.
Two weeks after their birth, Brett had the moms bring in the babies for some tests and examinations. By this time, there were rumors among others in the lab that this was all part of an experiment which was why they were at the lab. Of course Dr. Hunt, Marcus Kelly and Dr. Merrick knew that they were, but no one admitted that it was part of an experiment. The medical doctors in the group of friends helped with the medical part of the examination. Brett made notes as they discussed the findings. Things were pretty normal overall for babies of their age.
Brett continued keeping his computer logged off when he wasn't in his lab and he used his camouflage program to keep what he typed secret. He also kept using his back door access into the computers of the lab to watch what Marcus and Alastair were doing. Marcus was sending updates to Archer, keeping him informed of what was happening with Brett's research, at least as much as Marcus could.
A month later, Brett made note of something unexpected, the eyes of each of the boys seemed to be able to focus on objects real well, much better than he expected at this time. There was also something about what he saw in the eyes of the boys. There appeared to be strong intelligence in their gaze as they looked up at him. To him it was like they knew what was going on around them and were filing all that information away.
At this point the notes that he kept on the research became two sets of notes. One that stated that other than normal development, he didn't note anything, the other, hidden notes, stated the bit of information about the look of intelligence in the boy's eyes and the way they seemed to focus very well on what was going on around them.
A couple of months later something else happened of note. They had finished with the exams and the babies were in their seats all clustered together. They were making baby noises while the adults were talking amongst themselves. Suddenly they noticed that the boys were quiet. They turned, looked and saw all of them sitting there silently looking at each other. They were not making any noise, but seemed to be looking at each other intently. It was almost like they were having a conversation, but were making no sound. From time to time one or two of the boys would look over at each other for several moments before turning away. After some time of this silent "communication", for lack of a better word, they all smiled at each other. It was like they had reached some agreement and then they went back to making baby noises. The adults who saw this looked at each other in puzzlement. Brett wrote that down to be added to his computer notes later.
A few days later, Brett was asked to come to Dr Hunt's office. He logged off his computer and left to meet with him. Alastair watched Brett leave the building and made his way into Brett's lab. He went to the computer and moved the mouse. He saw that it was logged out and he scowled at that. He started checking around the room and found nothing. He checked the trashcan by the desk to see if there was anything in there. He found nothing. As he put the trashcan back he noticed a piece of paper sticking out from behind the desk. He pulled it out and read what was written on it. It was a note that Brett had written, for later transcribing into his computer. It had fallen behind the desk and he had forgotten about it. The note was dated to when Brett had noted the look of intelligence in the boys' gazes. He thought that this was something that Marcus would want to know about. So he put it in his pocket and started to leave. The door opened and Russell Merrill came in the room. He stopped in surprise when he saw Dr. Merrick standing there.
"Oh, hi Dr. Merrick. What are you doing in here?"
"I was…uh, looking for Dr. MacLeod. Do you know where he is?"
"No, I was looking for him as well. So you don't know where he's at?"
"No, the room was empty when I got here and I was just leaving."
"Okay, I guess I'll catch up to Brett later. Bye Dr. Merrick."
After Russell left the room Alastair let out his breath with relief. He quickly left the room before anyone else showed up in the room. He made his way over to the older building. He passed Brett who was heading back to the new building. He went up to Marcus' office and knocked.
"Hi Marcus, I just found something in Dr. MacLeod's lab that I thought you might be interested in."
"Let's see it."
Alastair pulled the note out of his pocket and handed it over to Marcus. He took it from him and read it.
The boys seem to be very aware of and seem to be able to easily focus on what is going on around them. This seems to be far in advance of other babies at this stage of development, by several months at the least. They seem to be taking in everything that is going on around them and storing it away in their memories.
I know there is no real way to confirm this observation at this time, but perhaps when they are able to talk, we may be able to ask them if they remember anything from this time. If they can recall any of this, I believe that will be sufficient proof that my suppositions are correct.
I am encouraged by what I see so far. They all appear to be manifesting some early signs of above average to high intelligence. As to the other expected results, that may be some years before we can gauge whether that part of the experiment was successful. Only time will tell. Those abilities will probably not manifest for many years, if at all.
Marcus put the paper down and gestured for Alastair to sit in one of the chairs in front of his desk.
"Have you heard anything about this other part of the experiment that he mentions in the note?"
Alastair shook his head.
"I looked around the lab while I had a chance and found nothing else. I checked the trash and many of the drawers in the lab, but I was interrupted by Dr. Merrill who had come to the lab to talk to Dr. MacLeod before I could check everything. The computer was logged off and I couldn't get into it to check that out."
Marcus nodded as Alastair explained. He pulled a notepad over, grabbed a pen and wrote something down. He ripped the paper off and held it out to Alastair. Alastair took it and saw the words written on it.
"The next time you get the chance, use that username and password. That should get you into Dr. MacLeod's computer. I would like it if you could perhaps check this out tonight after everyone has left for the day."
"I have no plans, so I think I can do that with no problem."
"Good. Thank you Dr. Merrick. Mr. Archer and I appreciate your assistance in this. You will be given the recognition you deserve as we move forward."
Marcus escorted him to the door. Once Alastair was gone, Marcus went back to his desk and opened a program so that he could pull up the file that would show him the surveillance footage from Dr. Hunt's office. He entered a start time of about thirty minutes ago. He fast forwarded until he saw Brett enter the office. He hit play and sat back to listen.
"Hi Brett, have a seat."
"So how are Kathy doing and the baby?"
"They are both doing well."
"Good. So is there anything new to report on the research?"
"No, uh…not really. I think it may be too early to tell yet. We may not know for certain, at least for a few months yet. Other than that, they are all doing well. They are very healthy, no evidence of any disorders of any kind. So my biggest fear that the genetic manipulation that I did would cause any kind of brain disorder has not happened."
"Good. That is real good news. You will let me know if you find anything."
"Of course. I will let you know."
At this point Brett and Richard started discussing other things that had nothing to do with the research, so Marcus stopped watching it and turned it off. He picked up the phone and made a call.
"Hello Beverly, is Mr. Archer in?.....May I speak to him?..........It's Marcus…..there may be some positive development in the MacLeod research…….not sure yet, but is sounds like something we'd be interested in…..yes, that kind…..yes, sir…..I'll be there tomorrow…..I've asked Merrick to gather anything more that he could tonight……I gave him one of the backdoor logins for MacLeod's computer……I can wait until the next day if you wish sir….yes sir, I'll have Merrick bring what he finds to my place tonight and I'll be on a plane early tomorrow…..yes, sir….thank you sir. I'll see you tomorrow morning."
Marcus pushed the button to break the connection before he dialed another number.
"Dr. Merrick, I would like you to bring what you find to my place tonight….yes, it doesn't matter what time. I'll be waiting for you…..yes, good-bye."
Marcus repeated what he had just done and dialed another number.
"Security, this is Kelly, could you find Lieutenant Swift and have him come to my office? Yes, as soon as he is available."
He hung up and waited. Fifteen minutes later Martin knocked on his door.
Martin walked in and shut the door behind him. Marcus gestured to the chairs.
"So Martin, have you been able to pick up anything from Dr. MacLeod?"
"No sir, nothing, I haven't read anything from him. Although I haven't had much opportunity to be around him much, but the time I have had, has revealed nothing."
Marcus frowned as he tried to come up with a way to get Martin and Brett together for enough time for Martin to read something. He sat there for a few moments staring at the wall. Martin sat quietly waiting to be dismissed. Something came to Marcus and he nodded to himself.
"Martin, I think I have an idea about that. The next time that the kids are brought here for testing, I want you to go over to the lab and ask to see them. You know, to see how they are doing and congratulate the families on their good fortune and all that. You think you can do that?"
"Yes, sir, I think that would work."
"Good, then I'll let you get back to your duties. Keep me informed of anything you do find out."
Martin stood and nodded.
Marcus waved dismissively at him. He turned and left the office, and headed downstairs to the security office. Meanwhile, Brett had returned to his lab. Nothing seemed amiss that he could see, so he logged back into his computer and resumed his work.
Once everyone left for the day, Alastair made his way down to the lab building. He greeted the guard on duty and made his way to Brett's lab. He went over to the computer and booted it up. At the login screen he entered the information from the paper that Marcus had given him. He smiled with satisfaction as it worked and he was soon able to look through the files. After several minutes search he found some files regarding the research. He looked for any that had dates from the time since the birth of the babies. There were some, but not many. He saw inside one file that there were files with each babies name on it. He opened each one and checked to see what was in them. They all looked to be reports on the results of the tests and did not give much information other than that they all appeared to be healthy and developing as expected. He felt some frustration and continued his search. He found another file that had no name to it. He clicked on it and the file asked for a password. Alastair pounded the table. He searched some more but nothing else of any big import was found, except for the encrypted file. He logged out of the system and left the complex. He drove to the condo where Marcus was living and knocked on the door. Marcus answered the door and waved for him to come in. After he closed the door, he looked over at Alastair.
"So do you have anything more for me?"
Alastair shook his head.
"No, nothing much except that the babies are healthy and normal in development. I didn't see anything that correlated with that note that I brought to you. I did find a file that asked for a password when I tried to open it."
"Really? What was the name on the file?"
"There was no label. It looked like just a blank file with no name attached."
Marcus walked into his living room to pour himself a drink as the thought about it. He did not offer anything to Alastair. He took a sip before turning his attention back to Alastair.
"Well, thank you Alastair. I'll let you know if you can be of any further help on this."
He walked him to the door and let him out. Alastair made his way back to his car and drove home.
Brett was doing a little work in his study that evening. He finished what he needed and went to close down the computer when he noticed he had an email, so he opened it; he noticed the from line was blank and it had some pictures attached to it.
Brett opened the pictures and saw that they were of Alastair Merrick entering and leaving a condo complex. When he finished he sent a reply.
He waited to see if there was another reply. A few moments later there was.
Brett turned to the phone and dialed the number. The phone rang a couple of times before it was picked up.
"Hello….Yes, this is Brett. Who is this?....Mac….okay…..yeah, okay……yeah, I'll be there…..okay, bye."
Brett went to the den where Kathy was sitting with Jimmy, watching TV. "Kath, I've gotta go out. I'll be back in a little while."
Kathy sensed something from the look on his face, "Something wrong?"
He shook his head, "No, I don't think so. I'll tell you when I get back."
She looked at him and nodded in agreement, "Okay, I'll hold you to it."
Brett smiled and walked over to them, giving each of them a kiss. He grabbed his keys and left. He drove to the Stony Brook Village Center and found the Brook House Restaurant where he was supposed to meet Mac. As he was walking up to go inside, he saw Mac waiting for him.
"C'mon, let's go for a ride. We need to talk."
Mac walked off and Brett followed after hesitating for a moment. Mac led him to a car and got in, motioning for Brett to join him. Mac didn't say anything as he backed out and drove off. He drove for a few minutes until he pulled into a parking lot at Stony Brook Beach. He got out and motioned for Brett to do the same. Mac locked the car and walked off, still without saying anything. They walked along the sand for a few moments before Mac said anything.
"So who was the guy in the pictures?"
"Dr. Merrick. Where were they taken?"
"They were taken a couple of hours ago at the condo complex where Marcus Kelly lives. He was only there for a few minutes before he left. Do you know what he might have been doing there?"
"No. No idea."
They walked for a few more minutes in silence until Brett grabbed him by the shoulder and stopped him.
"Mac, what's going on?"
He turned to face Brett.
"This GRA, I don't think they are very nice people. In fact, I am almost certain that they are very bad people. They used be called the PRI that I told you about, but changed their name. The friends of mine that are helping me on this project have said that they appear to have at least one other location where they do their own research. We are still searching for other locations, because we think that there are others, but haven't found any yet. The only one that we know of for sure is the headquarters in DC. We just suspect that there may be one or more other locations."
"So what are going to do?"
"Not entirely sure yet, but I want you to think about something very important. You and your friends need to make plans to disappear."
"Disappear! Are you serious?"
"Deadly. These people play dirty. If they want something, they take it and put down anyone or anything that gets in their way. Remember the sudden "accident" of the owner of that website that was closed down soon after. I think it wasn't much of an accident and I think these people had something to do with it. If you don't want to be a part of that, and from what I know of you, I don't think you would want to. Then you and anyone who thinks like you, and that is connected to this place, will need to disappear and the sooner the better."
"But how? We have lives here, how can we just disappear? We have families, parents, siblings. Are you talking about some kind of witness protection thing or something, where we become someone else?"
"Yeah, pretty much. I can help you with this. But you will have to cut all ties with anyone you know and get into a different career. You can't do what you are doing now. They would be able to find you. You will need new names, new places to live, new credentials, new everything, you will have to become other people completely. You can't be who you are now, or they will find you."
Brett turned and looked out at the water of Long Island Sound. He was scared by what Mac was saying to him. Mac said nothing, just watched him and waited. Finally, Brett turned to him. "Okay, how do we do this?"
"First, how many are we talking about?"
"Twenty Four, sixteen adults and eight babies."
Mac let out a low whistle.
"What are you and all these people involved in?"
"Nothing personal Mac, but I don't know you well enough that I feel comfortable sharing that information with you at the moment, maybe after I know you better."
"Fair enough. Okay, first you will need to figure out some way for all of you to get away cleanly. It would be best if it seemed like you all met some tragic accident or something like that. But with that many, I don't know. Next, get me the names and pictures of the couples and the names and information on the babies; I don't need pictures of them. You need to stress on all of them, that this is the only way that they are going to be safe in the long run. There is no other way. Tell them whatever you have to but you need to get them onboard. If even one doesn't take part, then the rest of you could be lost."
"Okay, I'll have everyone over as soon as everyone's schedule is open for a get together. I'll tell them everything that I know then."
"Good, keep me in the loop. So I know what needs to be done. I'll start working on my end to get things moving. Contact me here."
Brett nodded as he took the paper that Mac held out to him. Mac led the way back to his car. On the way back to where his car was parked, Brett tried to start figuring out what to do. The two shook hands and Mac drove off. Brett got in his car and drove home.
At home, Kathy was sitting in the den. She looked up when he came in, "So, what's going on?"
Brett sat next to her and took her hand. He then laid out what was going on. Concern grew on her face as he told her what he knew. At the end of the explanation, she agreed that they needed to get together with the other couples soon. It took a few days to arrange it, but they finally found a Sunday afternoon that they could all get together.
At work nothing changed. Now that the main part of his research was completed and he was monitoring the boys. He turned his attention back to helping with some of the other research. He was presently working with Russell on trying to find a better treatment for Alzheimer's patients. They were hoping that they could come up with a test to find some chemical that is present in someone's blood or other bodily fluid that they could correlate to Alzheimer's disease onset.
Sunday arrived and their friends started to arrive. It was a nice late summer day, so they sat outside. The boys were put on a couple of large blankets. They had a couple of beach umbrellas set up to give the boys shade. They talked about how the boys were doing and other small talk. Finally Brett decided it was time to tell them.
"Guys, I've got some things I need to discuss with you. It's pretty important and something that you all need to hear because it will affect all of you. It has to do with the GRA."
"The agency that gave us the grant for the lab?"
"Yeah, Derrick, the same. Let me back up a little. Several months ago, more than ten months in fact, Eric and Will brought something to my attention. It was something that they noticed in the servers. It turned out to be a key logger program on the server. It was set up to copy down every key stroke on any computer within the lab complex."
There were several frowns on the faces of the group, except Will and Eric.
"What would be the reason for doing that?"
"At first, I thought it was some kind of government agency oversight, but the more I dug into it, the more I learned things that I didn't like. Soon after we discovered the key logger, I wrote a program to hide what I did on my computer. Soon after that the boys were conceived. I was able, with the help of some friends, to break through the security on Marcus Kelly's computer. The information that I found showed that he and his boss Hank Archer were trying to get as much information about my research as possible. Dr. Merrick is working for him too."
"Kelly also has hidden cameras and records conversations in the offices. I know, because I found a recording of myself and Dr. Hunt as we discussed my research. This was just after Dr. Hunt suspected that I had something to do with all the pregnancies. We were discussing the research and Kelly had it all recorded. He also apparently discussed it with Archer. One of the emails I read thanked Dr. Merrick for his help and asked him to try to get more information from my computer at work."
"Wait, the other day, I was coming into your lab to talk to you about our Alzheimer's research and Dr. Merrick was in the lab."
"When was that Russ?"
"A little earlier this week."
"That was probably when I was meeting with Dr. Hunt. Did he say anything?"
"No, not really."
"Well, that makes sense. He was probably trying to get information from my computer, but I log out of my computer whenever I leave the lab, so he probably didn't get anything."
"I know you said when we agreed to be part of the research, that your theory is that your genetic manipulation would increase the boy's intelligence. Is that what the GRA is trying to find out about?"
Brett took a sip of his ice tea before answering.
"Partially, that is part of my theory. There is another part that I don't think we will know about for several years, if at all."
Many of them had some questioning looks because of the reluctant way that he said that.
"What else is there, that you haven't mentioned."
"There is no proof of anything yet, but the genetic modification may allow them to make use a higher percentage of their brain's than just about anyone else. I'm not sure what that means exactly and it might actually mean nothing other than that they will be highly intelligent. I think that is what interests the GRA the most, which may be why they have been trying to get more information about the research."
Brett shrugged and was silent a little as he thought about how to answer them. He had decided a few days before that he would keep the thought that the boys might manifest some mental gifts to himself, including Kathy. He had originally figured he would let them know a few years from now, especially when the boys got older and maybe started to manifest their gifts. Right now he was afraid that the more people who knew about that part of the experiment, the better chance that the GRA could find out about. With what he now knew about the GRA, he wanted to keep that little tidbit to himself.
"As far as I know, that's it. There is something else that I've learned about the GRA. At one time, they were known as the PRI, the Paranormal Research Institute. They studied mental abilities like telepathy and things like that."
"You're kidding right?"
"No Marion. This is what I've found out with the help of some friends of mine. The PRI studied this in hopes of recruiting some people who might be able to use their gifts to spy on people inside our country and in other countries."
"The government supported this?"
"As far as I know, but you know, there are always stories of secret government agencies that are kept secret from even the President and from what I have found out so far, this may be one of those agencies. You've all heard it called plausible deniability."
"So the GRA is this same PRI that you mentioned and they are interested in our kids because of the experiment?"
"Is there any danger to the kids or us?"
"That is what caused me to call all of you here to talk about this. A lot of the information about the GRA was dug up with the help of some hacker connections I have made over the last several months. One of the stories I have heard concerned the disappearance, several years ago, of a bunch of street kids from around the country. They were runaways for whatever reason, but they disappeared from the streets. Some of them were found later with their heads messed up. The brother of one of these guys that I've been working with on investigating the GRA was a babbling wreck, some of the words he mumbled caused this guy to do some research and he found a few things out about the PRI. There was some guy who posted some information on the internet about the PRI. A short time later he died in a car accident, but some things about the accident didn't add up. He's pretty sure that it wasn't an accident, but there is no proof, just inconsistencies in the report of the accident."
"So this person you're talking about. Is he some kind of government secret new world order type nut?"
"No, he's shown me some things, that separate may be not so much, but together it seems to yell secret agency."
"You have these things here?"
"Yes, I'll get them from my study."
Brett went back inside to get most of the documents and pictures that Mac had forwarded to him. When he got back outside he handed the pictures, blueprints and other items to his friends. They started passing the items around. There was discussion among all of them while they digested what was in the packet. Brett picked up his drink and wandered over to where the boys were playing. The others were involved with their discussion.
He stopped and stood there watching the boys. They were just laying there looking at each other silently, but what was strange was that the boys had smiles on their faces. As he watched them, something about them was unusual. It took him a few moments to make the connection and he saw that the boys appeared to be paired up. Instead of them just laying or crawling around willy nilly, they just lay there. Each pair was slightly separated from the others, and he noticed that from time to time each pair would look at each other and laugh or smile or something. It was just unusual. He turned back to the adults when Patrick called him over.
"Brett, okay, we agree that this agency worries us a bit. What do we do to keep the boys safe?"
"The guy who is doing the main research on the GRA for me said that because of the things he's found, he thinks we should all seriously consider disappearing."
"Disappearing? What does that mean?"
"He thinks we need to get new identities and go our separate ways. Get away from here and become different people. No contact even between ourselves or families. If you agree, he guarantees he can make us disappear like witness protection."
"If we decide to do this, how are we going to live? I personally don't want to be working in some store as bag boy. I want to be still doing the kind of things I went to school for."
"I do too Derrick, and my plan is to get your wishes to him, so that he can do what he can to make it work. Other than that, I don't know, but I want everyone to be happy with the decision, if you decide to go this route."
"So how do we disappear? Do we just up and leave or what?"
"I've been thinking about that some too. I think the best way for us to successfully disappear is for us to die?"
"A lab explosion."
"How are you going to arrange that? What about others at the lab. Surely not all of the others that work at the lab, work for the GRA, I don't want to be a party to killing anyone."
"I am going to propose that we bring the boys in for a sleep study. To study their sleep patterns and things like that. You, of course, will also come along to be with the boys and help when they wake up at night, like I'm sure they do. I can attest to that, since Jamie doesn't sleep through the night consistently yet."
There were some smiles and nods of agreement. He smiled at them before continuing. "We arrange some kind of explosion at the lab that will regretfully claim all of our lives, including the boys. Also, it will maybe destroy the lab itself or at least do major damage to it."
"What about the research we've done so far?"
"If you have something you're working on, copy it on a disc and take it with you. I'll tell you the truth, these guys worry me. I'm scared for my son and for my wife. I love the work we've been doing, but I don't want any accidents happening to me or anyone else in my family. You guys are my friends and I don't want anything to happen to any of you guys either, but I can't make you agree to this. So I'm presenting you with an option. My worry if you opt out is that the GRA will get the information about this plan from any that stay behind. If none of us are here to ask, then that makes it harder to find us. I think they would do whatever was necessary to get that information."
Several of them had worried looks on their faces. They once again sifted through the stuff that Mac had gathered together for Brett, as if they were searching for some answers in the papers. Answers that would help them make a decision.
"I don't know. This is huge. Christine and I are going to have to talk about this. I assume as part of this 'witness protection' scheme, we will have to cut all ties with our families too?"
"I believe so Derrick. We have to become completely different people. I don't like it very much myself, but the safety of my family is more important to me."
There were some nods in the group, while others had thoughtful looks as they digested what he had said.
Charles stood up, "I guess we all have some things to think about and some decisions to make. Do we have some time limit on the decision?"
"I don't know, but I think we should decide soon. I'll tell you that Kathy and I have decided to do it. If none of the rest of you wishes to do it, we understand. This is asking a lot and we will miss you, but I have to make sure my family is safe. I do hope you will join us."
Charles nodded and everyone starting gathering their boys and their stuff together. Kathy told them not to worry about the cleanup. By this time all the boys had fallen asleep, so it was pretty easy to get the boys settled in their carriers and out to the car. Brett and Kathy said goodbye to everyone. The two of them straightened everything up and Brett went into his study to check for email. There was one from Mac waiting for him.
Have you and your friends decided yet? You need to stress to your friends that these people are dangerous. Let me know.
He sent an answer back.
We've talked but no decisions made yet, except for Kathy and I. We're in. One of their concerns is that if they do this, they want to have a similar life as they do now. They don't want to give up their careers completely. So do what you can. I'll get the information about all of them so that you can get started.
He went through the rest of the email and was getting ready to shut down, when he saw an email pop up. It was short and to the point.
I'll get started. Get me that information as soon as you can.
Brett shut down the computer and went to join Kathy. In the back of his mind he kept planning. He ran through arguments to convince the others to go, too. He hoped he could convince them, because from what he had learned so far, Archer would not have a problem with doing anything necessary to get what he wanted from any that stayed behind. His last thoughts that night before falling asleep was wanting to keep all eight boys safe.