It was a few days later that Marty came by the lab, clapped Brett on the shoulder in greeting and dropped a piece of paper in Brett's lap while he sat in front of his computer. They exchanged small talk for a few minutes before Marty had to leave to get back to his duties. Once he left, Brett put the paper in the pocket of his lab jacket. He and Russ worked through the morning. At lunch time he went for a walk outside even though it was a little cold outside. Once he got away from the building he pulled out the paper that Marty had dropped in his lap.
Time is running out. Marcus wants me to read you sometime in the next couple of days. He is going to DC and when he returns after talking to Mr. Archer, he said that Archer will probably order me to push it.
He crumpled the paper and shoved it back into his pocket as he turned back towards the lab building. He saw that Russ was sitting at his computer finishing his coke. Brett tapped him on the shoulder and gestured for him to move out of the chair. Russ looked at him quizzically but got up from the chair. Brett opened a program and entered a command. The screen flickered for a moment. He opened a word program and typed something.
We need to meet tonight 7p, 3572 Blair Rd, Oyster Bay. Important!
He immediately erased it and closed the program before he looked over at Russ. Russ nodded and left the room. He casually went around to the others throughout the lab and told them about the meeting. He returned several minutes later and gave Brett a slight nod. The two of them got back to work. Before he left, Brett went to Richard's office.
"Brett! Nice to see you. How's the family?"
"They're doing fine Doctor."
"Rich, call me Rich, c'mon, you know better."
Brett smiled and nodded.
"Sorry sir. Kathy and the baby are fine."
"So how are things going with your research?"
"Not bad. It's still pretty early to tell, but I'm hopeful. I wanted to let you know that the day after tomorrow I'm going to conduct a sleep study on the boys. So a bunch of us will be here that evening. I want to study the boy's brainwaves while they sleep."
"Do they sleep through the night?"
"Surprisingly yes, they are at the advanced side of the average on that. That is why I wanted to see what their brainwaves tell us."
"Very good. Good luck with that, and say hello to Kathy."
"Thanks, I will. Good night Richard."
As he got to his car, he saw Marcus talking to Marty before getting in his car and driving away. Marty nodded to Brett. When Brett got home that afternoon, he sent the warning email to Mac.
At another location on Long Island, Mac read the email and nodded to himself. Once he read it, he started making calls before he went into his garage and put the magnetic security company signs on the sides of his panel van. He loaded everything else he would need in the back and left for the safe house in Oyster Bay.
Two hours later in a warehouse in Queens several well-built men were stowing weapons in a large delivery truck. All of them also carried a handgun in a shoulder holster. Some were putting on coveralls with the logo of a lab supply company out of New Brunswick, New Jersey. That logo was also on the delivery truck. Others were putting on assault vests. Several large bins were already loaded and secured in the back of the truck. There was a false wall in the truck that concealed a small area near the front where the weapons were being brought in and secured. There was also a bench along one side and part of the front wall. The rest of the front wall had a small desk with a computer on it. One of the men was checking the computer's feed from several cameras that were mounted on various parts of the truck so that they could have full 360 degree coverage and a couple were mounted inside the cab as well so that he could monitor what was happening in the cab. The feeds had full audio and video capability. They were also securing the explosive packages. Some of the men joined the guy who was sitting at the computer in the back of the truck, while one of them got in the truck and drove it out. Once the truck was outside the building, one guy closed the door and then joined the guy in the front seat of the truck. They headed toward Stony Brook.
At the safe house in Oyster Bay around six o' clock, Brett and Kathy pulled into the grounds of the house. It was a pretty big house that was partially hidden by trees. The houses in this area were well separated from each other; the nearest one to them was about 200' away. So they could only see glimpses of other houses through the trees. The place was big, with a large parking area for cars and a multi-car garage. They pulled up to the house and Brett used the keys to open the door. The house was tastefully furnished and decorated. They were both shocked. This looked like someone else's home. They moved into the living room and Kathy sat down on the sofa to feed James.
"I'm going to look around a little bit, be right back."
Kathy nodded and Brett smiled at her before leaving the room. He made his way through the house. The place looked like the owners were on vacation. It had a lived in look. He came into one room that was obviously a study/library room. The desk was empty except for an envelope sitting in the middle of it that was addressed to him. He recognized the handwriting as Mac's. He picked it up and opened it. Inside there was a note with a sticky note attached that had a series of numbers written on it.
I guess it's time. The sticky note is the combination to the safe that is in the garage workroom. I expect that I will be seeing you soon.
Brett folded the note and put it in his pocket. He headed in the direction of where the garage was and found the connecting door to the garage. He opened the door and went in. He found the light switch just inside the door. Inside the garage he saw a Mercedes Sedan and SUV parked in the garage. There was room for two more vehicles as well. There was a work area that had a workbench and next to the bench was a large safe. He walked over and tried the combination on the safe and it worked easily. When he opened it he saw that there were several shelves inside with plenty of room for all their documents and other things that any of them might want to store until needed. He shut it back up and went to join Kathy. When he got there he saw that some of the others had started to arrive. Within half an hour, all eight families were there.
"So Brett, whose place is this?"
"This is the safe house that my friend arranged for us."
He opened his case and pulled out several file folders. Each was labeled with the last name of each family.
"These are you new identities. There is a large safe in the garage where we can put these for now. Mac said that we should not share our locations with each other so that we cannot be connected in anyway. He also included an email address that he will monitor that can be used for emergencies. One of the papers in each packet lists some leads for job positions in the locations that you will be heading to, so that you can start fresh."
"So why the urgency?"
"Marty told me that he believes that when Marcus returns from DC after meeting with Archer, they will make their move. We need to be ready to leave in two days."
The couples looked the documents over, they were all well done. At that point they all heard the sound of the front door opening. More than one set of footsteps approached the living room. Two people entered the living room. One of them was a man a little older than most of them with red hair. The other was a college age young man. Brett walked over to them and shook their hands.
"Everyone, I would like you to meet Mac and Terry. They helped me find out what Archer is up to and Mac here arranged for everything, the house, the papers, everything that we will need to disappear."
The other families introduced themselves to the pair. When the introductions were finished Brett turned to Mac.
"Mac, can you give everyone an idea of what is going to be happening over the next couple of days?"
"Of course. Two nights from now some friends of mine will be helping you become ghosts. Tomorrow night a delivery truck will show up at the rear door of the Health Sciences building at Stony Brook University, where some of you will assist them in procuring the cadavers. They will be packed in dry ice until the following evening when we will deliver them to the lab in the guise of lab supplies. At the lab a couple of my guys will stay behind to assist you with preparations while the rest will take the truck to a location near the back fence. Later that evening when you are ready, we will put the plan into action and sneak you folks towards the back fence where some of my men will be waiting to take you through the fence and back here."
"Mac, I just had a thought. Are you going to use those carts that you brought for the test run?"
"Yes, that is the best way to bring the cadavers in."
"How many are you going to use?"
"We have three of the large carts."
"Couldn't we sneak some of the ladies out in that crates. That is if they agree to it. That way there will be less of us to sneak out when its time."
"I'm sure we could, if they don't have a problem with doing that."
Several of the ladies looked at each other for a few moments before shrugging.
"How many of us could you get into the crates?"
Mac thought for a moment before answering.
"Two fairly comfortably, three if we squeeze a little."
Julie nodded and looked at the other ladies who nodded in agreement.
"We'll do it. We can handle being cramped for a little while. We can take our boys with us when we go."
"No, that won't be necessary."
"What do you mean Brett? We don't want to leave the boys behind where they could get hurt."
"You won't Chris."
He went over to a bag that he had brought with him and pulled a bundle out.
"Meet my son, Jamie."
He unwrapped the bundle and in his hands. He was holding a doll about the same size as their kids. There were several surprised but amused smiles on their faces.
"I have one for each of us. The plan is for us to bring the "boys" in an hour before the truck will arrive. We'll get them bedded down and start the study. Then when the truck gets there, the ladies leave with the truck."
"What about the boys then?"
Mac answered that question.
"They will be here with me, Terry and one of my friends. We'll be taking care of them. Terry will be doing most of it. I'll be running the security system from here. The other day I loaded a program into the security system that will allow me to have complete control. Now, as long as your security ally hasn't done anything about it, we should be fine."
"He hasn't. He's the one that gave me the warning about Archer and Kelly's plan."
"Well, I'll know soon enough once I get setup, I'll log into the system and see what's what. My suggestion now is for you to withdraw some of the money you have in the bank, no more than a couple of thousand. In about a week, part of the rest of your money will be transferred to your new identities."
"What about our houses, cars, things like that?"
"The cars will probably be a loss because they are going to be at the lab and there is no way that we can get them away from there. Your properties will be handled by a law firm who will sell the properties for the best price we can get. The money will be transferred to the accounts under your new names."
"What about our families? Won't they question the transfer of our money?"
"I have manufactured some "proof" to anyone that checks, that most of your money will be used to pay your debts. I will arrange for some of the remaining money to be paid to your families if you would like, in the form of your remaining estate. It will help in proving you are really gone."
"That's the hardest thing about this whole thing, leaving our family."
"I know, but what I know of Archer, he wouldn't care if he hurt your families to get what he wanted. It's necessary to keep all of you safe. That he believes that all of you are gone. The only thing left now is for you to get some of your clothes and the fewest amount of things that you absolutely cannot do without, not a lot, just a very few pieces and bring it here tomorrow night. You'll have to leave almost everything else behind."
There were looks of resignation on most of their faces as they accepted what Mac had said.
"Okay, if there is nothing else, you should leave your new identities here. I'll secure them in the safe. Remember to bring what you absolutely need and store it here tomorrow night. I would plan on bringing the kids here early on the next day."
"Well, I guess that's it for now. Are there any last questions?"
"Yeah, whose house is this?"
Mac smiled before answering.
"It belongs to a good friend of mine, so we have to be sure we don't mess it up. He's letting me lease the house for a short time while he's on vacation."
"Anything else?" Brett looked around, but no one said a thing. "Then I guess that's it for tonight. See you at work tomorrow."
Everyone said their goodbyes and left for their homes. Mac and Terry brought the van into the garage and unloaded the equipment. By ten that night they had everything set up. Mac logged into the security system and checked his access. He had full access as he hoped. Once he was sure everything was fine he went up to bed. Terry was already asleep.
The next day everyone that worked at the lab made copies of their research and other files that were important to them so that they could take it with them when the left. They were careful not to take anything that was blatantly Hunt Labs property.
Early in the afternoon Marcus returned to the lab. One of the first things he did once he sat down was to check the security cameras. He checked Richard's office and was glad to see footage of Brett entering the room. He rewound the recording to the beginning and turned the volume up so that he could hear what was being said. When Brett left the room at the end of the recording, Marcus picked up the phone and called Hank Archer.
"Hello Bev. Is Mr. Archer in?....Thanks…Hello Mr. Archer, I think we have a chance to do what you want concerning the boys…Dr. MacLeod is having all of them brought here tomorrow night for a sleep study. All of the parents will be here as well…we could grab the kids and make the parents disappear…yes sir, I think we'll have enough,…Yes, sir, we can take them all to the research facility…We'll bring them right to the jet at the airport…Yes sir, we'll bring Dr. MacLeod's computer with us, maybe we can get some of our best IT people to get into Dr. MacLeod's computer and we'll know everything…Yes sir, I'll keep you informed…Thank you sir…Yes sir, goodbye."
He hung up the phone and called down to the security office for Lieutenant Swift to report to him. A few minutes later Marty reported to Marcus.
"Martin, we're going to move some plans ahead. Tomorrow night, we're going to take over Dr. MacLeod's research and move all of them to our other research facility."
"What about their families?"
"We'll tell them that they are at another larger facility doing some research for us. We can keep the families in the dark by telling them that they will be out of touch for a few months. Later on we'll tell the families that there was a tragic accident on the plane back to here and all of them died in the crash. It should be no problem to arrange for a plane that we can crash in some remote site, maybe add some bodies to it as well."
"We need to make sure that everyone is available tomorrow night. We need to control them quickly and grab the kids. Hit them quick. I have what we need to control them back in my condo, tranq darts and guns. I'll bring them with me tomorrow morning, you can pick them up from me then. Wait until they are all at the lab. Then after they are settled down for the night, maybe about midnight, then we'll take them. Once we have them under control we'll load them in the SUV's and take them to the airport. Mr. Archer is sending a jet and we'll transfer them by plane. Any questions?"
"No, no sir."
"Good, get your plans together and have your staff prepared for tomorrow night."
Marcus waved absently in dismissal and turned his attention to his computer. As Marty went to the door he saw that it was not completely closed. Once in the hall he heard a door close from the direction of Dr. Hunt's office. He stood outside Marcus' office for a few moments after he closed the door behind him. When he didn't see anyone come into the hallway, he turned away and headed back to the security office.
At the house in Oyster Bay, the cars carrying one of the parents with their son arrived. They turned over the items that they wanted to bring with them. They stayed for a little while talking to Mac and Terry before they reluctantly said goodbye to their child and left to get prepared for the next day. All of them were a little worried about it, but were resolved to go through with the plan.
That night a medical lab supply delivery truck backed up to the rarely used old delivery door at the Health Sciences building at Stony Brook University. Two men got out of the front of the truck and looked around before opening the back of the truck. A few more men jumped out of the back of the truck dressed the same as the other two who let them out of the truck. Using the lift gate they lowered their large carts to the ground and pushed them to the door. One of them knocked on the door and it was opened moments later. Wyatt Blackhawk was there to help them. They followed him to the cold locker where the cadavers were kept. Wyatt showed them the cadavers that had not been used for some time. These are the ones that they hoped would not be missed soon. They worked quickly and soon had several of the bodies loaded into the carts and were wheeling them back out to the truck. Once the carts were loaded they thanked Wyatt for his help and drove back to their base at the warehouse. Once there, they made sure the bodies were well wrapped in plastic and then packed them in the crates that had the logo of the medical lab supply company. The packed dry ice around the bodies and closed the crates up and secured them. On the outside of the crate they attached packaging slips that looked real. Once everything was set, one of the men called Mac to let him know that they were ready for the next night.
The morning of the destruction of the lab Brett woke up before dawn. He tried to go back asleep but was unable to. He made some coffee and sat in the kitchen where he could look out into the backyard.
Kathy found him there just as dawn broke, "Couldn't sleep?"
Brett looked around and smiled, nodding absently, "Yeah. I think I've covered every angle to make sure everyone gets away cleanly, but you never know. I keep coming back to that old saying. No plan survives first contact with the enemy."
Kathy hugged him from behind. "You've done everything humanly possible. I can't think of anything more that you could have done to prepare for tonight. Everyone will do what is necessary to make it work. We will all do everything we can to protect our sons."
"You're right. We can only wait until it's time and then do what we must to protect our family."
"C'mon, time to get ready for work. I'll be by early in the evening with our "son""
Brett smiled and nodded. He gave her a quick kiss before heading back to their room so he could clean up and get ready for the day.
When Brett got to the lab, he couldn't help the nervousness he felt. He nodded at Marty when he saw him as he entered the main building. In the lab he sat down in front of the computer deciding to try to at least look busy. He had already removed his important files. He noticed a piece of paper sticking out from under the keyboard. He pulled it out and slipped it in the pocket of his lab coat. Before he did anything else he headed towards the bathroom. Inside one of the cubicles he pulled the note out and read it.
It happens at midnight tonight when all of you are here at the lab
Brett nodded grimly before tearing the note up, dropping the pieces in the toilet and flushing it all down. He headed back to the lab and met Russ as he was entering the room. They exchanged looks and nervous smiles. Russ clapped Brett on the back and they entered the room to start the day.
At the house in Oyster Bay, Mac, Terry and one of the men named Jim, who had arrived early that morning, were getting bottles ready and made sure all of the boys were ready for the day as well. Jim had volunteered to help because he had four kids of his own and so he had the most experience of any of them.
At the warehouse in Stony Brook, cots were being stowed away and the crates were checked to make sure they were ready. They loaded the explosives into the remaining crate that they had prepared. All of the crates were loaded and secured in the truck. Equipment was checked and re-checked and then it became a waiting game.
Just after lunch, Brett, Russ, Derrick and Christine were preparing the medical room for the sleep study. Doctor Hunt came in the room while they were working.
"Hi everyone, how's everything going?"
Brett looked up and walked over to shake hands with him, "Everything's going great, sir."
"Brett, do you have a few minutes?"
"Let's go to my office."
Brett's accommodating smile slipped a little and he became worried.
"Uh, sir...I, uh"
He looked around trying to come up with an idea. He most certainly did not want to be in Doctor Hunt's office. He knew anything talked about in there might be known by Marcus in no time.
"How about a walk out in the fresh air? I'm feeling a little cooped up. I could use a nice breath of fresh air."
Richard looked at him and nodded.
"Of course, good idea."
They left the room together and headed outside. They headed out to the grassy area of the complex. Brett waited for Richard to speak first. He felt a strange vibe from him as they walked.
"So, do you have everything you need for the study tonight?"
"I believe so. I have a delivery coming in later and that should take care of any supplies that we need."
Brett noticed that he seemed to want to say more, but when he glanced at him, he saw that Richard seemed to be trying to say something, but looked to be having a difficult time putting the words together. Brett stopped and faced Richard, causing him to stop suddenly.
"What's the matter Richard?"
"I heard something yesterday that concerns me. It was about you."
"What did you hear?"
"I was outside Marcus Kelly's office and he was talking to his head of security. His door was slightly open, so I was able to hear what they were talking about pretty easily."
He looked down as he tried to find an easy way to tell Brett what he heard. "Brett…your kids are in danger."
Brett didn't have to fake the look of surprise. "What do you mean Richard?"
"I heard Marcus tell the security chief that they were going to take the kids tonight while you have them all here. I think you should cancel your plans and keep those kids away from here. Maybe your spouses should take a vacation to visit family or something. I mean I…"
Brett made a decision right then, "Richard…don't worry about that."
"What do you mean don't worry about it. We're talking about kidnapping. We should call the police or FBI or some…"
He stopped talking and looked at Brett. Before saying anything, Brett thought about how he was going to present what he knew to Doctor Hunt.
"The kids are not in any danger."
Richard looked at him in surprise.
Brett nodded and put his hand on Richard's shoulder to nudge to him to walk with him. He then went through what he and his friends had found out about the PRI and now the GRA. He laid out what he thought Archer wanted with the kids. Richard told him about everything that he had heard outside the office. Brett nodded as Richard recounted the conversation. Brett waited until he was finished before he chimed in.
"We've made plans to leave."
"But if Archer is some kind of secret government agency won't they find you?"
"Yes, they probably would, if they thought we were alive, but as far as they will know we'll be dead."
"Dead? How will you do that?"
"We…we're going to…die in a tragic lab accident."
"Tragic lab…do you mean this lab?"
"Yeah, this lab. My son and wife are the most important people in the world to me. I will do anything to assure their safety and I'm sorry sir, but that includes sacrificing the lab."
They walked silently as Richard digested what Brett said. Brett was quite nervous as he waited to see what Richard would say. When he spoke Brett had ask him to speak up.
"I supposed it's a good thing that I won't be here much longer then. Brett, I have pancreatic cancer and its terminal. I only have a few months left. I was going to step down and name Alastair to lead the lab. He and I have worked together for many years and I think he would have been a good successor. After all, he helped me start this."
Brett decided not to say anything about Alastair's part in all this.
"I'm sorry to hear that. You have insurance on everything don't you?"
"Maybe, I'm sure the GRA does have insurance, so I'm not worried about anything."
They were almost back to the lab building. Richard stopped and they shook hands.
"I'll do anything I can to help you. At this point, I don't care what you do to the lab. My wife will be fine after my death and if there is anything that I can do to help you, let me know."
"Thank you, sir. It has been an honor to work for and with you. I will not forget you."
"Good luck, son. Do what you have to do and protect your family."
Brett watched Doctor Hunt walk back to the smaller building and as he turned to go into the main lab building, he felt a little sense of loss, knowing that after tonight, he would never see Doctor Hunt again.
Brett went back to the lab and he and the others did some work to look busy while they waited for the ladies to arrive. Most of the lab researchers and other workers had left for the day by the time the wives started arrive. Each of them had a baby carrier with a blanket draped over it as if the baby was asleep and a diaper bag draped over their shoulder as they made their way into the lab. Not everyone was at the lab and they came as a couple, until everyone had arrived. In the lab, they had the lights low so that the "babies" would be able to sleep easier. It also helped hide the fact that they were actually dolls. The dolls could be turned on to move slightly to keep up appearances. They had done a lot of searching to find dolls that looked realistic and they hoped with the lights down that the hidden cameras would be fooled by the dolls.
They went through the whole process of attaching monitoring wires to the babies and hooking them up to the machines. They had also set up the machines to run a test loop that simulated normal activity. William and Eric came upstairs from the server room to join their wives.
At the safe house, Terry, Mac and Jim found it surprisingly easy to take care of the eight babies. They put up no fuss and caused no problems. It was if they knew important events were going on and they didn't need to be making things harder. When Mac got the word that the truck had left the warehouse he looked at the others.
"Well, here we go."