Day of Remembrance
In all my years of service, I never imagined myself laying on a slab being poked on, while the Coroner spoke over my body. It was a strange experience to say the least. His voice seemed far away, yet I slowly was able to make out what he was saying.
“September eighteenth, 2312, Case number 777-666, is a twenty-nine-year-old Caucasian male, who was the apparent victim of a murder-suicide. Found by the side of a road, Detective Jake Thomas was pronounced dead by the On Duty Field Coroner, and taken to the underground morgue beneath the Los Angeles International Police Department.”
I slowly opened my eyes and moaned. Doctor Paul Peterson nearly jumped out of his skin, it sounded like he hit something.
“Jake?! Jake, hang in there! Oh God, you're bleeding! How is this possible? How can you be alive?! Dear God in heaven, where the hell is the team?!”
Paul placed his hands on the wounds on my head, and chest. I heard the team running down the halls.
“It's Jake! Jake is alive!” That was Santiago's voice.
“How could there be such a mistake?” A different voice said. “There was no pulse, no heartbeat, and he was not breathing....his liver was cold. Doc, his eyes were fixed and dilated!”
“Forget that Ron, let's get him to the hospital, is the shuttle ready?!” Dr. Paul yelled out the door.
“E.T.A. three minutes!” That was Lieutenant Garrett. “Is he really alive?”
“It appears as though Jake has unfinished business in our world, Lieutenant.” Dr. Paul breathed hard, as he and the medics had me ready to go. “Let's move out!”
It was the beginning of a new century, 2312. The end never came on that cold December day in 2012, and many a star gazer and theologian stood side by side, waiting to see who was going to be right. If the stargazers and the Mayans were correct, that night they would all go out with a bang. Whereas, if the theologians were correct, the heavens were going to open up and a great tide of humanity was about to vanish in the rapture that would take them all to heaven. This always made me laugh, thinking that one little flying saucer would have ruined everyone's day. Well, perhaps not for the stargazers.
My recovery was slow, and laying around staring at the ceiling tiles was just not for me. It gave me too much time to think. I did not take the news about Cain very well, and this only made me work that much harder to get out of the hospital. Sitting in a psychiatrist's office for hours of counseling twice a week, sometimes made me wish that the metal plate in my head was capable of tuning him out. I found it amusing to tell him my thoughts about the end that never came back in 2012. The shrink didn't find that as funny as I did. But it always lead up to the same two questions.
“Why don't you tell me about your work, Jake?”
“I investigate old cold cases.” I spoke while taking a drag from my cigarette. “You know this already.”
“True, but how do you feel about going back, in light of what happened?” The shrink raised his eyes over his notepad.
“We're done here.” I crushed my cigarette in his ashtray and left. It was always the same. Talking about Cain was still a sore spot.
As I recovered, I dove back into my work, because it was all I had. Cain was gone, and all he left me were more questions.
December 21, 2312. Three months later...
I sat in a row of seats, decked out in my dress blues among a sea of spectators. The man giving the speech dabbed his forehead with a handkerchief.
“Today, we have gathered from every source of people, and every race under the sun. Today is the wake up call we all prayed to get. A sharp contrast to the one we feared on days, when our friends, family, and loved ones, were late getting home. When the wicked were taking lives, or when the unconscionable touched our souls. We've come together this day, to bring back the lost, and lay them to rest for all time in Heaven, and send the evil that walks the Earth through the gates of Hell for eternity. For those of us who believe in these realms, it is a badge of faith we wear on our chest. For those, who do not, it is for the pleasure of knowing that the lost were never forgotten. So, as we come together today, on this Day of Remembrance, we ask the powers that be, whether it be Almighty God, or the god of your own choosing, to bless our newest ally in the war against crime. We say a grateful Amen, and let it be so.”
I looked around as the great crowds raised their heads, while others raised their arms to the heavens, as a loud Amen was spoken before the roar of applause filled the venue. On the other hand, there was a group of men sitting in the front row with solemn expressions on their faces. Weathered, disciplined, and eager to be anywhere else but in those seats. At least that is how it appeared to me. I, on the other hand was eager to see this day finally come.
“Damn, that man can sure rile up the masses!” Lieutenant Garrett glared at the podium, where Chaplain Blackcoat stood waving and smiling at the audience. The middle-aged Head of the new N.D.E.D. spoke under his breath, which made us all laugh from our seats.
We were listening to the Lieutenant's minor rant through our embedded hearing software. All active duty officers who made Detective status were fitted with the high-tech software. Gone were the days of ear pieces, plugs and hard-wired devices, as each new century brought us newer tools in the war against crime. Today was one of those days.
“I still think it's ironic,” Carlos said rather loudly, as he got closer to me.
“What's that?” I waved him away. “No need to shout man, you're loud enough in my head as it is! And you had that garlic crap for lunch again?!” I made a face as the pungent smell of garlic hit my nose.
Carlos laughed, “Hey, my Madre makes the best angel hair pasta in the world, don't hate genius!” Carlos punched me in the arm.”
“So you were saying?” I rubbed my arm.
“Oh, yeah, the irony that our resident man of the cloth is named, Joe Blackcoat. You know, like the old days when people still rode in horse buggies.”
“Holy Joes, Blackcoats, and Devil-Dodgers.” Lieutenant Garrett rolled his eyes. “Yes, he truly fits the mold.”
We all nodded as Chief Patrick O’Brien rose and walked to the podium. He looked down and gave us a pointed look. It was his turn to speak, and if there was one thing he hated, it was speaking in public.
“If someone had told me, that our cold case vaults would someday be empty, I'd say they were crazy. Moreover, to add that they would become a thing of the past, I'd say they were drunk and buy them one for the road. But as we see before us, this magnificent building we call our home away from home, we can look forward to making that crazy drunk's words a reality. The Janus Corporation is about to unveil their latest tool, as they assist the men in blue, to uphold the law.”
A second round of applause roared, as Chief O'Brien shook the hand of Janus CEO, Raymond Lemoine and returned to his seat. He was a rather tall man, with long dark hair tied back and stunning sapphire eyes. I thought his name was ironic. Monk, advice protector, a fitting name for one who collects information.
“Thank you, Chief O'Brien,” Raymond spoke into the microphone. “The Janus Corporation is founded on the ancient form of gathering information, and recording it. A Scribe would best fit our founding father's intent, now made a reality in the twenty-fourth century. Our foundation is based on the ancient description of the Roman god, Janus, that is identified with doors, gates, and all beginnings, depicted with two opposite faces. Our mission statement reads:
'We believe everything on earth has a beginning and an end. Thus, there is a need to have all knowledge researched, categorized, and depicted in both the positive and negative light it brings. In order that mankind may walk the path of righteousness.'”
I had that mission statement drummed in my head by Mr. Lemoine, who continued to talk. The images of Janus disappeared into a slide show of their new product of which I've had the privilege of assisting in developing.
“Janus is the unlocking and opening of doors to the future, based on knowledge gathered since time in memorial. What does this mean to the men and women who defend our world? Simply put, knowledge is justice. What once took months, years, and sometimes an eternity to prove or prosecute, will become a thing of the past.
“We have developed a new age infrastructure for security, consisting of a super computer think tank. It has every crime ever recorded entered in its data banks. It does not matter the type of crime, or the severity. It is a means in which the police can utilize every minute of every day in a more efficient way, wasting not a moment that could otherwise be used to save lives.
“This super computer, S.O.U.L. stands for Statute Of Universal Limitations, created by ourCriminal Division, which houses Earth's vast wealth of knowledge in every discipline. For the Universal Justice System, S.O.U.L. meant that Lady Justice would remain blind, and this knowledge would make the world a safer place.”
Mr. Lemoine's long winded speech was enough to put anyone to sleep. But not for me, I was very interested in what he had to say. I, after all, helped create S.O.U.L.
I was a part of an extraordinary project, because this was not an ordinary Tricentennial, this was something altogether different. At the time of my incident, we were celebrating three hundred years since my particular section started to handle the Cold Case Department. To many, a Cold Case was another word for the forgotten. Many imagine boxes and files with little or no leads, collecting dust in the basement. They wouldn't be wrong, if not for the fact that after three hundred years, something good was about to happen. I just didn't know it at the time.
It all stemmed from one case dubbed, 'The Lazarus Effect,' in which the survivor of a murder-suicide reported having a near-death experience after being diagnosed clinically dead. He claimed he'd been thrown out of hell, for being a preemie, and was subsequently institutionalized after numerous claims that he was being haunted by the ghost of his late lover.
His dead body was found face down in his bathroom stall, drowned. Of course, it was impossible to drown on your own, and tests proved he was not sedated. No drugs were found in the man's system, and there were no injuries to his body. The only thing found was a message written in the man's own writing:
“Death is only the beginning.”
Of course, back then, the supernatural was never legally considered a crime. Who could prove it? I often thought about that, considering my own story.