The next night, Sebastian found himself sitting alone in his car. He was a block away from the address that James Ellison had given him a few nights before. It was then that it struck him that it was too late to turn back now. Showing up at this meeting was akin to agreeing to join ‘The Keepers’. He turned his back on Alex and Stephen last night, but he couldn’t think about that now. He hoped one day they would understand, but this was something that he had to do. After giving himself a few extra minutes to reconsider, he put the car in drive and parked outside the restaurant. Before getting out, he scanned the surrounding area, trying to see if he could see anything out of the ordinary. Sensing that it was safe to do so, he got out and walked to the front door of the restaurant.
There was nothing special about the place, not really what he had in mind when James gave him the address. Nevertheless, he walked up to the maître de and was preparing to ask for a table, when she grabbed a menu and told him to follow her. Apparently James was already waiting on him. He followed the maître de as she wove her way through the dining room until she reached a private room, where James Ellison was waiting alone. He took a seat across the table from James and gave his drink order to the waitress. The two men waited until they were alone before speaking.
“Glad you decided to show up Sebastian. I had a feeling you would.”
“I have to admit, I gave it a lot of thought, but in the end, how could I say no?”
“Believe me I understand. I remember all those years ago when I was approached. It’s a lot to accept. But I know I made the right decision. Hopefully you’ll feel the same way when you’re my age.”
Sebastian could only imagine the life that James Ellison had led over the years. Just the public life that everyone knew about was pretty amazing. But the secrets, power and cutting edge technology that he was privy to as a member of ‘The Keepers’ was something that only a handful of people on the planet could comprehend. And now, the thought that he would be allowed in that small group himself, was almost too much to handle.
“I just hope I’m up to the task, Mr. Ellison.”
“Please, from now on, you can call me James. We’re going to be spending a lot of time together during this transition phase. Any questions you have along the way, I’ll be there to answer. I know when it was my turn to take over, I relied heavily on my sponsor. You’ll be just fine.”
The waitress arrived just then with their drinks. After she left the room once more, James raised his glass for a toast.
“Here’s to a new generation. You know the old saying, ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ You have no idea how true that is. But you will soon enough. Good luck Sebastian.”
The two men raised their glasses together and each took a long pull from their drinks.
“So, when do we get started?”, an eager Sebastian asked.
“Not here. Even though this room is private, I still don’t want to take a chance in a public place. There are a lot of people out there that would like to see our group exposed. And I’m not just talking about your two friends. They’re not alone, believe me. But we’ve survived this long for a reason. We don’t take chances. That’s your first lesson.”
Sebastian was trying to listen as hard as he could, but he guessed the drink was having its effect. He initially turned down the offer of an alcoholic drink, for the same reason that he didn’t drink at the party. But James insisted that he try what he was having. As the room started spinning and the light started fading, he looked across the table to James, who just whispered to him, “It’s okay. Just let go.”
He did just that. He closed his eyes and everything went black.