Will was waiting outside his car at the airport curbside pickup. After helping Sebastian with his bags they headed to yet another secret location. Riding down the road, wearing his fourth blindfold, he was actually starting to get used to it. He gave up on trying to figure out exactly where he was going. The members each intentionally made several turns and increased and decreased their speed anyway. He had enough to worry about.
When all the recruits were introduced at their first meeting, he didn’t get a chance to talk to Will. He honestly didn’t pay much attention to him at the time considering he thought we would be working for James and no one else. But ever since the plan was made for him to train under all four Americans, he formed opinions about each based on their line of work. So far each had fallen into the profile that Sebastian had in his mind.
James, although very social and outgoing, could also be described as ‘nerdy’. During breaks in their training, he revealed that he worked on robotics and read comics in his rare downtime at home.
Lynn was all Texas all the way. Sebastian didn’t know if it was all an act, but Lynn was what he imagined an oil and gas executive to be, complete with the southern drawl. He was a little suspicious since Lynn let out that he went to school in the northeast, but he didn’t press it.
Marcus was very meticulous in everything he did. He wasn’t unfriendly, however there was a dryness to him that was very clinical. Whereas James and Lynn would crack the occasional joke, it was all business with Marcus.
But Will was another story. He barely remembered what he looked like from the first meeting, but in his mind he pictured a serious, strict military man. No nonsense, by the book kind of guy.
Will was nothing like that. Sebastian had family in the military, so seeing his casual demeanor was hard to comprehend.
“Military?”, Will laughed. “I wasn’t in the military. At least not in the sense that you’re thinking. I started out as a consultant for the Army, whatever that means. Basically, I was brought on as a liaison between the military and private sector to find shortcuts to doing business in foreign countries. There is a lot of red tape involved in the military as you can imagine and to save time, they often look for help to circumvent the bureaucracy involved.”
Sebastian looked at him suspiciously before Will burst into laughter.
“Not buying that huh? Okay, that sounds a lot better than what my actual job was. We paid off local governments so that our armed forces leaders didn’t have to. A lot of crooked politicians in these third world countries. Not like here in the U.S.”
Sebastian actually laughed out loud at that. He knew he’d never get a straight answer on what it was that Will actually did when he started with the group. All he knew was that the man driving him around right now had maybe more influence than the rest of the men he’d met earlier combined. The U.S. military was involved in so many different areas of the world that effected everything. From business to medicine to agriculture, the military gave the group an entry into every corner of the world.
Not to mention an almost endless supply of funds from the government.
When they finally arrived at Will’s secret location, the atmosphere was a lot more relaxed. But the lessons were so much more intense.
Listening to the other members, he got an inside view of what businesses the group had their hands in. It was sometimes a little underhanded, but for the most part it was just them choosing when to release certain inventions into the public. The lessons from Marcus were a little chilling when it came to medicine and ‘The Keepers’ withholding vital information when it could have saved lives. But he could see that they truly believed the greater mission of the group should always stay in focus. A few thousand lives lost to disease was acceptable if it meant keeping the goals of the group intact.
The military lessons were a little harder to swallow. Sebastian prepared himself for what he could find out, but he was nonetheless struck by the callousness of the groups actions. Literal wars were fought to keep their secrets from being revealed. There was even an assassination of a world leader based on a disagreement between ‘Keeper’ members. Apparently one of the European members believed that he and his team should have been granted access to a certain invention over a rival member. The Conductor who was in charge at the time intervened before more blood was shed.
But the group wasn’t always interested in avoiding bloodshed. Not when it fit their needs. He couldn’t say that all or even most wars were a direct result of ‘Keeper’ action, but he soon learned that they always seemed to benefit from the result. As relaxed as he was at the beginning of this particular training, he was just as on edge by the time it was over. He questioned whether Will developed this cool, laid-back persona to deal with the gravity of the job that he was in charge of or if he was chosen for this job because of those qualities.
Either way, he was never more ready for a lesson to be complete. When Will told him that he had enough, it was everything he could do not to run out of the building. Not that it would have done any good. He had no clue where he was.
“Come on kid, it’s time for you to go home.”
Sebastian gladly grabbed the blindfold himself and sat silently in the passenger seat for the long drive to the airport.