One last plane ride took him to Dulles International Airport in the nation’s capital. He had one more training session with Will then he would be back home for some much needed rest. Will met him at the airport and took him to his office in downtown D.C. He was right in the middle of the action. As he described, a lot of his job included networking and backroom deals. The location of his office allowed him to move effortlessly across town to meet with whoever was necessary.
Once more he was led into a lab, this one much different than the others. It was an indoor piece of land the size of a football field. He met a few people who were all busy looking at a screen yet again. As he was introduced to yet another group of scientists he was stunned to turn and see James Ellison and one of the engineers that he had met while training with him.
“Sebastian, good to see you again.”
It was then that Sebastian noticed on one of the screens was the drone that he had seen while with James a few weeks ago.
“Yes, Sebastian, that’s the same one from our lab. This is a live feed we’re watching now. They are preparing for liftoff now.”
Sebastian watched the screen as the drone lifted into the sky and before long it was no longer invisible. On another screen was showing what the camera attached to the drone was seeing. The earth was getting further and further away until the drone finally reached its’ desired altitude.
Just then Will picked up his phone and spoke into it. “Alright, your turn.”
Sebastian finally noticed that down below them was actually a replica of a town with buildings, streets and trees. A few seconds later, approximately fifty people entered the fake town square.
Now talking onto his phone to someone else, Will asked. “Ready when you are. What do you think?”
A voice that sounded exactly like Marcus spoke over the speakerphone, “We are good to go on this end. Give me a name and I’ll give you a location and a ping.”
“Subject number 14”, answered Will.
Within a matter of seconds a third screen that was an aerial view of the town showed a bright red light coming from one of the buildings. Seeing this Will didn’t say a word, just motioned to a small group of soldiers below who were looking at a smaller screen of their own. They rushed the building from the screen and quickly emerged with a man in handcuffs. They walked him to just below where Sebastian, Will and James were all standing. When they turned him around he had the number fourteen stenciled on the back of his shirt.
“Perfect”, James proudly proclaimed. He and Will smiled and shook hands while talking to Marcus over the phone. Sebastian was speechless.
What the hell did he just witness?
“Well, what do you think?”, Will asked Sebastian.
“That’s definitely something else”, is all that he could come up with. “What would be the real world application of this technology? I’m assuming this is purely for military use right?”
Will glanced at James before continuing. “Of course. For the most part anyway. We are working with Homeland Security as well to be able to use this in their anti-terrorism division.”
“How does it work?”, Sebastian asked purely out of morbid curiosity.
“Well, we would have to find a way to inject the devices into the bloodstream. For our test subjects here, we just used a needle and boom, it was done. Needless to say our enemies on the battlefield or even the citizens of our own country aren’t going to volunteer for this. So we have alternatives.”
Sensing that Will was done speaking, Sebastian looked around the room hoping someone would chime in with an answer. When no one did he asked the million dollar question.
“And what is that alternative?”
It was the voice on the other end of Will’s phone that answered the question.
“Sebastian, this is Marcus. How are you? The answer to that question is complicated. But as of right now we are working on a way to introduce nanobots so small that they become airborne. When these are perfected they will target an area with known combatants, they will be exposed to these devices and ingested into their airways. Each nanobot will have a specific identifier and using our drone technology will be able to locate and label each enemy soldier as needed. Again, this is just in theory right now. We haven’t perfected a way to get them into a person’s body without their knowledge yet. It’s a difficult task in itself, not to mention the ethical questions obviously.”
Sebastian just shook his head and seemed to be accepting this answer. But inside he knew that ethics would play no part in the success of this project. The only question he was really thinking was if Marcus was lying.
Did ‘The Keepers’ already have a way to insert these devices into people without their consent. He think he already knew the answer to that.
James could sense the apprehension in his young protégé. He put his hand on Sebastian’s shoulder, and along with Will, took him to the side out of earshot of the others in the room.
“I know what your thinking. And yes, there are some serious legal and ethical questions about this technology. If certain watchdog groups or amateur detectives working out of garages ever caught wind of what we are working on, we would be shut down immediately. And that can’t happen. When we all agreed to join this group, we knew that we would have to do things that we weren’t comfortable with. But remember, the group and it’s mission always comes first.”
“But we don’t have to worry about that”, Will interjected. “By the time we’re ready to put this to use, you’re anti-tracking software will keep all of this our little secret. Right?”
Sebastian suddenly felt sick. He knew that he would come across situations like this when he joined this group. He learned that throughout the history of ‘The Keepers’ there were numerous times that the group skirted the line between right and wrong. All for the sake of the groups mission. But that wasn’t what was making him feel this way. It was a comment from James that at first slipped by him but was now all he could think about.
How the hell did they know about Alex and Stephen in the garage?