Prologue: Dr. Quincy
“A word to the wise and dying, you can’t cheat death, you can’t predict it or protect yourself against it.”
-Raymond Reddington (The Blacklist S.7 Ep.5)
“How’s he doing?” I asked.
“No improvement,” the assistant answered.
I looked into the observer window at the unconscious subject, a death predictor we had named Ryker.
“It’s possible, keep trying. We did it with Shiloh, we can do it with him,” I urge.
“Shiloh was a lot younger, he was still developing his neural pathways, we could be damaging him for all we know,” the assistant reasons.
“We need to do this or the military will have my head and I will really be stripped from ever experimenting again,” I exclaim.
“I can try but what happened with Shiloh could have been a fluke, you know that. We don’t even know how we got those results because the records have been lost. We might never know, Dr. Quincy,” he replies.
“Wouldn’t it be easier to start over, with a new subject?” he asks.
“We don’t have the time and frankly, I don’t have the patience. The military wants more money or they’re going public. They’re already all over the news, they can only afford to hide it for so long,” I reason.
“Just keep trying,” I urge again.
“Yes, sir,” the assistant answers.
The assistant leaves the observing room and goes back into the experimentation room where the subject is. He picks up the IV line going from Ryker and puts a needle to the end of it. He injects him.
This all started after the death of my daughter, Eleanor. She died in a fire when she was six. After that, my home life fell apart. My wife left me, I became depressed, and hopelessly lost, I started drinking. One thing stayed the same though, my obsession with saving people, predicting their deaths. So. people could avoid it or prepare. With the first round of human test subjects, it seemed utterly hopeless and a failure considering seven of them died, all except for David Keen.
Why had he lived? I looked back over everything. It didn’t make sense. What was different about him? He wasn’t the youngest or healthiest. The experiment had caused him to need his hearing terminated, so, it worked but the sound needed to be controlled. Or the subjects needed to adapt, so we figured children are resilient, they bounce back, they heal, they adjust to their environment. I took the idea and ran with it. But many of my colleagues didn’t like it.
But if you twist the truth far enough, you reason that it’s for the greater good, so we can help future generations. I couldn’t save Eleanor or bring her back but I could ease others’ pain by helping them.
The door creaked open behind me. I looked it was Sgt. Mercer.
“How’s it going?” he asked.
“We’re trying,” I reply.
“What if it doesn’t work? Then what?” he asks.
“Have faith, my boy,” I reply.
He looked doubtful.
“Have you ever lost anyone?” I asked him.
“Too many to count, comes with life and the job,” he answers.
“If you could have saved them, you would have, though,” I stated.
“If I could have, but you don’t know if you knowing would have changed anything, it didn’t change anything for Ryker and his mother,” he counters.
“He didn’t know the power he had, he didn’t understand it,” I reply.
“Who’s to say if you avoided the fire, she wouldn’t have died in some other way? What if it was fate or destiny or life? Things happen and sometimes you can’t change them no matter what you know or do. Or the power you have. Same with Ryker and his mother,” he replies.
“I guess that’s where I and you are different, I’d do anything, anything, to save my daughter, you would accept someone’s death and the grief. Maybe I never did,” I answer.
“You want to know how much time I have left?” I echo looking at Ryker through the observation glass.
“You know?” he asks.
“I’m the head of this experiment, of course I know,” I reply.
“How much?” he asks to humor me.
“Fifteen years,” I answer.
“Shiloh was successful after all,” I remind him.
“Yeah and you sold him to fund this, which so far, has been a failure, again,” he counters.
“He was eleven,” he continues.
“Everything has a price, including science, and predicting death,” I reply.