Composition, Hour 2
I sat on the craggy rock and watched the black briefcase sink,
leaving a trail of bubbles in its wake. Tears ran down my cheeks when I
thought about everyone that had to be sacrificed. Maybe it didn’t have to
be that way. Still I knew that time could not be taken back. Fate was blind
in that way.
Instant rewind to five hours earlier. Tad had bounced into the
kitchen with his usual morning vigor and set about making breakfast for
himself. I munched on my nut muffin, completely unaware that in a few short
hours I’d be staring into Tad’s lifeless eyes.
We made small talk, commenting on the weather, discussing the books
we were reading, and what had happened on All My Children the day before.
All meaningless. The last piece of Tad’s life lacked anything extraordinary
An hour later we were sitting in the middle of a traffic jam, Tad
swearing at the air and me fiddling with the knobs on the radio.
“Do you know what happens if we show up late again? Bob is going to
pulverize us, that is what,” Tad groaned. He glared at the traffic jam with
I ignored his whining and focused on the large billboard towering
“You know, I could really use an Egg McMuffin right about now…” I
That is when it happened. It was only distant whine at first, but
then it grew louder, and then deafening. Within minutes the thundering
rumble echoed throughout my body. I was sure the whole world was going to
come crashing down on top of me. Then the military helicopters swung out in
front of us, nimble and quick. They were so close I could see the faces of
the men inside (if you could call them that), nothing but pieces of
machinery intended to kill. Six red stars adorned each side. The same six
red stars on every letterhead in Tad’s office.
In a flash they opened fire, swooping up and down the highway firing
at anything that moved. The bloodbath ensued.
Instinctively I dove under the dashboard. Tad wasn’t so lucky. His
blood went everywhere, staining the leather upholstery a bright red. Just
as quickly as they had appeared, the copters left.
I didn’t know what to think. Over and over in my head I saw those red
stars. Why would they attack a highway of all things? My thoughts whirled.
All I knew for sure was I had to find out the truth. Tad had been the
leader of the entire operation. Normally I’d go to him, but that was
impossible now. The only other person who knew as much as Tad was Dr.
Greens. I had to speak with him immediately.
Before extracting myself from the car I reached over and pulled Tad’s
wallet out of his pocket. I flipped it open and took out his card key,
which would no doubt prove to be useful.
Seconds later I was walking down the bloody highway. Miles and miles
of gore lay ahead of me. I increased my pace. If I didn’t get to Greens
soon, I’d breakdown.
By the time I got into work the place was in total chaos. Bob was
rushing about, screaming and moaning about publicity and how we would
explain this to ‘the public’. Frankly, I was a bit sick of having to report
to the public everyday anyhow. Better to wipe out the idiots while we had
I strode into the training base, swiped the card into the key slot,
and marched into the lab.
“Doctor Greens, WHAT IS GOING ON??” I screeched it loud and shrill.
Greens dropped his little tweezers and started mumbling about internal
clocks and presets and short-circuiting.
“Save your technical mumbo-jumbo. Why did the soldiers destroy the
highway?” I screamed.
“It was a problem with the disks,” he said simply.
This is when I lost it and descended into complete insanity. Grabbing
the feeble man by the shoulders I began to shake him, wanting to know why
Tad was taken from me. The irony that his own soldiers, his creations, his
babies, would take him away was more than I could bear.
“Get a hold of yourself man!” screeched Greens. “You think your loss
was so terrible? There were children on that highway you know. Mothers,
fathers, sisters, brothers. Tad took them all away. He ripped apart
families and lives for some sick little game he played. In the end Tad
lost. Think about that.”
I glared at Greens for all I was worth, then spun around on my heel
and went in search of Bob.
I strode into his office with purpose but was stopped dead in my
tracks. Bob lay across his desk, telephone receiver in hand. Blood was
trickling out of a massive hole in the side of his head. After a second I
bent over, retching. After vomiting for two minutes straight all over the
nice cushy carpet, I noticed something odd a few feet in front of Bob’s
desk. Fragments of a computer disk. Stepping over the puddles of vomit, I
picked up all the pieces of the disk, took one last look at Bob, and darted
out of the office.
Into the bathroom I ran, sweating like a madman the whole way. When I
got there I pressed my head against the cool tiled wall and took a look at
the disk fragments. A small label had been ripped into three sections. I
tried to put it together like a puzzle, but the sharp pieces were too
difficult to handle. That is when I noticed it. The letters RG, printed
large and clear, in the corner of a label, next to six red stars. My head
began to spin.
What could RG stand for? I racked my mind. Then it hit me. Richard
Greens. Dr. Richard Greens.
I ran as fast as my legs could carry me to his lab. I found him
there, crouched over his computer, his flying fingers typing at an
I crept behind him and studied the computer screen the best I could.
What I seen shocked me to the core. The entire programming files of the
digital men! The same six red stars that were plastered all over the base
adorned the top of the programming file. Greens was in the process of
reprogramming the men! I watched in silent horror as each creation, each of
Tad’s babies, were changed from protectors of our nation to killers of the
nation. And on each file Tad’s name was present, being the father of the
Greens had already eliminated Tad, now he was setting his ghost up to
take the fall of his sick plan. I reached over to the nearest microscope
and picked it up, measuring its weight in my hand.
“You deserve this, you know.” I said in a tight voice.
Just as Greens turned around I brought it down on his skull with a
sickening thwack. His world was now black.
Marching over to the filing cabinets, I grabbed the disks out of the
forth drawer. I wanted to see for myself exactly what was going on. I
popped a disk into the drive and gasped in horror as the truth was exposed.
Seconds later I darted out of the office. I had to run. I had to get
rid of those files. It wasn’t some game. I kept telling myself this,
wishing it to be true. Deep down I knew. I knew that it was some game. That
all those people were killed on some whim of Greens. But this would be
impossible to prove. If I didn’t get rid of those files, Tad’s memory or
even I could be blamed. True, the soldiers were Tad’s idea, man made into
machine, a destructive nightmare. The government didn’t know. The public
didn’t know. It was Tad’s secret, but I wanted it to keep it that way. On
the outside the company looked like a harmless accounting firm. On the
inside it was the largest US based terrorist network. It was the company’s
job to eliminate the threats of other countries.
But people had grown careless…letting those like Greens into the
mix. Greed and power blinded them. And now Tad had paid with his life. Deep
sobs began to rack my body.
After a few minutes my tears began to turn into hot white rage. The
public, they didn’t matter. Faceless cretins that would only go on to
contaminate the gene pool. Sometime their day would come, and they’d end up
just like Tad. I’d see to that.
I stuffed the disks in my briefcase and ran out of the lab. I had to
Before leaving, I stopped by the tiny shack on the corner of the base.
The little red button was there, on the southwest wall, just where Tad
disk’s had diagramed. I slipped the card into the key slot and waited for
clearance. Minutes later I had my finger on the button, hesitating for a
moment. Pushing all doubts out of my mind I hit the button hard.
The soldiers’ quarters went up in a massive blast of explosives. The
world wasn’t ready for them yet. Clutching my briefcase, I set about on my
way to the beach.
As I arrived the cold autumn wind began to pick up. I opened the case
to make sure the disks were still there. 35 of them all programmed with the
information that had taken Tad a lifetime to collect. Every solider had
been built off of these.
I took one last look at a life wasted before chucking the heavy
leather case into the water. As the bubbles streamed to the surface, I
cried. I cried for Tad and for myself.
Deep down I knew this would never get out. After all, in a few hours
all witnesses would be next to that briefcase, forever asleep in their