"Good morning, Jay."
Jay awoke, the light blinding him from the ceiling of the room. He held his hands up to protect himself some from the brightness, and looked in the direction of the voice that had just greeted him.
"We thought you'd never wake up."
Jay only saw the form of a man, then the image began to become clearer. He could see the bald head, shining teeth, and piercing eyes of Pat standing before him. In his hand, Pat extended a cup of coffee to his waking friend.
"Where am I?", Jay asked.
"You're at The Fleece", replied Pat, still extending the coffee towards Jay.
"My wife? My children?"
"Jay, we need to talk..."
"No. I need to see them first."
"No! I had a dream about this, this very conversation, and it didn't go well! I need to see my family, NOW!!"
"LET ME SEE MY FAMILY!"
"There are more pressing things than your family right now, Jay."
Jay screamed out in agony over the words Pat had just spoken. What could be more pressing than seeing your own family after you just woke up?
A lot of things can be more pressing, Jay.
NOTHING IS MORE PRESSING!!
Yes it is, Jay.
Jay looked up at Pat and realized the last set of words had not originated from Pat's lips. Pat was just smiling. But he had heard an audible voice. I must be seeing things, Jay thought.
I assure you Jay, you're not.
Jay's eyes widened. His pulsed began to race, and he scurried away from the table, falling to the floor all the while backing into a corner on the far side of the room.
He can hear my thoughts? He can talk to me in my own mind?, Jay questioned.
Most people here at The Fleece can, Jay. It's one of the many perks.
"How are you doing that?", asked Jay, audibly.
"Oh, telepathy, that's a palor trick compared to some of the things that go on in this place, Jay."
"How is that possible?"
"Anything is possible, you just have to know where to find it and how it works is all."
None of this was making sense to Jay, and none of it diminished his desire to see his family. Now he was more scared for their lives than ever before. He now knew he was dealing with something extra-human, super-human in fact.
"Genetics, as it turns out, Jay, can be easily manipulated to create a new lifeform. Even one that has existed for tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, even billions of years. You just have to know what sequences to change. That's the difference between being human, and more than human. The difference between a man of bone, and a man of steel. Of being Kirk or Khan. All it takes is a tweak."
Pat crotched down in front of Jay, who was still cowaring in the corner. Pat's trademark smile was still gleaming.
Jay just stared back at him, unsure where to go from there with the conversation. He just wanted to escape.
"Jay, you're a very inteligent man, so I want to share something with you. Something I believe you'll understand readily, and openly have professed in some respects yourself. It's about the reasons for being..."
This statement did grab Jay's attention, slightly, as one of his lectures had started with this phrase. Jay always tried to interject phrases he thought his students would remember.
"Have you ever wondered Jay, why there are so many theories out there about where our origins came from? There are plenty of hypotheticals, but two in particular most people cling to for...understanding, so to speak. One is creationism, the other is The Big Bang. One encapsulates billions, upon billions of years of history, of which most of the time the Earth was unlivable for humans. The other says that the Earth and everything else was formed a mere six thousand, almost seven thousand years ago. But they're both theories that require faith and diligence to perceive. Wouldn't you agree with that?"
Jay did not move for a few moments. Knowing that apparently he was not going to hear anything about his family until this conversation was over, Jay finally knodded in agreement.
"But the honest truth, Jay, no one knows where we came from. No one knows how. It's all an educated guess, just like a student would try on one of your tests. You give them a question to answer, and make all of the answers potentially correct, then that student has to decide which one is the right one for that moment. The same rule applies to this question, the mother of all questions. Why are we here, Jay?"
Jay just stared back at Pat. He finally answered, "You have to be educated to guess."
Pat laughed loudly at that statement. He looked back at Jay after he regained his bearings, "That's the spirit, Jay, I knew you had it in you."
"What does this have to do with my family?"
After Jay's question, the door to the room openned. In walked Jay's children first, who immediately recognized their dad. Both children ran, smiling and screaming for their daddy. Jay embraced them both. As Jay hugged them, another figure approached. He looked up to see Linda standing before him.
"Hey, honey!", Linda said, a big smile filling her face, as usual.
Jay's eyes lit up, he jumped to his feet and embraced her, their children clinging to their legs. Linda and Jay kissed passionately as they held to one another. Pat, of course, was all smiles during all of this.
"Should I get you two a room...and a babysitter?", Pat asked.
Linda laughed and looked at Pat, "That won't be necessary. I would like to take my husband to our room you've prepared for us."
"Of course you can, Mrs. Trent."
Jay, smiling now, looked at Pat, "Am I ok to do that? How long was I out?"
"Several days. You injured yourself pretty good. You hurt Larry pretty badly too," said Linda.
"Larry! Is he ok?"
"He's fine, Jay, just fine," replied Pat. "Do go with your wife and settle back in, since you met an untimely event the last time we attempted to do so. Afterwards we'll get together and talk some more about the things I just brought up, as well as what happened after you left us."
"Did the other guy appear?", Jay asked.
"Rob, you mean?", said Linda.
"Yes, he did in fact, but we may have found a way to stop that from happening. A way for you to control this phenomenon we had already been discussing", said Pat.
"Perhaps with some of what we have just discussed in here, Pat?", asked Jay.
Pat was smiling at him again.
Jay was still skittish about what happened with Pat before his family arrived, but that was no matter for now. Now, all Jay wanted to do was take a hot shower and spend time in the arms of his loving wife and children. After that, he'd indulge Pat's discussion some more. It was intriguing, afterall.
Besides, how can you refuse a man that knows what you're thinking.
As Jay, Linda, and the kids left the room to head for their, Pat turned and looked in their direction as they left. Once the door was closed, Pat continued to stand there. He then began to bark off orders.
"Keep track of them, I won't to know exactly what they do and where they go at all times."
"Yessir," a voice chimed in from a speaker.
"Make sure they are accommodated well."
"Yessir. What about the others?"
"Keep them in stasis. Some of the regeneration did not take as well as we would have liked."
"And Mrs. Trent?"
"She was just here, as you saw."
"The OTHER Mrs. Trent?"
"Oh, yes, her..."
Pat pondered that one for a moment. He rested his index finger to his lips, and paced in the room slowly for a bit.
"Give it some time, and let it play out."
"The longer she is alive there, the greater the risk, sir."
"I understand that. But she's somewhere she can't harm things, for now. When the time comes, we'll neutralize her permanently, along with Rob."
"Sever the link?"
"Once Jay is active, there'll be no need for a link anymore."