Smith has left the encounter with Millicent and her group. At ruin of the house, Millicent tries to get them to go back to work, but there is talk about rescuing Eleanor. Meanwhile Jason has just found out his parents are alive and Smith knows something about where they are. How will he respond?
Some key pieces of information that were brought up in earlier chapters. Jason has nanite protection from his father. This was found out after he reacted badly to Millicent’s injection of nanites. Since he has had them for a lifetime, his body has been perfected over that time. Jason also found out that Candace is very much interested in him. A lot has been cut to make this to the point. We only focus on Jason. What was lost? Discussions about the collaring process and Earth’s general difficulties with slavery; Millicent “hires” Rachael at an exorbitant rate. Key in this sectionis Jason’s deciding to commit to Millicent. For the full read, you can read “Jason Makes Choices”
I am not sure I will make Saturday’s posting, but I am optimistic about Sunday’s posting. Thanks for your support.
For your enjoyment,
Jason Makes Choices
Smith signaled to the other two and headed away. He shouted over his shoulder as he waved his goodbye, “I’ve had my bit of fun for today. You can reach me through Neville if you don’t already know my location. That pub of yours seems remarkably insecure. Eleanor awaits your response. Come Neville, Findley. We’re leaving. Findley, you’ll want to start packing for the trip.” The three walked down the street towards the center of town.
Millicent clinched her fists in frustration. John and Liam restrained the now furious Jason. Millicent turned and faced her group and began, “I need to get back to London tomorrow to deal with Eleanor.” Jason seemed to calm down a bit as Liam whispered in his ear, “..lad, she is going to need you and everyone here. Pull it together…” Jason nodded to Liam and John who let him go.
Jason squared his shoulders and asked Millicent, “If you were going to sign on Eleanor, why didn’t you bring her?”
Millicent sighed and said, “Because she wouldn’t sign and because her father is keeping like a prisoner for all practical purposes. She had similar objections as Rachael and a couple of new ones. Although, frankly, Eleanor’s life bears far more resemblance to John’s than Rachael’s. She can’t leave except with her family’s permission.”
Rachael asked, “Couldn’t you have protected her? Like you’re doing to me now.”
Millicent said, “I did what I could with the injection of nanos. That has kept her from Neville’s, Charles, and Simone’s fate. But Eleanor’s fathers and brothers escort her to her workroom and back. They accompany her on her walks. They are very old world in their views. I had planned on spiriting her away when the oppression became too much. Smith apparently beat me to that.” She thought for a moment. “The Senior Woodson must be beside himself. There is an edge there of some sort. “ She shook her head and said somewhat acidly, “If you all are finished second guessing me, let’s finish here to help Jason and head back to the Pub.”
Michael protested, “Finish here? How does that help Eleanor?”
Millicent said as firmly and gently as she could, “Jason’s father was far more valuable than I had imagined. Smith’s comments suggest that he is alive and that someone I know is keeping him. The closer we get to knowing what happened to Sean, the more we perturb Smith. And I want to perturb him greatly.”
Michael persisted, “And that helps Eleanor how?”
Millicent looked at the sky and sighed, “In the immediate little, but there is something here Smith wanted. I want to find it. We WILL free Eleanor, but the light is fading and we have a jump on Mr. Smith and his gang. I WILL not have it wasted. Do you object?” There was steel in her voice now.
Liam whispered something in Michael’s ear and he looked annoyed but said, “If we are rescuing Eleanor, I have no objections.”
Millicent said in a tired voice, “Smith is at the center of this and I have got to stop him. And I am not sure how.” She looked around and then looked at her hands, “Perhaps I could have stopped him alone when I was younger or he was more foolish. If even part of what he says is true, he means to use Earth as a source of slaves and materials to other planets. I’ve tried to hide you all over the years, but someone has found you and Smith is their vanguard.” She said quietly, “And It sounds as if I shan’t be getting any help from elsewhere.” There was a quiet pause. Millicent looked at the silent group. What could she expect them to say? She waved her hands in front of her face as to clear away such thoughts. Maybe if she focused on this problem, solutions for Eleanor and Smith would present themselves. “Enough of this maudlin wool gathering! Smith is gone and we can’t do anything about Eleanor here. But we can figure out what happened to Jason’s parents. Right now I need to understand what happened here. Go! Finish. Rachael and Liam meet me with Jason while the rest of you work. Go! Shoo.”
The rest headed off to their tasks while Rachael and Liam gathered around Jason. Millicent guided them to what remained of the porch. At the foot of the rotting stairs she started talking, “Jason. Smith probably knows something, but signing with him is worse than playing with fire. There is no doubt you would be burned. “
Jason looked at the hulk of the house. Then chuckled in a sad sort of way, “Let see how my day has gone. I woke up this morning from the hangover to end to the world because someone gave me a shot that didn’t sit well. I find out a girl is in love with me just in time to leave her. So it figures that the first person who knows something about my parents’ disappearance uses it to blackmail me.” He turned to Millicent, his head down saying, “I suppose it is foolish of me to believe he would tell me anything without a quid pro quo.”
Millicent said, “Even Winifred and Findley have given up something. They just don’t understand what they have given up.”
He stepped up onto the porch causing Rachael to gasp in alarm for fear of the rotted boards. Jason asked to the hulk of the house, “What would I risk in knowing something?” The boards creaked under his weight but seemed to hold.
Millicent said, “At the moment, you are risking broken bones. Those will repair themselves – fairly fast if your father’s work is any good. If you sign with Smith, you risk a great deal more and it may not repair itself. What does your Bible say? ‘For what does it profit man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?’”
Jason used a foot to feel for firmer boards and took a step forward toward the door. “I am not all that religious, but I think you stretch the context of that verse.” He held his arms out for balance but it looked as if he were trying to fly and he took some steps along a firmer joist. “Is my soul all that big a loss in the grand scheme?”
Rachael spoke, “There is another passage in my wisdom books ‘Do not envy evil men and do not desire to be with them’. Look at Neville. Look at Findley – are you willing to become that? Is knowing something sooner about your parents worth that? Is that what your parents would want?”
Jason reached the door and turned the nob which was locked. He shook it but it held for some reason. “Just my luck today – a door of fine oak. What would it take to get through that door? Would I have to break it? Could I just batter down? If I got to the other side, would I just see more dry rot and rats’ nests? If I could see dusty furniture would something become clear? ”
Liam said, “I think, lad, if you stay up there you’ll see the underside of the patio.”
Millicent said, “Another wise man said, ‘Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.’ Smith offered you something of your past. Consider what you just saw. Do you believe that he will easily give anything you need to know?”
Jason looked at the closed door. The boards creaked loudly as he shifted weight. He turned around, “I would be a fool if I did. Will the truth be found sooner with you?” He considered the distance of about eight feet between the door and the top of the small stairs. He asked, “You say I should be a bit stronger and faster than average with these nanos my father gave me?”
Millicent looked at the distance of the boards said, “I can’t be sure. Mine will do that with time. At a minimum any broken bones will be healed quickly. A cautious scientist would test the hypothesis in safer circumstances.” She stepped backed away dramatically and said, “Clear out of the way, Miss Weiz. I think Mr. McNeill is going to try something foolish. But, I would rather witness that than something else. Go ahead, boy. I am fair passing at setting bones.”
Jason smiled at Millicent, “Hardly words of encouragement.”
Millicent smiled and bowed, “I am not your parent. I can’t say you would find your parents quicker with me, but what you find will be the truth. “ She eyed the porch and Jason speculatively, “See if your father left you a legacy. You might be more than anyone thinks.”
Rachael looked alarmed. Liam looked confused but pulled Rachael back a bit. Jason grinned openly now. He squatted down experimentally and the boards creaked loudly. He shifted both feet so they were over joists. He squatted and then pushed with all his might out straight out and swinging his arms forward. As he started the jump, he looked as if he were flying with his hands in front of his stretched out body. His tall frame covered the eight feet of the porch, the four feet of stairs off the porch and another two feet where he landed in a pile and rolled a bit. Rachael screamed a bit. He rolled over and flexed his wrists and moved his legs. “Blimey. I did it. No broken bones either.”
Rachael kicked him, “Idiot bastard, scaring me like that.” And then she turned to Millicent shook her finger at her and said, “and you encouraged him!”
Liam helped Jason up to his feet. “Never seen like that. That was near on fifteen feet.”
Jason dusted himself off, “I saw what Smith was. If his ideal recruits are Findley Brown and Winifred Stanhope, I am hardly a good fit. I would rather work for the person who chooses Rachael Weiz, Michael Richards, and Eleanor Woodson.”
Millicent raised her eyebrow asked, “And what of John O’Malley?”
Jason looked at the sky helplessly raising his hands, “Four years…four years he ignored us. Four years he played those stupid class games. Four years he taunted us with his superiority. Am I supposed to pretend that it didn’t happen?”
Millicent almost pleaded, “Speak with him Jason McNeill. His life and yours have been similar. He made poor choices in University, but he is learning that each day.”
Jason sighed and said, “I will try, but I won’t promise.”
Liam clapped his shoulder and said, “Good lad. John is decent folk. Just lost his way a bit.”
 Matthew 16:26
 Proverbs: 24:1