But then, you already know that... don't you?
Deception is a Right. Truth is a Privilege. Innocence is a Luxury.
No future. Delta Green.
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age." -H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
He was no stranger to pain.
His drill instructors in ORE had beaten weakness out of him, had attempted to mold him into a killer. There was no mercy, no kindness or weakness in them, and all of them, all of the recruits had hated them. They insisted that he, that Jack Krauser, that all of them had to be the best.
So they were.
In some respects they succeeded. Leon S. Kennedy was never a weak man, and his training had changed him in a myriad of ways.
They tried to make him a killer.
In that respect, they both failed and succeeded.
Leon could kill, given the right set of circumstances. He had the instincts of a killer, all the moves. He was not a soft man, not any more. Racoon City had killed that Kennedy as surely as if it had put a bullet into his brain.
But he was not a killer.
Leon S. Kennedy was a survivor.
Saddler, or rather, the abomination that was left of him, steamed and hissed behind him, already rotting, the putrescent tissues seeping and draining into the sea. Leon tried not to think of what that might do to the local wildlife, but there were more pressing matters ahead of him.
His breath wheezed in his chest, broken ribs sawing at him like rusty knives, and the agony in his right leg told him that he probably had a fracture somewhere. Never the less he ran, or produced an amazing approximation of a run, considering how badly injured he was. Right now all he could do was pray a sliver of bone didn't cut into one of his lungs, or that the internal bleeding didn't get any worse.
He was in bad shape, and he knew it.
Pushing aside the pain, focusing on the mission, he made his way to the lift that would take him off this rig, and hit the button. A lesser man might have cursed the slow moving, ancient piece of machinery impatiently, knowing he had less than three minutes to reach safety, but right now, Leon was past worrying about things he could not control. Instead, he used the time needed for the lift to descend to rest, and was grateful for it.
He'd almost faded out of consciousness when a worried young female voice shook him out of his daze.
"Leon! Leon, are you alright! I heard terrible noises-" Ashley Graham's voice stabbed right into Leon's consciousness where it hurt... his sense of duty. He straightened and shook off the maroon haze, then stumbled off the lift and grabbed Ashley by her wrist.
"No time... the island is gonna explode, we have to get outta here!" He muttered roughly, as he dragged the semi-resisting girl behind him.
"WHAT! EXPLODE! WHAT DO YOU MEAN, EXPLODE!" Ashley had had about enough of being chased, carried by nasty creatures, parasites, and impending death. She was near her breaking point.
"As in, boom! Island go bye bye!" Leon cracked tiredly. Admittedly not his best response, but after the sort of day he was having, he was running on empty.
"I HATE this PLACE!" Ashley whined, although given the circumstances, Leon couldn't blame her.
"I'm not very fond of it either." Leon muttered, kicking open a rusty metal door and stepping over one of the headless corpses he'd left in his wake. He shot a quick glance toward the strangely blue burning torches that marked one of the many locations the creepy merchant normally resided, but found the man absent.
He wished him well, he'd probably made enough to retire off of Leon, and it was nice SOMEONE was getting rich off of all this.
Thoughts of getting rich immediately turned to thoughts of Ada. Her newest betrayal stung him deeply, and he wondered if he'd ever REALLY known the beautiful, mysterious super spy. He'd thought he'd lost her forever, back in Racoon City. She'd seemingly sacrificed herself for him, and it had left deep wounds in the young, soon to be ex-cop. He'd gotten over her, but the guilt had remained. For six years, he'd replayed that incident in his mind, cursing himself, telling himself that if he were a little faster, a little more cautious, hell, a little LUCKIER, she might still be alive.
Seeing her alive had been a shock, one that had almost gotten him killed. Only Ada had toyed with him, dancing, flirting, always just out of reach, a touch of kindness here, a clue or a hint there.
She'd seemed to be helping him, but as usual the femme fatale had had a different agenda. Who was she working for now, he wondered.
More importantly, what was she planning to do with the Las Plagas sample?
The cave walls around them shook, the island writhing like a dying beast. Ashley started to fall, and in his pain-riddled state Leon just kept dragging her along as he ran. She yelped.
"LEON! OW! WAIT UP!"
He blinked, then slowed down long enough for her to regain her feet. She gave him a worried look.
"Are you ok?"
"No." He said gruffly, and it was the truth, in more ways than one. She gave him a look as though she were waiting for him to elaborate, but by then they had reached the underground river, a jet ski bobbing innocently up and down in the tremor caused wavelets. Leon glanced down at the keychain, with it's cute little teddy bear and more importantly, the ignition key contained on it.
It was nice to know Ada at least considered him worth enough to keep alive.
Of course, the cynical side of him whispered, that's probably because she never gets rid of tools that might still prove useful.
Leon shook this dark thought off and mounted the jet ski, inserting the key and starting the ignition.
The jet ski roared to life on the first try. Thank god for small miracles.
Ashley got on behind him and threw her arms around his chest, squeezing tightly. The sudden compression of his damaged ribs sent waves of agony through him, but he simply gritted his teeth and used it to focus himself.
"Hold on tight."
He gunned the jet ski and it jumped like a bronco stung by a horse fly, roaring down the narrow basaltic stone passageway. Rocky outcroppings and bits of debris whizzing past them as they careened down the passageway at breakneck speed. Leon leaned forward, his face a rictus of concentration, every bit of willpower and adrenaline focused on manuevering the small craft down the narrow canal. One slip up, one false move, and both of them were dead.
They'd come too far, suffered too much for that to happen.
Ashley's sharp intake of breath and screeched warning nearly killed them both, but Leon managed a quick affirmation, as a wave of water boiled up behind them, crushing support pillars and cracking rock with the force of its passage. A strange, droning growl filled the air and Leon blinked, wondering at the noise.
Then he realized it was him.
The passage suddenly made a sharp curve to the right, and up ahead, wavelets battered against stalamites which jutted out of the water like teeth. A column had collapsed to the far right of the barrier, creating a natural ramp up past the obstruction.
They weren't gonna make it.
"Ashley, lean to the RIGHT!" Leon shouted, throwing his weight to the right.
"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god..." Ashley chanted over and over again, her eyes squeezed tight. She leaned.
The craft dipped dangerously to the right, too far, and Leon cursed, then reacted. He bashed his padded elbow and forearm against the wall on that side, providing just enough distance between the jet ski and the wall that they didn't smear themselves all over it, with a sudden wrenching bump, they careened up the ramp, shooting out of the cave just ahead of the roaring tsunami behind them like a cork shot out of a bottle. Airborne, they flew for a heart stopping second or two, before slamming with bonejarring force back onto the water, salt spray and mist coating Leon with a stinging cloud.
Ashley screamed, jarred free from the jet ski, then went under the surface.
"ASHLEY!" He shouted, looking nervously about for her. For several scary seconds, there was no sign of her, and then the young girl's blonde head broke the surface, coughing and sputtering. She looked up at him.
He reached down a hand and helped her back aboard the jet ski.
She threw her arms around him again, and he hissed in pain, but he was just as grateful that she was ok, and recognized that it wasn't just safety that prompted her to do so.
"Leon..." She said into back of his neck. "It's... over?"
"Not yet. I still have to get you home safely."
He gunned the jet ski more gently this time and started them on the long trek back to the mainland.
"Leon...?" She said hesitantly.
"When we get back... would you mind... putting in a little overtime?"
He blinked. What did THAT mean? "Um... no.. thanks."
She sighed. "I figured as much. Who was... that woman?"
It was his turn to sigh. "She's... let's just say she's a part of me I can't seem to let go of."
Ashley took this somewhat enigmatic statement at face value, saying nothing.
But if anything, she held on tighter.
The mainland in sight, Leon wheezed painfully. Ashley blinked, startled out of her reverie by a sudden side movement of the small water craft.
"Leon... what's wrong? Why are we-"
Leon's answer was to slump to the side, his hands slipping off the jet ski's controls. Startled, Ashley pulled him towards the opposite direction, struggling to keep the heavier man from slipping off into the water. Somehow easing him forward against the craft's controls, she looked him over worriedly.
It deepened to panic when she saw the blood sluggishly easing its way out of his slightly open mouth and nose.
"Leon! Leon wake up! Leon, what's wrong!"
He's hurt, a voice inside her said. He needs help.
What am I supposed to do? I...
Think Ashley. Whining at him isn't going to save him now. Or you.
She eased forward against him and grabbed the handlebars, putting her small booted feet (boots that were not cheap damn it, and after all the hell they'd been through, not to mention sea water, they were probably ruined) against his combat boots still on the Jet ski pedals. An experimental push sent them lurching forward, nearly throwing both of them off the craft. She forced herself to calm down, easing her feet carefully over his this time, gradually, they built up speed.
She could hear him breathing in wheezing, bubbly gasps, and he was suddenly wracked with a coughing fit. His face was pale... deathly so. She bit her lip.
"Don't you die on me, Leon S. Kennedy. You're mine! You just don't know it yet!"
Where the hell did THAT come from, she asked herself.
Pfft. Like you don't know, she berated herself. He's only saved your skinny ass like, fifty times in the past 24 hours.
But he's hung up on that Ada chick.
Then I guess you've got your work cut out for you, don't you, Ashley Graham?
We gotta get out of this alive, first.
A sudden bumpy slamming sensation and the sound of the jetski bottom hissing against sand brought her back into reality. Screaming she tried to keep the craft upright, but it lurched suddenly to the side, throwing both of them off of it.
Ashley threw her forearms ahead of her, her elbows digging painfully into the sand. She ended up tumbling head over heels before coming to rest on her face, having swallowed a half mouthful of wet sand, and bit her tongue. She sputtered, spitting out bloody sand.
She spit again then got up, looking around her for the first time.
"Leon!" She shouted, seeing him slumped over on his left side. She ran over to him and eased him onto his back.
As she did so, she noticed some sort of walkie talkie with red lights blinking on and off clipped onto his belt. Pulling it loose, she fretted over it for a second, hitting several buttons on it before a scratchy, tinny voice cut in.
"Shkkht-eon! Leon! Are you alright? What's going on?"
Ashley held it up and spoke into it quickly.
"Whoever you are, help! Leon's hurt, he's unconscious! We're on a beach somewhere, I don't know where! We need help! I think he's dying!"
"Leon, please respond, over!"
She blinked, then realized who ever this was, they hadn't heard her. Thinking back on hundreds of stupid war movies, she tried hitting another button and was rewarded when the small LCD display on the side of the radio blinked to life. A pretty looking woman blinked at her in surprise.
"Who the hell are-... Ms. Graham! What are you... where's Leon!"
"He's right here, but he's hurt really bad! He passed out a little while ago, after the island exploded! We escaped on a jet ski, but we crashed on a beach, and I have no idea where we are! We need help."
"Calm down, Ms. Graham-"
Her condescending attitude snapped Ashley's last nerve.
"Hey, fuck you, lady! Don't tell me to be calm! I've just been through the worst goddamned day of my whole life, with monsters and... and parasites... and the guy who went through all of it to save me might be dying, so I think I h-have the right to fucking p-panic right n-now." She started to sob.
"Ms. Graham... Ashley, calm down. Panic is not going to help Leon. Listen to me carefully. We have a helicopter enroute, but we have no idea where you are. The island's destruction has put alot of steam and smoke in the air, and visibility from the air is terrible. You have to find a flare, make a fire, find something to signal it. Do you think you can do that?"
"Do I have a choice?" She snapped, waspishly.
The lady was unfazed. "Not if you want to save Leon, and yourself."
Ashley sighed. "I'll... think of something."
She turned off the radio and cast about herself feverishly. The jet ski was overturned on its side, its front slightly crumpled from the impact. The beach was one of those beautiful white sand ones, completely clear of debris or trash, although Ashley wasn't much in the mood for sunbathing right now. She bit her lip. No wood, no trash, no phone, no lights, no motor cars...
She shook her head. Not the time for Gilligan's Island. She looked at Leon fretfully.
He did NOT look good.
She noticed the huge hand gun in a holster at his side. She'd seen him use it before, blasting the heads off of those wierd, crazy zombie looking people on the island.
Leon... he'd know what to do. He probably knew fifty ways to make a fire without matches or a lighter. He was resourceful, a soldier or a cop or something, and she was just a college student... resourceful, in her life up until now, had meant knowing where the places to get the best bargains had been... how was she supposed to...
Wait... she looked at the jet ski suddenly. She remembered seeing Leon blast several red barrels during their escape, and the resulting explosions had been impressive. Jet Ski's had gas in them, right?
A glimmer of hope threaded through her.
She grabbed Leon under his armpits and threw all of her weight into pulling him away from the Jet Ski. Agonizingly slowly, she dragged him across the wet sand, leaving a deep furrow behind them.
A furrow with spots of blood. She winced when she saw it.
"Hang in there Leon! Don't you die on me!"
Leon didn't answer.
She finally succeeded in dragging him about fifteen feet down the beach. She grabbed the handgun out of the holster and looked at it dubiously. It... looked easy enough. A little penlight looking attachment was screwed onto its top, a little button in its side. She hit the button and a thin red beam shot out, the mist making it appear like a thin, wavering red line.
She walked until she was about ten feet from the jet ski and lifted the pistol awkwardly in both hands. The red light danced across the jet ski, trembling in her grasp.
Dang this thing was heavy.
She held it as far away from her as she could, putting the red dot on the center of the Jet ski. gritting her teeth, and squeezing her eyes shut, she squeezed the trigger, praying that this would work.
God answered in the form of an artificial crack of thunder, as the .45 calibre pistol barked once.
The recoil knocked Ashley flat on her ass, the hand cannon spinning several yards away. She she landed on the hot brass ejected from the pistol and jumped up, yelping and hissed in pain, rubbing her stinging hand, then her singed thigh. How the hell did Leon DEAL with that thing! It felt like her wrist was broken!
Not to mention, her ears were ringing.
She looked at the Jet ski. A hole the size of her fist had been put right through the thing, and small flickering flames started up as she watched.
She jumped up in the air, her pain forgotten. "WOO HOO! I ROCK!"
Then the Jet Ski exploded.
For the second time in as many minutes, Ashley Graham found herself flat on her ass.
"Owww... this sucks."
A merry flickering flame burned where the Jet Ski had been, the full gas tank burning like only performance gasoline can. Ashley stood up, brushing herself off, then looked back at her comatose companion.
"I did it, Leon! I made fire!" She felt inordinately proud of herself, and somewhat primal as well, a part of her wanted to dance around the flames and celebrate.
Leon appeared to be celebrating too. A small bit of flaming debris had landed on his pants leg, and was now smoking merrily, well on it's way to becoming an actual fire. Only the fact that his pants were wet prevented them from joining the jet ski bonfire.
"Ack! Shit! Leon, I'm sorry!" She danced over and patted the small flame out quickly, looking him over intently.
He looked like shit.
She cradled his head in her lap, caressing his forehead reassuringly as she searched the night sky.
"Hang in there, Leon. Please."
Overhead she heard a chopper, and a sudden blinding light illuminated the beach like daylight.
She shielded her eyes with one hand and waved with the other.
They were going home.
DATE: September 18, 2004
SUMMARY: Unexplained disappearances in coastal Europe, Evidence of GOO Cult activity, after-action report of Los Illuminados Incident
CASE STATUS: Open
First off let me start by thanking you for allowing me the opportunity to investigate this incident myself. As you know, I have a certain personal stake in events that can be, however tenuously, linked to the former UC, and despite my relative "green horn" status, you recognized that I am as close to a subject matter expert as we have at the moment.
I hope that my report will justify your trust in my capabilities.
From day one the operation faced difficulties inherent to any supernatural activity that takes place outside of normal DG jurisdiction. This particular incident took place extremely close to OSSJ home turf, and Jerry's Kids were doing everything short of active persecution of our friendlies local to the area. This incident has their panties in a serious bind, since the Catholic Church has made it a habit of "disappearing" any GOO cults that happen to pop up. Since this one was taking place right under their nose, they were understandably upset at the implications.
In this particular case, they were as much in the dark as we were. This hit us like a sucker punch. I'll leave the implications of this to more experienced minds. Suffice to say, securing passage to the area was understandably problematic.
Before the operation, here is the information we had on hand.
Reports of missing locals and strange disappearances in the vicinity of La Isla De Los Illuminados were forwarded to us by Friendlies in the Spanish government. Normally such incidents would prompt investigation by Spanish authorities, but blurry jurisdiction lines coupled with the fact that the island itself has been privately owned for over a century discouraged any real investigative efforts. The Spanish government decided to turn a blind eye. Our friendly informed us that he was going to investigate the incident himself, and after three weeks and no further communications with him we were forced to assume that he had disappeared as well. This would be approximately June 09, 2004.
The investigation itself is as follows:
Passage was secured for myself and several agents with the Spanish Government, but passport trouble and constant surveillance by OSSJ prompted us to lie low while we prepared an expedition to La Isla De Los Illuminados. During this time, as you know, the president's daughter was kidnapped, as our agents in the Secret Service were able to reveal, but at the time I was unaware of the incident, as the OSSJ and the relatively low tech environment we had been forced into had us pretty much incommunicado. Federal Agent Leon S. Kennedy (from now on to be refered to as Kennedy) was dispatched almost immediately afterwards, on June 15th, 2004. Showing extreme tenacity and resourcefulness, Kennedy was able to correlate several varied reports and track the President's daughter, Ashley Graham, to a remote island off the coast of Spain. Three guesses which one.
June 17th, 2004 at 0300, 2 days after Kennedy disappeared into rural Spain, the island was utterly destroyed in the largest example of seemingly conventional explosives since the Iraq occupation. Kennedy and an unidentified american female, presumably Ashley Graham, were exfiltrated by american US Naval forces operating out of NAS Siganella. Emergency medical care was provided there for Kennedy, who had sustained severe phsyical trauma during the incident, and then both individuals were immediately flown by an unidentified C-130 Transport to Andrews Airforce Base.
Our immediate surveillance of the island revealed very little information. The site was completely devestated, and much of the former island property was submerged. Further investigation revealed a complete absence of life at those villages which had been reported affected by the disappearances. This in and of itself was not unusual, as I was told by the Spanish agents, rural peasants are a remarkably superstitious lot, however, the state of these villages suggests a darker influence. When I say absence of life, I mean absence of life. No wildlife, no livestock, no human beings. Cleared out. Food was left to rot on tables, several dead animals were found in pens, unable to free or care for themselves. This is highly unusual, since cattle in the local area is sometimes substituted for money, this would be tantimount to leaving the country and leaving behind one's life savings. Further, no other village nearby that had been unaffected has since seen any sort of unusual increase in population.
It's like these people just disappeared.
As I said before, the island itself was almost a bust. There were only a few rocky crags left above the water's surface, and these barren bits of rock are completely scoured clean. However, closer examination provided an interesting tidbit of information as to the method of destruction.
Chemical analysis of the exposed areas of rock revealed no residue which could be linked to any known conventional explosive. While immediately after the incident there was a storm, it is unlikely that ALL traces of explosives having been present would be removed. Further, several areas which had obviously been outside the extreme radius of the explosives had been polished to an almost mirror like surface, which suggests a different method.
Through spectral analysis, we were later able to determine the culprit. Thermite Plasma.
As you know, this unconventional weapon is not available to military use. We have encountered this particular catalyst before, as I'm sure you are well aware, in our conflicts with MJ-12, Thermite Plasma is a derivative their agents use when under extreme duress, to eliminate all evidence of their activities. However, such material has never before been used in such an incredible amount, and telling absence of any and all activity from MJ-12 or Saucer Watch leads me to believe that this might be an example of a third party conflict. More on that in a moment. Suffice to say, there was a definate incident which took place here.
Here's what I've been able to dig up on the island from local legend and investigative action. The island was a military fort in the late 1400's, when it was placed under the care of the progenitor of the Salazar Castellians, one Enrique Salazar. The Salazar family was prominant in Spanish society, but certain embarassments had occured that placed his family under serious scrutiny by the Spanish Inquisition; he accepted the position to avoid any "entanglements". Several rumors of "strange lights" and "unsettling figures" were mentioned by fearful natives, as recorded by a dominican friar, but such reports were dismissed as flights of fancy.
Disappearances began similar to what we witnessed in our own investigations, and a word which was repeated in the Kennedy Report, Las Plagas, was mentioned.
Fast forward to 1624. Apparently the younger son of the current Castellian, a Carlos Salazar somehow managed a daring escape from the island, making his way to mainland. As is written in his testimony, the Salazar family had degenerated into a "blasphemous hive of black hearted heresy" worshipping "false gods" and practicing such lovely, time honored GOO cult activities as cannabalism, incest, human sacrifice, Mythos related ceremonies, and slavery. The Spanish government dispatched an armada, and landed some five hundred troops on the island. The castle was razed, and all inhabitants were sumarily slaughtered.
However, no official record could be found detailing the raid. Those officers who presided over the incident were sworn to secrecy on pain of death, and the 245 soldiers who survived the incident were given a choice; induction into an order of the Franciscan monks who have taken an oath of Silence, OR, get this, removal of the tongue and thumbs.
Regardless of this overwhelming effort, some scraps of information leaked out, presumably from one of the officers who presided over the incident.
From what we have been able to garner, Los Illuminados (lit. The Enlightened Ones) practiced a corrupted form of Y worship who somehow managed to run afoul of some Shub-wankalot or another. Real sick shit, but in this particular case, it's clear that there were either some DYoSN involved, or possibly an example of the mother of all parasites (Eihort). In any case, this particular incident could be the first semi-recorded "Night at the Opera", which makes it a first, as as far as DG goes. As usual, the grunts took the brunt of it.
Anyway, for his service to the crown, Carlos Salazar was given stewardship over the island, with the tenet that he keep it clear of Los Illuminados "for all time". In 1904, the Salazar family made a private bid with the Spanish government, and purchased the island and surrounding property outright. By all accounts, the Spanish government was quite pleased to wash its hands of the situation.
For all time turned out to be until just recently.
Enter Ramon Salazar, by all accounts an upstanding citizen. Concerned with rumours about his "basement", and flooded with requests by various interested parties to examine his quaint island home, Salazar came under the influence of one Osmund Saddler, this much is understood. Not much info could be dug up on Mr. Saddler, save that his name had been tagged by Alpha Cell as a potential New Age... in any case, the lower areas of the castle were opened up, and as far as we've been able to gather, they found what they were looking for.
What's going on here? We aren't exactly sure. If we had managed to get to the island before its destruction, we might be able to determine exactly what is going on. Unfortunately our best source of info is from the Kennedy Report. I know this is beating a dead horse D1, but I told you we should have recruited Kennedy when we had the chance. The alphabet soup snapped him up almost as soon as he could pass a psyche eval, and now, with his current assignment, he's too high profile to even consider approaching. We lost a good potential agent, in that one.
In any case, several disturbing revelations were made unwittingly by Mr. Kennedy. From what we were able to gather, this "Las Plagas" is indeed a mutation, although it's precise origin is anyone's guess. This Luis Seras character made the only documented research into Las Plagas, and it might interest you to know that unlike our initial suspicions, I can find no link between Las Plagas and the T-Virus, G-Virus, or any known variant thereof.
This is something new.
Also disturbing is the interference by this Ada Wong individual. Kennedy mentioned the presence of another individual, A Jack Krauser, who mentioned the involvement of UC. As we suspected, UC's disenfrancisement has only forced them to go underground.
Investigation into that possibility is pending.
It seems Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Graham were "infected" with some form of parasite, presumably Las Plagas, but actual documentation of the procedure used to remove Las Plagas was not made. Both individuals passed a routine health check, but the Feds don't really know what they are looking for. Suggest we procure a sample for the good doctor to do our own research. Investigation as to the location of Ms. Wong and the the sample which was stolen, as well as her benfactor's identity has hit a dead end. We just got there too late to do any real identification.
I will inform you if any new developements occur in that arena.
Final Analysis Observation. Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Graham are high profile individuals. Direct interferance in their lives could result in the compromise of DG. However, their connection to this incident, as well as the nebulous nature of their treatment, suggest that we keep an eye on them. One thing further. The OSSJ knows about the Las Plagas Incident, as well as the Americans involved. There is a potential for interference... those fanatics don't really know what restraint is. If OSSJ knows, and the Feds know, you can BET MJ-12 knows as well. This is the sort of thing that gets the Bronsons all hot and bothered, and while we can find no direct link to MJ-12, we cannot afford to discount the possibility that they are somehow involved. This situation is going to have to handled with extreme delicacy.
I do not envy Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Graham their future... life is about to get extremely interesting for those two.