Jared, called Jerry by his buds, was just finishing up his shift when he came into the crypt and saw the open tomb and the fallen casket. Unsure if what he saw was real, he reached out and picked up the bone arm. The HUMAN bone arm.
A dull thud echoed in the crypt and Jerry lifted his flashlight to the other still sealed tombs. Another thud and one of the stones jerked forward. A final thud and the stone leapt away from the crypt wall. Jerry jumped back, clutching his flashlight and the boney human arm close shaking in terror. This was the end. He would be the first victim of the zombie apocalypse. No hope. There was no-
The zombie speaks! And it looks incredibly human. How will the other humans know the difference?
"You have a cell phone I can borrow?"
Zombies use cell phones?
Ben sat on the stone stairs at the far end of the church in front of the alter holding the Declaration of Independence close. He shifted uncomfortably as Agent Peter Sadusky walked toward him. Honestly, this was not how the FBI agent expected to arrest Benjamin Gates. The man was clever and currently held one of the nation's most treasured documents in his grasp. So why turn himself in now? What changed?
He watched as Gates stood and handed a surprised Sadusky the Declaration of Independence. "Just like that?" he asked.
"Just like that," Ben said, nodding.
"You do realize you just handed me your biggest bargaining chip," Sadusky pushed.
Shaking his head, Ben shifting warily. "I don't see it that way."
Sadusky thought a moment before chuckling. "I take you found the treasure," he said, making himself comfortable on the steps.
The gray eyed man blinked at the agent's casual attitude but sat down next to the other man when prompted. He nodded, "It's about three stories beneath your shoes."
Sadusky chuckled disbelievingly. "You know," he said, brushing his Free Mason ring, "the Free Masons believed that the treasure was too big for any one man."
Ben's lips pulled up in the beginnings of a smile. "Yeah. I was thinking splitting it with the Louvre, the High Museum of Art, give it back to the world. It's theirs to enjoy and it should be returned to them to do so."
The agent gave Gates a knowing look, smiling. "You really don't understand the concept of a bargaining chip."
Gates chuckled. "I want the credit for finding the treasure to go to the entire Gates family with the assistance of Mr. Riley Poole and Miss Abigail Chase and for all our police records to be expunged. Oh, and a hospital for our friend."
Sadusky tilted his head to follow Gates line of sight to see the sleeping figure or a young man dressed in full Continental Army regalia, if a bit tattered and dirty from age. "Yes, I have been meaning to ask: who is you friend? He wasn't a part of your little group if I recall."
Ben shook his head. "No, he wasn't. You're not gonna believe this, but we found him sealed up in a sarcophagus in the treasure room. Believe me, I know it sounds strange and I would have a hard time believing it myself if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. If you want, you can look at the sarcophagus yourself."
The FBI agent rubbed his chin in thought. "We'll deal with that. But first," he turned back to Ben, "about prison."
"I really, really don't wanna go to prison. I...I can't even begin to describe how much I don't wanna go to prison."
Peter met Ben's eyes sympathetically. "Someone's gotta go to prison, Ben."
That calculating look returned the the treasure protector's eyes. "Well if you have a helicopter," he smirked, "I think I can help with that."
Ian Howe could hardly believe it when he and his team were suddenly surrounded by cops in the middle of the night. When the agent began listing off his supposed transgressions, he chuckled. There was no way they'd be able to prove any of that.
And then the one person he never expected to see again walked out of the shadows. It was then he realized he had well and truly lost.
Well played Gates. Well played.
And with that, he began planning his revenge.
When he opened his eyes again, his surroundings had changed again. Everything was still blurry, but not as blurry as before. The ceiling above him was white and smooth. The walls were a pale beige or white, it was hard to tell. He lay on a semi-comfortable bed covered in a sheet and a thin, but warm blanket that could be woven cotton; but again, it was hard to be sure. A strange beeping filled the air at a calming interval and there were strange devices surrounding his head and upper body. And there was a needle with a tube of some kind sticking into his wrist.
Immediately, the beeping began to increase in speed and the sound set him on edge. He tried to sit up, his muscles aching as if from stiffness after a long sleep. He blinked, noticing the sticky things on his chest beneath his apron and the clip on his finger. where were his clothes? And where did all the strange, outlandish things in the room surrounding him come from? Where was he?
The beeping continued to increase.
Voices sounded dimly through the wall, moving closer. What if it was the British? What if they had found him at last? What would they do? What would England do to him? He shot England. He shot his own brother.
The beeping was still picking up speed. Why wouldn't it stop?
He had to get away. Hamilton, where was Hamilton? And Washington. Were was the Continental Army? Were they still fighting? But his Ben said they won. Was he mistaken? This Ben, he wasn't his, but he was still his Ben. Why was this? What was going on? The beeping won't stop. Why eon't it stop? His head was killing him. It pounded like the drums on the battlefield. Steady, predictable, and constant. He felt like he was going to throw up.
Without another thought, he leaned over and did just that. His stomach heaved but nothing would come up except for clear liquid. He felt horrible, and the beeping still wouldn't stop.
And suddenly the voices were much louder and closer and hands were touching him, pressing him, guiding him back to lay down but he didn't want to lay down he wanted to get out he couldn't get out no way out let go let go let GO!
And pushed one of the people away, yanking out the needle as he did so. He climbed out of the bed and wobbled precariously as he tried to make it to the window. Maybe if he knew where he was, he could find a way to escape.
He pushed the heavy, dark curtains aside and froze. The landscape spread before him was entirely unfamiliar. And his. But how could this be? He knew every part of his land, his cities, his towns, his people, everything. So why didn't he recognize this place?
This was in New York. But...how...when...how...
The hands were back. He spun around, struggling against his captors when a gentle, female voice spoke. "Easy, easy. You're alright. You're okay. It's okay."
As soon as the thought entered his head, he knew it was true. This person, this woman, Abigail Chase his mind provided, was his. She may not have been born on his soil, but she was his. A naturalized citizen. Naturalized?
She was his. His alone.
He sighed and leaned into her arms as tears slid down his cheeks and his tired body ached and shook. It was only then that he realized he was crying. His arms circled the woman's body and he clung to her as he wept. She didn't push him away; instead, she shifted so she sat on the window ledge pulling him against her and let him cry.
It was too much. Too many thoughts. to many emotions. to many people. too many events. His head felt like it was going to explode. Canada was an ally? ENGLAND was an ally? Civil War? Texas? Hollywood? Washington, D.C.? Political parties? Disney World? Volcanoes? 9/11? Pearl Harbor? Fat Boy? Football? World Series? What was this? What were these memories? They were all his but...but he could not for the life of him remember experiencing any of them. They were all strange, but so painfully a part of him. Why wouldn't they slow down? Why couldn't he understand them? Why did it hurt?
Brother? Canada? England? ...Canada...? Help.
They were tearing him apart.
Eventually, he was able to calm his raging thoughts enough to regain some control. His breath still stuttered dangerously and his eyes still teared up but he felt exhausted enough to just be held. Thankfully, the woman was still there holding him and whispering to him. She even kissed his head.
"Hey! I heard what happ-"
He lifted his head to look at the newcomer.
The man relaxed his stance and met their gazes calmly as another man leaned into the room cautiously. "Hello."
He waved shyly in return still clinging to Miss Abigail. The man smiled and walked up slowly to kneel by their side. "My names Ben. You've already met Abigail and this," he waved back to the cautious man, "is-"
"Riley Poole," he finished.
There was a beat of silence before Mr. Ben smiled again and nodded encouragingly. "That's right. It's nice to meet you."
The man stretched out his hand to him and he considered it a moment before meeting it with his own. "Alfred," he whispered. "My names Alfred."
"Alfred Franklin Jones."
Everyone looked up as an older man with graying hair and kind eyes entered the room. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you. I'm-"
"Peter Sadusky, agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," Alfred finished.
Mr. Sadusky smiled genially. "So it really does work," he commented quietly, almost to himself. Louder, he said, "No one really calls it that. Too much of a mouthful. Just FBI will do."
Alfred began to sit up, still keeping contact with Miss Abigail, but adding a sense of independence to himself. Sadusky grinned at the subtle movement. Abigail, however, wasn't exactly impressed. "So, how'd it go?"
"Everything's been taken care of. We have our prisoner, no harm done, the treasure in the midst of-"
"Treasure? You found it?! But England! England will-"
"England will only get what is theirs," Mr. Sadusky said, raising his hand to calm Alfred's frightened outburst. "As will France, and Germany, and Italy, and Egypt, and any other country that has a right to it. It's going back to where it belongs. I promise."
Alfred bit his lip. Mine. The word repeated itself in his head whenever he looked at any of these people. They were all his. They could not lie to him. They were his, and he was theirs.
"And the War?" he asked, unable to curb his curiosity.
"Won." Mr. Sadusky heaved a sigh. "This is going to be a bit difficult for you to understand right now, but I can promise you we won."
"Then who are we fighting now?"
Mr. Sadusky grimaced, his eyes sympathetic. "Terror.". He watched as Alfred's expression cleared somewhat in a vague understanding.
"Then what about me? What will I do? Where I go? Mr. Franklin and Mr. washington and Mr. Hamilton, they're all..."
"Dead, yes. Have been for quite some time."
Alfred nodded vaguely. "I see."
"I've been authorized to keep you under protective custody for the time being. That said, you'll be staying with Mr. Gates and Miss Chase, here. They've kindly offered up their new home and I think it will be good for you. You can ask them questions, catch up on all you missed, and if you need anything," he placed his wizened hand on Alfred's young looking shoulder, "don't hesitate to call me."
Worry, assurance, hope, joy, sympathy, and sorrow flowed through Alfred from the simple touch and he couldn't but return the gesture. "Do you know?" he asked, nodding to the others in the room.
The FBI agent shrugged. "No, but if you want to tell them, you can. Even the government knows when it's authority is overwritten." He smiled then. "It's good to have you back, son."
The Nation returned the smile and silently prepared himself for a new future. But first, he had to find Canada. He had to see his brother again.
A/N: And with that, another chapter is written. I admit, I'm not a huge fan of this chapter. It kinda got away from me. I just hope I can wrangle it back in somehow. also, for those of you who are interested and are reading my Cardverse fic Of Witches and Spades, Lady will be in here, too. How could she not be?