|Posted by MARRA on June 3, 2016 at 4:15 PM||comments (2)|
This is dedicated to KJay99, who has consistently asked for the rest of this epic story. After years of waiting here is the next installment. Enjoy!
“What do we have here?” Ben said pointing to Artie, “Well, if it isn’t the traitor. Tell us where the others are and we won’t hurt you too bad, Weisfelt.”
“I don’t think so Hall. In fact, if you all would please drop your weapons, I promise not to hurt you anymore than I have already. Did you like the dodge ball trick?” Artie chuckled while he urged the carpet to rise a little higher.
Ben’s face turned 3 shades darker.
“Did your face turn this dark after the ball clocked you in the face?” Artie asked laughing.
Artie could tell that he had pushed Ben over the edge. “Let’s hope he takes the bait” he said to himself.
Ben growled, to his team, “He’s mine.” as he aimed his Tesla at Artie. Just as Ben fired the Tesla, Artie urged the carpet higher. As Artie hoped, Ben missed him and shot the disco ball that he had hung earlier.
The disco ball started working its magic. Artie flew away as most of Ben’s team started dancing.
Unfortunately, Ben did not fall prey to the mesmerizing sound of Gloria Gaynor’s song, “I Will Survive” and was rallying what was left of his team to give chase.
“Ben is a Neanderthal. I’ll have to appeal to his baser nature” Artie thought to himself, “And I know just what to do.”
Artie stayed far enough ahead of Ben and the remainder of his team to keep out of range of their Teslas. “At least I’ve got them moving in the opposite direction of the Bed and Breakfast.”
Artie looked back at his chasers to gauge their distance, “I think it’s time to implement the next part of my attack”
Artie started weaving the carpet to the left and right and then up and down. He raised his arms and yelled as he directed the carpet straight down, knocking things off the shelves.
As he had hoped, Ben urged his team in the direction that Artie “crashed”. Artie heard Ben’s instructions, “Looks like the traitor lost his ride. Move in!”
As the agents moved closer, Artie put on his sunglasses and lit the fireworks that Ronnie had collected.
As the fireworks exploded, Ben and his men were mesmerized and completely ignored Artie as he rose above the aisles and took off in the direction of the Bed and Breakfast.
“Okay, I’ve got 10 minutes to get everyone inside the B&B.” Artie patted the carpet urging it to move faster.
Hopefully, the commotion of the disco ball and the fireworks would keep James and his minions’ busy and give Mrs. Frederic more time to recuperate.
“What was all that noise?” Claudia asked as Artie landed in front of the Bed and Breakfast. “I swear I heard disco music.”
“Just a few surprises for Ben and his thugs,” Artie replied rolling up the carpet, “we’ve got some breathing room to set up some defenses and hopefully stall James long enough to get me back to where or when I belong.”
He looked at Claudia, “How’s Mrs. Frederic?”
“She’s still out but her color is better.”
Artie nods and starts moving towards Andrew and Ronnie.
“Andrew, let’s move her inside the Bed and Breakfast.” Andrew moved the bioelectric car out of one of the aisles to the front door of the B&B.
“Once we are all inside, I’ll explain the next step in our plan”, Artie huffed as they carried Mrs. Frederic inside.
As they made Mrs. Frederic comfortable, Artie explained the unusual attributes of their new base of operations. Looking alarmed, Andrew asked, “How do we get out?”
“How do you know all of this?” Ronnie asked and before Artie could answer, “And don’t tell me you’ve read it in a book.”
Ronnie looked at Andrew and continued, “I think we are in real trouble here. We took your side, it seems, so we deserve some answers; REAL Answers.”
Artie looked to Claudia for support. She shook her head and raised her arms - a good indication that he needed to come clean.
So, he did.
After he finished, Ronnie and Andrew just sat in silence for a long time, forever, it seemed. Artie could practically feel James closing in.
Artie started pacing.
"We," he stopped, "I don't have time for you two to mull this over. You can stop helping, that's fine, I would understand. BUT, I cant let you leave. You'll have to stay here. If this all goes south, you can say that I duped you. When you discovered the truth, I kept you as my prisoners."
He looked at the 2 agents and sighed, "I'm sorry you got pulled into this but I really need your help. So are you two in or not?"
|Posted by MARRA on May 29, 2013 at 7:35 PM||comments (4)|
Artie got back to the Bronze Room just as Claudia and Andrew carried Mrs. Frederic out of the chamber.
They laid her across some crates. She wasn’t conscious.
Artie looked at Claudia, “How long before she wakes up?”
“I don’t know. It was an hour before you started moving. She’s been bronzed a lot longer than you.”
“I bought us some time but we can’t stay here. We need to move to a more defensible position.”
So much of the Warehouse had been rearranged that Artie wasn’t sure where they could go. It was obvious that most of the personnel never ventured this far into the Warehouse which could be to their advantage.
“Claudia, do you have a layout for this part of the Warehouse on your pad?”
“Yes. What are you looking for?”
“A Bed and Breakfast.”
Andrew, Ronnie and Claudia look at Artie with disbelief and ask at the same time, “A what?”
“I don’t believe it.”
“What?” asks Andrew and Ronnie peering over Claudia’s shoulder.
“You mean there is a Bed and Breakfast here?”
All three looked at Artie.
Artie shrugged and said. “I read about it. How far away is it?”
Claudia shook her head and looked at her pad.
“We’ve got a lot of warehouse to cover to get there,” she replied showing Artie.
Artie thought for a moment.
“Okay. Andrew, I need you to find something we can transport Mrs. Frederic,” he said as he turned to Ronnie.
“Ronnie, come with me. We need to pick up some supplies,” Artie gestured for her to follow him down an aisle.
“Hurry people, we don’t have much time. If I know Ben, he is probably trying to shoot his way through the dodge balls.”
“What about me?” Claudia asked.
“Keep one eye on Mrs. Frederic and the other on unexpected guests.”
|Posted by MARRA on April 30, 2013 at 6:40 PM||comments (0)|
“Artie, where are you?” Claudia asked.
“Artie, where are you?” Pete asked.
“Artie, where are you?” Myka asked.
“I’m right here!”
He lost count on how many times Pete, Claudia and Myka walked past him. He could hear the echoes of their voices calling out his name as they moved to another section of the Warehouse.
It didn’t matter how loud he screamed, they never heard him.
“You know this is all in your head, right?”
“Where have you been?”
“Where do you think?”
“I hate it when you leave me.”
“Quite whining, you’re better than that.”
“I’m not whining. I do not whine.”
“Now that’s the Artie I know.”
“How long do you think I’ve been here?”
“It’s impossible to tell. Time has no meaning here. Maybe you should learn to meditate. It will make it easier.”
“Well, you could be here for eternity or until the Warehouse dies and takes you with it.”
“Is this you trying to make me feel better?”
“Don’t get snippy. I didn’t put you here. You did.”
“I most certainly did not want to be bronzed.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”
Artie knew exactly what the voice meant. He hated that Myka left and it hurt him deeply. He felt vulnerable and that was something he couldn’t admit to himself or to anyone else. So he got angry and he stayed angry.
He wished that he could be more open with Pete, Claudia, Leena and even Myka. It was hard for him to trust people.
He trusted James and look where that got him.
Artie was outnumbered when Pete, Myka and Claudia joined the Warehouse. And somewhere along the line, they all became a family.
He couldn’t imagine the Warehouse and if he was honest, his life without them.
“What do you wish?”
“I wish I was at my Warehouse with the people I care about.”
|Posted by MARRA on April 19, 2013 at 3:40 PM||comments (1)|
After almost a year of writer's block and being bogged down with work, I have finally started the conclusion of my story. I hope you all enjoy it.
Artie struggled as he was dragged out of the room. Agent Hensley had a pretty good hold as he was steered towards the elevators.
“That went well” he thought to himself.
Carol followed close behind with her Tesla pointed at Artie.
The elevator ride down was a quiet, it was obvious to Artie that Carol and Hensley were lost in their own thoughts.
“This is not how I planned to get into the Warehouse,” he said to himself.
The ride down didn’t take long. Artie was assaulted by the sights and sounds of the Warehouse as the elevator doors opened.
Everywhere he looked there were vehicles and people. The place looked like a busy airport terminal. Even if he could escape custody, he had no idea where to go in this chaos.
Hensley took Artie’s arm and guided him to the golf cart that had just pulled up. Artie was sandwiched between Carol and Hensley.
Carol told the driver to go.
Artie was fascinated and appalled at the same time. Large screens were suspended from the ceiling. Some of the screens showed the arrival or departure of an artifact while others showed the inventory of a particular aisle. Still others showed the whereabouts of artifacts all over the world. And if he was reading the display correctly, there were artifacts in use in every major country.
As they continued further into the Warehouse, the traffic and people started dwindling away.
“Now this is the Warehouse I know,” he thought.
It was obvious that this portion of the facility was rarely visited. Artie was surprised at the dust and cobwebs that hung over everything. Never, in the whole time he worked at the warehouse did he ever see or feel this kind of neglect. He could actually feel the neglect; he was a bit alarmed. He wondered if this was caused by Mrs. Frederick being bronzed.
The golf cart finally stopped.
Artie was ushered down a familiar aisle.
The Bronze Room lay ahead. Several guards were stationed at the gate. “Great, now it’s 4 to 1 in their favor,” thought Artie.
As they entered through the gates, Artie looked for the statue of Mrs. Frederick and finally spotted her to the right of the bronzing machine.
Artie slowed his footsteps. He had been in some dangerous situations before and he had always prevailed but he couldn’t see a way out this time.
He had pinned all his hopes that Claudia would save him but she was nowhere to be found. There was no one coming.
He finally admitted to himself that he was scared.
Hensley pushed him towards the bronzer.
Carol was at the controls. She turned to look at Artie.
“I would much rather kill you but James has seen fit to save you. Count yourself lucky.”
Artie was determined not to show any fear in front of Carol so he calmly stepped into the enclosure.
“If I’m dreaming, now would be a good time to wake up,” he thought to himself.
As the door closed on the unit, Artie took one last deep breath and then closed his eyes.
He could hear the machine start up and then nothing.
|Posted by MARRA on July 20, 2012 at 4:45 PM||comments (1)|
The trip back to the States didn’t take long enough. Artie had no idea what he would say when they de-briefed him.
Unfortunately the drive to the warehouse complex was just as fast.
Artie was the last person to shuffle off the bus. As he stepped down, he heard James. “Arthur there you are. Welcome back.”
Artie walked over to James and the group of people standing with him. He kept thinking. “I’m a dead man walking.” It was in his nature to think and plan for the worse and be pleasantly surprised when it all worked out. However, he was having a hard time seeing a light at the end of this dark tunnel.
He recognized most of the people standing with James; Carol (no surprise there), Agent Hensley, Claudia, that Murphy guy and a couple of the medical staff that he had met when he first arrived. There were a couple of people he did not know but as he stopped in front of the group, no introductions were made.
The group turned toward the doors of the Research Facility and Artie dutifully followed. After James’ initial greeting, the group remained quiet as they walked through the doors to the elevators. The ride in the elevator was worse; no one spoke and there was no eye contact.
As they stepped off the elevator on Level G3, Agent Hensley waited for Artie to exit and then took up a position behind him. (“I guess he is to prevent me from running.”)
Once the group entered Room 4; Carol closed the door. She stepped to a console and punched in a code. You could hear the door lock and the humming of a force field.
“Now that there can be no interruptions, why don’t we get to the point of this meeting,” James remarked as he indicated to the group to take a seat.
He turned to look at Artie and said, “Please tell us about your first mission, Arthur. Don’t leave anything out.”
In an effort to collect his thoughts, Artie stalled by saying, “I wish I had had time to write up a report for you sir but if you will bear with me I will try to be as thorough as possible.”
And he began to speak….
Artie briefly mentioned his summons to the mission briefing and his assignment to the team going to Russia. He told them about there being no Teslas available in the arsenal and that in his rush to meet the bus he just grabbed whatever was closest; the lightening rod and the sticky glue. He explained how the team had discovered that Alexander, his Russian contact, had died and that it was his son Ivan who killed Andrew Connors and Joe Sweetwood. Alexander was sent to prison after Artie was arrested by Connors. Artie told them that he guessed that Ivan blamed him for his family’s troubles and his father’s subsequent death. The team eventually tracked Ivan to a warehouse in Russia.
Artie paused for a moment, hoping for someone to ask a question or make a comment. In fact, he was a little annoyed. James did not appear to be paying attention. He was about to make a comment but stopped himself. “Keep it together Nielsen,” he thought to himself as he continued with his story:
“The group split up to reconnoiter the building. We immediately came under fire. Miss Donovan and I got separated from our group. We had no idea of the condition or the whereabouts of our other team members. As Claudia and I took shelter behind some crates; she kept a steady barrage at Ivan’s group to keep them pinned down but I had no weapon at my disposal. I was trying to figure out where the nearest exit was when she reported that the Tesla was losing its charge. I motioned for her to join me and laid out my idea of using the lightening rod. (Claudia cleared her throat; he wasn’t going to mention her bigger target remark.) She hooked up the lightening rod to the Tesla and set it to overload. Ivan and his men had us surrounded and as the Tesla overloaded we took cover.
The resulting blast, if you want to call it that, knocked Ivan and his cohorts unconscious. Claudia and I were stunned for several minutes. I recovered before her and used the sticky string to subdue Ivan and his men.”
Artie took a deep breath and he waited. For several uncomfortable minutes, there was silence. No one wanted to be the first to speak so the group waited on James to respond.
At some point during Artie’s story, James had turned his chair around. As he turned, he looked at Artie and said, “You used a rather unorthodox method to complete your mission; wouldn’t you agree?”
“Is anything here orthodox?” Artie replied. Artie hoped to illicit a chuckle from the group from his witty come-back.
He got nothing; there weren’t even any crickets.
“I’m not sure what you want me to say. Seven weeks ago I didn’t know this place existed. I have done everything that’s been required of me. If I did something wrong, I wish you would tell me,” Artie said with exasperation.
James looked at him for several minutes; he felt like bug pinned under a microscope.
“Carol, is he telling the truth?” James asked without taking his off of Artie.
Carol looked at a device she had in her hand and then responded, rather gleefully, Artie thought.
“According to Pinocchio, everything he said was true except for his last statement.”
There were murmurs from most of the people in the room in response to Carol’s declaration.
“Who is Pinocchio?” Artie asked. “And how does he know?” The last question he kept to himself.
Ignoring Artie’s question, James asks “Please read back the last statement made by Agent Weisfelt.”
A recording of Artie’s last statement begins playing.
“I’m not sure what you want me to say. Seven weeks ago I didn’t know this place existed. I have done everything that’s been required of me. If I did something wrong, I wish you would tell me.”
“What part of that statement is false?” James asked Carol.
“The device indicates that he is not telling the truth about his knowledge of the Warehouse” she answered.
Pushing a button on the console in front of him, a voice can be heard, “Yes sir?” James responds, “Please bring in Pinocchio”.
Without waiting for a response, James turns to Artie.
“I am going to ask you a few questions Arthur. Please be truthful when you answer.”
James turned to look at the rest of the group. “I believe that this concludes the debriefing. Thank you for your time, you all may leave.” As the group stood up to leave, “Miss Donovan and Agent Hensley, please stay.”
As the rest filed out, two guards entered the room with a box.
“Just place it on the table” Carol instructed.
Artie was in trouble. He had never heard of a device called Pinocchio.
Then it dawned on him. He felt like slapping himself.
“Oh! Pinocchio, the puppet from the story” Artie said.
“Yes, Arthur. It is the puppet from the story” James replied, “It’s rather a unique artifact. I discovered it at a Catholic elementary school in Walla Walla, Washington.”
James continued with his narrative as he and Carol began opening the box, “It seems that several children experienced unusual nose growth that the doctors could not explain. Unfortunately, one child actually turned to wood before it was discovered that one of the nuns was using the puppet to seek out liars. She was really a very disturbed woman. Of course, no one believed the children about the puppet. It was easy to arrange for the nun to go on sabbatical and for the Warehouse to acquire such an interesting tool.”
Artie was fascinated, scared and appalled all at the same time. If he ever got back to his timeline he was going to make sure that Pinocchio, once located, was safely placed in the Dark Vault.
“I think we are ready.”
“Wait!” Artie said, “I have a request.”
“You are in no position to make demands,” Carol angrily retorted.
“That is true. But if you want me to answer your questions, you can at least agree to my request,” Artie said looking at James and completely ignoring Carol.
“You’ll talk,” Carol threatened.
“Eventually,” Artie said with just as much menace as he could muster in his voice.
“Enough! What is your request Arthur?” James said interrupting the stand-off between Artie and Carol.
“I would like Claudia to read the results from Pinocchio,” Artie said, “I want an impartial judge.”
“Interesting; what makes you so sure that Miss Donovan is impartial? She is after all an agent.”
“I trust her,” Artie said.
James was quiet for a moment.
He gestured to Claudia, “Miss Donovan, if you’ll be so kind as to man the controls.”
“You can’t be serious?” Carol asked James.
“If it will speed up the proceedings then I am willing to have Miss Donovan at the helm.” James replied as he placed his hands on Claudia’s shoulders.
“Exactly how does Pinocchio work?” Artie asked stalling for time. He was also a little curious. He edged towards the puppet. Correction; it was actually a marionette. It was completely made out of wood but it was so life-like. It gave him the creeps.
“Our scientists have determined that Pinocchio resonates with some type of energy field when a lie is told. You have to be holding it for any physical manifestations to occur.” James answered.
Artie stepped back from Pinocchio, as if burned, “But don’t worry Arthur; I have no desire in lengthening your nose or turning you into wood. I have other plans for you.”
“What kind of plans?”
Without replying to his question, James directs him to a chair placed directly across from Claudia.
“Please take a seat Arthur. We have wasted enough time.”
As James returned to his seat, Claudia whispered, “What exactly is your plan, Mosh? “
Artie looked at her smiling, “Just watch the puppet. Trust me.”
“What is your name?”
“Your full name, if you please,” James sighed.
“False.” Claudia said without looking up.
“I’ll ask again.” James said with an edge in his voice, “What is your full name?”
James looked at Claudia. She nodded her head indicating that the statement was true.
“When did you change your name?”
“Thirty years ago.”
“Interesting; Arthur there is no record of this change anywhere. Why did you change your name?”
“To prevent the Russians from finding me.”
“Why would the Russians be looking for you?”
“To keep me from talking.”
Frustrated, Carol interrupts, “You’re wasting time James! Ask him what we need to know.”
“Patience, my dear, before I lose mine,” James replied calmly.
“Prior to seven weeks ago, were you aware of the existence of this complex?”
“Come now, Arthur. You expect me to believe that you had no prior knowledge of Warehouse 13?”
“That’s not what you asked me.”
James smiled. “Have you ever been in what we know as Warehouse 13 prior to seven weeks ago?”
“What! Are you reading that right, Donovan? Of course he knows about the Warehouse.” Carol said storming over to Claudia.
“Let me have the device,” she demanded holding her hand out to Claudia.
“Carol, please take your seat,” James said, “And I don’t want to hear another word out of you or I’ll ask you to leave.”
Once Carol took her seat, James turned to Claudia.
“Now Claudia, are you sure he is telling the truth?”
“Yes sir. The readings are clear, his last statement was true.”
Artie breathed a sigh of relief. So far, James questions had been easy. As long as James framed his questions around his version of the Warehouse, Artie might have a chance of getting out of this alive.
“Let me ask the question another way.”
“Oh, oh, you spoke too soon Nielson,” Artie thought to himself.
“Have you ever been in Warehouse 13?”
“I have never been here.”
“I’m not talking about here Arthur,” James said gesturing to indicate the room. “Have you ever walked the aisles of what we call the Warehouse proper?”
Artie fervently prayed and then responded, “No.”
“Arthur, I do not wish to cause you any harm but I am fast approaching the limits of my patience. Have you ever been in the Warehouse?”
Artie sighed, “Yes.”
Claudia simply nodded.
“About seven weeks ago.”
“How is that possible, Arthur? Seven weeks ago you were in prison,” James asked more to himself than to Artie.
Suddenly, James smiled; it made Artie shiver. “How long were you in prison?”
“Thirty years and a couple of days,” he answered.
“A day at the most”, Artie replied.
Artie was getting impatient. It was taking James too long to take the bait.
“Where were you before you were escorted from the prison?”
“At Warehouse 13.”
“He’s lying!” Carol said jumping to her feet.
“He is telling the truth,” Claudia said in disbelief.
“Interesting.” James said. He turned away from the group.
Artie looked at Claudia and whispered, “Does that thing (he motioned towards Pinocchio) detect everyone in this?”
Claudia looked at him as if he had grown two heads.
“Well?” he asked impatiently.
“I guess it could. Why?” Claudia responded suspiciously.
“I think I have solved the mystery of Arthur Weisfelt or whatever he calls himself” James said as he turned around to the group.
He looked at Artie and said, “You don’t belong in this timeline, do you?”
“Took you long enough.”
James chuckled, “Don’t be rude Arthur. I take it that we know each other in your timeline?”
“Yes, I know a James MacPherson.” Artie replied.
“Do you know Carol?”
“Yes, I know a Carol Augustine. Quit playing around and ask me what you really want to know James. I am tired of your game!” Artie yelled.
“Why don’t you tell me what it is I want to know?” James asked as he leaned back in his chair.
“Okay, Nielsen here is your big chance,” Artie said to himself.
He stood up and he looked at the four people in the room as he began to speak.
“I have worked at Warehouse 13 for over 30 years. My warehouse looks nothing like this. What you have done here, James, is obscene. The artifacts that I preserve and protect are not sold to the highest bidder.”
Shaking his head, Artie looked at James, “You have always hungered for power, no matter the cost. Some things never change.”
“How dare you speak to James like that?” Carol said jumping to her feet, her face flushed with anger.
Artie turns to Carol and says, “In my timeline, James was banned from the Warehouse.”
“You’re lying!” she screamed and practically jumped over the table to grab Artie.
Up to this point, Agent Hensley had remained in the background. But as Carol scrambled around the table to get to Artie, he stood and grabbed her.
By this time, Carol had gone berserk; kicking and struggling in Hensley’s arms.
Screaming over and over again, “I’ll kill you!”
Throughout Carol’s outburst, James never flinched or even looked her way. He raised one finger and Carol grew quiet.
“He’s telling the truth.” Claudia said in the sudden silence.
“Please continue Arthur.” James said with a nod in Artie’s direction.
“There is nothing more to tell. My job is to ‘Snag-it, bag-it and tag-it’”
“Please elaborate Arthur. How many agents do you have? What kind of government controls are in place? I want answers and if I have to cause you pain to get those answers, I will.”
Artie didn’t need Pinocchio to tell him that James meant every word of that last statement; he had the scars to prove it.
Artie sighed and looked directly at James, “You just don’t get it do you? My warehouse is a secret installation. There is no overt government controls. I couldn’t tell you who, in the government, knows about the warehouse. As for agents, there are four of us. Well, at least there were four of us.”
“Impossible! How can you possibly maintain all of those artifacts?”
“Let me say this one more time. The artifacts come into the warehouse but they never check out. We don’t allow the artifacts to be taken.”
“How did you arrive in this timeline?”
“I’m not really sure.”
“That’s too bad, Arthur. That information might have been useful to me. Do you have any theories about what caused this event?”
“Damn that puppet,” Artie thought to himself. “Focus Nielsen, you need to steer James in another direction.”
“I’ll tell you but I need to ask you a few questions first.”
“What makes you think I will answer your questions?” James asked.
“Don’t you want to know about my James? Why he was banned? What he is doing now?”
“It did cross my mind to ask but your James is of no importance.”
“Well, somebody here thinks it’s important enough to kill me or at least silence me.” Artie said heatedly.
James just looked at Artie.
“Alright, you may ask a question but I may not answer.”
“Here goes nothing,” Artie said to himself crossing his fingers for luck.
“Who’s the caretaker of the Warehouse?”
Carol cried out, “Please James don’t answer his question!”
Artie continued without waiting for an answer.
“I mean there has to be one person that’s completely linked, body and soul, to the warehouse. I’m pretty sure that you are not the caretaker; you have no soul James. In my timeline, the caretaker is Mrs. Irene Frederick.”
When he mentioned Mrs. Frederick, three things happened. James, who seemed to be paying no attention to Artie, looked up, Carol rose from her chair and Claudia looked at Artie and mouthed the word “True”.
“You recognize the name, James? I bet she was in charge until your little coup. But you couldn’t kill her because the Warehouse would destroy itself. And if your Mrs. Frederick is anything like mine, she wouldn’t tell you how to transfer the link. Am I right?”
Artie looked at James and had his answer.
“Shut him up James. Please. I am begging you.” Carol pleaded.
Artie turned to Carol, “You poor thing. It must be agony to be so torn. On one hand you want me dead because of what I may tell James. On the other hand, your orders are clear, help James retrieve the information he needs to transfer the link from Mrs. Frederick. I’m curious, though, how long have you known that I wasn’t part of this timeline?”
Carol looked at Artie with such hatred, “I just found out.”
Claudia shook her head.
“You’re lying. Why? What is it that I know that poses such a danger to you and James?”
Artie thought a moment. “Oh, I get it now. You and James planned to take over the warehouse. The first part of the plan was to get rid of Mrs. Frederick and the regents. Yes, James, there are regents in my timeline as well. So you two set out to find the regents. You use them as bait to draw Mrs. Frederick into your trap. By now, she knows you two are behind the missing regents. She evades capture time and time again. But you are an impatient man so you send her a message. I bet she surrendered when you threatened to kill another regent, right? So now you have a complete set, minus a few casualties. But what do you do with Mrs. Frederick and the regents? Simple, you bronze them.”
James interrupts, “I have grown bored with your history lesson, Arthur. You will tell me how to transfer the link.”
“But James, I’m getting to the best part.”
Carol once again lunged for Artie and once again Agent Hensley stopped her.
“I’m betting that you (Artie points to James) didn’t personally oversee the bronzing of the regents or Mrs. Frederick, right? Carol, along with some trusted field agents, took them to the Bronze room. Before Mrs. Frederick was bronzed she told Carol something very earth-shattering.”
Artie looks at Carol and asks, “Do you want the honors? No? Here’s where it gets a little sketchy. Mrs. Frederick told Carol that I was supposed to be at the warehouse, not James. Carol would have laughed at her but she also told Carol that I would eventually end up at the warehouse and everything she loved would be destroyed and I would make two warehouses into one. Of course, Mrs. Frederick was talking about our two timelines converging. What could Carol do? Well, she didn’t bronze Mrs. Frederick, at least not right away.”
Carol, who had been struggling to free herself from the arms of Agent Hensley, suddenly stopped and sagged into her chair.
Claudia had become so engrossed in the story that she forgot to monitor Pinocchio.
Artie paused to gather his thoughts and then continued with his narrative.
“Where was I? Oh, yes I know. Carol didn’t know if Mrs. Frederick was telling the truth or was just bluffing. So, Carol uses an artifact on Mrs. Frederick; probably the Pearl of Wisdom, so that she could control her. Carol questions Mrs. Frederick and finds the location of the other me. Together, they pay Arthur Weisfelt a visit in prison. Carol forces Mrs. Frederick to rescind the offer of a job at the warehouse that she had offered when Weisfelt was first arrested. With the job offer off the table he was going to be in prison for thirty years and couldn’t possibly harm James or the warehouse. Mrs. Frederick is bronzed and Carol and James live happily for thirty years. Until, an application appears on Carol’s desk. Arthur Weisfelt has been accepted into the agent training course. Carol panics. So, she pays him a visit a couple of days before he is released. She talks to him and realizes that he doesn’t pose a threat and if he does then she could always plan an accident during his training.”
Artie stopped. “You don’t look surprised James. Is that because Carol finally told you everything? And since you haven’t interrupted me, I am pretty sure that the events I have laid out actually occurred.”
“You have an active imagination, Arthur. I have enjoyed your storytelling but that’s all it is, a story.”
Artie glanced at Claudia. She was frowning again. He couldn’t tell if that was a good sign.
“Now two days after Carol’s visit, Arthur Weisfelt blacks out and is no longer the Arthur of your timeline. Our two timelines converge long enough for me to be transported here.”
Artie turns to James, “When I came to, I found myself in the prison hospital ward. I got asked a lot of questions. I figure you were using Pinocchio when you came to visit me, right?”
“Very good, Arthur, the artifact was unable to determine what part of your story was true and what was false. You were a mystery and I don’t like mysteries.”
“I was a little puzzled that the director would pay a visit to an agent-in-training, even if he was attacked by an artifact. Normally, that would have been beneath your notice. What could have happened to peak your interest?”
Artie turned from the group, he was onto something but he couldn’t quite put the pieces together. Suddenly, it comes to him.
“Oh! How could I have been so blind? You (pointing to James) were there when I popped into this timeline!”
Artie excitedly continues, “Carol comes to you; she was having second thoughts about Arthur Weisfelt joining the warehouse. She begs you to deny my application. You question her and she tells you the whole story. So, you pay a visit to the person who is supposed to topple your empire. You really weren’t concerned, but you are a prudent man and wanted to see for yourself. What did you see James? It must have really been something. So what was the plan? I know. The same plan you always use; keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But I didn’t do what you expected, did I? I went through my training, biding my time but you grew impatient. So you and Carol contact Ivan and he goes on a killing spree. So you send me out into the field on my first assignment. Carol makes sure that there are no Teslas left so I would be left without a weapon. You figured that I would have to show my hand or I would either get myself killed. I didn’t die but I goofed up by using the lightening rod. If I hadn’t, Claudia and I would have both died. So here we are now and you want information. ”
Artie turns to Claudia, “You didn’t know that you were expendable, did you? They would have gladly sacrificed you to get me.”
“You do like to hear yourself talk, don’t you Arthur? But you haven’t said anything I want to hear and nothing that is true.”
Claudia looks at the device in her hand and she begins to shiver but says nothing.
“Gotcha!” Artie says to himself.
James stands up and moves towards Artie. As he comes within arms distance, “I’ll ask you one more time. How do you transfer the link from one caretaker to another?”
“I have no idea.” Artie replied.
Without taking his eyes off Artie, James says, “Miss Donovan.”
Claudia looks at Artie then responds, “True.”
“I am afraid that your time with us is at an end Arthur. Agent Hensley, take him to the Bronze room.” James turns and heads for the door.
“I’m surprised at you James. You used to love to listen to my theories. Don’t you want to hear the rest of the story? No? How about a different story? I know, how about I tell you how you die?”
James stops but doesn’t turn around.
“That’s right McPherson, in my timeline you are dead; nothing but a memory.”
“True.” Claudia announces.
“You betrayed me, Mrs. Frederick and the warehouse and you paid for it. You died in my arms and for just a brief moment I had my friend back.”
“You are a sentimental fool, Arthur.”
“It’s better to be loyal than power hungry. How many agents have died because of your disregard for their safety and well-being? You would have killed Claudia just to get to me. She doesn’t deserve that.”
Artie turns to Claudia, “You started working here out of loyalty to a man who tried to help you save your brother. He could have saved brother.”
“In my timeline, your brother is alive and well. You and I along with some others discovered a secret compartment in Reticus’ Compass that held the key to the teleportation equations your brother was using. He works at CERN now and you work for me at Warehouse 13.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I did everything in my power to save Joshua. I knew nothing of a secret compartment. I have given you too much leeway, Arthur. Agent Hensley take him away now.”
As Artie is dragged from the room, he tells back at Claudia “You know I’m right, he let your brother die!
The last thing Artie sees is Claudia looking down at Pinocchio.
|Posted by MARRA on July 13, 2012 at 12:40 AM||comments (2)|
Clean up at the warehouse in Russia was a pretty standard affair. They located all of the artifacts in Ivan’s possession. They even located all of their teammates; a little worse for wear but in good condition considering that Ivan could have used any of the artifacts in his possession to torture or kill them.
In hindsight, Artie wished he hadn’t used the sticky string to subdue Ivan and his cohorts. Not that it wasn’t effective but the looks from the team spoke volumes and Artie knew that any hope of keeping what transpired in Russia quiet were over when Claudia told them about the lightening rod.
Everyone was coming up to him, slapping him on the back and congratulating him on his first successful mission. One of the team members, Artie thought his name was Murphy, kept hounding him about why he used the lightening rod.
“I just don’t understand why you would pick such an archaic artifact for your first mission?’ Murphy asked for the fifth time.
“It worked didn’t it?” Artie curtly replied for the fifth time.
“Well, yes. But that still doesn’t explain why you picked it in the first place.”
Exasperated and unable to tell anyone the real reason for choosing the lightening rod, Artie replied in a voice that carried,” You want to know the truth? Well, here it is. I was late getting to the arsenal. There were no Teslas left and I refuse to carry a real gun. So, I looked around and there was the two most innocuous artifacts just sitting on a shelf. I had read up on the lightening rod and thought it could be useful. The sticky string was just a lark. Satisfied?”
“You mean to say that you had no idea that the lightening rod would even work?” Murphy was flabbergasted.
“I thought it could work; in theory.” Artie said with a shrug.
By now most of the team was laughing. Claudia, however, was not laughing.
“You pulled a “Butch and Sundance” on me, Mosh?” she asked.
“A what?” Artie replied. He would have mentioned for the hundredth time not to call him Mosh but Claudia didn’t look too receptive.
“You know. A “let me pull this out my backside and see if it will work” kind of deal.”
“Technically, yes. But I was reasonably sure it would work in some fashion. In fact, it worked better than I thought.”
“You could have killed me!”
“You are alive aren’t you? Just a few crates were lost in the battle,” he replied flippantly.
Claudia just looked at Artie; it was obvious that she was struggling to say something. By then everyone was laughing. Claudia soon joined in and Artie breathed a sigh of relief.
Once the team was loaded up and ready to go to the airport, Artie noticed that Ivan and his cohorts were being loaded up as well.
Artie stopped Agent Hensley and asked him where Ivan would be transported.
“Not your concern; it’s above your pay grade.”
Artie didn’t like that answer.
The flight to the States was uneventful. He tried to start writing his mission report; standard protocol for an agent returning from the field. He had been staring at the blank page for an hour when Claudia dropped into the seat next to him.
“Stop calling me that,” he automatically replied looking at the blank paper willing words to appear.
“Not gonna happen. You are stuck with that name,” she answered.
“Is there something I can do for you or are you supposed to be the in-flight entertainment?” Artie looked up with a smile but quickly lost it when he noticed the look on her face.
“I’m here to officially tell you that you are to report to Level G3 in the Research Facility once we arrive at the Warehouse. You are to speak to no one about this mission until you are debriefed.”
Claudia turned to go. “Just cover your six, Mosh.”
|Posted by MARRA on February 28, 2012 at 9:05 AM||comments (0)|
Artie was supposed to meet Claudia in the Research Facility which was across the compound from the classrooms. He was quite familiar with the first floor of the building. The medical wing was housed there. The scuttlebutt was that so many accidents happened while testing artifacts; it just seemed prudent to have the medical personnel close at hand. He shuddered at James’ idea of artifact research.
The research facility had 7 floors; 5 below ground. He was to report to Lab 4 on G2 according to his orders. Once off the elevator he followed the signs for Lab 4. As he hurried down the corridor, he noticed that all the doors in this section were heavily enforced steel and all were protected by a Tesla shield. “Curiouser and Curiouser” he thought to himself.
He stopped at the door to Lab 4 to catch his breath.
“Hey Mosh! How’s it going?” Claudia said as she walked up behind him.
Startled, he said the first thing that came to mind, “Stop calling me that!”
She clapped him on the back and entered the lab, “Don’t be so prickly. It’s a cool nickname. Didn’t you have a nickname growing up?”
Artie followed her in and replied, “No nickname I would repeat.”
She smiled at him, “Please sit next to me,” she paused and said, “Mosh.”
He mumbled something about getting no respect but dutifully sat down next to her.
Once settled, he turned to ask her some questions but was interrupted when several more people entered the room. He recognized a few of the other attendees; a couple of agents and some of the medical staff. Surprisingly Agent Hensley, who escorted him from prison and who he had not seen since, walked into the door.
As everyone settled into their seats, Claudia stood up. She turned toward the door.
“Oh good, I thought I would have to start the briefing without you. You are just in time” she said to the last person to arrive.
Artie turned to get a look at the person who just entered and gasped. Claudia turned towards Artie to see what had caused his response and realized that he was reacting to the newcomer.
“You act like you know her. When did you meet her?” she asked sounding alarmed.
Artie swallowed a couple of times and watched Carol Augustine take the seat on the other side of Claudia.
“Uh, I thought it was someone I knew but up close she only bears a resemblance to my Aunt Blanche. For a minute there I thought I saw a ghost”, he shook his head as if clearing it. He hoped she believed him.
Claudia stared at Artie a bit longer and then she shook her head and addressed the group.
“We have been tracking a couple of strange deaths that have recently occurred. We believe that several artifacts have been put into play without Warehouse knowledge or sanction.”
Artie’s blood ran cold at the idea of Warehouse-sanctioned murder. Granted, he had made some tough decisions in his time and people had died but this all seemed pre-meditated.
“The first death was reported over a week ago. The victim was a retired Secret Service Agent by the name of Andrew Connors.” She paused looking directly at Artie,” The autopsy results show that the cause of death was massive internal bleeding. However the x-rays show a much more gruesome cause of death.” As the pictures appeared on the screen, Claudia continued, “As you can see, all of his joints were spread apart.”
The group began whispering amongst themselves, laptops were opened and papers rifled as they all started looking for an artifact that might cause this kind of damage.
“The artifact has already been identified; it’s a chain from Torquemada’s Rack.”
Even before she announced the name of the artifact, Artie knew what it was and why he was chosen for this task force. Over 30 years ago, he handed that artifact over to his Russian contact, Alexander.
“Maybe this timeline isn’t so different after all”, he muttered to himself.
He hadn’t thought about Alexander since his arrest. He wondered if Alexander was alive in this timeline or was his son Ivan responsible as in his own.
He had forgotten the name of the agent who had been in charge of the investigation into his dealings with the Russians until Claudia mentioned his name. He guessed his release from prison triggered Andrew Connors’ death.
Lost in thought he was unaware that the room had grown quiet, until Claudia’s voice broke through his reverie.
“Artie, I believe you have information on the artifact that may be helpful.”
All eyes turned toward him. He was feeling very exposed.
“I’m not sure what you are looking for.” Artie was stalling for time; he had to figure how much he should know about the artifact in this timeline versus what he knew from his.
Before Claudia could say anything, Carol asked, ““Didn’t you turn this very artifact over to the Russians?”
The room took on an eerie silence as everyone waited for him to speak.
As he stood up to address the group, he couldn’t help but think that no matter what good he ever accomplished, handing over those artifacts to the Russians would always haunt him. It didn’t matter that he did it to save his family or that he had no idea, until it was too late, what he was handing over to Alexander. Every death was laid directly at his feet. Now it seemed he had twice the guilt to carry.
“Yes, I did. At the time, I had no idea what it was or what it could do. To me, it was just an old rusty chain” Artie replied.
Claudia looked at him with what he hoped was sympathy and then addressed the group. “I believe Carol jumped to the end of the story. Artie, why don’t you start the beginning?”
Artie told them that he worked for the NSA in the 70’s and that he was approached by Alexander to locate certain old antiques that were valuable to Russia and in return his family members would be freed from the Gulag.
He started sweating because this is where the timelines split and he had to be careful not to say anything that was different from what actually happened as far as these people were concerned.
“I had handed over several antiquities to my contact, Alexander Udinoff, before I was arrested by Andrew Connors.”
“What were the charges?” Carol asked. It was obvious from her tone that she already knew the answer but wanted Artie to have to explain it to the group. Artie was at a loss. He had no idea why this Carol was so antagonistic towards him; he knew why his Carol didn’t like him.
“I was charged with espionage and treason.” he answered looking directly at Carol.
Before shecould say anything else, he turned towards the group and said, “I was convicted of espionage in 1981 and was sent to Leavenworth Federal prison. I was in prison for 30 years and was just released.”
The room fell silent. He didn’t know what to expect but he was surprised that his incarceration did not garner any response at all. Before the silence could get awkward, Claudia piped in, “Okay, any questions for Artie?”
Artie told them all about his meetings with Alexander at the safe house in Moscow. How Alexander would leave the King of Hearts as a calling card when he wanted to meet him. He gave a description of all the antiques he had acquired for the Soviets.
Throughout the whole question and answer session, Carol just stared. Artie was pretty sure that she would gladly kill him if she could.
Once it looked like the group was done grilling Artie, Claudia stood up. “I just received the file on the second victim. His name was Joe Sweetwood. He was an NSA agent. The cause of death was hypothermia; the body was discovered in his office. Lying across his body was the King of Hearts.”
She turned to look at Artie, “Did you know Sweetwood?”
He nodded, “Yes, I knew him. I worked with Joe for several years.”
“Do you know what artifact could have caused this kind of rapid freezing?”
Although he knew the answer, he paused appearing to think, “I was asked to locate a piece of driftwood said to be part of the Titanic. And if we are going on the premise that the artifacts I collected for the Soviets are to blame, then yes, the driftwood could be the artifact used.”
Claudia turned to the group, “It is obvious that whoever is behind this has some kind of connection to Artie. Agreed?” most of those in the room nodded their heads, “and our only lead is Alexander Udinoff. It would appear that we need to locate him immediately. Then we need to see if we can identify the other artifacts from the descriptions that Artie has provided. It’s possible that Alexander has access to these as well.”
Everyone started talking at once. It looked like he was going on a field trip after all.
By the time the meeting was over, he was exhausted. The group had squeezed every last piece of info from him. He sat rubbing his eyes as people filed out of the room. The group planned to reconvene in two hours.
He felt a hand on his shoulder, “You better go pack, Mosh.”
Without even looking up he said, “Stop calling me that.”
“Are you okay?”
“I’m not sure. I feel responsible for deaths of Connors and Sweetwood. If I hadn’t given those things to Alexander, they would be alive right now.’
“Shoulda, woulda, couldas only serve to drive you crazy,” Claudia said taking the seat next to him. “I should know I spent years trying to save my brother from an artifact. In the end, I couldn’t. I spent almost as long going over what I should have done differently. It’s a never ending cycle.”
“I’m doing okay. Working here has helped me deal with the loss. If it weren’t for the Warehouse, I would be locked up in some psyche ward with drool running down the side of my mouth.” she smiled as she nudged him good naturedly.
“What’s really eating you, dude?”
“Well, let’s see.” Holding his hand out, he continues, “Whoever is responsible for the deaths of Connors and Sweetwood may also be after me and I don’t know why. I am not sure what kind of help I’m going to be on this mission. To top it all off, I don’t think everyone is in favor of me being here at the Warehouse.”
“You’re reading too much into Carol’s comments.”
“I don’t think so. For some reason, she dislikes me.”
“Are you sure you two have never met?”
“I’m positive. Well, as positive as I can be with a thirty year gap in my memory.”
“Interesting that you would say that, Artie; I was thinking the same thing.”
“I did some checking, not through official channels or anything, and discovered that Carol came to visit you at the prison.”
“She did?” Artie was alarmed. This was a new twist in an already convoluted story.
“I guess she came with MacPherson, right?”
“I don’t understand.”
“She came to visit you once in 1981; right after you were imprisoned. The second time was two days before you blacked out and lost your memory.”
Artie felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. What game were James and Carol playing? He had no doubts that they were in it together. He just needed time to figure out how to get everything back to the way it should be before James and Carol had a chance to ruin it.
He knew Claudia was expecting a response, he just didn’t know what to say.
And then it came to him, “Was she alone?”
“She was alone the second time she came to see you. The first time, a Mrs. Frederick was with her. Do you recognize the name?” she answered looking at Artie to see if he would react.
It took everything he had in him not to jump for joy. Mrs. Frederick existed in this timeline! If he could locate her, maybe this nightmare would end.
“No, I don’t recognize the name. Is she a Warehouse agent?”
“Not as far as I can tell. In fact, there is no record of an Irene Frederick ever working at the Warehouse.”
“Huh, maybe she works for another agency?” Artie said hoping that Claudia knew the whereabouts of his friend.
“That’s the thing, she doesn’t exist at all. I’m beginning to wonder if all this isn’t connected somehow. I love a good mystery and you, Mosh, are a mystery.” Claudia stood up.
“While I would love to go all Nancy Drew on you, we leave in an hour and I need to pack.” She said as she left the room.
He was lost in thought as he walked back to his room. He had so hoped that Claudia would provide him with Mrs. Frederick’s location. Instead, he had more questions and no way to get any answers.
What is Carol’s involvement in all of this? Could she and James actually know that he wasn’t the Artie Weisfelt from this timeline? If Mrs. Frederick did exist in this timeline, where was she?
Maybe if he performed well on this mission, he could gain access to the Warehouse and maybe get some much needed answers.
|Posted by MARRA on January 11, 2012 at 5:05 PM||comments (2)|
Claudia once accused him of being born old. He was okay with that especially if being young meant drinking until you pass out and gyrating on a dance floor to the sounds of what could only be described as animals in distress.
Luckily, he was able to circumvent Ronnie’s latest attempt to pull him back on the dance floor and was now safely ensconced at a table as far away from the music as possible. Artie would have preferred to slip out and find his own way back to the Warehouse but he had spotted Fitzgerald and Claudia talking together earlier on the street and had been “bar-hopping” (as Ronnie put it) in hopes of catching up to the duo and maybe get better acquainted.
He had lost count of the number of bars they had visited after the fifth. Andrew was sent back to the Warehouse after he passed out after bar number three.
Andrew was lucky. Artie was not having a good time. There had to be a quiet, respectable establishment in Jamestown where he could collect his thoughts. He had another two hours before he could board a bus back to the Warehouse and unless something miraculous happened in that time he would make doubly sure that he was too ill to have to venture into town again.
He had just made up his mind to slip out unnoticed when Ronnie came bouncing back to the table. He got side-tracked watching Ronnie. He kept wondering what kind of material her clothes were made that kept all of her parts in place. The elastic on his underwear broke two bars back after he was hauled across the bar on his back; some kind of moss pit he heard someone say.
“Isn’t this great?”
“I said, isn’t this great?”
“Ronnie, I can’t even hear myself think let alone figure out what you just said,” bellowed Artie in reply.
Ronnie grabbed for Artie’s hand to drag him to hell no doubt but he stopped her.
“Aw come on. Don’t poop out on me too! Let’s party!”
Artie was afraid he was going to loose more elastic so he pulled away and motioned to her that he was heading out the door.
Surprisingly, she let him go. He figured that the drinking and dancing had finally gotten to her and she didn’t need a “wing man” anymore.
He almost kissed the sidewalk outside of the bar. “Peace at last!” he thought to himself.
He started walking. He had been told that it was some kind of rite-of passage to hit as many bars as possible in Jamestown on your first leave. Of course you had to have a drink in every establishment you visited. The record, as if he cared, was 25 bars. Poor Andrew, he thought, will never live down the fact that he passed out so early in the evening. Had he known the rules of the game, he would have gladly fallen on that sword and would have been asleep for hours by now.
What he wanted right now was a cup of coffee and a cookie. There had to be a coffee shop somewhere close. “What I need is a map” he said looking around.
“Are you lost?”
Artie turned to see Claudia walking up.
“I’m just looking for a quiet place to get a cup of coffee.”
“I’m headed to a little shop just around the corner she said nodding her head towards the general direction they were both heading. “The java is not too toxic.”
As they started walking, he noticed that she had a smirk on her face.
“Is something funny?”
She walked a couple of steps and then answered, “Aren’t you a little old to be bar-hopping?”
“So why hit…” she grabs his hands and counts, “8 bars if you aren’t into that kind of thing?”
“I became the wing-man. And according to who-ever or whatever makes the rules, a wing-man stays with their partner.”
“I see”, she said smiling. “How did you mange to escape?”
“I believed I was relieved of duty. At least Ronnie didn’t put up a fuss when I gestured that that I was heading for the door.”
“I have to say you have some pretty good moves for an old guy. How did they talk you in to jumping into the crowd and be carried across the bar? What a sight that was!” She sounded so much like his Claudia he didn’t mind the teasing.
“They told me that the exit was up the stairs and so in my haste to get out I ended up in the moss pit”
“It’s called a mosh pit”, she said, laughing even harder.
“I’m glad you were amused; I may not recover,” Artie said rubbing his back side.
As they reached the coffee shop, Artie held the door and waited for Claudia to enter.
She looked like she wanted to say something but stopped herself. Artie hoped that she would accept his invitation to join him but before he could extend it, she was hailed by a group of people.
She waved at them and turned to Artie, “There’s my group. Are you going to be okay?”
“Sure, this isn’t my first coffee shop.”
Claudia smiled at him and sauntered off to the table in the back. A real smile; for the first time in weeks, he didn’t feel quite so alone.
Artie was having a hard time with his new found fame; his classmates, as well as others, started calling him “Mosh”. It caught on pretty quick; even the medical staff started calling him Mosh.
Poor Andrew, on the other hand, was trying to live with the shame of being carted back to the Warehouse so early in the evening. The teasing would have subsided eventually if it hadn’t been for Ben. Ben had made it a point to regale everyone with the sad sordid details of Andrew’s inability to hold his liquor.
Andrew had gotten to the point where he wouldn’t come out of their room except for class. Artie tried to cheer him up with all the ways they could use the Warehouse to torment Ben. It would make Andrew smile for awhile but then Ben would rear his ugly head again.
This was like being back at Yeshiva for Artie; “Rabbi, Artie’s not paying attention! Rabbi, Artie is not blah, blah, blah.” He was too old for this crap. For that matter so was everyone else. He was fast losing his patience with everyone and everything.
To be honest, his frustrations didn’t stem from concern of poor Andrew’s bruised ego. He had been stuck in this time line for 5 weeks now and he was no closer to getting back to his than when he started.
He had been tempted several times to make a suicide run towards the old Warehouse complex and take his chances. If he could dodge all the bullets and Tesla energy bolts that would fly he could gain access. He usually talked himself out of this drastic plan for the simple reason that he didn’t, on general purpose, run anywhere.
He was also puzzled and worried at MacPherson’s sudden lack of interest in him. He had been a guinea pig for four weeks and suddenly he was released from Medical. It was concluded that Artie may never gain his memories back and that they would probably never discover who attacked him or why. It should have relieved Artie that he was no longer under such scrutiny but he kept hoping he would find a way to use the so called attack to his advantage.
Artie looked at the clock and picked up his duffle bag.
“Come on Andrew. It’s time to go to class.”
Artie was about to explode. Andrew’s talking and cheery attitude was hard to take some time but this deep funk that he was writhing in was just too much to take.
“SNAP OUT OF IT!” Artie yelled.
He grabbed the front of Andrew’s shirt and threw him against the door. For a brief moment, anger flickered in Andrew’s eyes. “May be there’s still some fight left in him after all” he thought to himself.
Artie let him go. “If you persist in letting people like Ben Hall get the best of you, you are never going to succeed. I am tired of trying to cheer you up. I have my own worries. Besides if you keep this up, I’m not choosing you for my team.”
With that, Artie left the room. Andrew could follow or not.
Artie wasn’t kidding about choosing Andrew. Artie had the highest scores, except for P.E., in the training class and was given the chose of any two agents for his team.
It seems that the last week of agent training consisted of locating and retrieving an artifact. It was all part of a simulation program they used to access the capabilities of the trainees before they were permanently assigned. He wanted Andrew on his team; the kid was smart and good with computers; besides he could run. It went without saying that Ronnie would be his other teammate. Ronnie was like Myka; she noticed things that others missed. They were both good agents. They were the closest he would get to Pete and Myka in this timeline.
Artie walked into the briefing room and stopped short. “What the hell is he doing here?” he wondered as he spied MacPherson talking to Fitzgerald.
“Front and Center Weisfelt.”
Artie made his way to the front of the classroom. He stood at attention, well, as close as he could manage.
“I hear tell that you are doing an excellent job in all your classes. You’ll make a wonderful addition to the Warehouse family”, the hair on the back of his neck stood up as he listened to James. “Something is wrong” he thought.
“In fact, you are doing so well that you will not be required to go through the last week of training. I’ll leave it to Agent Fitzgerald to give you the details.”
“Good Luck Arthur.” James said as he turned to leave the room.
“I don’t understand. I haven’t finished my training, sir” he said uneasily.
“There’s nothing to understand Weisfelt. We have an assignment for you. One that is tailor made for your particular skill set. Please report to Miss Donavan for mission briefing at 1300.”
“Do you have a hearing problem? Move Weisfelt or you’ll be late for the briefing.” Fitzgerald turned from Artie and started writing on the board.
“No sir. Yes sir” he was thoroughly confused. Artie wanted to dazzle them with this whole simulation thing so that he could worm his way into the Warehouse. Now it looked like an opportunity had just appeared for him to really shine.
Artie should have been happy; but all he kept thinking was that he was out of the fire and in the frying pan.
|Posted by MARRA on December 29, 2011 at 6:30 PM||comments (2)|
Chapter 3 - Part 2
He didn’t have time to read the whole handbook. The ‘Gospel According To MacPherson’ would just have to wait.
“I am getting a first hand look at history written from the view of the victor” Artie said to himself closing the book.
“Hey, look. There’s Jamestown. Oh! There’s the Warehouse!” Andrew exclaimed.
The trainees all moved to windows to catch a glimpse of their new home.
Artie didn’t have to look. The aerial view in the handbook gave him a pretty good idea that the Warehouse complex was enormous and that the big city of Jamestown dwarfed his Univille.
The “fasten your seatbelt” sign came on and everyone returned to their seats.
The excitement was building among the others. Artie, on the other hand, was trying to come to terms with the enormity of the situation. He was truly flying blind here; so far James was the only constant in both timelines. And that was not a comforting thought.
Once the plane landed, the trainees were ushered to a bus waiting on the tarmac. The trip to the Warehouse was filled with the excited chatter of the trainees. He would have never thought it possible but these trainees made Pete seem mature. Their incessant chatter kept him from worrying too much about what was to come.
The aerial view did not do justice to the spectacle before him. It was incredible and terrifying at the same time.
The bus was stopped at the front gate. A swarm of guards swept the outside of the bus with some kind of hand held device. He wondered what they were sweeping for. As they waited to be cleared through the gates, Artie did his own sweep of his surroundings.
He knew from the handbook that there was a 40-mile radius around the Warehouse; a precaution in case the whole complex goes up in a fiery ball.
As far as he was concerned a 40-mile radius wasn’t enough. The complex, that ‘s the only word to describe what he was seeing, included a research lab, an agent training facility, the Warehouse proper, living quarters, a hospital, a shipping and receiving warehouse all surrounded by a fence.
Thanks to the handbook, he knew the fence was charged using Tesla’s technology and that guard towers were spaced about 100 yards apart. There was only one way in or out of the complex and that was through the front gate.
Once they were cleared to enter, the bus traveled up the tree-lined driveway. Discreet signs directed visitors to their chosen destination. It was obvious the bus was making a circuit of the complex to give the new agents an idea of the size and beauty of the place. As the other agents exclaimed over the green lawns and the beautiful trees growing, Artie was busy identifying the artifacts used to create this garden. “There’s the statue of Demeter’” he mumbled to himself, “it wouldn’t surprise me if I saw a wood nymph. Close, there’s Pan” Before he could identify anymore artifacts in play, the bus stopped in front of the living quarters.
The driver opened the door of the bus and in stepped a very serious looking man. “I am Agent Fitzgerald. For the next six weeks I will be your class team leader. Follow me into the building people.”
The group hurried to keep up with the agent. Once the group entered the building, Fitzgerald directed them to the sign-in table. Artie wasn’t really paying attention to the line so he was a little startled when he heard his name.
Artie turned towards the voice; he could feel the color draining form his face. He whispered “Yes”, as he stared into the face of Claudia Donovan.
“You’re with me. We are going to see what ‘s so special about you.” she said with no emotion in her voice.
For a brief moment he thought he had found an ally but this wasn’t his happy-go-lucky Girl Friday. This girl had a no-nonsense air about her; definitely not his Claudia.
“May I ask where we are going?” he asked as he tried to keep up with her.
“Infirmary, you are scheduled for more tests. James wants to know why you were zapped with an artifact.”
Now that almost sounded like his Claudia.
“I take it I will be living in the Infirmary for awhile, right?”
“No. I have your class schedule here and your room assignment. You will need to go by the supply room to get your uniforms and bedding. However, you will need to spend a couple of hours a day with the medical staff until further notice.”
He tried several times to get Claudia to talk about herself but she ignored him. It would be helpful to have her on his side; he made a mental note to be friendly to her every time they met in hopes of gaining her confidence.
“Here you go,” she said handing him a pile of papers, “just walk through those doors. The doctors are expecting you.”
As she turned to go, Artie yelled, “Wait! I don’t even know your name. (He hoped he sounded convincing) I just wanted to thank you for escorting me here. This complex is huge.”
Artie stuck out his hand. Claudia looked at it for a moment then briefly took it.
“The name is Donovan.” She turned to go but stopped.
“Oh, don’t thank me. Once James decides to make you a pet project your life is not your own.” As she made her way down the hall, she yelled back, “You should have taken the blue pill dude.”
“What blue pill?”
Now that sounded like Claudia. Shaking his head he went through the doors wondering what a male enhancement drug had to do with his current predicament.
It was fortunate that James believed he had amnesia or he would probably be dead by now. As far as MacPherson and the Warehouse were concerned, he was attacked with an artifact; thus the memory loss. It seems that this timeline had some nifty toys that detect when an artifact has been used. The fact that he was “attacked” while in prison made him a specimen to be observed and questioned. MacPherson had left specific orders for his staff to figure out what was so special about Arthur Weisfelt.
So far, the medical staff and agents assigned to the “What makes Weisfelt so important?” project could find no answer. It was imperative that he not be perceived as a threat but rather a welcome addition to the staff. He had been dropping hints that maybe he was targeted because he was going to work at the Warehouse and these unknown persons were going to use him as a mole. Obviously, their plan backfired and as a result Artie Weisfelt lost his memory of the last 30 years. Artie hoped that his explanation would satisfy James.
Fortunately, the probing, testing, question and answer segment of his daily schedule helped him form a pretty good picture of the timeline he was in. Unfortunately, the more he learned the more questions he had.
All that he loved about the Warehouse was gone. This Warehouse wasn’t America’s attic; it was a super Wal-Mart for the rich and greedy. Artie always knew that James wanted the artifacts to be used but this whole operation as far as he was concerned was obscene.
As far as he could figure, the divergence occurred about the time Mrs. Frederic saved him from going to prison and put him to work as an agent. James MacPherson came to work for the Warehouse in 1981 and quickly raced up the ranks to become the director of Warehouse 13 in 1996; at least that’s what the employee handbook said. Artie wondered where Mrs. Frederic and the Regents were; there was no mention of the regents or Mrs. Frederic in the handbook. How did James get around the fact that Mrs. Frederic was the caretaker? If she was dead, the warehouse would destroy itself unless another caretaker was appointed.
“How is James able to operate without a caretaker or the Regents?” he thought. He had so many questions and no answers.
Artie paled as he realized that James may be the caretaker.
“This is a disaster!” he said out loud.
“What did you say Artie?”
“Nothing really, I guess I am thinking too loudly Andrew.”
“Still can’t remember anything, huh?”
They had been roommate for two weeks and although he preferred to be alone, Andrew wasn’t bad company. Andrew was a little too neat for his haphazard ways but he could overlook that oddity.
“Don’t let it get you down Artie. It’ll come to you. Hey, did you finish the history assignment?”
“Yes, it’s on my desk if you want to look at it.”
Artie shared the same schedule as the rest of his class. The only difference in his schedule was his two hour session with the medical and research staff. The rest of the class was in PE at that time. Ben constantly reminded him that it was a conditioning class. It sounded like PE to him but he wasn’t going to argue about it.
So far, Artie was doing pretty good in all his classes. He was hoping they would move him to more advanced classes and ultimately to the Warehouse. He had to find out if the Wishing Kettle was stored in the Warehouse and if there was any information on how the kettle could have possibly caused this mess.
“Hi guys!” Are you going into town? The bus leaves in 15.” Ronnie shouted as she flew by their room.
Their class was given a pass to go into town for the evening. Artie had been waiting on a chance to explore more of the complex and had said as much to Agent Fitzgerald earlier that morning.
“Look Weisfelt, it’s obvious that you prefer to work and live alone but that’s not how we do things here at the Warehouse. You are part of a team. So be a team player and go to town.”
So he was resigned to spending an evening with Andrew, Ronnie and Ben. Ronnie and Andrew weren’t so bad but Ben was a real piece of work.
Artie and Andrew were the last to board the bus into town. Andrew was so excited at the prospect of touring Jamestown he was having a hard time being still.
“Just think, we are about to enter the town named after James MacPherson himself. Did you know that at one time the town didn’t even have a name?” he asked Artie.
“Morton, will you stop reciting from the handbook? I don’t care what the name of the town is so long as the beer is cold and the steak is medium rare.” Ben hooted as he bumped fists with the guy next to him. “I am ready to let my hair down and have a little fun!”
Ben’s statement was met with a hardy round of frat boy applause.
Artie just rolled his eyes and prayed that Ben would find somebody to play with tonight and would leave him alone.
He was too late in praying.
“What about you Weisfelt; are you going to meet with your spy contacts?” Ben’s question got another round of frat boy approval.
“Shut up Ben! You are such a pill. Our first leave and you want to start trouble,” huffed Ronnie.
“Why don’t you hang out with some real men, Ronnie? What can this old traitor and this virgin do for you?” Ben laughed.
Ronnie patted both Artie and Andrew on the arm and then turned to Ben and angrily said, “God, you are so crass Ben Hall! You’ll never make it as a field agent. You have no people skills.”
“I won’t need people skills Ronnie. I’m aiming to go into retrieval. That’s where the action is.” Ben said proudly.
Artie was confused. This was the first he had heard about agent assignments.
Artie leaned over to Andrew and quietly asked, “When did you all talk about field assignments?”
Andrew absently replied, “The other day in conditioning. The instructor started splitting us up into groups and assessing our physical skill levels.”
Ronnie quickly piped in, “Of course, Ben is all brawn and no brain.”
Artie was concerned. What exactly did James have in mind for him?
“I’m not, you know.”
“A virgin. It all happened…”
“Stop! I do not need to hear the details,” Artie said holding his hands over his ears. “For heaven’s sake, quit letting that barbarian get to you!”
“I guess I shouldn’t.”
“People like Ben Hall always get their comeuppance in the end. You’ll see.” He assured Andrew.
At least, Artie prayed that the bad guys get their just due. Right now, it looked pretty grim for the good guys.
|Posted by MARRA on October 25, 2011 at 12:55 AM||comments (5)|
Artie’s eyes flew open and as he tried to sit up the pounding in his head stopped him.
“Just lay still. I’ll get the doctor.”
Artie didn’t recognize the voice.
“How did I get here?” Artie asked in a feeble voice.
He slowly turned his head side to side, surveying his surroundings. He didn’t recognize the room at all; it looked like a hospital room.
It wasn’t long before the doctor, at least he looked like a doctor, came into the room. “How are you feeling Mr. Weisfelt?”
“What did you call me?”
“Your name is Arthur Weisfelt. Don’t you remember who you are?”
“Of course, I know who I am! The name is Arthur Nielsen; I changed my name a long time ago.” Artie answers impatiently. “Can’t I get something for this headache?”
“That is not the name we have on file,” the doctor asked as he flipped through the chart in his hand, “When did you make this change?”
“I legally changed my name to Arthur Nielsen.”
“I see. Lay back, Mr. Weisfelt” the doctor gently pushes Artie back onto the pillows. “Follow my finger please.” Artie follows the doctor’s finger struggling to figure out what is going on, “Good. What’s the last thing you remember Mr. Weisfelt?”
“It’s Nielsen. I was working. Exactly where am I? And for the love of all that is holy, can I get something for this headache?”
“You don’t know where you are?”
“I have never seen this place before in my life.”
“What is today’s date, Mr. Weisfelt?”
“If I answer your question can I have something for my exploding head?”, Artie looks at he doctor and realizes that the guy isn’t going to be happy until he answers, “Today is March 23, 2011.”
“Uhmmm… other than the headache, are you experiencing any dizziness, any pain in your extremities?” the doctor continued poking, clearly ignoring Artie’s plea for pain medicine.
“No, all my fingers and toes work. About the pain medicine…”
The doctor interrupts Artie’s fourth request for medicine and asks, “Who is the President of the United States?”
“You’re kidding right?” Artie throws his hands up yelling then immediately grabbing his aching head. “Oww! The president, dear doctor, is Barack Obama. What is going on here and why the third degree?”
“Mr. Weisfelt,” the doctor begins.
“No, it’s Weisfelt. You have been an inmate at this facility for 30 years and the only name on record is Arthur Weisfelt.”
This time Artie grabs his head before yelling, “An inmate; is this some kind of sick joke? Did Pete put you up to this?”
The doctor looks Artie in the eye and replies, “I don’t know any Pete and I assure you that this is not a joke.”
“Exactly where am I?”
“You are in the hospital ward of the United States Federal Penitentiary in Fort Leavenworth Kansas. You have been an inmate since 1981 after you were convicted of espionage.”
The color drained from Artie’s face and as he lost consciousness all he could think to say was, “The name is Nielsen.”
“He’s comin’ to, doc.”
“Mr. Weisfelt? Can you hear me?” the doctor asked Artie as he slowly opened his eyes.
Artie looked around and said, to no one in particular, “Why is my head still pounding?”
Artie tried to sit up but the doctor stopped him, “Please take it easy, you are not quite ready to get out of bed.”
Artie had to agree, besides his head pounding the bed was spinning. He was having trouble thinking but he knew enough to keep his mouth shut until he could figure out what had happened to put him in this situation.
The doctor was busy checking Artie’s blood pressure and generally poking Artie in places no one but Vanessa had dared touch. When the doctor had finally finished his cursory examination, he pulled a chair up next to the bed.
“Let’s try this again, shall we?” the doctor asked as he settled himself in the chair. He looked at his clipboard and asked Artie, “What is your name?”
Artie still hadn’t had time to figure out where or even when he was let only how he got here. Stalling for time, Artie rubbed his temple and asked the doctor in his most pleading voice, “Can’t I get something for this headache; I can barely think straight.”
The doctor looked at Artie (who was trying to look as helpless as possible) and got up and went to a cabinet in the corner. He took out a couple of pills and turned to get a cup of water from the fountain.
Artie only had a few more minutes to come up with a plan. It was obvious from the first round of questioning that the last 30 years of his life, as he knew it, never happened, so how was he going to answer the doctor. “One question at a time, Nielsen and maybe we can get the doctor to give us the right answers” Artie thought to himself.
When the doctor returned, he handed Artie a glass of water and two pills. Artie gratefully took both and used the time it took to finish the water to formulate a half-baked idea.
“Thank you so much. I’m sorry, am I supposed to know your name?” Artie asked the doctor as he set the glass down.
“No reason you should, Mr. Weisfelt. I just started at the prison two weeks ago. According to your chart, you have barely made an appearance in the hospital ward” the doctor replied.
“And your name?” prompted Artie.
“I am Doctor Thomas Frederick,” he replied.
“Pleased to meet you” Artie says extending his hand to the doctor, “although I could have hoped for better circumstances.”
Dr. Frederick shakes Artie’s outstretched hand and then sits down.
“Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, let’s get back to the matter at hand. What is the last thing you remember?”
“Well, I remember cleaning in a hallway and then everything goes dark.”
“So, housekeeping is your regular job?” the doctor asked.
“I don’t know,” replied Artie with all honesty.
“Would it interest you to know that for the last 30 years you have been assigned to the kitchens? It says here that you are quite the cookie-maker.” the doctor asked.
“Well, I guess I’m not surprised. I do like cookies” Artie said not knowing what he could possibly glean from this little tidbit about his life in the “Big House”.
While Dr. Frederick scribbled Artie’s answer down, Artie looked around the room and spotted someone in the corner. The guy was looking at him as if he knew him; but Artie didn’t know him. The guy kept looking and to his amazement he mouthed, “Just say no.” At least that’s what Artie made it out to be.
Artie didn’t have to worry about saying yes to any of the questions Frederick was throwing at him. He didn’t have a clue on how to answer yes.
“Do you know where your cell block is located?”
“Do you know the name of your cell mate?”
“Who is your attorney?”
“I don’t know.”
“What did you have to eat yesterday?”
“I remember having pie for dessert,” Artie answered wistfully, wishing he had a slice of pie.
Dr. Frederick stopped and turned to look at the man in the corner. Nothing was said but whatever the question was that passed between them, the answer was a shake of the mystery man’s head.
Dr. Frederick was relentless. He would ask questions about Artie’s family, his trial, life in prison and then would switch it up with current event questions. Artie wasn’t sure what the doctor was after or what he was trying to learn.
Finally, the questions stopped. Artie was exhausted.
“So what is the prognosis, doc? Am I alright?”
Before Artie could get an answer the doctor walked away. As the doctor left the room , he nodded to the mystery man. Artie was left just as confused as when he first came to.
The mystery man moved to the foot of Artie’s bed. “You are a better actor than we thought or you really don’t remember being incarcerated; which is it?”
“Who are you?” Artie asked the man.
“My name is not important. What is important is who I work for.” The man replied cryptically.
Artie shot back, “Okay, I’ll bite. Who do you work for?”
“I work for James MacPherson, director of Warehouse 13. Have you heard of him?”
Artie was stunned. In fact, he was terrified. He was struggling to find the right answer. A million thoughts running through his head, “How do I answer that question? Better yet, how do I answer without getting myself killed before I find out what is happening.”
Artie had been in sticky situations before; after all he has been an agent for most of his life, but this was a whole new ball game. He decided to do what Warehouse agents do best; improvise.
“I don’t know who you are or who this director is supposed to be. In fact, I am at the point where I am doubt my sanity and whether this is some kind of hallucination.” Artie said emphatically.
The man remained quiet.
Artie took another stab at it and asked,”Do you know why I can’t remember the last 30 years of my life? Can you please tell me what is going on?”
The man looked at Artie and stood up. Artie was beginning to wonder if he would make it out of this alive. To Artie’s relief, the man turned and walked to the door.
He opened the door and left.
Artie wasn’t sure what to make of the doctor’s questions or the mystery man’s declaration about James but he knew he needed more info if he was ever going to set things straight. The immediate question had to be how to get out of prison.
“What I wouldn’t give for my bag right about now.”
As Artie took a closer look at the room to see if there was anything he could use to aid his escape, the door opened and in walked a ghost.
“Hello Arthur. Do you remember me?”
Artie prayed that he wouldn’t give himself away as he stared at the man he watched turn to dust. As calmly as he could, he looked at James MacPherson in the eye and answered, “No. Have we met?”
“Yes, Arthur; may I call you Arthur? James said as he took a seat next Artie’s bed. “We have met. In fact, you were supposed to report to Warehouse 13 two days ago.”
Artie was flabbergasted. “Can this day get anymore bizarre?” he thought to himself.
“I don’t understand. Who are you?” he asked James.
“My name is James MacPherson and I am the director of Warehouse 13.” James said as he extended his hand out to Artie.
Artie took the hand of his longtime friend, turned adversary, and asked, “Can you please tell me what is going on?”
“It’s a long story Arthur and one that will need to be told. Unfortunately, we do not have time to delve into the history of Arthur Weisfelt at this moment.” James provided as he rose from his chair.
“Don’t worry Arthur; you will be briefed on your way to the Warehouse. In a moment, the guards are going to escort you to your cell and then to the processing center. You are to be released in my care. We’ll see each other again.” James said as he turned to leave the room.
“Oh boy; out of the fire and into the frying pan.” Artie thought to himself as he was lead from the hospital ward.
As the guards walked him through the prison, Artie caught glimpses of his fellow inmates and was glad he wouldn’t have to stay here. He couldn’t imagine being locked up for 30 years. He just wished he knew how he got here.
He walked a couple of more steps and then he faltered. “Oh God, what happened to the others?”
“Hi, my name is Pete and I am an alcoholic. It’s been 6 months since I last had a drink.”
“Hi Pete,” the group acknowledged in unison.
“Many of you have heard my sad little story before but for some reason I have been thinking about the day I lost my job with the Secret Service.”
“Bering! Where is my coffee?”
“Coming, Sir!” Myka answered.
“Here you go, sir” Myka said to her section chief as she set his cup on the desk.
“Hmph!” Chief Stratton mumbled.
“Sir” Myka began, “I was looking over the reports on the counterfeit ring and I think I may have an idea on how to locate…”
“Let it go, Bering. That’s not your assignment. I told you to stop looking into the other agent’s cases. If they want your help, they’ll ask for it.” Stratton said without ever looking at Myka.
“But sir, I tried to speak to Agent Kelly about my theory and he wouldn’t listen. I really think that I could help.” Myka said emphatically.
“Are you finished scanning the old files into the database?” Stratton asked.
“No sir but…” Myka began.
“Your only assignment Bering is to scan those files. Get back to work.”
“Yes sir.” Myka said dejectedly.
For the last four years all Myka had been allowed to do was scan old files. She had hoped that by now she would have been punished enough and she could transfer to another office. She didn’t sign up to be a paper pushing Secret Service agent in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Every time she tried to help with a case and got chastised for it, she couldn’t help but go back to the days when she was part of the President’s protective detail; she loved D.C. She was good at her job and she thought she had planned for every contingency but who could plan for a drunk Secret Service agent and a murder all before the President was due to arrive at the museum gala. That fiasco had cost her the protective detail and relegated her to a coffee-carrying, paper pushing, glorified slave in a back water government office.
“There has to be more to life than this,” Myka muttered to herself.