“Who is he?” she demanded.
“Hello, Elizabeth,” Daniel responded as the door to his office flew open. Elizabeth had ignored the secretary as she targeted the Director’s office like a missile. Daniel expected her to visit after the briefing. He also expected her very agitated. As usual, he was right.
“You didn’t recognize the face? Surely his mind told you everything.”
“Dammit Daniel, don’t screw with me. That category one just forced me out of his mind and attacked me. I’m certain the recruit mentalist heard it, probably every mentalist within a mile did.”
As she spoke, Daniel watched Jury. As a powerful mentalist, not much surprised her. Whatever Larson did, it spooked her.
“He looks familiar like I should know him.” Her eyes were blazing.
Daniel was cautious. He was hoping Jury did not immediately recognize the recruit. He had too much time and energy invested in the young man for her to destroy all his patient research. He wanted to keep other interested parties out of the loop until he was sure.
Jury frowned and focused her power on the Director. The asshole enjoyed keeping the information away from her.
“Don’t bother,” Daniel said confidently. “The mental inhibitor prevents all telepathy, even from you, Jury.” Daniel touched the small scar at the base of his skull where the implant was inserted.
“Those are illegal, Director,” Elizabeth snarled.
“Rank does have its privileges. I need to work around some laws if I’m going to keep this country safe.”
“I still don’t understand why he gave you one.”
“Because without my leadership, we can’t save this country. We don’t need NSA mentalists stopping us before we’re in place.”
“If you say so, Director. Who is Recruit Larson? Where did you find that prototype?” Elizabeth was angry now and her voice louder. Daniel stood up from his desk and closed his solid wood door to prevent any unwanted attention.
As a child, Elizabeth never liked surprises or the anxiety of anticipation. When she had her Reveal after her tenth birthday, developing into the most powerful mentalist, she knew she would never be surprised again. If she wanted an answer, no mind could deny her, until now. Recruit Larson had done the impossible.
And she wanted to wipe that smug look on Daniel’s face.
“Director, I might not be able to read your mind, but I have other ways to make you talk.” Elizabeth’s face was stone cold killer. Daniel knew she meant every word she said.
“My dear Jury, you most definitely have other ways you could make me spill every secret I have,” Daniel said lustfully. “I’ve been trying for years.”
“Not going to happen, Daniel. Now tell me or the JTF will need to find a new overpaid blowhard.” Several items in the room started to levitate.
Daniel laughed as he put his arms up in a mock defense. “Ok, ok, fine but you’re not going to like the answer, Elizabeth. He’s Tom’s boy.”
Elizabeth squinted her eyes in confusion, “Who?” She looked at Daniel.
Even without the ability to read his mind, she realized who he meant by the fear and shame on his face. Elizabeth found it difficult to think or speak but tears started to flow down her cheeks. The floating items suddenly found gravity again.
“Are you okay?” Daniel asked. He almost sounded sincere. Elizabeth knew that Daniel hated Thomas, jealous of her former relationship with him.
When she realized she was crying, Elizabeth turned suddenly to look out the window. The recruits were outside waiting for her to return. She had raced from the classroom to demand answers from the Director. She could see Michael by himself. He looked so much like him, like Thomas.
“My Thomas,” she declared aloud without thinking.
Daniel shook his head. “I don’t think your husband would agree. And, if I remember correctly, Tom left you.”
The Tiffany lamp on the desk exploded, the glass pieces showering the room. Daniel raised his arm to cover his face as shards shredded his jacket. Several large pieces embedded in the desk and in the bookshelf behind it.
“God dammit, Elizabeth! That lamp was over one hundred years old!”
“Don’t you dare speak to me about Thomas. If you were even half the man he was…”
“He’s dead, Elizabeth. He’s dead because of you!” Daniel stated accusingly.
Elizabeth closed her eyes as the words hit her. She knew they were true. Even fifteen years later, she still felt the pain. It was her one weakness and Daniel knew it.
“How do you know it’s him?” She was sure of it already but she knew there was more to this story.
“Sue came to me during Michael’s trial. She didn’t even recognize me. I barely recognized her.”
Elizabeth felt the rage building inside, the same she felt the day she learned Thomas had married some mundane woman.
“Michael destroyed some fraternity house last year but he has no memory of it. The sniffers have no idea what kind of power was used. We’ve been trying to unlock it but Preacher doesn’t have a clue. I could have unlocked that boy’s every secret at Leavenworth if that damn Judge Thompson didn’t interfere.”
“You should have called me, Daniel. You should have called HIM!” Elizabeth demanded.
“You are too emotionally attached, Elizabeth. Tom should never have been in the program.” Daniel seethed at the memory. If the background investigators had done their job, Thomas Collins would never have been accepted. He would have never met Elizabeth. He would not have stolen her from him. “I’m the only one that can reunite our country. I’m in charge!”
“But you didn’t factor in Maze, did you?” Elizabeth taunted him.
Daniel sighed. No, he had not. The plan had taken years to put in place and that relic from the Age of Heroes was trying to screw it up. He had a habit of interfering even the best prepared plans. Maze knew his presence would be disruptive and the JTF would stop at nothing to find him.
“Maze is no longer relevant,” Daniel proclaimed. “We will find him, put him on trial, and hang him.”
“As you say, Director,” Jury said as she glanced out the window again. She laughed silently to herself. Daniel was delusional on so many things.
“Now, go do your job. I want Michael leading the search for Maze. We will unlock him one way or another or burn him out trying!”
Elizabeth never heard the Director as she walked out. Her Thomas had returned.