Paradox – Chapter 5

Are you sure?

Maze glanced at the screen again as the impact of the words hit him. He always worked alone except on the most important missions with The Old Guard. Many commentators in the media during the 1990s wondered why he even joined the biggest name in Enhanced teams, but he had his reasons. He did not attend the banquets honoring the team. He did not accept the key to the city from whatever mayor wanted his picture taken with the group. No, he worked with The Old Guard because he needed the extra bodies to prevent the future he saw. After team dissolved, he continued the good fight from deep in the shadows.

Until now…

Yes. He is the only one that can stop what I’ve seen. Enhanced and mundane will all suffer far worse if that timeline is allowed to happen. And we won’t be around to see it, my old friend, because we’ll be dead with a bullet in the back of the head in a ditch somewhere with everyone we’ve ever loved.

The cursor only blinked a couple of times as the data transmitted from his computer and bounced through a dozen networks including a secret Russian intelligence satellite parked in a geosynchronous orbit over the United States. Neither party of this conversation could afford anyone in the U.S. government finding out about their little coup. The response was far quicker since his partner had a direct connection to the internet.

I hope you are right because I’m risking everything for this. I didn’t let them put me away in this shithole just to lose my wife and son.

Maze felt the pang of guilt strike as he remembered that day of judgement well. He wanted to change it, but his hands were tied without revealing everything.

I know it was hard but you did the right thing. You saw what happened to Tom. I told him to keep it quiet but he never could keep a secret.

The computer speakers crackled as the sound of laughter, a digital stock file most likely, played.

Mentalists have always been the oddest people.

Maze laughed as he read the statement and nodded in mental agreement. And the most dangerous, he typed back.

But this is risky, even for you, the screen flashed.

I know, but if the JTF is one thing, it’s predictable. I’ve been watching them for weeks and I’ve learned enough.

You’ve said that nothing is one hundred percent. What if you missed something? You’re putting a lot of people in danger if you fail.

I know, Maze replied mentally before typing it. And I need you to do something else for me.

You’re already asking a lot, Maze…but what is it?

I need you to find me the girl. We’re going to need her if this is going to work.

Are you sure about this? You know Bill is not going to be happy about it.

Maze scratched his chin as he tried to explain without revealing too much of the path he must take. He was afraid that if he did, his friends would inadvertently doom everyone through interference.

Bill had his chance after James left the group but screwed it up. It’s time for him to make up for his mistakes.

Isn’t that a little harsh? Not all of us get second and third chances like you. He’s only human.

Maze frowned as he remember his last contact with Bill Grayson. They did not part on good terms or without threats.

He’s an arrogant ass that destroyed everything that so many sacrificed for. Should I list some of the names for you? Photon, Minotaur, The Great Wall, Professor Speed…Need I continue?

No, you’ve made your point, but I still think this is a serious dick move to involve his daughter. Is this why you don’t have a family? Afraid they’ll be used against you?

The frown from the memory of Bill Grayson turned to red-hot anger as Maze slammed down on the keys. He was tempted to just kill the connection and go alone, but he knew that would only lead to failure.

You may know some of my secrets but that doesn’t mean you know anything about my personal life or the things I sacrificed for this. Sometimes the good guys have to make the hard choices. It was something Judge and Orbital Strike could never understand.

A large frown face appeared on the computer.

You’re right, I don’t know. None of us know a damn thing about you.

The room briefly brightened as the JTF drone overhead flashed the spotlight across the building. Metro refused to patrol this area so the JTF occasionally sent a drone for a cursory fly over to remind the criminals that they were never alone. They would never spot him in his hideout and he already knew the flight times.

I have to go, Maze, but remember this, there will be no going back afterwards. I’ll find the girl but they will come after you with everything including some of our old friends.

The computer screen quickly filled with the new words, as if the writer was getting nervous.

You’re about to openly declare war on the JTF.