The Set UpEdit
“And in the headlines of the news today, the CEO, chairman and sole Shareholder of Limex Technologies Unlimited, Doctor Sarah Montgomery, was found dead in her office late last evening.” The announcer on the television said.
“Upon investigations, authorities realised that she was simply unfortunate upon receiving of high levels of Selenium. This chemical is not known to be toxic and investigations showed that all employees of the complex were similarly affected. The doctor, apparently, has a serious reaction to the chemical.
“High level scientists at the company are blaming the release of the chemical to improper procedures, while not pointing fingers at anyone. And while the chemical is not harmful to humans or any other life-forms, they are taking all precautions necessary. The complex is being closed during the coming week for a thorough clean-up procedure.
“In a related news, some sources say that the closure of Limex Technologies may be permanent, with the death of its CEO, which would mean that a total of almost three-hundred thousand persons island wide would be unemployed.” The announcer continued to speak, but Chase turned down the volume.
He had not gone through with the plan, but instead had handed the syringe to Doctor Montgomery, who told him that she would fake her own death for as long as it was necessary for him to rescue his girlfriend. It was a plan that was almost sure to work.
But after the events of that night, Chase had not gone home; he had gone to Andrew’s instead, hoping that he was not followed. That was last night. Now he sat in the living room, watching his plans being fulfilled as the news of the death of the doctor was being publicized.
“You should call them.” Andrew suggested. “They would be suspicious that you took this long, especially after they would’ve expected you to be anxious about receiving your girlfriend.”
“I’ve been thinking about that.” Chase said. “Though I somehow can’t see this as being the end of everything. Even if they release Natalie, she still would be working at the company, and they could use her to get me to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.”
“That sure is a predicament.” Andrew said, trying to understand the situation. “So what do you plan to do?”
“Well,” Chase said, “I have been paid handsomely so far for my services at the company, and I’m sure that Natalie was too. As soon as this is over, I would convince her to take our money and leave this island.”
“And go where?”
“Anywhere.” Chase responded. “Somewhere where their reach can’t find us.” Chase was resolute, he had thought about this plan all day.
“Then you should first get back your girl.” Andrew suggested.
Chase went to the phone and dialled the number to the General’s office, hoping that he was there and that nothing had happened to Natalie.
“Hello? Who is this?” The General answered his phone.
“Joseph Chase.” Chase replied.
“So, I take it that you are not calling from your home?” The General asked, sounding casual.
“Have you seen the news?” Chase asked. “I have done what you asked.
“I have,” The General said, still casual. “And I must say, good job. Some of us here believed that you would try to go against us somehow.”
Chase felt uneasy. He was unsure if whether the General and the others at Zenon Institute knew about his little plan, but he said nothing of it.
“And why would I go against your plan when I have so much to lose?” Chase questioned. “I just want my girlfriend back.”
“I’m sure you do.” The General said. “And we want proof that the good doctor is dead.”
“Proof!” Chase exclaimed. “Proof? The proof is all over the news, all over the island, and maybe even worldwide.”
“When you work as long as you have in the position I’m in,” the General explained, “you realise that such things cannot be taken as suitable proof.”
“Then what do you ask of me?” Chase asked, unsure of what to expect.
“Nothing that requires manual labour.” The General said. “We simply ask that you come into Zenon Institute, the latest by tomorrow, to receive a memory scan. That way, we can be sure of whether what you and the entire news teams are saying is correct.”
“Very well then!” Chase said, and slammed the phone down.
He was at a lost of what to do. If they scan his memory, they would find that what he had been saying was indeed false and Natalie may be dead even before the scan was complete.
He told this to Andrew.
“There are other things that you need to worry about other than a memory scan.” Andrew said. “They could do much worse.”
“Like what?” Chase asked.
“Well, first of all,” Andrew said, “think about what would happen if they knew all you know, apart from you not killing the doctor.”
Chase thought for a moment. He had planned to escape with Natalie, if they knew this they would try to stop him, they may not even release her at all. Then he thought about Andrew. Ever since the beginning of the mission he had told Andrew of all the minute details.
“I’m sorry.” Chase apologized.
“For what?” Andrew asked.
“For brining you into this.” Chase said. “I have realised that by telling you all that I have, I have also jeopardized your life.”
Andrew looked at Chase, he wasn’t angry of afraid. “I tell you this, I am not afraid of either one of those companies. They have nothing against me and I think that I have sufficient information to shut both of them down.”
Chase was unsure of what he meant. “But I thought that you said that they have the government and the police in their pockets.”
“They do, I believe.” Andrew said. “But regardless, don’t worry about me. Get your girlfriend out. When I meant by what they would do if they knew all that you knew was a memory wipe.”
“I’m not sure I follow.” Chase said.
“First of all, think about it. If a company such as theirs are able to scan your memory, they can as easily wipe it.” Andrew explained. “And if they found out the amount of information that you really know and they understand the kind of guy you are, they would rather have your memory wiped.”
“Or have me killed.” Chase said.
“They may not do the latter.” Andrew said. “Besides, I’m not sure that having a memory wipe is such a bad idea, if it meant that you’d be able to have a fresh start.”
But Chase was tired of having fresh starts. He had already lost his memory once and wished not to lose it a second time.
Chase went back home. He had a plan, though he was unsure of how it would work. He could directly tell anyone anything, for it may endanger their lives as well.
At dawn of the next day, he went to the bank and immediately transferred most of the money from his account into Andrew’s. He was sure that if Zenon Institute had wiped him of all his memories at the Institute then they would also take back their money from him as well.
He then took the rest of the money and bought plane tickets for himself and Natalie under Andrew’s name though he did not ask for tickets to any particular destination. He was hoping that Andrew would figure out his plot and choose a random destination that the General would never be able to guess.
He then went back home and changed the outgoing message on his answering machine. It was a small change, probably unrecognisable to anyone except Chase himself. It was something Chase knew he never would say, which would force him to realise that something was wrong. He then erased all the messages from his machine, which included all the messages after he started working at the Institute. The only message the he left was the one from Natalie that said that she had gotten him an interview at the institute.
He then cautiously drove towards the Zenon Institute complex, trying not to think about the finer details of his plans, and hoping that everything went as planned. Deep down, he feared for his life and the lives of Natalie, Andrew and the Doctor Montgomery.
He arrived at the institute, and with a lot of military-like escorts, found himself being led towards the office of the General.
“Welcome back, Major Chase.” The General said, only a hint of politeness in his voice.
“General Knox.” Chase said, acknowledging the General.
There was a small piece of equipment set up in the General’s office that was not there before. There were also a few lab-coated scientists, who Chase understood were to be the ones to administer the memory scan.
“So is this the machine?” Chase asked, pointing to the machine he obviously knew was there to scan, but hopefully not wipe his memory.
“Yes. It is a simple procedure, you simply look into the eyepieces and we will look at all your memory within the last week, just to make that you did your part.” The General explained.
“What about Natalie?” Chase asked. “Where is she? I want to see her.”
“Her memory is also being scanned.” The General reported. “Since she was so close to you, we also needed to check her memory.”
Chase was almost sure that “her memory is also being scanned” meant “her memory is being wiped, so that anything you told her would be erased, as will all your memories of us and our operations.”
Chase did not care whether Natalie’s memories were scanned or wiped, for he did not tell her anything about his suspicions or his plans. And he was sure that even if his memory was wiped, that his plan to escape would still work.
“Very well.” Chase said. “Let’s get this over with so that I could get back to my regular life.” And he began walking towards the memory-scan machine.
“You called your life regular before you started working for us.” The General said, almost mockingly. “if that is what you wish...”
“What do you mean?” Chase asked.
“Well…” The General said. “If we find that your mission was a success, then we would be more than happy to offer you a permanent high paying job in security here at Zenon’s. Or do you rather go back to that money-less, job-less life you had before.”
Chase said nothing, but continued to move towards the machine. The General indicated to the scientists, who went forward and placed his head closer to the eyepieces and activated the machine.
His visions were moving backwards. And Chase was trying to figure out what they meant at face value, even to himself. He was back at his home looking at his answering machine, nothing too suspicious. He was at the bank, transferring money from his account. He was back at Andrew’s, speaking on the phone, and then he watching the news.
He was travelling to Limex Technologies, it was night. Chase tried as hard as he could to hide the next set of memories. But could he really do it?
He was handing the syringe to Doctor Montgomery, then he was talking to her, then he was looking at the monitor and at the picture of Project Alpha.
He heard a voice, not in his memory, but from the room he was physically in. It sounded like a command from General Knox. Chase wondered what it could possibly mean, was it a command to kill Natalie and Chase himself? Was it a command to wipe his memory?
He was small, aged four or five and was going to school. But there were no other children, it was him alone. He was in a metal building, being taught, alone, much like other children are in schools.
He was about six or seven, being learnt weapons tactics and martial arts by people he don’t recognise. He was really good, but he felt unhappy.
He was about ten years old. His parents were talking to two people, his father was in a military uniform and his mother had on a lab-coat. They seemed to be quarrelling with the persons they were talking to. He recognized one of the persons, it was the General.
He was leaving the metal facility, moving towards a home. This was the home he knew was destroyed in the hurricane. He meets his sister, he was three years younger than him, and was really excited at the prospect of having a brother.
He started to go to school, but was forced to leave after he got into a fight. A teacher goes to his home and explains that there was nothing she could teach to him.
He was being home schooled.
He was fourteen. The sky was dark, and a hurricane loomed on the horizon. His father was boarding up the windows of the house; he was there, watching him, helping him. A van of pulled up. Chase’s father saw this and rushed him into the house, locking the door.
People broke into the house, breaking the neck of his younger sister. He retaliated, as did his father. His father was shot, as was his mother, trying to run to her fallen child. Chase dodged a bullet and killed one of the guards. But there were too many, and he was restricted and handcuffed.
Two persons walked into the house. They were General Knox, and… No! It couldn’t be! The other person was Doctor Montgomery, though she was much younger. The General spoke, “All these years without training and he still has it. Maybe if we were able to use him…”
Chase was being taken away, he was forced into a building and his head was forced towards an eyepiece. His memory was about to be wiped.
Chase felt his head being pulled away from the eyepiece. He felt weak and dizzy. He also felt anger. He now knew who was responsible for the death of his family.
“How are you feeling, Mister Chase?” It was the General who spoke. “Do you know who I am?”
Chase was confused. So apparently the General had thought that the memory wipe was successful.
“Um… Where am I?” Chase said, trying to play along. “Who are you?”
“I am General Knox. You showed nearly a month ago here for a job.” The General explained. “But you met with an accident that incurred a serious head injury, and while the scars had healed, we kept you here with the hope that you may regain some of it using our technology.”
“Zenon Institute?” Chase asked.
“That is correct.” The General said. “So I should take it then that our machine worked? That you have regained your memory?”
“Well, some of it. I still can’t remember what happened on the day of the accident, or what happened afterwards.” Chase said, still playing along.
There was a small unrecognisable smirk on the General’s face.
“So I take it that Natalie Porter works here?” Chase asked, trying to get his girlfriend and leave as he had previously planned.
“Yes she does.” The General said. “In fact, she was the one who suggested that we try the machine in the hope that it returns your memory. She is being escorted here now.”
Chase was confused. He wondered what memory they filled into Natalie’s head after they wiped her memories.
Natalie entered the office, the same as always. She went up to Chase and gave him a big hug, a tear in her eye. “So I hear that you got back your memory?”
“Yeah, um, what happened to me? General Knox here told me that I met with an accident and lost my memory.” Chase was trying to figure out exactly what Natalie still remembered.
“Yes.” Natalie said, sympathy in her voice. “You poor thing! It was a small accident, but apparently it aggravated your old injuries in the hurricane. You had lost your memory again. I was taking care of you all the time. It was a good thing that I was a part of the team that developed this memory restoration machine; I was able to suggest you for a test, after all, I figured that it couldn’t do more damage.”
So Natalie’s memory wasn’t wiped. She was a part of the scheme all along.
Chase was home. His initial thoughts were to go to Andrew’s and collect his tickets and fly out of the country, leaving Natalie behind. But there was another emotion swelling inside of him. He wanted revenge.
From what he understood, both Doctor Montgomery and General Knox were responsible for the death of his family, though he was unsure of why. He was also sure that he was a pivotal role in everything.
He sat down. Thought for a while, and after his mind was made up, drove directly to Limex Technologies. The complex was on lockdown, multiple guards at all entrances.
“I’m here to see Doctor Montgomery.” Chase said to the first guard he met.
“Haven’t you heard the news?” The guard said. “Doctor Montgomery is dead. This complex in on lockdown until the buildings is cleared of the poison that killed her.”
“Call your superiors.” Chase said, confidently. “Tell them that Chase is here to speak with the doctor.”
The guard was confused, but never-the-less, he spoke into his radio, talking to his superior. He then gave Chase a weird look. My superior is waiting for you in Doctor Montgomery’s old office; he said that you’d know where that is.” And he allowed Chase to enter.
“Um…” The guard said as Chase passed him. “Is that a code word for something? You wish to speak to the doctor?”
“You will find out in good time.” Chase shouted back.
Chase found his way up to office of Doctor Montgomery; the head security person was there, waiting for him by the door. Without wasting time or asking any questions, Chase broke the guard’s arm and forced his way into the office.
“What is this about now?” Doctor Montgomery asked, getting up from her chair.
Chase took the guard’s handcuffs and handcuffed the guard and took his weapons. He also handcuffed the doctor. “I need answers.” He said with anger in his voice.
“So I take it then that you remember?” The doctor said, not as calmly as she usually is.
“I should have killed you that night.” Chase said. “But first I want to know the whole truth.”
He dragged the doctor out of her office and through the complex, the gun he stole from the guard always pointed at her. He passed through the front gate. “There was not code word.” Chase said to the guard as he passed. “I really did want to speak with the Doctor.”
The guard noticed the gun as they passed him. “Um… Freeze!” The guard said, pointing his own gun at Chase.
“Let it be.” Doctor Montgomery said. “This will all be over soon.”
Chase took the doctor into his car and started to drive towards Zenon Institute. He didn't speak during the journey and the doctor didn't say anything. All the while, Chase was trying to figure out how the entire mission would end. He had more confidence, though, knowing that he had been trained as a child in the arts of combat.
He drove through the outer gate of the Compound, into the first ring of security. He knew the security of the complex by heart and had no trouble isolating the location of the twenty guards. He got out the car and killed the first guard, dragging the doctor with him as he went. He only killed those guards that he thought presented immediate threats. He ran towards the second ring, he knew the security code and entered it. He was through.
Here again, he did the same. So far he had only killed or injured about ten persons. He was hoping that the body count would not rise. He now seemed so similar to the invader that he had stopped. He took the guns and handcuffs from the guards that he had killed, and he went into the third ring.
“Third ring infiltrated.” The female computerized voice said. The alarm was sounding.
Chase shot the smoke detector and almost immediately another alarm went off. This caused the building sprinklers to come on, which was the cover Chase needed. He dragged the doctor across the room, killing only those that tried to stop him.
He entered the fourth ring, as the computerized voice announced it. Twenty guns were aimed at him. He pointed his gun towards the temple of the doctor. He knew everyone in this room, for they were with him when he had received his training.
“Let me through guys.” He said. “There is something going on here that you must know about; something that I must find out for myself.”
These guards knew what Chase was capable of, as the news of him stopping the invader single-handedly had spread like wildfire amount the guards. They all let him through, lowering his weapons.”
Chase was similarly let through the fifth through ninth security rings. No one wanted to stop him. As he broke past the ninth ring, he met with someone he was not expecting. It was the invader.
Chase pointed the gun towards the temple of the doctor. “Let me through.” He declared. “I would kill her if you don’t.”
The visor of the robotic suit slid across. The person beneath it was none other than General Knox himself.
“Now why would I mind that if I was the one who sent you to kill her?” The General said.
“Why you!” The doctor screamed and ran towards the General, who simply pushed her aside.
“I will talk to you later.” The General said to the doctor. “But first I have to deal with a little problem.” He then turned towards Chase. “I take it then that the machine restored your previous memory, rather than wiping it?”
“You will pay for what you did to my family!” Chase said, and raised the gun, aimed at the space through the visor and shot.
The General was fast, though. He had the visor closed even before the bullet hit. The bullet simply ricocheted off the visor.
“I killed this thing before.” Chase said, lowering his gun.
“Yes.” The General said. “And I really have to thank you for that, since without you, we probably wouldn't be able to close our rivals down. But rest assured that that little weakness was intentional.”
Chase was unsure of what to do. The General came towards him, Chase side stepped and shot at the General under the neck; no success, the bullet ricocheted. The short time it took Chase to realise that he was unsuccessful was enough for the General to turn around and punch Chase in the stomach.
Chase flew across the room and hit the wall on the far side. Pain. No so much from the impact with the wall, but with the punch. He had never felt anything like it, he felt as if all the wind was knocked out of him.
The General didn’t give Chase anything to recover; he came towards Chase again with another punch. He missed, Chased had dodged him. The General’s fist sunk deep into the concrete wall.
This gave Chase time to look for another weakness; he didn’t find any. The General pulled his arm out from the wall. He came again towards Chase, again with the same punch. Chase side stepped and forced the General into the opposite wall. Chase then ran towards the General and pulled off the helmet of the mechanical suit.
Before the General could react Chase already had a gun pointed to his head. “So, why was it that you had my family killed?” He said, straight to the point, anger in his voice.
“You have to admit,” the General said, “that a hurricane was the perfect cover.”
Chase hit the General in the head with the gun.
“He wanted out.” Doctor Montgomery said. “We were a team, your parents, General Knox and myself. We were developing certain technologies and he wanted out.”
“And what did this have to do with me?”
“You were the project.” The General said. “Project Alpha. You were being bred to occupy this suit. Your parents became soft and pulled out, saying that you were just a boy and deserved a normal life.”
“And you had him killed for that?” Chase questioned.
“Not only that.” Doctor Montgomery said. “We could’ve accepted not having you, but then they were planning to sabotage all our projects, realising what we were dealing with.”
“You are monsters!” Chase exclaimed.
“You are the monster.” The General said.
“I told you we shouldn’t have kept him alive.” Doctor Montgomery said. “We should’ve killed him that night.”
Just then, Natalie walked into the room. It did not take her long to figure out what was going on. “Joey, put down the gun.” She said to Chase.
Chase reacted quickly, handcuffing Natalie together with the doctor. “You were a part of this?” He asked. “Why?”
“I didn’t know what would happen.” She replied, pleadingly.
“Of course she knew.” The General said. “What did you think you were invited for a job? We wanted to test run Project Alpha, and we needed pawns we could sacrifice.”
“You killed all those people?” Chase asked the General, and then he turned to Natalie. “And you took part? You willingly gave me up for the test run?”
“I had no choice.” Natalie said, sobbing.
“You always have a choice.” Chase said. “As do I.”
Chase ripped off the metal suit and, which was powerless after it lost the helmet, shot the general in the shoulder and handcuffed him with the other two. He then shot the doctor in her leg.
“I will leave the three of you now.” Chase said. “And if any of you dare interfere with my life again, then I will not be as forgiving.”
He dropped the gun and calmly walked out of the building.