False in Some Sense

Children of the Atom; Chapter 4

Saturday, May 16, 2009, around 11:00 PM

Before Katrina and “James” have the opportunity to leave, Sklar receives a phone call and tells Katrina to wait a moment. A black SUV arrives on the scene, and an African-American woman with a frizzy afro steps out of the vehicle. After speaking to Agent Sklar, she talks to Katrina. Introducing herself as Janet Cook and an agent of the U.S. government — specifically whatever shadowy agency employed James Soldati — she asks Katrina a few questions and explains that she requires her help to transport the Doctor. After the Doctor is loaded onto an ambulance, Katrina is to follow with them in the SUV to make sure that nothing tries to tamper with the Doctor. Then they can figure out what to do next. Meanwhile, “James” will take the car home.

These things decided, Katrina goes with the agents. As the ambulance pulls out, the SUV follows. Janet rides in the passenger’s seat, keeping her gun ready. The driver keeps his eyes on the road, while Katrina keeps an eye on things from the back. She also has her shotgun ready.

Eventually, a black sedan pulls in behind the SUV, bearing a strange license plate — a triangle, a heart, and a hand with the middle finger extended. Katrina makes sure that Janet sees it and readies her gun. The back door of the sedan opens, and a person wearing a trenchcoat and wide-brimmed hat peers out, hanging on to avoid falling out of the vehicle. His arms are too long and his face is not entirely visible. He tests the wind, then leaps — only to be hit by a volley from Katrina’s shotgun. He twists in midair and scrambles to grab the side of the SUV, missing and falling onto the road, tumbling as he quickly disappears behind them.

A short distance up the road, the ambulance swerves to avoid something, which Katrina recognizes as the Mothman. Janet takes a shot at it as they pass, and then shoots at one of the tires on the sedan. The car wavers and skids off the road, allowing the ambulance and the SUV an uneventful trip to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, Janet and Katrina enter and Janet takes Katrina to the Doctor’s room. After having Katrina sign a nondisclosure agreement and asking about the Doctor’s threat level — whether he can be contained or should just be killed — Katrina indicates that killing him would probably be best. Janet smothers him with a pillow, and he explodes into golden dust, which dissipates swiftly.

Once that is done, Katrina is told that she can leave. If she would like a ride from Janet’s people, that can be arranged, or she can call her friend and get home that way. She chooses the latter and calls “James.”

Meanwhile, Agatha awakens after having rested to get over her bout of illness. She calls Chuck, and receiving no answer, calls Katrina. After learning that people are in the hospital and might be arrested, Agatha decides to go. Once arriving at the hospital, she greets Katrina and “James,” and then sees if she can visit. Getting a somewhat strange answer from the receptionist — that they are in custody and that she cannot even say where in the hospital they are right now — Agatha calls Agent Sklar. He says he feels somewhat confident that things will turn out well, though he can say that everyone is all right.

After discussions, Katrina and “James” go find a hotel room for the night, while Agatha goes home.

Chuck awakens to find his room swarming with doctors, nurses, and police officers. Some seem strange, though most are normal. After a little bit of questions and discussion, the various people in the room leave as Janet Cook enters. She explains that she is here on behalf of the organization that employed James Soldati, and Chuck asks after him. Afterward, she explains that she can have the charges against Chuck dropped if he agrees to help her organization. She then asks him to sign a nondisclosure agreement, and explains that her agency lost contact with one agent, Anatoly Kournikova, about a week ago. They want Chuck to find him and either rescue him, or if he is dead, report what happened to him. Chuck asks about Anatoly’s agenda of killing some of their contacts who happen to be strange in one way or another, and Janet says that she is not apprised of such plans; indeed, that such a thing might be something worth asking Anatoly when he is recovered. Chuck finally agrees, and Janet says she will be in contact with him in the future.

When Elena awakens, she experiences much the same thing. She notes that some personnel in the room are odd, but most are not. She is mostly quiet, but when Janet enters the room and explains that she is here on behalf of the U.S. government and works for the same agency as James Soldati, Elena’s demeanor changes. Janet explains the same series of events to her — that the charges can be dropped in return for a service, and after a nondisclosure agreement is signed, she explains that the aforementioned service involves rescuing Anatoly Kournikova. Elena agrees and Janet indicates that she will be in contact.

When William Puckett awakens, he lectures the personnel in his room on Satanists before Janet enters. Again, she introduces herself and makes the same offer. After some discussion, William agrees.

Later that evening, police officers enter and uncuff Chuck, Elena, and William from their beds, apologizing for the misunderstanding.

Finally, Janet calls Katrina and meets her in the hotel, explaining that she neglected to mention the rescue mission of Anatoly Kournikova. Janet indicates that she can compensate Katrina in some way for her assistance. Katrina asks many of the same questions as Chuck, namely whether or not there will be an issue of exterminating some of the things in town that are not causing trouble. Janet frankly states that they lack the time and resources necessary to take care of every problem, so that things that are not causing trouble likely will not be harmed, though that is something she may wish to discuss with Anatoly when he is found. She says that she will similarly contact Katrina later, and leaves her to her business.

Business complete, everyone goes to sleep for the night.

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