In the not so distant future

Brent Waxman was pumped with adrenaline as he left the parking lot of Carrelson Labs with his prize. He made sure not to draw attention to himself as he exited the building with the rest of the employees, as the fire alarm was going off. Now tried not to speed, heading for his rendezvous with Jennifer. He couldn't believe how easy it had been to pull off this caper and soon he'd be set for life.

He had been struggling to make ends meet for the last two years after being fired from his job, at a large pharmaceutical company, for supposedly selling company secrets. 'I know it was that asshole Baker that set me up,' he thought, 'He was the only one with all the codes to the research files that I was accused of selling to our competitor.' Just the thought of his former boss made Brent's blood boil.

'How ironic that now I'm actually perpetrating industrial espionage and being well paid for it!' His life was in turmoil until he received that call from Mr. Clark who claimed he knew all about the incident at his former job and was in need of the services of a talented chemical engineer from time to time. With a wife, two kids, a mortgage, two car payments and all the other bills, Brent was desperate so he agreed to work for Clark. It became clear, however, that what Mr. Clark wanted him to do was not exactly legal but the money was good on that first job. Brent was hooked. Although he'd never met Clark in person, he was always compensated at the time agreed upon. All the out of town trips and late night phone calls made his wife Cindy suspicious of his 'new job' but with only her High School teacher's salary, they would be on the street in a few months once they'd gone through their other assets. So she went along with the strange hours and her husband's sudden absences to make sure their kids could go on to bigger and better things in life.

Brent coasted to a stop, at the red light, smugly smiling at himself in the rear view mirror. He removed the false mustache and grey wig, tossing them in a plastic bag. Peeling off the silicone fingerprints and other prosthetics, he added them to the bag. Jennifer gave him the idea to go in disguise on this job do to all the security cameras. She even suggested being a visiting researcher for the defense department so it would be easier to obtain access to the high security storage area and get what he came for. He tapped the cigar case in his breast pocket where his ill-gotten gains were hidden. Meeting Jennifer had changed his life in so many ways.

Jennifer Tomms is an executive secretary at Carrelson Labs and had come across a notebook of a former employee that mentioned some 'secret projects' Carrelson was doing for the government. It was just luck that Brent walked into the bar she was visiting with a couple of her coworkers. The moment he saw her, he was enthralled. The 26 year old blonde haired beauty took his breath away. She stood 5'-8" with curves that just didn't quit. Her double D chest drew him right in. He had the bartender freshen her drink on him so he could work his magic on her. Although Brent was more than twice her age at 55, he took good care of himself. His dark hair only had a hint of grey at the temples, his lean build on a 5'-10" frame and piercing blue eyes made for an irresistible combination for many women, Jennifer was no exception.

It didn't take long before the two left together and wound up at her apartment. They fucked like bunnies until the wee hours of the morning. They saw each other regularly after that, carrying on a torrid affair. Brent had grown tired of Cindy's constant nagging to get a more stable job and having a twenty something hottie with an insatiable sex drive didn't help keep him from wondering. His wife was still a curvaceous beauty at 5'-6" with long chestnut hair and green eyes; she got plenty of attention when they were married and for many years after. But time was taking its toll. Her 34C breast now sags significantly, her once flat stomach showed the signs of two kids and a relatively sedentary life. Even her radiant red hair was shot through with more silver these days. Then there was the sex...or lack thereof. He figured he still loved her but wasn't in love with her anymore.

His kids were quite a pair too and he actually hated the idea of leaving them but he'd get over it in time, or so he convinced himself. Danielle was his oldest at 20. She took after her mother in build although shorter in height. Her reddish brown hair was an even mix between both parents but her shockingly blue eyes came from dad. Brent admired her drive and enthusiasm for learning. She was in her second year of college, working on an engineering degree in structural mechanics. 'She's going to go far,' he thought. David, on the other hand, was a serious disappointment in his eyes. A senior year of High School, he has no prospects for college. 'He wants to be a video game designer or some such foolishness...what a waste,' Brent grumbled.

Brent's cheap disposable phone buzzed in his pocket, it was Jennifer calling. He'd been using a 'burner phone' at the insistence of Clark to help insulate their contact even further. It also came in handy when he met Jennifer, keeping his personal phone free of her salacious emails, texts, and pictures. Leaving his personal phone at home also helped prevent unwanted tracking of his whereabouts by his undoubtedly suspicious spouse. Besides, he could always get another once he got where he was going.

"Hey baby," he said cheerfully.

"Is everything going alright?" He could hear the concern in her voice.

"Like clockwork, why?"

"One of my girlfriends called and said there was a fire at work."

"No fire," he chuckled, "Just a little distraction to help me get outta there."

"Oh thank God...I thought that something went wrong and you'd been caught..."

"Hey, everything's fine. Just relax," he said in a soothing tone.

"Where are you now?"

"I'm on my way to return this piece-of-shit rental and get my car. I should be there in less than an hour."

"I'll be waiting for you," her voice now low and sultry. He envisioned her naked on the bed with her legs spread, ready for him to fuck her good.

At the next intersection, Brent turned into a gas station and drove around behind it. He got out and buried the plastic bag containing his disguise in a dumpster then returned to the street he had been on before the detour. All he could think of now was meeting up with Jennifer at the motel and fucking her brains out until the next morning when he'd make the drop according to Clark's instructions. Then it would be a couple hours before he got the location to pick up his money: ten million dollars. The majority of which would be deposited in a Cayman Island account while the balance ($250,000) he'd collect before he and Jennifer left for Rio De Janeiro to disappear. The light turned green and Brent accelerated into the intersection.

The impact of the speeding pick-up sent his compact sedan tumbling across the intersection before a stubborn light pole stopped its momentum. Brent never saw the truck coming as the intoxicated driver rushed to make it through the signal. Fortunately, for Brent, the truck hit the passenger side of the car or he'd be dead. His injuries were many including a concussion that left him unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital never regaining consciousness.


Cindy Waxman stood beside the hospital bed, looking down at her husband. Seeing all the tubes and wires going to various machines and life support apparatus left her with a diverse mix of emotions ranging from fear and concern to anger and rage all wrapped up in confusion. The attending doctor said Brent was in a coma and his chances of coming out of it were about 50/50.

"Mrs. Waxman?" a voice behind her called.

"Yes," Cindy turned to see a tall man in a blue suit standing at the door. He was about six feet tall with close cut graying hair, a thin mustache, and hazel eyes. He looked tired as he entered the room with a small tablet in hand.

"I'm Detective Allen Frons from the LAPD. I'd like to ask you a few questions if you don't mind?" the officer politely inquired.

"Sure," she replied, almost relieved to talk to somebody about what happened to her husband.

He showed his credentials and handed her his card then led her to a quiet alcove down the hall from her husband's room.

"I was following up on the missing person's report you made two days ago on your husband," he said tapping on the screen of his tablet, "Has he ever just took off without telling you where he was going in the past?"

"No. He does have to make sudden trips for work from time to time but he always tells me when he's leaving and when he'll be back."

The detective tapped a few more times than looked at her again, "What does your husband do for work?"

"He's a chemical engineer that does consults of some kind."

"Do you have the address of the office where he works?"

"He works from home...Kind of a freelancer. He gets a call from a client then goes to their facility to do...whatever it is he does. Consult I guess. What's this got to do with what happened to him?" More tapping.

"I'm just trying to get as much information as I can for the investigation."

"Investigation? Has he done something wrong?"

"I'm not sure ma' am but he did have false ID on him at the time of the accident and a burner cell phone that was unfortunately destroyed in the crash. Our tech guys are trying to retrieve the data from the SIM card but it doesn't look promising. The phone was sitting in a puddle of gas for quite a while before it was recovered."

"False ID? Why would he have a false ID? Where were his real wallet and ID?" Cindy asked the confusion growing even more with that revelation.

"We're not sure why he had the fakes. His wallet was found locked in his car's glove compartment. We didn't find any other phone. He had a suitcase in the trunk packed as if he was leaving on a long trip. The car was parked about a block and a half from the rental company that owned the car he was driving when he had his accident."

Cindy was stunned. She just stood there shaking her head, trying to make sense of it all. The detective continued. "Do you know a Harold Wilson?"

"No...Not that I can recall. Why?"

"Well, that was the name on the driver's license and Department of Defense credentials we found on him." Frons showed her pictures of the ID's on his tablet. Both pictures on the identifications were of a gray haired man easily in his late sixties. 'He does have a small resemblance to Brent but it couldn't be him,' she thought.

"Did your husband leave your home before you did on Monday morning?"

"No...He was still in bed when I drove to school with David."

"That's your son?" Frons clarified.

"Yes, he goes to the same school where I teach."

"So you don't know when Mr. Waxman left the house that day?" Cindy shook her head in dismay. "Could you excuse me for a moment, Mrs. Waxman?" Frons asked as he stepped away, "I'll be right back."

Cindy just nodded. She was in shock. 'Was Brent living some double life?' she pondered, still trying to get a grip on all the information she was getting. When Detective Frons returned he had two items with him.

"Do you recognize either of these, Mrs. Waxman?"

"That looks like Brent's old briefcase," she said pointing at the weathered brown leather bag in the detective's right hand, "And that's the cigar caddy I bought him a few years ago for his birthday."

The officer went on to explain that these were all her husband had with him in the rental car along with the burner phone. Finding his car and asking around the immediate area led them to the rental agency where a man matching the description of Harold Wilson rented a 2023 Kia sedan on the same day her husband was involved in the near fatal accident. The rental agreement in the car Brent was driving had Harold Wilson's name and signature on it. Frons finally concluded that Cindy's husband was about to run off with someone, possibly another woman that day but the accident ruined the plan. When Frons asked how their marriage was going, Cindy broke down in tears.


When Helen Foster walked the halls of Carrelson Labs, people gave her a wide birth. The tall, athletic brunette was the CEO and ruled the place with an iron fist. It didn't pay to draw too much attention unless you had something good to show her. At 52, she was a picture of power and beauty. She dressed accordingly; tailored jacket and blouse, tight pencil skirt, stockings with seams so straight you could use them as rulers. Her makeup was simple but professional, nails short but pointed and painted blood red. Her long black hair was up in a tight bun with not a single strand out of place. Her high heeled pumps clicked menacingly on the tiled floor outside her office.

Upon entering the outer office, her secretary Nancy greeted her with her messages and turned her boss's attention to the geeky little man in a white lab coat who had been sitting across from her desk. The nervous man jumped to his feet the moment Foster entered. He looked frail, Helen observed as she strode past him toward her office.

"Ms. Foster, this is Henry Miller from..."

"I know who he is, hold all my calls."

"Yes ma' am," Nancy responded as her boss passed through the doors leading to her lavish office.

"Get in here Miller!"

Henry flinched at the sharp order barked by the CEO. He was already worried about the news he was about to reveal but to hear she knew who he was made his stomach tighten into knots. Miller scurried in and closed the door. He had been the head of the Audit and Inventory arm of Carrelson Labs for over fifteen years but never had a face to face meeting with Helen Foster since she took over as CEO two years ago. Her reputation for cold efficiency preceded her and how she reacted to failures and setbacks was legendary. Many an employee had been fired by her if they didn't meet her standards or brought her bad news. The 60 year old Miller was quaking in his shoes at the prospect of delivering said bad news.

"C'mon Miller, out with it. I haven't got all day," Helen growled. She never enjoyed speaking with the Audit and Inventory department but it was a necessary evil from time to time.

"Yes, ma' am. Well as you know its protocol to take an inventory after a security breach or any evacuation of the facilities. My department made a thorough check in all departments and storage areas following Monday's false alarm..."

"Get on with it Miller, I've got things to do," Foster snarled from behind her enormous monitor.

"Yes... Right...My team found two specimens missing from the Delta storage freezer," Miller steeled himself for the coming explosion.

"WHAT...Which specimens?" Foster shouted glaring at the terrified man opposite her.

"Well um...specimen 67422L5 and 67423L5. They are the remaining samples from the LOBO Project that was cancelled a year ago."

"I thought all the samples were supposed to have been destroyed? How come there are...were two still here?" she muttered quietly to herself but loud enough for Miller to hear.

"According to records in the high security section, Dr. Harland kept two samples in case he needed to revisit the research. The approval order was signed by you, ma' am," he said meekly holding up the document.

"Let me see that!" standing, she snatched the paper from his hand, looking at the undoubted forgery, "Son of a bitch!"

Helen sat back slowly into her soft leather chair, staring blankly for a moment. She seemed to come to her senses as a disturbing look appeared on her face.

She punched the intercom button on her phone. "Get Abrams to my office immediately!"

"Yes ma' am," came the response from Nancy in the other room.

"Where's the files on Project LOBO?" she asked the trembling Miller.

"I couldn't access the project files themselves. They're on the secure server and only you and Mr. Abrams have access."

Helen breathed a sigh of relief at that, knowing it would be near impossible for anyone other than herself or her head of security to look at those files. She quickly logged into the main frame for access to the secure server and after two separate passwords and a biometric scan; she could finally see what was in the files.

"Mr. Abrams is here," Nancy announced through the intercom.

"Send him in."

Miller felt as if he'd lose control of his bladder when Karl Abrams entered the room. He stood in case he needed to flee when the mountain of a man stepped in front of Helen's desk. Abrams towered over the cowering auditor. At 6'-5" he towered over most of the employees there. His broad muscular shoulders and deep barrel chest made him look like a modern day Viking minus the hair and beard. His head and face were shaved clean and Miller could see a few scars that seemed to tell of a long history of violence.

"When was the last audit prior to the current one?" Foster asked, glaring at Miller.

"End of last month...five weeks ago," Miller replied, eyeing Abrams nervously.

She turned to Abrams, "I want you to go over all the security footage in the Delta storage area. I want to know everyone who had access and anyone who didn't belong. Go back five weeks. I want to know who took those samples and how they got outta here and I want it yesterday. Now move!"

"Yes ma' am," Abrams' reply came out like a low rumble as he turned and left with the auditor lagging behind.

Miller equated the inhumanly deep voice of the security head to the sound of an agitated grizzly bear. He was afraid to follow the man too closely as they left the office. He breathed a bit easier seeing as Ms. Foster didn't fire him or have Abrams snap him in two like a dried twig as he scurried back to his own office.

Helen began to read the extensive file and notes made by the late Dr. Thomas Harland on his creation. The refresher on the failed project known as LOBO 5 would make her very uneasy.


David Waxman walked through the front door and saw his mother sitting on the couch in the living room, crying. His first thought was that his mother found out his dad was cheating on her then he considered he may be dead. The latter wouldn't have bothered him as much as the former. He and his father didn't get along very well anymore and his dad treated his mother very coldly most of the time. There was a time David loved being around his dad but lately, they'd been at each other like Roman gladiators. His father was very demanding of him and ever since Brent lost his job, he's taken out his frustrations on his family, especially David. Working from home put him and his father in much more frequent contact which led to more arguing.

"Mom...what's the matter?"

Cindy wiped her eyes and looked up at her son, "Your dad is in the hospital. He's in a coma."

"Shit. Is he going to be alright?" David's concern was all a show for his mother. He didn't care if his dad pulled through or not at this point. He was tired of being belittled for everything he did.

"The doctors aren't sure. One gave him a 50/50 chance of coming out of it but he wasn't sure when that could be or if there would be any lasting effects from his injuries."

He sat down next to Cindy and hugged her. She clung to him tightly, sobbing. David didn't like to see his mother upset, especially when his dad was the cause. The lanky youth began to worry about how he and his mother would get along with his dad out of commission and unable to bring in a paycheck. His own part time job at the computer store would help but his dad was the real money maker, especially now with his consulting business. His mother's teaching job came with some nice benefits like excellent insurance but that would only cover the medical expenses. It wouldn't cover all the other bills they had. David wanted to step up and prove to his dad he could take care of his family but he wasn't sure how to do that yet.

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