The Negative Man: Project Jericho #4

Project Jericho Cover

**14 Years Old**

“Why did Dr. Cooper leave?  Was it because he didn’t like me?”

I’d just sat down dinner between the two of us, Jericho’s favorite – tacos.  It’d been two weeks since my fellow doctor had rushed out in anger over the development of Jericho.  He called us world destroyers and that one day this boy would be the bane of civilized people.

Looking over at the lad, I couldn’t disagree more.  “Dr. Cooper didn’t like any of us son.  Don’t take his personality or temperament personal.”  That much was completely true.  “He felt things should be progressing differently, ways I just couldn’t support.”

The boy grabbed one of the soft shells and stuffed it into his mouth.  He mumbled something, but it was barely audible thanks to the amount of taco in his mouth.  Swallowing, “I’m not a failure am I?”

“Jericho, you’re far from a failure.”  Another truth; the boy’s abilities were surpassing anything we could have ever anticipated.  Between being able to supercharge electrons and phase with electricity, Jericho was brilliant.  At fourteen, his learning level put him on pace with some of the interns we had from Providence Institute of Technology.

The new general over the project, General Talon retired last year, General Arden Fisher took a more hands on approach.  Just last week he had Jericho disassemble and then reassemble the lab’s mainframe.  Believe it or not, the speed of our computers actually increased twenty-five percent afterwards.  “General Fisher believes soon you’ll be ready for field work.  You’d be able to leave the facility every so often.”

He finished off another taco.  His abilities called for constant nourishment, that or he was just a regular teenage boy.  “Would you come with me?”

“No Jericho, I’m a scientist, not a soldier.”  The idea of Fisher allowing me to come on field assignments would be laughable.  “I don’t think they want me hanging around during combat situations.”

His eyes brightened at the word combat.  “You mean I’d be out there fighting?”

“You don’t know a lot about this world, but there’s bad people running around with powers like yours.  It’s getting harder each day to stop them from hurting innocents.”

I don’t know if that made a lot of sense to a booky teenager, but he still seemed excited.  “Dr. Staley, would they let me go see my mom too when we go out?  I haven’t seen her in a few months and I miss her.”

“Let me talk to Fisher, I’ll see what I can do.”  I knew I’d be shot down and unlike Talon, Fisher wanted the boy to have no emotional connections to people.  I guess he probably read Ellison’s notes and agreed with my old colleague.  “She still writes you every week, right?”

He got up from the table and went over to his bookshelf.  He pulled out a heft stack of letters.  “I get a letter every Monday, right on schedule.”

I gave him an earnest smile.  “Your mother is a very good lady.  I hope you write her ba-”  We were interrupted by the base’s alarm system.  “That’s strange…”

“Dr. Staley, what’s going on?”

My phone buzzed.  The alarm system was tied to all of the facility personnel’s phones.  I gave it a quick glance – the lab was under attack!  Startled, I went back to the scared looking boy.  “Quick Jericho, we don’t have time for questions.  Follow me and stay quiet!”  I ran over to the bookshelf and revealed a hidden panel.  Pressing the button, the shelf moved, showing us our path to safety.

-Jeremy

You can find all my published work at http://www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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