Prologue – Many Meetings
Tokyo – Japan
"Step forward, Männlich" rang out a strong voice in the shadows.
From the darkness stepped a man that wore it like a second skin. Männlich, a high bounty assassin with German roots, held an imposing figure. Standing at 6'5", he was the pinnacle of an ideal Aryan male; a massive body with thickly corded muscles striating across it, barrel chest, huge arms, tree trunk-like legs, hands the size of baseball mitts, and a neck that would make a bull proud. His golden yellow hair was a little shaggy, with a trimmed beard only adding sharp contrast to his strong nose and high cheek bones. One glance at the man and a person would be enthralled by his physical presence alone. But once they looked into his eyes, they would fear for their soul. Eyes, bluer than the sky on a hot summer day but colder than the deepest reaches of space, would entrap his victims, and before they knew it, they would be trapped within his power, unable to escape. Männlich, in truth, was a god-made-man but of the cruel kind, one that would demand sacrifices from his followers.
His name was German for 'Demon', for that is what he was; wanted in every important nation across the globe, he had more assassinations of important figureheads and celebrities under his belt than any other killer on record. That wasn't including all those he killed to achieve his goals – countless unknown murders and disappearances surround Männlich. He truly represent a demon, nay Satan himself; handsome, tempting, but devious and cruel.
"What is it?" he replied. He had just finished another 'deal' as he liked to call the jobs he took on, and he was eager to go out on the town and relieve some of the stress he had acquired along the way. Nothing was more relaxing than taking out all of his internal tension on some hired slut who thought they were better than what they really were. Männlich enjoyed breaking people; not just their bodies, but their minds and souls as well.
There was the sound of shifting bodies as more subtle light was brought forth. Männlich stood out in a solitary beam of light and the unknown voice that had spoken before was revealed to be the silhouette of a man. Other silhouettes, on both sides of the speaker, were revealed, adding up to a total of seven people sitting in an arc around the German assassin.
"We have a task for you," spoke the man from before, "one that you may find enjoyable."
"Oh? And how do you figure that?" replied the killer. He crossed his arms in front of him, biceps standing out proudly like bowling balls of power and authority. It had been a while since he had anything of a real challenge, since the last deal had been a cakewalk. Killing that Austrian dignitary in the Buckingham Palace barely broke me a sweat he thought to himself. Sure, the chaos afterwards was fun, but not worth my time.
"Your target is a boy." Männlich couldn't keep the snort from escaping out of his nose.
"A boy?! You would have me go after and kill a boy? I could have that done before sunset if I wanted –" he started.
"His death is not your assignment." The voice didn't change in tone or volume, merely it spoke before the German demon could really start ranting. Now Männlich was intrigued. His deals always required the death of his target.
"You are to find and befriend the boy, for he is worth so much more to us alive than dead," The voice started, "and before you start speaking again, listen to all that I have to say. Then you can ask your questions." Männlich had opened his mouth already, Befriend? That's a new one…
"His name is John Remmels. He is American, 18 years old, fresh out of high school and going into college where he has a full scholarship paying for his tuition." At the pause, the man pressed a button and a screen popped up behind the hired death bringer. He turned around to look at the kid. "He is exceptionally brilliant and gifted, having a natural talent for playing and composing music. He is also highly adept with computers, having bested several top computer technicians at the NSA, CIA, FBI, and even Interpol. We want you," and here the Voice, as Männlich, now called him, "to go undercover at his college and acquaint with him. Eventually, we want you to gain his trust and bring him to us."
Not too bad looking thought Männlich. Kinda cute really, I can picture him beneath me already; squirming and moaning… He had to stop now, or else one of his body's more potent 'weapons' would come out, namely the thick, veiny one between his legs.
"Why can't I simply kidnap him and bring him to you now?" Männlich interrupted. "I can have him here before you by noon tomorrow." He didn't like this deal; it reeked of something he was uncomfortable with – basic human emotion. He hadn't 'befriended' anyone since he was 5 years old. Life had been cruel to him and, in order to survive, he grew stronger and grew crueler than those that hurt him.
"You are not required to know why, simply do as you are told!" And here the Voice showed its first real sign of emotion – anger. "You will become friends with the target, with John Remmels, and you will do your job!" The Voice was still angry, with mutterings coming from the other unknown figures at the table.
"And what," stated Männlich unthreatened, "is my job besides becoming the brat's friend? Should we become chums, bed buddies even?"
"If it becomes necessary." came the reply. Shit, I was joking! thought the mercenary. But then again, I wouldn't mind getting in bed with that little twink, he purred in his head.
"He has something of ours, something that we have worked on for the past 20 years to perfect and initiate. It is a type of weapon that has the potential to destroy the free world and bring nations to their hands and knees before us. But the weapon is useless unless we have the target and he must come willingly and in a positive emotional state." Here Männlich cocked his head, Positive emotional state? "The weapon and the target are linked; you do not need to be concerned how. All that matters is that you befriend the target, gain his trust and attention, and bring him to us. We will tell you more as you progress with him."
The Voice paused, "This," and here a packet was tossed to Männlich which was caught deftly in his hand, "is all the information you need; passport, plane tickets, your first of many paychecks, and your new alias." Männlich glanced at it, A freakin' German professor?! What the hell! "Before you say anything, our contacts have informed us that the target has a love for German music and its composers, so he will need to take the language. You will see him 3 hours a day, 5 days a week; you can use your imagination on how to get close to him since you will be spending so much time with him." stated the Voice coolly, obviously enjoying Männlich's discomfort.
The assassin was less than happy, but he wasn't about to turn down the deal. The first paycheck was over 5 million dollars, which was higher than what he was normally paid. He also got to return to the States, something he had wished to do for some time. It would be good to go back home and see what the land of freedom offered him. And I might even score some hot little college freshman's ass while I work.
"When do I start?" questioned Männlich with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.
Department of Homeland Security – Washington D.C.
The sound of sharp footsteps echoed down an empty corridor which was lined with various portraits of people and their accomplishments. The owner of the footsteps passed by each of them without sparing a glance, eager to get to his point of destination.
Walking up to the door, the man paused while two guards went over his clearance pass.
Two guards that I trained are making sure I am who I really am thought the man with a chuckle, maybe I should attack them and let their bruises tell them. He could appreciate the humor.
"Agent Creed you are now clear to proceed." said on of the guards.
Agent Creed thanked the man and proceeded further. Walking with a body that would make most women faint and many men drool, Creed was quite impressive physically. He stood at 6'4" while paying homage to his Italian roots; dark Mediterranean skin with smooth, powerful muscles straining the high priced suit he was wearing. His hair, once styled in a traditional military buzz cut, was thick with black curls. His face was graced with a bright smile and sea green eyes that were full of warmth. They belied the type of man he was trained to be, but despite his hardships he still retained his good-natured self. His face was also sprayed with a constant 5 o'clock shadow with light sprinkles of hair covering the rest of his body. He walked with a powerful gait; one of his coworkers once said it reminded him of a panther. His voice was deep, sounding like liquid chocolate on the ears. Agent Creed, although not having this view himself, was seen as the peak of raw masculinity.
"Any idea what they want me for boys?" inquired Creed. He had been called to Washington late last night with a high priority phone call from the Director himself asking for him to come in.
"No idea sir. They have been pretty tight lipped, but there's a certain level of anxiety in there." replied one of the guards.
"Well lets just see what's going on in the lion's den the, shall we?" Creed said with a little grin
The doors opened up allowing Creed access. He strode in, keeping his eyes open and aware of the many top brass and politicians that were present at the conference table in the center of the room.
"Gentlemen," addressed Creed to the assembled crowd, "to what do I owe the pleasure?"
The Director of Homeland Security stood up. "Agent Creed, welcome. We appreciate you coming in on such short notice and we apologize for any inconvenience."
"No problem. Kinda hard to ignore your summons when you send 3 other agents plus a private jet to fetch me. Had to cut my date short because your fetch boys wouldn't leave me alone in the restaurant. The poor boy I was with was certain he was dating a wanted convict." Agent Creed wasn't really on a date, but he was truthful about his sexual orientation. It was worth the small lie seeing the military personnel squirm a bit in their expensive, decorated uniforms. Homophobia still ran strong in the military, which made it a wonder about how Creed himself survived in it.
The Director coughed, noting his military colleagues' discomfort. He looked at Agent Creed though with a sparkle in his eye; the boy was always quick with a smile and a joke. Plus the two shared a common view on homophobia and the military, so they spared no expense on making things awkward whenever the two groups met.
"You have been called back to Washington because we face an unexpected, yet deadly, threat to not only the United States of America, but the free world itself."
Creed whistled, "Well, way to lay it heavy bossman."
Not responding, the Director picked up a remote and began pressing buttons on it. A projector screen came down from the back wall, the lights dimmed, and the projector itself turned on. The face of a young man came up, along with various facts.
"His name is John Remmels. Born to a Casey and William Remmels, he is an 18 year old high school graduate going into college on a music scholarship, granting him a full ride."
Must be pretty good then thought Creed.
"His parents were murdered when he was only 3, and the killer or killers where never found. He was placed in the foster care system." Here Creed bristled; he had his own experiences with that corrupt system. "He went through homes quicker than the wildfires in California, not because of poor behavior, but because he showed no behavior."
"What do you mean, no behavior?"
"He simply became a shell; a human husk of a child," the Director responded. "Around age 12 he opened up again. According to the Child Social Care documents, it was like he didn't know he had been emotionally comatose. He continued on as if nothing had changed. He spent the remainder of his teenage years with an elderly woman whom he affectionately called Grammy."
"Called?" questioned Creed. The kid was a number that was for sure; brains, beauty, and obviously a good seed if the smile was anything to judge by. He could also relate to the boy, having been a 'victim', as he termed himself, to the foster care system.
"She passed away at the beginning of his senior year in high school. Leaving him money in shape of a trust fund, Mr. Remmels rented a single room apartment and worked harder to finish his classes. He graduated top of his class with college acceptance letters flooding his mailbox from all over the country."
Creed was curious, but not fully interested. What had this to do with him? He was one of the best agents the federal government employed, and so far, it looked like his assignment was that of a babysitter. Sensing this, the Director cut to the chase.
"Our enemies from abroad are interested in him; for whatever reason we don't know. Our security systems have found that the Chinese, Russian, Iranian, Cuban, North Korean, and Venezuelan terrorist groups are all taking note of him. Again we don't know why. All our spy satellites have been able to get up are the terms 'key' and 'crippling weapon'."
Now Agent Creed's attention was on the kid. He began studying the boy's facial features; the eyes were clear and strong, skin clear and with a healthy color, and his smile was white with perfectly shaped teeth. Nothing about his face screamed 'terrorist' but Creed had enough personal experience to know that even the most innocent of faces could be deceiving.
On of the generals spoke up, "He is a threat to our nation's security and way of life; the target is to be monitored and if possible, we want you to discover why our enemies want him." Here the general paused. "There has been some disagreement on exactly how to handle this situation, some of us wanted the target brought in for questioning, others wanted to imprison him, and there was the option of eliminating him."
"What?!" yelled Agent Creed. "Kill the kid because he's caught the eye of every terrorist from China to the Middle East? What are we, back in the Middle Ages with the whole 'shoot first, ask questions later'?"
The Director spoke up, "It has not come to that," and here he shot a glare at the general and the other military. "We are going to monitor him; in fact we have already started. His e-mails and phone calls have revealed nothing, nor have any envelopes or packages addressed to him. So we are going to step a little bit closer this time – this is where you come in Agent Creed."
Creed was still fuming at the brass sitting across the table from him. The target, no the kid, for that is what he was in Creed's eyes, was an American citizen of Christ's sake! No juvenile record, perfect grades; obviously the kid was someone smart. So why had he caught the interest of people who would kill innocents without a second thought?
"You are to enroll in the college Mr. Rennels will be attending and pose as his roommate. You are young enough that there should be little suspicion on his part."
"You act as if he already suspects something. What changed?" asked Creed as he began flipping through a large manila envelope placed before him.
"As you can see, many of the recent photos have him glancing over his shoulder, sometimes peering right at the camera lens. It's as if he knows someone is watching him. This has brought a level of anxiousness on him. Therefore, you are to calmly approach, befriend, and eventually, delve into him and find out why he is wanted by our enemies."
I can do that, Creed mused to himself. Never had the chance to go to college before, could stand to learn a few things here and there.
"When do I start?" asked Agent Creed, excitement flowing in his veins.
Speeding down the highway, classical music blaring from the cheap U-Haul radio speakers, the young man whom everyone was chasing after was humming unaware to the symphony in the air. Standing at 5'10", with short, slightly curly brown hair, brown eyes, and a tanned skin, he had to look of a cute hometown boy fresh out to see the world. His physique wasn't quite that of an athlete, but running to and from school and a job everyday gave his body a good muscle tone to it.
John Remmels was excited. No, scratch that, he was ecstatic! Going to one of the top music schools in the country was a huge achievement. He knew his Grammy would be proud.
Oh Grammy he mused, why did you have to die so soon? I still need you. Her death had forced John to give up a life of semi-comfort and to live in a single person apartment that was no bigger than a small storage unit. At least there weren't any infestations or plumbing issues. Granted, living with Grammy hadn't been easy, but it was a home full of her love. They struggled together and overcame together, and now that happy place no longer existed. It was way better than his life before – living in the foster care system hadn't exactly been the best experience of his life, but it did give him Grammy at the end.
John kept his eyes on the road, but let his mind continue to wonder. The college was still about half an hours drive away and he had much to think about. Like those stalkers he was convinced he had…
What's up with that anyways? Not like there's anything special about me… he mused.
The strange men and women had been around for the past couple of weeks, ever since his graduation ceremony finished. John had been busy packing the possessions he wanted to take to college and selling the rest he didn't want. They never approached him, he didn't receive any creepy phone calls, e-mails or letters. They just stood there, at a distance, and watched him.
Actually, they started to show up around the same time the scores from all those government tests I took a while ago came in. He was further puzzled. Were the strangers government officials? But then why would the government be interested in him? Sure he had good grades and was attending a college known around the world for its excellent music program, but that shouldn't be it.
John sighed. Thinking about stuff like this never solved anything. If the problem persisted in the town where he was to attended college, he would tell the local police about it. He wasn't paranoid per se…. just cautious.
Shaking his head clear of the negative thoughts plaguing him, he began to think of his future academics. He already started working on several pieces of music for his classes. As a music composition major, he was required to produce his own unique work. He took to writing music like a fish did to water; it just came naturally to him. Some of his old friends called him names of long dead composers, like Bach, Beethoven, and even Handel. John took them all as a compliment, but secretly desired to be seen as an equal to those great men.
He would work for the school's music department, acting as one of the few student conductors. To be one was quite an achievement and usually occurred at the senior, possibly junior level. To be a student conductor as a freshman though was unheard of! But the admissions board had been more than impressed with his work, they gave him the last open spot. His course load would consist mostly of music performance and theory classes, but as a side class he was taking German Music Appreciation, a senior level class. Again, he shouldn't have gotten into it, but the college allowed him, seeing how excellent his work was.
John snapped out of his reverie; he was driving into the town now so the college was about 5 minutes further. Reading the street signs for directions, he also kept an eye out for anyone who stopped and stared at him a little bit too long. Again, not paranoid…yet.
Driving onto the campus road, John spotted his dorm and pulled in front. Stepping out, he took a deep breath to calm his nerves. He had done well in high school; he hoped to do better in college. It was his dream to have his music played across the world – not only in every major symphony hall, but in school orchestras and churches. He wanted his music to be a source of inspiration for others just as he had found inspiration in the classical music he listened to.
Walking into the building, he spotted the front desk. "Hello, where do I sign in?" John questioned.
The man sitting behind the desk smiled, "Welcome to the dorms man! My name is TJ, your RA!" Handing him all the proper paper work and his room key, TJ continued, "You room is on the second floor and you'll be sharing with a Lance Tenlet. He already checked in so you should see him! If you need anything, don't be afraid to ask!"
John couldn't help but smile. Either TJ was naturally like this or he was doped up on way too many caffeine pills.
"Oh! It says here that you're that music prodigy we've all heard so much about. Is that true?"
John blushed. A prodigy? Jeez. "We'll I do write music, it's my passion."
TJ grinned, "That's cool man, I look forward to hearing what you make!" and here TJ winked at John. John blushed even more - was TJ coming on to him…?
"Okay your room is 221. Let me get someone to help you move in!"
"That's okay, I only have a few boxes with me, and I have a rented dolly in the U-Haul. I'll be settled in with just one trip."
He walked away from the still grinning TJ. Room key in his pocket, he loaded up the large dolly with boxes that contained clothes, toiletries, and books after books of music. Steering them into the elevator and down the second floor hall, he stopped outside his future home. Unlocking the door, he peered inside.
There wasn't any sign of another person, but half of the room had already been moved into. The bed had been made with an almost military-like quality, one of the closets had clothes neatly hanging and weights at the bottom, and there were a few books already on the other's desk, each in alphabetical order. Completing the picture was an expensive looking laptop, clearly just bought. The room also had the smell of just being freshly cleaned as well. At least he's not a slob, guess Lance cleaned the room before he left. Gotta remember to thank him for that later.
Unloading all his stuff, John began the quick process of moving in. With only a few person possessions to his name, the work passed in a short amount of time. Stepping back, he scanned his side of the dorm. The bed, while nowhere near as perfect as Lance's, was made, his closet was full of his clothes, and his desk had his old laptop plus all of the files and books of music he had. Plugging his computer in, he made sure the battery was charging and the security system was fully functioning. The outside of the computer may have been old, but the inside was all practically state of the art. John prided himself on his knowledge of computer software. If anyone used his computer, even with the encryption passwords, he would know. He valued his privacy. That wasn't saying he didn't trust Lance, he had no reason not to. He was just removing the temptation.
The last thing John did before stepping out of the room was to write a quick note to Lance:
Thanks for cleaning the room already. Sorry I may not be here when you get back. Maybe we can meet up for dinner or something? Look forward to meeting you!
Leaving the dorm building, John called the U-Haul company to come pick up the rental. Walking across campus, he headed to the music building to meet with his advisor. He had to find out what exactly he needed to work on first, plus he had to get his schedule of classes.
Entering the large building, John paused. There air was full of absence, like the building was expecting something. John could almost hear music wafting through the halls from the many practice rooms or from the concert hall. Locating the main office, he asked about Professor Michaels.
"Mr. Remmels, is that you?" inquired an elderly man who was offering his hand out. Shaking the young college music prodigy's hand, he continued. "Well it seems you arrived safely then! I must say, all of us here in the music department are excited about you being here. Hearing your submitted work was certainly a privilege."
John smiled, "I'm glad you enjoyed it sir, I loved that piece you heard."
"Very good then, let's talk about your position as Student Maestro then shall we?"
John smiled, a feeling of elation overcoming him. "When do I start?"