Esther squirmed in her chair as she listened to the orders from the Council president, his voice rattling unchecked in her headphones. The Council had reached a decision¨Dit was no longer debatable. Their new mission had a short lead-time and it had to be swift.
The Chancellor was unwilling to mince words. He reminded Esther that she and her family had failed ten years ago. Unwilling to sugarcoat the truth, the leader of the council spelled out to her in crystal-clear terms the exact nature of Operation Genesis: Reduce the world to rubble and cleanse it of the all-pervasive evil that tainted its very core.
While the Chancellor's words crackled in her ears, Esther glanced at her husband. Jacob knew precisely what was happening; he could read it on her face. She knew he would object strenuously to the Council's directive. Jacob, along with his children, guided himself with compassion and empathy, not by blind, remorseless "justice."
Esther recalled the naive attempt the world had made to stop terrorism ten years earlier. She had stood by her husband then as he fought hard to maintain his peaceful stance. It had been difficult to watch the non-Muslim world as it feebly attempted to weed out all the terrorist cells, the sources of their support, and the seemingly endless reservoir of hate they tapped. The attempts by the United States only further corrupted its government that was once admired around the world, while adding fuel to the hatred Muslims felt toward all non-followers of Allah.
Esther knew Jacob was a good man and would want to follow his heart to save the world, even go against the orders from the Council. However, she knew it could not be done. The world had too much poison, and, as the Council insisted, it must be dealt with.
Now she had to explain the Council's decision to her husband and children. She reluctantly looked at her family, their anticipation building as she struggled to hold back her own anxiety. What her family could not hear was the harsh verbal lashing she had just received from the Chancellor.
She removed the headphones and turned slowly in her chair to face her defiant family.
Hindsight was no longer a luxury. Their mission had been clear ten years ago, but Jacob wanted to see one last time what the world would do after a horrific event. Could the world finally rally and become united against evil? Could even the peaceful Muslims support the war of terrorism?
What had happened to the United States should have inspired the world bringing terrorism to its knees. It should have brought all believers of God together to stop the New Gangster that was masquerading as revolutionaries. Instead, a new breed of evil was born, amassing weapons of mass destruction and was about to draw the world into a war that would destroy the most powerful nations and open up the world to never-ending evil.
The most vile, horrible people would be elevated to a position that had never been witnessed before in the history of the planet, all led by Davel and his family, Jacobs mortal enemy.
Esther's expression was stone cold, as she steeled herself to explain to her family what had to be done. ¡°We have our new orders," she said. "We have no choice this time. If we can't rid man of the evil poison that's inside him and bring peace to this world, everything has to be destroyed."
"I can't do that." Her husband's hands trembled as he defied her words and the authority of the Council. "Too many innocent people will die. The world is infected with a small percentage of evil, and I won't destroy everyone to punish the few."
She hated the way he acted when he defied her, how he would look away from her disapproving eyes. Her head dropped to her chest as he turned his chair to face his children.
"I have a plan," Jacob said. "If it doesn't work. . . well, I'll capitulate. We'll have just enough time."
Esther did not like Jacob's stubbornness and feared the punishment they would face for disobeying the Council. She watched her children, the remaining soldiers of their cause, as they listened to their father and his plan for each of them.
"Jacob," she called out desperately, "I feel it's time to start over."
She looked away after Jacob turned his gaze back toward her, his icy stare draining the blood from her face.
"I'm still in charge. I will not give up on my original mission," he scolded her. "That's final."
She saw the looks of defiance on her children's faces. She knew she was outvoted.
* * * * *
Esther had refused to talk to Jacob during and after their evening meal. He knew he had hurt her feelings but he was confident she would get over it. He gazed out the porthole, lost in thought, only his eyes moved as the fish from the dark ocean passed before him.
He had always felt guilty and responsible for not preventing the atrocities that plagued the world.
He had the power. He just had too much faith in man's goodness to interfere.
He knew of the evil and stood by while it destroyed the world he loved so much. He looked at the weapon that had been entrusted to him to rid the world of its poison. He had hated himself for letting a lunatic, another Hitler methodically implement the attacks that jolted the world ten years ago. He had hoped in 1993 that the United States would fight back against the fanatics who killed so many at their embassies in Africa. He had hoped they would set a positive example, unite a world that needed to come together, but President Clinton was too weak and he failed miserably. Then, again, when one of their Navy ships was bombed, they did nothing of any significance. Even their own experts were ignored as they warned of a more serious event that would rock the world. Jacob buried his head in his hands and wept as he remembered what had happened that September. It was not tears for the thousands that died that day, but for what it symbolized about the human condition that was evaporating before his eyes. While Christians, Jews and Muslims that all worship the same God, allowed false leaders to manipulate HIS original message, HIS powerful words that were supposed to be humankind¡¯s rulebook for survival, were now on the brink of destruction.
Jacob's heart was breaking as he witnessed God's, children about to destroy themselves because of hatred and fear, as well as for the greed that wars create.
"So many dead," he mumbled to himself. "And now it's going to happen again. The world hasn't learned its lesson, and now I must intervene."
Jacob shivered the cold metal bulkheads and black ocean currents chilling his room. He stood up and reached for his Staff, steadying himself as the ship rocked.
"Rebecca!" he shouted. "Ian! David!"
Within moments, his children were standing in front of him, their hands by their sides, waiting for his command to be at ease. He waved his hand, signaling them to sit.
"Father, is everything okay?" Rebecca asked. She was the oldest, and the leader of their small army.
"It's time to begin what we should have done ten years ago. You all know what needs to be done. No deviations. Rebecca, do you understand?"
"Yes, Father," she replied.
"We have thirty days to complete our assignment, so be off with all of you."
Rebecca bent over, kissed her father on his cheek and vanished. She met up with her brothers in the corridor.
"Ian, you and David have your assignment," she said. "We'll meet up with each other in two days. Any questions?"
They shook their heads.
* * * * *
Esther stood by the door, staring at her husband. Her face was ashen with the thought of what they were about to set in motion.
"I hope you know what you're doing," she said softly, her voice cracking. "I don't want to lose any more of our children."
"I have no choice," he said harshly. "This time it will work. Just stick to your job, and let me do mine."
He looked up to see that she was already gone and had not heard his words.
Esther returned to her computer. She waited for the connection to be completed and trembled knowing she was about to betray her husband.