"Serum injection successful."
Silence, then a faint buzz followed by static. Marcus Kline cursed, shaking the communicator. With all the technology infused into the operation such glitches were uncommon, hazardous, and incredibly frustrating. The side effects of molecular teleportation were as varied as they were dangerous. A poor connection through the communicator was last on his list of things to worry about.
A garbled, incoherent voice sputtered through the line, and then... static.
The subject, a young, confused man with unkempt hair and wild eyes stared at Kline with a hollow, glazed look. The serum had worked perfectly. Everything, with the exception of the communication problems, was going according to plan, but the communicator alone could jeopardize the entire mission. He swore again and walked to the window, careful to remain out of full view. The Dallas streets below were lined with people all waiting in rapt attention, some holding their breath, others waving small flags. He didn't have much time. A low murmur snaked through the throng below. The motorcade edged closer.
Kline needed a response, an affirmative from his command unit. He glanced around the sparse room, his eyes falling on the bolt-action rifle. Hurrying back to the young man, he checked the communicator. Still no response. His heart raced beneath the thick coat. Turning to his subject, he checked the eyes, ensuring the pupils were still dilated—the glazed look of someone completely under his control. He quickly pulled another injector from his coat pocket. Affirmative or not, he had to ensure that everything flowed smoothly. The subject glanced up at him as if puzzled by the new device. Kline held one hand at eye level and snapped his fingers to attract the daze man's attention while sticking the injector into his left arm. He pulled the trigger, inserting a second method of control, a small chip that would send electronic impulses to the subject's brain.
The murmur of the crowd lining the streets grew louder. Kline tested the eyes again—still dilated. The communicator—nothing. He frowned, then grabbed the subject by both arms and stared into his eyes.
"Time to set up, with or without confirmation," Kline muttered.
He turned to his computer and updated the code that would activate the chip in the subject's arm. The chip had been preprogrammed for specific actions. That way, if the serum wore off, it would still force the subject to respond in the programmed manner. In this case, even after mark was eliminated, the subject would still react to his programming. It didn't always work, but if the program and the subject's brain were wired perfectly, and the subject already had tendencies to react as the programming instructed... the results were amazing.
Glancing outside, Kline snapped again to get the subject's attention. His hypnotized, unblinking gaze fell on Marcus, who spoke slowly, emphasizing every word, "Listen.