The Manifest

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Chapter 12

     Jessica got off from work around seven that night, and eager to see how dedicated Edgar and his new friend were to find her mother she went straight to their office. To show her appreciation, she stopped at a shop a block away from the building and picked up a sixteen slice pizza for not only them but for her as well because she hadn’t eaten a thing since talking to Edgar earlier that day. She had a hard time getting through her lunch as she was half excited and half nervous about what they were going to do. As she strolled into this building it was only half raining and muggy. She also noticed there was a large RV in front of the building with a few people dressed like bikers hanging out front, having a smoke and talking about something. She walked by them quickly and into the building. Once on the third floor, she strolled in and looked around for Edgar. She didn’t see him immediately, so she walked up to a desk and asked someone if he was in. Before the young man could answer, Tuck walked into the lobby to greet her.

     “Ms. Johnson," Tuck called out, "It’s nice to see you again. I’m Allen Tucker.”

     “Nice to meet you, Mr. Tucker.” Jessica said as she held up the pizza, “I brought something in for the guys since I thought we might be here for a few hours. Mr. Willis gave me the impression we had a lot to talk about.”

     “Why thank you. We have Chinese ordered already, but I’m sure there are a few here who might prefer this over Edgar’s preference.” He took it and walked her to the conference room where everyone was talking. Tuck placed the pizza on the table as Edgar and Jerome stood up to greet Jessica and exchange pleasantries.

     Jerome, who really isn't a fan of Asian foods, spotted the pizza and grabbed a slice for himself. While munching on the food, he looked back to Jessica, "Thanks, and I guess now would be a better time than ever to start this thing?"

     "Well, we have pizza and a few people here who might need some blanks filled in. I guess it would be best to start off from the beginning." Edgar said, as he pretty much ignored the pizza, “Jessica, you might want to start off by telling Jerome what happened at the Vigil.”

     “Which vigil did you attend?” Jerome asked, somewhat curious.

     “I was at the silent vigil at the national military cemetery on Sunday Night.” Jessica said as she did her best to think back, “I remember going somewhat all right with this one because it was going to be mostly silent and like a brief period of morning. Sometime during the ceremony, I saw my mother on the other side of the field. I guess she saw me because she ran away and sped off in a car as fast as she could.”

     Jerome was still curious, “Your mother is the one we’re looking for, correct?” Jessica nodded, and he continued, “What connection does her mother have to…”

     Edgar cut him off in mid-sentence and then handed a piece of paper over to him. Jerome was looking at the paper in utter amazement and then looked back at Edgar.

     “Where the hell did you get this? This is amazing.” He kept scanning the sheet until he hit a familiar name, “Is this your mother?” he said pointing to her mother’s name on the manifest.

     “Yes, it is.” Jessica said to answer his question, “My brother and I were in the terminal and we watched her get onboard. We know she was on the plane when it left the gate.” She could see that Jerome hadn’t been given all the details of the case so far, so this must have been the time that Edgar was going to use to get everyone on the same page.

     “This is amazing. If you saw your mother… this opens a whole can of worms that has always been suspected but never proven.” Jerome took a seat and kept staring at the manifest, “Can I keep this?” he asked Edgar, like a young boy at Toys R’ Us who just found that must have toy of the Christmas season. While still reading it, he picked up his slice of pizza and resumed eating while reading it over. “There isn’t even a single marker smudge on this at all! Where the hell…”

     “Let’s get back to the topic at hand.” Edgar interrupted, somewhat eager to not focus on the founder of the feast. “We might as well start from the beginning that being the crash of flight 77."

     Jerome quickly finished his current bite, "You mean the alleged crash of Flight 77." he again corrected.

     Jessica quickly picked up on this, "What do you mean alleged?" she asked somewhat curious.

     "I mean there is even more evidence that suggests that a plane didn't crash into the Pentagon. All this evidence has been staring us in the face for five years, and no one asked the important questions." Jerome said as he took another mighty bite into his sliver of pizza.

     “But aren’t you just talking about wild conspiracy theories?” Tuck said out loud from a corner of the conference room. He never seemed impressed with the suggestion, and used the opportunity to air it out for the discussion. 

     “Conspiracy theories are nothing to be afraid of.” Jerome countered as he put down his greasy food, “Throughout history, almost every tragic event had theories that were presented to the public in order to offer an alternate premise to what could have happened. The word ‘conspiracy' has been added to it mostly because theories presented usually include more than one person planning the event or tragedy in question, thus making it a premeditated offense. Conspiracy theories date back centuries, with stories such as the Illuminati and One World Government to today's big whoppers like the assassinations of J.F.K and Martin Luther King Junior. Every major event in history has their own theory, to the point where people jokingly say that any given event isn’t truly one of a kind unless they have their own conspiracy theories. Take both World Wars as a prime example. There’s a long standing theory that Archduke Francis Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo was orchestrated but the Germans to push their own ally into a war. The theory was that the Germans were eager to start while they were still winning the arms race. Then there’s the theory about the Second World War and the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

PJ Lowry

Edited: 07.11.2019

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