The thin man, with slightly graying hair and an olive complexion, with very dark eyelashes, was nervously pacing the floor, when Mr. Z entered room three.
“You’re making a mistake!” the thin man immediately said.
“Why is that?” Mr. Z replied.
“Coming in here and taking blood samples and fingerprints without my consent," the thin man answered, "and snapping my picture without my permission! I know who you are and what game you’re playing!”
Mr. Z smiled, “you do, huh? Well, I’m glad you know who I am and what game I’m playing because I don’t know who exactly you are and you, my friend, appear to have been playing a game for many years! Now, please sit down!” Mr. Z motioned to the chair behind the table. The thin man reluctantly sat.
Mr. Z opened the thin files.
“According to the best information we could gather,” Mr. Z began, “you now call yourself Richard Alpert. Is that correct?”
Richard Alpert nodded.
“Now, you are a very interesting man, Mr. Alpert,” Z continued, “you have had a variety of ‘careers’ over these many years, haven’t you?”
“Is that now a crime having a variety of careers?” Alpert asked.
Mr. Z chuckled, “You’ve also had a variety of passports, a variety of driver licenses, a variety of birth certificates listing a variety of birth dates, and a variety of identifications to suit the situation!”
Alpert remained silent.
“And what’s really interesting here,” Z continued, “is that you also had a variety of years where you have plied your ‘trades’. For example, didn’t you, around the mid 1950’s to 1960’s, work as a recruiter for an academy for gifted students? Someplace called the Mittlewerks Academy or something like that?”
Alpert said nothing.
“And you know what I find fascinating,” Z said, “is that we contacted some of the former staff at a hospital located in Tustin, California and showed them your picture. And they recognized you as someone who used to come around quite often. In fact, they said it looked like you’d never changed a bit! Same ol’ Richard Alpert!”
“So what?” Alpert replied.
“Well,” Z explained, “they said the last time they remembered seeing you was over 40 years ago! So you seem to age well! Tell me your secret!”
“Lots of fresh air,” Alpert replied, “which I’m not getting sitting in here!”
Mr. Z grinned, then continued to read from the file.
“In the 70’s you were promoting some type of summer science camp for exceptional youths through the Mittelos Schools. Then you seemed to disappear for awhile. A very large gap in your resume, huh? Then the next we hear of you, you’re working as “Dr.” Richard Alpert, a recruiter for Mittelos Biosciences, a genetics research firm.”
“Again, so what?!” Alpert said.
“Well, I’m sure you remember that Mittelos Biosciences has been under investigation for the last few years for deceptive business practices!” Z smiled.
“No, I don’t remember, I’ve been gone awhile,” Alpert said.
“So it appears you have,” Z answered, “well, I’ll refresh your memory. There have been more than a few “new recruits” of Mittelos, who have “mysteriously” disappeared over the years. Just vanished! No contact with any of their family or friends. And their friends and family swore that those who were now missing had told them their employment with Mittelos was on a temporary basis. Six months or less. But they never returned. You know anything about that?”
“No,” Alpert curtly answered.
“Of course, you don’t, Mr. Alpert,” Z said, “and I suppose you don’t have any explanation for why you’ve always seemed to have been involved in some way or another with that now defunct pseudo-science cult called The DHARMA Iniative which, while it was still active, was also the basis of many investigations from many agencies!”
“I’ve heard of the DHARMA Iniative,” Alpert said, “but I was never a member!”
“If you say so,” Z replied, “and finally, why were you on a flight that mysteriously lands after it was missing for several months, when you were never even listed on that flight when it took off? Were you using some of your forged documents under another name? Can you explain that to me?”
Alpert, once again, remained silent.
“You enjoy any hobbies, Mr. Alpert?” Z asked.
Alpert gave an incredulous glance towards Z.
“What? Why do you ask?” Alpert wondered.
“Oh,” Z replied, “no reason. Just making conversation. Seems to me I read somewhere in your file that you liked to build old sailing ships in bottles. Interesting hobby. I myself am a history buff. I’m really interested in the old trade ships of the 19th century. You have any knowledge of old sailing ships?”
“Listen,” Alpert began, “I know what information you want. I can give it to you! But I want assurances!”
“What kind of assurances?” Z asked.
“I want immunity from any prosecution,” Alpert replied, “a new identity, a new place, a safe place, hidden amongst a forest, or desert, or mountains! Someplace no one can ever find me! In return, I will tell you what you want!”
“Sounds like an interesting proposal,” Z mulled, “tell you what, I’ll have a video camera brought in. You can record your “testimony” and I’ll see what I can do about your requests.”
“I want it in writing before I say a word!” Alpert demanded.
“Of course, Mr. Alpert,” Z replied, “I’ll print it out now!” Z then headed for the door. Before he exited, he turned back to address Alpert.
“By the time I get your “contract” with us in order, the results of your blood tests should be back. The results should be very interesting, don’t you think? Its all kind of ironic anyway, isn’t it? You asking for immunity when it appears you’ve had immortality!”
Alpert remained silent.
“And one more thing, Richardus!” Z said.
A look of shock crossed Alpert’s face, upon hearing Z address him by that name!
“You forgot to ask me a question before I started talking to you?” Z said.
The shock on Alpert’s face, was quickly replaced with a look of puzzlement.
“That’s okay,” Z stated, “I understand, with these circumstances you’re now in and all. You don’t have to ask me the question but I’ll give you the answer anyway!”
Alpert sat very still.
As Z opened the door to leave he called back, “the answer is 'Ille qui nos omnes servabit!'”
Alpert just stared, as Mr. Z exited.
“Did you fill in any of the shadow man’s gaps?” Smaller asked.
Z laughed, “He wants a deal for his cooperation!”
“You’re not going to give him one are you?” Smaller asked.
But Z didn’t answer, instead he walked over and picked up the next file.
Claire Littleton was patiently waiting in room four.
Next: Chap. Seven “The Claire Littleton Interrogation”