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Near El Rico Airbase

George Atkinson had given the young attorney the use of his own vacation cabin.

"Jack, my boy, think of it as a "Promotion Present," Atkinson had said.

John James McCoy-Jack to one and all-had survived Atkinson's tutelage; had been accepted as Second Chair to Manhattan's Executive Assistant DA, Adam Schiff.

So, before heading off to the bright lights of Manhattan, Jack McCoy had been given the chance to take a vacation.

It was a Biker's dream, Atkinson's vacation cabin stocked with all sorts of necessities, including some very good scotch, and miles of road that nobody used anymore.

So, on the road, wind screaming all around him, McCoy let the machine howl down the abandoned road.

The speed…the absolute sense of freedom…


Then…everything went…white.

The bike skidded out from under McCoy, and he felt his gloved hands lose the handlebar…


1 Hogan Place

Jack McCoy jerked awake. At first he didn't know where he was.

That damned nightmare again…

It always left him feeling a little bit scrambled.

It was dark, inside and out, and he was lying on a couch.

Oh, yes…

Now he remembered.

1 Hogan place; my office, newly appointed to the position of Executive Assistant DA, by Adam Schiff himself.

McCoy sat up, running hands through his hair, looked at the clock on the wall.

4:25 AM

He snorted and lay back down on the couch. No reason to bother going home now…

Jeffrey Spender, studying at Quantico, had every expectation of making the grade, of becoming a FBI Agent. He knew he was doing well. Only one thing worried him.

FBI Agents were required to spend a good deal of their time on the road, away from home; and he often worried about his mother, Cassandra Spender.

There was a Housekeeper/Companion who looked after her. But Jeffrey wasn't exactly sure where the money for this was coming from. He certainly didn't have that kind of money.

Cassandra Spender was apparently a very special case.

In more ways than one…

She was a believer…

Not so much in God as in…Extraterrestrial Entities.


Every so often, Cassandra Spender would…disappear; just vanish without a trace, no mean feat for a woman confined to a wheelchair.

She always returned, in a condition closely approaching religious mania, speaking of benevolent aliens whose only wish was to uplift humanity into a galactic golden age.

Jeffrey Spender had lived with those stories his whole life. They were an integral part of his childhood.

Those stories…so beautiful, so kind, and, at the heart of it all, so…silly.

Thankfully, there were always people there, to look after her, for simple things like making sure she came in out of the rain, took her vitamins, and had physical therapy too.

Jeffrey just didn't know who was paying for all of this very high-quality care.

And, on certain days, coming home from school, or work, Jeffrey would enter his mother's room, and he would smell cigarette smoke…