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The mask wasn’t as hot as he thought it was going to be. The mesh over his lips was barely noticeable, for instance. After trying it on, he’d stood in front of a mirror for a long time contemplating how to not freak someone out. At one point he considered wearing a cross necklace on the outside of the shirt, but left it behind after deciding that the symbol wasn’t a universal sign of peace he was raised to believe it was.

In the back of the car, he was twisting his hands in his lap. The gloves breathed as easily as the mask, but his palms still sweat. Agent Devarona bid him luck when they said goodbye at the Kremlin. It was just him and a driver, now. Jensen had no idea where he was going except to trust along the way. This part of Moscow was unfamiliar to him. They passed massive estates lit up in the dark with spectacular landscaping.

Finally, they entered the gates of one such estate. The car dropped them off in the back near where he assumed deliveries or staff entered.

Security cameras met his eye, and for the first time, he was glad for the mask. He had nothing to hide anymore, but he felt like an insect under the microscope.

Someone opened the door from the inside. It was a woman in her fifties, he assumed. She was wearing a pencil skirt and blouse.

She looked the man in the white suit up and down. Her gaze landed on the silver and white symbol sewn into the sleeve of his jacket. Jensen’s gaze followed hers down, then he showed it to her for her inspection.

She seemed about as unsure of this as Jensen felt. After a moment she opened the door further: “Come in, please,” she said.

Jensen ducked inside.

The mansion was spectacular. While under house arrest on Kremlin grounds, he had wandered every museum and gallery many times, still continued to discover breathtaking sites. In the Kremlin, it was expected, but this was someone’s house. It made his estate back in Preston Hollow feel like a shack.

He was led to one of the primary downstairs living spaces. Enormous windows overlooked a back terrace, pool, putting greens and a guest building. When he walked in, three people turned to look at him.

The first was a dignified-looking doctor wearing a crisp white doctor’s coat. The second was a woman with flowing white hair. She wore a silky gray dress and high heels that Jensen found an impressive feat for a woman surely in her sixties. Diamond earrings were fixed to her ears that Jensen had to assume were valued in the millions of dollars.

The final person who stood was a man in a suit. He had the same sweeping hair as the woman, but his was light brown. Perhaps in his thirties, maybe nearing forty, Jensen couldn’t quite tell. The only other striking feature about him was his tie was pulled loose at the neck.

The three seemed to be expecting him, but as they looked their guest up and down, they clearly weren’t expecting this.

Jensen tried to remember what Agent Devarona told him to say. Luckily, the woman broke the silence.

“You are the one Ascendancy sends?” she asked. Her accent was Russian but her English was immaculate.

Jensen nodded. “You can call me Iásōn.”

Iásōn? Is that Jewish?” she tried to repeat the foreign name. A frown touched her brow like she wasn’t quite sure how she felt about that.

Jensen shook his head. “It’s Greek,” he corrected. The name was related to the greek iáomai, which meant healer. The English deriviative was Jason. The Russian version was Ясон.

“You have a loved one that needs help?” he asked.

The doctor spoke up then.

“There’s nothing else that can be done. He has had the best care medicine can offer, I assure you.” The doctor glanced at the people in his company. By then Jensen had assumed they were mother and son. He doubted what was going to happen. Jensen would have doubted the same had their places been traded.

“Please show me where to go,” he spoke gently.

The four of them were followed by the woman that met him at the door into the primary master bedroom. Inside the main suite was transformed into something of a luxury home hospital.

But it was the little figure in the bed that drew him close. It was a child, maybe ten years old. He was on a ventilator, asleep or perhaps in a coma, Jensen couldn’t tell.

The doctor moved amid machinery and instruments, checking everything as he went. The man with the loose tie knelt on one side of the bed, gripping the child’s limp hand, and the family’s picture came into view.

His heart sank for them.

Agent Devarona told him to keep the mask on. Back in the Facility, Jensen practiced channeling while the mask covered his eyes. It worked, but he hadn’t tried something as complex as the Gift of healing until now.

He tugged off his gloves and tucked them into his pocket. Then he leaned over the side of the bed, brushing the boy’s hair away from his cool forehead.

The Gift’s light brightened the room. He glanced up at the doctor. “You’ll want to be ready to take that out. I imagine it will be uncomfortable when he wakes up,” pointing at all the tubings plunging down the boy’s throat.

There were few moments in Jensen’s life when he truly felt connected to a larger purpose. He used to feel it standing on stage leading an audience of thousands through prayer and contemplation. He used to think it was when he comforted the sick on chaplaincy rounds. Then there were the few moments since coming to Moscow when the Gift’s purpose finally made sense.

As the Gift settled like golden light upon the boy, Jensen truly knew peace. It flooded his body and soul with light and hope, and all his desire poured into the healing.

When he pulled back his hands from the boy’s forehead, it was into a curled position in front his chest. His head sank low for a moment of silent gratitude.

And he stepped out of the way to let the family welcome their healed child back to life.

Behind the anonymity of the mask, Jensen was smiling.
Jensen was just leaving the Facility’s changing room when he encountered Special Agent Kaleb Devarona. Iásōn’s suit was hanging in its closet after another day of appearances. So far all of these “appointments” as the Special Agent referred to them were always at lavish homes. The patients were kept in private spaces where “Iásōn” could come and go with little fanfare or interruption.

Agent Devarona nodded when Jensen stopped to talk to him.

  “Another successful appointment, Mr. James. Well done,” Kaleb said.

Jensen wished he’d stop calling him Mr. James. “Yes but only one person a day? I can help so many more —“ but the agent interrupted him.

  “We agree, Mr. James,” he said matter of factly.

  “You do?” he asked rhetorically just as the Agent gestured Jensen to follow.
He was led to one of the facility medical bays. They had done routine checks on him after every appointment. Jensen couldn’t fathom what had them so concerned, but there was something different today. The usual doctor was there. He smiled at her in greeting. They had chat a lot over the past few weeks and he came to know that she was without close family. He sensed a loneliness in her. Their chats were usually pleasant. Today she smiled as usual, but Jensen’s eyes were drawn to an airgun in her hand.

    “Hi, Jensen,” she said and gestured at the bed.

Agent Devarona went to a control tablet. After it powered up, the electronics on the airgun sync up. The doctor came closer.

  “Can you roll up your sleeve? This is an injection. It might hurt a little but it will only be for a moment. I promise.” The reassurance in her voice led him to comply. He had to slide off the jacket he wore, and unbutton the cuff in order to roll it to the elbow.

Agent Devarona watched as the doctor pushed the gun to the back of his forearm. He winced when the injection was pushed in. Rubbing his arm, he looked at her with a grim smile. “No bandaid?” Her chuckle dispelled some of the concern for the moment. “So what was it anyway? I don’t think I need vaccines anymore.”

Agent Devarona came over with a scanner wand. The blue light of the probe cast eerie lines up and down his forearm until it hovered over a white spot.  It was the Agent who answered his question. “It’s a tracker, Mr. James.”

Jensen wasn’t sure how he felt about that. The doctor excused herself then, and Agent Devarona sensed his concern. “It’s for your safety. You’ve been granted leave off the Kremlin grounds for a radius. All these tests have gone really well. You’ve done an excellent job. The days are yours, to an extent. You’ll be given an allowance to use as you wish. Report here by 8 pm evening for your assignments. Then you’ll have plenty of time to change for travel.”

Jensen slowly nodded. “Why so late?” he asked. Their assignments were usually in the evening, but by the time they reached a destination, it could easily be pushing midnight.

    “We want to get to the hospital well after visiting hours,” Agent Devarona replied.

Jensen’s mouth parted, a response lingering on his lips, before he smiled.
The first thing Jensen noticed when they pulled up was that the hospital was lit up in that bright way they were always illuminated. The second thing he noticed was how he felt ridiculous walking through the halls in his suit and mask.

Once the elevator doors closed, Jensen turned to Agent Devarona. “Is this really necessary? I must be attracting more attention wearing it than I would in regular clothes,” he said with a gesture at his own masked face.

The agent nodded. “As we have discussed many times, Iásōn, the mask keeps you from being tagged by sensors. The CCD has worked very hard to make sure that your affiliation with your skills are secure.”

Jensen sighed. Agent Devarona continued to insist that the costume was necessary. Jensen understood, he truly did, but as he walked through the halls, he was glad they passed few people. He was quite self-conscious.

He was led to a unit that was sparsely populated with workers.  A nurse looked up from behind a desk. Jensen glimpsed a wide range of metrics and other information about the many rooms under the nurse’s watch. The doors to each were sealed off for the night, and Jensen suddenly felt his own heart begin to pound. These were sick people fighting for their lives, and he finally felt like he was going to be able to do some good. The nurse looked up like they were expected and promptly looked away.

He could imagine the celebrations later. Everyone walking out on their own two legs, gowns swinging around their knees and everyone cheering. He smiled to himself, swiped his palms on the white tuxedo jacket, and followed Agent Devarona into the first room.

It was dim inside the room. The lights from many instruments blipped and flashed gentle little rhythms. Jensen had seen many similar layouts before, although this hospital was much nicer than anywhere he visited in the past. Agent Devarona stayed near the door. Jensen simply looked at the bed.

An older man lay there. He was middle aged, maybe in his 50’s. Sensors were connected to his body. Tubes and other equipment helped him breathe. He was in some kind of coma. Jensen did not glance at the agent as he directly moved to the side of the bed.

The Gift flowed through him.

An hour later, Jensen was joyous, and he barely felt tired.

No news was released from the miracle of that night, just the rumor floating through the hospital staff and all the survivors.

Back in the car, Jensen pulled the mask from his head as soon as the doors were closed. He was one enormous smile. Fifteen people cured of life-threatening diseases, accidents, injuries and suffering. There were tears in his eyes when he lay his head back in consideration of this enormous night.

“Thank you,”
he said to the air above.

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