Shrouds of Grey

It was 1915, and though we weren't in the war yet, the United States and United Kingdom were secretly sending envoys back and forth as we discussed buisness pertaining to the Great War. That's what I was then, in fact it was my first assignment, and to this day those screams haunt my memory, urging me to tell the tale of what happened that day in May all those years ago.

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11. Interview End: Returning Home

   ~May 10th, 1987; 11:35 hrs

   It had been two days since the interview had pretty much concluded with the silent separation of the three men from the lab as for the past day and a half now they had been in separate worlds; Mr. Callahan was going over the ship's manifest with Rick attempting to see what could've made the second explosion so powerful. 

   Eugene was buried in examining the few artifacts the team had recovered from the multiple dives along with reviewing footage and consulting with the technical analysts as they tried to draw conclusions on the condition of the battered wreck and what could've caused such a modern ship of the time to sink so quickly. and that left Bret compiling his notes in his spare time as he'd been sent on a dive yesterday to which he then had to write up a brief report on the condition of the submersible and its systems as they worked along with observation of the wreck which took a little while longer than expected to complete as he was fraught with several other minor distractions.

   "Hey, Bret," it was Rick with one of the submersible's smaller cameras being lugged around in his broad and strong hands as he stopped in his open doorway. "How's your pet project coming along, anything good?"

   "Depends on what you mean by good," he replied coolly as he only half looked at Rick, his primary focus still being his work as he looked for any holes that hopefully Mr. Callahan could fill if he found any. Though, comparing his research to the story he now had more things seemed to line up than disagree, a sure fire sign that not only was Mr. Callahan's memory still intact enough to be considered a viable witness statement, it proved the theory of secrets and deceit being a possibility of why the ship went down. "I'm not really finding anything news worthy though, proving Mr. Callahan's presence on that ship and if what he says is true than it would certainly change history."

   "Might cause a minor uproar between the involved nations though," Rick commented as he entered the room, placing the camera softly on the floor as he meandered over to the computer which still held captive to the majority of Bret's attention.

   "How do you figure?" he asked still only half aware of himself as he scanned over his work with a most straining eye to detail. If he was more aware of himself he'd have noticed the full impact of the point Rick was trying to bring up then and there but he wasn't and so the point drifted through his mind with little regard.

   "Well imagine if you would," Rick started up as he sat himself down on Bret's bunk, "Say you manage to piece together and prove without a doubt that Mr. Callahan's story is undeniable proof that the United States was involved it could dig up some old wounds between the nations as you know how prideful the US, UK and Germany are, especially in terms of military history and secrets and such things."

   "Hmm, I see," Bret finally answered as the though registered in his head as became more self aware of what he was doing. The thought began to sink in as to how he would address the issue to come as the ship began to sail home for London. The idea that the knowledge that he translated from speech to text on his computer could change the course of not only history but also the modern world on even a minor scale was almost infallible to him. "I think I shall go see Mr. Callahan once more before we make port."

   "I think that'd be a wise idea," Rick answered as he stood up and cradled the camera again, "I've always found that looking deeply into something important avoids many messes in the long run."

   Bret wandered the Celtic Explorer for a good hour before he found Mr. Callahan in the cabin that was reserved for him on his arrival. He was packing his few possessions he had brought with him when Bret came in. 

   "I was wondering when you were going to pay a visit young man," he spoke with even tone as he focused on inventory of his belongings. "I figured you had something to ask me more about the past."

   "That's part of it I admit," the younger man responded, "The other being your opinion on whether or not I should publish the work I've collected considering the weight of the knowledge." The moment of silence which followed was brief as Mr. Callahan seemed to hold back a breath before looking at Bret.

   "I would imagine, considering what's been found and into the context of what I've said it would seem that your published findings could be a bit weighted," Mr. Callahan finally replied as he sat down in his chair gingerly. "Hmm... considering the condition of the world we live in right now, I'd imagine that perhaps dredging this up wouldn't be good politically for the sake of a divided Germany, nor the UK or the United States."

   That was right Bret thought, though the world was reforming from only having been free of the Cold War for about only six years or so now, much of Europe and the world was still shakily rebuilding, places like only recently reunited Germany especially. Then again however, what really would this incur, an apology perhaps for wrongly accusing someone of a misdeed? No, if this got out than it would prove that more than espionage was going on then, blatant lies were present it seemed that could potentially shake the involved governments to some degree that as to question just how much spying has each country done on each other and even more dangerous given the time and place, which is still spying on the other? The thought began to plague on Bret as he thought about the situation a bit with Mr. Callahan silently reading his body language.

   "I would tread carefully on this one young buck," Mr. Callahan replied finally to break Bret from his thoughts. "This is some very powerful knowledge you have here. If I were you, I'd use it wisely and with some very tactful censorship."

   "Well, what would you do, what did you do back then?"

   "Back then was different," Mr. Callahan answered quietly, "Hmm... well, I suppose if it were me I'd think long and hard about it to weigh the pros and cons of either option presented to me." Mr. Callahan then proceeded to move to the side of his bed and opened up a second trunk that he had. As Bret thought about his options Mr. Callahan rummaged through it until with a quiet gasp of glee he pulled out a weathered old leather bound shoulder bag which was cracking at almost every seem.

   "What's that?" Bret asked with intrigue as the elder gentleman weakly handed him the bag. "Wait... this can't be, is this the bag that you-?"

   "Shh..." he whispered as he put a wrinkled finger against his old lips "I've no need for this bag any longer and I never thought my offspring needed to know about every detail of my past so I never gave it to them... I want you to have it."

   "Why...?"

   "Because, it'll help you figure out what to do with the knowledge you've acquired," he smiled wryly as he returned to his packing. "However, do not open it until you are on shore and alone, long after I'm gone, understand young buck?"

   "Y-yeah, sure George, we have an understanding," he stood in shock as he stared at the weathered old bag. Mr. Callahan by all mention had ditched the bag on the ship in order to swim... did he take it with him was now the question on Bret's mind and even more, why was it so important to wait until he was alone and on shore?

   "I believe this concludes our little interview, it's been a pleasure, Bret," Mr. Callahan smiled as he outstretched his hand and for the last time, shook this young man's hand before ushering him out of the room bag and all.

   "It's official then," Bret spoke in an utterance under his breath as he closed the door to his cabin and examined the bag in his arm once more before packing it away, "The interview's over... It's time to be returning home now."

 

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