He seemed to come out of nowhere.
Franklin Jacobson was a young, handsome, dynamic Republican congressman from Asheville, North Carolina. He was articulate and knowledgable, almost incredibly so. In fact, many listeners would comment that they had never before heard anyone with such a preternatural command of the issues.
For example, during the three debates with his Democrat opponent, Franklin’s ability to formulate and express responses to the mediator’s questions was so acute that his opponent several times had either no response at all or was left stammering in confusion. In addition, Franklin exposed in real time numerous embarrassing but heretofore totally unknown events in the life of his opponent that rendered him essentially unelectable.
During his initial two-year stint in the House of Representatives, Franklin consistently shone as an overwhelmingly articulate and passionate speaker. In addition, his proposed solutions to problems were routinely met with astonishment in their effectiveness and efficiency. In only two years, he was able to pass numerous legislative bills that had the enthusiastic support of both sides of the aisle.
By the end of his short time as a Congressman, there was broad agreement that Franklin was presidential material. And thus, he decided to pursue the Oval Office. This was an unusual decision, since most successful candidates for president historically had a much deeper resumé and more executive governing experience. But, once again, Franklin’s encyclopedic knowledge, razor-sharp delivery and engaging personality allowed him during the primaries to plow through all comers like a bulldozer.
There were increasing questions about his early life and educational background. Franklin was somewhat vague about it, although disclosing his childhood home had been in North Carolina and that the Law School at Stanford University was his alma mater.
Of course, journalists descended on Stanford like ants on a dead frog. When questioned by a scrum of reporters, the Dean of Students at the Law School commented that Franklin was not only the finest student they had ever had, but that the professors found him so intellectually powerful that they were rendered personally intimidated. One professor stated that he had feared getting into a debate with Franklin because he knew that he would lose.
Reporters inquired about Franklin’s personal life. He stated that he intended to keep his private life his own, but allowed that his wife of five years was also from North Carolina, and that they had two young children, a boy and a girl. His wife remained a homemaker, raising their children, who both seemed exceptionally bright and talented for their ages.
The Jacobsons did accede to one family interview with a reporter from a major news outlet. Franklin and his wife Sandra were both approachable and charming, and their boy and girl well-behaved and sweet. The reporter, as expected, came away dazzled by the experience. But she did notice one unusual physical characteristic in all four members of the family: a very peculiar eye color, a mixture of green, silver and violet. She made the observation that she had never seen that particular iris pattern before. Franklin joked that the actress Elizabeth Taylor was known for her beautiful violet eyes, but added that he in no way was claiming her level of beauty.
The political campaign for the White House began in earnest in March of that year. Rallies were held in almost every state of the Union, not just the battleground states. Franklin loved to meet the people of America, and wherever he went, the people seemed to love him. His rallies were uniformly packed by fervent supporters who increasingly felt the electricity in the air.
But the expression “the electricity in the air” turned out to be prophetic. At a rally in Chicago in early April, while almost everyone in the crowd was enjoying the political energy, one psychotic individual sat quietly behind the speaker’s podium with a metal axe under his coat. The five voices in his head, enunciated by five evil snakes, commanded him to protect the world from politicians, and that is exactly what he intended to do that afternoon. The evil snakes took turns cajoling and badgering the man to take action. “Do it!” bellowed one snake. “Fulfill your mission!” screeched another. “Follow our instructions!” whined a third. “Take action, you fool!” howled the fourth. The fifth snake, the leader, sat coiled, staring with a piercing and menacing glower. The voices reverberated and grew in intensity within the man’s brain as if his head were caught in a small echo chamber.
As Franklin stood at the podium, discussing his plan for the economy, from behind him a shadowy figure suddenly arose and came forward from his seat, pulling the metal axe from under his coat. Federal marshals nearby noticed the disturbance but were too far away to intervene physically. The man lifted the axe over his right shoulder and lunged forward, swinging the weapon with as much force as he could generate, the honed metal blade arcing down towards the back of Franklin’s neck.
People screamed as the axe blade accelerated towards Franklin’s back. But as the axe seemed to hit its target, the axe and the man erupted in one unit in a sustained flash of bluish white light, accompanied by a crackling “zzzzzzz” sound, similar to what one might expect to hear upon contact with a mega-voltage circuit. Witnesses claimed the intensely blinding flash lasted about five seconds, at which time the man, now burned to a crisp, fell to the ground, smoke billowing from the incinerated corpse, ashes flying in every direction.
The team of federal marshals and local police immediately surrounded the candidate, weapons drawn, cordoning him off in a circle, while most of the terrified audience fled to the exits.
When the police felt the scene was secure, they quickly ascertained that Franklin was not injured. After ensuring his safety and stability, their attention was drawn to the smoking carcass of the violent individual lying at their feet. There was nothing much left of him. What they observed was essentially a charred remnant of burnt grizzle. No features remained to identify.
Since the incident had been broadcast on national TV, it became instant headline news, of course. Naturally, every reporter in the country wanted to ask Franklin for an explanation of the strange event. To make matters even more confusing and frightening, playbacks of the event in slow motion and utilizing a polarizing filter revealed a peculiar aura surrounding Franklin that had not been noticed before. The aura consisted of a barely perceptible orange glow extending outward about one inch from Franklin’s body. It was not visible without the filter.
As Franklin was being escorted out of the rally by police and the federal marshals, he stopped to speak with a reporter from the national media. The reporter asked, “Mr. Jacobson, what just happened? How did that man get electrocuted like that? It almost looked like he was struck by lightning.”
Franklin explained, “The man touched my protective screen in an unauthorized fashion, and unfortunately came in contact with a large amount of electricity. I really cannot explain the technological aspects of it to you right now, but suffice it to say that this is a new type of scientific advance that I will be introducing to the public in the near future.”
Despite repeated requests from every reporter at every future event, Franklin would not add any further information, promising to reveal additional details of his “protective screen” at the appropriate time.
As the political campaign wore on, polls indicated that Franklin remained in a highly favorable position to win the election, only two months away. The only intervening event was the upcoming presidential debates. His opponent, an experienced senator from a northeastern state, was said to be prepping furiously for the debate, using actors as stand-ins for the opposing side. Senator John Coombs of Massachusetts was known as a solid, knowledgable, and steady politician, although some suspicion of corruption had always seemed to hang in the air around him. Accusations of influence peddling and bribery occasionally surfaced, but real evidence always seemed to be lacking.
• • • • • •
The first presidential debate was held on the campus of Indiana University, South Bend, in the Main Auditorium, and broadcast nationwide. Senator Coombs was well-prepared for the match, and even brought with him a few rhetorical tricks up his sleeve; a rhetorical trap, if you will.
The contest started cordially, with both opponents speaking directly to the moderator and to the audience, not to each other. However, about halfway into the debate, Senator Coombs decided to throw a haymaker.
The question was on finance and the government’s authority to levy new taxes. Senator Coombs provided a cogent answer, perhaps “too” cogent, in the sense that it seemed he was provided the questions beforehand. Coombs quoted the Federalist Papers in his answer.
Coombs capped his response with, “In the usual progress of things, the necessities of a Nation, in every stage of its existence, will be found at least equal to its resources.” Then turning to the Congressman, he inquired snidely, “Are you familiar with the Federalist Papers, Mr. Jacobson?”
Franklin answered calmly but decisively, “Yes, Senator, I am aware of the Federalist Papers. I know them in their entirety, word for word. The passage you quoted was from Federalist Paper No. 30, sixth paragraph, written by Alexander Hamilton on December 28, 1787. Mr. Hamilton went on to make another observation in Federalist Paper No. 68, written on Friday, March 14, 1788. Perhaps you are familiar with this:
“Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.”
With that comment, and with Senator Coombs’ mouth hanging agape, Franklin said, simply, “Behold.” And before the two contestants, in front of the lecterns, appeared a vivid hologram, intensely detailed to the point that it seemed to reproduce living individuals present at that moment. The scene was Senator Coombs’ office, with the good Senator sitting behind his desk, and two businessmen in leather chairs facing him. And then, to the amazement of the audience, the hologram played out an actual moment of bribery, as the businessmen handed Senator John Coombs a small case stuffed with neatly packed $100 bills. As the Senator from Massachusetts counted the money, which added up to 20 thousand dollars, the businessmen explained what they wanted for their “investment.” They requested certain regulatory relief for a shopping mall they were building, and a difficult-to-obtain tax credit for their project. They also made it clear that this was just a down payment, that much more “investment” was coming soon. The hologram delivered these images with crystal-clear resolution, even providing nice camera angles and close-ups at important moments.
As the hologram ended, there was a long period of silence. Senator Coombs’ jaw remained slackened to the point that a tennis ball could have been inserted. The moderator then spoke.
“Congressman Jacobson, what did we just witness? How was this accomplished? Did you project these images?”
Franklin said, “Mr. Wallace, I can only say that I will explain the nature of this technology at a future date. I cannot explain it right now. However, I want to assure you and all the folks looking in tonight that what you just saw was an accurate reproduction of exactly what happened in the Senator’s office 6 months ago, down to the smallest detail. In fact, feel free to ask Senator Coombs if there were any inaccuracies. I think he will admit that what was just depicted is accurate.”
With that, the moderator turned to Senator Coombs, who still appeared to be in a state of shock, and asked, “Well, Senator, was that an accurate depiction of what happened in your office?”
Senator Coombs, visibly shaken and perspiring profusely, began trembling violently and slumped to the ground, foam appearing at his mouth. Aides rushed from the wings and gathered around him, awaiting emergency personnel.
After the Senator had been attended to by medics, placed on a gurney and whisked out to an ambulance, the remainder of that evening’s debate was canceled. However, before the broadcast ended, Congressman Jacobson requested the opportunity to make a short statement to the listening audience.
Franklin began, “I would just like to express my sincerest wishes to the Senator and his family for the best possible outcome. We all hope for his speedy recovery and for good news from the doctors. I am looking forward to seeing the Senator back on the campaign trail as soon as he is able.”
He continued, “Before we go, I wanted to let everyone know that I am going to have a news conference tomorrow afternoon, at which time I am going to be releasing some very important scientific information regarding the nation’s fight against cancer. Good night, everyone.”
Senator Coombs was evaluated and admitted to Memorial Hospital overnight for observation. The diagnosis was dehydration and stress-related high blood pressure. He remained stable and was released from the hospital the next morning.
However, his spokesperson later announced that the Senator had decided to decline any further presidential debates.
The day following the debate, as promised, Franklin appeared at a very well-attended news conference. The entire country was on edge, extremely curious about the tease of some information regarding cancer. Most pundits and journalists expected Congressman Jacobson to announce a collection drive for funding of the National Institutes of Health or other scientific center of excellence.
Franklin stepped up to the microphone.
“First, let me thank everyone present and of course all those listening throughout our great country. I know I mentioned that this news conference would involve cancer research, and I’m sure you’re all wondering what this might entail.
Cancer continues to ravage the world with suffering and death. We all undoubtedly know someone, perhaps a member of your own family or even yourself, who has been profoundly affected by this terrible disease. Our scientists have done a fabulous job in managing cancer, learning about it, and coming up with treatment regimens that sometimes cure, sometimes palliate, and often relieve pain and suffering. But, unfortunately, the definitive cure of this constellation of diseases has remained out of reach, eluding our top scientific minds.
Therefore, I am announcing today that my team and I will be putting out a series of scientific papers and books during the coming months that completely explains the genetic mechanism of cancer, its treatment and cure. Now, please understand that this is a very complex and vast subject, involving many new layers of information that will require the world’s scientists to work very hard, first to understand it, then to implement its conclusions. The information contained in these papers and books may initially seem a bit overwhelming, but I have complete confidence in our great scientific minds to understand it and use it.”
We are releasing the first tranche of information right now. Behind me are copies of the first of our series. It is a book of 240 pages that outlines and delineates the exact genetic mechanism of cancer, starting with the blood dycrasias such as leukemia. From here on, approximately every week we will be releasing additional books and papers. For example, next week we will give you a book on the mechanism of solid tumors and metastasis. The following week will be a paper on melanoma, which has an unusual aspect to its underlying mechanism. Following that, we will be describing the mechanism of the lymphomas. The next volume will be on bone tumors such as osteosarcoma. The sixth book will discuss brain tumors such as glioblastoma. The entire series consists of twelve books. Each book also contains treatments that are totally effective while not causing any significant side-effects.
Ironically, cancer research so far, as it stands today, was actually on the right track, but there remained an entire layer of information still unknown to today’s researchers. Without that knowledge, they would never have finally understood the disease.
I want to wish all the oncologists and researchers in the field the best of luck and success. Within a brief time, cancer will be a treatable disease, no longer fatal.”
With that final statement, Franklin stepped down from the podium. Everyone in the room immediately surged toward the stacks of books and grabbed a copy.
Within a few days, most cancer researchers in the world had their copy, either a hard copy or a download from the web. The overall opinion within the scientific community was one of astonishment.
The initial book in the series laid out the exact genetic mechanism of uncontrolled cell growth, regulation and metastasis, down to the finest detail. Researchers did not initially understand some of the technology described, but Franklin made himself available to help the different groups by explaining things in simpler terms.
As the campaign moved along, with the presidential election now only a few weeks in the future, journalists continued to pepper Franklin on where this extremely advanced and sophisticated information came from. After all, the Congressman from North Carolina was a lawyer, not a scientist or researcher. There were also persistent questions regarding the issue of the crazed man who was electrocuted when he touched Franklin, and the vivid hologram that mysteriously appeared during the first presidential debate. Franklin would say only that all these answers would eventually be revealed, but not now.
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Naturally, our electorate would trend toward the religious buffoon and not the scientific candidate from the future, so my hopes for Franklin’s election to office is low. A follow up Fox ‘news’ commentary from Tucker would point out Franklin probably has classified documents at home, and eats unsexy candies, despite him curing cancer. Grin I like the premise … curious if this is prelude to a time traveling future where they just get fed up with our own inattention and negligence, and pop back in time to fix it themselves :) Loved the voi...
Brilliant, Bruce! Your writing in this piece just flowed, and the information you presented was both entertaining and thought-provoking. Plus, of course, the humor: "One professor stated that he had feared getting into a debate with Franklin because he knew that he would lose." I laughed out loud. :) Have you ever read "The Root from Issyk-Kul Revisited"? It lays out believable evidence that our progenitors and those without modern medicine have been using a particular root (I won't mention in this comment :) soaked in 80-proof vodka with ...
Hi, Wendy, Thanks for the nice comments. I haven't heard about that root. I'm going to read about it. Of course, anything soaked in 80-proof vodka is going to have some element of success, one way or another.