Chapter 1

Present Day

The routine was the same. Jenson Cheng went through the motions with second nature accuracy. Transport to an undisclosed location, get prepped by a series of doctors that were incredibly thorough about his vital signs and other indicators of good health, receive the relatively painful injection of an unknown substance, after thirty minutes he'd give a cotton swab of his saliva, and then three or four hours later he'd be sedated and wake up in his cell again. It was clockwork and Jenson was happy to oblige.

There had been times that he was curious as to what the shot was that they were giving him, and whether or not he was just a science experiment for some big shot military scientist. The truth of the matter was that Jenson didn't care. He would gladly be a fat cat's guinea pig for the proper compensation.

Not to mention that Jenson had always been a sucker for routine, and the doctors definitely kept him to one. Whatever it was they were using him for meant that he would need to be in near perfect health. He was allowed a cigarette from time to time, and even a glass of wine or beer to go with his dinner.

Yes, this was a far better life than he would have had without the doctors and soldiers that would slightly inconvenience him for a few hours every month. Given the choice between his cozy and hidden cell or his shared and dangerous cell at Rikers Island, he would gladly take a mystery shot.

Doctor Jeremiah Hans had Jenson in his hands now, prepping him for the inevitable injection.

"So where are we today, doc?" Jenson asked with sleep still in his eyes. It had been a long enough trip for him to take a more than healthy nap; that much he knew.

"If I told you we were in the Bahamas, would you feel better?" He responded with a smile.

Over the five year period that Jenson had been Doctor Hans' patient, they had grown to be friends. It appeared to Jenson that he might even be the doctor's only one, which was something that they would have shared.

Today there was a new doctor in the small and cold laboratory. She was young and beautiful, even in the harsh fluorescent lights. Jenson let his eyes slowly move from her feet to her face, pausing on the most important parts.

He usually tried to keep himself reserved, but beautiful women seldom graced his eyes. He took her in with no shame.

She moved around the little room, occupying herself with a frantic pace. She caught Jenson's gaze once, but quickly looked back to a manila folder. There was a moment where he thought he'd seen her hand shaking. Jenson had gotten used to that response from women that weren't yet acclimated to being around prisoners on death row.

His appearance didn't help with the way that people responded to him. Average height for a Chinese American, he was exceptionally muscular. Though he didn't have the same access to weights that most prisoners were privy to, he spent most of his down time doing calisthenics: pushups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and gong fu.

Before getting moved out of general population, he'd gone ahead and donned a few tattoos that did wonders for making him look like a thug. Looking back on it, he wasn't sure why he'd gotten the ink, but realized long ago that it was too late to go back. Besides, there were times that he got a slight rush out of seeing people's reactions to his image.

Doctor Hans pulled the large syringe out of one of the many drawers in his metal cabinet and gave it a couple flicks to get the air to the needle. The blue liquid that filled the bottle looked exactly as it always had. The only difference in this procedure was the shook female doctor that tried her best to not look at the patient.

"Do you have a preference this time, Mr. Cheng?" Hans asked with his bedside voice. He put a slight pressure on the plunger and let a few drops of the blue juice squirt from the tip and ride down the needle.

"Let's do left this time. I think the right is just about spent for the year." Jenson clenched his right hand as he spoke, looking down at the track marks that had built up in the nook of his arm.

"Your call." Hans said. "Ms. Alley, would you bring me a cotton ball and some tape?"

Jenson's eyes flicked over to the beautiful Ms. Alley, anticipating more eye contact. Knowing that she would feel uncomfortable didn't hold him back from trying to find out what color eyes would complement her auburn hair and fair skin.

The doctor pushed the needle into Jenson's arm and the twinge of the liquid filling his veins was enough to take his gaze back down to the syringe and then back to Hans' eyes. In five years, he'd never done the injection without warning.

Hans' eyes locked with Jenson's and he kept a slight smirk, then he shook his head 'no' ever so slightly.

Jenson smiled a full smile and looked back to the needle.

"Any idea how long this time?" Jenson asked the doctor.

"You know I can't—"

"Approximately four hours before we leave for the States." Ms. Alley cut Hans off as she turned around with the requested supplies in hand.

Hans snapped a look in her direction of disapproval, and she responded to the glare by looking down to the ground.

"This must be her first day." Jenson commented with a chuckle. "Don't beat yourself up." He said in her direction now. "You just saved me a whole lot of counting the seconds to figure out how long before you guys knock me out. Not to mention that for once I know that we are out of the country."

She kept her eyes on the ground; Jenson's words not bringing any relief to the obvious blunder.

"And you, doc." Jenson turned his gaze back towards Hans. "How hard was that? Do you know how many hours I sit in my cell and wonder where the hell I've been over the years? For all I know, you guys are just messing with me and driving me around in circles. The new girl just gave me some peace of mind." He laughed with the last statement.

"Well, Mr. Cheng, we have some options here. If you tell anyone that you know about the details of this little outing, you will be back at Rikers by the end of the week. Or, you can continue to enjoy the good life in the batcave. It is up to you."

"Doc, that's no choice at all. Ms. Alley, your secret is safe with me."

Jenson smiled and opened his mouth, ready for the cotton swab.

"Ah."