The next morning, a half a world away from Jerusalem, Scott greeted his family at their resort home in Los Angeles. Michelle had prepared a royal welcome for her husband. She greeted him at their private landing pad with a graceful charm that bewitched him for a few moments into forgetting the resentment he had been feeling toward her. He knew he had no right to doubt her love and loyalty to him, at least since she had become a Christian. Scott had never understood how she could have become a fanatic about religion, and at the same time, be transformed into the kind of wife he had always wanted her to be.
Inside the house Scott endured the enthusiastic greeting of his son. "Wow, Dad, thanks for inviting me! I really have missed you." With that, David embraced his father briefly and received a half-hearted hug in return.
Scott felt ashamed about his animosity toward his son, but he could not help himself. How could he feel that David was right when that would be an admission that he himself had been wrong? Still, he couldn't forget the terrible fulfillment of the Messengers' warning which he had just witnessed in the Temple.
Scott felt ashamed about his animosity toward his son.
Scott turned to receive an adoring kiss from Kathy. He thought to himself that his daughter was his last ally in the family. If possible, she was even more antagonistic to religion than her father.
There were many other people present on the grounds of the Wilson resort which, despite the attempt to preserve a recreational atmosphere, resembled a military complex in some ways. But the powerful Director of Education was not expected to meet with any of his associates until the next day. This evening he could be alone with his family.
Following a delightful dinner prepared by Michelle herself, the family moved to their beautiful living foom with its transparent ceiling to discuss their problems which had been carefully ignored during the meal.
"Now listen, you two," Scott began, gesturing toward his wife and David, "this registration is just a few days away, and there's no way to get out of it! Anyone who is fool enough to resist will be exterminated by Population Control. Is that what you want?"
"I'm willing to die for Jesus," David bravely declared, "because He was willing to die for me."
"You make me sick!" Kathy interjected with an acid voice which exposed her contempt for her brother. "Maybe you think that sounds noble, but it just proves you're as crazy as all those creep friends of yours who have already been exterminated!"
David ignored Kathy's accusation. Hadn't he explained to her why so many Christians had been executed? They had been falsely charged with causing all the plagues that had tormented the Earth during this period of upheaval. He continued as though he had not been interrupted, "Besides, Dad, we have a plan to escape. The Messengers have worked out a great system. I can't tell you about it, but I really believe it is going to work."
"Idiot!" Scott roared. "Even if you escape somewhere you'll starve to death. No one will be able to buy or sell anything without the mark."
"I know, Dad. The Bible explains that this would happen. Listen to this," he said as he quickly produced a pocket sized Bible, nearly worn out since it was impossible to obtain a new one.
"No one should be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark."
"And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and their slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, and he provides that no one should be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name."
Amazement kept Scott from exploding. The nagging thought which had occurred to him so often lately pecked at his mind again, "If all these prophecies are true, it must also be true that Jesus was what He claimed to be."
David's voice continued, "And the Bible also shows that a lot of believers will escape the wrath of the Antichrist by fleeing to a special place prepared by God. Dad, I know this will sound strange to you, but in case you change your mind, I mean, accept Christ and decide to come with us, one of the Messengers will pick you up Sunday afternoon at two O'clock at the corner of 10th and Kennedy.
The discussion ended several hours later in an apparent stalemate. Sleep would have been impossible for Scott had he not used the electronic sensitizer to dull his brain.
The next morning Scott met briefly with his staff. His vivacious secretary was virtually aflame with enthusiasm as they discussed Scott's growing popularity. He allowed himself to be mentally transported to another world as Nancy painted a picture of the grandeur within their reach. Perhaps in such a world he could live in peace without his stubborn wife and son.
Before their meeting was over, Nancy announced, "Rod would like you to give the speech in the New Washington Church on Sunday. He has hand-picked his most influential men to explain the purpose of The Registration."
Scott reflected on the opportunity for a moment and then said, almost to himself, "Okay,… I'll do my best."
He spent all of Saturday preparing his speech. It would be short, but it must be perfect.
Early Sunday morning, just before leaving for his speaking engagement in the New Washington Church, Scott bid farewell to his family. They all pretended it was a routine send-off on just another mission. But there was the unspoken fear in Scott's mind that he may never see his family again. He was sure Michelle felt the same way. Whatever happened now, he knew what he had to do.
Standing before the crowd of many thousands in the gigantic church, Scott experienced a sense of power. As he stepped into the spotlight, the crowd greeted him with surprising exuberance. For a moment his thoughts returned to Nancy's glowing report of his popularity.
He knew that the tiny cameras which were focused on him would carry his image into the presence of a majority of the people of North America. He began his speech.
"Peace to all from Nimrod and from his mighty Prophet. Today it is my privilege to discuss with you a matter of the greatest importance to all of us.
As you know, everyone has been asked to participate in a world-wide economic registration. At some point, close to hour home, you will receive a painless injection of a tiny device and a tattoo on your hand or your forehead. This mark will be necessary to buy or sell anything. You will not need money, checks, or credit cards, since all transactions will be recorded immediately through the World Bank Network.
You will receive a painless injection of a tiny device and a tattoo on your hand or your forehead.
"I have heard there are many who do not plan to accept the mark. Let me review the two points of view and let you decide for yourself which is the reasonable position." He drew a deep breath and smiled.
"Some who object to the mark say that it destroys their economic freedom and makes them slaves of the state."
"Those who agree to the mark reply that it grants them a new kind of freedom: freedom from the troublesome chore of handling their own money, and the terrifying risk of being robbed.
"Those who refuse the registration claim that they can not agree to, ah, worship the one who has proven to all of his greatness and power by literally rebuilding our tortured Earth.
"Will you ask me what is the reasonable choice? Listen carefully, and I will tell you the truth. I am an executive in the World Economic Community. I know Rod Adams and The Prophet personally. I have helped plan this magnificent Registration. In fairness, I should add that I personally know some of those who will refuse the mark. I have honestly considered the substance of their belief in Jesus Christ."
Scott paused dramatically as the cameras moved closer on their automatic supports which resembled snakes coming out of the walls.
Here is my answer, my friends." He paused, and looked straight into the camera with unblinking eyes. "I have decided that I believe in Jesus Christ! I myself will not accept the registration mark tomorrow!"
Gasps of unbelief filled the auditorium. The cameras were cut off immediately by the computer-censor in Scott's own Education Building. Scott darted quickly out the side entrance, knowing that he would be the target of the Defense Department's soldiers within a few moments. He was joined by one of the mysterious Christian Messengers who had been standing by just in case Scott should make this incredibly bold move.
The Messengers' vehicle shot out of the church complex just seconds before the Defense Department's deadly "blood-hound" appeared in the sky. One of the Messengers pushed a red button which Scott recognized as a radio signal scrambler. He was amazed that a non-military vehicle would have such a device. "Maybe," he thought, "we really will make it in this Christian Underground." They were successful in evading detection by the soldiers. Scott wondered what the news reports would say about his defection.