Time Patrol Briefing Room

4 July 1826, Monticello, Virginia

“Thomas Jefferson died,” Moms said. “Fifty years to the day after the first Fourth of July.”Edith added in another fact. “Coincidentally, and it’s a pretty amazing coincidence, John Adams died on the exact same day. The myth is that his last words were: ‘Thomas Jefferson survives’.”

“They died on the same day?” Scout asked. “After fifty years?”

Edith nodded. “Adams was in Massachusetts, and Jefferson at Monticello. They’d been estranged while politicians, often feuding, but later in life they corresponded quite often and grew close. But there’s no way each knew the other was fading on the same day.”

“Weird,” Roland said.

“What if—” Eagle began, but stopped.

“What?” Sin Fen asked.

“What if it wasn’t a coincidence?” Eagle said. “What if there’s a reason two former Presidents, two of the men who helped found this country, died on the same day? Fifty years exactly after the da,y which is officially known as the date it was founded. We’re dealing with specific days here on our missions. Maybe the Shadow, or someone else, has been dicking with our timeline for a long time? Maybe Jefferson and Adams were killed?”

“Adams was ninety, and Jefferson was eighty-three,” Edith said. “Given the life-expectancy at the time, they were very old men. There’s no evidence of foul play in the historical records.”

“They wanted to live until then,” Scout said. “They held on.”

Edith nodded. “In Jefferson’s case, his last words were: ‘Is it the Fourth?”

“Why am I going to be there?” Moms asked. “Can the Shadow keep him alive? Would it? And why?”

“We don’t know,” Dane said.

“It might not have anything to do with Jefferson,” Edith said. “It might be something in Monticello. It might be someone else there who is important. Surprisingly, given how important Jefferson is to our country, there isn’t much data on his last day.”

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