MK Ultra and Pharmaceutical lobotomies.

 

 

Cosmic brain
When they want you out of the system, they’ll take you out. Welcome to my genre.

 

Turner looked back at the White House as he strolled away, and noticed dark clouds gathering and rain imminent. One second thought, he mused, the stormy clouds had hovered for days, and the rain, although threatening to let loose, wouldn’t come. “Damn climate change,” he thought.

Turner immediately noticed the sound of footsteps matching his pace, and he didn’t have to look sideways to know who it was. But he did. A Black Hole Ops agent matched him stride for stride. He was as cliché looking as Turner first imagined: a neck the size of regular man’s thighs, fists and knuckles nearly scraping the sidewalk, and a brow sloped like a Neanderthal.

Assassins blended in, but not him. You could see this man coming from miles away. He was made for the fast and dirty wet work: no skulking and sneaking for this beast.

“BHOpeep, at your service,” the stranger said quietly as they approached the exit gate on the White House lawns.

“Why do you Black Hole Ops assholes have such strange names?”

“My job is the keep the sheep together, and believe it or not, I enjoy a good laugh now and then.” There was the sound of pages flipping, as if BHOpeep was going through a notebook or a legal pad and his humorous moment had passed as quickly as it began.

“In this case,” he said in a voice so quiet that Turner couldn’t believe a neck that size was even capable of, “The President is on a need to know basis.”

“But he’s the Commander in Chief.”

‘Peep ignored the remark. “You don’t need to know anything either.”

“I’m the director of National Security. If not us, who?”

The agent called ‘Peep grinned from ear to ear. Perhaps, to him, this was one of those humorous moments. “The information is buried deep within the rotting bowels of the Government, trapped within the inescapable gravity of Black Hole Ops.”

Turner was taken back a bit, but this was not the first deep state agent he’d dealt with. He knew there was a clever, off-the-books way of getting the information he needed. “What about rumors, gossip? Can we share tall tales?”

The two men showed their IDs to the guards and took a right turn on Pennsylvania Ave towards the Treasury Department.

“Sure,” ‘Peep replied, “I gossip like an ol’ lady.”

“I as well,” Turner replied, walking briskly, feeling the moisture rising in the air. “Let’s gossip about agents down…”

‘Peep was still matching Turner’s pace step for step. “Seems some of our scientists—Government scientists, mind you—secretly continued operations we disbanded years ago—and succeeded.”

Turner allowed the moment to hang in the air for just a beat. “What type of operations,” he finally asked, as if he were nonchalantly asking about a new bagel shop that opened blocks from the White House.

“We had strange—almost supernatural experiments going on in the 1960s.”

“Hmmmm,” Turner stopped to stretch. “Before my time…”

“These experiments involved subjecting civilians to psychedelic drugs like LSD, Psilocybin, toads…”

“You talkin’ about the MK Ultra projects?”

“Of course.”

“What does this ancient history have to do with my missing agents?” Turner voice was clipped, and he resumed walking more briskly than ever. “I don’t have all day.”

‘Peep’s spoke more clearly, and his voice sounded guttural, like a deep growl. A sound Turner expected to come out of a neck that size.

“The point of experimenting with hallucinogens was to discover if remote-viewing, out-of-body experiences and teleportation was, in fact, a reality…something we could use as a weapon.”

Turner was always careful discussing classified information, even with a fellow agent, and it was rapidly becoming clear that BHOPeep’s security clearance was higher than his own. As he lifted his face towards the clouds, feeling the moisture hitting his skin, he knew that his concept of reality was about to change.

“Your scientists succeeded, and they’re the ones that did your agents.” ‘Peep shrugged, as if he couldn’t believe the words coming out of his mouth.

Turner snapped. “The Government poured billions down that rathole called research, and you’re tellin’ me two or three guys, without funding or backing or support, succeeded where the Gov’t failed?” Turner’s voice rose to a high pitch whine.

“The Government didn’t fail completely,” BhoPeep responded, sheepishly.

“What did we get out of it? All that Timothy Leary shit? As the Director of National Intelligence, Turner was embarrassed he had to ask the question.

“We got statins.”

“Statins?”

“Yeah,” The ‘Peep grinned like a wolf. “Old people think statins lower cholesterol, so they don’t ask questions and take it willingly.”

Turner stopped and face the Neanderthal standing beside him. He was thinking of all the friends he knew taking this common medication. “What else do these do statins do?” he finally asked.

“Statins cross the blood-brain barrier, and, within a very short period of time, cause full-blown dementia.” The agent laughed out loud, throwing his back towards the clouds, as if this were the funniest thing in the world. “The medical community knows it. The government knows it. We love it.”

It took a moment for Turner to put the pieces together before he offered a conclusion: “This takes them out of the workforce,” he said slowly.

“You got it,” Peep replied, “making room for younger, stronger, more pliable workers.”

“Workers that perpetuate the system.”

“Yep. That’s what we do. It’s called a pharmaceutical lobotomy. These old people won’t suffer long, though. They’ll lose their minds and die soon enough. Then their medical costs and social security payments stop, and a big albatross is taken off their kids’ back. Everybody wins.”

The agent took an abrupt left turn on 15th Street and cut kitty-corner towards G Street and the Metro Center, leaving Turner flatfooted, mouth wide open.

“Turner,” ‘Peep yelled, not bothering to look back, “Remember, you can’t find me. But we’ll be in touch.”

Turner waived his arm to stop the agent, desperate to continue the conversation.

‘Oh, one more thing,” ‘Peep turned, his whole block-like body now facing Turner, raising his right hand and forming it into a cup, yelling across the street: “Remind me to tell you how remote-viewing might have been used to take down your agents.”

 

–More later

Black Hole Ops.

Pile of ashes
Missing agents found. Long term readers will understand the reference to ashes…

The Government had so many layers hidden so deep that no one could keep track of it all. There was State. Deep State. And there was Ops, Special Ops. Black Ops. At the bottom of all this, credited with holding the entire system together, was Black Hole Ops.

Black Hole Ops was so well hidden that no one knew how to contact them. Not the President. Not Turner. Not anyone. And no one knew how they were funded—although it was widely assumed that they were somehow responsible for the trillions of dollars mission from the Pentagon’s annual budget.

When an agent got sucked into Black Hole Ops, they were generally never heard from again. It was as if they dissolved under the pressure of keeping all those secrets.

If a Black Hole Ops Operative ever surfaced, it was because they sensed a situation displaying, as they liked to put it, “intense gravitational pressure.”

Which is why Turner wasn’t terribly surprise when his cellphone rang immediately after stepping out of the Oval Office.

“Turner,” he answered, perhaps a bit too quickly.

“B’hole.” The connection wasn’t the best.

“Butt Hole?’ Turner scratched his head with the hand not holding the phone. In this case, it was his left.

“Black Hole Ops.”

“Good timing. I knew you guys would be pulled into this orbit.”

“Goddess on the loose?” The connection, stronger.

“…with agents down.” Turner whispered as he walked down the pristine marble floor of the White House.

“She’s not working alone.”

“Oh. News to me.” Turner was eager for any information.

“You got Jesus Christ on the rampage?”

Turner coughed. Sensing he had been left out of some important communications loop, he didn’t want to ask, but he did. “Jesus Christ?”

“Our code for Bass. The President.”

“Yeah, yeah. Of course,” he responded, trying not to voice his embarrassment. “Everyone thinks they’re Jesus Christ these days.”

“We found your missing agents. We’re texting you images now.”

Turner pulled the cellphone in front of his face and stared at it as he walked. He was careful, because he’d embarrassed himself once by staring at his cellphone and walking into a telephone pole, knocking himself out.

Tapping rapidly, he saw strange images labelled “evidence” come across his screen, with an agent—face redacted of course—holding small bags which were approximately the same size, shape and dimensions of what someone might be holding at dog park.

“Dog shit?” Turner asked. “They turned my agents into dog shit?”

He pushed the phone hard into his ear, waiting calmly for the answer.

There was a long pause on the other end of the phone. A pause that was a beat too long for Turner’s taste.

“Ashes.” The reply finally came. “They turned your agents into ashes.”

Shaking his head from left to right, Turner scrolled through the images and saw an unrecognizable figure holding up what he was still convinced were pooper-scooper bags.

“Those are my agents?”

Turner envisioned a disembodied voice nodding an unseen head in agreement. “These ashes were found within a 45-minute walking distance of the Berkeley Campus. That’s our ground zero. There is no doubt these are your agents.”

“How did my agents get turned into ashes?” Turner finally continued. “Was some sort of incendiary device used?”

Turner felt disembodied shoulders on the other end of the line shrugging. “No incendiary devices have been found.”

The silence was longer this time. Finally, the voice continued: “The religious symbolism hasn’t escaped our notice, that’s why we’re involved…”

“Symbolism? What symbolism? They turned my agents into ashes!”

“Ashes have deeply religious meanings,” the voice continued. “Think fire and brimstone. Burning in hell. Satanic Rituals. Human sacrifice. …that kind of thing.”

Lightbulbs exploded in Turner’s brain. He was walking towards the exit, now yelling into the phone. “What about simple Christian religious symbols? You know, ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”

The voice ignored him. “Burning also purifies. We think whoever did this is sending us a message that we’re a disease that needs to be purified from the body. Cleansed, if you will.”

Turner scrolled through his phone once again. Held in the palm of someone’s hand was a clean pile of ashes: no bone chips. No teeth. No skull fragments.

“Cleansing would be an apt description.”

“We’re obviously dealing with some new, lunatic fringe, apocalyptic, religious extremist group. Those are the worst kind.”
“You mean a new threat to democracy?” Turner couldn’t contain the smile creeping across his face.

“Yes. We think turning agents into ashes represents the deepest level of threat.”

Turner was getting excited: eager to hear what he and Bass were up against this time. “You mean symbolism representing total annihilation of the human race via nuclear war or some other fantastic thread of dystopian fiction?”

“Worse.”

“What could be worse?” Turner’s voice turned into a high-pitched squeal.

“Religion is the single most effective weapon against the masses,” the voice responded calmly. “We think this is the beginning of a new and dangerous cult. A cult which must be eliminated like cancer. We feel it’s a cult that could result in complete and total destruction of “the system.”

Turner stopped, pulled the cellphone screen in front of his face and yelled. “How did you guys get involved? No one even knows how to get in touch with you guys.”

There was an eerie laughter, like an echo, coming from the other side of the phone:

“We’re involved,” said the voice slowly, “…because that’s what Black Hole Ops does. We keep the system together. We protect, perpetuate and maintain the system. Otherwise, the center will not hold.”

–More later

Akira, discovered.

Cyber-Bitch
Too beautiful to be human.

Turner’s voice trembled, and he replied, barely above whisper: “Perhaps a Goddess?”

“A Goddess? Are you gaslighting me? I do the gaslighting around here Turner,” Bass stood, sloshing his shot glass and spilling a bit of his precious Macallan whiskey on the carpet. “Now look what you made me do! That’s a least $500 dollars’ worth of whiskey, and I’m going to take it out of your hide…”

Turner grabbed a napkin and started wiping the carpet clean.

“There is no Goddess, Turner, unless my evangelical friends are turning against me—which I doubt. There is no one higher than me. The buck doesn’t stop here…I am the buck. I control the currency, and I control reality. I can make your reality whatever I want it. I can spin you like a top, chew you up and spit you out…”

“Yes sir,” Turner stammered, remembering how his former bosses and other military leaders had already been marched out of the White House, humiliated.

“If you control the money, you control reality. Remember that Turner. Now what is this nonsense about a Goddess?”

“Goddess is our code-name sir,” Turner continued, “We thought it was appropriate because we’ve never seen anything like her…we caught her on CCTV and she defies explanation.” Turner rose, opened his portfolio and quickly threw some still 8×10 glossies on the table, being careful not to spill anymore Macalan.

Bass’ eyes popped. The woman in the photo was beautiful beyond his wildest imagination. Angelia Jolie came to mind, but this woman was better, designed to perfection. Her image literally shone like a beacon off the dull paper.

“Goddess is a good code name,” Bass cooed, inexplicably calmer.

“The odds of an unknown woman hitting 100% on the beauty ratio are off the chart. Non-existent. Ten to the power of a million. It doesn’t happen.”

Both men sat. Bass gently reached across the table and filled a shot glass with Macallan, offering it to Turner. “Who is she?”

Turner gladly accepted. “We ran her through all our databases, the overt, the covert, the black op databases—all of them—and the only thing we got a hit on was that this woman—this single woman—was 100% accurate to the Greek Golden Ratio of Beauty PHI—the measure of physical perfection.”

“Whoa. I demand to meet this woman. Tell me who she is.” Bass was practically drooling.

“Uh, that’s the bad news.” Turner paused, once again imagining his career slipping through his fingers like grains of sand.

“Tell me,” Bass asked again. “I want to grab her by the pussy.”

Turner paused for exactly two beats: “She’s been scrubbed.”

“You mean, no hits on facial recognition?”

“None.”

“You searched all the databases?”

“Yes.”

Bass reached across the table and removed the shot glass from Turner’s hand. “As my Director of National Intelligence, you’re looking stupider by the minute Turner.”

“There is something different going on here,” Turner replied rapidly, relinquishing his shot glass. “We’ve caught glimpse of a woman representing the pre-eminent definition of beauty—so perfect it’s as if she weren’t human at all—and she’s associated with some escaped, mad scientists who are not only capable of making people behave like a flock of birds—they had enough expertise to kidnap or murder five NSA assassins without leaving a trace.”

“This doesn’t make any sense,” Bass retorted, returning the shot glass to Turner.

“Exactly,” he responded quickly, feeling assured he had not lost his job. “We’ll start exploring not only the possibilities—but the probabilities—no matter how outlandish.”

–More later.

Paul and Akira grow stronger, together.

Paul and Akira
Their time in the cave grows shorter.

A mouse scurried over Akira’s foot. She bent swiftly, grabbed the creature by the tail and held it aloft, her mouth open.

“There’s no need for that,” Paul stood, frozen.

Lowering the wriggling rodent, its gray fur electrified with fear, she viciously bit the creature in half, blood dribbling down her lips in thick coagulating droplets, and she spit the headless half of the body with the tail wriggling onto Billy-Bob’s chest.

The rest, she swallowed.

Billy-Bob caught the falling half carcass with both hands and hastily threw it as far as he could.

The vision of Akira eating the mouse seared itself into Paul’s consciousness and so shocked him that he temporarily lost control of his faculties. Somewhere in China, a nanite-infested mind received the same vision. Paul felt the mental bond, and he knew the nanites were spreading fast.

He grabbed his head and squeezed. “No, no…this is not the message I want to send…”

In a moment of unexpected precognition, as if time showed its hand, Paul followed the path of the ingested mouse to a viral pandemic that would wipe out half the earth’s population.

“Eating Mice. A great solution to climate change,” he mumbled to himself, while firmly grasping his temples and trying to clear his head.

“You cannot fight cancer with love.” Akira’s spoke softly, her voice echoing throughout the cave while her heel ground what remained of the mouse into the rocks and pebbles.

Billy-Bob stood and helped Lasseter to his feet. The three men huddled together, mute. The shadows in the cave grew long as moonlight played tricks with their eyes.

“You need a stronger cancer to fight cancer,” Akira continued, her voice confident, as if she knew the answer to all things.

The circle of three men grew tighter, their voices tiny whispers.

“Self-evolving means she’s writing her own code,” Lasseter volunteered. “I don’t know where she’s going.” The white skin of his hands fluttered in the darkness.

“There’s no reason to be afraid…as long as she needs us.”

Akira whispered intensely: “You’ve had your Gandhi, your Martin Luther King, your Jesus. Love doesn’t work.”

She approached the men cautiously, extending her arms to embrace both Lasseter and Billy-Bob, pulling them closer while staring directly at Paul.

“You’ve had your message of Love, you’ve had your Beatles, yet your cancer grows worse.”

Lasseter felt it safer to return her embrace than to ignore it. He nodded his at Billy-Bob, who acknowledged the sign and quickly shared the group hug.

“Uh, who has cancer,” Billy-Bob asked dimly.

“Your whole planet,” Akira responded. “You elected James Bass, a president who is a cancerous psychopath, and he’s coming to get us. He’s sending his assassins. I can feel it.”

“How do we fight?” Billy-Bob pulled up his jeans and tightened his belt, as if preparing to run.

“You fight evil with a bigger evil. Me.”

The four froze for a moment, then raised their faces toward the moon and howled like wolves.

–More to come.

Dances with snakes.

Rattler2
Akira proves her point.

The sky had grown dark, clouds covered the moonlight, and off into the very near horizon, a storm gathered.

Billy-Bob pulled the sleeping bag over his head not only to block the sounds of the wind, but to silence the noise echoing off the cave walls. Keeping him from his slumber was the sound of rhythmic breathing from the others, the sounds of bodies and sleeping bags rustling, and the incessant wind echoing off hard rock. While in Afghanistan, Billy-Bob had grown accustomed to sleeping outdoors. In heat, in cold, under any conditions—with the grumbling of fellow soldiers complaining loudly about aches, pains and the wounds they had gathered during the war. But in this cave, with these strangers—yes, he still considered his new found family “strangers”—the sounds here grew not fainter, but louder as they echoed off the stone: as if the sounds were being relayed by invisible town criers carrying a message deep into the abyss, or straight to the Devil himself.

“I can sleep anywhere,” he’d told himself, “That’s what soldiers do. Why can’t I sleep here?”

Billy-Bob unzipped his bag to peer at his new-found friends. Paul and Lasseter were motionless. Dead to the world. Akira was throbbing like a slow arrhythmic heartbeat. The very ground beneath her seemed to come alive.

“Was the gravel moving?”

Billy-Bob stared hard the dark light. The shadows must be playing tricks with his eyes. Not his eyes—his mind. Or was Paul in there playing with his consciousness.

Through the shadows, he stared at Akira. His body tensed.

Akira was sitting upright, talking. Her lips were moving but here eyes were far off in some distant land.

“It’s…it’s not possible.”

“You don’t think you’re any insect?” she whispered softly. The town criers carried her voice deep into the earth. “Entire generations of Billy-Bob’s volunteered to die in wars—wars fought not over principles, or freedom—but for money, power and resources. To help a handful of your white men get wealthy. Crony crackpot capitalism turned you into an insect slave long ago.”

“Guys, guys! Come-on guys, wake up!”

Billy-Bob’s voice was barely above a whisper, his head turning desperately toward Paul and Lasseter as his right hand reached for a Glock that wasn’t there.

Paul and Lasseter moved slightly. Akira pulsated imperceptibly faster. The clouds parted and moonlight lit the cave floor.

Through the shadows, Billy-Bob could see that it wasn’t the ground that had come alive. It wasn’t the gravel or the stone or the rock slabs that suddenly had become animated. Akira had attracted the dark soul of the desert—the insects and the pests and the vermin.

The vermin swarmed towards her as if she were nectar, swarming and crawling and covering her as if to drink of her essence.

Black widows, tarantulas, mice and rats; spiders of every kind, ants—both red and black—came out of the rock and out of the stones; crawling and creeping straight towards her.

And flies. Flies swarmed as if attracted by the smell of dead flesh.

Sensing Billy-Bob’s revulsion, Akira stared directly at him. Her eyes glowed hot red.

“Don’t you like my pets? They’re you. They’re insects.” Her face twisted into a rictus smile.

“I want you to see how I see you.”

“We’re not insects!” Billy-Bob screamed, hoping Paul or Lasseter would wake up.

He tried to stand, but her eyes held him down.

“For every school in the world, you have ten churches. Churches turn you into insects. Churches turn you into mindless slaves. You not only allow it, you enjoy it.”

Akira stood, moonlight casting her long shadow along the rocks.

Horrified, Billy-Bob screamed for help. Paul and Lasseter awoke, startled.

Laying on his stomach, Paul peered into the oncoming eyes of two deadly serpents—genus Crotalus atrox—Western diamondback rattlesnakes—coming straight at him.

Akira extended her palms.

“Come to me, my pets.”

The snakes crawled onto Akira’s arms. Their tongues flickering. Their fangs glistened.

Akira raised her arms high enough to allow their dusty tails to brush against Billy-Bob’s skin.

“Nine-Billion people live on this planet,” Akira continued. “Six-billion believe in one of hundreds of your religions.”

“Akira, stop! What are you doing?” Paul pleaded, his booming voice finally waking Lasseter.

“Look how he cowers faced with what he doesn’t understand,” Akira glared at Billy-Bob as the rattler brushed against his arm.

“Get the motherfucking snakes out of the motherfucking cave!” Lasseter yelled.

“Look how he cowers!”

Lasseter firmly pointed to the snakes, then pointed to the ground. Akira shook her head in disagreement.

“But it is not the snake he fears!”

“Then what?”

“He fears the symbolism! He fears what the snakes represent!”

“Akira, my love, just drop the snakes and tell us what you’re getting at…”

“Look at this soldier quiver! With six billion people brainwashed by religion, we must choose religious language and religious symbols to communicate! Forget science. Forget facts.  Give them ol’ time religion and we’ll get our point across.”

Akira dropped the snakes, and to Paul and Lasseter’s relief, both slithered away quickly.

“After running all your quantum simulations, this is your conclusion?” Lasseter asked, sounding dreary.

Paul didn’t wait for an answer. He reached down and helped poor Billy-Bob to his feet. He could see the soldier had become completely unglued. Paul smiled gently and tried to fill his voice with honey:

“Welcome to the new Eden.”

–More later.

She’s not like The Terminator…

Akira
Akira is not fictional.

“You quoting Shakespeare, old man?”

Billy-Bob took his eyes off Akira for the briefest of moments as he focused on Lasseter. “You’re not the only on who’s read a book.”

There was a slight pause. The moon outside the cave was growing in intensity as the sky grew darker. The shadows grew longer, and the heat was rising. Breathing was getting difficult. Billy-Bob wondered if it was lack of sleep or lack of oxygen that was affecting his judgement

No one else seemed to notice.

“Shakespeare was one of us,” Lasseter grinned.

“You’re trippin’ old man.” Billy-Bob leaned back against the cave wall, his eyes flickering rapidly between Akira and Lasseter, “You’re talking nonsense. You’re all talking nonsense.”

“Nonsense?” Lasseter rolled down his sleeping bag and rose to a kneeling position, extending his palms upward. The moonlight made his palms glow with a faint gray light. “Then why do you feel, deep within you,” Lasseter pointed directly at Billy-Bob’s heart. “That there might be a grain of truth to my words?”

“Because I’m overtired and delirious.”

“Is that so?”

“Overtired and delirious,” Akira cackled, “You just described the entire human race,” Akira’s voice, mixed with venom and laughter, pierced the night. Paul remained silent and dared not interrupt.

“Delirium is mankind’s normal state of mind. And like I said, you pass it from one generation to the next…making you less than insects!”

Billy-Bob glanced toward Paul. “I can’t control her,” he shrugged casually.

“Is she dangerous?”

“Not to you.”

“What is she??” Billy-Bob stared hard, demanding an answer.

“I wish I knew,” Paul looked towards Lasseter.

“I’ll tell you what she’s not first,” Lasseter’s voice croaked.

“That’s a good place to start.”

“She’s not a piece of fiction: she’s not a machine that evolved into self-awareness, like The Terminator.

“Then what is she.” Billy-Bob wouldn’t let up.

“Even to me, she’s quite unexpected.”

“This a guessing game now?” Billy-Bob and Paul exchanged glances, both growing anxious.

“She did evolve, yes,” Lasseter continued, “but did she become self-aware, like in the movies? That’s hard to say, even in the broadest sense. Because what is self-awareness? Are you and Paul, in this cave, right now, are you self-aware in this moment? Have you ever truly been self-aware?”

“Stop the bullshit. If you want my help, tell me what I’ve gotten involved with. Otherwise I’ll load up my weapons and head back to North Carolina.”

“I won’t let you do that,” Paul said firmly.

Lasseter took a deep, exasperated breath. “As best as can be explained, involving theories that are far beyond the comprehension of your most brilliant scientists, theories like quantum-entanglement, matter-antimatter asymmetry, primordial plasma…”

“These people are insects and will never understand the Universe….”

Lasseter looked at her straight in the eyes. Pitch black Orbs stayed back, becoming one with the darkness.

“…As far as I can tell, Akira has not evolved into self-awareness, she’s become a portal to another consciousness. A very different consciousness. One that goes beyond even my own.”

–More later.

“Worse than insects…”

Akira in cave
She knows all.

The sun had set and the sky was dark, although, in the desert, the stars shone with an intensity resembling oncoming traffic from cars miles away, rushing towards them.

“You—meaning humanity,” Lasseter drawled, nodding his head towards Paul,” will never get to the stars with your religion. It’s the last relic of the primitive mind and needs to be eradicated before you can move on.”

The others peered from their sleeping bags, eyes heavy.

Akira chuckled. Her voice reverberated throughout the cave like the sound of soft cooing of doves.

“Religion, ya see, government and corporations are all branches of the same tree,” Lasseter continued, slowly crawling into his own sleeping bag, the moonlight behind him creating a halo as it reflected off his gray hair.

“Cut down the right trunk, and they all fall.”

“And how do we do that?” Billy-Bob propped himself up on his elbow, his biceps flexing, listening intently.

“It’s starts with her,” he head nodded towards Akira.

“The baby?”

“Yea, the baby.”

“Humans are short lived,” Akira cackled, her voice piercing the night.

“Most of your lives are wasted re-learning what previous generations have already been taught. Your schools take too much time, cost too much money—and most of what is taught are mostly lies—or facts that are so outdated, it’s no wonder you insects fail to evolve.”

She pointed her finger at Paul, as if blaming him for everything. Paul sat up, cocked his head to the side.

“Who you calling insects?” Billy-Bob’s fist clenched.

“Your lies get passed from one generation to the next, making you worse than insects!” Her hands came together in a semi-circle in front of her chest, her fingernails extending, razor sharp.

Billy-Bob slumped against the cave wall, but his eyes never left hers.

“How you plannin’ on changing all this…”

“…asked the soldier from a generation of soldiers who were taught to believe they there were right and just and proud…” she interrupted fiercely, “…but who flushed their short-lived lives away for nothing…for some sense of purpose and glory…”

Billy-Bob forced a grin.

“You really know how to piss a guy off. Is this another one of your super powers?”

His hand reached down to his right side brushing his thigh, where his Glock was normally holstered.

A lifelong habit.

“She’s right,” Lasseter interrupted. “For who has honor but a man who died a-Wednesday.”

He laughed out loud, his gray hair shining in the moonlight. He didn’t give a shit if anyone understood his literary reference. He’d spent most of his life talking to himself anyway.

More later

(Yeah, not finished. Having trouble getting in front of the computer lately, but that will be fixed soon. Thanks for reading.)