Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Kitty System

The Kitty System
3500 Words
SciFi
Copyright Bill Gallagher
Hudson FL July 2011


There are many ways for a world to end.  Many levels of destruction.  The piles of ruin which are our continual failure lie all around us, everwhere and everywhen, unto this very day.  To say a world ended is just a figure of speech, afterall.  Something on the world might end, but worlds themselves, planets,  hardly ever do.  When people refer to the end of the world they are most likely referring to their world,  along with a group of people on their world;  a matrix of human emotion tied into the continual crisis of night, day, weeks, years.  Human interaction and its drama.  Saying the worlds ended has its positive side too, however bizarre that may be.   First and foremost one has survived to talk about it.  A close unavoidable second is not very positive,  it is the realization that great change has taken place, things have been irrevocably altered.   There is no going back.

When a world ends the largest and most obvious infraction upon our sensibilities is the oh so regrettable loss of niceties for a while, perhaps forever, with even hygiene sacrificed at the altar of raw survival...that is the Negative side, the Loss, and it is big.  Death everywhere.  Stinx.  Bad. Takes a long time to go away.

Just as sure as carrion stench though are things that begin to happen which no one could see coming,  because they are products of chaos.  Certain forms fit here as if engineered and constructed for just this environment.  Synergy can and does occur. 

From where you inhabit right now,  it is a far far Earth.   

Engines of Magic rule the aspects of the planet better since the world ended.  Things are smarter, it takes more thinking to survive.  We know more now, hindsight and all that.  All the building and falling down has been going on for a very long time indeed.  And Earth is just the latest stage of humankinds devolution.  That civilizations continue to grow and die here is just proof humans are the greatest reproducers ever.  There is the rat, it is almost better, we will get to that momentarily.

So far there is always backward drift in society, it has never reached anything of great consequence across 100,000 years or more.  We know this now.    It is taught to everyone from a young age.  We are united in shame.  It is the best we can do.  Perhaps we can change things.  Again.

---------------------------------------------

My crew and I are hunters.  We hunt for a living.  All of us are well trained, and have been at this since childhood.  We are pest control, the best that ever was, which is to say we act in concert to eradicate animal pests, mostly rats and mice, without poisons, because poisons are bad in the long term.  Poisons can end worlds.  Live and learn.  We work under contract to the vast shipping port authority of Ascent City;  we get a flat fee in rice coupons, and bonuses for the meat of course, paid by the carcass, uncleaned, as is.  It is sometimes hard to keep my partners from eating the meat, they almost always take the head for themselves, cheshire grins all around, they are little monsters.  I love them all.  I can afford the heads, its just a cost of doing business far as I am concerned, and the perfect incentive.  Well, not as perfect as love, duh, but pretty good.  Most of the time there is not a problem about the meat.

I pick my crew up at their kennel nightly.  I work 4 nights a week, 12 hour shifts, and the kitty pool generally runs anywhere from 50 to 60 animals, not counting baby kittens, nursing mothers, and hunters in training.  I take four or five animals with me each night, and though I hunt with them all over time, I do have my favorites.  The nester black named Panther, the old sire, is still the best at finding the nests and bringing out 5 or 6 newborns at a time, he smells them out, retrieves them, plays with them, kills them and signals me, not necessarily in that order.  He is by far the most efficient of all the hunters, his target is primary, the nest, its what he was made to hunt.  To kill.  As he prowls he sings, half purr and half growl, it makes any nearby prey move about, he can hear them then.  It is his terror tool.  He is a highly specialized animal and he came that way.  Fully equipped at birth.  It is said the temple cats of Old Earth Thailand were this type.  His ears are tufted.

Because he is so efficient, Panther is one of the few cats who have been left fertile after the age of three.  The breeding cats also hunt, and thats how they are selected to breed in fact, but most of the cats are surgically made infertile at the age of 3 if not sooner.   They live longer, and when the sexual urges are channelled into the hunt, some more efficient things emerge.  The joy of killing.  This was discovered long ago.  Long long ago.

The hunters are hunters for their whole lives, and they love their lives, that becomes obvious immediately.  It is the aura of feline health and it is beneficial to experience it.  They are very well cared for, and they get to hunt with people like me almost every day, people who know them perhaps even better than they know themselves.  Thats how systems are run, its just the way it is supposed to be.  It was built to be this way.  Win win means synergy.  There were never any happier cats, and I make a good wage; the rest of the proceeds go to maintaining the kennel, nurturing our cats, creating good hunters, and we are very good at what we do.

Truth be told, there is already a whole bunch of biological software at work, what we do is fully awaken The Hunter already there.  And we communicate with the animals.  Its easy.  You have to see them for what they are.

B1.

As the littlest kitties say: "Me-you."

---------------------------------

Its noisy in Kennel Hall, cat sounds, people, automata;  music.  Cats especially like music.  Kennel doors opening,  lots of feline stretching, then making their way down ramps into sets of transport pods which are hand trucked by operators like me onto subway cars down the tunnel.   Each handtruck can hold 4 pods, 4 cats. Tonight its me and the black Panther, along with Butter, a yellow furster the color of butter, he is great fun and loves to hunt.  Two females along, Yumyum and Samjae, regulars you might say, both with the patience of asps, and cunning in unusual ways.  It is always close between the boys and the girls as far as carcasses go, it is more accurate to class the hunters by their age.  The older they get the more streamlined and accomplished is their technique, more meat for less energy expended, its the name of the game.

I rolled my load out of the hall after grabbing my backpack kit, and the electronic clipboard with the information I needed tonight.  Each of the cats said hi in their own way, and I banter with them as I walk them briskly up the tunnel. Each operator becomes familiar with at least 30 different areas during the course of their career, and the cats as many or more.   Destinations vary as much as possible, which spurs interest among the cats who wish to see what has changed since their last visit, perhaps to even see who has been there from their own kennel, or somewhere else.  Perhaps to even see, horror of horrors, if a dog might have stopped by.  This elicits an almost electric excitement and wariness among all the cats, like group telepathy, and does not go away until hours have passed and everyone becomes quite sure the dog is gone.  Yes its all fun and games for the cats, its we the operators who are saddled with the bejugered paper work, and other indignities, pardon my descent.  Oh its good to be a cat.

Once loosed for the night the cats are basically free agents, its a great adventure constructed just for them, or might as well be, it is without a doubt Kitty World, no questions asked.  I am there to monitor, and to collect carcasses, and make notes.  The cats have their collars, and they are very well trained.  It is routine, it is exercise time, they love it, it is their purpose.  We arrive.  Away they go.  I monitor each through its collar and am alerted to major vocalizations of each.  Instant location of all animals is possible.  They will find me or I them, in the meantime I will walk.   I too will hunt.

Off to my left I can barely hear the Panther terror noise, a little night song of carnage and blood lust on the early evening breeze.  I inhale the oceans air deeply.  About ten miles away one of the great ships stands impossible against the night sky, so huge, readying for lift off later tonight or tomorrow morning by the looks of it.  Everything here on the docks is containerized or crated, the old standing lamps on metal posts cast their yellowish glow everywhere, a perpetual full moon, robbing colors, assigning starkness and shadow.

The rats, they are the worst enemy of human food that ever was.  They key on it, are especially attracted to it.  Human food, so ready, willing, and able, is a vast opportunity to be exploited at all costs, to be eaten and shat upon and...well...it is easy to become obsessed with the occurence of rats, to perceive them as something diabolical, and to despise them, once you go hungry because of them a few times.  After you see friends and family die of starvation while the rats get fat, turning carnivorous later, they become the stuff of your nightmares.  The cats, the darling kittehs, are medicine against those bad dreams.  The end of the world did not happen so long ago that some things can't remain fresh, indelible, across time.

I received a call from Butter.  Not purposely, its the sensor at his neck which picks up certain nuances or loudnesses.  He seemed to be in some sort of minor distress, I located him on the clipboards screen, and ran that way.  He could hear me when I pushed a button on the clipboard, and I spoke low, knowing how close his collar was to his ears: "On the way now big boy hang tight kitties do cause kitties can don't forget that my good man..." its like a mantra each operator develops, utilizing all the communication tools at their disposal, and then some.  Higher communication.  Soothing, confident, partner is on the way, feel better right around the corner.

He was hunkered down under a light about eight rows over and three rows up, obviously he had a certain destination in mind.  A place of good hunting.  Its how they are.  There was a dark spot back near his right haunch, and I could see something protruding.  Bad.  As I got closer I saw debris over by one of the crates, it looks like the wood gave way, rotten perhaps, and Butter fell a good eight feet.  Nothing for a cat but there are always unforeseen circumstances and even the most agile cats can be caught unawares.  Gravity is all encompassing when you're down in it.

Butter was growling low as I got next to him and he rolled slightly to show me the wound.  Well no more hunting for you tonight sir.  I put my light on it and saw it was a lot less of a problem than initially thought because what was protruding was a bloody splinter of wood which Mr. Butter Butter had gotten for all his trouble on the way down to the pavement.  I pulled it out quickly.  He yowled and then purred.  Its all about the language.  He immediately began cleaning himself, and when he was done I picked him up and we walked over to the place he had fallen.  The crate was old, thats for sure, some sort of machine parts according to the label.   No food markings, there should be no vermin.   There must be more though, or the cat would not have come directly here.  I had a look around.

Aha.  I said it aloud.  The 17 pound cat I was carrying over my shoulder purred a short burst.  Nests.  Birds.  Yes I remember a Butter type now, from the past, who was a birder from Haders, loved birds more than goat cream.    Well birds are detrimental pests too, in the wrong places.  This nesting area should have been spotted earlier, it already had caused a premature rotting of the crate.  I added details and photos to my report, sent it in, saved it on the clipboard too.  I carried Butter until he wanted to walk, which I let him do.  He would be with me the rest of the night, he knew it too.  The spot on his fur was less dark, getting worked, all was good.

The two girl cats were quiet and stalking something somewhere, probably as a team, or maybe just snoozing by a pipe opening, waiting with resolute viciousness for the inevitable to happen, for vermin traffic to commence.  Once they snuggled on down, wherever that may be, squinting their eyes real tight and concentrating on invisibility, why, they became invisible.  Vermin traffic will begin again just as if a giant monster was not there watching and listening and marking each datum like a teardrop.  Yum and  Sam were seasoned veterans, I would find them later and retrieve their piled carcasses.  A small rodent scurried as we turned the corner of a ship container, and Butter was on it immediately, with a vengeance, as it were.  It was pounce, crunch, time to move on.  The first carcass of the night.  I put it in the cryobag, and patted the cat on the head.  He likes that.

I decided to go look up the Panther, and just then, as if by telepathy, a war screech from his direction and the yellow cat and I stepped up the pace in a big way.  We turned another corner and there was the black cat, in a tableau like I have never seen before.  He was pacing and deftly hopping about while baring his teeth and making very hostile sounds.  Somehow, someway, a large snake, a very large snake, had gotten loose on the docks, and it considered Panther to be just the right size for a meal.  I could not harm the snake, anything that usually eats rats is a friend of mine, but that little conflict of interests was not the issue right then.  The gig here was keeping the snake off the cat, and capturing the snake alive.  I had rice coupons in my eyes, thats for sure,  plus the snake was posing unique scenario and solution needs, which I like a lot. 

Now there goes Butter, jang it all, it is getting more interesting by the second.  I drew my gun and called the cats off.  They veered away without hesitation.  The snakes head was a big as a saucer,  its glowing eyes each the size of a mans thumbnail or larger.  Of course its serpent tongue flicked here and there too, it was a disgruntling sight.  Later it would be measured at over 8 metres long, and near 200 kilos.  Thats a lot of snake.  It will be employed and maintained in other places, under supervision.   I am making a nice bonus, which I like a lot too.

Back to the now I sent a short burst of plasma energy, a floating orb of whitish blue light, a ball of very "Weird Noise" if you like,  right at the snakes head, and it fell asleep.  The two cats were hunkered down out of the way, good boys, and they watched as I made arrangements to have the snake picked up here in a little while.  I patted them both and had favorite treats, each got some, and I checked on Butters wound, which was already seeping ichor from his relentless self imposed  program of health.  The Kitty System.

The robo flitter arrived and its automata loaded the snake and away it went.   Now it was time to find the girls, and collect some carcasses.  I located Samm and Yumyum on the clipboards screen, and together myself and the two other males began our hike.  The boys ranged out a little as we moved, and there was some indiscriminate killing along the way, just on GP mind you;  we had six total carcasses by time we reached destination.  We collected the 13 which Sam and Yumyum had dispatched, and there were more than a few heads missing.  I pretended not to notice.

The oldest female is a calico medium, with pink skin in her ears and nose and everywhere except for a black toe on her right front paw, and she is not called Yumyum for nothing.   She takes more heads than any other cat, and she is what we call a super hunter.  An old feline being, in line with the program, getting it done day by day, practicing the craft.  Perfecting the craft.   Master of the craft.  Sexual urges left this beings reality long ago, before the being even knew what it was all about.  The job, the purpose, the program, that is all, that will always be all.   Beings like this are awesome to behold, even fearsome.

Just as we were wrapping things up the large ship began taking off ten miles away, and it shook the world, but was over quickly.  The cats came close to me and we watched it together.  Strange times.  Behind the ship had been the rising moon, quite a bit too close still, but in control now.  When the moon had begun to break apart, that was the end of the last world, just another end of many.  That did something though, the survivors somehow united in purpose, and the colonies too, and the effort to set things right, to put the moon back on track and to maintain the planet like the machine that it is has tweaked things in many ways.  The Bandage on the break at the moon did more to stimulate the efforts of life here than anything in the last one hundred thousand years.  Its too bad that adversity is the only road to truth.  Too bad.  But history proves it beyond doubt.

The changes we are making teach that long term projects are the only way to survive here, and to also teach the goals themselves so that they may be constantly updated and improved as time travels along.  Each child knows our real history as we know it, not fairy tales or profit matrix, but the truth as we know it.  Each child learns what the next five hundred years will bring, and the next thousand, as well as realizing they themselves will not live to realize the actual goals.  It is humbling, and dangerous, but no where near as dangerous as that moon, which is in everyones face all the time, so everyone gets smarter.  We could be so much if it wasn't like this though.  Oh well.

The colonies of course were the first to understand, to actually explore first hand the ruins and wreckage on the other planets.  Some of the asteroids were resort cities.  Many of the craters on Earths moon are collapsed underground facilities.  Actual traveling spaceships have to be planetoids with thick coatings of ice to deter the debris and dust of space habitation.  All easy to see after the fact.

Mars was the place of primary origin in this solar system, from before there we know not yet. That is plenty, believe me.  It is still a ruin, although the new colony seems to be self sustaining finally.  That is what has become of The Great City.   Mars is where house cats were created from Tiger and a few other things, and dogs from Bears and a few other things;  just about everything that got patented at The Great City ended up on Earth, and some that did not get patented as well.  This blob of rock was a mined planet,  remade, repositioned, and dedicated to agriculture.   Water wealth beyond imagining.  A giant optimized Garden, it did a perfect circle of 360 days around  the sun, one rotation/day per degree.  The number of days off the 360 was how we were initially able to calculate the time since maintenance.  Since the world ended that time.

Earths moon was the depot for the product, a free-zer, not a lot of gravity to deal with,  also part of a vast scalar machine, interplanetary and beyond, an engine of huge proportion whose battery is the sun; when one of our many worlds ended oh so long ago, and maintenance ended with it, about 100,000 years ago, then the devolution of us began in earnest.  The best we have been able to do is to see what we once were,  Kind of.  Through the things we once made for ourselves.  Things like the Kitty System.

As one world ends, another begins.

fin


For Annette, who introduced me to cats. And for April Kemp
Whose Favorite Color Is Green.

Automatic

shortshort

by Bill Gallagher

011506

We are God. We are on Automatic. We cruise the cosmos like a program, hunting for intelligent life. When we find it we go away for some light years, and assemble a meteor swarm of matter which is then set on course for that planet, to arrive within a certain number of millenia. It is our job. We are on automatic.

If the life form is of suitable stability and responsibility it will detect this swarm and disarm it in time. If not, then the culture will go back to its beginning or be annihilated totally. We cannot care. It is our job. We Are On Automatic.

We have just sent another swarm on its way. It will arrive at its destination in about 15000 years. The culture there is in its stone age now. Again. This is the third time for that particular world.

Some of the advanced races of our cosmos have gone through this cycle 5 times before rising to the occasion and becoming competent to live within the cosmos, to observe its powers, to utilize the powers of the cosmos for their own survival. Every life form that has reached the advanced stages required by us have agreed that we are a necessity. They maintain us. We are God. We Are On Automatic.




fin

Annies Game


By Bill Gallagher
01-2005
8400 Words


I am the Watcher.
I am the Innate Animation of the Meat.
I exist at all levels above and below the flat line. 
I am The Program I am the Id.
I am Light.
Look at me.
LOOK AT ME.
I am You.
I am The Key to The Door.
The flat line is the door to ALL. The wall, the gate.
I live both above and below that point.
It is my center and I am Transcendence.
Look at me now.
LOOK AT ME.
I am YOU.
You are my tool, and I am yours. We are one, and we are One with ALL. Hard to accept, but you will see someday. At the Flatline, you will truly see. Again.
I love you. I love All. I have no choice. I am not, strictly speaking, meat.  Only in the meat must one discern minutiae while subjected to the continual chemical and radiation bombardment which physical reality demands, all the while drawing sustenance from hard matter itself.  This, unfortunately, leaves very little time for understanding the true milieu of the meat.
And It Shows.
Too bad.
Its being addressed though, and you and I are part of that in a BIG Way.
When you sleep I am working within the All. I Sort and Store. Communicate. And I Project. Prophesy. You remember this sometimes--you call it Deja Vu.
I am The WATCHER. And I don't miss much.
We came through the door together, and we will go back through the door together.
Now you must LOOK.
At Me.
LOOK AT ME.
I am You.


*******************


     The morning sky was pink and gray and the ocean reflected that. Seagulls drifted about, specks of white in the miasma of off-color haziness. Down near the beach, in the water, was where it was happening, where everything looked good.  Rolling tubes of ocean threw handfuls of fluffy sea foam upward as they broke around the point. Eight foot swells all clean and southern and rhythmic undulated through the water this morning, wrapping themselves around the submerged base of the cliff which jutted slightly out from the coast, and as the swells broke the curls of their leading edges seemed to unfurl in slow motion. The wind was blowing hard out to sea, offshore, and this exerted a force against the breaking faces of the waves, delaying the pace of their energy release. It was the main reason the tubes were so nice today.

     JD sat his board just outside the break line, and thought about this point break which he had known since childhood. So far it had miraculously escaped assignment as a power plant site, or yacht harbor, or any other of the myriad things which could have shut it down as a surf site. So far.

     He wondered how much longer it could hold out.

     Not too many places lasted as surf sites here in this part of Southern California: had JD Sleid moved away as a youngster, then returned at his present age, which was 38 in the year 2005 AD, he would not have recognized very much at all. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on what kind of mood he was in, JD had stuck around the neighborhood of his birth, leaving only to go to college then Medical School. Upon his return his families contacts had found him work locally and quickly, and of course the work paid very well. JD Sleid had his fingers in many things other than his medical work too, and according to his family, this was as it should be. "Never Enough" was the Sleid family motto, and because of this JD was not only a self made millionaire at the age of 38, but sole beneficiary of his mother and fathers estate, once that time arrived. And still, it would Never Be Enough for JD Sleid. Its just the way he was. No apologies, he was truly --smirk-- a product of his environment. He had one tattoo on his tanned and fit body, on the upper inside of his right arm. The tattoo said: PURE HUNGER.

     JD lined up then, he saw his wave outside, and this was to be it for the day. He'd arrived just after sunrise, knowing he would have to leave before ten. He was doing Annie at noon, so this had to be his last wave today. 0955 and all was well.
He'd seen his special swell, the one he'd been waiting for, hump above its brothers in the set when it crossed the deep rocks at the extreme outside, and when that wall of water began to draw him backward slightly he shoved his board down into the elongating face as far as it would go and gave a mighty frog kick with his legs so that he sprung forward, and in less than ten fast and digging paddles he was up and cruising towards the lip, foam spattering his face. He tasted salt water.

     Sunlight through the wave looked like an arc through a welders mask. Bright, shimmering, dancing.

     Then, turn toward bottom, the whole monster moving face of the wave yawned before him, and he took it; he slalomed a couple of times up and down, losing some speed, waiting for the curl to catch up, the roaring tube that sounded so much like jet-noise as it emitted auditory its electro-chemical reaction, of which JD Sleid was now a part.
     The breaking wave was coming on and JD slid wide at the bottom, kicking down hard, and slammed upward almost straight into the face of the wave, but it was extreme, too extreme, and he almost lost it at the top, could've sworn he lost it, to become one with the crashing lip, not a good thing. The chemical reaction which was JD Sleid began spurting all kinds of high quality drugs into his system, adrenaline, endorphins, Sharp Pure Oxygen, more more more, and he thought that perhaps, perhaps this was enough, enough for once.

     As he hung there in the timeless moment, aware that defeat looked more like an option every nanosecond, something funny happened, something he would recall only later, and in amongst a bunch of other things. It was as if, at one moment, he was hanging in space, with the rocks a mostly waterless 12 feet below, and gravity was pulling all the wrong ways: then, in the next moment, he was sliding smoothly downward again as the mass of the curl right behind him soared overhead and enclosed him in the green room, the tube. It had occurred, yet he could not remember clearly what happened at the top of the wave. He could not remember. He had been seriously considering the thought of eating it, it had not looked good, he was preparing for the drop and roll which might or might not save him from being abraded harshly on the boulder strewn bottom below. Then it was as if he was...transported...yeah, transported, to where he wanted to be.

     He thought of all this later, but as the green room enclosed him then, he could do nothing but display his rush with sounds to blend with the emanations of the ordered energy spending itself, magically converting itself, according to the strictures of Cosm, via the medium of seawater. JD Sleid said: HooooooWAHHHHHHHoooooooooooooo and then got burped out of the aqua maw, because he was at the end of the break, the waters depth dropped off, the shallow rocks ended, all the waves stopped there. Always. He paddled inside along the breakline, and headed for the jeep. He had to boogy now, he thought, donning his sweatsuit. He had to get on down the road, he was doing Annie at noon, and not a minute to lose. Doing Annie. Again.

     **********************************************

     The Medical Center was imposing. JD thought of this many times as he drove to it. If you looked for it, 10 stories perched high on a hilltop off Letrance Drive, it was visible for over a mile, in a cityscape gone WELL beyond the imaginings of most people who have not actually seen the gigantic megalopolis which SoCal has become. All the dots connected now. And no room for any more dots. He supposed he was getting old, and thats why a lot of this was bothering him, closing in on him.

     "I should just get out," he thought, as he pulled the surf-racked jeep into its customary spot in the Reid Hospital parking lot.  "40 is right around the corner, and soon there will be things I just can't do anymore. That means I should get my fill while I can..."
     These were not entirely new thoughts for JD Sleid. This type of thing had been rearing its head within his mind quite a lot lately. He had wrestled with these irksome ideas, and had won temporary victories so far by setting financial goals for himself which would still take some more time, but he was beginning to think he was kidding himself. If he really wanted to make more money, he had realized just recently, he could get away from Annie, and, unhindered by a rigid work schedule, he could let his money work for him, he could spend full time overseeing THAT. He had some past investment successes that were truly his own, and then there had been help from Annie...there was the team to think about also, his team, the basic surgical group of 3, wherein he was a well known part, with the other parts equally known to him. They went back a ways. Smitty, Austin, and himself. Without them Annie as he had come to know her would be nonexistent. Annie, his life, his mistress, and, dare he say it? His Love.

     He had begun referring to his training and work in Anesthesia as Annie during college, and for a long time he had kept it to himself. After returning to the home turf with a job assured and future bright, JD had begun to outwardly refer to his job as Annie, and the few he shared it with knew exactly what he was talking about, right away. Annie, right now, was his life, as well as the lives of each and every person who crossed the operating table where JD Sleid and his armamentarium presided.
     The routine of Annie took over the moment JD shut the door of the jeep, and made his way into the hospital. The showering, scrubbing, changing... and now, time to meet the patient. Michael Moriarty, 46 year old male, VA overflow....the patients fact sheet manifested as memory within JD Sleids mind as he made his way to pre-op.

     ********************************

     The preoperative theater was bright enough to work in, but only in selected spots. Overall it gave the impression of subdued lighting. Heavy Curtains were pulled over windows, and halfway across the overlong bay in places; digital IV stands stood within the individual compartments open to view, and these compartments were also clearly marked with bright yellow paint on the floor. Parking spots.

     The patient, Michael Moriarty, lay on his mobile hospital bed, and looked around, curious. This was a first for him. He was interested. And he knew some things. In fact, he wanted to try some things, in his head, while this was going on. He was not nervous. He was eager.

     A man came up to the side of the bed, in hospital blues and the ubiquitous shower cap, with which Moriarty was also fitted. Almost everybody had one on. The man stuck out his hand and introduced himself as Dr. Sleid, The Anesthetist of the surgical team. Moriarty smiled, shaking Dr. Sleids hand firmly. Dr. Sleid asked Moriarty if he had any questions concerning the upcoming procedure.

     "This is nowhere near the flatline, is it?" asked the patient.

     Jd Sleid raised his eyebrows in surprise, but replied:

     "No. Its a controlled procedure to bring you about halfway to the...eh...flatline, so you do not feel any pain, thats all."

     "The cocktail."

     Again a surprised look from JD, though he found himself saying:

     "Yes, the cocktail."

     "OK," said Moriarty, smiling. "Ready when you are. Time to be meat. Or not."

     This was somewhat disconcerting to JD Sleid. He had never had a patient familiar with anesthesia before. Not so odd, the knowledge, but not something most people look into for fun or curiosity. He would have liked to talk to the patient a little prior to the operation, knowing this. Perhaps alleviate any underlying anxieties, and who knows, maybe even have intelligent discussion, stranger things have happened. Well, afterwards, he would go see the patient, and there was yet another surgery scheduled for this man, a skin graft which would have to be accomplished day 8 after surgical removal of the cancer on his back. But now JD became the machine, the operating Doctor with full training and experience; procedural. JD Sleid and Annie were becoming one.

     "I've given you something in the IV that will relax you, make you feel a little sleepy," he said.

     "Very good," said Moriarty, and he closed his eyes.

     Activity around the bed increased, and the surgeons came in then to reacquaint themselves with the patient, a last minute hello. Young looking, confident, themselves eager to perform the symphony for which they had been exhaustively trained. Closing his eyes once more, Moriarty heard the term VA, and knew they were referring to his status as a patient from the Veterans Administration, who had been shunted to this private institution as emergency overflow. Then Moriarty didn't remember anything else for quite some time.

     *****************************

     The patient was wheeled into the operating theater, and JD took his seat at the head of the table, at the head of the patient. Some maneuvering was necessary to get the patient from the bed to the table, and with practiced ease the team moved the patient into position.

     Even though the mild sedative given to the patient during pre-op was the first weapon against pain within the armamentarium of JD Sleid, he considered the next step to be the true beginning of Annie, and this was administered in levels, to help gauge the stage where intubation became necessary, the place where the involuntary function of breathing ceased to operate of its own accord, to be replaced with machine breather via a tube down the patients throat.

     JD followed a strict procedure as he took his patients down through the levels, adjusting dosages, all the while routinely asking questions to measure the patients consciousness. During this course of Moriartys, JD thought back, as he did many times, to the first time he had discovered Annies somewhat Hidden potential. He had been with this, his team, and he had taken a well known stock broker down into unconsciousness; after he had been sure the patient was well anesthetized, he had asked a question of this patient, and it came right off the top of his head:

     "Whats the best stock to make money with right now?" He had not expected an answer.

     Surprisingly, the patient did answer. Everyone in the operating theater heard the answer, it was plainly recognizable, although none of them knew that particular stock at the time. JD remembered the stark frown which showed itself around the Lead Surgeons face mask, and he had shrugged in return, adjusting 2 dials on his instruments, allowing more of a certain curare based drug to flow, as well as an increased amount of the general anesthetic which was opium based. This time, to the question, "Can you hear me now?" the stock broker remained mute. And that was that. The Lead Surgeon had not been happy about JDs question to the stock broker, but all had heard, and not too few of those present bought the stock the broker had mentioned during his dive into unconsciousness, and everyone who did came away with windfall profits. JD and his father had netted over a hundred thousand dollars each with this "Tip". No, the surgical team leader had not been happy, but JD found out later that this same surgeon -- one Charles Joseph Smith, Smitty to his team members -- had availed himself of the information none the less, and done extremely well.

     When the stock broker had finally gone under, way back when, JD had readied the apparatus for machine breathing, and he intubated the patient coincident to the cessation of breathing. Now, he glanced over at the table where Moriartys similar apparatus lay gleaming in the complete light of the operating theater. He adjusted some dials on Moriartys board, and began his questioning. JD did not even think about asking anything odd during this trip down, that was only for special occasions, and this was not one of them. He took Moriarty down to a level he thought was unconsciousness, and asked:

     "Can you hear me Mike?"

     "Yesssss...."

     The answer was drawn out, with the S sounding like a hiss. JD frowned slightly and twisted some dials. He asked another question:

     "Why are you here?"

     "I am here for you to remove this organism from my flesh..."

     JD frowned again and made more adjustments.

     "Organism?"

     A picture lit inside JDs brain then, and it caught him unaware and unsuspecting. He felt his body go rigid, and he looked up in surprise to see both surgeons, Smitty and Austin, staring off toward opposite walls. JD could not stop the onrushing intrusion then, and it was just like a moving picture unreeling inside his mind.

     Sharp shadows, bright bright bright sunlight, desert looking ground, and a small robotic looking vehicle extending a tube into the surface of the desert dirt, a TEST SAMPLER, yes a sampler, and this was no desert of earth, this was....somewhere else.
Then JD Sleid himself didn't remember anything else for a good little while.

     The next thing JD Sleid knew, he was helping his team put the patient back on the gurney roller bed. The operation was obviously completed, but he had no memory of it. It was as if he had asked the patient a question (What was that question again?) then a picture of some sort had popped into his mind, then they were putting the patient back on the bed, done.

     Done.

     What the hell was this? What HAPPENED? He noticed that everyone present wore looks of confusion, or worry, or downright fear, eyes darting around, wrinkled brows, and he was beginning to realize his look was probably more toward the end of that spectrum, more toward fear, fright. He felt the hair at the back of his neck stand straight up, gooseflesh following immediately thereafter, a wave across his body. All of sudden he had to urinate badly. Smitty shook his head as if to clear it. His eyes met those of JD Sleid, and JD knew immediately that he was not the only one with missing time. Smitty nodded to the lounge/locker room area then, and said one word which spoke volumes to those present: "Video."

     The patient was being wheeled out by the orderlies answering the buzzer from one of the nurses. Asleep and breathing on his own, halfway back already and an intravenous morphine clicker placed by his hand. JD watched him go, and the theater doors closed automatically behind, then JD Sleid headed himself off to the mens room, before he wet his britches like a little kid.

     ********************************

     The scene in the lounge was one of hurried confusion, nobody knew how to act. Fidgeting all over the place, but no one said boo. JD arrived from the bathroom just as Smitty was accessing the digital record onto the large screen TV. The picture was broken up into four quarters, showing 2 views of the whole theater, as well as 2 closeups of the actual working area. Smitty Said:

     "There. Right after you said "Organism?" See it?"

     Smitty glanced at JD, and Austin, then the others, with a very stern look. JD saw himself go rigid, then go about his business with Annie, as if nothing was the matter. He intubated the patient and the operation proceeded. Again the hair on the back of his neck did its little song and dance, and he could tell the others were wigging out too, because they, like him, remembered none of this.

     Smitty said "There." again. He stopped the scene. "Thats not me, Ive never done that before." He was referring to something within his professional procedure that was awry. But he was very thoughtful, and it wouldn't come out until later that this modification to his procedure was actually an improvement.

     JD was not paying too much attention to that though, what Smitty was up to, because he was looking for the first time at Moriartys wound. He had not seen it before. It was a cancer all right, and was the largest most aggressive thing he had ever seen, and that was saying a lot, because he had seen many. It looked like a fresh bullet exit wound. It had been excised at a clinic, with local anesthesia, three times prior to this operation, and all within the last year. A picture flashed in his mind then, the robotic vehicle, climbing into a pod, a rocket pod, getting ready to leave...leave from somewhere else...

     "Ah God," he said, aloud. "The robot...."

     A chorus of gasps followed this remark, harsh and penetrating looks all around.

     Smitty started the vid again and they all watched silently as the rest of the operation unfolded, seeing it for the first time, wondering wondering wondering.

     When the video was over Smitty went to the computer terminal, saved the vid to disc, and erased it from the computers memory. Standing, he addressed the group.

     "This is MY video. " He looked at each member in turn as he held the disc before him. "If anybody ever asks about this, you tell them to come and see me. This is to be held in strictest confidence among the people seated here now. Are there any questions?"

     He could immediately see there were no questions here, and the group to a one was very much preoccupied and distracted.

     "Good. It will behoove each of you to visit the patient within the next week, and we will meet to discuss the next surgery at the usual time. JD, Austin, in my office please. The rest of you take care, and not a word about this. Right now this is a credibility destroying situation. Do not let that occur."

     They all knew exactly what Smitty meant, and they filed out, still silent. Dr. Smith knew he would have to get with them all on a one to one basis before the next meeting, and to do some other juggling that might or might not create questions he did not want to address. But it had now become necessary. It would just have to be done. Jesus. He watched his workers leave except for his other surgeon and the anesthetist, then nodded off towards his office as he led the way.

    
     It was a short trip to Charlie Smiths office, and when the three were seated and the door was locked, they just sat for few seconds, no words. Smitty broke the spell, as was his purpose and responsibility.

     "We were in some kind of...thrall."

     That seemed to wake Austin and JD up a little, and JD said:

     "Thrall?"

     "Overmind. Its all I can see. But its so far out that only crack pots and the CIA understand what its about. This may have never happened before in just this way, in fact, I am sure it has never occurred just like that. The vid says it all. I've watched hundreds of videos of myself during operation, and that was NOT ME!"

     The last words took on a louder and somewhat frantic aspect, and this served the purpose of further prying the two other men from their deepening preoccupations. Smitty knew he would have to get with the others of the team a lot sooner than he had thought. But it was manageable, and it would keep him busy, the best medicine for this type of thing, he thought.

     "This will be over in a week, do not worry about it, stay busy, and visit the patient. Any questions?"

     Again, no questions.

     Austin and JD knew they were free to go. As they rose to leave, Smith put the video disc in his lock drawer, and said:

     "And JD? Next time, we will ask some questions, OK?"

     JD was totally aware of what this meant, a risky maneuver at best, and reference to a hitherto unspoken aspect of The Team, a reference to Annie. This was serious stuff. Serious.  JD nodded, and left, closing the door behind him. Smitty would need some time alone. As did they all. JD watched as Austin walked slowly down the hall towards his own office, out of it, not even a wave goodbye, and he was never so glad for a short work day in his life. No more Annie for two whole days. Good. He had a lot of sorting out to do. And some research. What was Overmind? Thrall? And he would visit with the patient. At length if possible. Stay busy. Right.

     **************************************************

     Throughout the week Moriarty progressed and healed well. He became used to visits from the doctors and nurses, and caught sleep when he could. He had some odd dreams, but figured that was part and parcel for the stress of the situation.

     "Chill," he told himself, "Just chilly on out and get better."

     His roommate was a garrulous spanish man who had made a lot of money in produce. Gonzalez was his name and oranges was his game. LOTS of oranges. Gonzalez was a diabetic, and he was in the surgical unit in case amputation was necessary for an infection he had gotten in his foot. It looked like Gonzalez was going to avoid the surgery, and that was nice, but basically Gonzalez was suffering from the condition to which every human eventually succumbs if they survive lifes other fatal situations, and that condition should be known as the TOO MANY BIRTHDAYS syndrome. Gonzalez was 77 and somewhat a remarkable specimen, considering his longevity in spite of debilitating conditions. Gonzalez was gone from the room a lot of the time, wheeling around the hospital in his motorized chair, going outside and sitting for hours in the fresh air.
On the third day after surgery, the Anesthetist came for a visit. Dr. Sleid. Yes Moriarty remembered him, most certainly, he of the cocktail treatment. They exchanged pleasantries, and it was Moriarty who broache'd the subject of the surgery and its anesthesia.

     "Its funny, I thought I might remember something, from the surgery, I mean."

     A fleeting darkness passed across the features of Dr. Sleid then, and Moriarty really thought nothing of it consciously, though it did register in his mind, and he would recall it later, and wonder.

     "Well," said JD Sleid, "Its my job to make sure the patient does Not remember anything from surgery. If they were to remember surgery it would mean I had not done my job well enough. And there is not much the patient would remember except perhaps pain, and that would be an unpleasant memory indeed."

     Moriarty nodded, then said:

     "But what of the expanded consciousness brought about by certain drugs? You are a maestro of judging levels of consciousness as they pertain to the chemical balances generally considered normal. Certainly you have seen some odd things attributable to the plethora of arbitrary states which are actually quite a broad spectrum within the so-called Normal human consciousness band."

     JDs eyebrows raised in surprise, and he shrugged a little, trying to cover for his loss of words.

     "Wellllll, I am not too clear on what you mean by expanded consciousness, and arbitrary states..."

     "Everyone is a different chemical reaction upon the face of the Earth. Levels of consciousness are directly related to the relative health of each organism at any given time. All chemicals effect consciousness, be they purposefully introduced to the system, or occur as pollutant. And there is so much real variety just among the genotypes, I personally cringe at even trying to define normal human consciousness. Why, even and especially ingestible sugars have behavior modifying traits. So I cannot expound concerning others levels of consciousness, only my own, but I know that one well. I was hoping that by being introduced to these new drugs, these drugs of yours, drugs of such purity, of which I have never before partaken...I was hoping I might be able to see something different, do something different. A conscious expansion of consciousness, if you will."

     JD Sleid jumped as if he had been goosed (There go those neck hackles again) and he tried to cover all this by grabbing a chair and pulling it up to the patients bedside. Seating himself he was glad of the pocket recorder. Not strictly ethical, but it would go no farther than he and Smitty. Smitty would find this interesting, surely.

     "What do you know about the various levels of consciousness within the human spectrum?" asked JD.

     "Oh, just what any traveler knows, those of us who perceive our existences as eternal, and a continuing journey.  And I of course have experimented in my time, perhaps not legally, but justifiably, as far as I am concerned. When one considers the powers of today and their placement within the overall scheme of the Drug Industry, then one must come to grips with certain unavoidable realities, be they pretty or not. It is information not readily available, perhaps not even to yourself, and I would not, by choice, be the one to burden you with it, if you have no clue. Suffice it to say that many drug laws are written to enhance and nurture the illegal drug industry, driving prices up, creating needs and wants...its so intricate as to be almost convoluted, but it has an underlying weft, which not only belies convolution, but strengthens the entirety of the illegal drug industry. It is big big money."

     This is not what JD Sleid was after, but he found the take interesting, and it did make some sense. Moriarty was extremely well spoken, and obviously some sort of quasi-specialist within his interest range.

     "What kinds of drugs are you talking about, specifically?"

     "The ones controlled for money? Oh, that would be opium first, and coca second. Marijuana has been artificially inflated in price since the politicians took control of that illegal action too, but it is still a very distant third to the first two. Notice that all three are growable commoditys, derived from nature..." Moriarty glanced up to his IV stand,
    
     "This was the first time I ever had opium drugs", he said, referring to the balanced anesthesia of surgery and the intravenous morphine available for the first day after surgery, "And I can see its value as a pain deadening agent, but it didnt do a darn thing for my brain." Moriarty smiled. He had never been this frank with a trained medical professional, and Doctor Sleids next question caught him unawares. It was Moriartys turn to raise his eyebrows in surprise.

     "So," said JD, "I would suppose that most of your...experiences...prior to this, were basically hallucinogenic?"

     "Yes." replied the patient, "I would say so. I have journeyed with psilocybin, and lysergic diethyl amide, and peyote. They fulfill me. They answer my questions. I thought the opium would be different, and it was, but there is no journeying here, at least at these doses, and I am quite averse to attempting larger dosages. I do not need answers that badly." He smiled again.

     JD thought it imprudent to mention that the opium based drugs of General Anesthesia, the real first level of Annie, were probably enough to make Godzilla take a nice long nap, and then some, and that was because their effects were easily reversible with other drugs, other aspects of the armamentarium. So he probed further concerning altered states of consciousness:

     "Have you ever heard of the Overmind?" asked JD Sleid, who had just recently defined it for himself during two days of net searching and communications with specialists and friends.

     "Most certainly," replied Moriarty, "The Program..."

     "The Program?"

     "OUR program. The force that pervades the flesh as animation. The unconscious mind. The Watcher."

     JD had really wanted to continue that then, but the alarm on his watch beeped, and he saw he had only five minutes to get all the way to the other side of the hospital. Looking at Moriarty lying in his raised up bed JD could only wonder. He had no doubt this patient had no memory of the surgery, that was as it was supposed to be. What was odd of course was that the people who had been in the room simultaneously during the operation had no memory either. Yes there were questions, many questions. And it looked more and more like questions only Annie could answer. The patient said:

     "Have to go?" referring to the watch alarm.

     "Yes, but I would like to continue this conversation later, maybe tomorrow, if you do not mind?"

     "That would be fine...anytime," said Moriarty, and he closed his eyes to sleep as Dr. Sleid made his way out.

     ***************************************************

     That night JD dreamed. Oh did he ever. He was in the desert. The middle desert of Arizona. Or what appeared to be the middle desert of Arizona. Later he would see that it could not possibly be the desert of Arizona, but thats what his first impression was. Saguaro cactii sprouted around like alien life, tubular, pokey. He walked an animal trail and was comfortable physically. The sun was bright but cast a weird, almost watery, glow. JD was carrying something. A bag of money. They were gold coins. He stopped and pulled one from the leather bag and it was like no coin he had ever seen before, with a five pointed star, the star of Man, on one side, and a map of the earth on the other. The coins were about the size of silver dollars. BIG gold coins.

     He could not just carry these things around, he had to stash them somewhere, and now there were some tell-tale dunes up ahead with sounds he thought he recognized. He picked up his pace, and as he crested the dunes he saw the spot, it was his spot, his surf break, but in a time where no human occupation was evident. Pristine, buildingless landscape stretched about in all directions, and the sounds he had heard were from waves breaking, surf, beautiful big lines of surf. God it was awesome. There was the cliff and the point, a little meatier with rocks, but the same. The beach went out north and south for as far as he could see. He wanted to go in the water, but he had to stash these coins.

     He saw a large rock on top of the dune, and went to dig a hole by its base, to deposit his gold. He got about a foot down by digging with his hands in the soft sand, and off to one side of the hole he saw a glint, and reache'd in to retrieve a large green jar which itself was full of gold coins. What was this? He opened the jar and looked at one of the coins, and saw the same five pointed star on one side and a map of the planet on the other. After covering the first hole he took both the jar and the leather bag full of gold coins to the other side of the rock, and dug another hole, in which, yet again, was a box this time, also filled with gold coins, the same kind of gold coins.

     "ENOUGH," He shouted, and threw down the bag and jar and box into the hole the box had come from.

     "Enough," he said again, under his breath, and he made for the water. He wanted to go in the water.

     JD ran across the wide wide sand beach, feeling invigorated, free, and just then he heard a sound that stopped him in his tracks. HoooooooWAHoooooooooo....He looked out into the neatly breaking swells of the point, and there was a lone surfer out there, riding a killer killer wave, just totally killer, and then the figure slammed back into the face, but it was extreme, too extreme, and as the figure came to the lip of the wave he just kept right on going, he blasted off, he surfed off the world. When the figure became a tiny dot in the sky, then suddenly vanished, JD Sleid woke with a start. And remembered. He remembered.

     The figure in the wave, the lone surfer who had blasted off from the extreme maneuver on the killer wave, that figure was him. It was him.

     He shuddered a little, and eventually drifted back off to sleep.

     ****************************************************

     Further conversation with Moriarty before the skin graft surgery brought forth no more information concerning the event during first surgery, and neither Smitty or JD wanted to alarm the patient, nor give any information concerning that event. The patient did not remember. That was clear. He did mention a recurring dream where a small robotic tractor was evident, and this sent an alarm signal spiking through the brains of the two doctors. It was evident there was some sort of story unfolding here, but it was the opinion of the doctors that all involved were best served by remaining as ignorant of it as possible. Smith shared with no one but JD his plan to disable the video recorder during the second surgery, by making it appear accidental, and this would allow reinsertion of the first video later and good plausible deniability. A report would be made of the faulty second surgery recording, and no one but the participants would know that the first surgery was...different. Together Smith and JD went over their questions. The questions to be asked of Moriarty as he descended into unconsciousness during the next surgery. As he was guided into unconsciousness, and the doctors hoped, into a revelatory state where answers had a chance of appearing.

     JD found himself getting a little jittery, but he got over it by telling himself it would all be over soon, then he would have it to wonder about for the rest of his life. Again the thoughts of leaving Annie forever began to crop up in his mind, and he found himself actually looking forward to an early retirement. Yes. From possibility to probability to reality. Soon.

     ***********************************************************

     It was a replay of the first pre-op, as far as Moriarty was concerned. Except he was now more familiar with some of the faces. Dr. Sleid was again the first to greet him.

     "How we doing Mike?"

     "Good Dr. Sleid, good."

     "Call me JD, please."

     "Ok, JD. Its off to meet the meat again, eh?"

     Though JD did not feel like it, he smiled big, reassuringly. "Last time for this procedure Mike. Well talk again afterward. You have something in the IV thats going to relax you, make you sleepy."

     "OK. See ya later."
    
     Moriarty closed his eyes, and was sedate even before the surgeons got there. He was wheeled into the operating theater, and there were all the same faces again, but the faces all carried expressions of worry and doubt. It was good that Moriarty was halfway asleep already, it would not do for him to see the group in this state. Even Smitty was jumpy, and everybody knew something was going on, they had no choice but to know. What they didnt know was how it was going to turn out this time. They were not long in finding out.

     **********************************************************

     "Can you hear me?"

     "Yessss..."

     "Who are you?"

     "Michael Moriarty."

     JD adjusted two readings.

     "Can you hear me now?"

     A pause. A bare whisper. "Yessss..."

     "Who are you?"

     A longer pause. "Michael..."

     JD barely touched another button.

     "Who are you?"

     No pause this time, strong and clear, and not Moriarty, but coming from Moriarty:

     "I Am The Watcher."

     Everyone in the operating theater froze.

     Smitty spoke then:

     "Where were we the last time, when we removed the...organism...from your body?" Smitty looked sideways at JD.

     "With me," came the voice from Moriartys body.

     "Where are you?"

     As if in answer, all the surgical instruments laid out in neat rows on Smittys table stood straight up in the air, fell down once, banging their ends loudly on the steel tray, then laid themselves down quietly. One of the nurses stifled a screech behind her hand. JD felt the need to urinate badly again, but suppressed it.

     "I am everywhere. I am All. We are One."

     JD asked the next question:

     "Why couldn't we remember the last surgery? And who did the surgery?"

     The lights overhead dimmed for a second, and that was unheard of, the lights could not go out. That had never happened before. They were backed up thrice. From the table of instruments came the sound of more movement. No one looked.

     "Not permitted for you to remember as individuals, as meat. You remember though. Believe it. You will never forget. WE did the surgery before. All. Us. As One. Necessary. You Learn."

     Everyone present then became possessed of pictures in their brains, a film within their minds, an unspooling of events forming a collage of imagery which told a story with no beginning and no end. The surgical personnel became stillness itself. Actual time spent thus was less than 3 seconds, but it seemed a lot longer. When it was over JD shook his head slightly. It had been his dream, with the gold coins, and the surfer which was him, and so much more. The robot sampler on Mars, the life of the sun, progeny....detritus detritus detritus, ad infinitum...Light...A perfect clarity encompassing past, present, and future. Moriarty had made some really bad enemies in his time, there was a short clip that showed him making love with a woman who was intentionally infecting him with a contractible cancer of government origin, Russian Government Origin. Then JD had seen Moriarty push a young girl out of the way of a speeding car, only to be savaged and killed below the wheels of the vehicle himself; he saw the young girl grown and doing something, something filled with light and goodness. He saw his own part in these events, and those of all the others. He looked around and noticed everyone was sorting this barrage of information out too, although he doubted it was the same for everyone, and he was right. They seemed to accept things better now, though. Everyone was more at ease. JD felt a tear slide down his face, into his mask. He tasted salt water. Smitty spoke again, his voice sounding choked, hoarse:

     "What can we do to help?"

     There were no more noises, and there was no hesitation at all from the thing calling itself The Watcher:

     "Take me up."

     "Up?" asked JD.

     "Up. Closer to the flat line. Away from the meat. Take me up toward the gate."

     With dawning realization everything came clear to JD Sleid at once, and the others too, or so it appeared. They all looked around wondering, childlike, they got it. Their world was turned upside down, and that was actually the right way for it to be. Until now they had been looking at everything topsy turvy. Wow. Smitty nodded once to JD, and so JD did it. He took The Watcher in Michael Moriarty Up.

     Once again images played through the minds of the team as their bodies went about their normal work. The next thing they consciously remembered was lifting the patient back onto his rolling hospital bed, the operation completed. Smitty and Austin both shook their heads in unison, and looked up at each other knowingly, then both looked over at JD. Everything was allright. Smitty said:

     "I call this success. Now you folks get some rest, and try to forget any of this ever happened. Any references to these episodes in the future will be fully denied by all present, understood?" Everyone nodded. Perfect understanding.
    
     Once again JD watched the orderlies come in and wheel Moriarty from the room, and as the doors closed this time he felt a great uplifting surge within his body, a release. It was over. He was already shelving it, along with a lot of other stuff that just no longer seemed to matter. He visited with the patient afterwards, and both found satisfaction from the information exchange. Moriarty again had no conscious recollection of his ordeal, and was generally thankful that the pain of these operations was relegated, exiled...to the overmind...as it were, and to use a term familiar.

     JD thought the exiling of the pain was minor compared to the co-opting of straight-up-and-performing consciousness, but of course he did not say that. They shook hands and wishe'd each other luck, and it was really over. JD never saw Michael Moriarty again.

     *************************************************

     Doctor Charles Joseph Smith left the employ of Reid Hospital 6 months later, to become a consultant and participant in Altered States research, specifically sensory deprivation. He gained a minor kind of controversial fame later in his life by being quoted in Time Magazine as saying he believed research into altered states of consciousness was simply upward evolution. Time magazine compared him and his work to John Lilly, but as far as Smith was concerned that was neither here nor there. He was thankful the nitwits of the press had not brought Leary into it.

     *************************************************

     Roger Austin, second surgeon, now became the star of his team at Reid, he became First surgeon, and he was upset but understanding when JD Sleid tendered his notice of retirement within two months of Smittys departure. The search began for another of JDs calibre and experience, and eventually one was found.

     *************************************************

     The first morning as Free Man found JD Sleid at his customary surf site, the point break, simply The Point to the locals. The waves were big today, kind of mushy, he did not know if it was even worth going out. It didnt matter. On his way down the dirt track to the small parking space at the top of the hill he had seen the For Sale sign. The property was for sale. After all this time. Well. He wondered how much. He knew it was far too much for him to consider buying as a surf site, but the thought lingered. He decided to head home and do some research. His money was busily working away for him, every second, and he took solace in that, and truly felt himself free for the first time in his life. Kind of scary, takes some getting used to, he thought.

     *************************************************

     The land at the Point was actually quite a bargain, considering it was several acres of ocean front, however rocky. But it was also well beyond his means unless he wanted to divest totally and go into debt; he thought not. His tattoo itched. He would just surf The Point while he could, though he took to haunting the place, even going out at night and just listening to the surf break.

     It was on one such night, after climbing the hills near the cliff by moonlight, that he stopped to rest on a large rock. Something familiar tugged at him. He jerked himself away from the rock which he was half-sitting-half-leaning on, and he imagined later that his eyes must have been bugging out of his head.

     What the HELL was this? It was the rock from his dream. His weird weird dream, during that weird weird time. He felt like he was becoming unstrung. Memories came then, the sun through water like an arc through a welders mask, erosion, a surfer...a robotic vehicle of some sort. He did the only thing he could think of. He went back to the jeep and got out the small shovel he kept there. Going back to the rock he dug down at the spot that felt best, and yes, there was something. Altogether a bag a jar and a box, and yes, gold coins. Damn. God Damn. He looked at one and saw it was double eagle, Big Gold Coins, from a couple of decades after the gold rush. 1870s stuff, looked like. Somewhere nearby the wind blew through some rocks, making an eery sound which once again caused the hairs on the back of JDs neck to prickle.

     HoooooooWAHooooooooooo....

     Well perhaps this site could be preserved afterall, he thought over and over again during the two trips it took to get the stash back to the car. He would do his best. And he would not tell his father about any of this. JD had a feeling he was thinking seriously of doing something that might earn him his fathers disapproval, and he would rather well avoid that. Rather well. Right now, he thought, as he shut the jeeps door on the night and surf sounds, he wanted nothing more than to sleep. Just sleep. And maybe dream.

     *************************************************

     Almost one year later the surf site became a public property in perpetuity. JD Sleid never took the paper, not in these days of the net, what was a paper but dead tree, heh? But today he got the paper because it announced the fact of the surf site becoming public property, held in trust by an anonymous institution, overseeing an anonymous donation. He knew the notice would be on the front page of the local section, but he glanced at the main front page as he disassembled the paper for reading. Below the crease, on the headline page of the paper, was this:

      Man Dies Saving Child.

      Of course it was Moriarty. There was a picture of a shrouded body in the street, near a wrecked car. The story told what JD already somehow knew. He shook his head as if to clear it. A tear slid down his cheek. He tasted salt water.

Fin

PERFECT


by Bill Gallagher, Hachita NM
022807


Audio Minutes of Top Secret teleconference, annotated verbatim by ASpec: hate-notwant-not23, NAA Administrative Underground. Visuals unobtainable.

Electronic teleconference intercepted by ESpec: 8ladiesman of the New American Army (NAA), San Saba Texas, March 17 2009.

From:
Directed Energy Application Laboratory
German Division
Holloman AFB NM
TC8976-88322-0

To:
Sandia Corporation
Laboratory 17, Hatchet Mountain Facility,
Playas NM
TC0023-88040-0

Opening:

Ladies, Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests, it is my pleasure to announce that as of this day the full Electronic Weapons Grid has become a reality, and is in perfect operating order.

(Applause)

We have been assured by our allies in Rome that the recent efforts and expenditures undertaken by our kind are successful beyond expectations: the entire United States and its territories are not only a subject population, but unknowing as well. Captive and happy, shall we say?

(Light Applause)

Allow me to elucidate, for those of you who may be lacking certain details concerning our conquest.

The group in Rome has been slowly releasing technology since the early 1800's, as the New Empires military-industrial complex, controlled through its financing by our group in London, has become ever more advanced, and thereby capable of handling the technological revelations, and more importantly, handling their development. Or, should I say, redevelopment?

(laughter, applause)

As most of you know, the source of this technology is extremely ancient. The collecting and hoarding of these old tools of ours does not really concern us right now, except to say that the end result of this macro electronic deployment will be the same as it was in the world from whence it derives, which is to say, the world before this one, the so-called fourth world.

The human being was created to be augmented electrically and electronically. The darkness which has ensued since the freedom fanatics of the fourth world destroyed the last empire will be no more, and light will once again reign. I assure you, the greatest of efforts have been made to locate and physically disable anyone capable of even discerning this system of control.

This electronic augmentation that I speak of possesses a variety of forms, though in the main it is total and utter control of all targeted bio-organisms via their electrically reactive digestive track. For the scientists, we say: control of the electro-gastric system. For the laymen, that simply means control of the gut.

The vast majority of the targeted population will never even know they are being manipulated. They will miss a regular bowel movement ever so often, but will never be able to understand that this is now electronically controlled to maximize the use of their ingested food...their ignorance and inability to perceive the weapon is just a measure of our already well established and lengthy program of mind control - OTE, Other Than Electronic.

Keeping that last in mind, let me say that this newest weaponry technology of ours has been deployed as entertainment and communications, when in fact it is a control of the stomach, its functions, and the entire digestive process of the bowel.

In short: the elimination of waste can be shut off entirely via these electronics of ours, or the system can be made to operate with perfection. If elimination is stopped in any organism, death quickly follows, though this death can be protracted through many stages. When combined with quantum energy technologies such as are seen via the plasma sprayings used to condition our soil for electrically augmented crops, a full array of tortures evolve: why, it is even possible to literally cook an animals wastes out of its body, via its skin pores. Can you imagine anything worse than that?
Hmmmmm?

(laughter, applause)

If a targeted organism attempts to avoid this torture by ceasing to eat, we can induce uncontrollable hunger, or any other state for that matter, by broadcasting tight and powerful signals via the myriad antennae, said signals having been pre-recorded from individuals undergoing those various states. We can put a subject population to sleep at any time, we can keep them awake for days on end, or we can deprive them of only certain sleep states, which manifest as a very broad spectrum of predictable behaviors.
As already mentioned, the workers who behave as we wish them to, who serve us without question, will never notice anything different, and will in fact be healthier for our efforts. That is simple maintenance and of course, prudent.

For people who are outside of the loop as it were, the dissenters and tax evaders, we will wreak havoc with them, doing the necessary experiments to fine tune this technology, before eventually killing them, in as horrible a manner as possible. We are the masters, we have always been the masters, and once again, we will take our place in guiding this race, our tools, into infinity.

Once our slave population becomes entrained to the electronic control of their digestive process it will take only the slightest bit of adjustment within the system to create a true plethora of predictable behaviors. They will never know they are being coerced, and one must then argue, is it coercion at all? It is their place to serve us, and serve us they shall.
The cell phone technology, by which this system of control has been hidden, has become virtually free to all users, though it is just the beginning of the electronic apparatus with which the human organisms will be implanted, for finer control, and tracking of each and every individual.

The identification powders have been deployed via atmospheric spraying years ago, and each humans electronic signature is now entered in the military database...there is no where on earth any person can go without being detected immediately, and identified.
The satellites are the third leg of this control triad: Antennae, Quantum Energy Harvesting Via Chemical Spraying, and as stated, Satellites in such profusion they are like a necklace around the entire earth.

Soon the cell phone technology, which are already being worn in-ear, will be microscopic and surgically implanted, like so many of the other chips that have been surreptitiously implanted over the last decade by our medical industry.

Yes the total weapon is now fully deployed, and operational. The subject population is 100% unaware of its actuality, and the code for this project is more than apt, it is, like the project itself, PERFECT...

(Loud Applause)




fin