The Subject-Early Christmas

A.E.G.I.S. REPORT # 89V7-H3B

LOCATION: White House, Oval Office

PROJECT: November Delta Alpha

DATE: December 15th, 20XX

X: Mister President, thank you for meeting with me.

POTUS: I don’t have a lot of time. Something exploded in Montana, where there wasn’t anything and I gotta go to a holiday party that isn’t a party for me.

X: Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

POTUS: I’m not in the mood for literary references mac. You better have some good news for me.

X: I do, Mister President. Consider this an early Christmas present. 

(SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS AND A DOOR OPENING AND SHUTTING)

X: Allow me to introduce David Taylor and Jane Harris.

TAYLOR: A pleasure to meet you, sir!

LEE: Indeed Mister President!

POTUS: Thank you, thank you. You’ll have to forgive me, have we met?

X: No sir. These two fine Americans have been doing fieldwork for us.

POTUS: I don’t want to sound rude but while I thank you for your service, I’m not sure why I need to meet you two right this very minute.

X: I apologize sir, I have buried the lead. They are the newest Enhanced Americans.

POTUS: That’s the understatement of the year! You cracked it? That IS a Christmas and birthday present all wrapped up as one!

X: Taylor, Harris. Would you mind waiting outside?

HARRIS: Not at all, sir.

TAYLOR: Whatever you need, sir.

(FOOTSTEP AND DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING)

POTUS: This calls for a celebration, I got a bottle of twenty-four-year-old single malt I’ve been dying to crack open.

X: Mister President, I must be candid with you. We still haven’t solved the problem of the process.

POTUS: Then how did you… Damnit! What did you do?

X: I kept the United States ahead in the new arms race.

POTUS: We’ve got a nation full of people who want a cure for cancer, not two more super people!

X: As do I, but it is not our only problem. The Russians have an Enhanced soldier. 

POTUS: If the Russians want to do business with criminals, let them!

X: The American people have embraced Mr. Ramirez’s efforts, I doubt if they will reject two more heroes. Both of whom are members of the newest branch of the United States military. Take a look at this folder, Mister President.

POTUS: U.S. Enhanced Guard, what the heck is this malarky, and why is it on Presidential stationery?

X: I took the liberty-

POTUS: You’re takin’ a lot of those.

X: -Of drawing this up on your behalf. As you can see, they report directly to the office of the president.

POTUS: I’ve got a lotta questions about all this.

X: I am sure you do.

POTUS: One, who the hell paid for all this? Sir Roger Clarke can afford to throw his cash around but this can’t have been cheap.

X: The process is very expensive but it was paid for out of my department’s budget.

POTUS: Sounds like you’re overfunded.

X: I am confident it was money well spent. Mister President, the landscape of warfare is changing as we speak. An Enhanced soldier can eliminate a battalion of enemy troops before they could even respond. 

POTUS: How do you-

X: Based on tests and projections.

POTUS: And you didn’t think I might want to be consulted on this sorta thing?

X: Plausible deniability sir. 

POTUS: Except now I’ve got two super-soldiers cooling their heels in my outer office. Hard to plausibly deny that. (FIVE SECOND PAUSE) But you might be right. If Russia has its own, we need to keep up.

X: As we have two, I would say we have a distinct advantage.

POTUS: Don’t you mean three? We also have Carlie Ramirez on our side.

X: In theory, yes.

POTUS: Something else you’re not sharin’ with me?

X: No sir. It is merely that Mister Ramirez is a private citizen who has been working in conjunction with the government. He is not a soldier.

POTUS: Are you suggesting we draft him?

X: No sir. Our psychological profile suggests that he would resist that. To say nothing of the optics. His approval rating is quite high. 

POTUS: Higher than mine, but you don’t become president if you want everyone to like you.

X: Mister Ramirez’s actions have prepared people for the existence of Enhanced individuals. They will be embraced by the public.

POTUS: How sure are you about that?

X: Extraordinarily confident.

POTUS: Well then, I better get signing. 

X: If I may suggest, this is an excellent opportunity for you to address the American people, say tomorrow at noon, eastern time.

POTUS: And you have already made the arraignments I’ll bet.

X: You would win that bet, sir.

POTUS: You’re one of those better to ask for forgiveness types.

X: I only do what is best for America sir.

POTUS: Not sure how I’m gonna explain this to everyone.

X: It will all be covered in your speech.

POTUS: Naturally. Well, I have to go glad-hand a bunch of folks who’ll gonna hate me tomorrow.

X: Happy Holidays Mister President.

POTUS: Ho, ho, ho.

END TRANSCRIPT

Posted in Science Fiction, Short Stories, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-Early Christmas

The Subject-The Real Dope

EVERYONE’S LYING-Episode # 397 December 13th 20XX

Exploring The Enhanced Situation”

Host-Jonathan Webber

WEBBER: Greetings seekers of truth and welcome to episode number three hundred and ninety seven of Everyone’s Lying. I’m your host Jonathan Webber and I’m NOT lying. Or am I? 

This week, we have two guests, from the popular blog, “It’s worse than you think”, it’s Marjory Long.

LONG: Thanks for having me on Jonathan.

WEBBER: Always a pleasure. And our other guest is online documentarian, Vince Roth.

ROTH: Webber, prepare to have your mind blown!

WEBBER: Okay then! Let’s talk about this weeks’ topic, where does the technology that created these Enhanced individuals come from. Marjory, would you like to give us your insights?

LONG: Gladly. No one, even the corporate-controlled media, would agree that process to cure cancer is far beyond anything medical science can currently do.

WEBBER: Yes.

ROTH: Of course.

LONG: So either this thing is one HUGE hoax-

WEBBER: Wouldn’t be the first time.

LONG: OR… they have always had the ability to cure cancer or any other disease for years?

WEBBER: Just for argument’s sake, why would anyone keep a universal cure secret?

LONG: Good question, the majority of people would think that it’s a wonderful thing, a blessing even. If you believe in that sort of thing. The short answer is money.

WEBBER: Again, playing devil’s advocate, it seems that a company would have a license to print money if they could cure any disease let alone cancer.

LONG: The same reason they discredited cold fusion. If they can cure everything with one process then they’re out of business. The medical-industrial complex thrives on repeat customers. Everything they’re peddling is insanely expensive and here’s the wildest part. There’s no guarantee it will work. In fact many times it doesn’t but you still have to pay.

ROTH: Hold on, are you saying that human beings have invented a cure- for all aliments?

LONG: That’s exactly what I’m saying!

ROTH: How could you be so naive? 

LONG: What the F-

WEBBER: Hey, hey, hey! Let’s keep it PG-13, I’d like to avoid an explicit label, okay?

LONG: Sorry.

ROTH: Right.

WEBBER: Now Marjory, can you expand this?

LONG: Oh yeah. Remember when they came up with the ‘innovation’ of wireless earbuds? So convenient! No more wires! Except they were tiny and everyone kept losing them which means…

WEBBER: People had to keep buying new ones.

LONG: Exactly.

WEBBER: Do you think that some company is sitting on a revolutionary new earbud technology? 

LONG: What? I mean, probably.

WEBBER: So is no one enjoying these innovations? 

LONG: Per usual, the uber-rich, famous, and powerful. Why do you think so many of them live longer than they have any right to.

WEBBER: To be fair, many famous people die young.

LONG: I’m sure they said something that offended someone in the REAL corridors of power and like that. They’re cut off. Sometimes literally.

WEBBER: Just so we’re clear, fantastic scientific and medical breakthroughs have been made but are unavailable to majority of humanity?

LONG: Given that that the brains of Einstein, Hawking, Turing, Marie Curie, and Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin FYI, have been preserved in crystal jars, It’s the only thing that makes sense.

WEBBER: Food for thought. Vince, I believe you have a different position on this.

ROTH: You bet I do. Now I’m not saying all those geniuses’ brains aren’t being kept alive through artificial means-

LONG: Thank you.

ROTH: -But the fact remains that even the most gifted of human intelligence is incapable of enhancing our bodies as we’ve seen, to say nothing of curing all disease. 

LONG: Please don’t tell me you suspect the Lizard People?

WEBBER: Marjory, let’s hear him out.

LONG: Fine.

ROTH: Actually, I did theorize Lizard People’s influence. On a side note, they are actually a highly evolved dinosaur species that controls half of the Hollow Earth. The other half is controlled by a proto-human empire comprised of what would be more commonly known as the missing link.

WEBBER: Vince, not that I don’t enjoy a vigorous discussion of Hollow Earth politics but I think you’re getting a little off track.

ROTH: Right. The short version is the evolved dinosaurs have their claws full and no motivation to create a technology that could be used against them. So I naturally ruled them out.

WEBBER: Makes sense.

ROTH: So then I asked myself, “Vince, who does have the advanced scientific acumen to do this?” The answer is clear. Aliens.

WEBBER: Why would extraterrestrials want to make human beings more powerful?

ROTH: To fight in their wars, but I should be more specific. Alien tech was reverse engineered to create the Enhanced process. It’s a well-known fact that the U.S. Government has had access to advanced extraterrestrial tech since the Rosewell incident.

WEBBER: Was it done at Area Fifty-One?

LONG: Everyone knows that Area Fifty-One is a front.

ROTH: Exactly! It’s all smoke and mirrors. Set up to distract a gullible public from looking deeper.

WEBBER: Do you have any theories as to where the real facility is?

ROTH: Clearly they had to do their research at Area Fifty-One-A.

WEBBER: Area Fifty-One-A?

ROTH: That’s where all the real important innovations happen. The first cellphone was built there in nineteen fifty-nine. 

WEBBER: Fun fact. So is Area Fifty-One-A near Flagstaff?

ROTH: It was when Charlie Ramirez first showed up. The beauty of Area Fifty-One-A is that it is mobile. 

WEBBER: Are you saying the personnel move to different locations?

ROTH: Area Fifty-One-A is a repurposed alien spacecraft that while it is no longer space-worthy, it can move rapidly AND disguise itself to blend with any surroundings.

WEBBER: Ingenious. Two very intriguing theories as to the origins of this new leap in human evolution. Any thoughts on where this goes next?

ROTH: Invasion of the Hollow Earth.

LONG: That’s ridiculous!

ROTH: It’s the obvious next move!

LONG: They’re clearly creating super-soldiers to bring about the New World Order. One nation on its own doesn’t have the resources to fight a prolonged conflict in the Hollow Earth, they need to have a united front!

ROTH: Are you advocating war in the Hollow Earth?

LONG: Of course not! I’m just pointing out the only way it might be successful. And you brought it up!

WEBBER: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let’s hold on to those thoughts! We’ll be right back after I tell you about Taco-Box. The world’s most popular taco subscription service. If your taco isn’t in a box, don’t eat it!

END TRANSCRIPT

Posted in Science Fiction, Super Heroes, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-The Real Dope

The Subject-Everyting Is Fine

NCN (National Cable Network) Breaking News with Rene Lambert

DATE: December, 9th, 20XX 12:27 PM EST

TRANSCRIPT

LAMBERT: Welcome back, we’re going live with Secretary of Defense, Jasper McKay. Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us.

MCKAY: My pleasure Rene.

LAMBERT: There has been a lot of speculation about the Air Force transport carrying Charlie Ramirez being shot down, can you shed any light on that?

MCKAY: First let me tell you and all your viewers that with all certainly that there was no attack on American soil. It was a mechanical failure.

LAMBERT: Aren’t you concerned that a military transport suffered a catastrophic failure? Shouldn’t they be inspected regularly?

MCKAY: Rene they are, I assure you. But equipment failure is a fact of life, like it or not. I just thank God that there were no injuries. 

LAMBERT: Perhaps you should thank Charlie Ramirez. He not only made sure the crew got off safely but was able to put the jet down away from any civilians as well as survive the crash.

MCKAY: Mr. Ramirez is a true American in every sense of the word. We’re lucky to have him in our corner. I think the crew of that transport would agree.

LAMBERT: I certainly would. There was a low-yield nuclear explosion in a remote region of the Republic of Jakmar, what measures is the U.S. government taking in response?

MCKAY: The President has ordered the Seventh Fleet to step up their presence in the South China Sea, as a gesture of support for our allies in the region.

LAMBERT: The President of Jakmar has vehemently denied that they have any nuclear weapons but no one has taken responsibility for the explosion. 

MCKAY: The use of nuclear weapons is a very serious matter and the United States is ready to help our allies in any way that they need. 

LAMBERT: Will Charlie Ramirez be deployed?

MCKAY: He’s not a member of any branch of the military, so we can’t just deploy him.

LAMBERT: But it does seem as though he’s working for the government. He was traveling on an Air Force transport.

MCKAY: As I understand it, Mr. Ramirez’s situation is unique. 

LAMBERT: Are there any plans to recruit other Enhanced individuals for government service, specifically military service?

MCKAY: That’s an awfully shortlist of candidates. The process that Mr. Ramirez went through is not yet fully understood, but top minds are working very diligently to do so. 

LAMBERT: So is there a plan to make more like him?

MCKAY: There isn’t a country in the world that wouldn’t want someone like Charlie Ramirez on their team. But as I understand it, there is no super-soldier program in place.

LAMBERT: Hold on Mr. Secretary, we have some breaking news. We go now to our correspondent in Moscow, Vera Montoya.

MONTOYA: Rene, the Russian Federation has just announced they have their own Enhanced individual. The press conference is just about to start.

LAMBERT: Remarkable! Mr. Secretary, do you have any comment?

(THREE SECOND PAUSE) It seems we’ve lost Secretary McKay. We now join the press conference from Moscow.

END TRANSCRIPT.

Posted in Science Fiction, Short Stories, Super Heroes, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-Everyting Is Fine

The Subject-Status Indeterminate

A.E.G.I.S. REPORT # 89H6-3B0D

LOCATION: XXXXXXXXXX

PROJECT: November Delta Alpha

DATE: December 10th, 20XX

BROWN: Doctor, what’s the status?

DOCTOR: Sir, the asset was caught in the outer range of a low-yield nuclear blast.

BROWN: She has a name.

DOCTOR: Excuse me, sir?

BROWN: Ignore that. Again, what is her status?

DOCTOR: For anyone else, it would be a death sentence, but the asset is much tougher than we thought.

BROWN: Meaning?

DOCTOR: First, the asset is still here, which is remarkable. Even more, the asset is alive.

BROWN: That’s good.

DOCTOR: Debatable.

BROWN: Why?

DOCTOR: When the recovery crew arrived on the scene, the asset had suffered fourth-degree burns. Extremely severe, almost always fatal.

BROWN: Can you save her?

DOCTOR: We have the asset in an experimental gel bath which should help. However-

BROWN: What?

DOCTOR: The asset’s ability to heal is remarkable-

BROWN: So you keep saying.

DOCTOR: Sir, it’s not a question of recovery, that’s going to happen. At least physically. But the level of pain the asset has experienced is terrifying. I question if the asset will remain… viable.

BROWN: Your job is to make sure that she is.

DOCTOR: I’ve read the psych profile of the asset, as much as was I was cleared for. Not extremely stable to begin with.

BROWN: Your point.

DOCTOR: The asset is effectively being tortured. Survivors of such experiences are changed. Not for the better.

BROWN: You think she’ll become dangerous?

DOCTOR: Maybe? There is no way of knowing. No one has ever survived something like this.

BROWN: Doctor, I strongly encourage you to make sure she recovers fully.

DOCTOR: I can’t guarantee that sir, I-

BROWN: That was not a suggestion.

DOCTOR: I understand. We’ll need additional psychiatric personnel.

BROWN: Consider it done.

DOCTOR: One other thing sir.

BROWN: What is it?

DOCTOR: Normally, protocol is for the asset’s enhancements to be neutralized when back at base.

BROWN: I set those protocols.

DOCTOR: Of course sir. It’s just that the asset’s enhancements are the only thing staving off death.

BROWN: Are you proposing that we push a button and let her die a painful death?

DOCTOR: Of course not! That’s a violation of my oath as a physician.

BROWN: Good. Clearly, the protocol can be broken, given the circumstances.

DOCTOR: Of course.

BROWN: I’ll have a list of vetted psychiatrists for you within the hour.

DOCTOR: Thank you, sir.

BROWN: I’ll need regular updates on her condition.

DOCTOR: Naturally.

BROWN: And doctor…

DOCTOR: Sir?

BROWN: If you can spare her pain, please do so.

DOCTOR: Absolutely.

BROWN: Thank you.

DESTROY FILE AFTER READING

Posted in Science Fiction, Short Stories, Super Heroes, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-Status Indeterminate

The Subject-Falling For You

A.E.G.I.S. REPORT # 89H6-2VP9

LOCATION: XXXXXXXXXX

PROJECT: November Delta Alpha

DATE: December 6th, 20XX

TRANSCRIPT OF TEXT CONVERSATION BETWEEN CHARLES RAMIREZ AND DEBRA FEINBERG.

RAMIREZ: Hi there.

FEINBERG: Hi there yourself, and hello to Agent Brown or whoever else is listening in.

RAMIREZ: I’m sure no one is spying on us.

FEINBERG: That is so sweet that you think that.

(RAMIREZ SIGHS)

FEINBERG: I’m not being cynical-

RAMIREZ: It sounds that way. 

FEINBERG: Darling, you are America’s Hero. They literally call you that in the press. I’m sure they just are keeping an eye on you.

RAMIREZ: I can’t believe you approve of that. If it’s true.

FEINBERG: It is, and I don’t. Spying on your personal messages is hugely unethical and illegal. But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

RAMIREZ: What could they possibly get out of spying on us?

It’s ridiculous!

FEINBERG: You’re right. It’s absurd. How are you?

RAMIREZ: I was about to say exhausted but I don’t really get that way anymore. I was helping flood victims down in Louisiana. No one died but homes and businesses were destroyed. F.E.M.A. was on the scene, so that’s a start. What have you been up to?

FEINBERG: I was going to tell you about a really good meal I had but now that just sounds stupid.

RAMIREZ: Ha! What was it?

FEINBERG: A BBQ brisket sandwich on a roll made from mac&cheese with a side of sweet potato fries, because I’m health conscious. 

RAMIREZ: OMG! That sounds like a heart-attack starter.

FEINBERG: Did you hear that I had sweet potato fries? They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

RAMIREZ: Did you just copy that off the internet?

FEINBERG: As a journalist, I cannot reveal my sources.

RAMIREZ: Very noble of you.

FEINBERG: Thank you. If it makes you feel any better, I only ate about a third of it. 

RAMIREZ: It does actually. Is that kosher?

FEINBERG: Lucky for you, I’ve got a soft spot for treife.

RAMIREZ: Is that how you see me?

FEINBERG: In the best possible way.

RAMIREZ: I miss you too.

FEINBERG: When will you be back in the city?

RAMIREZ: Do you mean New York City?

FEINBERG: You know I do.

RAMIREZ: Soon, I hope. BTW, I’m really proud of you. Ms. Science and Technology correspondent.

FEINBERG: You’re watching?

RAMIREZ: Of course! I can’t usually see you live but I watch when I have some downtime.

FEINBERG: You’re the best.

RAMIREZ: You’ll make me blush.

FEINBERG: I’ll bet you’re blushing right now.

RAMIREZ: Maybe…

FEINBERG: I really wish you were here right now.

RAMIREZ: Be careful, you’ll make Agent Brown blush too.

FEINBERG: LOL! I’ll just leave it to your imagination.

RAMIREZ: 🙂

FEINBERG: Hey, are you going to do that race?

RAMIREZ: It’s stupid.

FEINBERG: Agreed.

RAMIREZ: But it is for charity, and Sir Roger has promised to donate no matter who wins.

FEINBERG: He’s just annoyed that everyone is calling him the “Second Super-Hero.”

RAMIREZ: Not sure what this race will prove but that money could help a lot of people.

FEINBERG: You’re going to do it.

RAMIREZ: I’m going to do it.

FEINBERG: Then make sure you win.

RAMIREZ: You got it.

FEINBERG: Good. BTW, where are you now?

RAMIREZ: On an Air Force transport. We’re headed to Northern California to fight wildfires.

FEINBERG: What can you do?

RAMIREZ: Whatever I can. 

FEINBERG: My hero.

RAMIREZ: Hold on.

FEINBERG: What’s wrong.

(SEVEN SECOND PAUSE)

RAMIREZ: Falling. Call you right back.

FEINBERG: Wait… WTF?

Posted in Science Fiction, Short Stories, Super Heroes, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-Falling For You

The Subject-Breaking News

NCN (National Cable Network) Breaking News with Rene Lambert 

DATE: December, 4th, 20XX 1:36 PM EST

(TRANSCRIPT)

LAMBERT: If you are just joining us, there is a new Enhanced individual who has burst onto the scene and its British tech mogul, Sir Roger Clarke. The YouTube video of him demonstrating his new abilities has racked up a record two hundred million views and crashed their servers several times. There are many questions and we are lucky to have Sir Roger with us remotely to answer them Sir Roger, thank you for joining us.

SIR ROGER: My pleasure Rene, if I’m not being too familiar.

LAMBERT: Not at all. The question that I and the rest of the world want to know is, how did this all happen, and do you know the secret of your transformation?

SIR ROGER: Rene, I’d love to tell you that I cracked this mystery but I’m afraid I have to tell you that I’m a customer in this equation. I was approached by some individuals about this process, which by the way is called Apotheosis.

LAMBERT: Apotheosis means elevation to a divine state.

SIR ROGER: It’s also the highest point in development, I prefer that definition. It’s more democratic.

LAMBERT: The individuals who approached you, were they associated with Sanderson Industries who were responsible for Charlie Ramirez’s enhancements?

SIR ROGER: I suspect not.

LAMBERT: Then who were they?

SIR ROGER: I really cannot say.

LAMBERT: So you don’t know who they were? It seems more than a little reckless to submit to such an experimental procedure.

SIR ROGER: Let me clarify Rene, I didn’t say that I didn’t know who they were, just that I cannot say. I signed quite a few NDAs before it was over.

LAMBERT: I see.

SIR ROGER: And as for risk, I didn’t become successful by being timid. Apotheosis is the cutting edge of technology in this century and perhaps the next.

LAMBERT: Why did you undergo this yourself?

SIR ROGER: I have to say, I was inspired by your Mister Ramirez. His example has changed many lives for the better. I just wanted to do the same.

LAMBERT: Surely with your vast wealth it would be easy for you to affect change. Why become Enhanced?

SIR ROGER: Just throwing money at a problem has had limited success, in my opinion. Too many people in between me and what was wrong. I want to use my hands to make things better.

LAMBERT: Could you elaborate? 

SIR ROGER: Happily! I’m talking to you from the village of Krustov in the Naverek Republic, a former Soviet satellite nation. The Colvitz River was swollen due to excessive rains and the dam holding it was about to break before we showed up. I was able to brace the dam while my team of engineers reinforced the worn materials. We were fortunate that we arrived just in time.

LAMBERT: That’s remarkable but can you act unilaterally on foreign soil?

SIR ROGER: Rene, of course not. We were invited by Prime Minister Skovavitch himself.

LAMBERT: That raises more questions than it answers.

SIR ROGER: Ha! I’m sure. Let me announce, exclusively on your show Rene, the formation of The Galahad Foundation. We are dedicated to helping those who are in greatest need, worldwide. We will never intervene where we are not invited. A nation’s sovereignty is sacrosanct and we will never violate that.

LAMBERT: Given there is only one member of your foundation with Enhanced abilities, will you have other people undergo Apotheosis.

SIR ROGER: Anything is possible.

LAMBERT: That’s not an answer.

SIR ROGER: Rene I’d love to banter back and forth with you all day long but The Galahad Foundation is still on the clock.

LAMBERT: Where are you headed next?

SIR ROGER: You and your viewer can learn more at GALAHADFOUNDATION.ENH. Also, follow us on all relevant social media platforms. Rene, as always a pleasure. Adieu!

LAMBERT: Sir Roger Clarke, the world’s second super-hero. We’ll be back after these messages.

(END TRANSCRIPT)

Posted in Science Fiction, Short Stories, Super Heroes, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-Breaking News

The Subject-Midday Interruption

Martin’s Tavern

Washington D.C.

December 2nd 20XX

1:17 P.M.

EMISSARY: Good afternoon X.

X: You are very rude.

EMISSARY: Pardon me?

X: You have sat at my private booth, uninvited. You have also failed to introduce yourself.

EMISSARY: Please forgive me. You may call me Emissary.

X: That is not a name.

EMISSARY: Neither is X.

X: A fair point. If you have something to say, please do so quickly.

EMISSARY: Very well. Discontinue your search for Doctor Kim.

X: I have no idea to whom you are referring.

EMISSARY: That is untrue.

X: Truth is a subjective commodity.

EMISSARY: In your line of work, it must be. Let’s speak in hypotheticals then. If you were looking for a certain individual, I might advise you to stop.

X: Why might you do that.

EMISSARY: Two theoretical reasons. One, it would be a waste of time and resources. Resources can be replenished but time wasted will never return. Two, doing so might garner unwanted attention. If I understand what your role is, that is an undesired state.

X: Perhaps, but the meek rarely do great deeds.

EMISSARY: They do tend to live longer.

X: I respond poorly to threats.

EMISSARY: Fortunately, this is just a hypothetical.

X: Of course.

EMISSARY: Did you hear about that business at the South Pole?

X: It was on the news. Briefly.

EMISSARY: It could’ve been much worse. People might have lost their lives.

X: I did not see you as a humanitarian. 

EMISSARY: I abhor waste.

X: Prague might disagree.

EMISSARY: Examples, on occasion, must be made.

X: Understood.

EMISSARY: Excellent. Open and honest communication is the key to all relationships.

X: Do we have a relationship?

EMISSARY: Theoretically.

X: Seems one-sided, theoretically.

EMISSARY: Let me ameliorate that. If you would like to order more, we are open to that idea.

X: We do already have one, at no cost to ourselves.

EMISSARY: The good people of the Flagstaff area would argue that it was not free and you have two.

X: Even so, why would we want more?

EMISSARY: The same reason your nation has nearly six thousand nuclear warheads. 

X: Of course.

EMISSARY: Here are our rates and terms. 

X: Not unreasonable. 

EMISSARY: Most people balk at the cost.

X: My father always said, “Never buy cheap shoes.”

EMISSARY: I’m not sure I follow you.

X: A well-made pair of shoes, if cared for, will last for years. Cheap shoes wear out and must be replaced often. In the long run, expensive shoes are the real bargain. 

EMISSARY: I am pleased to hear that. Instructions on the next step are at the bottom. Make no attempt to trace our location. If you do so-

X: It will end badly?

EMISSARY: We will never do business with you again. So yes, badly.

X: Understood. May I ask you a question?

EMISSARY: You can ask, but I may not be able to answer.

X: You are aware that we have all the data that Sanderson Industries possessed. Are you not afraid that we will eventually understand the process?

EMISSARY: Not in the slightest.

X: You didn’t even pause.

EMISSARY: There was no need. We know what you have and we know who you having working for you. None of them are smart enough to figure it out. Please enjoy the rest of your luncheon.

Posted in Science Fiction, Short Stories, Super Heroes, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-Midday Interruption

The Subject-Going South

Personal Journal of Doctor Hans Janssen, I.O.R.A. (International Oceanic Research)

Translated from Dutch

Antarctic Penguin Project.

November 19th, 20XX

It’s beginning to get warmer. A relative term of course. By human standards it’s Goddamn freezing. I put down my cup of coffee, well instant coffee which barely deserves the name. Sorry, I was consumed by my hatred of this… “Coffee.” Anyway, I put it down for a minute and when I picked it up, it was frozen solid. It might’ve been longer than just one minute but still.

At any rate, the weather is improving and the chicks will be hatching soon. After that, De Vires will be relieving me. Let him freeze his balls off down here. Sorry De Vires, you’re a good scientist and a decent man. You deserve better but I will still leave you here and not look back.

Note to self: don’t show your personal journal to anyone. Especially De Vires.

November 22nd 20XX

Was woken up this morning by what sounded like a sonic boom. There are no commercial jets that fly over this area or military. Even in this warmer weather it’s dangerous, or so I was told. Also, there are no places to land. Also, this is a protected wildlife area. Also it feels like the result of some billionaire who has little regard for the environment. I’ve also used also three times in a row. Shit! Five times. Damn.

I reported this to our office in Punta Arenas but was told that there were no scheduled flights in my area and no reports of unauthorized air travel. My reply was that I knew what I heard. They assured me that they will look ino the matter but I’m not hopeful about this.

Additionally, the penguins were very agitated. Normally they are unaggressive creatures, having no natural land predators. However, the sonic boom has sent them into a frantic state. As I approached the nesting area, about a dozen chased me off.

That might sound comical but let me tell you, a penguin bite is nasty business. They are cute but it hurts like hell. Don’t irritate a penguin.

Time to break out the small reserve of brandy.

November 27th, 20XX

I am now heading deeper into the Antarctic wilderness. It it a terrible idea? Most likely.

A few hours ago, I was observing the nesting area. The Penguins had finally settled down from the earlier disturbance and their socialization was beginning to recover when it happened.

An explosion, somewhere in land. South of here. Technically everything in land is south of here but there you go. I hurried back to camp and reported it. I was asked to try to find the location and radio the coordinates by the Chilean authorities.

While I’m not a solider, I’m also not a monster. People might be hurt. Even if they shouldn’t be here. So off I go.

November 28th, 20XX

CONT.

I didn’t bring a compass to the South Pole, for obvious reasons. Navigating this terrain is challenging. Luckily for me, I just followed the plume of smoke on the horizon. Probably not lucky for anyone there. I should get there soon. An hour maybe?

November 28th, 20XX

CONT.

Holy mother of God! I don’t know what was here but it was HUGE! Whatever was here before is gone. I mean to say, there is a crater about one thousand meters in diameter. It looks like a bomb went off. It’s impossible to tell if there was anything here.

I’ve radioed the location, as best as I can and lit flares for any rescue craft. Helicopters? Should I try to see if there are any survivors? Who the hell could survive this? I’m not even sure there were any people here. No one is supposed to be here. There’s literally nothing here.

Full disclosure, when I first saw the crater, I could swear saw a figure in the crater. I blinked and they were gone, if they were there in the first place. I had to imagine it. Right?

Just going to take some shelter in the lee of this boulder and wait for the authorities. The penguins can research themselves.

Posted in Science Fiction, Short Stories, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-Going South

The Subject-What Happened

A.E.G.I.S. REPORT # 89H6-7XK-9G

LOCATION: REDACTED

PROJECT: November Delta Beta

DATE: November 7th, 20XX

BROWN: Do you require any medical attention?

AARONOVITCH: What do you think?

BROWN: I’m required to ask as part of this debriefing.

AARONOVITCH: I’m fine, any bloodstains are from other people.

BROWN: Asset does not require any medical aid.

AARONOVITCH: I do require something to eat and a stiff drink.

BROWN: Once we’re done.

AARONOVITCH: Okay… Dad.

BROWN: You were inserted three klicks from the target.

AARONOVITCH: A lot of your lingo sounds suggestive. Do I need to speak to HR?

BROWN: Asset continues to show a lack of respect for authority.

AARONOVITCH: You spooks don’t know how to have fun.

BROWN: Can we please continue?

AARONOVITCH: Fine, fine. Have it your way Burger King. Oooo!Someone’s got a new nickname.

BROWN: Did you encounter any resistance on your way to the target?

AARONOVITCH: Other than it being hot, gross, and sticky? No.

BROWN: You then disabled external power to the compound.

AARONOVITCH: Yes. I also breathed in. Then, hold on, I breathed out.

BROWN: These details are important.

AARONOVITCH: Fine, I knocked over the electrical tower. The one you told me to.

BROWN: Did the electricity affect you?

AARONOVITCH: No, it kinda tickled though.

BROWN: Continue.

AARONOVITCH: I got to the edge of the compound. It was crawling with scared guys with guns.

BROWN: How could you tell they were scared?

(AARONOVITCH taps her ear.)

AARONOVITCH: I could hear their heartbeats. Boom, boom, boom!

BROWN: What happened next?

AARONOVITCH: I cleaned house. 

BROWN: Meaning?

AARONOVITCH: Ugh! It’s like you have no poetry in your soul!

BROWN: Poetry is subject to interpretation. We need the facts.

AARONOVITCH: Fine! I killed them all. Is that what you wanted to hear?

BROWN: Yes. What about REDACTED?

AARONOVITCH: He almost got away.

BROWN: Almost?

AARONOVITCH: Well, after I went through all his men I thought, ‘Where is REDACTED?’

BROWN: Where was he?

AARONOVITCH: Picture this, I’m in the middle of the REDACTED. Covered in blood, the place is on fire.

BROWN: How did it catch on fire?

AARONOVITCH: A flame thrower may have been involved.

BROWN: You used a flame thrower?

AARONOVITCH: They started it. But if I’m being honest, it’s a LOT of fun.

BROWN: Then?

AARONOVITCH: Well the tank was empty, so I just flung it through a wall.

BROWN: About REDACTED.

AARONOVITCH: Right, got off track. So I stop and I listen. Then I heard it.

BROWN: REDACTED’s heartbeat?

AARONOVITCH: Nope. The fading sound of helicopter blades. So I run outside and leap into the night. It was sorta like flying. Very peaceful. Then, of course, there was the tearing of metal, the screaming, and the explosion.

BROWN: Can you confirm REDACTED’s death?

AARONOVITCH: After all that? Yeah, consider him dead.

BROWN: I cannot stress how important this is. REDACTED has been killed. Yes or no.

AARONOVITCH: YES! Jesus, you have some serious trust issues.

BROWN: Call it an occupational hazard.

AARONOVITCH: Maybe open your heart a little there Burger King.

BROWN: Did you enjoy it?

AARONOVITCH: I mean, you drop me in the middle of the REDACTED jungle so I can kill the world’s most dangerous REDACTED and destroy a REDACTED.

BROWN: So you enjoyed it.

AARONOVITCH: Oh my God yes! 

BROWN: Your enthusiasm is noted.

AARONOVITCH: You’re welcome. BTW, there was a room just filled with cash. I mean like a cartoon-rich guy amount.

BROWN: Did you take any?

AARONOVITCH: No!

BROWN: Why not?

AARONOVITCH: Well for starters, I didn’t have a purse. And the ninja outfit you had me wear didn’t have any pockets. Even if it did, what would be the point? It’s not like I’m going to go on a shopping spree.

BROWN: What happened to it?

AARONOVITCH: Dunno. Probably burned up in the fire. Seems like a waste though.

BROWN: In what way?

AARONOVITCH: There have to be people who could use that money more than REDACTED and his band of merry assholes.

BROWN: Interesting. That is not an answer I would’ve expected.

AARONOVITCH: My mercurial nature is one of my most charming qualities.

BROWN: Is that why you took that watch?

AARONOVITCH: You like it? I just saw it and HAD to have it.

BROWN: Did it belong to REDACTED?

AARONOVITCH: He wasn’t going to be using it.

BROWN: Please refrain from looting corpses.

AARONOVITCH: Please refrain from a buzzkill.

BROWN: No promises. A meal is being prepared for you, as per your order.

AARONOVITCH: Everything I asked for?

BROWN: Absolutely. 

AARONOVITCH: Including the-

BROWN: Everything.

AARONOVITCH: Burger King, that is so sweet. You’re going to make me blush.

BROWN: Have it your way.

AARONOVITCH: HA!

Posted in Science Fiction, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-What Happened

The Subject-Sales Pitch

SALES MEETING #37

Prague-Czech Republic 

U Medvidku Beer Hall

November 9th, 20XX 9:00 PM Local Time

DZULEV: Try the Matuška stout, it’s perfect for a cold evening.

EMISSARY: I prefer the pilsner.

DZULEV: Please sit down. I have to say that I had no idea that the infamous Doctor Kim was so young and lovely.

EMISSARY: I am not Doctor Kim, I am here as her representative. Additionally, my age and appearance are none of your concern.

DZULEV: A lie is a poor way to begin any sort of relationship.

EMISSARY: If you recall, our communications did not indicate that Doctor Kim would be present for this meeting, just that her interests would be represented.

DZULEV: I do not deal with underlings.

EMISSARY: Should I walk away because you are not Vla-

DZULEV: Very well, very well! We are both here to negotiate for powerful people.

EMISSARY: It’s important that we understand each other.

DZULEV: I cannot agree more. We are extremely interested in your process. The West already has their own super-human. It’s all the news reports these days.

EMISSARY: I am aware.

DZULEV: The balance of power must be maintained.

EMISSARY: As you say.

DZULEV: Do you not agree?

EMISSARY: I’m not here to discuss politics.

DZULEV: Business then.

EMISSARY: Yes.

DZULEV: Very well. Your process, what do you call it?

EMISSARY: Apotheosis.

DZULEV: How classical.

(PAUSE OF NINE SECONDS)

DZULEV: We would like to purchase this process.

EMISSARY: The process itself is not for sale. You choose whom you wish to go through the program and it is done by us.

DZULEZ: No, no, no. Those I speak for were most insistent that we own the process.

(EMISSARY SIGHS)

EMISSARY: What is the most popular soft drink in the world?

DZULEV: Excuse me?

EMISSARY: It is an easy question.

DZULEV: It pains me to say this, but the American Coke-A-Cola.

EMISSARY: Correct. The secret formula for that is in a vault. At any given time, there are only two people who know the recipe, and each only knows half of it. They are forbidden to travel together for obvious reasons. It is reasonable to assume there are other security measures in place to assure their continued dominance in the soft drink market. No amount of money would make them sell.

DZULEV: I see but-

EMISSARY: That is for a soda, worth untold billions but still, just a soda. We have the power to shift the geopolitical landscape as well as change the course of human evolution. There is nothing you can offer or threaten that will persuade us to sell our secrets.

DZULEV: Nothing? We have a great deal of resources at our fingertips.

EMISSARY: I will repeat myself once more. The process is not for sale.

DZULEV: I’m sure there is something we can offer.

(THIRTEEN-SECOND PAUSE.)

DZULEV: This is unfortunate, for you.

EMISSARY: We are well aware of your history with the GRU. It means nothing.

DZULEV: We will see, won’t we? Take her.

EMISSARY: Apricot.

(THIRTY SECONDS OF SCREAMS, FURNITURE SMASHING, GLASS BREAKING, AND THE DISTANT HOWLING OF DOGS.)

DZULEV: Bozhe moĭ!

EMISSARY: Colonel Dzulev, if you thought I would come to a meeting with someone of your particular reputation with no precautions, you are either very stupid or arrogant.

DZULEV: My men…

EMISSARY: All dead, the seven inside with us, the three on roofs with sniper rifles, the six in the van idling down the street, and of course your personal driver.

DZULEV: How?

EMISSARY: Joan, please say hello to the Colonel.

JOAN: Hullo.

EMISSARY: Joan is an example of Apotheosis. I believe this is what they call a “Hard Sell.” Messy, but effective.

DZULEV: What she did, was…

(TEN SECONDS OF WEEPING.)

EMISSARY: Indeed. Joan, was that difficult for you?

JOAN: Pffft! Easy-peasy.

EMISSARY: Thank you.

JOAN: Cheers! That was a bit of fun then.

DZULEV: We… We will agree to your terms.

EMISSARY: I know you will. We will be in touch. Joan.

JOAN: Alight, ready to go.

EMISSARY: And Colonel, just so we’re clear. Our fee has just tripled.

DVULEV: I understand.

EMISSARY: You will.

END TRANSCRIPT

Posted in Science Fiction, Short Stories, Super Heroes, The Subject | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Subject-Sales Pitch