zaterdag 11 april 2015

Requiem: Chapter 16


            Philip couldn’t believe it and still it stood in black and white before him. There was formed new brain material on some neurons. New dendrites in Michael had made new connections with other cells. That didn’t happen normally. This was certainly not a case of schizophrenia but rather a case of DID or ‘Dissociative Identity Disorder’. There hadn’t been signs of an acute psychosis or even longer moments of more quiet psychoses. After all, they would have noticed that in an early phase because normally schizophrenic behavior demonstrates itself between the fifteenth and thirtieth year of one’s life. However, the senator spoke about recent facts. Before that, Michael had always been a toy dog, one that ate out of the hand of the team.
            It was common knowledge some people confounded schizophrenia with DID. It could be related to repeated sexual abuse by someone from the same family and mostly at a young age. They knew that this condition was certainly present with Michael. Jim McFinster had now discovered a small spot on an old scan from before Michael’s operation. Or they had missed it at that moment or they hadn’t wanted to see it. It is the end that justifies the means and at that moment, in view of a million dollar project that could go wrong by a ‘little spot’ on an EEG, you would rather quickly look the other way. A little problem swept under the carpet. Resolved!
            That spot was, according to Jim, definitely a damage, it could be caused due to physical abuse by his mother in his youth or due to the martial art he was practicing before he had his operation. To be sure, they have to Michael with them to examine him thoroughly and make new photos and scans. This could indeed be the cause for Michael doing things his own brain ordered and which didn’t correspond to his mission. A sort of alter ego, another personality that was formed and listened to all that voices. A new Michael who could be a lot more dangerous especially for the ordering party.
            That was what he had written in his report which he had mailed to the senator before she could ring him for the second time out of bed. The mail had been coded and enciphered as usual.
            ‘Are you sure?’ the senator asked by means of the webcam – this only happened very exceptionally – because she had to talk to him about the problem in person.
            ‘One hundred percent sure you’ll never be. First of all we should get Michael here in the Cellar to put him through a broad range of tests…and still. The human brain works himself in inexplicable ways around obstacles, makes new connections or is looking for detours to by-pass damaged areas. It finds a way to function again to some extent. But what I can say for certain is that you can’t trust him anymore! He’ll more and more undertake spontaneous actions, actions we’ll receive by other voices. It’s also possible he’ll have some memory loss or depersonalization, things he will do without having a feeling about it. As a robot so to speak. It happens sometimes with patients that they don’t recognize their neighborhood anymore. That’s called de-realization and if it happens he surely will blow his cover. I don’t have to explain that this would be the end of the goal of the placement of Michael!’
            The senator put a stop to the connection. As a drunken pirate after an evening drinking, she began to curse and she kicked the garbage can a few meters further into the corner of the room. Everything was in jeopardy. Michael has to be brought home. First of all she would ask the team to convince Michael to go to a certain place where they could pick him up and repatriate. The medical team should be able then to examine him and repair the damage and put him back in the field. It has to be possible! Otherwise, Philip Collins and Jim McFinster could leave for a job at the North Pole to examine the brain of the polar bear. She typed a memo for them and put Jack Sterlington in CC.
            Fife minutes later Jack was already calling her. ‘Madam,’ it meant that the Cellar team was listening with. ‘Markus will try to make Michael go to the rendezvous point at the Catacombs so that we can fetch him up there in the shortest time possible and get him home. I’ll you know when he have picked him up.’
            Jack finished the short conversation. The senator tapped on the desktop with her long fingernails. Waiting always took too much time for her, it was one of her lesser qualities. At all times, she wanted direct results. There were still too many targets Michael had to finish off. In the worst-case scenario her plans would fail, at best they would be carried out with a few weeks delay. If one person in the New World would discover what she was planning, everything she had worked for would be in vain!


            Feliciano Louis Díaz y Garcia was busy experimenting in his workshop on the stolen chip. First of all Feliciano had cracked and cancelled the code of the new chip and had given it the same code of his own one he had skimmed a while ago. The skimming or copying of the magnet label where the code was on wasn’t so difficult. But nobody knew the code of his own implanted chip. Feliciano had found a way to get it during the years he was working for the ICSA. Only with a lot of patience and waiting for the right time he had succeeded. He had to have some guts for it too because he had to use the password of a colleague to find out. The idiot had written it down on a paper and had hidden it in the bottom of his desk drawer. Not very smart, but a chance hit for a resourceful Resistance member.
            The loophole in the program to change the codes that made it possible to match one and the same code to two chips had been very useful. For that he had to steal or hack nothing, he even possessed the authority to do it. Normally the first chip had to be canceled and recorded in a special database. This way they could track down the canceled chips and the newly implanted ones to control their identities of their carriers. Through a query, they could filter the double inputs, but normally such an order was given to his own service and he himself would see it before it was done. Feliciano would at the right time do the right thing with the list so that his deception wouldn’t come to light.
            He noticed some parts of which he knew what their purpose was. There was the little piece that gave the signal to the brain that you were approaching a zone with high radiation and nonetheless the medication everybody took, would be harmful or even lethal. He also saw some diodes and transistors on the very small chart which served as transmitter-receiver. In this way, they could follow a person on the radar.
            At least half of the minor components weren’t familiar to him at first sight. He could indeed test them with a few programs he had written himself. But considering the fact he didn’t know how it would react there was a certain risk. The people of the Resistance were designed to build on their self-taught skill. Furthermore, he had to take into account that he wouldn’t endanger any member of the Resistance with his actions. Science, at this scale, wasn’t shared with the civilians or wasn’t described in scientific literature. It was military knowledge, top-secret and extremely protected. Obviously not so well secured as they suspected, Feliciano thought inside grinning about his own creativity.     
            Let’s start! He saw a bigger piece of electronics under the microscope that he found very intriguing and with that he would begin. At first sight, he couldn’t define what it was. I didn’t seem to be a diode nor an integrated circuit with transistors. He connected a fine wire at the component and linked with his own designed device that looked a crossing of a computer, an oscilloscope and a tostador, a toaster. The last description was the playful determination his mother gave to the device. As usual she had waved away his explanation with a few Spanish proverbs from which he didn’t understand most of them. Mamacita was the dearest mother on the whole world, but she still lived with her thoughts in the past. However, if she was happy this way, it didn’t disturb him at all.
            The screen of his computer first gave a series of numbers that repeated themselves regularly and then he suddenly got a black screen. Just at the moment he thought that he had done something wrong and was ready to control the interfaces a sentence disappeared a sentence on the screen:

SAT 15478 EARTH 40° 43′ 35″ N, 73° 50′ 36″ W NEW YORK…

Trajectory: …waiting for your password and your coordinates for trajectory satellite 15478…

            Feliciano Louis Díaz y Garcia’s mouth fell open and he understood already by reading the analysis of this little piece why the device operations were kept so secret. This was only the first of the dozens of other components he had to try out.


            Markus already had given a dozen times the code to Michael on which he had to respond with the answer ‘Mission aborted. Rendezvous point Zero.’ But despite all the markers were on green Michael didn’t respond on the code. They could read his position as the dot of a plane on a radar and he certainly didn’t move direction point Zero. It was certain now. You could read it on the face of Jack and the other two members of the team. ‘He’s drifting, isn’t he?’ He asked his nephew.
            Markus nodded and tried a few other possibilities to get him to the Catacombs. Michael reacted on some instructions except on the orders he had to return to home base.
            ‘It will be a difficult moment with our boss, I don’t envy you,’ Clint reacted. He wiped his hand through his hair and sighed. ‘I suppose the only possibility now is to go there ourselves and pick him up. I think it’s the only option left. To fly under the radar, a risky piece of night work. But an easy job for you, Walter and myself! Markus can be our connection point here at the Cellar.’
            Markus looked a bit disappointed but understood he hadn’t enough experience on the field and he would be a risk factor. He nodded.
            ‘I work something out,’ Clint continued when everybody agreed, ‘so you can pass this already to the senator. I hope it will temper her dissatisfaction or hmmm…should I say anger?’
            Clint Ellory hadn’t been wrong. The senator foamed with rage when Jack Sterlington brought her the bad news personally through a secured video call. ‘How is this possible after so many years? That damned government her, with her safety policy has brought us in a position we can lose all our advantages we were regaining in the last decades. I can’t believe the rulers in the East will keep their signed promises if they know the truth. The longer Michael wreaked havoc back there, the bigger the chance is that they put one and one together and discover the truth. Who knows, maybe he has deserted to the enemy camp and works for them,’ she started to panic.
            Jack tried to calm her down. ‘I’m sure this isn’t the case, we should have monitored it at a certain time on our screens. Markus is a genius in that area and I know, being a relative I’m may be prejudiced, but I doubt he would have missed that. Michael is still on our side, he only doesn’t want to come home. I think something in his head has gone wrong and now he think it is his ‘Holy’ task to complete the mission despite our cancel code.’ His calm and confident voice had some effect on her and it wasn’t the first time.
            ‘What do you propose, Jack, how can we save what there’s still to save?’ she asked now more calmly. A lot more depended on this mission for her then for them. They worked for her or for her successor or they disappeared in thin air, it wouldn’t be the first time Jack had to go into hiding. She knew him already for a while. He always had another card up his sleeve.
            ‘At this moment, Clint is preparing a plan so that he, myself and Walter will go and pick him up there. We will manage, you see, we’ve already found ourselves in more difficult situations. We’ll take him here on the operation table and Philip Collins and his team can examine the damage and look if it’s repairable. In the worst-case scenario, we ourselves will eliminate the remaining targets. A tiny war on strange territory, it’s still very appealing at my age.’ He tried to sound blithe but by the wildest stretch of his imagination he wasn’t.


            The Invisible IV was a stealth plane from the newest generation of the United States of the Western Community and was used to fly spy missions and to drop soldiers behind enemy lines to make reconnoitring missions. Inside, there was only space for the pilot and for other persons.
            A seat was empty when it left his base at Naval Air Station Point Mogu in the state California. The trio, Jack Sterlington, Clint Ellory and Walter Fallon couldn’t almost be recognized in their military dressings. The colours of their suits were chosen the way that they would not be spotted in their environments, being just like chameleons. Their face had been blackened so that they wouldn’t stick out.
            The look in their eyes was as black as their face and their clothes. They believed in their changes to succeed and were very determined. In their ear piece they now heard Markus’ voice.
            ‘Good luck!’
            Later on, they would fly low below the radar, not taking any risk and on the dropping point they would float a moment so they could jump. Even with their fly suit, the Mark V, the latest high-tech on that area, it would be a risky business. At the moment when they would get the green light, all three of them would, religious or not, make a cross or touch their good-luck charm. Call it faith or superstition, sometimes it worked.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

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