zondag 14 juni 2015

Requiem: Chapter


            The Resistance was subdivided into cells of four members. This was a security measure because larger meetings of individuals were more a focus of attention than a small group of four persons who were looking for some amusement in some kind of dark pub.
            The ‘Gained Property’ was the proverbial example of such a pub. Sparse light with a long bar with a row of bar stools that had seen better times. Time had stood still here, no progress had entered here. The smell of flat beer couldn’t be cleaned out even with a lot of bleach. The pub was designed in two parts. In the front, you had a number of round tables where the occasional visitors could drink their beverage. The regular customers could pick and choose their favorite drink, as far as they weren’t disgusted with the sticking counter and an annoying gossiping bartender. In the deepest part, you had two snooker tables that were most of the time occupied. Above the tables hung a bright lamp that made the green felt of the billiards look even greener in the rather dimmed environment. There were still two doors at the left side of the last pool table. According to the universal pictogram, the first led to the toilets and above the second hung a notice board with ‘PERSONNEL ONLY’. Feliciano remembered a time there had been a sign with ‘PRIVATE’. But after exploration of the meeting place, he had asked the owner of the bar to change it. Certainly after he had seen a lot of people took the wrong door.
            Feliciano Díaz had sent the day before a mail with an innocent message to the other three members of his own cell. It was a sentence they had agreed on beforehand and brought them together that night in the ‘Gained Property’ in the room behind the door with the notice board ‘PERSONNEL ONLY’.
            Every cell had a leader and every member of the cell only knew the leader of his own cell. The leader was an exception to this rule and knew another member higher in rank, he had to be accountable to. Beside this member, the leader of the cell knew also a few leaders of other cells who had their own contacts. It was one of manners messages were given between the members of the Resistance. This way instructions could be passed from high to low and vice versa, and also on a horizontal level. So only the leader of the cell had contact with other cells. Another security measure that had proved his advantage. The contact with other cells was kept to a minimum to serve the larger part of the organization.
            Around a rectangular table beside Feliciano, there were also three people of his group. Right in front of him there was the man who shed the most weight. Edmond Foster weighed about 130 kilos and sat a bit uncomfortable wiggling on his little chair. Secretly he was afraid to fall through his seat. However, Edmond possessed his horsepower, so to speak. Despite his corpulent size, he was a robust man with cast-iron muscles who could lift a lot of heavy things. As a Resistance member, it could come in handy. Not that he needed them for his profession. As a teacher in physics, the heaviest thing he had to carry was his personal laptop. Furthermore, he had a soft space for fast and expensive cars.
            Left of Feliciano sat the attractive Iléna Federova with her Slavic features and mysterious gray-green eyes. They fitted very well with her character, nobody could measure her. Iléna had made her profession out of her hobby. She was a singer and had a lot of talent. A deep, warm alto voice that made every man crazy about her with her jazzy songs.
            If Mamacita had the last word she would instantly put Feliciano and Iléna together. Fortunately his mama Rosita knew not a single member of the cell, so not even Iléna and Feliciano was grateful for that. Otherwise, he also was a little afraid of Iléna. He didn’t know why, maybe he didn’t feel at ease in the neighborhood of a member of the opposite sex.          
            On his right side sat the older and less attractive Lucy Nicholson. She was the leader of the cell and you could see it in her manner of handling things. Now and then there was a woman who wore the pants. That was the picture Feliciano had of Lucy Nicholson. Everyone was being put in a certain compartment if you wanted it or not. With her heavy glasses with a dark frame and her gray hair in a knot, she at least looked ten years older than the fifty she counted. She unconditionally refused to wear contact lenses which would give her a less strong appearance. Her chin that jutted out and her flashing glances made it clear she wouldn’t be inferior to anyone. Not for a younger person and certainly not for another woman. Sometimes you almost could see the sparks jumping back and forth between Iléna and Lucy, at least if you had Feliciano’s imagination.
            ‘If the things you say are right, ‘Lucy reacted very directly, not seeing the indignant look of Feliciano, ‘every chipped person is a human antenna through which satellites around the earth can be handled to spy or something like that’.
            Feliciano shook his head to deny. ‘I should phrase it like that. It’s obvious that I have tried some possibilities in my investigation on the chip. Apparently there’s a code or password connected to do what it can do and we don’t have it. For that matter, maybe the distance of the chip to the satellite is too large to make this physically possible. Maybe it’s rather a sort of marker between the satellite and… something else?’
            Edmond Foster nodded. ‘Indeed, I think the chip can work as a marker for the target of a missile or so. There are a lot of systems that work that way. However, it’s the first time a human being is a marker, what makes the possibility of irreparable damage of the person in that matter is uh… very probable. What I mean is that the man with the chip goes very near a possible target. The chip in the head of the unfortunate volunteer makes contact with the software of the missile that gets his trajectory of the satellite. The missile, programmed beforehand upon the code of the chip from the volunteer can touch the target very precise in this way. The chip serves as a sort of beacon, a flag that says: Drop here and explode please!’
            After this explanation, Edmond wiped the sweat of his forehead for the umpteenth time with a tissue he pulled out of a box beside him. The little room where all four of them were sitting wasn’t very spacey and it almost delivered him a claustrophobic attack.
            ‘It is certainly not the only application or possibility the chip has.’ Feliciano joined in on Edmond’s explanations. ‘There’s a lot more than the government wants to let loose. His tree observers listened with great attention. ‘There are different connections on the chip I even don’t understand. Primarily the thing serves as a transmitter-receiver, that’s a fact. So everybody is ‘dot number that much’ on the screen, considering the fact that we knew this already by my job at the ICSA and this was my little and first contribution to the Resistance. The fact that the chip works as a radiation detector is also not a lie. There’s a mini electronic Geiger counter print on the chip. Instead of giving a measurement of the radiation it gives a signal to the sympathetic nervous system that finds his origin in the cervical thoracic and the lumbar region of the body’. They were eating up his every word. Feliciano felt reborn again. Finally, some appreciation for his talents. With pleasure, he continued his monolog.
            ‘Let me translate that, so that everyone understand what I mean. The body feels being in a danger situation by getting that specific signal from that little print on the chip. It results in a logical reaction, namely escaping the danger zone. But actually, that’s nothing new. Maybe it all sounds very nerdy, but it’s for one scientific well substantiated and it has been told to us in layman’s language by the media before. After all, I’ve got all this available information from the internet, information the government has released at the launch period of the chip. So if you want to know something more about that, there’s enough information on different sites of the government. Still, there are too many components on the chip that aren’t familiar to me and if they are able to send pulses to our brains I can deduct from that, the government can operate us as little robots. Unfortunately, my friends, I fear my suspicions about this, are very trustworthy!’
            Everybody stayed silent for a while, being alone with their thoughts, taking it all in what Feliciano and Edmond had told them. The outlook to be driven as a robot without having a say to the person who did the steering was at least very disturbing. Would this be the future a human mankind? The puppet master who played with his puppets and pulled the strings made them dance by his hand! Not a pretty perspective.
            Iléna interrupted the silence. ‘Maybe I can throw my persuasiveness in the battle to get that password. If Feliciano would give me a list of persons who may possibly possess this code, I can be very convincing if I have to.’ She blinked pretentious with her long eyelashes as a seductive vamp. Lucy realized, despite the comment and the theatrical gesture of Iléna she didn’t like, Iléna was the right person who should be able to deal with that.
            Iléna was sexual very attractive to the members of the masculine gender and could enchant them without effort with a penetrating look and a mysterious smile. If that didn’t help she also was very skilled in Aikido. She once had told the members of the cell she was rather good at it. She possessed an ikkyu 1st kyu, what was the last degree before you could wear the black belt in Aikido.
            Her deceased father, before he had immigrated to America, had had his own Dojo in the former White Russia and he possessed the degree of yodan himself, a few steps higher than the ikkyu grade. The grade of Sandan and black belt, you only received at the moment you were an ikkyu 1st kyu and the founder of a Dojo. Iléna’s father had initiated her in the teaching of Aikido. She was, in fact, a black belt, but because they have immigrated to America and her father had left the Dojo to a friendly Sensei, it was never officially recognized.
            Aikido was for her also a mean to keep her body lithe and young, but also a way to reach harmony with Ki without anger or aggression. Ki means as well in Chinese as in Japanese breath, but it can also be described as energy, the building materials and the driving force of life. Aikido is the way to meet Ki. Iléna once had told that Aikido wasn’t a real martial art, but a way to defend yourself, a reaction to an attack. It was a manner to lengthen the movements of the attacker and to bend it in the advantage of the Aikido practitioner. Of course, it’s all a matter of point of view. Iléna could let you see a lot of views if it was about her favorite subject Aikido, both literally and figuratively speaking.
            ‘A good idea,’ Edmond reacted. ‘Can you manage this without putting yourself or our cell in danger?’
            Feliciano nodded. ‘Not a problem. I’ve got a file somewhere of the direction members of the ICSA in my database. They aren’t secret stuff. Maybe one of them can help us a bit further. But I still have another little idea. I may have technical skills, but if a bio-engineer could have a look at the chip or implant it in some kind of guinea pig! I know, Lucy, it’s against your principles to use animals for experiments, but admit, it’s a matter of great importance. We have to know what the chip capable of. It could be the end for a human being as a human being if we cannot find something to counter this.
            Lucy Nicholson was a green one. Not in a negative way and actually she wasn’t as tough as he seemed to be. She had her principles and she lived by it. One of them was she considered every living being as something holy, that’s also why she had joined the Resistance and a reason for her unconditional commitment. But animals were also living beings. In the 20th and 21st century, there had been different organizations which fought for the endangered species and against the barbaric treatment of guinea pigs.  
          ‘I’ve got some contacts in that world and I’ll find out who’s a member of the Resistance. Indeed, I would normally react negatively on such a proposition. But if that thing in our head only can do half of the things we have spoken of this evening, then for once I have to put my principles aside like Feliciano said. Even if it is with pain in my heart. I’ll you know when I’ll need the chip, Feliciano. In the meantime, proceed with your experiments and keep us informed,’ she said closing the meeting.
            ‘I am thirsty,’ Edmond reacted,’ who likes something to drink? It’s on me!’ Everybody, even the most uptight that was Lucy agreed with his proposition. They had passed an instructive evening and a lot of work was in front of them. It deserved a drink, maybe even two, Edmond thought and glad he could leave little gathering room.


            ‘How long have you still to fly?’ Markus asked Jack Sterlington through the secured line. Markus deplored, he wasn’t with them. Jack had been determined about that and above that he thought he was more useful in his post in the Cellar as their liaison. Anyway, he didn’t possess the years of combat training and experience Jack, Clint and Walter did have.
            A lightly noise accompanied Jack’s voice, but it was understandable. ‘We are just refueling at the Millatärfughaven Erding in the German state Bavaria. Our pilot had to deliver a package to one of our people here, that’s why we have taken the long route over Europe. Next we fly to our meeting place where we’ll be dropped. The Invisible IV has to go back to Erding, don’t ask me why. I’d rather had followed the shortest route over the Pacific, but I have no jurisdiction here to push forward my own preferences. Our mission has to happen during the night and we have no time to lose. So I hope we soon can capture Michael’s signal on our portable radar. From now on, Markus, there’s a radio silence as we have agreed on. This way our friends from the New World cannot eavesdrop on our conversations to put a spoke in the wheel. Messages will be sent in code and encrypted through our own satellite. Hear you soon,’ Jack greeted him and ended the conversation. The Invisible had started his last route. Jack was deep in thoughts. He was worried. Michael had become an unknown factor. Years in a row, they had found it self-evident, he executed what they asked from him now in such a short time he had changed tack. In that short period, there had been a few little incidents, but they had blamed it on coincidence or little flaws in the connections through the satellites. It’s always easy afterward to blame someone. Jack didn’t work that way. If there was a problem, it had to be solved. Period!
            His colleagues Clint Ellory and Walter Fallon were cast in the same mold. They looked straight ahead, everybody busy in their own thoughts. Who knows what they were pondering about, Jack thought? Clint had a girlfriend somewhere he talked about a lot lately. Maybe he was thinking about her, maybe he was remembering his years of mercenary at the similar missions he had accomplished. Who would tell? He couldn’t look inside someone’s head and he was lucky for that. He wouldn’t like someone browsing his deepest feelings and that was a good thing. He would find it pleasant they could read his thoughts.
            With all his knowledge about the possibility the government had to follow people through the chip and maybe even steer them in the future, he didn’t feel happy at all. The senator hadn’t elaborated much, but he had his sources and one time he had cracked her personal safe when he was waiting for her in her house. It was one of the skills he possessed and came in handy at such a moment. The documents he had found in it gave him the goosebumps.
            At that moment, he had had his doubts if he was fighting for the right side… but just for a few seconds. He had taken a photo of the documents before he had put them away like he had found them and erased his tracks. It was always good to have a wildcard. You never knew when you could need it. After all, he couldn’t blame the senator for something he did already his whole life. Maybe that was the reason they matched so well together.
            The red light in their cabin jumped to orange. That meant they were almost there. The trio made himself ready to float down in their flying suit, the Mark V. The plane had flown a long time under the radar. Nonetheless the stealth technology, it was a principle of caution. The Invisible IV now floated on the spot above the meeting place. A hatch in the bottom of the plane shoved open and Jack Sterlington jumped first in the black hole of the night, followed by Walter and Clint as the last one. The hatch closed over them and the Invisible IV flew away without a sound.
            A few counts after the jump, Jack pushed the button on his flying suit and maneuvered his way down. It was a device that was difficult to handle. All three of them had some practice and experience with the device so that it wasn’t such a problem for them. When he looked through his night vision goggles to the right, he saw his companion Clint started the descent. Walter wasn’t visible for the moment, but that meant nothing. Once on the ground, they had arranged to look for each other by means of the intercom or the GPS.    
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

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