RSS

Monthly Archives: September 2011

An Enemy Within — Chapter Eleven

Chapter 11

Located in Downtown L.A., Parker Center is the headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department. In one of its conference rooms, about a dozen or so police officers are holding a meeting in order to discuss the New World Power and what steps need to be taken in order to stop them. These officers belong to the Metro Division of the LAPD and represent a special task force that dedicates itself entirely to the New World Power. Also among the officers are two or three members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as well as a few agents from the FBI’s L.A. field office.

Placed at one end of the conference room is a whiteboard, where they have established an organization chart. Also known as an org chart, it attempts to show the power structure of the New World Power. The information which they have gathered so far is incomplete, but with what they’ve been able to obtain so far, they have been able to construct a rough power structure for the organization. Preventing them from obtaining more concrete intelligence is the fact that their informant within the New World Power is a bottom level member not privy to a lot of information that is going about within the organization. However, the information which he is able to provide is a step in the right direction and allows the authorities to move forward with their investigation.

Pictures of the informant’s superiors, accompanied with a few other individuals, have been placed on the board and are interconnected with solid black lines. Pictures of other people within the New World Power have been placed on the board as well, but they are connected with dashing black lines because they are unsure of the connection and their position within the organization. At the top of the org chart is an empty square with the word “leader” printed above it. Finally, there is an assortment of other pictures placed elsewhere on the board.

These pictures are divided into two basic groups. The first group represents individuals who are known to be in the New World Power, but their placement within the organization is yet to be known. The second group represents people who are believed to have a connection with the New World Power, but their relationship with it is yet to be determined. One such picture is of Crow. The photo depicts him in his formal military dress, which was taken when he was still apart of the Army ROTC program at UCLA. This is the best picture they were able to obtain and it acts as a subtle reminder that he has formal military training. Located to the right of this picture is the mug shot of T-Bone, which was taken back in 1997. They are connected by a dotted black line because it is believed that there is a connection between the two individuals, but the nature of their relationship is yet to be determined.

Placed in charge of this task force is Captain Morgan Pike. When he enters the room, he doesn’t waste any time and he gets the meeting started. “Ok, gentlemen. Tell me that you got some new information for me.”

First to reply is one of the agents from the FBI. “We were able to arrest some New World Power members a few days ago and at least one of them is talking. The information that he has given us so far has proven to be valuable for it gives us more details on the organizations power structure.” The agent shares the information that they obtained and it helps fill out the org chart a bit. “He’s also told us that the New World Power has expanded into neighboring states.”

“What states does he say the New World Power has expanded into?”

“Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. He also suspects that the New World Power has expanded into Oregon and Utah, but he isn’t sure about those. So far, we’ve only be able to independently substantiate the New World Power in Las Vegas.”

The New World Power’s influence actually expands beyond those states which the agent has just listed. But so far, the New World Power has managed to keep this information from spreading. However, the fact that the FBI has been able to obtain information that the New World Power is expanding its reach demonstrates that this can’t last forever. But if they play their hand right, they will be able to keep this information secret into the near future. And if they don’t overplay their hand, the full extent of their influence won’t be fully known until it is too late.

“Let us know as soon as you obtain any more information,” Pike replies. “What else do we have?”

“Some arrests have been made yesterday of people who claim to be a part of the New World Power,” one of the officers from the LAPD says.

“What were they described as and what were they arrested for?”

“They appeared to be gang members and they were arrested for attempted armed robbery.”

“Armed robbery doesn’t fit the New World Power’s M.O. Seems like they are just pretenders claiming to be apart of the New World Power. Next.” The New World Power actually does use street gangs on occasion, but when they do, the street gangs are treated as nothing more than pawns.

“Three days ago, we managed to arrest some people who where trying to rob a gun store as well as a computer hacker who managed to get into a government database,” another officer says.

“How much damage was the hacker able to do?” Pike asks.

“We can’t tell at the moment, sir. He’s not talking yet, but it appears that he was looking for some very specific information. We are led to believe that the information he was looking for might have some connection to the New World Power.”

“See what you can get out of him and get back to me. Next.”

“We’ve received information from our informant that the New World Power is planning on holding another rally soon,” a third officer says.

“Did he give us a date and a location?”

“Not yet, sir.”

Captain Pike is not pleased to hear this. He wants solid information so that he is able to act upon it and actually achieve something. The last time the informant gave information about a rally, it had to do with the rally that occurred in the abandoned mill in Boyle Heights. The informant didn’t provide accurate information of the rally to the police, and by the time that the police actually made it to the right location, it was too late, preventing them from taking action and accomplishing anything. It just proved to be a total waste of time. “That is utterly unacceptable. The next time you see him, tell that little snot to get off his fucking ass and provide us with something useful. Vague information won’t help us achieve anything. Have him provide us with a solid location and an actual timeframe, otherwise, tell him that our deal with him is off.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Once we’ve obtained this information, I want full surveillance conducted on this rally. I want to know who was there, what was said, and what their next steps will be, understood?”

“Are we going to send undercover agents into the rally to help achieve this information?”

“I don’t see how we are going to achieve that. We don’t have an undercover agent within the organization at the moment, and I doubt that the New World Power will be allowing people to simply walk in from off the street. But it’s worth trying just in case we manage to get someone inside.”

“Do you have any ideas on how we will be getting information from inside the rally?”

“Yeah. We’re going to have to use our informant. We’ll have him wear a wire. Risky, but that’ll be our best course of action. Our surveillance crews will keep an eye on him, but once he’s inside, he’ll basically be on his own. What’s next?”

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 28, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Enemy Within — Chapter Ten

Chapter 10

Within the sprawling expanse of Los Angeles, there are harbors of natural splendor. Some of the governmentally recognized areas are small preserves, such as the Ballona Wetlands in West L.A., which actually expands beyond the roughly six hundred recognized acres and is in dispute between developers and environmentalists. The largest is the Angeles National Forest, which is located in the northern half of Los Angeles County. It’s divided into two parts and the wilderness it contains continues into the neighboring counties of Ventura and San Bernardino. The Angeles National Forest covers well over six hundred and fifty thousand acres, or just over one thousand square miles.

With this large patch of wilderness located next to a major metropolitan area containing approximately eighteen million people, the New World Power decided that it was too good to pass up and will be a good location for a training facility. To help aid in the disguising of the training facility is the surrounding topography, which contains mountains that can reach ten thousand feet. To aid in the facility’s disguise from aircraft and possible satellite observation, buildings have been partially constructed into the surrounding hillsides. The parts that are out in the open have been dressed to help make it look as if its apart of the environment. The New World Power also has a second training facility that is intended for more intense, almost elite, style training located in the Mojave Desert.

This training facility in the Angeles National Forest is essentially used for basic training so that the New World Power can essentially create a functioning army from people who join the New World Power. It’s also used as a tool to help install loyalty in its members. The recruits receive physical and mental training, where they get into physical shape, become mentally prepared for combat, and internalize the value of leadership. And with those who possess extraordinary abilities, the training facility helps them master their skills. Besides this training, the recruits learn asymmetric warfare. This is due to the fact that if the New World Power took on the U.S. military head-on, they would lose handily. So the best way for them to fight is through non-direct combat. The current training which the United States military implements essentially hasn’t incorporated urban or other types of asymmetric warfare into its basic training regiment. The New World Power hopes to exploit this fact when they decide to make their move for secession.

Members of the United States military who join the New World Power do not have to go through this training due to the fact that they’ve already received better training. They also makeup special units within the New World Power’s military wing or hold positions of leadership. However, they still have to go through a loyalty test in order to prove that they are worth admitting into the organization.

This training facility is like any other compound that is of a similar nature. Why change something that has proven itself effective? It has barracks divided into men’s and women’s dorms, a mess hall, officer’s quarters, a medical clinic, a teaching annex where gifted individuals learn to hone their skills, and the training equipment needed to whip people into shape. This includes a series of weights and obstacles.

There are also a series of storage sheds, divided into two general categories; the first one is for general tools and items that are used to help maintain the facility and the second one is used to store weapons. The weapons generally consist of handheld weapons and handguns with the occasional rifle. The handheld weapons generally consist of blunted or dulled weapons to help minimize injury when used and the guns are generally either paintball guns or air soft guns. Having actual guns with live munitions was deemed too much of a risk. When the recruits are ready for training with actual guns, they’re taken to gun clubs and the camp in Mojave. Besides weapons, the recruits also receive training in hand-to-hand combat.

Running the training facility are a few New World Power members who essentially stay at the location on a perpetual basis. In charge of the facility is a man by the name of Kilkilly. Kilkilly is ex-military and he was a drill instructor before he was dishonorably discharged for behavior that was considered abusive that he inflicted on the new recruits, a practice that is no longer deemed acceptable by the military. But for some reason, Crow picked Kilkilly because of this behavior.

The other people who are in charge at the training facility include Robert Martin, who is responsible for training the recruits how to handle a variety of handheld weapons. Next is Olive North, who is responsible for hand-to-hand combat training. She possesses an impressive amateur boxing record as well as a black belt in hapkido. Because of this, she is responsible for teaching the recruits fighting techniques while standing. Under her is a man named Lashley, who has an impressive fighting background himself and is responsible for teaching the recruits how to grapple and fight on the ground. Responsible for teaching people with extraordinary abilities how to hone their skills is Drake. Drake is responsible for training people who have abilities that require concentration so that they can use them more efficiently, such as psionics and the so-called energy expulsion abilities. The more physical abilities, such as abnormal strength and claws, don’t require his specialized training. People with the latter abilities will hone their skills through the other areas of training. And since Drake possesses an extraordinary ability that requires concentration, he is the perfect candidate for this position because he has spent years mastering his own.

Finally, there is Lawrence Pendleton, who is responsible for security. Everyone calls him Brock, and it’s not hard to imagine why. Because of his mutation, he stands in at least seven feet tall with huge shoulders, has bony spikes protruding from his back and shoulders, and has a light caramel skin color that is resistant to a lot of blunt force trauma. Because of his physical size, and his torso’s bony disposition, he tends to not wear any type of shirt or jacket. He also doesn’t wear any shoes because doing so would require specially made footwear due to his size. One would think that this would cause problems if he just so happened to step on any sharp objects. But it doesn’t because of his mutation. Even if he stepped on some broken glass, it would be unlikely to hurt him. All that he would feel is the pressure of stepping on the sharp object, and that would be about it.

Like any military boot camp, training at this facility is always going on. Whenever one group of inductees has completed their training, a new group of inductees are arriving to receive theirs. They essentially have to complete their training once they have started. The training which they receive at this camp is the final part of their initiation into the New World Power. Upon completing this training, they become full fledged members. But before then, they are sponsored and don’t receive the full rights and privileges of membership. And since sponsored individuals are always seeking full admittance into the New World Power, it makes sense for the New World Power to train as they go. But unlike regular military training camps, people aren’t allowed to just quit in the middle of training.

As he is waiting for this new group of inductees to arrive, Kilkilly has taken a seat on the covered porch of the officers’ quarters. Resting at his feet is a golden retriever. Eventually, the golden retriever’s ears perk up followed by a series of barking. It then gets to its feet and runs over to the road that leads into camp. Kilkilly follows suit and makes his way over to the road, quickly followed by Brock. They can barely make out the sound of vehicles approaching, followed by a dust trail hanging in the air. To protect themselves in case of it being a wayward visitor, armed guards in hidden hideouts prepare to take aim.

As the sound gets closer, they notice that it is coming from a line of vans coming directly toward their location. This convoy eventually comes to a stop several yards from the camp entrance, where upon Kilkilly starts making his way toward it. As he does, he heads to the driver side location of the leading van. As he does, the driver of the van rolls down his window. Once Kilkilly reaches the driver, the two of them have a brief conversation. When this conversation comes to an end, a signal is given to the guy riding shotgun who gets out and signals to the other vans that it’s alright for them to start unloading their passengers.

Upon receiving this signal, people from the other vans get out and open up their side doors where they start helping out their passengers. They need help out because they are all wearing hoods. This is a security measure to prevent the passengers from knowing where they are going and being able to find their way here on their own. Once all of the passengers have been removed and put into a line, the hoods are removed. This sudden change of light input temporarily blinds the inductees, further disorienting them. They are then told to start marching into camp. As the new inductees are dropped off, the vans also pick up the inductees who have completed their training and are ready to leave.

But in this convoy is a vehicle of a different nature. This vehicle is a Ford Explorer and it is carrying an individual of some importance out to this facility. This individual comes in a separate vehicle so as not to disrupt the transporting of the newly inducted members. This individual is Crow, and once he steps out of the Explorer, he starts making his way toward the camp. As he does this, he is intercepted by Kilkilly. The two men shake hands as they greet each other.

“I hope the drive up here wasn’t much of a problem,” Kilkilly asks.

“Not a problem. Not a problem at all. How’s everything going here?”

“It’s as smooth as a new born baby’s ass.”

This gets a laugh out of Crow. “So where are our selected inductees?” Crow is referring to three particular individuals who are at the camp and will be used for a very specific mission.

“Let me welcome our new inductees to our lovely little hideaway first, then I will take you to them.”

Once this is taken care of, Kilkilly takes Crow to the officers’ quarters where the inductees are being kept and are awaiting for Crow’s arrival. Being briefed on the general concept of this special mission, Kilkilly has been keeping an eye open for individuals who he thinks can best perform the assigned task. When Kilkilly was notified that Crow will be coming to the camp today, he had the three best candidates be pulled aside and have them placed into the boardroom located in the officers’ quarters to await Crow’s arrival. When Crow walks into the boardroom, two of the inductees are practicing some martial arts maneuvers while the third sits in a chair watching.

“Attention!” Kilkilly says in a commanding tone.

At that, the three inductees snap to attention and give military salutes.

“At ease,” Crow says. As he takes a seat, Crow indicates that the inductees should do the same.

The three inductees are young men who are in their early to mid twenties. Two of them are white whereas the third is Arab. Under normal circumstances, The Arab man wouldn’t have even thought of joining the New World Power. He would be back in New York, living his life like everyone else. But one day, the situation changed quite drastically. Federal officials came by his home one night and abducted him. From there, he was transported to Guantanamo Bay and tortured. This was done because it was believed that he was engaging in terrorist activities, though this wasn’t supported by any form of evidence. Eventually, he was released from custody and allowed to go back to his life. But when he was, this young man sought out the New World Power in order to join it. Instead of deterring terrorism, the actions of the United States government actually encouraged it.

Once the inductees have taken their seats, Crow begins to brief them on the situation. “Ok, gentlemen. You’re probably wondering why who’ve been pulled aside today. I have a specific task in mind, and according to Kilkilly, you three gentlemen show the most promise on being able to complete this task.”

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 25, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Enemy Within — Chapter Nine

Chapter 9

For the past few weeks since their leadership meeting, Shannon and the members of her college group have been posting and handing out fliers about their rally as well as spreading the word in the hope that they can get as many people as they can to participate in their protest. Shannon also decided to get the New World Power involved early on in the hope that it could help put bodies into the crowd. With how the rally is setup, they start at UCLA with a few speeches followed by a march to the Federal Building located at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue where they will have a few more speeches. The day of the protest has arrived and Shannon is both glad and surprised by how many people have showed up to participate in the protest.

The crowd has gathered on UCLA’s Dickson Terrace where a stage and speaker system have been erected. The rally is already at its third or fourth speaker at the moment, and the speakers have actually helped bring in more people into the crowd by sparking the interest and curiosity of the student body, either by students who were in-between classes or who had free time at the moment and decided to listen in. And since TV reporters are on the scene, having a larger crowd helps make the rally that more impressive for the television audience. As the current speaker at the podium is giving his speech, Shannon is off to one side, giving an interview to a reporter from a local news station.

“So why are you holding this rally?” the reporter asks.

“We’re holding this rally to protest the National Registration and Regulation Act that is currently before Congress,” Shannon replies. “This act is morally, ethically, and legally wrong. It deprives citizens of the United States of their rights and civil liberties, and that is simply un-American, and we will not back down until this act is stricken down. This is the proverbial slippery slope. By persecuting a particular minority group, it undermines the power, authority, and more importantly, the principle which the Constitution of the United States represents.

“The point behind the Bill of Rights is not to protect the rights of the majority, but the rights of the minority. The founding fathers realized that the rights of the minority, regardless of what type they were, needed to be protected because they were just as important as the rights of the majority. And this is still true today. They realized that everyone has the right to be free. If their rights weren’t protected, then it left the door wide open for rampant persecution. Under the current administration, however, it is believed that the Bill of Rights and civil liberties only apply to a privileged few at the top and their cronies and could be denied to the rest of us. But they are wrong. The civil rights and liberties which the United States is founded upon apply to everyone, even for minorities, social outcasts, and dissenters. This is why we are protesting today and claiming that this bill needs to be stopped and we want the government and the world to know it.”

Not everything in Shannon’s statement is accurate, and she’s aware of it. When the Constitution was drafted and ratified, equal rights were not equally distributed. But when Shannon made her statement, she was banking off the fact that most Americans are ignorant of this fact and that the reporter won’t call her out on it. Those who do realize this fact, hopefully, won’t pose a significant hindrance to the aims of this rally. Luckily, the reporter doesn’t and ends the interview by thanking Shannon. After reciprocating, Shannon turns to the other rally organizers, who were just off screen from the TV camera, so that she can help take care of the next step of the rally as the reporter turns her attention back to the camera so that she can finish up her report. Eventually, after all the scheduled speakers had finished what they had to say, Shannon takes the stage and heads up to the podium.

“Thank you, Mr. Thatcher for a terrific speech,” Shannon says. “And I would like to give a thank you to all of our speakers today for taking time out of their busy schedules and spending their time with us to help fight for this worthwhile cause.” Accompanied by the gathered crowd, Shannon gives them applause. “Now, the time has come for us to move on to the next stage of this event. We’ll be heading to the Wilshire Federal Building so that we can voice our concerns directly to the federal government.”

With that said, the crowd starts making their way down to the Federal Building. Though the crowd that marches isn’t as large as the crowd for the rally, it’s still large enough to be blocking traffic. As they make their way down the streets toward the Federal Building, they are accompanied by a police escort. Upon reaching the Federal Building, they have more people give speeches.

But as the day progresses and events unfold, the atmosphere that is surrounding the protest begins to change. It is unclear who is responsible for ordering the rally to be broken up, but the result remains the same; the police were instructed to go from the role of crowd control to that of crowd dispersal, despite the fact that the crowd has remained peaceful and its organizers have gone through all the proper channels and have obtained all the proper paperwork that they needed in order to hold this rally in the first place.

As the police start to disperse the crowd, they give little warning. When confronted with this situation, the protesters react as people would when confronted with such a situation, with surprise and irritation. When this occurs, the police respond accordingly, by using more force. Eventually, batons and pepper spray are used against the crowd. They also start arresting people, some who were actively confronting the police while the majority were just caught up in the confusion, Shannon being one of them.

At the end of the day, a total of thirty seven people were arrested with an untold number of others being injured, some of them requiring some form of medical attention. Some of the injuries are so bad that they are required to go to the emergency room so that they can be treated for their injuries. An element of this protest that the police failed to account for is the presence of the media. With cameras present, they record the events as they happen. Eventually, Crow is informed of what happened and he watches the situation with rapt attention. As he watches the situation, he starts planning how he can use this to his advantage.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 22, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Enemy Within — Chapter Eight

Chapter 8

Robert De Soto has dedicated his life to politics. He got started at the age of sixteen, when he volunteered for the campaign of a local politician. When this campaign came to an end, he enjoyed what he did so much that he decided to continue volunteering, so when one campaign came to an end, he would go on to the next one. This activity lasted all the way through college, where he would go from one campaign to another, doing what he could to help his candidate. With De Soto’s political campaigning activities, he did it with a few different political parties in order to get a feel for what each party stands for. Eventually, he decided to join the Democrats. Once he graduated, he started campaigning for his own election into public office, which he achieved at twenty four. During those intervening years between graduation and election, De Soto did some odd jobs, mostly for his father, to help make ends meet.

This first election was to the city council, which started his official political career, which so far, has lasted twenty seven years. From his city council position, De Soto went on to the New Mexico House of Representatives, the New Mexico Senate, and now the United States House of Representatives where he represents New Mexico’s second congressional district, a position which he has held for two consecutive terms. Now, he has plans on running for the United States Senate in next year’s primary election to represent New Mexico. He’s going to run for office during the 2008 General Election, where a historical moment is going to occur, where, for the first time, a black man will be running for the office of President who has a legitimate chance of winning after a long, bitter race for his party’s nomination. The runoff itself will be historic because the two top candidates for the party’s nomination will break the traditional mold of white, male candidates running for presidency; one being black and the other a woman. But this contest won’t be essentially solved until March of 2008.

De Soto is a strong supporter of immigration rights, as well as immigration reform to make it easier for immigrants who play by the rules to become citizens. He believes that if the process is made easier and made less of a hassle, then there will be less illegal immigration coming into the country, and hopefully negating the need for people to illegally cross into the country in the first place. Regarding anti-immigration policies, he feels that this position lacks intelligence because no matter what, people will immigrate to the United States and trying to stop it is like trying to stop a water deluge after the dam broke; its going to happen, regardless how you feel about it.

He is also a strong opponent of the fence that is being built along the U.S./Mexican boarder. It reminds him too much of the Maginot Line in France built between World War I and World War II, meant to keep the Germans out. But it was easily defeated by the Nazis during World War II because they simply went through Belgium, surpassing it. It also sends the wrong message to the world about the United States. He also supports legislation that requires wealth to remain within city limits to prevent urban decay from occurring. This has already been demonstrated in Portland,Oregon, with success. De Soto also supports universal healthcare for all citizens and legal residents, the computerization of health records, and the discontinuing of the Selective Service System. The Selective Service System is a contingency plan and a quasi-substitute for the Draft that requires young men between the ages of eighteen and twenty five, both citizens and legal residents, to register in case conscription is required. But if this isn’t achieved, he would like to see women have to sign up for it as well. If true gender equality is to occur, women have to take both the good and the bad for it to really take full effect.

During speeches on the House floor, where he speaks out against the National Registration and Regulation Act, De Soto has also made comments about the New World Power. Its influence has spread to his home state, but the New World Power is still seen as mostly a California problem by the rest of the country. But this hasn’t stopped some proponents of the bill to site the New World Power as a reason why the bill needs to be passed. Though people like De Soto and other opponents of the bill claim that a few bad apples should not be allowed to corrupt the rest of the bunch, De Soto still speaks out against the New World Power and its actions.

In one of his speeches, De Soto has proclaimed that “the New World Power is nothing more then a group of thugs and bullies who have corrupted a valid and legitimate position to achieve personal ends. If the members of this illegal organization truly wish to make positive changes within society, then they have to be willing to work within the system to make that change. But instead, they choose to attack the system, along with the rest of society, and are trying to actively destroy what I, and every American, hold so dear. I understand the wounds of persecution, for I have experienced them firsthand. But instead of trying to bring society down, I chose to lift it up by working within the system and by dedicating my life to public service to insure that the world is a better place, not only for my children, but for future generations as well, so that they don’t have to suffer the hatred which I had to endure while growing up.”

Being of Hispanic heritage, De Soto has encountered prejudice first hand while growing up as well as during his political career, so he understands what its like to be hated for just being different. This is why he is in opposition to the National Registration and Regulation Act. And this was a contributing factor to why De Soto first went into politics, to make a difference. He felt like not enough was being done in government and he couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. Instead of just sitting around and complaining about government, and not actually doing anything about it, De Soto wanted to take proactive steps in actually facilitating change, and being a policy maker is the best way of actually achieving this. Yes, marches are important, but they can only go so far.

Though Congressman De Soto is not the only politician in Washington to publicly denounce the actions of the New World Power, he does tend to be more vocal about it. He also shares responsibility for sponsoring some of the bills that are before Congress meant to put a stop to the New World Power. But so have other politicians. Though he is a little more outspoken on the subject, there really isn’t anything that makes Congressman De Soto stand out from the rest. But yet, the New World Power has made a decision to go after him. They need to go after someone, and De Soto is as good as anyone else. So far, they’ve only made threats against him in an attempt to cause De Soto to ease off his pressure against the New World Power. But Congressman De Soto refuses to budge and when he openly addresses the New World Power, he says that threats against him will not deter him from his course and he will do whatever he can to see that they are brought to justice.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 19, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Enemy Within — Chapter Seven

Chapter 7

At UCLA, Shannon is pursuing a degree in Global Studies. With her desire to try and make the world a better place, Shannon figures that having a formal education in this field will lay the groundwork for her to achieve this end. And as it turns out, UCLA is also the alma mater of Crow. Even though he graduated back in 1999, talk still circulates around campus about the leader of the group which Shannon belongs. She hears some of this talk, but she doesn’t give it much heed. There are more important things out there than listening to gossip.

In this quarter, Shannon is taking a class that she’s not too wild about; biology. She’s taking the class, not because she finds it appealing, but because it’s required by the school as part of the core curriculum. Her teacher, Professor Simms, is a nice enough guy, but she can’t get into this class. She’ll be happy when this quarter is over and her Natural Science requirement will be satisfied. Besides, her interests lie elsewhere. She is in her first quarter of her sophomore year and she wants to get as many prerequisites out of the way as she can.

The class period is almost over, but before Professor Simms can excuse the class, he needs to return everyone’s exams from the previous week. With how the class is setup, there are a total of four exams which the students need to take. The exams are roughly evenly spaced and cover a certain block of information. With the final exam, it generally covers everything that was addressed in class. But Professor Simms decided that, in this class, the final exam would only cover the information that was covered between the third exam and the final.

“Ok,” Professor Simms says. “When I call your name, please come up and grab your exam. Once you have, you are allowed to leave.”

As each name is called, the respective student comes up and takes his or her exam. Some students had already packed up their things when their name is called so that they can leave after claiming their exam. Others claim their exams first before packing up their things. With Shannon, she is in the middle of packing up her bag when her name is called. When she comes up to take her exam, Professor Simms says in a confidential tone, “May I talk to you after class?”

“Sure,” Shannon replies.

As Shannon goes back to her desk, Professor Simms finishes giving out the exams. When that is done, Shannon returns to the front of the class with her bag in hand. As she does, Shannon’s friend Terrance leans over and asks, “What’d you do now?” in a playful manner.

Shannon smiles a little at this and replies, “We’ll find out won’t we.”

“Woo,” Terrance says as he heads toward the door. “Bye.”

“Seeya.”

Once Shannon is back in front of Professor Simms, he says, “Ms. Brown, I’m a little concerned about your performance in class.”

Hearing this, Shannon becomes a bit nervous. “Is there something wrong?”

“There’s nothing wrong per se. I just don’t feel like you’re fully applying yourself.”

“I don’t quite understand.”

“I know my class isn’t where your interests lie. And looking at the courses you’ve taken so far, I’ve noticed that you are doing very well in your classes that count toward your major, along with a few others. You’re getting A’s and B’s. But so far in this class, you aren’t doing so well.”

“Are you saying that I’m failing your class?”

“No. At least not yet. But from what I’ve seen so far, it makes me a little concerned. I know you’re a talented young woman and I want you to do well. I just don’t want to see you get hung up because of this class.”

“So you’re saying that I need to pick up my act.”

“I wouldn’t use those words exactly, but that is the gist of it.”

Shannon thinks about it for a moment, then says, “Ok. I’ll study and hit the books more. See if I can improve my grades.” Shannon will do that and get some more studying done, but basically, she’ll talk with Terrance and see if he can help her. Terrance knows that Shannon is a psionic, and more than likely, he’ll allow her to essentially cheat off of him by allowing Shannon to read his mind. Early on, in their freshman year, the two of them had a short, physical relationship. During that time, Shannon figured that it was safe if she shared her secret with him. Though their relationship is over, Terrance has still kept her secret and they’ve remained friends. Before she goes, Shannon asks, “Is there anything else?”

“No. That’s it. Have a good day.”

“Thanks.” Shannon heads to the door and is about to leave when she turns back and says “You too.”

Once out of class, Shannon pulls out her phone and turns the volume back on. Unless the battery is about to die, she never turns off her phone. But for purposes of class, she turns the volume off so that it won’t cause a disturbance if it just so happens to ring. As she turns the volume back on, Shannon also checks to see if she has received any new voice messages or texts. Seeing none, she puts her phone away. Upon leaving the building, she meets up with some of her friends, Penn, Toby, and Yaniv, who are waiting for her outside.

“Hey guys,” Shannon says.

They respond in kind. Shannon met all three at UCLA. Out of the three, she feels the closest to Penn. Penn has the height of a basketball player and is the only guy she knows of who has the guts to wear a kilt. If it was anyone else, people would rag on him for doing so. But because Penn is big and black, people generally leave him alone. The reason why he wears the kilt is to pay homage to his Scottish heritage, which he inherited from his maternal grandma.

Penn gives Shannon a hug and then asks, “What was the holdup?”

“Professor Simms just wanted to talk to me after class.”

“Are you in some kind of trouble?”

“No. He just wants to see me do better in class.”

“Ok.”

“Well, are you guys ready?”

With all three of them replying in the affirmative, they make their way over to Terrace Food Court located at Ackerman Union. Once they each grab something to eat, the four of them meet up in the seating area so that they can get some work done. The reason for this meeting is to deal with some logistical issues that need to be dealt with for an event which they are planning.

This meeting represents the unofficial leadership of their little group, which itself is not officially recognized by the school. First off, they didn’t seek formal approval from the school. If they did, and they were approved, the group would receive funding from the school to aid in their activities. Second, even if they tried, they’re not sure that the school would approve of their group. This is because their group is centered on political activism, and the last political activist group that was formed at the school became the New World Power. If it was just a group interested in politics, like the college Democrats or college Republicans, then there probably wouldn’t be a problem.

As it is, the group is essentially a rag-tag group of friends and socially minded individuals who wish to achieve progress within the United States. So far, they are responsible for some on-campus rallies and managed to get a speaker or two to visit the school and give a talk. They were not big names, but they are working for noble causes and were kind enough to visit.

With what they are planning today, if they are able to pull it off, it will be the largest event which they have ever achieved. They just hope that enough people will show up. Otherwise, it may turn into a bust. That is part of the reason for this meeting today, to try and figure out how to get enough people to come. The reason for the event is to peacefully protest the government over a particular piece of legislation; the National Registration and Regulation Act of Individuals with Gifted or Extraordinary Abilities. Conducting some research, they were able to obtain a copy of the bill. And reading through it, they noticed that the act doesn’t directly state what qualifies a person to be “Gifted” or “Extraordinary.”

This could grant too much discretion to be left in the hands of the executive and judicial branches, allowing them to decide who does and does not qualify. What’s worse is that it can allow the average person to decide who qualifies or not. This can lead to a whole host of problems leading to a modern witch hunt by allowing any and everyone to be called a mutant. In turn, this could start a long legal process, which can lead to exorbitant legal expenses for people trying to protect themselves, regardless if they’re a mutant or not.

Because of the intended purpose of the act, accompanied with those it intends to regulate, there are those who refer to it as the Mutant Registration Act. This reference comes directly from the X-Men comic books, which mentions a similar piece of legislation that is trying to be enacted in that universe. Though the act is not clearly defined in the comics, it is referenced numerous times. When it is referenced, it’s basically done in an abstract manner. The language of the law isn’t alluded to beyond the fact that mutants need to register. And since the protagonists are themselves mutants, the bill is portrayed in a negative light. But regardless of this reference, the law that is currently in front of Congress has essentially the same goal in mind as that of the comics; controlling those with extraordinary abilities before they can act upon their perceived threat.

The reason why Shannon and the others are against the National Registration and Regulation Act is because it infringes upon people’s civil liberties, and if this legislation gets passed, than it will open the door for other legislation that will infringe on other civil liberties. The typical slippery slope argument; if one group loses its rights, a domino effect will occur until the Land of the Free will become the Land of the Oppressed. It is for this latter reason why a lot of liberal leaning people, with a good number of moderates, are in opposition to this bill. But despite this general characterization, there are those who are called liberals are also in favor of this bill. More often then not, people act out of self interest instead of the greater good. The same thing applies to Shannon. One reason why she is protesting this bill is because she would be directly affected by this legislation, due to the fact that she possesses psionic abilities, essentially making her a mutant.

Once everyone has grabbed a seat, Shannon, Penn, Toby, and Yaniv start talking about the rally. The first thing they talk about are the fliers. Shannon has a few examples printed out so that they have some options available to see which they prefer. Shannon pulls them out from her black messenger bag which has the Rooster Teeth logo stitched in with the phrase “Red vs. Blue” beneath it. This is a reference to the internet series “Red vs. Blue” which uses the Halo game series at its platform. She pulls them out and hands them around. Each flier is printed on a different piece of colored paper so that they can be easily distinguished from one another.

“Ok,”Shannon says. “Here are some flier examples that I’ve been working on. I wanted to experiment with a few different styles before committing to one.”

As they eat their meals, they look over the different fliers. They don’t like the orange one because it seems too busy. The red one doesn’t have enough relevant information. Eventually, the four of them decide on the purple flier because it conveys just enough information in the most productive manner. They even talk about ways which the flier can be improved upon. They also decide on what date will be best.

During the course of the discussion, Shannon has been taking notes. She wants to make sure that she addresses everything relating to the fliers. Once the flier is done, they move on to the next aspect of this rally; the march. That needs to be planned and the paperwork, such as permits, need to be obtained from the city.

“I’ll take care of that,” Yaniv says as he adjusts his flat cap. Because of the flat cap, it causes his thick, curly hair to plume out from the sides. “I know what steps need to be taken.”

Shannon is a little surprised by this, which shows on her face. “Ok,” she says.

With that settled, they move on to the next point. Eventually, the meeting comes to an end and the four friends head out to take care of other responsibilities.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 16, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Enemy Within — Chapter Six

Chapter 6

The first light of day is just beginning to emerge, a fact which Shannon is completely oblivious to.  With the shades drawn and door closed, her room is completely dark.  It disrupts her circadian rhythm by preventing her from receiving natural light to tell her its time to wake up.  But even if Shannon did have the shades open to allow in the light, her level of exhaustion would essentially override this and allow her to continue to sleep.  She oppressed her need to sleep for a long enough period of time that her body essentially took over and forced rest upon itself until it reaches some form of homeostasis.  Even having the alarm clock set might not have wakened her up.

This could pose a problem for Shannon because she has to get to work soon.  Even though it’s Saturday, her job as a waitress at a small diner/coffee shop in the Del Rey neighborhood requires her to come in.  This diner is located at Culver Boulevard and Braddock, so it’s not too far from her apartment.  And since it’s still early enough in the morning, Shannon shouldn’t face too much traffic, if only she gets up.

But luckily for her, Marc is awake and knows that Shannon needs to get to work.  Marc has always been a light sleeper and an early riser.  He even keeps the blinds in his room partially open to allow in the sunlight during the morning.  Knowing Shannon’s schedule, for both work and school, Marc has proven a very handy security measure for her.  After knocking without success, Marc carefully goes into her room to wake her.

“Shannon,” Marc says.  “Time to wake up.”  As he says this, Marc shakes Shannon by the shoulder in an attempt to help wake her up.  After some persistence, Shannon shows signs of stirring.

“Hmm.  What do you want?” Shannon says groggily, still quite sleepy.

“Shannon.  It’s time for you to wake up and go to work.”

“What time is it?”

“It’s about seven.”

Shannon gives a tired grown at this, still not entirely awake.

“Shannon!” Marc says.

“What!” Shannon says little more energetically.

“Its seven o’clock.”

This time, because she entered deeper consciousness, Shannon perks up and becomes concerned.  “It is?!” Shannon looks at her digital clock.  “Shit!”

This causes her to get quickly out of bed and head for the bathroom.  Once taking a quick shower, she then goes back to her room to get dressed.  When she returns to the apartment after her shift, Shannon will need to go back into the bathroom so that she can get her dirty clothes.  She will also need to put her towel back on its hanger.  As Shannon is putting her shoes on at the front door, Marc calmly comes walking up to her holding a thermos filled with coffee and a package of pop-tarts.  The pop-tarts aren’t cooked, but that’s how Shannon generally eats them; cold and right out of the package.  Seeing these, Shannon gives Marc a smile, which Marc gives right back at her.

“Thank you, Marc,” Shannon says.  “You’re a life saver.”

“I do what I can,” Marc replies.

“When I get back, I want to hear how your play went.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

As Shannon begins to leave, Marc stops her.  “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

After thinking for a second, Shannon replies, “Keys!”

She quickly grabs her keys and her purse, which are both located on the table in the front hallway.

“I don’t know what I would do without you Marc,” Shannon says.

“Hopefully survive.”

They both smile at this.

“Have a good day.”

“You too.”

“See you later, Alex,” Shannon calls into the apartment.

“Bye,” Alex says from the living room.

Shannon heads down to the parking garage so that she can get to her car. Shannon’s apartment is on the second floor and is located directly above the garage.  But despite this fact, neither she nor Marc have ever heard a car coming or going.  The most direct route for Shannon to take for the garage is to go out the side gate and down the stairs, which will put her right next to the garage entrance.  The staircase she uses is a bit weird because it only grants access to the second floor of the apartment building, even though a third floor exists.

As she heads down the stairs, Shannon comes across one of her neighbors.  He is sitting on a plastic lawn chair that is located at the base of the stairs.  It’s behind a short steel barred fence that is overgrown with bushes.  Though the view of the street is obstructed, he is still able to see cars and other vehicles going down the side street.  He is sitting there smoking a cigarette, though, according to the lease agreement, smoking isn’t allowed.  He gives a little wave as she passes by and she gives one back.  As Shannon turns toward the garage, the gate to the garage opens up as a car comes pulling out.  Waiting for the car to pass, Shannon then slips inside without having to fuss with opening the pedestrian gate located on the far side of the entrance.

The diner where Shannon works is located in a small commercial complex that sits on the corner.  Accompanying it are a Japanese restaurant, a mini-mart, a dentist’s office, a bar, and a few other shops.  Finding a parking spot, she doesn’t hesitate to grab it.  As she gets out of her car, Shannon is able to smell the ocean breeze.  She enjoys the smell and finds it a rare treat because she’s not always able to smell it from here.  And when she does, it’s generally in the early morning.

Shannon enjoys her job at the diner.  It has a comfortable, laid back atmosphere and her coworkers are friendly.  It also reminds her a bit of a small town style café.  It’s not a part of a larger corporation and the service is more personal.  She also uses the job as a way to clear her mind of distractions and to focus on what needs to be done.  Besides the diner, Shannon also works at the Powell Library at UCLA as part of her work-study program.  Once she is done enjoying the ocean breeze, Shannon heads in to work.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 13, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Enemy Within — Chapter Five

Chapter 5

Elsewhere in Los Angeles, Crow and a group of other New World Power members enter a unit that is a part of a crappy apartment complex.  It is unlikely that the building would pass inspection if such a thing would ever be done.  But such a thing is a low concern for the buildings tenants, whose primary concern is being able to pay the rent on time followed by being able to put food on the table.  Everything else is a “luxury,” such as very simple things like utilities.

And the neighborhood which it is located is one of the poorer areas in Los Angeles where the living conditions are below humane.  The neighborhood is littered with garbage and graffiti, preventing the people from taking pride in their neighborhood, which allows for the further development of urban decay.  The tenants hope that street violence won’t come knocking on their front doors or come flying through their windows.  And the violence that occurs within the building itself, they want it to remain at the other end of the hall.

The apartment which they are entering is leased to a fellow New World Power member who is letting Crow stay there for the evening.  Due to the nature of his…occupation, and the actions which he takes, Crow finds it prudent to be constantly moving and not to stay in any one location for an extended period of time.  Once you develop a routine of going to a single location multiple times, people will tend to notice.  And if you have a high profile, people will talk, which will be bad for people like Crow, even if he’s staying in an area where he is surrounded by New World Power members.  All it takes is one slip of the tongue by a member, or the prying eyes of a nosy neighbor, for the red flags to fly and the police to be notified.  That’s why he finds it prudent to change locations on a semi-regular basis.

Accompanying Crow into the apartment is the unit’s principle occupant, a few low ranking officers, and T-Bone, Crow’s confidant.  T-Bone’s real name is Thomas Clark and he is initially from New York City.  He joined the New World Power over five years ago after escaping from police custody and has managed to rise through the ranks to reach where he is today.  There are even rumors going about that Crow will name T-Bone as his successor as leader of the New World Power.  And T-Bone is essentially Crow’s second-in-command in all but name.

But now is not the right time to officially do either.  There are politics in play, for there are other members who have been with the New World Power longer then T-Bone.  They have been with the New World Power since its inception or have joined just afterwards, and overlooking them or their deeds at this time would breed resentment within the ranks and would lead to alienation.  If that occurs, then the New World Power would be severely hampered and could cause the organization to fracture.  And T-Bone hasn’t quite proven himself capable of holding such a position.  He needs to prove himself in some leadership situations to demonstrate that he is capable of handling himself as well as earn the respect of other officers.

T-Bone is an impressive figure, both physically and how he carries himself.  He has a commanding presence.  Standing in at six feet ten, he looms over everyone.  He also knows how to carry himself, giving him an aura of confidence and the sense of command, which is enhanced by his commanding facial features, all adding to his presence.  To cap it off, his deep, resonating voice is that of someone who you would expect to be in a command position.

Once inside the apartment, the lower officers who accompanied Crow make their exit, leaving Crow, T-Bone, and a few other people inside the apartment.  Once they leave, T-Bone closes the door behind them and locks it.  He then begins to talk to the other people who are located inside the apartment, allowing Crow to make his way over to the kitchen.  Before he starts rummaging through the shelf’s, he turns to the apartment’s principle occupant and asks, “Where do you keep the glasses?”

“They’re in the cabinet to the left of the sink,” the guy replies.

Looking, Crow finds them and thanks his host.

“Is there anything else you need?”

“Do you have any food that you can spare?”  Crow asks this as he fills up the glass from the tap.

“We have some fruit.  Also, there is some cut up melons in the fridge along with some meats that I doubt we will be using.”

“Perfect.  Now, you should get some rest.”

“I don’t want to abandon you.”

“That’s something you shouldn’t be worried about.  I can take care of myself.  And besides, you have work tomorrow.”

“Ok.  Well, have a goodnight.”

With that, the host heads to bed and Crow opens up the fridge.  From the fridge, Crow takes out some of the meats and the bowl of cut up melons.  The bowl consists primarily of cantaloupe and watermelon.  The meats include some leftover steak, salami, and prosciutto.  The salami hasn’t been cut into and the prosciutto is in a vacuum sealed container that hasn’t been opened.  Looking at the packaging, Crow notices that the date of expiration of the prosciutto has just passed.  But since it has only been a few days, he figures that it should still be good.  From the fresh fruit on the counter, Crow starts eating a banana.  From there, Crow starts cooking the steak.  The salami and prosciutto are fine eaten cold.  As he does this, everyone else starts heading off to bed as well, except for T-Bone, who comes up to Crow so that they can start talking.

“I think we had a good rally tonight,” T-Bone says.

“We need to go bigger,” Crow replies.  “If we continue doing these small scale rallies, we won’t be able to obtain our goals or objectives.  We can’t just stay in the shadows, acting as an invisible puppet master.  The point of the New World Power is to take action.  If we don’t, then all the work we’ve done, and all that we’ve achieved so far, would have been for nothing.  We need to step it up.”

“And what do you have in mind?”

“Well first, bigger rallies.  Getting more people to come to these gatherings and allow them to hear our message is essential.  We won’t convince everyone, but we’ll get enough.  And that will allow us to further build our base.”

“If we do that, then we’d have to be careful on who we allow to speak.  The reputation of some of our members, and the organization as a whole, won’t be conducive for the people at large.”

“True.  That’s why not all of these rallies will be officially connected with us.”

“I think I have some people in mind who we can use for this.”

“Good.  But we will need to still have rallies like the one we had tonight to help insure full fledged members remain active and not become passively involved.  To help with that, we should have some large scale rallies designed for New World Power members only.”

“Ok.  So that is the first step.  What else do you have in mind?”

“Russia.”

“Russia?  What can they do to help our cause?  Don’t they have enough problems of their own to deal with than helping us out?  If the Soviet Union was still active, then I could understand why they might want to help us out.  But now…eh.”

“It doesn’t have to get involved directly to help us out.  And you touched upon a valid point, even if not directly.  With how the Soviet Union conducted itself over its seventy-five year history, and its subsequent collapse late in the twentieth century, the bureaucracy of its former members are not that stable and their bureaucrats can be prone to…personal financial persuasions, regardless if they’re from internal or external parties.  So all we need is to find some people within the government or military from the former soviet states who are not exactly walking the straight path to give us assistance.”

Intrigued, T-Bone asks “What exactly do you have in mind?”

“Now is not the time or place to discuss it, but you will be briefed when the time is right.”

“Fair enough.  On a different matter, I’ve been wondering what is going to be done about the power structure of our organization.”

“Actually, that is one thing that I will be taking care of tonight.”  And Crow actually likes the fact that T-Bone is interested in the command structure of the New World Power.  “In fact, I want you to think of some people who you think would be good in command.  You don’t have to do it right now.  Just something I want you to think about and get back to me on in a few days.”

“Will do.  Also, I haven’t seen Bane in awhile.  Do you know where he is?”

“He’s currently in the Middle East with the Iron Wolves.  They’re most likely inciting the local people in Afghanistan and Iraq to violence.  I’m not sure of his exact location, however, but that’s to be expected.”

“Why are they there?”

Crow gives T-Bone a conspiratorial like look that also conveys that T-Bone should know, or at least figure out, why they are there.  “With any prolonged engagement, it will consume a greater amount of resources.  On the home front, it will also drain the political will of the populace at large.  On the military front, the will to fight of the military personnel, especially those who are on the frontlines, will diminish.  If such a situation occurs for too long, a military coup might occur.  And besides, if the fighting force of a country is engaged in an overseas conflict, it can’t be used to help keep the peace at home if something just so happens to occur that requires their presence.”

“But if such an event was to occur, couldn’t that government call upon its reserves to handle the situation?”

“Yes it could, but the people who generally makeup the reserves tend to be weekend warriors and would be unlikely to handle a situation of, lets say, a revolution.  They aren’t as well trained as the regular forces.  In addition to this, they will most likely fight in an urban warfare situation; something they won’t be trained for.  Urban warfare is the new military frontier, and that isn’t a part of the current military training, either for the regular forces or the reserves.”

“But what about the forces that would be pulled from the frontlines to deal with such a situation at home?  Wouldn’t their experience help them deal with such a situation?”

“Yes.  But look at what happened during the first Gulf War.  When the United States went in, the Iraqi troops it encountered didn’t put up much of a fight.  That was because they had just finished fighting the Iranians for close to ten years.  Even the most experienced warrior will become exhausted if they fight for to long.”  After a moment’s pause, Crow says “Listen.  You should head off to bed. We can continue this conversation later if you want, but you had a long day and you need some rest.”

“Yeah.  That sounds like a good idea.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Goodnight.”

With that, T-Bone heads to bed.  He makes his way to the bedroom where he’ll be spending the night.  Waiting for him there is a young woman who is a few years his junior.

Crow, on the other hand, gets busy dealing with issues of the New World Power.  Like he said, he works on how the power structure of his organization would look like.  He also works on a document that will eventually become the official governing charter of the New World Power.  He also works on some plans that he would like see implemented.  It isn’t until the first light of dawn that Crow eventually closes his eyes and gets several hours of sleep.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 10, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,