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Monthly Archives: November 2011

An Enemy Within — Chapter Thirty Two

Chapter 32

Shannon returns home. Once she closes the door behind her, she leans her forehead against the door, hair hanging down over her face and tears threatening to stain her cheeks. She is shaken by what has happened after the meeting tonight. They plan on killing De Soto, though she doesn’t know his name. She can’t get her mind around the fact that they intend to commit murder. No; assassination. From what she remembers, the difference between murder and assassination is that an assassination is where a person is killed for a political end. And from what she gathered from Crow’s mind only confirms this suspicion. What does she do?

Shannon is currently home alone. She’s glad that Marc isn’t here right now because she doesn’t want to have to deal with anyone at the moment. She will eventually want someone to talk to about this so that she can get things off of her chest, but she’s also reluctant to share what she has gotten herself into out of fear of the repercussions. Eventually, she pushes herself off of the door and heads to the shower. She feels like she needs to clean herself off. A factor in this is that Crow tried to do read thoughts on her as she was leaving. This caused her to feel an unpleasant tingling sensation within her head.

Is that what Crow felt when she was trying to read his thoughts? Is this what everyone felt when they had their mind read? This compounds her feelings of guilt and displeasure, to know that she caused others to feel like this. Knowing that this sensation only occurs when someone actually detects the probe wouldn’t have made Shannon feel better. One would have to be aware that it is going on before you can have that sensation. If you do detect it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can block it. But because she and Crow are both psionics, it makes it easier for them to detect the probe when it is being used on them.

When Shannon started feeling that tingling sensation, the first thing she did was to focus just on it. She was still a little scatterbrained at first, but she continued to focus on it as she was walking away. Focusing on the tingling sensation actually helped her counteract the telepathic action because it helped her clear her mind of other thoughts. But never the less, it’s not foolproof. When she was at the training camp in the Angeles National Forest, the technique to block telepathic actions wasn’t directly addressed. Not to long before she left the camp, Shannon asked, if indirectly, how to do it, and she wasn’t able to get a satisfactory answer.

As she was walking away, the tingling sensation eventually faded and went away. This was because she was falling outside of Crow’s range. But unsure that was the reason, Shannon continued to be on guard until she got into her car. Thinking back on it, Shannon isn’t sure how effective her attempt to block the telepathic action was. It was just the first thing that came to mind. Focusing on that tingling sensation took some concentration. From what Shannon could tell, when she performed read thoughts on Crow, the conversation didn’t falter and the block seemed to form quite quickly. But she didn’t hang around long enough to know for sure.

Thinking about it, this scares Shannon because it indicates that Crow is very experienced with his abilities. And with the fact that Crow has some powerful abilities makes it even more intimidating. Adding to this feeling of dread is that Crow has managed to gather a large body of supporters, not only in Los Angeles, but in neighboring states as well. Accompanied with the information gained from this meeting, the New World Power is still growing and growing fast.

Compounding the problem is the situation which Shannon finds herself. She wants to go to the authorities and warn them of the threat, both to Congressman De Soto and the growing size of the New World Power. But she also fears the repercussions that follow if she goes to the authorities and tell them what she knows. If she does talk, she sees threats from two fronts; first from law enforcement with the threat of prison and the loss of her freedom, the second from the New World Power, who would seek reprisal against her for the damage that would occur when she talks to the authorities. Shannon’s fear of incarceration is a driving force behind her remaining silent. She fears that she won’t be able to make it while behind bars; fresh meat being fed to the wolves.

And with her experience with the police in recent memory, it’s hard for her to trust them. The fallout from the rally still leaves a bad taste in her mouth. The police are supposed to be the good guys. They’re supposed to be guided by principles and a code of conduct. If they fail to stand by this code of conduct, they could actually be worse then the bad guys they fight because you don’t know where they stand. With the bad guys, you expect them to do bad things. The good guys are supposed to be at a disadvantage. That is what makes them the good guys. Of course, the code of conduct will have some give to it, but it’s not meant to be malleable. Officers aren’t supposed to decide which principles will apply, and how so. Otherwise, they’ll be completely useless and we fall into tyranny.

Shannon is finding that there isn’t an easy answer to be found here. If someone who looks at the situation solely through the prism of morality, they would say that Shannon should go to the police regardless of the situation. But humanity is more complicated than that. People go about making decisions based off of what is best for them as an individual. Also, morality is not set. It changes over time as the social values change.

Shannon needs some time to think, and a nice warm shower would help calm her nerves a bit. As she gets ready for a shower, Shannon can’t help but look up at the mold forming at the top of the walls and along the ceiling. She keeps contacting the management office, but they continually fail to return her calls. But even if they would return her calls, she believes that they won’t even acknowledge the problem, let alone fix it. But even if they did, they would place the blame on the tenants and still fail to fix the problem.

The mold is disgusting to look at and it’s disturbing to know that the management company won’t do anything to fix it. Its bad human relations and even worse management demonstrated by the management company. She sees it as corporate greed and the desire to improve the bottom line above everything else, even above the basic principle of the rental property business; to serve the tenants. And it’s even a violation of the tenants’ rights, but Shannon doesn’t know how to go about proving it, let alone finding the information.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Thirty One

Chapter 31

With the meeting over, the gathered mass has broken up into smaller groups.  Some have left because there is no longer any reason for them to hang around.  One of the people who decides to stay is Shannon.  As people talk amongst themselves, Crow, along with the Central Counsel, is talking to New World Power members fromNew Mexicoabout a plan that the Central Counsel wants to see carried out.  But due to the nature of this plan, its best if it’s talked about in private.  This particular plan includes the desire to put a Manchurian candidate into a position of greater political influence.  In order to put their candidate into office, it may include the elimination of another political candidate who is running for the same office.  With the use of Manchurian candidates, the Central Counsel wants to keep this information very close to the chest.  In order too do this, only a few people are informed about these candidates.  They don’t even inform the leadership of the other chapters about this.  They just give strict instructions not to take action against political figures unless instructed to do so by the Central Counsel.  The closest they get to tipping their hand is when the Central Counsel says not to act against a particular politician.

As this conversation is going on, an unforeseen snare emerges, which comes about purely by accident.  As Shannon was having a conversation with a fellow New World Power member, she excuses herself so that she can go and use the bathroom.  Upon leaving the bathroom, Shannon just so happens to overhear the conversation between the Central Counsel and theNew Mexicomembers.  At this point, Crow is showing the congressional picture of Robert De Soto to the members.  It shows De Soto in a suit, standing in front of a blank blue backdrop that is flanked by a U.S. flag.

“This is Robert De Soto of New Mexico,” Crow says.  “He is currently the U.S. Congressman from the 2nd District and is now running for the Senate.  He is an outspoken critic of the New World Power and he intends on doing what he can to stop our cause.”

In this upcoming 2008 election that will occur in November, the national offices that are up for contention are the office of President, the entire House of Representatives, and one-third of the Senate.  The reason why only one-third of the Senate is up for election is because of the United States Constitution.  With the House, its members can hold office for two-year terms whereas in the Senate, its members hold six-year terms.  In order to have the Senate have elections every two years as well, the Founding Fathers divided the Senate up into three classes, where at least one class is up for election every two years.  This year, the senatorial class that is up for election is Class II.

“So what do you want us to do; kill him?” someone asks.

“No,” Crow replies.  “What we need to do is send him, as well as the American people at large, a message; that you do not want to cross the New World Power.  If you do, there will be consequences that will need to be attended to.  Because of this, our message to Congressman De Soto cannot be a private lesson.  It has to be done publically; to show the rest of society what happens when you cross the New World Power.”

There is more going on here than Crow is letting on.  He knows that Congressman De Soto is not all that he appears to be and thatDe Sotois doing exactly what he is supposed to. Shannondoesn’t catch everything that was said during the conversation, but she gets enough of it to understand that Congressman De Soto’s life is in danger, and this doesn’t sit right with her. Shannon understands that the New World Power it bit of a radical organization on the fringes of society, but she didn’t realize the extent which the New World Power would go to obtain its goals.  She believed that the New World Power would never take such actions, and such claims put against it were nothing more than attacks made by its opponents.  Now everything has to be called into question.

She feels that the New World Power is about to cross a line that cannot be uncrossed and the consequences can be dire.  It sounds as if they plan on assassinating a man.  She believes that if such an action is taken, it will only hurt the cause of furthering mutant rights.  It’s hard enough as it is without this new element thrown into the mix.  This would only add fuel to the fire of anti-mutant sentiments and play into the fears of those who hate mutants.  It would also bolster the claims of those who want to see the enactment of the National Registration and Regulation Act.  In addition to this, people who were neutral on the enactment of this bill, on mutant rights, or some other related field, would find themselves favoring the bill.  It would also undermine all of the work that was done for the betterment of mutants.

All of this concerns Shannon very much.  Adding to this concern is the fact that she is in pretty deep as it is.  This is due to the fact that she has become a full fledged member of an organization which government agencies consider a terrorist organization and it’s not until now that she realizes this fact. Shannon wants to speak up on this matter, but she doesn’t know who to turn to.  If she talks to a fellow member of the New World Power, it can come back to bite her in the ass.  The member could talk to his or her superiors, which could lead to the possibility that she is found dead in a ditch.  However, she feels like going to the police isn’t a possibility either because she doesn’t see much incentive in doing so.  If she does, she would fear that she would be brought up on federal charges and be sent to prison for years, losing her freedom and being stuck with the stigma of being a convicted felon without being sure that it would help protect De Soto’s life.

As these things go through her mind, Shannon decides to take a chance and to try and use read thoughts on Crow to see if she can find any explanation for what is going on, or to obtain some kind of answer.  If she can figure out exactly what is going on, it may help put her mind at ease.  Performing a psionic ability such as read thoughts, or any other ability along the same lines, on the average human being can be challenging due to the extremely small electrical field which the human body produces.  To perform this task on the average human being, the psionic relies heavily upon his or her own electrical field to perform this task, which the psionic also uses to detect the other person’s electrical field.  And depending upon how powerful the psionic is will determine the range which the ability can be used.  The more powerful the psionic, the greater the distance the ability can be used.  But regardless of this fact, the ability will be more effective the closer the psionic is to his or her intended target.  Since Crow is a natural psionic, it’s easier forShannonto use her ability on him while maintaining a greater distance, due to the electrical field he produces.  This is why people feel like he’s giving off an energy while they are close to him and why some unconsciously want to give him his space. Shannon also wants to maintain some distance just in case something goes wrong and she needs to leave.  She’ll sacrifice efficiency for safety.

Eventually, Shannon musters up enough courage to use read thoughts on Crow.  It wasn’t until she visited the New World Power camp that she was able to develop this ability, though she is still inexperienced with it.  Since read thoughts is closely related to telepathic transmission, it’s not too hard for a psionic who possesses one of these traits to develop the other one, regardless of where the psionic falls on the spectrum.  Because of this, it was a logical step for her trainers to teach her this.  With how read thoughts works, it can only read surface thoughts of the target person because that is what the person is currently thinking about, causing those particular neurons to fire and become active.  And because of Shannon’s level of ability, this is all that she is able to obtain.  Even with powerful psionics, if they want to obtain deeper memories or thoughts, direct physical contact is necessary between the two individuals.  But even then, it might not work.

Some of the thoughts whichShannonreceives from Crow are random; mental white noise.  This is how the human brain works; it processes information through association and correlation, so the psionic who is performing telepathic transmission or read thoughts is prone to come across more than just the desired information which they want.  ButShannonis able to obtain some relevant information on what she is looking for.  As she is doing this, her ability to receive Crow’s thoughts all of a sudden stops.  It’s like losing a radio signal all of a sudden.  Crow must be blocking her attempts, so she decides that now is a good time to leave.  She heads back to the others, and from there, will make her exit.

When he detects that someone is performing read thoughts on him, Crow is quick to gather his thoughts.  With time and experience, he learned how to protect himself from such a situation, and that is to form a mental block.  Essentially, a mental block is done by letting your mind go blank and to disrupt ones electrical field.  Letting your mind go blank tends to be the easy part whereas disrupting ones electrical field tends to be the more challenging aspect of this ability.  This isn’t foolproof, however, because the person might not do it correctly or might be overpowered by another psionic.  When Crow realizes that someone was doing read thoughts on him, this is exactly what he does.

“What’s wrong?” someone asks.  When Crow performed his mental block, his behavior changed due to the fact that he had to concentrate on performing the action.

“Seems like we might have an uninvited guest listening in on our conversation,” Crow replies.

“Wha…”

“Someone just tried to perform a telepathic action on me,” Crow says before the other guy was able to finish his sentence.  Crow than excuses himself from this small group so that he can head over to the larger congregation of people so that he can try and investigate what just occurred.

Shannon manages to get back to the crowd outside before Crow notices her.  Once there, she grabs her drink and lifts the cup up to her face and puts her lips to it.  From there, she tries to take a few soothing breaths in order to try and calm herself down.  She doesn’t want her body language to give her away.  Once she feels like she’s calmed herself down enough, she takes a sip from the cup.  Once she sees Crow step outside, Shannon suddenly realizes that she will need to take control of her thoughts as well, besides her body language.  Body language alone is useless against a psionic.  So Shannon does what she can to get control of her thoughts.

Once outside, Crow performs some telepathy himself.  His ability is amazing.  He is able to perform read thoughts upon several people at once as he is walking through the crowd.  However, these aren’t in-depth probes.  What he is doing is a quick scan of peoples’ thoughts to see if anything sticks out.  He is getting a lot of “chatter,” which isn’t much different than casual conversation that people have.  Whenever he comes across someone focusing on a particular thought, he will focus in on that person.  Once he determines that the thought doesn’t pertain to what he wants to know, he moves on.  And after quickly scanning Shannon, Crow moves on to the next person.  After realizing that she is safe for the moment and seeing that Crow is continuing onward, Shannon can breathe a sigh of relief.  She then goes back inside and heads to the kitchen to refill her glass with water, which she promptly drinks.

Once she is done finishing her water, Shannon puts the glass into the sink and then steps back outside into the backyard.  She doesn’t want to leave by going through the house because she might come across the people who were in that secret meeting and she fears that they might grab her.  Once outside, she is greeted by one of the people who was in the secret meeting.  He decided to step outside for a moment and have a cigarette.  “How you doing?” he asks.

Sighing, Shannon replies, “I’m doing alright.  It’s just been a long day and I’m getting a little tired.”

This isn’t completely true.  Though it was a bit of a long day for her, it wasn’t much of an issue.  And until she overheard the conversation in the house and read Crow’s mind, she felt alright.  Now, she just wants to get out of Dodge, and soon.  But she decides to hang around just a little bit longer before leaving just in case it might arouse suspicion.

“Crow is acting a little weird, don’t you think?” the man says.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, we were just talking inside, then, all of a sudden, he started acting like this.”

This takes Shannon by surprise.  This man was one of the people Crow was talking to about De Soto.  A part of her is hoping that the surprise doesn’t show on her face.

“Do you know what’s up with him?” the man continues.

“I have no idea.”

“So, what’d you think of the meeting?”

Shannon pauses for a moment, thinking that he was referring to the meeting that she overheard.  But then she realizes that he wasn’t referring to the secret meeting, but the main meeting which everyone participated in tonight.

“Long,” Shannon replies.

The man smiles at this and gives a little chuckle.  He follows this up with a drag on his cigarette.

“How about you?” Shannon asks.  “What did you think about the meeting?”

“I thought that it was productive.  I felt like we took care of some important things tonight.”

As they talk, Shannon notices some people leaving.  Instead of going through the house, they are going along the walkway along the side of the house.  Noticing this, Shannon decides that now would be a good time for her to leave.  As a pretext for leaving, she pulls out her phone to check the time.  Since she doesn’t wear a watch, Shannon relies upon the clock in her phone to keep track of the time.  She stopped wearing a watch because the one that she was using had a tendency to become loose and shift around her wrist or become a little bit tight and leave an imprint in her skin.  It never cut off circulation or caused her hand to become numb, it just left a temporary mark in her skin.  Either way, she just became tired of dealing with it.  Seeing the time, Shannon puts her phone back into her pocket, turns to the man she was talking to, and then excuses herself.

As this group is leaving, Crow notices them and decides to head over to that side of the house.  He doesn’t go after them, he just stands next to the house and watches them leave.  He sees that Shannon is at the rear of the group, and he is disturbed by something he sees in her.  He can’t quite explain it, but it’s almost if he doesn’t like how she is carrying herself and finds it suspicious.

As he watches them go, one of Crow’s underlings comes up to him and asks, “Is everything ok?”

“Do you know who that woman is?” Crow asks without taking his eyes off of Shannon.

“Afraid not,” the underling replies after a moment.  “Do you want me to go get her for you?”

“No.  Let her go.”  Crow then turns to the man Shannon was talking to before she left.  “What were the two of you talking about?”

“Nothing really,” the man replies.  “We were just talking about the meeting, and that was about it.”  A part of him wanted to say “the weather,” but decided against it.  Figured that it wasn’t worth it.

Figuring that something’s up, the underling asks “What’s wrong?”

Telepathically speaking, Crow says, “We might have a problem on our hands.”

          “How so?”

Crow indicates that they should head inside, than continues speaking.  “During our little side meeting inside, I got a feeling that someone was using a telepathic ability on me.  I suspect that our female friend might have been behind it.”  Once safely inside the house, they continue their conversation through verbal communication because at times, it can be a more effective means of communication.  “But until I’m able to know for certain and my suspicions resolved, I want an eye to be kept on her to insure that she doesn’t do anything that all of us might regret later.”

“I’ll take care of it.”

“I don’t want you to do anything more than watch her.  Keep an eye on her activities, but don’t interfere.  If it isn’t her, I don’t want her to become alienated and jump ship.  Don’t give her a reason to talk to the police.  Understood?”

“Understood.  But what if it turns out to be her?  Then what?”

“Then we’ll need to take care of the problem before it decides to bite us in the ass.”

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Thirty

Chapter 30

Since her initiation into the New World Power, Shannon has read through the paperwork she received. She read through the New World Power charter as well as its bylaws. She’s also been attending regular meetings. She is also able to juggle her school responsibilities as well; class, track and field, library job. She also has her job at the diner to deal with. Though she struggled at first, Shannon is able to manage these responsibilities. Having some structure can actually make people more productive. It gives them goals that they need to achieve, and the person needs to figure out how to go about achieving those goals and which ones have priority.

The most recent meeting which Shannon is attending is being held in the poor area of South Central Los Angeles. In 2003, the city decided to change the name of the area to just South Los Angeles. This was due to those in city government hoping that, if the name of the area was changed, the public’s image of the area would change as well and that the violence and deteriorated condition would be covered up. This is foolhardy and shortsighted. If you want to change the condition of something, you treat the under lying problem, not change the name and hope for the best. And despite their hope and the “official” change, people still realize that the problem remains and still refers to the area as South Central.

The meeting is being held at the resident’s of one of the officers. The house was once a beautiful, two-story building that is in a neighborhood that has happened on hard times in recent decades. When the houses of this area were first constructed, they were built by families that could afford a nice home. But this is no longer the case because the area was allowed to head into social and civil decay, which is continually looked over by those who can actually do something to improve it. This has caused the house, along with the rest of the neighborhood, to fall into a state of disrepair. The only things that look to be well maintained, or at least well looked after, are the bars that cover the doors and windows.

Located on the other side of the street from where the meeting is being held, one could see a broken down car that has a fresh coat of rust painted on it. This is accompanied by upholstery that is heavily faded and seats that are on their way to becoming cracked. It is a worn down piece of junk that is barely able to run. It has become so unreliable that its owners don’t even attempt to use it to get to work in the morning. They figure just take the bus to get to work and use the car only to make runs to the grocery store or in cases of emergency. And located just two doors down from the house, one would be able to find that the sidewalk is stained with freshly spilled blood. The inhabitants of the house that the bloodstain happens to be in front of have started to clean it up, but had to give it up for the time being because of the fact that the sun was beginning to set. When tomorrow comes, the woman of the house would be right back outside, finishing up the job.

There is a good turnout for tonight’s meeting. As the people wait for the meeting to start, they converse amongst themselves. In the dining room, Crow is talking to the house’s tenant, Mr. Richardson. Mr. Richardson knows that, from a financial perspective, it is better to own a house then it is to rent it, but because of his economic situation, Mr. Richardson is only able to rent. Fortunately for him, he didn’t get suckered into the housing bubble. In addition to having too rent, he has accumulated a large amount of debt through school loans. He has earned a masters degree in history, but regardless of how important an education is, it won’t help you change your social class. Only marriage and occupation can do that. But since most people can’t marry up, the only way to go up is through occupation. However, the only job which Mr. Richardson was able to obtain is as a cabby. And this is one facet which Crow wants to see change; that having a higher education is a way of improving ones social status and encourage employers to hire people with advanced degrees, even if it makes them over qualified for it.

Being a cabby in Los Angeles is a dangerous job. There are a lot of hazards that they face. That’s why there is bullet-resistant plexiglas dividing them from their passengers, which at times makes it hard for them to hear what people are saying. There is also an emergency switch behind their knee that changes the color of the light atop of the cab so that they can signal the police that something is wrong. They are also required by law to carry a wrench in the trunk. This is because if they get carjacked and thrown into the trunk, the cabby has a way to get out. They are also at the bottom rung of a system of corruption. That’s why people feel like they are being cheated by cabbies, because they probably are. But they only do this because if the police stop them for what appears to be an arbitrary reason, it may require a little something for the situation to just go away.

Besides his wife and two children, Mr. Richardson lives with his uncle, brother, his brother’s wife and child, and his grandmother. In an attempt to conserve space, the three children share the same room. The reason for all these people living in the same house is to ease the financial burden that they all would face otherwise if they lived by themselves. Also, Mr. Richardson wanted to achieve at least one aspect of the American Dream and that is to have his children grow up in a house that has a backyard. They also didn’t want to just dump grandma into a retirement home so that they can get her out of there hair. They probably wouldn’t be able to afford it if they tried, but there are other reasons as well. First off, grandma’s sister lived in a retirement home and just hated it, dying an angry, bitter woman. And second, they understand the importance of family and wanted to keep theirs together.

To help pass the time, Shannon is playing with the kids of the house in the backyard. They all are having a good time and laughing. Unfortunately, one of the kids will develop an illness in the coming weeks that the family won’t be able to afford to treat and falls outside of their health insurance. Because of this, dark days lay ahead for the child and adding additional financial burdens to the family.

The time comes for the meeting to be called to order. Anyone who comes late to the meeting will just have to stand at the back of the gathered group of people and get any information that they missed from someone else after the meeting is over. As everyone begins to assemble in the living room, the children are taken upstairs so that they can get ready for bed. Some folding chairs are pulled out and arranged as the TV is turned off, which was tuned to the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Once everyone has taken a seat and has settled down, Crow starts the meeting.

“Before we start tonight’s meeting,” Crow says, “I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Richardson for opening up their house tonight for our meeting.”

At this, the crowd gives applause.

“The first thing I want to address tonight is the organizations internal leadership structure,” Crow continues. “We are developing at an extraordinary rate. This demonstrates that we are on the right course; that there are a lot of Americans who are displeased with how things are going and want to see things change.”

The New World Power has developed chapters throughout California with the primary chapters located in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and the Bay Area. Besides California, chapters have developed in surrounding states as well with the major chapters located in Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona. The New World Power’s sphere of influence has also spread to the other Four Corner States of New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado, as well as in Montana. However, these are currently minor players and need to develop further before they can really become effective and influence the states that they are in. There are even rumors that are circulating that there might be a chapter forming in Canada.

But the area which chapters have formed are essentially the states which Crow would like to have when he calls for secession and secede from the United States and develop his own country, though he would like to have the border spread a little further east into the Dakota’s, Nebraska, Kansas, and possibly Oklahoma so that he can have more of the Great Plains for the use of farming. He’d also like to have Idaho and Wyoming in the mix as well so that he could have a good solid block of land and not have his country be separated by any other country, but he’ll deal with that later. Now is not the time to think that far ahead. However, his plans do include Texas, but not as something to annex or control. If anything, he would want to galvanize Texas’s independence movement in order to create further problems for the United States. This would essentially create a two front war, which is generally not a smart tactical move in military terms, even though from Washington, D.C.’s perspective, they would be heading in the same direction; West.

“Because the New World Power has reached a size that it has, it could no longer be easily governed effectively with the power structure that was in place,” Crow continues. “It could no longer adequately handle its responsibilities. This caused us to reorganize the power structure so that it could accommodate the new needs of the organization.”

“Will this mean that the charter will be changed as well?” one of the officers ask.

“No. The charter will stay the same. Just the organs that operate under it will.”

“Who made the decisions on how the leadership should be reorganized?” someone else asks.

“I did,” Crow replies, “along with the other members of the Central Counsel.”

“How will the New World Power’s leadership structure now look like?” a third person asks.

Before, the leadership structure of the New World Power was pretty straight forward. Everyone who was involved in the organization essentially had to answer and report back to Crow, though there was a panel of others as well, which Crow was the head of. This system worked fine when the New World Power operated within Los Angeles and its surrounding communities. But as the influence of the New World Power grew and expanded, this system of rule became less and less efficient. Further development and more layers of bureaucracy needed to be formed to meet the new challenges that this increasing complex organization needed. And that is exactly what Crow and the Central Counsel did.

Now, the New World Power is broken up into smaller pieces, identified as chapters, which contain its own leadership that overlooks and controls the actions of its members, and has to answer to the Central Counsel. The only chapter that doesn’t have its own leadership is the original chapter of the New World Power that is based in Los Angeles. This is because the Los Angeles chapter is directly controlled by the Central Counsel. The Central Counsel essentially concluded that since the leadership of the Los Angeles chapter would be the same as those found on the Counsel, it would be best to just come out and say it instead of trying to deceive the other chapters and try to claim neutrality or independence from any chapter. Because of this fact, it is generally seen that the Los Angeles chapter is the controlling body of the organization.

This is part of the reason for this meeting tonight. It’s to inform the organization about the changes made in leadership. It also explains why the leadership of the other chapters are in attendance. This includes the leadership of the newly admitted chapters from New Mexico and Colorado. The Central Counsel met earlier in the day to discuss if these chapters should be admitted into the organization. And for a chapter to be considered an official part of the New World Power, they have to be formally recognized by the Central Counsel. Otherwise, the group is just seen as a band of misfits who believe themselves to be apart of something that they aren’t. It’s also a way for the Central Counsel to exert control over these chapters.

The process of admitting the New Mexico chapter was an easy one and it didn’t have much of a problem doing so. It developed a good, clear charter which it will operate by, possesses plenty of members, they have a clear chain of leadership, and a line of succession present if something arose that would disrupt the chapters leadership structure. The Central Counsel also wants to see that the leadership doesn’t have overlapping positions or a closed line of succession. This is to prevent the chapter’s leaders from taking over a position of other leaders and not allow other members to fill in the vacancies. The Central Counsel doesn’t want to see a repeat performance of what happened with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, also known as the Soviet Union, where the leadership remained within very few hands, causing stagnation, which in turn contributed to its eventual collapse.

With Colorado, however, though they were admitted into the organization, it barely got approval from the Central Counsel. There were a few flaws which the Counsel came across and would like the chapter to address. With this information, the leadership of the Colorado chapter that is working out of Denver will be able to work and improve their organizational structure. Once they do, they’ll notify the Central Counsel, which in turn will give its approval and the chapter will gain full admittance. And despite their faults and flaws, they did better than the chapter operating out of Utah. The Utah chapter was turned down for admittance due, primarily, to the fact that they are very disorganized. This was caused by the fact that the chapter consists predominantly of lost boys from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

This lack of organization was caused, in part, to their lack of knowledge of the outside world accompanied with the fact that they were raised not to trust it. In addition to this, they are essentially just angry boys and young men who have a desire to lash out against the community that so cruelly kicked them out. Even though they could be put to good use as soldiers or agents of chaos and discord, good administrators and organizers they are not. The New World Power wants something more than a loose confederation of youth who are acting out of pure self-interest. They want a more organized group of individuals who can take orders and can step back and look at the larger picture. Until this group becomes organized, they will not be accepted into the New World Power and will only be seen as pawns in the larger game. It won’t be until later that an organized chapter from Utah that the New World Power will accept it into its fold.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Twenty Nine

Chapter 29

Shannon has had a long and trying summer.  Though she is finished with her classes, she still had responsibilities to her track and field team, which last a few weeks after finals.  Once this came to a close, Shannon came back to Los Angeles to take care of her responsibilities with the New World Power.  She got back in contact with T-Bone and discussed possible dates for her to do the training.  After hearing the options, they decide on a date that is mutually beneficial.  This will give Shannon a few days to rest in-between track and the New World Power training.

Shannon has heard that the New World Power training she is about to undertake is intense; that there is a high attrition rate.  The physical training which she received before from the New World Power was tough, with a good number of people dropping out.  The training she will be partaking in now is even tougher.  It is a weeding-out process; to make sure that the New World Power has the best possible people in its ranks.  If they allow just anyone to join, then that would be a deterrent both to the organization and to the cause because the people might not have the true agenda at heart or they might not be able to properly carryout the organizations goals.

From their conversation, Shannon gets the pickup location, what time she needs to be there, and what she should be wearing.  She is also instructed not to bring her car because, due to the nature of the training, she’ll be gone for awhile and her car might be towed if she brought it.  The location which the New World Power tells people to go to for pickup is generally within walking distance from the person’s place or is accessible by bus line.  She arrives at the location at the prescribed time, and eventually, a van comes pulling up.  Once it stops, the side door opens and a man steps out.

“Shannon Brown?” he asks.

“Yeah?” she replies.

“Come with us.”  He says this as he beckons her with two of his fingers.

Even though she wants to join, and the reason for her being here is to commence training to become a full fledge member of the New World Power, Shannon is still hesitant to get into the van.  The whole incident surrounding what happened to Daniel Pearlman comes back to her, a situation that really bothered her.  However, everything that night happened so quickly, and she didn’t actually have a good look at Pearlman, she can’t be sure exactly what she saw.  Also, her major concern at the time of the raid was to not get nabbed by the police again, causing her to push everything else aside.  But now her memories have resurfaced once the man asks her to get into the van.  This is accompanied by her concern for her immediate safety.  But she does manage to overcome her concern and climbs into the van, with a little further coaxing by the man, though she is pretty hesitant to do so.

In the van, there are three New World Power members; the driver, the passenger riding shotgun, and the member who just stepped out and talked to Shannon.  Besides them, there are two other people sitting in the way back, both wearing hoods.  With the van’s size and layout, it can easily hold ten people, not including the two in front.  Apparently, they plan on picking up more people as they go.

“In the back,” the man says, indicating where Shannon should sit. Shannon sits in the back and buckles up.  Once buckled up, the man puts a black hood over her head, instructing her to not take it off.

Eventually, after a few hours, she is allowed to remove the hood.  It was hot wearing it and a bit humid.  It also messed up her hair a bit.  When she removes the hood, she flinches at the light, due to the fact that her eyes became accustom to the darkness created by the hood.  The world is bright and it hurts to look around.  On top of this, she, and everyone else, are being herded to a central location in front of the fleet of vans.  During the trip here, the van Shannon was in made several more stops followed by a long, silent trip.

As she adjusts to the new light input, she’s able to realize that they have left the city and are now in the wilderness.  This is a new experience for Shannon because she has never been outside a city except when traveling between them.  She wonders to herself what is going to happen out here.  What she doesn’t realize is that she hasn’t really left LA and is in the Angeles National Forest.

Shannon spends a month out at this camp, being trained to hone her skills and toughness.  They are training her both physically and mentally.  As the days and weeks pass, all they do is train.  And because she has special abilities, Shannon is trained to use them, which is very important because regardless of how powerful ones abilities are, if you don’t know how to use them, they will be ineffective and you will be beaten by someone who is less powerful, but better trained, then you are.  A part of this training is to determine Shannon’s psionic range.  Is it a few inches, or few yards?  It is determined that is it a few feet at best.  She is trained to hone her telepathic ability of telepathic transmission as well as improve mental blocking and personal will.  With the mental block ability, it is meant to prevent other psionics who have telepathic abilities from reading her thoughts or find her through her mental thought process.  She even managed to develop the telepathic ability of read thoughts.

At the end of the month long training, Shannon and the others receive citations of completion from Kilkilly.  However, not everyone who came to the camp was able to finish the training.  Some of them were cut because they weren’t able to handle the training whereas others received injuries that prevented them from completing.  One even just disappeared one night.  This individual was actually taken by New World Power members out of the camp and into the wilderness where he was killed.  This was due to poor behavior and a bad attitude, which prevented him from getting along with the others.  He even proved himself to be a threat to the camp.  His body was buried in a shallow grave a good distance from the camp, though not in one piece.  He was actually dismembered by one New World Power member and the remains were scattered around the burial site to encourage the wildlife to come and indulge themselves.  The purpose of the burial was to hide the body from hikers and any low flying aircraft that might accidentally come across it.  The gravesite would be checked periodically to see if wildlife found it and took care of the graves contents.  If it was, a shovel would be used to cover up the bones.

After the awarding of the citations, all the recipients are allowed to relax for the rest of the day until the vans arrive to pick them up.  Though they are not obligated to continue training, it will look good in the eyes of leadership if the recipients remained busy until the vans arrive.  And that is what Shannon does.  She gains some more hand-to-hand training from Olive North and she improves her psionic abilities by spending time with Drake.  With permission,Shannon also goes exploring the wilderness around the camp.  She is motivated by curiosity to see what is in the surrounding area as well as the need to get away from the camp for a bit.  Sometimes, we just need space.

Eventually, the vans arrive and pick up all of those who have completed the training and bring them back to the city.  The only instructions they receive is which van they should get into.  This is to make it easier for the driver to drop off people in one general area instead of driving all over town.  They are also asked to put blindfolds on to protect the location of the camp.  Even though they are now full fledge members of the New World Power and are to be respected as such, some things still need to be kept hidden from the average member.  Once they leave the Angeles National Forest, they are allowed to remove the blindfolds.  They disserve that much.

When Shannon gets dropped off at her apartment building, it’s late in the afternoon with only a few hours left of daylight.  Before she left for her training,Shannon told Marc that she’ll be gone for a little while and not to worry about her.  She even left him a check for her share of the rent.  But she almost forgot to tell him before leaving.  This might have caused a problem because Marc might have gone to the police and filed a missing persons report.  If that occurred, and she comes walking back through the front door of the apartment, she would have a lot of explaining to do.  And there would have been the possibility that she would have been a loss for words and unintentionally get the New World Power involved in the whole mess.  Then she would have been screwed on both fronts.

When she did remember, it came as a flash of inspiration, just a day before leaving.  In preparation for her extended period of absence, Shannon and Marc moved their cars around in their assigned parking spots so that Marc’s car wouldn’t be blocked in by hers.  When Shannon enters her apartment, she comes across Marc, who’s all dressed up in formal wear with a scarf ties around his neck and an overcoat on.

“Hey,” Marc says enthusiastically, than gives her a hug.

“Hi,”Shannon replies with a smile.  “How’re you doing?”

“I’m good.  I’m good.  Listen, I’ve got to run.  I would love to hear what you’ve been up to, but I have to be at a person’s place in about…an hour, so I’m going to have to ask them later.  Sound good?”

“Sounds good.”

With that, Marc heads out and Shannon goes to her room and lies down.  She’s been gone for a month and it’s nice to be back in her own bed.  Also,Shannon is glad that she doesn’t have to talk to Marc about her trip, at least not as of yet.  This will give her time to think things over and decide what she will tell or not.

The following day, Shannon receives a call and is notified that there will be a meeting that evening and her attendance is required. Shannon is taken by surprise by this because she wasn’t expecting there to be a meeting this early.  Before leaving the camp, she was given a calendar of future meetings that were going to be held, and today wasn’t one of those dates.  She asks the person on the other end of the line for the address and the time of the meeting.

With that information,Shannon leaves her apartment so that she can head over to the meeting.  Once there,Shannon sees a handful of other people who were at the training camp.  Heading over to them, she asks, “Do you guys know what this is about?”

“No,” one of them says.  “Just got a call saying that we must come to this meeting.  That’s basically all we got.  I’m assuming you got a similar call.”

“Yep.  It just seems kind of peculiar that we get summoned to this meeting from out of the blue.  I just can’t help but wonder why.”

As they converse amongst themselves, they are approached by another New World Power member who says, “The meeting is about to start.  If you won’t mind taking a seat at the front, that would be great.”

All the newly initiated members take a seat at the front of the stage.  There are a good number of new members sitting in the first few rows.  When the meeting begins, the evenings MC stands up and takes the podium.  Addressing the crowd, he says, “Hello and thank you for coming.  Tonight’s meeting is a special meeting because we have some new members filling our ranks.”  At that, the crowd applauds.  When the applause dies down, the MC continues.  “When they finished their training, each of them received a certificate of completion.  This certificate is in acknowledgement that they completed the necessary training.  This certificate is also the prerequisite necessary for these individuals to enter the New World Power as a full fledge member of our organization.  And tonight is when they are officially admitted into the New World Power.  So, once your name is called, would you please come up to the stage?”

At that, each of the new members is called up onto stage to receive their metal of membership.  In addition to this, they receive some paperwork.  This includes the New World Power’s Charter, their bylaws, and some other information pertaining to the function of the organization.  Once every person has been called up, they receive a round of applause.  Then, once that dies down, they proceed with business.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Twenty Eight

Chapter 28

Even though Robert De Soto has spent his professional career in the public eye as a politician, he can’t help but feel nervous in times like this. The Democratic primary is being held tonight to determine who will be representing the party in Class II of the Senate. It represents a point of transition where the outcome is yet to be determined. If he wins the election in November, he will be going from a Representative to a Senator. But first, he needs to win his party’s nomination. As it stands, De Soto is the only person running for the Democratic nomination. De Soto’s fellow New Mexican Representatives, Republicans Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson, are also vying for this Senate seat, but they have to contend in the Republican primary first to determine who will be representing the Republicans.

Despite the fact that he is guaranteed the Democratic nomination, De Soto will be given a new set of responsibilities that he’ll need to fulfill for the next five months, even if he fails to win the seat in the Senate. This senate election is considered an open contest. This is because the incumbent senator, Republican Pete Domenici, is retiring at the end of his term. As the evening concludes, De Soto is awarded the Democratic nomination. With this, Mr. De Soto addresses the crowd.

“First off,” Mr. De Soto says, “let me thank Chairman Mr. Brian Colon. And to our great lieutenant governor who has done so much for us, Diane Denish. And I would like to thank my wife Maria for sticking with me through all this. I love you dearly and I don’t think I could have done it without you.” Whenever he would break, the audience would give their applause. Mr. De Soto also has children, but he decides not to mention them because he doesn’t feel like it’s appropriate to bring them into the public spotlight. The only reason why a politician should bring his or her children into a political campaign is if they do so willingly. But they have to be old enough to be able to make a sound enough judgment to do so, generally around their teenage years. Also, a politician’s children shouldn’t be used as political pawns to help gain political points or capital.

“And in respect of the office which I am going to assume,” De Soto continues, “it is important for us to thank Pete Domenici for his service to this great state of ours. Someone said to me earlier that ‘it must be easy not having an opponent on primary night.’ I disagree. For me, it only clarifies my objective and allows me to see what a monumental task I have ahead of me. But with your help and support, it can be done. We can achieve what needs to be done and realize our goals for a better tomorrow. That is why I traveled all across this great state and why I am proud to be your nominee.

“Earlier this evening, I called Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce to wish them well in their Republican primary. I hope it would go on just a little bit longer. But I did mean it.” From there, De Soto does what every politician does best, some standard political wrangling by saying what the people want to hear and making claims that will most likely not be kept. He says what needs to be said and what needs to be done for the betterment of the people, knowing that he will be unable to actually fulfill those claims. This includes improving education and healthcare. He also says that it’s important to look after our senior citizens and supporting our troops by bringing them out of Iraq and back to their families where they belong, as well as finishing the job in Afghanistan and insuring that our country is safe from another terrorist attack. He comments on how the Bush White House took a surplus and managed to waste it. He even told a bleeding-heart story to win and strengthen his support.

Since De Soto has been a strong public opponent of the New World Power, he can’t help but comment upon that organization. “The War on Terrorism is being mismanaged. We went to war with a country that had no connection with terrorism instead of looking inward at our own internal threat. The New World Power is a terrorist organization that needs to be stopped. But instead of doing anything about it, we went to war overseas. And now we are in a situation that can’t be easily solved. Instead of fighting terrorism in Iraq in an attempt to stop it, we actually created the threat in that country and the Bush/Chaney Administration completely ignored the threat at home. When I’m elected to the Senate, I will do all that I can to see that resources are redistributed and the New World Power is stopped. The New World Power is not just a local problem confined to Los Angeles, but is becoming a national threat. And I promise that I will spearhead the effort to stop them. Thank you.”

At that, De Soto waves to the crowd and leaves.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Twenty Seven

Chapter 27

At UCLA’s Marshall Field, practice for Women’s Track and Field just concluded. Shannon is on the grass performing her after exercise stretching with one of her teammates. Even though they do some warm-ups before practice, the team has been trained to do their stretches after their workout. The reason for this is because doing the stretches after practice instead of before is meant to reduce the chances of them pulling a muscle or otherwise getting injured. When it comes time for her to compete, Shannon engages in track events. Though she prefers distances, she’ll also do sprints and hurdles.

Once done stretching, Shannon heads to the locker room, changes, and then goes back to her apartment. Besides getting some studying done, Shannon gets ready for the meeting the New World Power is holding tonight. In preparation, she uses MapQuest to find the location of the address she was given. From there, she prints out the map with driving directions. Knowing LA traffic, accompanied with the fact that finding a parking spot in this town can be a pain in the ass, Shannon plans on leaving her apartment at least an hour before the meeting is scheduled to start. With this preparation done, Shannon gets some studying done. Since she has some laundry that needs to be taken care of, she decides to take care of both at the same time. Why not kill two birds with one stone? So she takes a bag of laundry down to the buildings laundry room with some school work.

Eventually, 6:30 comes around and Shannon needs to get ready to head for the meeting. She has managed to get a good amount of laundry done as well as some good progress in her studies. Just in case that she makes good time on her way over to the meeting, Shannon decides to bring some of her school work with her to read. She brings everything back up to her apartment and grabs something to eat. Grabbing a quick bite, she takes a quick look into a mirror to make sure that she looks good enough to go out. Though she doesn’t like the idea behind makeup, Shannon still wants to make sure her hair looks alright. Seeing that she looks fine, Shannon heads out the door.

Surprising her, Shannon arrives at the address in good time. For some reason, the traffic on the freeways were moving quite nicely, which was the original purpose of the freeway system. Since she was able to make good time to the location of the meeting, Shannon is able to find a good parking spot. She then looks over at the clock in her car. 7:30. She has a half hour to kill. Good thing Shannon brought some reading material. Though she does some reading, she keeps an eye on the time. Eventually, Shannon feels like enough time has passed, so she decides that now would be a good time to head over. She marks the page and closes the book, putting it behind the passenger seat. She then gets out of the car and heads over to where the meeting is going to be held. As Shannon heads to the front door, she is greeted by a New World Power guard.

“Can I help you?” he asks.

“Yeah,” Shannon replies. “I was asked to come.”

“Name?”

“Shannon Brown.”

The guard checks a clipboard and finds her name. “Stated purpose?”

Shannon doesn’t know what to say. She feels like it’s a vague question, but thinks that it has something to do with the meeting tonight. Does she say she’s here for a New World Power meeting, or does she say something abstract? Unsure of what to say, she says the first thing that comes to mind. “I was told that there was going to be a meeting tonight and that I should attend.”

Though the guard isn’t completely convinced, he doesn’t have enough cause to turn her away. Shannon was able to hit the nail close enough on the head for it to be considered a good enough strike, so he decides to let her in. And when the guard looked at the clipboard, he noticed that she was being sponsored by T-Bone. The guard doesn’t want to cross that bridge if he turns out to be wrong. He also figures that if something goes wrong, T-Bone would take the blame, not him.

“Okay,” the guard says. “Go ahead.”

“Thank you,” Shannon replies as she goes through the door.

Once inside, Shannon begins to walk around. Eventually, she comes across T-Bone. Seeing her, T-Bone turns and says, “Hey. I’m glad that you were able to make it.”

“Thanks for having me,” Shannon replies. “So what’s going to be addressed tonight?”

“Basically, we’ll be dealing with some administrative issues and some future plans. And as we addressed earlier, since you’re not a member yet, you won’t be allowed to participate in the meeting. All that you will be allowed to do is just sit back and observe what is going on. Okay?”

“Okay. But what if I have a question?”

“If that occurs, then it would be best if you kept it to yourself, at least during the meeting. But if you happen to remember it when the meeting is over, feel free to ask me. But so you know, I might not be at liberty to answer it. Understood?”

“Understood. I was wondering, where do I sit during the meeting?”

“You should remain toward the back of the group and allow the members to sit toward the front since they will be interacting with each other.”

“Okay.”

It is at this time that another New World Power member comes walking up to T-Bone and tells him that the meeting will be starting soon and that he is needed elsewhere.

“Well, if you would excuse me, I need to take care of some business. I’ll talk to you afterwards.”

“See you then.”

With that, T-Bone makes his leave. Not long after that, the meeting begins and Shannon takes a seat at the back of the room.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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Tales of the Extraordinary (Description)

Within the universe of the “Fifth Estate,” there are a series of stories that deal with individuals with superpowers and the superhero genre but take on a more fantastical point-of-view.  They take the form of a variety of different media and can have individuals from the larger universe from which it belongs such as Crow and T-Bone as well as organizations such as the New World Power appear within its pages.  These collections of stories are known as Tales of the Extraordinary and they resemble those found in real world comic books.  The only difference that they possess is that they are stories within a story.

 

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