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Monthly Archives: December 2011

An Enemy Within — Chapter Forty Two

Chapter 42

Crow is standing alone in a cemetery over his late wife’s grave. Reading the tombstone, it says:

Melissa Delaney Collins

Beloved Wife

March 31, 1975 – July 2, 1999

It’s been nine years since her death, but a part of Crow will never let her go. They were married for almost three years when she died. Still in love, they were still blinded to the flaws which each other possessed. Ever since he put her into the ground, Crow made it a point to visit Melissa’s grave on their anniversary whenever possible.

Though he should be wary when he stands in front of Melissa’s grave, Crow drops his guard, despite the fact that he runs the risk of being caught. He isn’t as wary as he otherwise would, or should, be. It’s not a controlled environment and there are too many variables to control. Cemeteries are open to the public during daylight hours and there is the chance that someone might recognize Crow as a wanted criminal.

Whenever he visits her grave, he tends to stand at the foot of it so that he can avoid standing directly over the casket. Even when he walks among the graves, he tends to walk between them instead of directly over them. For Crow, he feels like it would be disrespectful if he would walk or stand directly over someone’s casket or where they have been buried. The dead should be respected, even if it’s someone else’s. How he sees it, there are only a few situations where it is appropriate to do so, and one of those situations is the process of actually burying the dead.

As he went to his wife’s grave today, he found a discarded beer bottle. He picks it up and wonders why someone would disrespect a cemetery and the dead like that by discarding ones garbage in such a way. That’s why you bury the dead in the first place, so that they can be respected. That’s why he doesn’t understand the reasoning of people who get drunk at funerals or at the cemetery when the body is being lowered. Yes, you are grieving, but don’t disrespect other peoples dead like that. What about their grief? What about their loss? Their wishes should be respected. You can get drunk later. Otherwise, you’re just being selfish. And he’s seen it before with Black and Hispanic street gangs and white biker gangs.

He remembers, growing up, experiencing such an incident with a one-percenter motorcycle gang when visiting his sister’s grave. With his sister’s death, he felt like more was going on then he was led to believe. But this could just be due to the fact that he wasn’t around when the incident occurred and the adults around him trying to protect him, feeling like Ken wouldn’t be able to handle the information. This in turn led Ken to start thinking that a conspiracy was going on. Young Ken was taken to the cemetery so that he can see Ashley’s grave in the hope that he’ll get some closure. As he approaches the gravesite, in his suit, Ken looks over and sees a bunch of biker clad individuals, in jeans, vests, and bandana’s, hooting and crying while in a drunken stupor. He sees a keg in a large plastic container with ice and a few bikes parked over people’s graves.

“Mrs. Morrison?” Ken asks. “What are they doing?” gesturing to the bikers.

“They’re having a funeral, dear,” Mrs. Morrison replies.

“Why aren’t they wearing suits?”

“Because some people have different funeral customs then we do, and that includes clothing.” What she doesn’t tell him is that, in other cultures, the mourners do actually wear different outfits for the funeral then everyday life, but the bikers are wearing exactly the same outfits here as they do while riding their bikes.

“Why do they have cups in their hands?”

“Because they’re drinking.”

“Why are they drinking?”

“Because it helps them with their mourning process.”

“But…”

Before he is able to ask his question, Mrs. Morrison cuts him off by saying “That’s enough questions for now.”

Crow doesn’t learn until years later what was going on with the bikers. Once he does, he develops very strong opinions on the matter. He sees them as dishonorable pricks. For them, nothing exists beyond their selfish little existence and the only laws that they need to obey are their own and the only dead worth respecting are their own. So many times he wished he could teach them a lesson.

Crow still has an emotional connection relating to his wife which hasn’t abated over time. With his troubled upbringing and the fact that he is a social outcast because of his psionic abilities, he felt that Melissa was the only one who truly got him. Much like him, Melissa had her own skeletons tucked away in her closet. Crow’s biggest regret is not opening up entirely to her and sharing all of his troubles with her, which she did with him. Though they talked about it, Crow always evaded the topic, promising to share his secrets another day. But now that day will never come.

The two of them had made plans together, to have a life together, complete with their dreams and aspirations. When Crow graduated from college and completed his four-year ROTC obligation to the Army, they talked about leaving Los Angeles and settling down in a small community, most likely a coastal town. Both grew up in Los Angeles, a city with just under four million people in the city proper and close to eighteen million people in the metro area spread across a vast area, even a medium sized city would seem small. They even considered living in Avalon, situated on Catalina Island. Hawaiiwas also considered. They wanted a break from what a big city like Los Angeles brought. But with how Los Angeles is setup, it has more of a feeling of a country in microcosm then an actual city. When Crow and Melissa chose a location and settled down, Crow planned on working in public office. Initially, he would seek an entry level office job in one of the city’s departments so that he can learn the ropes of the local bureaucracy and gain some real world experience before running for elected office.

But all of that came to an end and Crow’s world shattered the day Melissa died. With her death, Crow received a devastating blow for the second time in his life. Melissa meant everything to him, and with the death of his sister, she managed to fill the emptiness he felt inside. But with her death, Crow essentially snapped. For the second time in his life, the person he cared the most about had died and he was powerless to do anything about it. Even though Crow is a powerful psionic and has mastered his abilities by continually practicing and honing his skills, developing new ones along the way, there was nothing he could do to save his wife.

Normally, Crow would only visit Melissa’s grave once a year. However, the situation has changed and Crow realizes this fact. As the events and activities surrounding the New World Power begin to become more complicated and advanced, it’ll become harder and harder for Crow to take time away from his responsibilities to visit his wife’s grave. He, and his organization, have garnered too much notoriety and infamy for these trips to continue to be feasible. The time has essentially arrived for Crow to say his final goodbye, making it that much harder for him to do. To help him pay his final respects to Melissa, Crow brought a bouquet of flowers with him so that he can leave it at her grave.

As Crow stands there over Melissa’s grave, his cell phone begins to ring. Pulling it out of his pocket, Crow checks to see who the caller is before he decides if he should answer it or not. Looking at the display screen and seeing that it is Bobby, Crow decides to answer it. Bobby is one of Crow’s lieutenants and is the Los Angeles contact for the mission in New Mexico involving Congressman De Soto. When the situation allowed for it, the other New World Power members who were in attendance at De Soto’s rally contacted their immediate supervisor within the New Mexico branch of the New World Power and let him know how the mission when. From there, the supervisor contacted Bobby, who in turn is contacting Crow.

“Hello,” Crow says as he answers his phone. “Is it done?”

Yeah boss,” Bobby says. “As Congressman De Soto started talking about the New World Power, Rickie was able to get his shot off.”

“What’s the status of Congressman De Soto?”

“He seemed to have been shot in the chest area and he was taken to the hospital. The people at the rally saw him moving as he was taken away and from what they’ve overheard, De Soto was responsive.”

A weaker leader would have demanded a definite answer about De Soto, if he survived or not. But Crow knows that some situations are not available to definite answers. Yes, De Soto left the rally alive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll survive. Take Owen Hart for example. He was a professional wrestler who fell seventy-eight feet from the rafters and his chest struck the top rope, a foot away from the turnbuckle, at a pay-per-view event in 1999. When he was taken from the ring, he was still alive, but he died on the way to the hospital. So just because a person left alive doesn’t mean that they’ll survive.

“Well, let me know about De Soto’s condition as soon as you learn about it,” Crow says. “And if he does survive, I do not want anyone to make a move against him. Understood? No further actions against De Soto.”

“Understood. What should be done about Rickie?”

Crow understood that Rickie would be caught. Even Rickie knew that he would be caught. There wasn’t really any other option if he followed through with the plan. It wasn’t necessary for it to be explained to him; it was self evident, at least to those capable of rational thought, which Rickie clearly is. Yet he still followed through with the plan, which means one of two things; Rickie is dedicated to the cause or he fears the New World Power more than the federal government. Either way, he did it.

“I want an eye to be kept on him,” Crow says. “If it comes to it, Rickie may need to take a fall.”

Crow understands that he can’t risk losing more people in order to save a low ranking member of the organization. The New World Power will survive without Rickie. He’s not an important cog in the machine and he doesn’t possess crucial information that will either advance the cause of the New World Power or sink it. If Rickie plays it right, he could be seen as just a lone gunman out for a particular politician who just might have a connection with a rebel organization, or at least fancy’s himself apart of it. But if this connection is made, it would be flimsy at best. It just depends on how Rickie plays it while under duress.

“Understood,” Bobby replies.

With that, the conversation is over and Crow puts the phone back into his pocket. This allows Crow to return his attention back to his wife. Well, her grave at least. Taking one last whiff of the bouquet, Crow puts the flowers at the base of the tombstone.

“I’m sorry,” Crow says. “I’m sorry I couldn’t help you; for not saving you. I’m sorry I wasn’t as open as I should have been. I’m—” Crow’s voice breaks. Though he doesn’t cry, he has a feeling that he might. He brings his forearm up to his face, placing it under his nose. Whenever he visits Melissa’s grave, Crow tends to be more emotional. And he has a right to be. Melissa meant everything to him. After the death of his sister, Melissa was the only person who had any meaning in his life and managed to get close to him. But once Melissa died, Crow essentially just shut down. From then on, he would always keep people at arms distance, preventing anyone from ever getting to close. “I’m sorry for everything. I miss you babe. I love you. Goodbye.”

With his war against the United States, Crow doesn’t declare it in Melissa’s name. He feels like it would be disrespectful to her and would dishonor her memory if he did. He’s declaring his war because it has to be done to ensure the rights of people like him, the so called mutants, are secured. But if Melissa was still alive, he never would have declared his war. She was the only person who kept him anchored, preventing him from taking drastic actions. If she was alive, Crow would have followed in the footsteps of people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and work within the system to achieve the necessary change, as slow as it might be.

With his goodbyes said, Crow turns and proceeds to leave the cemetery. As he leaves, Crow passes by something which he can throw the discarded beer bottle into. It’s not a trashcan, just something the groundskeeper uses to maintain the cemetery. Crow then passes through the cemetery gates and disappears into the city to plan the next move of the New World Power.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Forty One

Chapter 41

Robert De Soto finds himself in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is holding a political rally at the Santa Fe Convention Center. Even though he had his third and final debate with Steve Pearce only a few days ago, he still needs to get out there and campaign. Political campaigns are no different from advertising campaigns; you have to sell your product on a continual basis. As soon as you stop campaigning, you are out of the public consciousness and will be forgotten. Now is crunch time and he needs to convince those sitting on the fence that he is the right person for the job and hopefully some of the less sure individuals from the other camp to jump ship. For the rally, the Sweeney Ballroom will be used and has been converted for the event.

Robert De Soto is currently on stage and is addressing the assembled crowd, telling them that he wants to see the troops brought home as soon as possible. He also comments on the fact that he voted against the war when it was time for them to vote. In the House of Representatives, the vote on the Iraq War was essentially along party lines with two hundred and fifteen Republicans voting for the war, six against, and two No Votes whereas the Democrats voted eighty two for it and one hundred and twenty six against with one No Vote. When it came time for the Senate, however, this wasn’t exactly the case. Of the Republicans, forty eight of them voted for the war whereas only one voted against it. With the Democrats, they were essentially split with twenty nine of them voting for the war whereas twenty one voted against it. The only Independent vote in the Senate voted against the war. Democratic Senators gave more support to the war then their House counterparts did.

With the war, De Soto feels like the U.S. has overstepped its bounds. How he sees it, the U.S. military is still acting as if it was an occupying force instead of a liberating one. However, the pieces have already been moved and it would be irresponsible to pullout now without setting up at least some form of stable government. And one step for Iraq to maintain itself is for it to be able to defend itself. Otherwise, it is just a protectorate of the United States, similar to that of Japan and Germany. And for Iraqi self-reliance to occur, more and more responsibilities need to be transferred from the U.S. military to the Iraqi military.

Besides the war in Iraq, an important issue for De Soto is immigration reform. The system is in desperate need of an overhaul. For that to be done, new laws shouldn’t be enacted but the old ones need to be effectively enforced. Otherwise, they are useless. You can enact as many laws as you wish, but if you don’t have a means of enforcing them, they’re not worth the paper they’re printed on. Also, attitudes need to be changed at the immigration offices. He is unsure about other immigrants, but De Soto learned that, when it comes to immigrants from Latin America, they are given the run around and it is generally made difficult for them to work within the system.

And it’s not the illegal immigrants he’s thinking about, but the legal ones who are here on state issued visas as well as those who are trying to become citizens. It is because of this bureaucratic runaround that these legal immigrants are forced to perform that frustrates people and encourages them to come here illegally in the first place instead of working within the system. Why abide by the rules when those creating and enforcing them won’t play by them as well?

And for those citizens who claim that immigrants are “stealing” jobs from honest, hard working Americans, this isn’t true. It’s just that immigrants are willing to do the jobs which Americans refuse to do at the wages which employers are offering. If only the wages are increased, then more Americans will be willing to do the jobs that the immigrants are performing. It’s not the jobs themselves, but the wages, that are discouraging Americans from taking them, and if the national minimum wage is increased, then it would encourage more Americans to take the jobs. Improve the wages to that of a good living wage, and the problem will decrease, even if it’s not noticeable at first.

In addition to this, who’s holding the employers up to scrutiny? It’s easy to blame the workers because people are able to see the immediate effects of the shrinking job pool that is caused by the illegal’s taking the jobs, but they fail to recognize that it is the employer who needs to be held responsible. Don’t look at the person taking the job, but the person who is giving the job, and blame them if illegal immigrants are hired. Laws should be enacted to encourage or enforce employers to hire American citizens first instead of looking abroad first.

And the same thing should extend to corporations, to deter them from creating offshore accounts in an attempt to avoid or reduce the taxation on profits. Capitalism is a good thing and has proven itself to be the most effective force in driving the economy today, but like anything else, it can be taken too far, and this will be detrimental to society as a whole because society, at least modern society, is based on the economy, and if the economy flounders, so does the rest of society. The same thing extends to international and global trade; they are good things, and they should be encouraged as much as possible. This is because countries that engage in such activities tend to thrive better than those who try and remain isolationist. International trade is also a good way to prevent and deter wars, which are generally sparked by a lack of resources. But if you overemphasize global and international trade, there is the chance that you will overlook the cogs and individual parts of the machine, which can lead to the entire machine breaking down due to lack of care.

De Soto firmly supports international trade, but also believes that the United States economy needs to be properly maintained if it is to be a functioning member of the global community. Besides talking about global trade, De Soto also talks about other facets of the economy. And since the economy is in pretty rough shape at the moment, politicians can’t help but talk about it and how it should be changed. And when talking about the economy or about some form of government spending, even if the politician is against it, the politician should say that he or she will look into it, as long as it will lead to a campaign or other political victory.

Regardless of their political party or position, there are a few common threads that run among all politicians. One of these threads is the love to talk. Regardless if it’s intentional or not, given the opportunity, a politician will talk himself dry. They want to tell the world how they are going to save it and that the world will be doomed if they are not in office. This leads them to make promise after promise to their constituents so that they will get into office in the first place. And that’s why there are reelection campaigns; everything that the politician failed to do in their last term in office, they will do this term in office and then some.

Even after being informed about the plot against him and having his family relocated, De Soto is still hitting the campaign trail for the U.S. Senate seat made available by Pete Domenici’s retirement. He can’t allow the New World Power into scaring him out of the campaign or out of politics. Otherwise, the New World Power will win by default. There are times where you have to fight and take on the enemy directly. This strategy won’t work for every situation, but there are times where it has to be used, and this is one of those times. As a result, De Soto is now accompanied by the Secret Service, who make their presence very well known at the rallies and other public events which De Soto attends.

Robert De Soto and the Secret Service are not the only ones who prepared themselves for this rally. Rickie has been preparing himself for the role he is about to play. Even though he has been practicing at his uncle’s ranch, Rickie has also been frequenting a gun range that belongs to a local gun club. At the ranch, he is able to practice at a verity of different distances, but at the gun range, he is able to practice his aim on a human shaped target. He could have practiced on a bowling pin at the ranch, but he needs a more detailed target to practice on. Rickie also felt that if he used a bowling pin at the ranch, it might stir up unwanted questions from his family and others who frequent the ranch. In connection to Crow’s instructions, Rickie has been improving his accuracy. On the silhouettes provided by the gun range, Rickie has been aiming at the same, instructed, spot.

But unbeknownst to Rickie, the leadership of the New World Power has sent other members to the rally as an insurance policy. If something came up that prevented Rickie from completing his task, or he was unable to follow through on his assignment, then these members would step up and complete the task. If such a situation does arise, each of the members have been briefed and understand what they need to do.

During the planning stage of this rally, it was decided to have it televised. Having the rally televised will allow the politician to reach a wider audience, which is what all politicians want to occur. It casts a wider net; a greater yield with less effort. But the problem is that everything they do is documented, so it they mess up, people are able to review it over and over again and it won’t go away. It remains a permanent ghost of the past. So it’s important to be careful of what you do, because it can kill a political career.

However, some politicians fail to realize this and blindly walk into situations that they shouldn’t walk into. However, there are those who are aware of this but don’t care because they know that what they say or do elsewhere in the country will have little impact back home in their district because they know the general public is apathetic and doesn’t follow politics. And those who do can be persuaded to ignore what they, the politician, have said. Generally speaking, when it comes to Election Day, people will just vote for those who are already in office or will vote along party lines. But this line of thought does more harm then good because it won’t allow the best qualified person to hold office, which in turn causes apathy to form in the voting public.

Over an hour has elapsed in the rally. It is at this point that Rickie decides to make his move. He didn’t want to make his move too early in the rally because he thought that if he did, it would have felt forced and it wouldn’t have sent the best message. If he moved to early, people would believe that it was just a random act of violence. But if he picked his moment, a strong political message would be sent. And that moment has arrived when De Soto starts talking about the New World Power. De Soto made stopping the New World Power one of his campaign issues, so he has to talk about it, especially this close to the election. De Soto also wants to make sure that he talks about the New World Power tonight.

Once De Soto starts talking about the New World Power, Rickie prepares himself to make his move. When De Soto’s speech is interrupted by the applauding audience, Rickie decides that now would be a good time to draw his weapon and fire at De Soto. He figured that if he did this during the applause, it would lead to greater confusion and panic among the audience when it realizes that something wrong is going on. Rickie also waited a bit when the applause started to die down to fire.

Once Rickie fires, he manages to hit his target in the exact location where he was practicing, causing De Soto to go down. As De Soto goes down, the crowd gasps in surprise and fear. The bullet strikes De Soto in the right side of his chest. It won’t be known until later that De Soto was wearing a bullet proof vest under his shirt, preventing the bullet from penetrating. The vest makes him look bulky, and to help hide that fact, De Soto decided to leave his jacket on the entire evening.

When he leaves the hospital the next day, De Soto will talk to the press and use this attack as a propaganda tool to help put him into office. At seeing De Soto get shot and fall to the stage, most of the crowd is stunned by terror. Some rush at Rickie to wrestle the gun away from him as well as wrestle him to the ground until the authorities can take over. Rickie doesn’t resist. He knew from the beginning that he would be caught, so how he sees it, trying to resist would be pointless. At the head of the room, rally organizers and the Secret Service rush to De Soto’s aid, as well as to protect him from any further harm. From there, they contact the paramedics and rush De Soto to the hospital.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Forty

Chapter 40

Located several blocks east of the 405/101 Interchange is the Sherman Oaks Hospital and Health Center. Because of its proximity to the Interchange, and the fact that it has an emergency room available, some of the victims from the shootout will be taken here. And one of the victims that it will receive is Shannon. Shannon has managed to survive her encounter with the New World Power, but she is barely hanging on. She has lost a lot of blood, and if she isn’t treated immediately, there is the chance that she will bleed to death.

Even though the deputies protecting her did the best that they could, Shannon was still injured during the attack. Two bullets managed to hit her; one struck her in the arm while the other nicked her in the shoulder. The bullet that hit her in the arm managed to damage the brachial artery. The bullet that struck her in the shoulder, all that it damaged was the muscle there and nicked the clavicle. Shannon was lucky that it didn’t damage the subclavian artery, which supplies blood to the entire arm. Also, if the subclavian artery was damaged during the attack, there would have been a good chance that Shannon would have suffered a stroke. Though she could have survived the stroke, it would have severely impaired her function and may have prevented her ability to testify.

But regardless of this detail, if Shannon isn’t treated, she will die from her injuries. If she manages to survive, there is the very real possibility that she would lose her arm. If she wasn’t hoped up on drugs and adrenaline, Shannon would be concerned about this potential loss. Like most people, Shannon wants to be buried the same way she was born, in one piece. Small things like the appendix, tonsils, and wisdom teeth won’t be missed if they are removed because they won’t interfere with everyday activities if they are gone. But living without something like an arm would be a major obstruction to everyday life. It would also be sorely missed if removed. And since Shannon has grown attached to her arm, she doesn’t want to see it removed. The doctors will do what they can to mend her wounds without sacrificing the arm, but if the situation becomes dyer and the arm can’t be saved, it’ll have to go. When the ambulance carrying Shannon arrives at the hospital, the doctors rush forward to take care of her.

As they do, the paramedic fills them in on the situation and says “We have a twenty-one year old female with gunshot wounds to the arm and shoulder.”

Once the hospital accepts responsibility for her care, the doctors and nurses rush Shannon into the emergency room. Determining the extent of her injuries, they conclude that emergency surgery is needed and they rush her to an operating room. Surgery lasts for several hours, but the doctors managed to repair her arm as well as save it. While in the ambulance, a tourniquet was applied to Shannon’s arm in an attempt to stop the bleeding, but since the guy was new to the job, being certified only a few weeks ago, he wasn’t able to apply it correctly, which helped save her arm.

With surgery over, Shannon is first taken to the recovery room, followed by being taken to a private room. Being placed into a private room will allow the Marshals to better control and regulate who will be able to gain entrance, though there will be situations where the medical staff will need to gain immediate entry. But this will only be during situations of medical emergencies. Hopefully, such situations won’t present themselves. Positioned outside of Shannon’s room will always be at least one uniformed officer, most likely a deputy Marshal.

Due to the extent of her injuries, Shannon will face a long recovery period and will need to spend a lot of time in the hospital. Because of this, the Marshals are going to take into serious consideration the possibility of moving Shannon to a safer hospital facility, where the general public won’t be able to gain access. But if such a decision is made, they’ll need to wait until Shannon is well enough to be transported. Until she is, they are going to have to wait.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Thirty Nine

Chapter 39

Morning breaks at the police station. Though the sleeping arrangements weren’t ideal, Shannon managed to get some sleep at the station, though it left her a little sore. After grabbing a quick shower, Shannon has a rough breakfast that was cobbled together. When the U.S. Marshals arrive, it is late morning, early afternoon.

Upon their arrival, the Marshals introduce themselves to everyone involved. Once the formalities are over, they begin their interview process with Shannon. The preliminary interview process which the Marshals perform lasts for a few hours, which includes taking a lunch break. Eventually, when the interview process is over, the Marshals decide that Shannon is a good candidate for the Witness Protection Program and pre-admits her into the program. With the decision made, the U.S. Marshals begin the process of taking care of the paperwork and take Shannon into their custody immediately.

To ensure her immediate protection, the Marshals will take Shannon from the police station to a temporarily secure holding area. Once she is at a safe location and the paperwork is finished, Shannon will remain under 24-hour protection while she remains in high-threat areas. Essentially, while Shannon remains in Los Angeles, she’ll be under constant protection of the Marshals. This will last until she testifies or when she is relocated for the Witness Protection Program. If she doesn’t have a chance to testify in the near future, she’ll be relocated and when she returns to testify, the round-the-clock protection will be reestablished.

Once everything is squared away at the police station and everyone is ready, the Marshals escort Shannon to a waiting convoy located in the police parking lot, which consists of a series of unmarked police cars. If one looks at the cars as they went down the street, one could conclude that they are unmarked police cars and figure that they are taking care of some important business. Just seeing them parked there makes Shannon uneasy because she made this connection and is concerned that this makes them easier targets. And with human psychology what is it, mixed in with some popular culture, Shannon’s mind comes to the conclusion that those who wish to target the convey know who is in it, i.e. her.

Once Shannon, and everyone else, are inside the cars, the convoy leaves the station through a side gate of the parking lot and begins to make its way to a safe house where Shannon will stay until such time that she is needed in court to testify or when her new documentation is ready for her to start her new life.

The convoy makes its way to the 405 Freeway where it starts heading north. The 405 Freeway has a history of heavy traffic, but despite a high volume of vehicles on the freeway at the moment, the traffic flow is moving fairly well. This is how a freeway is supposed to be; the easy flow of vehicles at a high volume, not the nightmarish gridlock it has become, especially at peak hours. Once they pass Sunset Boulevard and the Getty Center, the 405 clears up a bit and traffic begins to flow with a quicker pace.

The route that the Marshals take requires them to use the 101 Freeway. This requires the convoy to use the 405/101 Interchange, which is one of the busiest interchanges in the city, and generally has major congestion problems. This results in significant backup to occur with the occasional asshole who decides to skip past it and cut when they get close to the interchange, which slows things down even further. A part of the problem with the interchange is that the designers made it to complex and the geography isn’t able to support it. The interchange consists of a connection between two major freeways as well as on- and off-ramps. The people who are getting onto the freeway from Sepulveda Blvd. have to cut across the traffic that wants to get onto the 101, which slows everything down. The designers tried to do too much too soon, resulting in their plans to utterly fail.

Unbeknownst to the convoy, the New World Power will use this structural folly to its advantage and setup a trap. The New World Power learned about Shannon going to the police because one of its members is a police officer who works at the Pacific Area station. The New World Power doesn’t have too many people working in the police department, or in law enforcement as a whole, so it was extremely fortunate for them that one of their own works at the police station that Shannon went to and was in the station taking care of paperwork when Shannon was there. The New World Power member was able to recognize Shannon because he was given a fairly good description of her and a rough sketch of what to look for.

When an opportunity arises, the New World Power member contacted his superiors within the organization to notify them of the situation. Upon receiving the information, the New World Power sent two cars to monitor the police station. The New World Power member who works in the police station will also notify the fellow members in the car when it looks like the Marshals will be taking Shannon, which he does when they leave.

As the convoy leaves the station, the New World Power members in the two cars manage to discretely follow the convoy. As they follow the convoy, the New World Power tries to anticipate the convoy’s next move. As they make their way down the 405, they conclude that they might use the 405/101 interchange. In preparation for this, one of the cars pulls ahead of the convoy and makes its way into the line of traffic for the interchange only to have a “breakdown” at a convenient location for them to launch their attack. With their hood up, the New World Power members prepare for their target. As they do this, a third car containing New World Power members joins the situation.

As the convoy approaches the interchange, the New World Power members get ready to spring their trap with the aid of a small cache of weapons that they brought with them. And the two cars following behind the convoy are also getting ready. With the level of traffic present and how the interchange is laid out, there isn’t too much the following New World Power cars need to do. Most of the work that needs to be done in trapping the convoy rests with those in the “broken-down” vehicle. Essentially, they just need to immobilize a few cars located in front of the convoy to trap them in. They don’t want to try and shootout the lead vehicle of the convoy because it is highly likely that it will be well armored. And even if they succeed in immobilizing the lead vehicle, there is the chance that it could maneuver in just a way to allow the rest of the convoy to pass safely. If that happens, their trap will backfire and it would all be for naught. So the New World Power members target some bystanders to act as their barricade.

Once the convoy is close enough, the New World Power springs its trap. Using high powered weapons, they shoot-up the tires and engine blocks of a few cars located in front of the convoy. The driver of one of these cars tries to continue moving forward, but gets shot up for his trouble. With their target now trapped and unable to move, the New World Power starts firing upon the convoy. Two of the members start moving forward, using the other cars as cover, as the third member stays behind and provides cover fire to try and distract the members of the convoy from the advancing New World Power members.

Once under fire, everyone in the convoy reacts. For the deputy Marshals who are with Shannon, they do what they can to ensure that she is safe within the vehicle. The other deputies start getting out of their vehicles in order to return fire. One of the deputy’s radios-in that they are under fire and need assistance. As the shootout begins, all of the bystanders surrounding the convoy begin to get out of their cars and start running for their lives. One will even be dumb enough to run into the flowing traffic on the 405 just to get hit by a speeding vehicle.

The New World Power members who were in the following cars get out and start making their way toward the action, though they have to deal with the fleeing masses in order to do so. But since they are also carrying high powered weapons, people tend to give them their space. However, they have to occasionally move over vehicles in order to advance forward. And since the deputy Marshals are distracted by the gunfire in front of them, they are open to attack from behind, which the New World Power anticipated and took advantage of. This allows the New World Power to take out a few deputies before they realize that they have a two front situation on their hands.

Using the now abandoned vehicles as cover, and gunfire as a distraction, one of the New World Power member’s is able to advance upon Shannon’s vehicle. But as he makes his way over to Shannon’s car, one of the deputy Marshal’s protecting her spots the New World Power member. Once the New World Power member is close enough to their location, the deputy Marshal takes action and manages to shoot the New World Power member. However, as he goes down, the New World Power member manages to discharge his weapon into the vehicle and strikes Shannon.

Eventually, the shootout comes to an end with casualties on both sides. Because of the person who ran into traffic on the 405, it caused a pileup to occur, which will cause problems for emergency vehicles that are trying to get to the scene to treat the injured and dying. Most of the New World Power members have been taken down during the shootout, but one or two of them actually managed to escape. As the dust begins to settle, the deputy Marshals begin to regroup.

Following the shootout, local news outlets caught wind of the situation and sent its helicopters to go and check it out, even though the situation has essentially ended upon their arrival. One or two news helicopters actually lucked out and arrived at the scene during the shootout, but this was due to the fact that they were already in the area when they received the news. As the helicopters circle overhead, their respective stations interrupted their regularly scheduled programs to give their audiences the news. The news anchors are commenting upon the situation and are reporting upon what they have heard.

With how broadcast journalism is today, it subscribes to the philosophy of “if it bleeds, it leads.” This causes them to focus upon violent situations whenever they occur. This is part of the reason for the dumbing down of America; we are given pointless news stories so that the local TV stations can artificially inflate their ratings and their sense of self-importance. Given the chance, news outlets will go with meaningless fluff like a police chase across Los Angeles instead of news that will have national or global consequences, such as a potential war that might erupt between India and Pakistan or the turmoil that will arise in Iran after its presidential election that will occur in June of 2009. At times, broadcast journalism lacks integrity, causing the American public to become disinterested in global, national, and local affairs as well as apathetic to such situations, which will even spill over to such things as politics. And when the populace becomes apathetic to what is occurring in the world around them, it can become a very dangerous thing.

Eventually, ambulances are able to make it to the scene and begin treating the injured. But because the situation is what it is, some of the victims bleed to death before paramedics are able to reach them. When paramedic crews do arrive, the Marshals insist that Shannon get top priority. This is because Shannon contains important information, and if she dies, all of this chaos and carnage would have been for nothing, allowing the New World Power to win. There are times and situations where the life of one person can be greater than that of the next.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Thirty Eight

Chapter 38

Robert De Soto is at his home in Las Cruces, taking a break from the campaign trail and enjoying a meal with his wife and three children. He has just spent the past several days traveling his state, getting his face out there to the voting public and explaining why he is the appropriate person for the job of junior senator of New Mexico. What better way to market yourself then doing it in person? And with politics, you have to get your face out there and make the voting public know who you are. Otherwise, your campaign is doomed to fail, no matter how talented you are or what causes you represent.

It also allows the public to interact with the candidate, allowing them to ask the candidate questions directly and to obtain specific information that wouldn’t otherwise get addressed in the campaign. It would also allow the voting public to get a feel for the candidate as a person, to see if this is the type of person they want representing them. It’s basically an interview process, but instead of the candidate interacting with a single person in human resources, he’s interacting with the voting public. Besides the campaign, De Soto made a trip to Washington, D.C. so that he can vote on a resolution and to take care of some other business as well.

As they are finishing their meal, the house phone begins to ring. Monica, De Soto’s wife, looks over her shoulder and begins to get up in order to answer it, but De Soto stops her, saying, “If it’s important, they’ll leave a message.”

In the developed world, phones have become commonplace, and like any other piece of technology, people become increasingly dependent upon it. There are even some who have become entirely dependent upon the phone and think that it must always be answered when it rings. De Soto, however, is one of those people who won’t answer the phone if he can help it. When the call is picked up by the answering machine, the person calling doesn’t leave a message.

Not long after the house phone stops ringing, De Soto’s cell phone begins to ring. He uses it strictly for business and he keeps it on him just in case something important occurs and he needs to be contacted directly while not in his office. Looking at who is calling, he sees that it is his assistant. His assistant knows not to call him while he is at home unless it is absolutely necessary. Seeing who it is, De Soto then excuses himself from the table. Not long after doing this, the doorbell rings. At that, Monica gets up and checks to see who it is. Looking through the peephole, she sees a federal agent waiting on the porch. Opening the front door, she asks, “Can I help you?”

“Yes ma’am,” the officer says. “I’m special agent Warrick from the Secret Service. Is Congressman De Soto home?”

“What is this about?”

“I’m not at liberty to discuss this with anyone but Congressman De Soto.”

“I’m his wife.”

“I understand that you are concerned, but I can only give this information directly to him.”

Displeased, she says “Excuse me while I go get him.”

Monica then goes to get her husband without inviting Special Agent Warrick in. As she goes to get De Soto, he is just finishing up his conversation. “Ok. Thank you, Brandon. I really appreciate it. No, there’s nothing else you can do. Goodnight.” Seeing his wife approach with an unpleasant look on her face, De Soto puts his phone away and asks, “Who’s at the door?”

“The Secret Service and they want to talk to you.”

With a little knowing look in his eyes, he says, “Well, then. I shouldn’t keep them waiting.”

As De Soto heads to the front door, Monica returns to the dining room and asks the children to help cleanup. Once De Soto is at the front door, he introduces himself to Special Agent Warrick and welcomes him in, not surprised to see him.

“Congressman De Soto,” Warrick says. “I’m sorry for disturbing you at such an hour, but I’m going to have to ask you to come with us.”

“What’s this about?” De Soto asks. From his conversation with his assistant, he has an idea why the Secret Service is hear, but he wants to hear it from Special Agent Warrick, as confirmation.

“We have received word coming out of California that the New World Power is planning on taking a move against your life.”

“I understand. So what’s your immediate plan for this situation?”

“We’re going to take you and your family to a safe location until the situation is resolved.”

As this conversation is going on, Monica has made her way back to their location. Hearing only a part of the conversation, she asks, “What’s going on?”

Looking at his wife, De Soto says, “We’re going to have to leave for a little while. The Secret Service is concerned that we won’t be safe if we stay here.”

“I don’t understand. What do you mean?”

“They’re concerned that the New World Power might come after us if we stay here.”

“Oh, my. Are you serious?”

“I’m afraid so. We should tell the kids and have them get ready to go.”

“Ok.” Monica turns and heads to the kitchen to tell the kids, shaken by the news.

Turning back to Warrick, De Soto says “We’ll get ready as soon as we can.”

De Soto then heads back to the kitchen so that he can talk to his family. When he appears, his middle child asks, “Who was as the door daddy?”

“That was just someone from work, honey. He just came to tell me that a situation has come up that I need to deal with. And as it turns out, we all need to take a little trip.”

“What type of trip?” the oldest child asks.

“It’s nothing you have to worry about. I’ll just need you guys to get ready, ok?”

A quizzical look comes across her face. The oldest child has reached the age where she begins to question things and won’t just accept things her parents tell her. Noticing his daughter’s look, De Soto tells her, “I’ll explain later. Right now, I just need you to do this for me, ok?”

“Ok,” she says a little hesitantly.

Addressing all the kids, De Soto says, “Ok. Let’s get packing so that we can go on our little trip.”

“How long will we be gone?” the middle child asks.

“Not to long, honey,” De Soto replies. He has a feeling that they’ll be gone on their little “trip” until after the election. Once that is over, things will settle down and they can return home.

“What about school?” the oldest child asks.

With a little smile, De Soto replies “You’ll still have to go to school, but probably with a little more security. Come on kids, let’s get packing.”

With a little encouragement from their father, the two youngest children go to their rooms followed by their mother. The oldest stays behind. Walking up to her, De Soto asks “What’s wrong?”

“I just don’t understand why we are doing this.”

“If I tell you, do you think you can keep it a secret from your sisters?”

“I think so.”

“Now, Michelle, I need you to promise me that you won’t tell your sisters. The information might upset them.”

“Ok. I promise.”

With that, De Soto tells Michelle what is going on. Once he is done, he asks Michelle to be a good girl and go pack. Before she does, Michelle gives her father a hug. “I love you daddy.”

“I love you too, honey.”

Eventually, once everything has been squared up, De Soto and his family emerge from their house with everything that they need. If they need anything else, a member of the Secret Service will head over and grab it for them. With the assistance of the Secret Service, they climb into two cars and are taken to a safe house.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Thirty Seven

Chapter 37

Shannon and Penn arrive at the Pacific Area police station located at the intersection of Culver Boulevard and Centinela. Penn isn’t familiar with this area of L.A., so he depends upon Shannon to navigate. Shannon is familiar with this police station because it is just down the street from the diner. Also, it’s the only police station that Shannon knows the location to. Once they arrive, they go check-in at the front desk.

Walking up to the front desk, Shannon greets the officer there, hesitantly. As they were heading over to the police station, Shannon was trying to figure out exactly what to say, with little success. “Hi. I believe that I might have some information that could be of some importance. It has to do with a plot against a U.S. Congressman.” As she said this, Shannon looked back at Penn once.

Hearing this, a look of concern and interest comes across the officer’s face. He then notifies his superior, who decides to take Shannon into one of their interview rooms, leaving Penn to wait in the lobby. Figuring that this would happen, Penn grabbed an issue of Scientific American he had in his car before coming into the station. He didn’t want to leave immediately until he heard from the police on what they decided to do. But because he is nervous and concerned about Shannon, he has trouble reading the issue.

Being taken back into one of the interview rooms, Shannon sits nervously, declining a cup of coffee that was offered to her. Eventually, two detectives enter the room.

“Hello, Ms. Brown,” one of them says. “I’m Detective Warren and this is Detective Hagen. I’ve been informed that you have some information relating to a plot against a U.S. Congressman.”

“Yes-yes I do,” Shannon says a little hesitantly and with a slight stutter.

Detective Hagen hands Shannon a Coke, which she requested after refusing the coffee, where Shannon thanks him. Detective Hagen’s also brought a plastic cup for her to use, but Shannon passes on it, preferring to drink straight out of the can. It’s doubtful that she even acknowledged the plastic container.

“Ok, Ms. Brown,” Detective Warren says. “We’ll need you to tell us everything that you know relating to this plot. First, do you know who the intended target is?”

“Yes. His name is Robert De Soto.”

“Do you know who Mr. De Soto is or where he can be found?”

“I don’t know. All I can say is that he’s a politician. I think that he might be involved in the upcoming election, but I can’t say for sure.”

“Ok. Do you know who is behind the plot?”

“Yes. It’s Crow and the New World Power who are behind it.”

This surprises Detective Warren a bit, but it doesn’t deter him. “And how do you know its Crow who is responsible for this plot?”

“Because I was a member of the New World Power when I overheard the plot.” At this, Shannon begins to tell her story. Even though she starts out telling her story slowly, it begins to come more easily as time goes by. When she finishes her story, basically everything has been covered; how she obtained the information, why she was at the meeting, why she joined the New World Power, as well as what was talked about at the meeting. The hardest thing for her was to admit that she is a psionic.

Once Shannon has finished her story, Detective Warren stands up and pulls Detective Hagen off to one side. He then whispers into his ear, “Figure out who Robert De Soto is and then contact the authorities of where he lives and inform them of the threat which Mr. De Soto faces.”

With that, Detective Hagen leaves the room to make the call. With that done, Detective Warren turns his attention back to Shannon.

“Am I in trouble?” Shannon asks.

“No, you’re not,” Detective Warren says. “But it’s a good thing that you came to us, Ms. Brown. After talking to you, it is clear that you have some valuable information relating to the New World Power. But for us to protect you, we’ll need you to do something for us. We’ll need you to testify against the New World Power.”

“You want me to testify?”

“Yes. With the information that you possess, you can help bring down a domestic terrorist organization and bring its members to justice. And if you agree to testify, there is a good chance that you will be entered into the Witness Protection Program.”

“What if I say no?”

“That is your right, but I strongly suggest that you agree because there is a good chance that the New World Power will come after you, and if you pass this up, we won’t be able to protect you. And besides, if you do decline, I’m afraid that I would have to arrest you because you are a confessed member of a terrorist organization.” Detective Warren doesn’t want to do that, but playing that card is a good way to persuade Shannon into testifying.

After hearing this, a random thought came across Shannon’s mind: that of the abduction and murder of three Freedom Riders (James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman) in 1964. That is one threat she sees, but she also sees the threat of federal prison, and she doesn’t want that. That’s one of the reasons why she was hesitant in the first place. These only deepen her fear over the situation. This leads Shannon to get up from her chair and to start pacing the room. As she paces, Shannon weighs the situation, leading to her eventual decision. “Ok. I’ll testify.”

“Perfect. I’ll get the ball rolling and contact the Department of Justice as soon as possible.”

“Why are you contacting the Department of Justice?”

“To see if I can get you into the Witness Protection Program. The information you possess is very valuable. As I take care of this, I would like you to stay here, at least for the time being.”

“What will happen after you contact the Department of Justice?”

“Once we contact the Department of Justice and give them the information you gave us and the situation we are in, the U.S. Marshals Service will send someone over and conduct an interview. I know, having a second interview will be annoying, but that’s just the way it is.” The point of the interview with the U.S. Marshals is to determine if the candidate, in this case Shannon, is appropriate for Witness Protection; to determine if the pros outweigh the cons. But before the interview with the Marshals can occur, the U.S. Attorney General needs to give approval. Detective Warren decides that it is best not to share that information with Shannon or it would only distress her more. That’s part of the reason why he wants to keep Shannon here overnight.

“How long do you think it will take?”

“I can’t give a definite answer to that. That’s why I would like to keep you here for the night, so that we can keep an eye on you.”

“I think my friend is still waiting for me. Could I check up on him? To let him know what’s going on?”

“I would think that it would be best if you stayed back here, for your protection. I’ll make sure your friend knows what’s going on.”

With that said, Detective Warren steps out and heads to the lobby where he can talk to Penn. Noticing that a door opens, Penn closes the magazine and looks over. During Shannon’s interview with the police, Penn had trouble concentrating on the magazine, causing him to reread some sections. He had to put the magazine down a few times and do something else in an attempt to take his mind off of the situation. He played a game on his cell and he even paced around the station lobby a bit. This included just staring at the wall for no apparent reason for prolonged periods of time. When he sees someone coming into the lobby, Penn becomes even more nervous. If it was Shannon who stepped out, he would feel a sense of relief. But instead, he only sees Detective Warren. Detective Warren looks over at Penn and heads that way.

“Are you here because of Shannon?” Penn asks.

“Yes,” Detective Warren says. “Yes I am.”

“What’s going on? Is Shannon alright?”

“Yes. She’s fine. She’s decided to testify and I thought that you should know that.”

“That’s good. That’s very good. Could I possibly see her? Just to check to see how’s she’s doing?”

“I’m sorry. I can’t let you see her. At least not at the moment. I hope you understand.”

“Ok. Well, is there anything else I can do?”

“You’ve been a tremendous help. I suggest that you go home and try to get some rest. She’s going to be here for awhile, so there isn’t really anything else you can do.”

“Ok. Thanks for letting me know.” Penn extends his hand and Detective Warren accepts it. After shaking hands, Penn grabs his magazine and heads out. Before leaving however, he says “Tell her to take care of herself, ok?”

“Ok.”

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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An Enemy Within — Chapter Thirty Six

Chapter 36

In their apartment kitchen, Shannon and Marc are preparing dinner together. As Shannon is preparing the carrots for the chicken soup, her cell phone rings, which is resting upon the counter. By not having her phone close to a window, Shannon runs the chance that it won’t get reception. But this time, it does. Shannon and Marc decided not to get a landline because they felt that it would be cheaper to just use their cell phones. The downside is that they don’t always get reception while inside the apartment. Due to the ringtone, Shannon knows that it’s Penn. To get better reception, Shannon excuses herself and steps outside.

“Hey, Penn.”

“Hi. Can you let me in?”

Shannon looks over to the second floor gate and sees Penn standing there. Closing her phone, Shannon heads over and opens it up.

“Thanks,” Penn says as he walks through the open gate and follows Shannon into her apartment. Once inside, Penn smells dinner cooking. “What are you cooking?”

“Marc and I are preparing some chicken soup.”

Penn walks over to the kitchen and says hi to Marc, who returns the greeting. Turning back to Shannon, Penn says, “Can we talk in private?”

“Sure,” Shannon says after sighing. “Marc, would you excuse us for a moment?”

“Don’t let me hold you back. Go forth and set the world right.” Marc is playing it up and it brings a small smile to Shannon’s face. But with the conversation she and Penn are going to have, Marc’s little statement will have a deeper meaning to it and will have a grain of truth.

Shannon and Penn step into Shannon’s room and they close the door. “So, what do you want to talk about?” Shannon asks.

“I’m concerned about you. You’ve seemed remote and disconnected these past few weeks.”

“Thanks for the concern, Penn, but I’m fine. I’ve just had a lot on my mind recently. I can handle it.”

“I don’t think you can. At least not at the moment. There’s something troubling you and I think it’s larger than you realize or are letting on.”

“I can handle it, alright? I don’t need you to be standing behind me to catch me if I fall. I don’t need a babysitter.”

“I’m not saying that you do. I’m just expressing my concern that you are trying to control something that is more than you can handle.”

“I’m dealing with it, ok! So would you please give me some space?”

“Ok. Ok. I will. But a word of advice, don’t be so hasty to push people away when you are in need. Otherwise, when your head sinks beneath the water, there won’t be anyone there to rescue you.” Penn goes to open the door to Shannon’s room, but Shannon stops him before he opens it.

“Penn, wait.” Shannon takes a moment before continuing. “Listen. I’m in something deep and I don’t want to drag you, or anyone else, into it. I don’t want any of my friends to get hurt because of me.”

“Don’t try playing the hero. I understand where you’re coming from, but you fail to realize something, this is why you have friends, so that you won’t be dragged down. They are there to help you out during hard times so that you won’t have to face things alone.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Shannon eventually decides to open up to Penn and tell him everything that is going on, the New World Power, her suspicions about the hit on De Soto, everything.

When she finishes, Penn says “You have to go to the police!”

“I know, but if I tell the police, it means that I’ll go to prison as well. And besides, I don’t know if I’m correct. Telepathy is not like as it is presented in comics or on TV. It’s not a precise tool.”

This is because the brain doesn’t have a central location where thought occurs. It has billions of neurons with each one having thousands of connections, causing thoughts to be scattered throughout the brain. And without coming into physical contact, which is held for a certain period of time, the telepath can only get surface thoughts.

“There’s a chance that a man’s life is in danger,” Penn continues. “In that situation, it’s better to go off of a hunch. And with the threat of prison, that’s not always the case.”

“You don’t know that.”

“You’re confusing the situation with a plea bargain, where the person is already in custody and looking for a lesser sentence. You’re going to the authorities before hand. Being sent to prison is not a likely possibility.”

“But if we do make a deal, how do I know that they are going to honor it? Look at what happened to Anna Sage. After helping out the FBI by ratting out John Dillinger, she was deported back to Romania for her trouble.” Shannon has an interest in the mob and has studied the subject in her free time.

“They’re not going to deport you.”

“But my point still stands.”

“Shannon, they’re not going to punish you. They would do more harm to their position if they did because it would deter people from stepping forward in the first place.” With justice, for it to be administered effectively, compromises have to be made to achieve maximum effect. It’s foolish to hold on to the idealistic concept that everyone needs to be punished without compromise. Its naïve and can’t be implemented effectively in a complex society like in the United States.

“But because of my psionic abilities, I’m considered a mutant and society is trying to outlaw that. The police are designed to enforce these laws. Why would I freely go into a situation where I would compromise my freedom and safety?”

“I understand that this is a hard choice to make, and you’ve been wrestling with this for a while, but what other choice do you have? From what you have told me, the New World Power is planning on killing a man. Can you live with yourself if you are right and that happens? And you can’t take on Crow directly; he’s to strong. He has too many supporters at his side and he’s a powerful psionic. You can’t take him on. If you want to see him defeated, you’re going to have to let someone else fight your battle. That’s the only way.”

Penn brings up a good point. Is her freedom more valuable than a man’s life? If so, how much is she willing to sacrifice? Under other circumstances, there is a good chance that she would go to the police and tell them what is going on, but because she is a psionic, a mutant to the rest of humanity, that adds a layer of complexity to the situation that makes her nervous to step forward. As she deliberates, she goes and sits on the foot of her bed. After some deliberation, Shannon decides that Penn is right. She needs to go to the cops and tell them Crow’s plan, even if she is wrong. She doesn’t feel any better once she comes to this conclusion, but it’s the right thing to do.

“You’re right,” Shannon says, sounding defeated. “Let’s go to the police.”

“That’s my girl.”

With the decision made, Shannon gets ready to head out. She has just agreed to go to the police, despite her deep mistrust of them accompanied with her bitter experience in dealing with them in the past. But she managed to muster up the courage to do this and she is taken a pretty big step, an action that carries an extremely high cost. But this is the only moral choice available to her though she needed some coaxing to do it. Moral decisions aren’t to be taken lightly, and some times, people need to be talked through it to come to the best conclusion available. A man’s life is in danger and she has the capability of saving it. Even though she has decided to go to the police, it’s a good thing that Penn will be accompanying her because there is a chance that she might back out of it. People can change their mind, even if they are set in their beliefs, though it may be difficult. So those who are unsure are more likely to back out or change their mind. But basically, the same motivation that led her to join the New World Power in the first place is the same reason why she is turning her back on it.

When Shannon has grabbed everything that she needs, she and Penn step out of her bedroom and prepare to leave. But before they leave, Shannon heads to the kitchen so that she can talk to Marc. “Marc. Something’s come up and I’ve got to go. I don’t mean to abandon you, but its something that can’t wait.”

“May I ask what this urgent business is?”

Shannon takes a quick look at Penn, then back at Marc. “Sorry, I can’t tell you; at least not at the moment. I wish I didn’t have to do this to you…”

“Urgent business. Maybe next time, we can have dinner.”

Before leaving, Shannon walks over to Marc and gives him a big hug. This will probably be the last time she gets to see him, so she didn’t want to leave without giving some form of goodbye. When she’s done, she joins Penn and the two of them leave.

 

(c) 2011 Bradley P. Thomas

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in An Enemy Within

 

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