Act 1 (from Acts of Desolation)

“Share your body with me.  Let me in.”  She was hovering all around me.  Not as sexy as it sounds.  She wants to take over my will and use my body for her own purposes.  Well, maybe that is sex for some, but not me.

“You know I can help you.”  So enticing.  I can almost be persuaded, flooded by feeling of her concern, that she is so kindly offering me her soul.  I know the rules.  They can’t get in without an invitation.  Here, in the cacophony of noise, light, movement, I have the distraction to avoid falling into her psychic trap.  Concentrate on someone else, someone I can in some sense relate to.  There.  That girl in the background, her costume just enough different from the rest.  She is palpably alone, and enthused with a fear and excitement at being part of the scene.

The ghost can see her, too.  All that charming vulnerability, just waiting.  This girl didn’t have the experience I did.  The ghost desperately needed a body.  She had corporeal errands.  I, so far her only psychic link, was not cooperating.  If only she could manage an invitation from this lonely young woman who was looking for something new.  I would be off the hook, out of this mess that was none of my business to begin with.

Red and green spotlights were flashing across the stage.  The band was revving up into banshee shrieks over an accelerating, hard-driving beat.  Everyone was screaming, the dark, perspiration-dripping room closing in way too fast.  I wound my way out of there, back onto the minimally quieter, darker, emptier street.

It was raining, a cold January rain when it’s not interested in snowing because that would feel pleasanter.  Had it been this wet all night?  I didn’t remember.

She was there, the girl from the club.  I don’t know if she was following me.  Maybe the ghost had gotten to her.  I looked her straight in the eyes, and I was lost.  She was not the innocent I had expected.  It seemed that potent forces were collecting here, and I seem to be vibrating in the center of an impending storm.

#3

Before I can gather up the necessary will to run off, she walks to where I am standing and takes my hand.

“Take me with you,” she says simply, quietly.  “We have a lot to catch up on.”

We make our way, through the rain and icy streets, to the hole.  I light a fire to dry us.  As it turns out, she has a flask of very fine brandy in her pocket, which makes the warming up process far easier.  In no time it seems like we were old friends.

“That’s because we are,” she tells me, laughing gently as if remembering a private joke.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this.  But, if someone had to, I’m glad it could be me.”  This does not sound encouraging.

“I know you’re retired.  I now you’ve been taking memory suppressants to help you stay truly undercover.  I know why.”  This is more encouraging, since so unlikely.  This must be another one of those dreams.  Soon the sirens and jumbled images will take over until I find myself suddenly awake, terrified, covered in sweat, with no idea why.

“I am sorry.  We have ourselves a situation.  We need you.  You are going to have to come in from the cold.”

Suddenly I am very cold indeed.  Shivering uncontrollably, as tears take over my face, I still don’t know why.

So, it turns out I am part of a highly trained secret corps of empaths, developed by the Genetic Weapons Initiative during Cold War III.  When the new Administration and Congress were voted in after the Worldwide Peace Convention, they dismantled GWI as repugnant to the conscience.  We were sold to a secret mercenary group for ad hoc assignments.

This is a lot to take in, and apparently the story gets weirder from there.  Calinda, my new best friend, is also my old best friend and my biological twin, though several years younger than I.  There was a mutiny against the mercenaries, a secret war between secret entities.

“Dorie, I know you wanted, needed so badly, to get away.  I know you just wanted a peaceful retreat.”  She hugs me as she speaks, holding off some of my terror as the visual memories run scatter-shot through my inner view.  What could they possibly need from me?  I am nothing but broken, hiding in self-imposed ignorance.

“You sleep,” she decides.  “I’ll walk your dreams.  It will all make sense when you awaken.”

I feel Calinda’s safe presence guiding me into the dream, the denied memory.

When you grow up in a vat, created as an advanced biology experiment, any semblance of family takes on great significance.  Especially for empaths, who are forced into intimacy relentlessly, having the security of well-known, bonded, intimates can be crucial.

It was a small, efficient team:  Reag, our revolutionary leader, his wife, Romy, Arden, his bio-twin, and me, his oldest friend.  We had learned that the GWI labs were still in secret operation, churning out human weapons for the mercenary organization with which we were now at war.  We were all linked in, both for strategy and emotional support.

Arden and Romy were in the main lab building, setting the explosive charges in the embryo and accelerated growth vat rooms.  The kids in the vats, undergoing treatments to bring them to physical maturity in months rather than years, could feel our presence.  They were helpless.  There was no way we could save them and destroy GWI.  That would take resources far beyond anything in our power.

Reag and I were in the communications tower, standing look-out while scanning and overriding the data stream to keep our actions from being monitored.  Most of the lab’s operation was automated, especially during the scientists’ and technicians’ downtime.

We weren’t prepared for the silent screaming.  The vat kids knew why we were there.  Their energy, a massive panic surging outward, set off the explosives before Arden and Romy could escape.  Noise, light, pain, hundreds of young bodies ripped apart, still silently screaming.  Arden’s and Romy’s screams coming through even stronger, with poignant, tragic intimacy.

http://caelastory.blogspot.com/2009/03/acts-of-desolation-when-battlefield.html

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