I figured we all needed a little light reading, so I started this. Let me know what you think, and if I should post it for you as I write it. I will be doing another short Chapter every now and then.
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“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax –
Of cabbages – and kings –
And why the sea is boiling hot –
And whether pigs have wings.”
– The Walrus and the Carpenter,
by Lewis Carroll
Everything you are about to read is a fiction.
It could not be any other way.
Let us say that it is the product of an overactive imagination.
If this account was the truth, that would be crazy, right?
And all my credibility would go right out of the window, right?
The implications of what you are about to read go much further that can be imagined.
We have all heard that the truth is stranger than fiction.
So this account is a fiction.
It is better that way.
For if it was the truth, people would then need to think about all of this.
And we all know how bad that can be.
Red, White, and Blue
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
– Morpheus to Neo,
by Larry and Andy Wachowski
I scarcely know where to begin.
Or, where this will all end.
I have decided to forgo the usual introduction. I will write this novel as a first-person narrative, as that is the easiest way for me to make it seem all that much more real to all. Within this account, whenever I say “he”, it is interchangeable with “she”. Whenever I write “I”, it is interchangeable with “you”.
Everything you have seen, everything you have ever heard, all that you have read, everything that you believe or think you believe, everything you see on TV or on the big screen, will be called into question here. Advertising, your conversations with your friends, the numbers on license plates, the names for models of cars, even you own name , everything you have ever experienced or imagined you have experienced, you will now question.
Or you will say to yourself, “What a bunch of crap.”
Or, “He is ripping off other writers.”
All of that is up to you.
That is no coincidence.
I suppose I should address the premise of this novel first.
We all know something more or less about the government. We have our Village, Borough, Town, Township, Municipal, City, County, Parish, Commonwealth, and State Governments. It all depends on where you live, what you call it. There are Tribal Authorities that are semi-autonomous units. We also have the Federal Government.
We all know that we can grow up to become a part of any one of these units. We can run for office, get elected, and move on to bigger and better things. We can work for one of these units. Maybe you are a Senator’s secretary, or a Township Roadmaster.
We can register to vote as a member basically of two main political parties. We can discuss politics with each other, agree, disagree, agree to disagree, compliment each other, insult each other, come to blows, or shake hands. Or we can be apolitical, choosing not to participate at all.
Or, we can vow to tear the whole thing down.
No matter how you look at it, most of us go to work, come home, eat, turn on the TV, shower, turn in, and dream. Most of us do not think too much about the government, or how it works.
Oh, we may know a lot about the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government. We know about their incessant jockeying for power, for an advantage of one branch over the other. We as a citizenry are somewhat contemptuous of those we elect and those the elected appoint. This is for good reason. They, in many cases, are totally deserving of our thinly veiled contempt.
We also know that an apparatus that takes in so much of our tax dollars has to be spending it somewhere. The government is big business. A lot of citizens work for the government in many different capacities. They are the workers found in all the offices and in the bureaus and in the deputates of all of the branches of the various levels of government. Some of these workers may be the subject of this novel.
This novel is concerned for the most part with the Federal Government.
There are various branches of the government that have very different functions. Most of these branches are insular. One agency does not know what the other agencies are doing. As far as the more secretive agencies are concerned, setting up the Department of Homeland Security was supposed to address all that. Information and intelligence sharing was a priority. Streamlining activities without duplication of effort was a priority. To a large degree, this has already happened.
Within DHS, there are increasingly restrictive levels of security. The upper levels are all on a need-to-know basis. Here is where things get a little screwy. Here is where the information and intelligence sharing breaks down.
DHS works with all of the other branches of government. FEMA, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, the Cabinet, the CIA, FBI, the FAA, etc. all work together to a degree under DHS. But all of them still jealously guard certain core secrets. The most secret of all secrets.
Within each of these agencies are levels of command. There are different security clearances. When you get deeper into these levels of clearance, less and less is actually known on the outside about the individuals possessing these clearances. What they even do for a living becomes more and more questionable. Here is where the direct answering of these operatives to those on the top starts to break down.
Here, within the upper security clearance culture, is where the Shadow Government operates. Members of the SG are just like you and I. They live in our suburbs. Their kids are on your kid’s soccer team. You may have bought them a drink at your local bar. They may attend your church. You will have no idea that they are a member of the Shadow Government.
Neither does DHS.
Oh, they have their suspicions. DHS knows that the SG definitely exists. But they cannot pin it down. They do not know who these operatives are. The President does not know who they are.
But they would like to.
The SG operatives show up in the strangest places at the most opportune times. They seem to know just when things are going to happen, and are just conveniently in the area. To take the call, or to just show up anyway without having gotten the call.
They may work for the FBI, or the Pentagon, or as a Sky Marshall. They collect no other check for what they do. They have no obvious means of communication with one another. But when they meet, they know who they are. They recognize one another instantly.
No one even knows what the agenda of the SG even is. Those who know do not talk, they keep it to themselves. To talk to those outside of the SG is to be ridiculed, or to be discredited, or to be signed into a mental hospital under an involuntary commitment. Now that will discredit you in the eyes of all. The SG ultimately swears all who they communicate with to secrecy. You swear to this overtly, or know deep down inside that you will keep everything you know a secret. It is the same thing, in the end.
If you know anything about the SG operatives, you can sometimes recognize them by their actions.
The President is not SG. There may or may not be members of the SG in the Cabinet. There may or may not be members of the SG in Congress. You will never know. Because you did not know that they even existed, or how deeply entrenched they are within the Federal Government.
The members of the SG are often middle level personnel within the various agencies. They have high clearances, but may not have all of the clearances. It does not matter. What is important is how they operate, and what their agenda actually is.
Nothing about a SG member directly stands out. They are just average Joes and Janes you would not pay any real attention to if you met them on the street. If anything, a slight degree of incompetence when compared with their peers is their most distinguishing characteristic. They are not generally promotable. But this is all a ruse. They know exactly what they are doing. They want to stay right where they are, for now.
Now here is where my story gets to be like something in the movies, or a story the National Enquirer or something.
You have all heard the stories about the Soviets and the Nazis trying to find things like psychics and telepaths within their own populations. This is nothing new. Think Merlin, witches, demons, wizards and angels. Or aliens. Or dimensionals. Whatever. None of these ideas are new. The Nazis actually were looking for the Holy Grail. This is the subject of The Raiders of the Lost Ark. Telepathy is a part of the premise for the movie Starship Troopers. Prediction of the future, the ability to bend time or matter, and to implant thoughts into the minds of others are the most tantalizing to those in power.
Our own government has a branch that is working on this same sort of stuff. I actually saw a documentary on it. The research is not as secretive as it once was. At least, not all of it.
Governments are not concerned with the premise of whether this stuff exists at all or not. They are working on it worldwide because other governments are working on it, too. Governments try to keep all of their options open. If an enemy government succeeded in one of these areas of research, it would put their enemies at a disadvantage. So, they all are working on it.
Remember, this is just a fiction, so keep on enjoying it.
This has been done ever since there were governments. You had the shamans and the sorcerers and the magicians of old. You had the priesthood. In modern times, you have scientific research. But the motive is the same. It is control of the forces that are not generally controllable by the average man, by any man.
So, recruits to the various branches of the government take specific tests upon entry into the government. They are watched by the SG. Data is tabulated. When a recruit seems promising, the recruit is approached. It is very subtle. You will not even suspect that you have been approached. Your answer to a single, innocent-seeming question during a discussion at the break table may determine if the SG wants to continue checking you out. Their recruitment may include another such test, then another. Some of these tests are merely responses to particular data presented to you within real-world situations. This data collection is also done on people outside of the agencies too. Someone may be recruited to the SG right out of high school or college. But you may not even know that you have been recruited to this part of the government for a while. Indoctrination into the SG is subtle. They have time. They have been around forever.
Once you are considered to be ready, you can enter some of the deepest levels of the government. This is true in each country. At these levels, you have a cover. You have your regular job. You work with other people just like you. Your job may be pretty boring at times. But there are times when circumstances come together, and you are now working for the SG.
There are only a few levels within the SG. You are not directly promoted. Promotion is a natural outgrowth dependent upon your participation level, experience, and expertise. There are no orders. Things are done by consensus, with no discussion. It is a very strange organization. It appears to be totally incompetent upon the surface, until you figure out exactly what is going on deep down inside.
At the third level from the top, you are pretty much on your own as an SG operative. I spent a day with one of these operatives. We actually got to be pretty good friends by the end of the day. He is dead now, so forget about asking him about any of this.
To be a SG member is a little like you personally are acting as an autonomous government. You answer directly to no one. You take orders from no one. You report to no one. There is no salary, no communication, no outright command structure. There are no superiors or subordinates within the SG.
As I said, the third level operatives answer to no one. Sure, they write reports for their cover agency. These reports are relatively mundane. It is the hints and clues within these reports that are significant. You might think that you were looking at a typographical error. Or a Freudian slip. If you do not know what you are reading, you will miss them every time. First of all, you would have to know that the SG exists. And a little bit about it. And a lot about how it operates. And what its purpose is. That the report you are reading, lying there in that big pile of all of the other reports written by all the workers of the same rank within your agency, was actually written by an SG member.
The SG does not at all answer to the government they work for. The government itself only suspects they exist. The government does not know who they are. The government would love to know who the SG members are, because they know they are totally infiltrated, and they do not know what their agenda is, and they are scared to death of this, and they do not like it one bit.
This novel hypothesizes about that agenda.
One last point.
If you ever happen to meet an apparently slightly incompetent and frumpy government agent, and you are offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill, you need to think that one over a little bit. Do you want things to go back to just the way they were, with no memory of this but a little nagging feeling in the back of your head that something strange and significant has just happened to you, but you cannot figure out just what it was?
Or do you want to see just how deep the rabbit-hole goes?
Or, if you want to know exactly what the rabbit hole is, you could do what I did. Take both of the pills.
And eat the pomegranate seeds.
Gary W. Harper
A Royal Pain