Halfway around the world in an equally extravagant setting, an army of workers busily compiled records, adjusted charts, and moved figures in a virtual diorama-like arena.
This room did not offer a spectacular view of its surroundings or dizzying vistas of floor after floor soaring above like the Tower did. Even though this room was the largest one in the complex, it was only a fraction of the size of the courtyard where Tom Cort stood over the body of the dead man.
This room was extravagant in its design. The floors were inlaid with of electro-magnetic ‘cables’, which guided the movements of the workstations. Each workstation was a self-contained living unit that resembled a reclining chair with the seat and leg areas enclosed. Some chairs had keyboards, all used the implants, and all were occupied by soldiers.
There were male and female soldiers. Several races and nationalities were represented. Approximately 275 workstations were grouped in a circle around the center of the room.
The floor, apart from being inlaid with magnetic flow lines, was also inlaid with gold. The pattern was not evident at any single point of the room but seemed to gravitate to the center where an intricate weaving of archaic letters and figures could be found. Directly above these letters was a mosaic of 1″ squares depicting a dark sky with a single brilliant star as the focal point. A single beam of chalky white light fell from the star, washing the floor beneath it.
A figure stood in the wash of the light that fell from the star. His supernaturally controlled body absorbed the energy that was hidden in the glow and communed with his god. Swaying slightly, he stood for some time before his head snapped down to his chest. He slowly raised his arms over his head and mumbled unintelligible words. Several of the soldiers at their workstations nodded at the completion of the mumbled prayer. He lowered his arms as he came out of his trance and looked at the soldier monitoring the project called ‘Obedience Training’. This project was particularly important to the leader of this arena of war. The subjects involved were members of an elite club. These people were very well financed, exceptionally well connected to social and political leaders around the world, and they all had one thing in common. They each actively gave their allegiance to the Dark Prince.
This small knot of power was one of the tools being put in place to topple the financial strength of America. If social unrest, moral decay, religious apathy and greed were the fulcrum, this group of people was the lever that would dislodge America from its’ foothold of world power.
Each member of this group had been given an amount of collateral in exchange for a particularly binding IOU, for safekeeping. This collateral represented trillions of dollars of debt, callable debt, of the United States of America. It had been gathered by thousands of people and the amount had been increasing for over a hundred years. Men and women over the years had invested in America and had, for whatever reason, donated or willed that asset to a cause, a fund, or some group that in turn funneled the debt to this club.
Each member of the club was responsible for several hundred billion dollars. They could not exchange or call the debt themselves but could use the leverage of the asset to obtain credit for whatever their twisted minds desired.
Some members of the club did nothing with the money. They lived in fear of losing it and having to confront their leader with excuses. The leader did not tolerate failure. Some of them became broken, worthless husks of human flesh. They developed odd habits and peculiarities that are called eccentricities when they happen to the rich.
Other members made modest investments and set aside the amount they were exposed for, using the additional earnings to finance their vices.
Then there were the truly evil members of the club. These were the ones who actively invested huge amounts of their asset holdings, risking loss in order to achieve potential massive gains of income to be used to manipulate world events. To turn the world toward the bidding of their master.
One of the members of the club, who had invested aggressively but not successfully, was the subject of this project. Apparently he had not been able or willing to repay the IOU. Or maybe he had paid the money back. It did not matter. The attention being directed to this problem already surpassed any other project that had been monitored from this facility, and the pressure on the leader of this task force seemed to double with each passing hour.
“What have you got!” he snapped.
“Sir. I’m showing the subject, Tom Shaller, a member, pardon, a former member of the Six, has been harvested. The objectives have been met successfully. Prophecy lines are nominal. Misdirection is active. Non-controlled operatives are in proper perspective. Controlled operatives have been approached and apprised. No requests for higher level intervention. Current level of confidence is 92%. Dropping to 91%….90… Sir. I have a source report on the situation. This could relate to the confidence drop.”
The confidence level of any project, let alone one of this importance, should be no less than 92%. This was determined to be the level at which humans would not interfere or notice that a project has occurred. Upon seeing the drop in confidence, the Supervisor began sweating.
“Report”, he demanded.
“Sir. Controlled source indicates the presence of a ‘closed’ subject.”
“Sir. Identity is: Thomas Carl Cort. Age, 32. Closed, 14 years. Male, Caucasian, Married 8.5 years. 2 children, ages 6 and 8. Spouse name Mindy Ann. Children’s names are Samuel and Michael. Address…”
“Store the details. Give me the confidence scenario”.
“Sir. Scenario: Tom Cort is an investigating officer from local police homicide unit. History of disrupting our lesser projects. Report of 10 verified direct interventions using enemy supplied intelligence. Enemy involvement generally appears to be level 1 only. Current involvement levels approaching 4. Confidence to 85%.”
“Instruct our controlled operator to approach at the earliest opportunity and mislead using ‘soft glove’ techniques. This is too soon to increase our presence.”
“Sir. Request complete…. Confirmed…Verified. Update to follow on significant event.”
“That is all.” The man turned slightly and directed his gaze to the manager at the next console. “Report.”