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The Rapture

By Joshua Hansford

On October 6, 2011, two events changed reality on Earth. The

Cleveland Ohio soccer team won the World Cup. Then the rapture

came.

The act of God began in the world’s largest particle accel-

erator, a well built, metal, magnet filled tube, buried deep in

the Texas countryside. A bolt of energy burst though the desert

soil and danced around the sky, discharging energy along every

wavelength.

The scientists of the Particle Accelerator Facility rose to

their feet. They had been monitoring an oddity of the last ex-

periment. Was it really possible a few atoms could have such a

widespread effect? They began observing and recording, and sur-

vived long enough to begin reporting to their superiors about

what was happening.

Samuel Poole closed his eyes to pray and gave up. His

short term memory demanded attention. Too many things, impossi-

ble events, balked at his attempt to rationalize them.

"What the hell is going on?" He whispered, steading himself

with thoughts of the report he'd write later.

An emergency occurred shortly after the Worlds Cup Soccer

game. The president collapsed. The Vice President left immedi-

ately, shortly before Cleveland rioted. Air Force two entered

the air safely.

talking.

As soon as the plane leveled it was full of

"Everything had been done to save the President of the

United States."

Those were the last words Samuel had really listened to.

Every time he lifted his attention back to the real world the

whispers attacked his concept of reality.

"Half of Congress is missing"

"We are mobilizing a catastrophic attack plan."

Several stops were made along the way to collect persons of

significant importance. The security team reviewed plans for

bringing passengers safely onto the plane, executed them, and

returned to their pre-designated seats. On the final leg of the

flight, Laura Falin took the oath of office and began meeting

with top advisors. Due to the the exasperated state of affairs

the security detail was stationed against the wall of her office

in Air Force 1.

"Madam President," Dr Harry Mcgees began, "our reality has

systematically changed."

"Can we change it back?" The President asked in a twangy

voice.

Samuel felt Dr. Macgees' shock and revulsion. He stared

across the room at the man's jaw agape. Macgee had been too busy

considering the causes and effects to consider such a simple

concept. He collected himself.

"No," Macgees answered, "The first reports of phenomenon

were from inside the Texas particle accelerator. It was de-

stroyed by seemingly supernatural forces. No other facility ex-

ists with the capacity to perform its experiments."

"What went wrong there?" The President asked.

"The goal was to recreate the circumstance of what we theo-

rized was the start of the universe. We were right. We created

a new one, and we really don't know much else."

"Well, what's going to happen?" The President demanded.

Samuel looked at the president and stifled a gasp. Her

brain opened up in front of him.

It gave off a soft light to

his vision. Her only grasp of the situation was that a scien-

tist had switched something on that they could not flip off.

The new President was an idiot.

peted floor.

Samuel collapsed on the car-

He woke up in his predesignated seat. Doctor Macgees was

sitting across from him. The doctor introduced himself; they

shook hands loosely.

"I'm not sure how to say this, but the situation does not

allow for the normal pretenses of sanity. While we were meeting

with the President I felt you reach out to me in the most pro-

found way." Doctor Mcgees started.

"I believe I've been effected by the changes. I could see

what was going on in your mind, and the Presidents’. I still

can." Samuel said.

"Telepathy," The doctor whispered, "Can you demonstrate

it?"

Samuel opened his mind to the bright light in front of him.

The men witnessed the drastic possibilities the other was con-

sidering. Macgees cleared his throat.

"Now son, this is America and a lot of people are depending

on us to get this right.

We must not act harshly."

"Of course," Samuel said.

"This ability of yours could be of great value to the coun-

try.

Let me help you make sure it's used as such."

"Yes, yes you’re right."

Macgees patted Samuel's knee platonically to reassure him.

The doctor stood up and left Samuel in his seat. He returned

with the highest ranking military officer on the plane, a Rear

Admiral of the Navy. Samuel demonstrated his ability again.

The Admiral thanked him, stood up and motioned to Macgees. Once

again Samuel was alone in his pre-designated seat. Later, he

was summoned to a private meeting with the president.

"Dr Macgees has informed me of your situation. I agree

with him and Admiral Nely, your abilities could be of great use

to this country, especially during this crisis." President Falin

said.

"I'll do everything I can Madam President."

"Good, I'm assigning you to Dr Macgees’s team. Your new

mission is to confirm that everything he tells me is the truth.

I don't need any scientific fantasies being mixed up with real-

ity."

"Yes Madam President," Samuel said.

She nodded and he left.

Four hundred and thirty eight inmates leaned against their

cell walls in hushed silence. Every violent offender had been

on his best behavior for months. The guards' home stereo's

broadcast the World Finals. It was the warden's program, that

let him watch the games in his office. It had pacified the

population for six months, until Cleveland won. Inmates

cheered, toilets clogged, and water poured into the cell blocks.

Guards shook their heads and began to enforce the rules.

"There's a storm rolling in from nowhere," a guard sta-

tioned outdoors said, over the radio.

Inmates noticed and began shouting questions.

Bolts of lightning broke through through the ceilings,

flinging cement fragments everywhere. Thunder echoed though the

penitentiary. It carried the scent of fresh grass and Hemlock

trees. Prisoners closed their eyes, tasted freedom, and heard a

question. The warden forgot about the game. Guards mobilized

to lockdown the prison. Clouds continued to gather and grow

darker. Everyone wondered what that strange tingling was.

"I would do anything to be free again," Prisoner #456985

muttered, leaning against the bars of his cell.

#456985 succumbed to an intense headache. His skull grew

to an edge along the crown of his head.

His back hair grew.

He

grimaced and realized his lips didn't touch.

"Are my teeth bigger?" #456985 asked aloud, touching his

mouth.

Some guards transformed and opened the cell doors.

#456985 took the opportunity. He ran, leapt on the first

guard he saw, and raked his head across the the guards face.

The guard fell, holding his face and screaming. #456985 smelt

metal and chemical in a new away, spatial aware of it. He took

the guard's weapon and keys without looking for them.

In minutes the parking lot was flooded with convicts.

Everyone looked different, but they were still able to recognize

each other, more by scent than sight. #456985 found two friends

and the car the guard liked to brag about. With high fives and

smiles, they piled in and escaped.

The fugitive goblins traveled North, scattered along the

curving state highways of West Virginia. They followed the urge

of the power that had released them. They drove at conservative

speeds, windows rolled down to appreciate the fresh air and for-

gotten smell of the forest.

A large group gathered in a Wal Mart parking lot, waiting

until they had over fifty in number. #456985 got out of the

stolen car, threw his hands in the air and screamed with all the

rage of a polluted planet. They rushed into the box trampling

the elderly greeter beneath them. They shed their prison uni-

forms for whatever fitted their tastes, mostly jeans and T-

shirts. They emptied the sporting goods section of firearms,

knives and ammunition. The took cell phones, cigarettes, food,

beer, and camping supplies. #456985 howled, a shrill warning

that echoed through the high ceiling. The goblins took their

spoils and left before the authorities arrived.

They continued North East toward the state border of North

Virginia and Ohio. They formed a large convoy along State Route

16, avoiding the interstate police barricade. They parked their

cars along the edge of the road. A few trees were planted for

decoration and privacy. The weapons were loaded and distrib-

uted.

The tallest and strongest goblins conferred with their self

appointed shaman. He was old, older than any of them, grey hair

twisted into tremendous dreadlocks. He wore a soutane, a col-

lection of long dark garments that had been torn into specific

shapes and layered over his frame. He was decorated with the

stores entire jewelry section.

"All you boys need to do is run in there and cause havoc.

The spirit is already there, it can smell the oil and it's an-

gry. I'll need at least five of them chubby white asses from

the office." The shaman said.

"You sure about that? We can break in, kill people and de-

stroy computers but how are we supposed to destroy an entire re-

finery?" #74839 asked.

"Leave that to me," the shaman said, "Just get me a half

dozen bald fat white men and mother earth will fuck this place

up."

The goblins walked into the forest, cut their way though a

chain link fence with bolt cutters, and spread out among the the

large steel pipes that were suspended above the ground.

The oil refinery was a collection of pipes that lead to a

very large metal tower. The goblins approached the central

cracking unit, sneaking though the maze of pipes. They ambushed

two workers, and shot them to death. The shaman stood over

them, drumming a large hunting knife on a pipe. He was a street

musician in his youth, earning a living off tourists by perform-

ing on a set of empty plastic buckets. The Shaman’s rhythm

coaxed the souls of the workers out of their body. Wisps of

smoke and spirit seeped out of their mouths with their dying

breaths. The shaman smacked the pipe and grabbed the souls. He

threw one at the large metal column.

The gasoline output valve ruptured. Gasoline that had been

heated under pressure sprayed into the air. The shaman sparked

the second soul and a large spark occurred near the spray. The

spraying accelerant ignited a column of flame.

The industry name for the metal tower is a Fractionator.

Crude oil was pumped into the bottom and heated to high tempera-

tures. The oil would separate, slowly purifying itself in the

large metal still. It was in no immediate danger, but the vari-

ous petrols, kept at such under high pressure, could not be

turned off. It triggered every safety measure and alarm in the

facility.

Workers inside the refinery rushed out, a fire crew rushed

to it, and the plants’ administrators ran out of a small build-

ing at the edge of the facility to see what was going on.

The goblins were waiting in the middle, and attacked all of

them. Gunshots rang out, and they fell into a frenzy. The

voice that offered them a choice of freedom screamed murder and

vengeance in their ears. The refinery workers fell quickly too

concerned with the fire to comprehend the threat until a volley

of gunshots rang out. Some goblins preferred tooth and claw.

They ran down the workers who had enough sense to run.

"Dere!" The shaman shouted, pointing to the modest admini-

stration building, "Quick help me get dem!"

The shaman and four other goblins chased them down. The

men, fat white and bald, tried to run but were far too out of

shape for any meaningful flight. They were pushed to their

knees, facing each other in a circle.

The goblins began screaming and leaping around them. The

shaman fell into a trance, waving back and forth. Behind them,

the tower of flame dispersed. Automated safety procedures had

closed several valves.

The shaman crouched between them and dug into the ground

with his knife.

The earth was a dull dusty brown.

He threw a

handful into each mans’ face. One man began to cry, another to

shake. The shaman pulled his head back and slit his throat,

spilling the man's blood into the hole. The other administra-

tors were held until shaman spilled their blood on the same spot

of earth.

The ground gave a sharp jolt. The shaman backed away

quickly, his assistants took off running. A ridge rose from the

ground, causing tremors in the plant. A hand of rock burst free

and pushed against the earth. Several pipes ruptured as an

Earth elemental rose from the ground. The goblins retreated to

a safe distance and cheered. Arms, head, torso and legs all be-

came apparent. It's head was a large rock wedge, the edge pro-

truding far in front of the body. It ran toward the refinery

pipes with surprising speed, bending it's head toward the larg-

est pipe at the bottom. It dove, rupturing the crude oil lines.

It rose and began methodically destroying the metal around it.

The Fractionator fell with a cacophony of shearing metal and

rushing petroleum. It turned to the catalyst regenerator,

clasped the sides and head butted it. Superheated chemical

laden steam screamed at it's release, and transformed the small

fires around it, into a conflagration.

The elemental sagged, it's task accomplished and energy de-

pleted. It spent the last few moments tearing up the long pipes

that ran in every direction before collapsing on the ground,

into a pile of rocks.

Samuel was afraid. He sank into the corner of his modest

room, held his knees to his chest, and sobbed. It had only been

a week. He sat in the dark, waited for the lights to go away,

and crawled into bed. With a deep breath, he turned his mind

off and fell asleep.

He woke early the next day, dressed in plain military fa-

tigues and met Dr Macgeees in the cafeteria. After a sparse

breakfast, Dr. Macgees escorted him to the observation side of

an interrogation room. A goblin sat chained to a chair, its

mind was clouded. Samuel mind pushed though the glass. Light

began to shine. Samuel gasped and grabbed Dr. Macgees' hand and

and linked their minds. It made the reports easier to write.

Goblin Bill had taken part in the destruction of an oil field,

but could not say why, even under great duress. Lurking in the

mans ego was a direct connection to the planet. Samuel saw the

vast connections in every synapse. The earth was pissed, and

she was taking away the carbon based fuels like an angry mother.

Later Samuel met with refugees fleeing to the Air Force

base to confirm their extraordinary stories. The high military

presence reassured them enough to keep up appearances, but they

were all terrified. He closed his eyes and tried to pray but

the lights kept distracting him, Samuel was lost in their fear.

He fought to lock out other peoples minds, but he was too tired

and too inexperienced.

After the interviews he went for a cup of coffee with his

head down and shoulders slouched. An unfamiliar woman, wearing

a scientist white lab coat, stood at the end of the line. Sam-

uel glanced at her and gaped. Her mind broadcast a light pink

glow of excitement and confidence.

"You're not afraid," he whispered.

She looked at him. Samuel felt a rush of energy sweep over

him and return to her.

"I'm not the only one," She whispered.

They obtained their coffee, tied up loose ends of their day

over cell phones, and found a secluded bench outside the build-

ing.

Her name was Joyce, and she was a witch, or so she pro-

claimed. Samuel had always been far more interested in sports,

and the parts of his job that involved weapons training, to

worry about the specifics of religion. Still he felt something

around her, and her pleasant glow seemed to make the voices go

away. Joyce's spiritual beliefs had begun manifesting into ap-

plicable magic. Samuel told her about his ability. Joyce began

thinking to him; Samuel realized he could hear her. With a few

adjustments to his own ability and the discovery that holding

hands helped immensely, they began exchanging massive amounts of

data, thoughts, memories and emotions.

"I think we should sleep together," Joyce whispered.

"Really?" Samuel was pleasantly astonished.

"As a celebration of our bond. It's part of my faith," She

explained.

Samuel nodded eagerly. He knew she loved him. Samuel

wasn't sure about love, that took time, but she was a genuinely

comforting person, and base need won out. They went to his room

and undressed quickly. Their lovemaking was quite simple, but

they were able to bond with each other that surpassed erotic ac-

robatics. Joyce's power rushed into and overwhelmed him. Tears

formed in his eyes as fear washed away from him. They received

a round of applause from an Army Master Sergeant, who lodged in

the room beneath them.

They woke up entwined, neither remembering falling asleep.

"I love you," Samuel said.

"I love you too," Joyce replied, noting the he'd better af-

ter last night.

"No, it's more than that. It's more than a word, it's more

than words.

You make me want to be the kind of man my country

needs," Samuel said, shocking himself with his honesty.

An hour later a very irritated Dr Macgrees picked up his

phone to call Samuel. He suddenly knew that Samuel would not

answer, and that he really did deserve a day off. Dr Macgrees

blinked, wondered how he could know this, and set the phone back

down.

#

Admiral Nely stared at the report. He'd read it several

times, and did not believe it. There was a compelling amount of

evidence that creatures of stone had risen from the ground to

attack the key facilities of the countries petroleum infrastruc-

ture, but the report read like one of the pulp fantasy novels

his son loved. Admiral Nely was a practical man, a line backer

from West Point that ate red meat every night, made love to his

wife on top every time and kept his uniform immaculately

starched.

He looked at Dr. Harry and Samuel. The scientist fidgeted

impatiently. Samuel had grown enough of his spine back over the

last few weeks to stand at attention properly.

"Has the examination of the remains provided any new infor-

mation?" Admiral Nely asked.

"No sir. The creatures were made out of the local rock and

reverted back to inanimate rock after the attacks," Dr Macgees

said.

"There must be something?"

"No chemical, radioactive, or molecular difference has been

shown in the testing? Which leaves us to believe that the cause

of their animation was magical in nature."

Admiral Nely groaned and glanced at Samuel. He'd experi-

enced the "magical mind data dump" once before and had no desire

to do it again. He forced himself to swallow the impossibility

of the report instead.

"Very well gentleman, lets get this over with," Admiral

Nely said, standing up.

They walked though well lit hallways of the mountain base.

Admiral Nely's rank allowed them to access the country's new ex-

ecutive branch without much trouble. They entered a conference

room, ignored the fruit and pastry refreshments, and took their

seats. Several scientific and military experts were already

seated, and a few more joined them.

President Laura Falin entered the room twenty minutes be-

hind schedule. She wore a red business suit, knee length skirt

and heels. Her hair was pinned up, but a few accents hung over

the sides of her face, immaculately curled. Her makeup and jew-

elry matched perfectly. Everyone stood up according to protocol

and took their seats after she had.

"What’s on the agenda today gentlemen?" She asked.

"Madam President, the nations energy reserves have been at-

tacked and seriously damaged by the escaped inmate creatures.

The nations is facing a national energy crisis." Admiral Nely

said.

The president picked up a report that had been officially

prepared for her. It was written in short simple bullet points.

She read the first page, flipped to the second, glanced at it

and set the report back on the desk.

"Gentleman, the report I was given before all this happened

told me our energy infrastructure was not going to be threatened

for the foreseeable future. How can this happen so quickly?"

She asked

"The United States had one hundred and fifty operating pe-

troleum refineries. Eighty five of those were rendered inoper-

able an the rest were outright destroyed yesterday. Earthquakes

have collapsed most of the major mine shafts as well. That

leaves us with one hundred and twenty days of oil left." Dr

Macgees said.

"Can we buy more?" The president asked, looking at the new

Treasury secretary.

"Our available funds can only buy a fraction of what the

population needs. Prices have skyrocketed, and China has re-

fused to issue us any new credit." Dr. somebody said nervously.

"Would countries be able to trade for military support?"

The president asked, wringing her hands together.

"That isn't a viable option Madam President. Our Navy de-

pends on high quality African petrol to operate, which has sud-

denly become one of the scarcest resources." Admiral Nely said.

"Using man power instead of air power?" The president sug-

gested, fidgeting in her seat.

"We don't have enough men after the disappearances. Our

overall troop levels have dropped by a third. We estimate that

the number of goblins loose in the country is over a million and

a half. Facing odds like that, we need every available man on

home soil."

"Okie dokie," President Falin said, "Can we rebuild our re-

fineries before the 120 days are up and drill more oil?"

"No. Large industrial projects like that take well over a

year to build, and we don't have enough specialized construction

workers," the Secretary of the Interior said.

Dr Magees cleared his throat, "Madam President, it has also

come to our attention that the worlds super giant oil reserves

have become inoperable."

"More attacks?" The president asked, tilting her head to

face Dr. Macgees.

"No a change in the chemical composition of the oil itself.

It's become more viscous and diluted, enough to make harvesting

it with the current drilling impossible. Our contacts at the

oil companies assure us that they can overcome this problem, but

cannot offer the timetable as to when."

"When did we find out about this?" The president asked.

"Two hours ago," Admiral Nely answered.

"Why wasn't I informed of this until now?" The president

asked.

Nobody said anything. Samuel winced at her internal con-

clusion that the hour she'd spent getting ready this morning

really was worth it.

"I appreciate the magnitude of this disaster gentleman, but

I need options. If my ideas aren't good enough then bring me

some that are!" The president snapped. She stood up, waited

for everyone to do the same and left the room.

Admiral Nely cleared his throat, "I suggest that we move to

the command center. Dr Macgees would you join us? Mr Poole

won't be needed."

They rose and filed out of the room

"I there anything you need me to do during the planning

session?" Samuel asked.

Macgees pushed his glasses back and brushed his hair behind

his ears, "No actually. Get some rest if you can."

Samuel nodded and took an elevator up while the rest took

an elevator down. He returned to his apartment, showered and

realize that with everyone at work the building was actually

quite on a telepathic level. He was asleep in minutes.

Joyce woke him with a kiss.

"They let you out?

curling up next to him.

What a pleasant surprise!" She said,

"How was your day?" Samuel asked out of habit.

"A teenage boy claims he put his friends soul into his lap-

top. I'm scheduled to investigate tomorrow."

"Hrmph, sounds like a safe place to be."

They both laughed more than the joke actually deserved.

"How was your meeting with the President?" Joyce asked.

"Bad," Samuel sighed, "It's lonely on top and all that, but

she isn't thinking about what’s really going on?"

"What is she thinking about?" Joyce asked.

A defensive argument took shape in Samuel's head. It was

followed by Joyce's argument, "I know damn well you know."

"How’s her family doing? She hopes all her friends are do-

ing well. She prays a lot and worries that she's not doing

enough. Her most common thought is, 'I wish John were here.

He'd know what to do.'"

Joyce frowned, "Is she smart enough to lead the country

though this crisis?"

Samuel took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"No. The sad truth is that the president is an idiot."

"You need to do something," Joyce squeezed his shoulder to

emphasize the last word.

"I'm a guard, and a lie detector test.

how would I do it?" He said.

"Shh.

Don't beat yourself up over it.

your power to do something then-"

What can I do and

If you know it in

"I will," Samuel cut her off, and rolled over to her.

Over breakfast Samuel's phone rang. he answered, replied

and hung up.

"I have the day off again," he said.

"Really?" Joyce was shocked.

"High level strategy meetings. A telepath would be a secu-

rity risk."

"That's absurd, you're a vetted secret service agent.

There no reason not to trust you!" Joyce dropped her fork on

the plate.

Samuel held up his hands, "The President trusts me, so does

Dr Mcgees. It's the high level military brass who doesn’t, be-

sides it gives me opportunity to spend the day with you."

"Really? You'd like to see the lab?"

"Sure! Your stories are always so much better than mine."

The laboratory of Reality Determination was more of a medi-

cal examination room. It had been hurriedly thrown together

since the reality alteration to separate the actual supernatural

powers from the desperate liars. Samuel had seen similar labo-

ratories inside the mountain, but noted the absence of an

autopsy table.

Joyce shared the lab with four other scientists and a medi-

cal doctor. Their desks were clustered near the door. Filing

cabinets lined the wall on the east, windows displayed the moun-

tain on the West.

The back had a small medical exam table and a

privacy curtain. Laboratory equipment filled the rest of the

room. Joyce sat down at her desk and shuffled papers around.

Samuel found a bare spot of wall that would keep him out of eve-

ryones way and assumed the comfortable stance of his profession.

A teenage boy came into the room. Joyce saw him, greeted

him and led him to a seat near her desk.

He was dressed in

mostly black. Several colorful strips of cloth were attached to

his pants with snaps and buckles. Samuel squinted at his T-

Shirt and wondered if MDMFK was one of the internet based anar-

chist groups he'd been briefed on during the last campaign. He

was pale, and so large that the fat on his face absorbed any

other noticeable feature.

"Would you please describe where you were when you experi-

enced the phenomena you reported?" Joyce asked, opening a new

folder and clicking a pen.

"I was at Bill's house; he's the one in the laptop.

We

were in his basement trying to get a net connection going again.

That's where we have our LAN parties, so there's tons of com-

puter stuff down there." Jeremy said in a nervous voice.

"Can you describe what you were doing in technical terms?"

"Not really.

Bill was the IT expert, I spent most of my

time organizing our guild and running games. We played WoW,

it's an online game that-"

"Alliance or Horde?" Joyce asked.

"For the Horde," Jeremy's voice rang with enthusiasm.

Joyce gave him a

how he disappeared."

fist bump, "What can you tell me about

"He was lying on the floor, trying to straighten out some

cables and asked me to pull on the Cat5 cable so he could find

it.

I leaned over and touched his leg with my foot when I

grabbed the cable. There was a flash of light and he was gone.

There was a weird tingling sensation, like I was being shocked.

I freaked out for awhile, but I noticed he was on the computer

screen, like we were skyping."

Jeremy pulled out the largest laptop that was available on

the market.

"Is that the computer you were working on?" Joyce asked.

"No, he's actually somewhere on the internet, but he knows

that this is my laptop," Jeremy said, opening the laptop. He

held it open in front of him.

"Dude, what kind of lab did you bring me to?" The computer

asked, in a nondescript human voice.

"A government one, there's so much stuff going on I had to

do something," Jeremy said.

"You should see inner China if you think we have it bad,"

The computer said.

Samuel walked over to the table to make sure he didn't miss

a word about foreign affairs. Joyce stood up and examined the

table. Jeremy's cellphone vibrated. He looked at the screen,

"Yeah I know," He said.

Joyce looked at him.

"He thinks you're hot," Jeremy said, flushed.

"How can he tell?" She asked.

"The webcam," The computer said.

Joyce looked down and realized that the front of her shirt

was hanging open in front of the computer's web - camera. She

sat down immediately, and scribbled a few notes to regain her

composure.

"Do you have any idea how you got in there?" She asked the

computer.

"Jeremy had something to do with it. My kernel is tagged

with his name.

"Really?"

I do not want out though."

"This is every computer geeks dream. I'm part of the

internet now. I've already taken control of a a few bot nets.

I've got them building drivers instead of Ddossing." The com-

puter said.

"Drivers for what?" Samuel asked.

"Power line protocols. I want to move information over

electrical lines that weren't intended for it. I can't get

audio or video but I can get text so far."

Jeremy realized that every scientist was staring at the

computer. Jeremy was put through a battery of tests. His re-

sults were unusual enough to suggest paranormal activity. Each

of the scientist in the lab had a turn querying the computer,

brainstorming ideas that would help rebuild their society. Sam-

uel called Dr Magees and left several voice mail messages. He

finally settled on leaving very specific instructions with a

sergeant at the Mountain that he was to be escorted to the lab

as soon as he was available, hogtied if necessary.

Samuel returned to the lab and realized that Jeremy and his

computer were sitting alone. Joyce and her colleges were hud-

dled around a white board.

"Don't take it personally," Samuel said, "They're like

cats, when they like you they ignore you."

"Oh, I hadn't really noticed. I'm trying to keep track of

the guild members. The servers have been down since the lights.

We were supposed to do a raid on Stormwind yesterday. It's

weird, I always played a magic user in games and now I've got

some magical power, it's not as cool as I thought it would be."

"I've developed powers as well. The lack of an off switch

is the worst part."

"I just don't want to make anything worse with mine. If

there were someone in charge that could tell me how to help,

then I want to do all I can."

Dr Magees flung the lab door open before Samuel could re-

spond. His hair was disheveled, he had bags under his eyes and

his countenance was twisted with several forms of displeasure."

"I need a drink or a miracle," he said slumping into a

seat.

Samuel put a hand on Jeremy's and a hand on Dr Macgees'.

Dr Macgees watched the internet unfold in front of him. Jer-

emy’s internet connection went far beyond hypertext protocols.

Every diode, transistor, and capacitor that had electricity run-

ning though it was available to him. He could transform human

intelligence to computer intelligence at a native level, that

could crunch numbers and provide data interpretation at a real

time level.

Dr Macgees' blinked "I'd call that a miracle. Young man I

think you might just save the world. Everyone go home and get

some rest.

We'll meet back here at four AM to plan out the

presentation."

The next morning Magees, Joyce and their respective teams

met in front of a white board and a large pot of coffee.

Samuel

arrived with a box of doughnuts. Admiral Nely joined them at at

eight in the morning, and made a few calls. The remaining Joint

Chiefs of Staff joined them at ten in the morning; Samuel went

out for another box of doughnuts. Jeremy was handed off to a

local Air Force recruiter. Samuel patted him on the shoulder

and felt a surprising amount of enthusiasm. At noon, they or-

dered pizza and scheduled a meeting with the president.

Dr. Mcgees, Samuel and the military officers drove to the

mountain base in a government SUV. They transferred to an elec-

tric golf card that shuttled them down a long slanted hall way

to a wide elevator, that took them several floor down to the

central command of the United States Military. It was a large

room, filled with rows of computers, phones, coffee machines,

and whiteboards. The front of the room was a wall of computer

monitors three stories high, displaying a variety of data, up-

dated in real time, for communal use.

Everyone in the room stood at attention as the military

commanders entered. Samuel smiled sheepishly as he followed

them to a spiral staircase in the middle of the room. He

climbed to a glass conference room suspended from the ceiling.

It was a large rectangle, positioned to give a semi-circle of

chairs the best view of the top row of monitors. The Joint

Chiefs could make full use of their intelligence staff below

while retaining verbal privacy; they prepared so many diagrams

and maps in their presentation that it became impractical to

hold the meeting anywhere else. Everyone in the room remained

standing for the President who entered shortly after.

"Madam President, we have a solution," Admiral Nely said,

beaming, "For further detail I'll hand it over to Dr. Macgees."

The president nodded curtly and opened the portfolio in

front of her.

"A young man has developed the ability to implant human in-

telligence into the internet. As far as we can tell, this has

only happened once and this young man is willing to do his duty

and lend this power to the US government. What we have outlined

and proposed is the implementation of a National network that

would-"

"Excuse me?" The president said, twisting her lips to one

side.

"Yes Madam President?"

"How would you use this gift exactly?"

Macgees blinked and looked nervously at the Air Force Chief

of Staff.

"After meeting with this young man, several of our tech

airmen have volunteered for the procedure,” The general an-

swered.

"I do not feel comfortable putting our young men into a

computer."

"Several of them have readily volunteered for the task.

They're quite excited about it."

"Really?"

"Madam President, the US Air force takes pride in recruit-

ing the most patriotic geeks of our society. I assure you sev-

eral of them are salivating at the idea," the General Air Force

Chief of staff said.

"Ok, never mind the tech mumbo jumbo, what is this network

going to do for us once we have it set up?" The president asked.

"We plan to regulate the cost of food, fuel and raw materi-

als though-"

"That socialism!" The president snapped, with a tone of ac-

complishment.

"Madam President we're expecting a massive food shortage

this winter, even with the population loss. The free markets

will react with rampant inflation and price gouging. People

will starve; everyone but the top 10%."

The president folded her arms under her chest and huffed.

She glanced at Dr. Macgees and nodded.

"Um, yes, well we can also stabilize our line of transpor-

tation and defense against the local threats. Traditional com-

muting will disappear with the fuel sources. We can also imple-

ment a scavenging program to reclaim a majority of valuable raw

materials that have been preserved in landfills and-"

"GENTLEMEN!" The president shouted, slapping her hands on

the table, "Do you really expect me to tell the citizens of the

best country in the world that they have to give up their cars

and dig through dumps? That is unacceptable. I refuse to be-

lieve that this problem does not have a proper solution. Before

I authorize anything I want to know how we're going to put

things back the way they were."

Everyone stared at the President of the United States.

Samuel balled his hands into fists and drove into the Presidents

mind. Everyone in the room saw a series of small flashes in

front of them. The blatant and irrefutable idiocy of their

leader was laid bare before them. Samuel pushed his telepathy

to the limits of the room. Everyone blinked and realized they

were thinking the exact same thing. Samuel exhaled and dropped

the connection. It had only taken seconds.

"I'm afraid that's impossible Madam President," Dr Macgees

said, pushing his glasses up.

The President stood up and stormed out of the room before

anyone could adhere to the traditional protocols. Samuel felt

the sheer desperation of everyone around him. He thrust himself

into the back of the president's brain. The back of her high

heeled shoe slipped off the back of a stair. She stumbled for-

ward, hand flailing around. Her stomach struck the handrail

knocking the wind out of her. Everyone in the room below her

watched her body slump forward, and tip over the stairs. She

seemed to straighten during her fall, landing head first.

"Madam President!" An airman screamed, rushing toward her.

Medics were summoned, who began CPR. A military doctor ar-

rived shortly after and pronounced her dead from the fall. The

Joint Chiefs issued commands to summon the Speaker of the House

of Representatives and a Chief Justice of the United States.

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