Z-anon-sensei Speaks #84
“—I do not expect you to believe one half I say— I would be a fool indeed if I did.” EAP
Joseph “Radio” Kellogg was given the assignment. He’d been known as “Radio” since childhood for his uncanny ability to pick up the thoughts of his comrades, his schoolmates, and even of teachers and parents. Such talents don’t go long unnoticed, and Kellogg was at first “guided” toward and finally recruited directly into the NSS edifice via the side-door of ^zetateam’s aetheral contact system.
After his training, Kellogg was set up in his hometown of Portland, Oregon as a PI— a “researcher” he liked to say to potential clients, though in certain situations he got a lot of mileage out of referring to himself as a “real dick”, which he was, in all senses of the phrase.
Kellogg didn’t make his living by being nice. His job was to find stuff out and sometimes to go a bit further that that. And, although his natural abilities were helpful in many ways, Kellogg had to use all means available if he was to be successful at his work. And successful he had been, both at the legitimate if shadowy business of Private Investigation and in the occasional even-more-shadowy and perhaps less legitimate assignments from ^zetateam that made up the more interesting part of his job.
The PI work included taking lots of adultery photos as well as resolving thefts and other disputes between family members who didn’t want any cops involved. Depending on the families, those jobs could get a little spicy. Radio was also hired to track down a lot of runaway kids, which was the largest and by far the most emotionally taxing part of his job.
This time, the Director contacted him personally, and by voice phone, which was unusual, though of course both of them were equipped with encrypted safe phones for ^zetateam business. Nonetheless, voice comms were deprecated in ^zetateam, and protocols of vagueness were always maintained.
“We’ve got an S and S for you. Details in the attachment. Code red.” Radio felt his guts tense a little. Search and secures could get a little sketchy sometimes.
“What’s the source, boss?”
“This one came in from Annie-O this morning. All she could say was a name and location. But she was making that sound…” The Director let the phrase trail away. They both knew Annie-O pretty well. She had been one of Radio’s mentors during his training. He’d come to love that old bag, the way a kid loves a crazy aunt who always carries around a little candy in her purse. But he just hated it when she made that noise. That never failed to mean bad news.
He chatted a moment more with the Director, bringing up the canceled college football season, the Trail Blazers win in the NBA bubble. He asked about the Director’s wife, and laughed appropriately at the response. Every part of this conversation was either code or noise designed to cover the code. Sometimes even Radio wasn’t sure the difference. “Good luck,” the Director ended the conversation abruptly.
Radio pulled up the attachment file, titled with a single word: “Xenon”. He scrolled through the short file, just shaking his head as he read. This one didn’t feel kosher. One minute, then the bits of the attachment dissolved, the words and images disappearing literally from the top of the screen to the bottom while he was still reading the last lines. Radio sometimes wished the effect included a poof of smoke at the end. File deleted. Time to get to work.
Meanwhile, back in the WhoreHouse, Pretendident Thump wakes up from a terrible nightmare. It’s that Senator Barris, and he knows she’s trying to kill him except she’s just asking questions instead of using any type of weapon but he can’t think of the answers as fast as her questions are coming and it’s just like his third grade teacher that day and the other kids are laughing at him and the words he’s trying to say just choke in his throat until he can’t really breathe and he wakes up sweating and yelling out loud. Melancholia has to break away from the SS guy who is groping her and come into Thump’s bedroom (of course they have separate rooms, for got’s sake!) to see what is happening.
She finds him sitting on the edge of the bed with his feet not quite touching the floor. There are actual tears in his eyes. She asks him what’s wrong, and all he can mutter is, “It’s Senator Barris! She’s the kind of opponent everyone dreams about.”
Z-anon-sensei says that the Democratic candidates are not ^risingtide, any more than Thump and his crooked cronies are ^darkpower. No organization or individual candidate is that unified or simple. Rather, you can imagine the political parties as the loci of conflict, the battlefields, in a sense, where the combat between the real powers takes place across an ideological terrain.
Even individual people can be understood this way, both physically and psychically, as landscapes, environments, eco-systems in which many forces grow, compete, and occasionally face off in more direct conflict. As disease might infect and spread inside a body, ^darkpower can find a hold inside of political parties, campaigns, and inside the people who make up those organizations. And ^risingtide struggles within those multi-leveled battlefields to restore to health what the plague of ^darkpower threatens to destroy.
No thing is just one thing.