Undisclosed, p.18

Undisclosed, page 18

 

Undisclosed
 



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  —summoning an Ice Age and the extinction of man.

  * * *

  Adam opened his eyes as the extraterrestrial vessel silently shot straight up into the star-filled heavens and disappeared.

  Part 3

  “In a brazen challenge to international efforts to limit global warming, this is an all-out assault on the protections we need to avert climate catastrophe.”

  —Rhea Suh, Natural Resources Defense Council, on President Donald Trump signing an executive order that aims to reverse many of the climate policies introduced by President Obama

  March 28, 2017

  “According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.”

  —Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

  September 10, 2001

  “The Pentagon cannot account for 25% of what it spends.”

  —Pentagon Audit

  EVALUATION REPORT—WINTER SEMESTER

  Michael Andrew Sutterfield

  SS #711-19-0878

  GVP Unit: PA-762-32443

  AGE: 13 years, 3 months

  GRADE: 7

  SEX: Male

  ACADEMICS:

  Student continues to make acceptable progress in mathematics, language arts, and history while demonstrating exceptional work in his elective classes in quantum physics.

  SOCIAL SKILLS:

  Moderate levels of disdain were demonstrated toward a BLACK (male) GVP instructor. Unacceptable levels of intolerance were demonstrated toward a MEXICAN (male) GVP instructor.

  NEURO-BEHAVIOR PREDICTORS:

  A flat line in neuro-synaptic activity was detected during Phase-IV (follow-up) of the Risch-Avery protocol, confirming potential sociopathic tendencies. Series S-7 through S-12 will be added to the curriculum and student retested in 12 weeks.

  FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:

  Mandatory private consultation with the subject's Parents.

  North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  January 8, 2033

  Edward and Tina Sutterfield followed the academic aide into the school administration office’s empty waiting room.

  “If you’ll have a seat, Dr. Mallouh will be right with you.”

  Edward Sutterfield dropped his 233-pound frame into one of the vacant chairs. “A ten-hour shift, and now you have me scheduled for a school conference? What the hell’s wrong with you, Tina?”

  She leaned in, mumbling under her breath. “Don’t start with me, Ed. The person who called me last week said we both needed to be here.”

  “What’s the point in enrolling our kid in virtual school if we can’t have a virtual meeting to discuss whatever the problem is?”

  “No one said there was a problem.”

  “Oh, please. You think we’d be here if there wasn’t a problem?”

  The door opened, revealing a Middle Eastern man in his early thirties. He was dressed in a white collared shirt and tan slacks, his black mustache and short-cropped beard matching his jacket and bowtie.

  Edward glanced at his wife, his expression a tapestry of prejudice.

  The brown-skinned academic flashed a smile. “Mr. and Mrs. Sutterfield? Sorry to have kept you waiting. Dr. Mohammad Mallouh, District-8 counselor. Won’t you come in?”

  The couple entered the counselor’s office and sat.

  Dr. Mallouh closed the door behind them and took his place behind his desk. “I’ll get straight to the point: Michael has been diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder.”

  Tina covered her eyes.

  Her husband seemed more annoyed than shocked. “So he doesn’t have many friends … that’s a disorder now?”

  “Ed—”

  “Mr. Sutterfield, this is a bit more serious than not having friends. Your son has been diagnosed as a sociopath, a dangerous condition found in about three percent of the general population.”

  “Sociopath … is that like a psychopath?”

  “The conditions are very similar.”

  “And you think you’re qualified to render this kind of decision about my kid, Mohammad? I think maybe we should get a second opinion.”

  “This is not my diagnosis, Mr. Sutterfield. The GV pod’s results have been checked and double-checked.”

  “What a hunk of crap. The porn pods decide who’s crazy now, do they?”

  “Actually, that was the reason they were originally designed. With the advent of zero-point-energy, the World Union required a non-intrusive means of identifying ASD subjects in order to prevent them from gaining access to zero-point weapons.”

  “I don’t understand. The machine targets them?”

  “No, Mrs. Sutterfield. It identifies them. It’s the dark side of introducing an energy source as potent as zero-point-energy. There are always those individuals who would attempt to exploit it to power a weapon. The Global Village was devised as a means of tracking that particular segment of the population.”

  “Christ, you make it sound like the kid’s a child molester.”

  Tina Sutterfield teared up. “I knew there was something wrong when we found those dead stray cats. Then this last time with the turtle—”

  Edward took his wife’s hand. “Our son is a loner, but he’s not a terrorist.”

  “Can’t you just prescribe a pill or something?”

  “I’m afraid there are no magic pills. Mrs. Sutterfield. The biological seeds of sociopathic behavior are present in the person’s brain at birth.”

  “What does that mean exactly?”

  “It means, sir, that your son is missing the innate ability to care about others.”

  Edward felt his blood pressure rising. “So what’s the solution? Do we lock him up and toss away the key?”

  “Of course not. And for the record, punishment is an ineffective tool—at least when it comes to rehabilitation. A sociopath is unable to learn from their mistakes simply because they have no fear or remorse … no conscience.”

  “And that’s a crime?”

  Dr. Mallouh closed his file. “We were just children at the time, but in the decade that preceded the disclosure of zero-point-energy, there was a tremendous gap between the top earners and the rest of the population. One of the reasons for this was the unusually high number of sociopaths who were hired as CEOs of major multibillion dollar companies. Their sheer ruthlessness and lack of anything resembling a conscience enabled them to abuse their work force and the environment in order to drive stock prices higher, all the while rewarding themselves with obscene amounts of money. It wasn’t just CEOs; sociopaths had risen to power in Russia, North Korea, Hungary, and throughout the Middle East, South America and Africa.

  The ‘Rise of the Sociopath’ culminated in 2017 when the Trump Administration essentially eliminated all federal laws safeguarding what was left of the environment. With the brakes off, the result was a runaway Greenhouse Effect. Polar ice melted, causing fresh water to infiltrate the North Atlantic current. Without getting too technical, ocean salinity is what moves this warm water highway and keeps our planet from moving into an Ice Age. Just as frightening, our crops began dying when dense smog clouds choked off the sun’s rays, disrupting photosynthesis. In the critical four to five years it took to bring atmospheric scrubbers powered by zero-point-energy generators online, we very nearly annihilated life on this planet.

  “In retrospect, we had allowed greed and fanatical religious beliefs to silence the scientific community. Elections were determined by money, not by the qualifications of the candidates running for office. The two political parties had produced so much gridlock and anger that nothing could be done. It was only after the masses revolted in the wake of near planet-wide starvation that the rules were changed. One of the new checks and balances that was put in place was to safeguard society against the rise of the sociopath in politics, the military, and the new sciences brought forth from The Disclosure Event. This includes Quantum Physics and CE-5 training—the very activities Michael has shown to have both an exceptional interest in and aptitude for.


  Fresh tears flowed down Tina Soderfield’s cheeks. “Don’t ban him from that or we’ll lose him. Please Dr. Mallouh—”

  “We’re not going to ban him. We’re going to attempt to use these interests as a reward for Michael taking a positive interest in his own therapy. While he may not have the internal mechanism that allows him to feel, he needs to know that unless he respects the feelings of others—especially those who are different than him—then extraterrestrial contact will be forbidden … and not just by us, but by the Interstellars themselves.”

  18

  Subterranean Complex—Midwest USA

  Saturday

  JESSICA AWOKE TO THE soothing crash and sizzle of waves dying outside her bedroom window. Rolling over, she glanced at the clock on the night stand.

  Twelve forty-eight in the afternoon? No wonder my stomach’s growling.

  Rolling out of bed, she entered the bathroom and showered, then ordered a decadent omelet before dressing in one of the many workout outfits provided by the efficient Kirsty Brunt.

  * * *

  Forty minutes later she exited her suite, stuffed from lunch. Her intention was to walk to the gym to digest her meal—until she saw the concourse. While the center track was occupied with joggers, it was the Maglev lanes that grabbed her attention as people shot past her on hoverboards like they were snowboarding on air.

  “Oh, I gotta try that!”

  Returning to her apartment, she located a hoverboard in the hall closet, the smooth fiberglass top supporting adjustable foot straps, the denser underside composed of a hard gray porous material, similar to the surface of the Maglev track.

  Jessica exited to the catwalk outside her dwelling and sat down at an empty bench, attempting to pick up a few pointers by observing the hoverboarders. She quickly separated the pedestrians using the Maglev as a means of getting from Point A to Point B from the “subterranean surfers.” The latter occupied the faster outside lanes, cutting S-patterns in a torque-like maneuver which seemed to increase their speed, each change in direction generating a zzzzzttt of protest from the electromagnetic waves being repelled beneath their boards.

  Fearing the embarrassment of taking a hard fall, she waited until the concourse was less crowded before she ventured on foot across the fifty-foot-wide expanse to the more forgiving jogging surface located at the center of the track. Checking both directions again to make sure no one was watching, she tucked her I.D. badge inside her workout top before bending over to place her hoverboard to the hard bare gray surface.

  One moment she was registering an invisible cushion of resistance—the next she was being dragged across the cold Maglev surface, her right hand caught in one of the foot straps. Twisting sideways, she flung herself free, only to witness the cursed device shooting down the concourse without her.

  Bruised, skinned, bleeding and embarrassed, Jessica stepped onto the center track and started jogging, hoping no one had noticed.

  The cushioned surface was easy on her joints, but her knees were scraped and sore, forcing her to walk.

  “Move to the side!”

  She turned to see a quartet of male joggers bearing down on, a powerfully-built heavyset Caucasian man in his early fifties adamantly signaling her to move aside.

  Unsure what to do, she jumped onto the Maglev track, nearly getting sideswiped by a woman on a hoverboard.

  “Idiot!”

  The herd thundered by, their annoyed leader calling out, “walk left, jog right!”

  Jessica contemplated turning back when she saw the teen waving at her.

  He was tall and lanky, with shoulder-length brown hair and bright blue eyes—she guessed his age to be sixteen. He was cutting figure-eights across the Maglev track, Jessica’s hoverboard tucked under his right arm.

  “Lose something?”

  “I’ve never seen that board before in my life.”

  He smirked. “Want me to show you how to ride it?”

  “No. Maybe. Will it hurt?”

  “Only if you’re dumb enough to try to mount it with the power on.”

  “There’s a power switch?”

  He tugged the leash attached to his board and right ankle, powering off the device.

  “Now see, that makes sense. But my board doesn’t have—”

  Flipping Jessica’s board back-end up, he unzipped a small plastic storage pouch and unraveled the leash.

  “So that’s where they hid it.”

  “I’m Logan … Logan Remy LaCombe. You’re new, aren’t you?”

  “Jessica Marulli. I arrived late last night. Aren’t you a little young to be living down here?”

  “My mom’s a genetics engineer, my father works security. I’ve been here two years; they home school us kids by computer.”

  “Where’s here?”

  “Shit if I know. I spend most of my free time surfing the RC … the Residential Concourse. Don’t feel bad about wiping out; the same thing happened to Kari her first time on the Mag.”

  “Who’s Kari?”

  “Kariane Phillips. She’s sort of my girlfriend. Her old man is one of the religious big shots and he’s like, ‘my daughter is not a box of candy; there will be no free samples.’ And I’m like, ‘Dude, I’m fifteen … do you really expect me to marry her without tasting the goods?’ So you know what he did? He moved his family to an apartment on Level-4, just so I can’t see her.”

  “Well, that sucks.”

  “So, you wanna learn to ride or what?”

  “Just don’t hurt me. My first day of work is Monday and I’m already bruised. Is this the best way to get around? My meeting place seems pretty far, and those weird elevators gave me a headache.”

  “The Maglev is definitely more fun, but not the way the old farts use the board, you have to surf the fast currents … the deeper waves.”

  Logan handed Jessica her board. “Rule #1: Always make sure the power light is off before you place the board on the Maglev. Next, slip whichever foot you prefer to steer the board with into the rear sleeve.”

  Jessica placed her right foot inside the rear stirrup, the left in front.

  Logan leaned over and adjusted the straps. “You want these snug, but not so tight that you can’t slip out of them.” He placed the cuff around her right ankle and handed her the slack. “Hold the leash with your left hand. When you’re ready just give it a tug.”

  She pulled on the cord, registering the click as the board powered up and levitated off the electromagnetic track, slowly propelling forward on an unseen cushion of energy.

  Logan positioned his feet on his own board, yanked his power cord and quickly caught up with her. “See? Easy, right? Okay, you’re in what we call ‘the shallows,’ the kiddie pool. To actually surf the Mag you have to go out into the deep.”

  Jessica watched as Logan aimed his hoverboard to the outer section of the track.

  Veering to the right she followed in his path, feeling the EM field beneath her board intensify. Imitating the teen, she cut S-patterns back and forth across unseen waves of energy, her lower torso registering patterns within the EM field.

  Quickly picking up speed, the two riders soared past the gym and continued on, the ride exhilarating and yet hard work, Jessica’s flexed quadriceps and glutes taking a pounding as she dug into the Maglev equivalent of a river’s rapids.

  After several minutes her face hurt from smiling.

  As they ventured farther down the concourse, she noticed the suites had become two-story row homes, the “neighborhood” seeming more middle-class. Logan pointed to the second floor balcony of Unit 545-B. “That’s where I live.”

  Jessica offered a thumbs-up.

  They continued along the Maglev track for another mile before the concourse dead-ended at an eatery and small shopping plaza. A domed ceiling loomed three stories overhead, projecting a blue sky that appeared anything but artificial.

  She signaled him to pull over and the two riders powered down.

  “Quitting?


  “I’m old. This is harder on the quads than cross-country skiing. Besides, I’ve never been down here; let’s check out the shops.”

  “It’s just a mall. Every residential level has one, The eatery has a small grocery store; the shops are kind of lame. But the movie theater’s cool. Level-4 is even better, it has private—”

  His expression changed, as if he had said too much.

  Jessica brushed it aside. “Are you hungry?”

  “I’m good. Anyway, I’m saving my credits for tomorrow. It’s Dim-Sum Sunday. Three to six p.m. Definitely worth checking out.”

  “I’ll keep it in mind, but today I’m buying.”

  “Oh? Okay, maybe a quick snack.”

  Carrying their boards, they entered the eatery—an open-seating café adjacent to three restaurants and a small market. Jessica estimated there were forty people in the complex but saw no staff. “Logan, how many people live down here?”

  The teen had loaded a cheeseburger, soda, and two bottled waters onto his tray. “Couple hundred maybe, but that’s just Level-5.”

  “What about the other levels?”

  “Dunno. I’ve never been on another level. Only Cosmic Clearance can do that.”

  She smiled. “Come on, now. I know you and Kariane have been checking out those private boxes in the Level-4 theater. A quick peek at your father’s security schematics and, you probably downloaded at least two secret access routes up to Level-4.”

  Logan offered a mischievous grin, holding up three fingers.

  “Good for you.” Jessica added an apple to the tray and then took over for Logan, sliding it beneath a scanner to tally the bill.

  The machine spoke: “Your total is $7.28. Please swipe your identification and have a nice day.”

 

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