Premiered 9/9/9 (9 September 2009)
The continuation of The Myth and Legend of D'PTah, an original novel by Dan Sewell Ward.
I could really get used to yachts... provided of course I was the one in command and giving the orders. I mean, why have a captain and crew if they aren't falling all over themselves to provide you with every possible luxury and entertainment? Snappy salutes, clicking of heels, and magically rapid manifestations of my every whim; that's what owning a yacht should be like. Maybe even a couple of swarthy types for those moments when only a triple orgasm will do. Now that's what I would call living in the lap of luxury – just as long as we never had to encounter bad weather at sea. Or for that matter... sea, except as a means of separating me and mine from the riff raff of the land bound. Basically, if it's my yacht, then the sea is optional... except as a buffer zone to shield me from the unwashed.
This latest rendezvous on a yacht was just another trip on Norman's over-sized boat, and as before, there was not even a temporary bed for my proclivities. Se la vie, I've heard it said... even occasionally C'est la vie. I really hope they know where they can stick that shit! Obviously it was going to be essential that at some point I acquire my very own yacht... with a really shocking color scheme. Just not pink.
I would have preferred to have gone to this meeting as the Senator's representative – leaving him in his deep mole position. I liked the increased attention. But then again, so did the Senator, and he was not about to give up even the most mundane of meetings. His inevitable excuse was to assign unrealistic importance to each meeting. He simply could not stand the thought of being left out in the cold. When one is knee deep in espionage, one feels compelled to keep a finger on the pulse of the conspiracy.
When the Senator and I entered, Layton Kennedy was talking to Richard Villa in an apparently social manner, while Barry Laurence was talking with considerably more earnest intentions with someone I'd never seen before. Wider and shorter than Barry, the new man was nevertheless clearly Barry's equal, or possibly his superior – which was something of a surprise, because I had never thought of Barry as being anyone's inferior. But all due deference was being paid nonetheless. Strange shit here.
Layde had immediately veered from his original trajectory to greet J. Francis Grant, a graying but still solid figure – the latter due in part to his having been the autocratic CEO of a conglomerate giant for more years than most people spent in a life career. I had known Grant from his many years (his Bio claimed 30) in pharmaceuticals. He was also a regular contributor to the Senator's campaigns – and of course the recipient of the most largesse the federal government could provide any corporate benefactor. In fact, the kindly Senator Layde ensured that not only was everything that could be sprung loose from the federal coffers sprung for J. Francis, but that they would always be wrapped in gold leaf.
I could probably have cared less about pressing the flesh with Grant – he didn't seem to have the stamina that I required. But what did grab my attention was the tall, dark and hunky man who had been listening to Francis' ramblings without so much as facial tick to show acknowledgment. The guy clearly had the poker face to send the most astute gambler wondering. It took me probably a nanosecond to veer toward the two along with the Senator, but for totally different reasons. Mr. Tall, Dark and Dangerous was the best thing I'd seen at a Warlords Concave, and he was clearly worth investigating.
J. Francis managed a quick glance in my direction, as if he actually had a clue as to who I was. Tall, dark and tantalizing... on the other hand... did a photographic glance at both the Senator and myself, and then moved to one of the upholstered swivel chairs and set down. His gaze now seemed more intent upon studying the air molecules in the center of the room than in paying any attention to the rest of us.
My gaze of course was entirely upon him. The rule is that if one stares at another person, they will eventually turn your way. The key is to turn away just a fraction of a second before they see that you're staring at them. That way they will have noticed you, but you can be apparently oblivious to them – keep the dudes on their toes, off balance, and begging for more; you know the game. It's the only way to play as far as I'm concerned. The only problem was that I was practically burning him with my X-ray eyes, while his attention stayed on the air molecules. Christ! Was I loosing my touch? Was he brain dead? Gay? Oh my god! What a waste that would have been! Please, merciful mommy: don't let him be gay!
The Senator and Grant began taking their own seats – forcing me to stick with the Senator and... dang!... at a bad angle with which to continue my surveillance of tall, dark, and... I was going to have to find a name for the guy. This was too much! Maybe something like Rock Stock... Yeah, that should about do it.
From another door, General Mick entered and walked over to Barry, his gait subservient and apologetic. Directly to Barry – as if the other man did not exist (an oversight by the JCS Chairman which was to haunt him) – Mick said, “Sorry I'm late. We had to lose a security tail.”
Barry said nothing, turning to the man beside him, allowing the latter to do the disciplining. The man took in Mick with a cold eye – one which actually unnerved the top military commander of the greatest military in the history of the world. In a voice appropriate for a demonic hanging judge, he said, “If you thought someone was attempting to monitor you, why did you not abort?”
Mick was stunned. And in the split second of his hesitation, the man turned as if to address the rest of us. “Security is priority one. Too many unexplained absences of well known public figures may lead to compromise of the group. They will not be pleased! And their wrath is... substantial.”
After relishing the strains of Night on Bald Mountain  and the sky falling on Mick, it suddenly hit me as to the identity of Barry's superior, and the man ready to cashier a four-star general for missing an ashtray with his cigarette's falling ash. It was Norman Malestrom, the secretive and autocratic chief warlord of our group. Moreover, according to the Senator, Malestrom was also the Warlord Club's only link to the people he referred almost reverentially as the True Elites, those hidden individuals who had ruled the world with an iron grasp long before the Regency (and who probably continued to do). I was suddenly flushed, realizing my proximity to such unbridled power.
True to my imagined form of such men, Norman made the first of his grand pronouncements. “General Mick and Senator Layde have provided and will continue to provide this group with information, but there can be no further secret rendezvous-style meetings which includes their personal appearance. After their briefings today, we will not want to see them again. Both are too public to warrant the potential for compromising our security.”
I could feel the Senator's ground shock as he realized that he was irrevocably being cut out of the best part of the conspiracy. General Mick, however, was probably relieved. When you have loyal, disciplined thousands at your beck and call, there's no glory in having the necessity of performing loyalty-up duties. Besides, why put up with insult upon injury, when one can retreat to one's rather large pond, and where one is still the biggest frog? But leave it to the military/political hack to be sufficiently vain so as having to say something. “How can we provide information to the group? Do we use a go-between?”
“Not a new one,” Norman said, with a chilling finality. “Adding yet another weak link to the chain does not enhance security; it demeans it. We will instead use our already available resources.”
'Or we could take out an ad', I thought. 'Wanted: Intermediary to carry top secret intelligence reports. References required.'
Then Norman turned to me. “Your affair with the Senator will take a turn for the worse. In rebound you will fall into an elicit affair with General Mick. And thereafter, your job hanging by a thread and saved only by your knowing of the Senator's closet skeletons, you will looking for other work. In the process you will provide us with continuing intelligence from both of your lovers.”
I was as close to an orgasm fully clothed as I had ever been. The combination of stunned realization and abject delight was enough for me to warm to my new mentor, my Norman Conquest Conquistador, like I've never warmed to anyone... including tall, dark... what the fuck name was I using for him? But before I could happily agree to Norman's proposal, Mick saved me from appearing too eager.
The four star dupe asked, as if he were fearful of any such romantic liaisons, "Affair?" 'The guy was faithful,' I wondered? 'How can that be? Can't he get it up?'
“You don't have to fuck each other,” Norman said with clear disdain. “But you will create all the sound bites and provide all of the photo oops to convince the most skeptical investigator. Ms. Court will be our secure connecting link – one both of you will use with exceptional efficiency. Is that fundamentally clear?”
Mick could only shake his head and shrug his shoulders in compliance, while the Senator showed slightly more class. “Agreed. I appreciate the need for security, and inasmuch as I have just managed to penetrate into the Regency's Inner Circle... attending these meetings would have become ever more problematic.” Way to go, Layde. Make it sound like it was your idea, even when you've probably already wet your pants at being shoved aside from what promises to be the really good shit.
Norman took his chair – one I suddenly realized that was notably more plush than the others, clearly a token of the high esteem he was held in. “What has your new position gained you thus far?”
The Senator's face seemed serious, but I could feel him smiling. He was now in his element, even if this was his swan song to the Club... at least for the time being. “I've encountered two extremely secret projects of which the Regent is apparently a key player. One is code named 'PTS', and involves Air Force General McIntosh. The other is 'ATSAS', with CNO Sudra apparently playing a major part. I would ascribe more importance to the latter if only because of Sudra's involvement.”
“What's the purpose of either project?”
“I haven't yet uncovered anything further, save that they both seem to have a high priority and there are more than several black project funding scenarios being set up. I would hazard to guess that both projects are expensive, and on that basis undoubtedly important.”
“You know nothing more,” Norman asked?
I felt the Senator blanch. “Not yet. But I'm sure I can find out more.”
Norman frowned. “When you do discover something important, and original, do let us know. But don't get blinded by what might easily be a red herring. We too have heard of the code names, but from all appearances, there's probably very little substance. We do know of orders being cut for fictional personnel, a clear sign of creating a diversion upon which the unwary can expend too many resources. We will not fall into that trap. Meanwhile, there's got to be a lot more information of actual value that you should be able to gather. The obvious is our priority. We may also want to provide you, via your former lover, with alleged intelligence on our activities – all false of course – but with just enough verification to enhance your value to them, and to check on just how much they may be obtaining from us. Understood?”
The Senator was about to agree, when the door opened and in walked the Baroness Abbie Dale Tensile, making her grand entrance. “My apologies, gentlemen. I'm afraid my tardiness...”
“You're late!” Norman had looked up at the woman with a eye cold enough to send her body temperature rocketing to absolute zero. (And the great advantage of such temperatures, I'm told, is that everything is fragile, and can be shattered with ease – even the disease-infested body of the Ice Queen.)
The suddenly defrocked Baroness, neutered Black Widow, and chastised all-around-insult to humanity, almost tripped over her own shoes. She was stunned, staggered, and dazed. I loved it! Even her bitch poodle with the same damn chain, cowed (this time even more than normal... if that was possible). Almost as quickly, Abbie became very angry. Unfortunately from my perspective, she also had just enough sense not to loose her wails on Norman Malestrom Not now, at any rate. Instead I knew she would be contenting herself with an irrevocable vow to kill the son of a bitch. The problem was that it would likely be the case of the kite challenging the hurricane. She promptly sat down in a chair just outside the main circle. Her pet struggled over, dragging its chain, until it could hide behind her legs.
I almost chortled. Watching Abbie's dismissal by Norman, I wondered what the recently defrocked Baroness would do when she found out about my graduation from aide to accomplice. 'Yeah, bitch, I thought; I've got a seat at the table and your fried ass is in the dog house... along with your pathetic little mongrel. Eat shit, you sick cunt!'
Norman had dismissed Abbie the moment she had kept her silence and sat down. He turned to Mick, “General Mick, what's General Koenig's progress?”
“He's got a good plan, is pulling it together as rapidly as security allows, and should have some credible options very soon.”
“What is 'very soon'?”
“Months I would estimate.”
Norman turned to Richard III. “Mr. Villa, you're assisting General Koenig, are you not?”
“Yes sir. It seemed to be a better policy for the General if he were to avoid too great a dependency upon standard military sources and supplies.”
“Let's just not be quite as cavalier as you usually are. We will, as always, use military intervention only as a last resort. We will instead go with our strengths, our brains. War can be very profitable, but it's messy, chaotic, and inevitably out of control.” [Alas, the fundamental problem with wars is that they tend to generate brave and selfless acts – not a good prospect for demonic forces.] 
Norman put his fingers together for a moment, thinking. Then he said, “Let's keep General Koenig on a tight lease. Overt military action is not our primary means of affecting change. We will hold you, General Mick, responsible for ensuring Koenig does not go off half cocked. Mr. Villa, you will encounter some delays in outfitting General Koenig's special forces – but such delays that... should we order it... can be easily eliminated over night.”
“I can do that,” Villa replied. Mick seemed to agree by his head shake. From my perspective, Richard seemed immune to put downs. With the effectiveness of the Dreaded Pirate Villa fame, he knew where his power base was: In the ether and fog of fantasies that could never be fully penetrated.
“You will do that; both of you,” Norman emphasized. Then he turned and gestured toward Barry, “Mr. Laurence and his associates have concocted a rather impressive set of responses to the Regency's recent statements. In this way, the Regency will be forced into a corner whereby he will be required to uphold the law – and with the law we will be able to control him. He's still something of a loose cannon, but efforts are being made to control him on the issues that matter. Those bound by laws, rules, and strictures are always at a disadvantage when confronting those who accede to no such limits. That's all you need to know for the moment, but when there is more or when your feeble assistance is required, you will be told what you need to know, what to do, and nothing more.”
Then Norman turned to J. Francis Grant. When he said nothing, Grant took it as permission to speak.
“Two issues,” he began. “The first is that our control of the seed depositories is threatened. We have long had the option of taking out the existing, public facilities – even the top security facilities at Svalbard. But we are now suspecting that the Regency is initiating one or more secret depositories, and thus may be threatening our control of the world's food stocks. We cannot allow this to happen.”
“Bad for business,” Villa noted. As quickly, he flinched and looked as if he wished he hadn't been quite so casual. But then... 'Shit! He'd been in worse trouble before. Often... as a matter of fact.'
“Bad for control,” Grant answered evenly. “If we control seeds, we control food. If we control pharmaceuticals, we control health. And if we control religion, we control sex, mental and physical well being. If we control the militaries, we control war, and in short, with all of the above, the world.”
It was mesmerizing. They were talking plague, famine, war, and... death. Let me see now: what was the number of those horsemen again?
Norman ignored the interruption, “How are you moving to correct this problem?”
“We've long had a select line of seeds for just such an eventuality. By indirect means we can provide anyone attempting to establish a seed bank seeds that self-destruct within four years. We've never let this one out, because once it's done, there's no turning back and we will have used our primary weapon in what quite possibly might be only a skirmish. These terminal seeds are like an atomic bomb; you don't use it for bush wars.” Grant was clearly in his element. I knew that he had recently visited the Arctic circle stash on the Island of Svalbard. He would still be on a high from the VIP tour there.
“We will have to deliberate on the timing of dropping this particular bomb, “Norman replied.
“Understood.” Grant probably did actually understand, a tribute to his real standing among the elite.
“The second issue?”
“The so-called Grand Ecumenical Council the Regency has begun planning affords us an unusual opportunity.” Grant smiled, as only Lucrecia Borgia could have done. “We may have under one roof... and eating foods from the same source... virtually all of the major religious figures in the world. These people, incidentally, will be eating out of the same rice bowl, so to speak. We can selectively take out, or simply make deathly ill, any number of attendees. It's just a matter to choosing the victims.”
Mick's astonishment was obvious. “You're going to poison the clerics?" Every face in the room now knew just how wise Norman had been to end Mick's tenure as a Warlord Club member. His mind did not have the moral flexibility and/or immoral unboundedness required.
“The Regent,” Grant patiently explained, “will be placing a lot of his credibility on the line with this one. If the attempts to find common ground among the various religions of the world falters... and then many of the clerics giving him the most difficulty suddenly begin to become ill, possibly die... we can point the finger and cripple the Regency with the simplest of strokes. The Terminal Seed Bank can be then held in abeyance until it's really needed.”
“We have always used religion for our purposes,” Norman mentioned, almost casually. He might have added, 'How else to control billions, than to foster ignorance and discourage critical thinking? Religions are a means to an end. They are a narcotic; why else would they have been so liberally dispensed?' Instead, his reply was only, “Having the Regent responsible for a blow against the religions does have a lot of appeal.”
Villa, clasping his hands in front of his chest, commented, “Amazing that beliefs in nonsensical realities are so incredibly wide spread. It's almost like a genetic defect.”
Norman looked at Villa for perhaps a second, as if he were analyzing and judging the future value of the man and whether or not he would continue to be used... or not. Villa did his own casual appraisal, but in Villa's case, more from the viewpoint of asking himself if perhaps he had gone too far with this group. Watching his face, I thought I detected his fall back thoughts, i.e., 'But who the fuck cares?' My appraisal was vindicated when Norman's brief stare failed to accomplish its primary aim of serious intimidation, and the Elite of elites turned instead to the Black Widow. “Speaking of genetics...”
Abbie was momentarily startled, but then quickly came up to speed. “We may have found a candidate for the project we previously suggested. It's called the Tosanmon Virus. Appears to be deadly as hell and perfect for a worldwide pandemic -- the kind that can do some real damage. But it's incubation period is such that we need more time to be sure. There is also the question of the antidote. It may not be sufficiently complex for our purposes of controlling absolutely who is saved and who isn't. We should know in less than six months.”
The Senator leaned forward. I suddenly realized that his normal coloring had faded to shaken white. Still, he kept a controlled facade. “We have Terminal seeds, control of food stocks, and all of the rest. And now we may have a potentially pandemic, deadly virus? I can understand how we can control who eats which tainted food, but viruses are, I suspect, slightly more problematic?”
“Decidedly,” J. Francis Grant added. And he should know!
“Which is why more testing is needed,” the Black Widow answered. “The key is the means of delivery of both the virus and the immunization. We are working very hard on this aspect, and I can assure you that I want no uncontrolled biological contaminations running amuck. I have no problem with doing away with billions, even living with only a few million survivors. But I do have a problem if I cannot assure that I and my... associates... will be among the survivors.” For a moment, Abbie blinked, glancing at Norman. I could almost hear her thoughts, vowing to seek vengeance on Norman for his slight... like Norman not quite getting the correct antidote... but the one earmarked for the fiendishly terrifying deaths of enemies.
Such thoughts apparently did not reach the male consciousness. (Only women have the fury that can compete with hell.) Accordingly, Mick's question, his face decidedly ashen, was more on point, “Doing away with billions?”
“War has always been a grotesquely inefficient means of limiting populations,” Grant noted, as if discussing the sex lives of Escherichia coli. "Disease, however, is incredibly efficient."
Norman looked at Mick. “Think of it as collateral damage. And now... we have the ideal scapegoat, a religious pariah rushing down the road to perdition.”
“And that, I assume,” Layton suddenly entered the conversation, “is the reason for the religious connection... to provide an... evil scapegoat?”
“Precisely,” Grant answered. “When all hell breaks loose, the true believers will assume it's a lack of righteousness among the infidels. What the foods and the viruses don't take, we can assume the holy wars will claim. But we must also remember that when it comes to the planned obsolescence of most humans via the wonders of modern chemistry, that there is inevitably survival by the luck of the genetic draw. Not necessarily the fittest; just the luckiest. There's always that dangling percentile.”
Watching the Senator, and then Mick – both now comparatively useless to the Warlords, their tenure having been cut by Norman -- I could feel their limits of moral flexibility being reached. They were to have no say in the fate of the world, but they were saddled with the foreknowledge of what was planned. It was probably just a bit more than what they had bargained for.
Of course... the unvarnished truth is that I rather suspect I may have glimpsed on a distant horizon, my own limits. It's one thing for my wanting to personally survive at any cost – but now the... what had he called it? A couple of billion lives.... collateral damage? Maybe what they were talking about was just a bit too much... even for me in the midst of PMS. I kept thinking that winning or placing in the rat race would not detract from the fact that I was still a rat. Come to think of it, I used to use the phrase for humor relief, but now, inexplicably, the plague rat joke did not sit quite so comfortably with me. This was becoming just too fucking much!
It was one thing to keep on top of things just for self-defense. And foreknowledge was always a good survival and life enhancement technique. Unless of course you couldn't use it. Who was it? Cassandra? She knew the future and nobody believed her? Who was going to believe this?
It later occurred to me to wonder why they had never set up such a program before. But then I realized that it was because the biological technology had not previously reached the state of the art to accomplish their aims. There was also the fact the Elites had never had to resort to such an extreme in order to ensure their staying in power and control. Things were moving along just fine, thanks very much. And if it works, you don't fix it. For the Elites, of course, it had always worked. Thus there had never been sufficient motivation for an artificial pandemic. Now there was. It was the ultimate elitist survival instinct.
Having just sized up the general mood of the others and made some judgments, Norman turned to Rock Stock – Hey, I remembered my pet name for him – and said casually, “Anything you'd like to add, Major?”
Major Rock Stock – his promotion being duly recorded by my hormones in every erogenous zone of my body – looked at Norman, and then with due consideration, shook his head. “Not for the moment.” God, his voice was enough to rattle my shaky little cage. For a moment I wondered if just possibly I was springing back to life.
“We do appreciate,” Norman continued, “the Arcturus Group's intended cooperation with our efforts. I feel sure we will all greatly benefit from our... collaborations.”
“We share your enthusiasm,” Major tall, dark, and... whatever answered.
After that, the meeting broke up... at least for the Senator and I... and my new lover, Mick. Damn!
Taking our boat back under the blazing sun, the Senator and I were silent for most of the ride. Then he said to me, hardly bothering to actually turn toward me, “I think I will need an intense night of sex prior to our first fight.”
My first inclination was to look at him askance, but then I sensed his reasoning. When confronted with death in so many forms by such demonic and cavalier forces, the idea of life and its means of continuation... sex... had suddenly become very, very precious. We would indeed have to have sex, and hopefully, in that way convince ourselves that human life would continue despite all of mankind's efforts to limit or risk it. Or to just wantonly kill it.
 C. S. Lewis,The Screwtape Letters.
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