After she locks me inside a large bird cage in the back of a truck…
…we take off on a bumpy drive. It’s so dark the only thing I can see are stars.
Not sure exactly where we are, but we traveled west all through the trip. I’m guessing Somalia? Ethiopia?
I wanted to go to sleep so badly. I wanted to escape this place. I meditated in the muck of war until I finally nodded off for a few minutes inside the cage they’re holding me in. But I’m still here. Last week all it took was a nod off and zoom, I was elsewhere. Why am I still in this war zone? This is the third day. Is this my last stop in eternity?
There has been no way to figure out who I’m supposed to be here. Except that I’m up to some top secretive nonsense.
The miserable, bumpy, black journey continues endlessly. Dead silence all the way. I see no harm in asking…
“I’m…” I begin to introduce myself before realizing I don’t know what my name is on this Earth. Three days and no one’s called me by a proper name. “How much longer is the ride? I have to pee.”
“Pee your pants,” the blonde bully barks. She’s not big. How can she be so strong? Bitch overpowered me easily.
“Damn, you whipped me good back there!”
She smiles in the rear view mirror.
I go on. “Your strength comes from that suit, right?”
“That’s right, boy,” she brags. “Absolutely unique and it only works on me.”
“How does it deflect bullets like it did? Or let you lift up that jeep like you did?”
“I know how,” she says, turning enthusiastic. I figure she probably memorized something that she is about to share because it gets asked often. “It’s a prototype, the Quark Suit, accidentally obtained in a sea raid on a technology lab that was disguised as a merchant ship.”
“You pirated a tech lab?”
“You’re with her, aren’t you?”
“Madam Farouc personally chose me to wear the weapon. When the suit is activated, I can move anything as though weightless, but really big things lifted from too small a surface area will break apart from their own pressures. That’s why I can’t lift a tank without breaking it.”
“But how does it work?” I still wonder.
“Approaching objects are forced to repel away from my touch, away from my body. Displacement of massive objects results from micro-explosions generated by antimatter quarks on the skin of the suit’s electrical field, when in contact with ordinary matter. I’ve learned how to use the aura as a repellent force field, effective – as you found out -even against bullets!”
As dawn rises the bad ass blonde delivers my cage to an isolated camp.
I sit caged, out in the open while various armed men come and go, looking me over and speaking an unfamiliar language.
These men look and act more like armed rebels than anything else.
The morning wears on until I’m taken out of the cage and into an interrogation hut. I’m in shock. Two weeks ago I could never have imagined I would be here in my craziest speculations. I’m not prepared to withstand torture. That thought makes me giggle nervously for just a moment.
I’m left alone in the hut until a young woman enters with a recording device. My driver, Blondark, accompanies her. The young woman sits before me and records while Blondark stands by.
“Tell me the truth. Who are you?” she asks. Her words seem meant to compel an answer even against my will.
“I’m no one.”
“What is your name?”
“I have no name.” Whoa. Why am I saying the truth? It will only make things worse.
“Tell me the truth,” she insists as if commanding an underling. “What do you mean you are no one?”
“Being ‘someone’ implies a state of humanity,” I reply casually on the outside but hysterically on the inside. What am I doing? “I am a quantum computer. I am unaware of my designation, or as you might think of it – a name.”
She looks very confused.
“May I ask?” I inquire. “How is it you can make me tell you the truth?”
“You just told me you’re a quantum computer!” she bleats. “Obviously not working!”
From a distance I catch a glimpse of the woman who runs this place, all the while sitting before my interrogator, as she sees me watching her.
“Do you know her?” Persuada asks.
“I have seen images of her. The information is incomplete…”
“That’s Madam Farouc, capable of remorseless killing in the defense of her people,” Blondark lets me know. “Madam Farouc is the leader of 500 loyal sharpshooters; boss of 25,000 more loyal elite troops and supported by thousands of locals under her protection.”
The young woman observes the twitch of recognition on my brow. “You know her then,” smiles the interrogator. “She’s your new boss. More like your new owner. From now on you will serve this community in any way she sees fit. Do you have a problem with that?”
“I never came here to fight your people or get involved in local conflicts,” I say.
“Why did you come here?”
“I ended up here against my will. I don’t know how,” I answer honestly.
“Tell the truth!” she orders again.
“How’s he doing that?” Blondark asks the young woman. “Persuada? How’s he resisting?”
“Fuck if I know,” complains Persuada. “Maybe he is a computer.”
Blondark examines my eyes carefully while speaking to me at close quarters. I feel the tingle of quark energy dancing around her. “Persuada’s suggestions, no matter how whimsical, are interpreted and obeyed. She used to chalk it up to skill and luck. Our boss Madam Farouc suspected something else. Once convinced that the young girl was special, Madam directed Persuada to sell a number of dubious oil and gas deals for the profit of their organization…
“It seems that no one could turn her down when she went into her closing pitch and told someone to wire the money or Fed Ex the check. Suddenly the possibilities are endless! Persuada can bring about world peace…or accidentally start a war! Or maybe just fix some of the fashion faux pas impersonating style. Her voice resonates at a unique frequency engaging the hypothalamus realm of brains hypnotically. But for some damned reason… she can’t persuade you to tell the truth.”
“Oh, but she can,” I disagree wholeheartedly. “And I have.”
But Blondark and Persuada dismiss my response and double down on hard line questioning.
“So the Libyans kidnapped you, an American, and drugged you and brought you to Africa to lead a ground campaign against the western tourists? Against your will you are expected to lead soldiers into battle against your own civilization? Oh, those Libyans,” Persuada shared with Blondark, “Always coming up with new ways to destroy their foes, with unexpected strategies and daring innovations.”
With that Blondark strikes me once on top of the head, once across the back and once in the right knee, each terse blow strong enough to hurt badly without damaging severely. I go down gritting in agony.
“You are from the west,” explains Persuada, “and you have heard many lies about the work of Madam Farouc. Asefash Farouc is a warrior and leader, surrounded by an outside world filled with trickery, gadgetry and twisted men who come to do as they please unless someone stops them. Desensitized to sex as a victim of multiple rapes, she raises the children that came from her private hell with as much protection and ‘love’ as she can provide…
“But the outside world never stops coming. They will never leave her people and the land to itself. They only know profit. If there is any chance for their personal gain left to sacrifice wolves for, they will keep coming. But she will keep fighting; and she will inspire a new force and strength never before arisen in this oppressed region. Madam Farouc has a million eyes…a million ears…”
She must pay well. These two are believers.
Western media portrays Madam Farouc as a sadistic killer who takes advantage of this savage backdrop to release her true evil potential, as it never could be otherwise. Beheadings, the burning of live victims, public humiliation; all these have been documented.
Persuada has her hours with me. She extracts the names and locations of my internally manufactured family. They take a break to verify the addresses. Once they’ve got a family hanging over my head, they think they’ll be able to control me.
Luckily, I really am a quantum computer.