Posts Tagged ‘Ben Glick’

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“Welcome to the show, Secretary Dahl, and congratulations on your recent confirmation earlier this spring as head of the Department of Transhuman Affairs,” Ben Glick said with his unique mix of solicitude and disdain. “Why don’t you tell myself and my audience how you’re going to deal with the transhuman problem in this country and how you’ll be working with the Defense Department and State Department to deal with transhuman threats abroad.”

“Well,” the guest said, clearly taken aback, “thank you so much, Mr. Glick, for telling me what my agenda is supposed to be, particularly the foreign affairs role you seem to think I have. If you don’t mind, though, I’ll wait on President Obama to tell me what he sees my priorities being on what you call a ‘problem’ and what I simply see as a fact of life. We have transhumans…”

“…so, you don’t have any original thoughts,  Secretary Dahl?” the host goaded him. “The man who brought us socialist Obamacare and who’s trampling on the Constitution and refusing to produce a physical birth certificate from the U.S. has to march you through every step? Well, why does he need a secretary to head the department, then? He can just keep doing nothing and run Transhuman Affairs himself.”

“I think you’re well aware of the fact I meant I’ll be getting my broad goals and parameters from the President, as do all Cabinet members, Mr. Glick. And the U.S. government has hardly been ‘doing nothing’ as you say with regard to transhumans.”

“Really? What has been done with regard to the transhuman problem?”

“These are fellow humans, sir, not a ‘problem’ to be solved.”

“Oh, I’ll grant you there are a small number—those who watch me regularly, I’m sure—who side with humanity, but they aren’t human, sir. That’s why we call them ‘transhuman’ and they most certainly are a problem, as evidenced by the crimes so many of them commit and the damage the so-called ‘heroes’ do as well.”

Dahl rolled his eyes visibly. “You’re talking about a very small percentage of the population of transhumans, out of the already small percentage who have significant powers.”

“Interesting word choice: significant. Yes, Mr. Secretary, I worry about the ones I don’t see talked about on the news, or who have powers that aren’t showy, who might be using them to get over on humans, or push them out of jobs, or influence them, as the Socialist-in-Chief looks the other way.”

“I’m well aware of your conspiracy theories, but making charts of presumed connections between the Oval Office, transhuman agitators or anyone else with your dry erase markers on a whiteboard when you’re on the air hardly makes your theories fact.”

“Oh, certainly, sir, belittle my audience.”

“It’s not your audience that I’m addressing, and I’m still not sure what it is you think the President should be doing that isn’t already being done, particularly my part, given that my department is concerned with issues of health, discrimination and social issues—not law enforcement.”

“Well, aside from no longer cozying up to transhumans behind closed doors and handing the keys to the kingdom to them,” Ben Glick said loftily, “how about he give us some enforcement of the laws against them?”

“I’m a bit more concerned in my department about enforcing laws that should be protecting them to ensure they have the same rights as any other American, but the fact is that transhumans who break the law are arrested by local authorities or the FBI depending on the nature of their crime.”

“Oh, yes, some of them—for show. Those who aren’t of any use, since ‘President’ Obama has a history of throwing inconvenient people under the bus, as it were,” the talk show host responded. “How about…oh…Doctor Holiday?”

“Why would you pick him?” Secretary Dahl asked. “The government clearly has him in its sights. He’s on FBI’s most-wanted list.”

“And yet still at large—for Obama’s entire administration.”

“All of Bush’s, too, I should add,” Secretary Dahl said.

“Yes, but not with an official ‘hands off’ rule from the Oval Office back then.”

The Transhuman Affairs Secretary got an “ah-ha” look on his face. “I see. The so-called order to let Doctor Holiday do whatever he pleases. It doesn’t exist. It never did. It never will. More conspiracy theories, as is the idea that the government created him.”

“On Christmas 2009, just last year, he tossed a man into his own burning house after accusing him of horrific crimes for which there was no evidence—killing him without letting him have the benefit of a trial—and putting a whole neighborhood in danger. On Veteran’s Day three years ago, he dug up several caskets in Arlington Cemetery and flung them away. Several months ago, on New Year’s, he murdered…”

“Look, let me stop you there,” Secretary Dahl said. “I’ll grant you the Christmas example, as it was murder, though I should note the family has since confirmed many of the accusations. But all three caskets at Arlington turned out to be problematic—two of them were in the wrong graves, having been switched, and one corpse was of a soldier who it later turned out was guilty of several heinous crimes while deployed in Iraq. As for the New Year’s incident, we have the word of one man that Doctor Holiday did it. I’ll remind you of how many people accuse Doctor Holiday of everything under the sun, even when it isn’t a holiday, like the woman who drowned her three children a few years back and said ‘Doctor Holiday did it’ or the man who robbed the bank he worked at a few days before Easter and said Doctor Holiday did it. Even BP was trying to blame their oil spill in the Gulf on Doctor Holiday for the first few weeks. Need I go on?”

“Still, he walks free, and on that Christmas incident, why didn’t the authorities notify the FBI unless they were ordered to ignore…”

“As I understand it, Mr. Glick, the local authorities were a bit frightened and confused and were slow in letting the FBI know, and there was a mix-up in the message going through proper channels once the FBI was called…”

“So, every time Doctor Holiday shows up, the FBI or military are conveniently nowhere to be found.”

“You know as well as I do that Doctor Holiday seems to have a very large number of powers, and…”

“…and apparently friends in high places,” Ben Glick snapped. “There should be teams ready nationwide so that the moment someone spots Doctor Holiday, an Apache helicopter is sent out to fire a Sidewinder missile right at that menace to society.”

“Aside from the danger of using a Sidewinder on a single man in what would be a populated area most likely, weren’t you just complaining how Doctor Holiday denied a man the right to a trial by summarily executing him?” Secretary Dahl noted. “And now you want him executed on the spot?”

“The Constitution was written by humans and for humans, Mr. Secretary,” Glick said. “Someone like Doctor Holiday deserves no more consideration for due process than a rabid wolf in a Macy’s.”

* * *

Zoe consulted her e-mail and her Twitter account on her smart phone, then set it down to take a drink of her mocha with a double-shot of espresso. As she did, she heard the scrape of a chair behind her as someone sat at the table there, then a quiet voice saying, “Ms. Dawson—you should go to the library and look for some books by Donald Miller. An associate of Query’s would like to make your acquaintance in that section.”

Then the man moved his chair closer to his table, and she heard him sip at some beverage loudly.

Her heart seemed to stop in her chest for a moment, and she wondered if it was a trap set by Janus or Underworld to test her or trip her up, then realized the ridiculousness of that. They’d have to know she called him first, and that seemed unlikely. She hadn’t used her own phone or her normal e-mail account to do that. Then once she dispensed with that fear she felt a fresh wave of anxiety as she wondered how deep she was getting if she actually had gotten Query’s attention.

Part of me wonders if the wiser move would simply have been to play along with Underworld and take her offer at face value, Zoe considered. Except I don’t like being forced into a corner and I’m not sure I can just turn off my conscience that easily.

She stood up, gathered her things, and headed back to the campus to visit the library, hoping that her mysterious contact hadn’t meant the city library. She thought about asking him, and then wondered how many eyes Underworld or Janus might have on her, and kept walking instead.

* * *

The man behind the desk sighed, removed his feet from the top of it, and then leaned forward, hands steepled together in front of him. “Bob, I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable with the direction of this project. I’m particularly uncomfortable now that I’m only just finding out about its existence 17 months into my presidency.”

“I only found out about it a couple days ago myself, sir,” responded the Secretary of Defense. “This has been an active but largely black-budget project for many years, and apparently they’re under a standing executive order to only bring themselves to my attention or yours at certain milestone points. Like this one, for which they need approval to proceed.”

“This just isn’t right,” President Obama said. “It smells bad, Bob.”

“But it isn’t some ultra-secret autonomous project or some rogue thing, sir, as evidenced by the safeguards and approval processes we’re seeing now.”

“I promised a more transparent government, not a more opaque one.”

“This isn’t the kind of thing we can tell people about, but I think it’s a project we need, no matter how distasteful it might seem. Look, we know that China is pushing transhuman development plans, both training the ones they have—most of them in the military—and working on ways to activate dormant transhuman genes in otherwise normal citizens.”

“China isn’t an enemy, I should point out,” the President said.

“Nor a friend, really, when we get down to it,” added Secretary of State Clinton, who had been silent until that point. “They already flex the muscle they have owning so much of our debt and being such an economic force potentially. Their people are already genetically predisposed more to transhuman powers than our largely white population here in the U.S., and they have a fifth of the world’s people in their borders.”

“Hillary’s right, sir. They will push the envelope, and if they decide to be aggressive, we will be at a serious disadvantage,” Secretary Gates added.

“General Alexander knew about this?”

“Yes sir,” Secretary Gates admitted. “He was NSA director under President Bush, too, and oversees it. He, like the facility in question, was under a standing order…”

“…he authorized them to take the next step and gave them a deadline to produce induced transhumans,” the President pointed out, an edge to his voice. “That is totally unacceptable.”

“Unfortunately, sir, it was part of his job, and written into his national security duties, as well as his military obligations, to only notify you when he needed authorization. He gave them a deadline, but only you can push the button on this,” Secretary Gates noted. “Given that China is mostly on our minds here, but also Iran and other nations who are more predisposed to their people becoming transhumans, you, me and Secretary Clinton need to know about this. But we either need to be on board with it, or stop and bury the project and make sure no one ever finds out about it. Those are really our only two options.”

For several minutes, the president of the United States said nothing. “Shit I need a cigarette,” he muttered. “OK. Hillary, Bob, we need to keep a tight lid on this. Obviously. I don’t like it one bit, but it doesn’t seem like there’s much I can do about what’s already been done, so let’s finish the project’s currently active phase. But I swear to God, if General Alexander or anyone else authorizes any new warm bodies to be added in in this exercise, I will make sure some heads start rolling, no matter what ‘standing executive orders’ are in place. And speaking of that, I want the general in here tomorrow to give me a full accounting of these standing orders he has as director of the National Security Agency and what orders the Genesis One facility has, or I’ll have him manning an Arctic research station by week’s end. Are we clear?”

“Crystal-clear, sir,” Robert Gates noted, and Hillary Clinton herself just nodded.

“I need a lot more convincing that this is important enough to keep going,” the President added. “As of right now, I’m feeling like this batch of poor guinea pigs in this program needs to be the last.”

* * *

In a quiet warehouse far from the New Judah city limits, a man in a suit walked nervously to the center of the structure, and stopped. After a while, he said, “I hope you’re here. You’re not an easy woman to find, my employer was very clear that I needed to reach you, and I am supposed to report back soon.”

“Is that your way of suggesting that I can’t kill you or people will know right away you’re missing?” came the gleeful reply from above. Moments later, Tooth Fairy dropped from above, and grunted as she hit the ground a little harder than she planned on.

“Just trying to emphasize that I don’t want to rush you, but I have to,” the man said.

“Oh, really? So I have to make a decision now. Is that it?” she asked, opening her mouth and letting her normal teeth turn into long needle-like curving fangs.

The man put his hands before his chest, waving them back and forth quickly. “Not at all, ma’am. I just need to be able to report that you got my message and that I gave you the means to contact my employer.”

“Are you a cop?” she asked suddenly.


“For your sake, I hope not. Because if a bunch of boys in blue rush in here, you’ll be dead before they take me and certain unmentionable parts of your anatomy will be in my mouth—and not in a loving or affectionate manner.”

“That won’t be necessary…”

“Damn!” she said, smiling and with a playful look in her eyes, which contrasted hideously with her toothy visage. She let the teeth revert to normal. “That’s a pity. Well, you’ve given me your message. I’m really not the joining type, though. Maybe killing you would be a good message to send to that effect.”

“It’s just an offer, ma’am. An expression of respect for your abilities and a chance for you to say yes or no as you please.”

“Call me ma’am one more time, and I’m going to have a snicky-snack,” Tooth Fairy said. “Go on, now, and run back to Janus. Leave your card or whatever on the ground and fly away home little ladybug.”

“Yes, ma…” the man said, then bit down on his tongue, set a business card on the ground, and hurried away as fast as he could without completely abandoning his dignity or decorum.

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It was always an interesting sensation to be both the hunter and the hunted at the same time, Query mused.

What say ye, pray ye? Oh, prey shall you pray to an indifferent god; while hunter is slaking his thirst on your blood?

Of course, this little game of hide-and-seek was more playful than most Query engaged in. He would never see this extra shadow he had attracted until she wanted him to, but he knew her by sound and sometimes smell; she would never catch him unawares. Not that she likely had hostile intent anyway.

After about 10 minutes, Query decided that the time for foreplay had come to an end—it was, he thought, the prerogative of a decent and sensitive man to engage in such things, but also to know when to bring them to a close and get to the main event.

Not as if I’ve had the chance for a sexual encounter in months, of course, he mused with some regret but not much rancor as the sexual metaphor played out in his mind, nor will this little liaison lead to any such thing. It would be too much like making time with a half-sister or a cousin to get involved with this one, and the feeling is likely mutual on her part.

“Cheshire, you can come out now,” Query said. “If this goes on too much longer, it will become a game of cat-and-mouse. And that’s unbecoming, given that I’m no rodent.”

“Well, I trust you’re not making me out to be the mouse—or a rat—in this scenario,” she answered in mock affront, letting just her head and one gently waving hand emerge from invisibility, then vanishing from sight again.

Query tracked her with his head, focused on the sounds of her steps even if she was hidden to his eyes. She was as stealthy as he was in her movements, but he had the benefit of enhanced senses. “Never, Cheshire. You’re too bold for a mouse and too refined to be a rat. I don’t even know that I’d call you a cat, frankly, despite your name. There’s something of the hound in you too many days to think of you as truly feline.”

“Oh, but I like the name Cheshire so much better than Cat-Dog, so don’t go ruining my image, Query,” she answered from atop a set of crates, resolving into full visibility now.

Or she might not be on that particular crate, Query noted. Her Luminar powers were not only advanced enough for full or selective invisibility, but also able to allow her to appear to be perhaps a couple meters from her true position.

“Are you shadowing me for practice, Cheshire, or do you really think I’m getting too old and sloppy not to notice you?”

Cheshire’s feet touched the ground with a soft thump as she hopped off the crate. Query had a split-second of disorientation as his mind adjusted to the fact that her body wasn’t where his eyes had told her it should be. As he suspected, she had been on an adjacent crate instead, her image out of phase with her true position. “I actually wanted your attention, Query—I just didn’t want to rush you. You can be so moody some nights. I’ve noticed you’ve been spending a lot of time near the docks this week.”

“Of course, I have,” he responded. “It’s all part of the rules; don’t you read the transhuman handbook, Cheshire? Villains all conveniently lurk at the docks or put their operations there, and they do all their business at night, and heroes like me show up to thwart them.”

“If only real life really were like the comic books, eh? If only it really were that simple,” she said. “Seriously, though, I’ve been working something of my own for a client—and for personal reasons, too. I think that you know about the villain cruise this weekend. I need you to stay away from it. I need you not to go after the folks who will be on that yacht. I need you to leave them alone. I need you to be someplace else, far away.”

“Goodness, could you be a bit more clear on what you want? Stop beating around the bush,” Query teased. “It’s my job to go after bad guys, you know.”

He let the statement hang there gravely, even though he was chuckling in his head. No reason to let her know that he knew about almost every one of the monthly social get-togethers of various villains in this city, most of them short cruises into Long Island Sound. He kept track of the “sin-ins” but he’d never crashed a single one of those parties and likely never would. He had his reasons for that, but there was no good reason to tell them to her, or even let her know about his hands-off approach with regard to the events. Better to see where this was going.

“Query, I may walk a fine line between the whole black-hat/white-hat thing, but I like to think of you as a friendly acquaintance, perhaps even a potential friend,” Cheshire said. “I really need you to rein in your heroic instincts this once. Please? For me?”

“I like you, Cheshire, even though there have been times I’ve wondered if I should bust you, but I don’t owe you any favors, and I owe plenty of people who will be on that cruise some payback,” he said, packing ominous conviction into his tones and hoping he wasn’t playing up his charade too much.

“No, you don’t owe me any favors, Query, but I’m willing to owe you one if you stay away from that cruise,” Cheshire said.

“That would be a big favor to owe, so I would expect a big payment in return.”

“As long as it doesn’t compromise any existing or upcoming business relationships I’m engaged in, I’m willing to owe such a debt.”

Query made a show of silently considering her offer for nearly a minute, even though her answer was what he had hoped for anyway. One never knew when calling in a favor from one of the best intelligence-gatherers around could be useful.

“All right, Cheshire, but I’m not going to be making a habit of this—it took me a long time to find out about this event, and I might never know about another one,” Query lied, smiling behind his mask.

* * *

Janus waved toward Underworld, gesturing for her to come over. She paused, fixing him with a distasteful glare as she had been doing more often than not ever since reluctantly joining his efforts, and finally stepped over.

“My dear, my dear, I must say that modern surveillance technologies are so useful, particularly when you employ people who know how to hack into them,” he said from behind a kabuki-style mask that was painted black with splatters of faux blood on one side, and violet with drops of dew—or perhaps they were meant to be tears—painted on the other. As garish as it was, the mask actually managed to complement his gray Italian suit with subtle purple pinstripes. “Take, for example, this delicious young coed who tore a small chunk out of a brick building with her fingernails at UConn–New Judah. I doubt campus security reviews the DVDs that closely or would even notice, but then again, I have so many motivated data miners in my employ.”

“My, but you’re chatty today, aren’t you?” Underworld sneered. “Your people work so hard for you because being tortured to death isn’t as attractive as collecting the meager paychecks that your cheap ass doles out.”

“That and the subcutaneous tracking devices that allow me to keep tabs on them, of course. No slackers in my sweatshop; no, indeed. But isn’t that girl stupendous?” he pressed, pointing the paused image on the monitor.

“I’ve seen lots of transhumans, Janus. Morph, probably. Maybe a Brute or a Tank. She doesn’t do anything for me, but if you want to leer at college girls on security vids, be my guest.”

“I’m thinking I should reach out to her soon. Provide her some incentive to leave all those silly college plans behind. It’s time for a recruitment drive, anyway,” Janus said.


“Why don’t you make some plans to find out more about her, maybe get to know her. Have a woman-to-woman talk someday in the near future,” he suggested.

“Why would I do that?”

“Aside from the fact that the more minions I have, the more likely I’ll let you slip back to obscurity one day, there is also the fact that the softer side of recruiting has its value, and you have a softer touch than I,” he noted. “It’s important to rule by fear early on, but it would be nice to have a few key people motivated by something more personal and meaningful than threats to their family.”

“So why does she get such velvet glove treatment and you put the screws to me?” Underworld asked tartly.

“She’s a college student, so she’s young and impressionable,” Janus said. “Nubile and succulent, too. You, on the other hand, are a handsome and stubborn woman, and need to be driven with a cattle prod at times—metaphorically speaking.”

“So, I’m a bitch and a cow, and she’s fresh young meat. Janus, you are a pig.”

“But a well-dressed pig.”

“A pig in an expensive suit is still just swine in the end,” Underworld said. “And the only good I see from pigs is bacon or pork chops. I’ll see what I can do to worm my way into her life and do a soft-sell of your organization, Janus.”

“Thank you, Underworld. It’s good that you’re being civil and professional about this.”

“No, Janus, I’m showing some solidarity with a fellow woman. I’m all too aware of some of your past recruitment tactics with young women,” she said, her gaze drifting to the cramped cage in one corner of the room, where Crazy Jane sat cross-legged on the floor, still in the straitjacket she had been wearing when Janus liberated her from the high-security wing of the Givens Psychiatric Detention Facility three days ago. Her eyes blazed hungry but soulless, sharp and bright and cruel against the contrast of the tattoos all over her face—a mix of sunny, gay images and grim, twisted ones.

Underworld turned away from the cage, and Janus met her eyes knowingly. “So, we understand each other, then?”

“Too well, Janus. All too well.”

* * *

“I want to thank Senator Bodswell for being on the show today—he’s a real patriot and a testament to the power of the Freedom Party to put America back on track,” Ben Glick spoke into the camera as he connected with his viewing audience in the closing moments of his show. “I know I support Freeman candidates whenever I can, and you right-thinking viewers of mine no doubt realize the importance as well.”

He paused for a moment, and adjusted his glasses, then looked gravely into the camera again.

“Before we switch over to Fox News Update, though, I want to remind you all—and please realize that I’m not advocating violence, but we are in violent times with humanity and so-called transhumans right now—you need to exercise your Second Amendment rights as Senator Bodswell mentioned today,” he added. “Use them now while you still have them, because I guarantee that the first thing our great socialist President Barack Hussein Obama and any transhumans in office or that he’s putting in positions of power are going to do is try to overturn that constitutional right. Because if you’re transhuman, what do you need guns for? You have powers. And they’ll want to make sure us traditional humans don’t have bullets if we need them. Think about that tonight, if you can sleep with that prospect in mind. Thanks for watching ‘Ben Glick’s America’ here on America’s fair and balanced news source, Fox News, and see you tomorrow.”

Moments later, as the program director indicated they were off the air, Ben’s assistant Janice came by with a fresh cup of coffee for him, and a pastry.

“Intense stuff, today, Ben,” she remarked. “You seemed really supportive of the senator’s thoughts on screening newborns for any transhuman biomarkers and sterilizing them immediately if they show any signs of being able to develop powers.”

“Of course I support that. Why wouldn’t I?” he remarked cheerfully, but there was a kind of challenge in his eyes.

“I just…I mean, you’ve always been so supportive of right-to-life efforts and reproductive rights and the need of Americans not to have their choices taken away,” Janice said as noncommittally as she could, realizing she had just stepped into treacherous waters.

“Civil rights are for humans, and I hope the Supreme Court make a ruling on that soon, Jan,” he said sagely. “The Constitution was written for humans, not transhumans. And I have to support something like sterilization of transhuman babies and transhuman adults. I’m totally against abortion, so we can’t rip the monsters out of a woman’s uterus. The only answer is to keep those creatures from breeding, and keep them from interbreeding with real people. Coffee could use a bit more cream, Jan,” he said after he took his first, slurping sip from the cup.

“Oh. Sorry. Let me just bring you a fresh one, Ben,” she said nervously, and rushed off. Once she was out of sight, she touched her belly, thinking of the tiny life forming inside her womb, which she had only confirmed the existence of a few days before, and decided tonight would be a good time to update her résumé.

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