Authors: Richter Watkins
Tags: #Military Science Fiction and Fantasy
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to events or locals, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 by Richter Watkins
Published by Pryde Multimedia, LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, digital, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the author and/or publisher.
For all the warfighters who never made it home.
The man who’d been dead for three years stood beneath a full moon and watched the helicopter, carrying six of America’s most powerful military and intel operatives, drop out of the predawn sky, falling like a predator hawk seeking its prey.
The dead man was getting worried about their arrival. But they made it. He had a big surprise for them.
The op he wanted to show them was only about half an hour away. He was Doctor Lester Raab, long considered dead by the world, but very much alive and rapidly becoming one of the most powerful men on the planet.
The unmarked chopper spun down across the palms and over the high, barbed-wire-topped wall into his compound in Baja at the center of one of Mexico’s wealthiest enclaves south of Tijuana.
Raab, who’d faked his death three years before, was on the verge of his personal resurrection. But he had a big problem that, if not solved, would threaten everything they’d worked for.
Four heavily armed Mexican Special Forces soldiers immediately surrounded the chopper as the rotors slowed and the engine wound down.
Three forcibly retired American army generals and one four-star still on active duty exited the chopper, along with an admiral and an intel operative connected the “dark floor” of the CIA, an organization known only to a handful as V4.
They strode quickly toward the main house of the compound as Raab hurried to greet them. He was thrilled at their arrival, not only for what he had planned for them, but for his power to bring them here at this hour.
These men, who had funded and protected him and his program, were the big guns behind the “dark” research and development for the future of the military, were about to witness confirmation of their successes. And to relax their anxieties about a problem that had arisen.
He said, as he greeted them, “Gentlemen, I was getting worried.”
“We’re a lot more worried than you are, Doctor,” Admiral Harris said as he shook hands with Raab. Harris headed of one of the most powerful contractor companies working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA.
General Snyder said as he came up to Raab and shook hands, “General Dexter sends his regards. He’s a great admirer of your work. He can’t wait to meet you once you’re relocated in Virginia. After you’ve solved the problem.”
“I can’t wait. I’m ready to go as soon as the problem is solved. And it will be very soon.”
“Good,” Snyder said. “One of the fifty buildings at Fort Meade stands waiting for you, fully equipped.”
“It will be resolved soon,” Doctor Raab said. “There is only one person on the planet, in my estimation, who can do so quickly. And she will be with us maybe by tonight.”
The idea of having his research labs moved to Virginia and in the same complex with the most powerful man on the planet was exciting to say the least. General Dexter had just recently become the commander of the Fort Meade complex and that made him director of the NSA, chief of Central Security Service, and head of the US Cyber Command. On top of that he had his own secret military force that consisted of the 24th Air Force, Second Army, and the Navy’s 10th Fleet. And in the global cyber war, no one was his equal. And he would soon have control of the Internet as well.
These men were the nation’s top guns. They ran the enhanced warfighter projects designed to keep America well ahead of the rest of the world in developing the war technologies of the future.
And Raab found himself at the top of the single most important of those projects. The one that would change everything. But there was a problem and it had to be fixed soon.
Raab led them into the villa and down a long hall to the “war” room that was filled with high-tech equipment, interactive screens, and wearable brainwave scanners more advanced than anything on the planet.
The interactive headpiece—nothing like it anywhere but here—lay in front of each of their chairs at the long, curved, mahogany table, where coffee and pastries were laid out for them by the house staff.
They settled, had coffee poured, got comfortable.
Dr. Raab then explained the operation they were going to witness. “We have about twenty minutes before the live op, featuring the most enhanced warfighter on earth, Seneca, is coming our way. But first, to adjust you to the experience—and you’ve never been involved quite the way you will be now—I’ll show you an op from a few days ago. You’ll experience it viscerally, and that takes some adjustment. It’ll get you ready for what you’ll see live very shortly.”
Raab was a little nervous. It was one thing to show a past operation, but the one that would be live was not under his control. It either would go or not. And its success was critical to everything he’d worked for.
Lester Raab had big plans for this day.
“All right, gentlemen, put on the headsets.”
The headsets were thin bands with goggles. They would calculate and adjust to each individual after reading their metrics. These men were now going to enter a world they had financed and helped create, but wasn’t available until now.
“Gentlemen, you will now see through the eyes and mind of the operative. We’ve never had the ability to do what we can now. You won’t have to read his thought transmission on some computer screen. You will be him. You will actually feel the heart rate, the anxiety level, and see through his eyes. It’s a little strange at first, but you’ll get used to it. And on the right upper view, you’ll see data that correlate with the essential stats. You will become a warfighter of tomorrow . . . here today. These are men whose damaged brains were saved by technology you made possible. These metabolically enhanced warfighters are the tip of the spear. Enjoy.”
Watching these men, a team who’d financed his programs, protected him, and were the dominant players preparing America’s resurrection as well as his own, Doctor Raab felt the moment, his moment, and theirs.
The operation rerun he showed them was of an assassination outside Mexico City, one they experienced as if they were the assassin, yet also the field commander. It was like being, and controlling, all at once. It took some time to get used to. It was beyond an advanced 3D video game. This one was you.
It was a nice prequel to get them adjusted to the medium. They were familiar with many advances, but nothing quite as sophisticated:
A Mexican security agent opened the limo door for a powerful politician. He turned and, the assassin’s dot appearing on his forehead, the shot, the quick death, the assassin’s reaction, heart rate, brain wave, the communication, all felt directly as if each man at the table was the assassin, had pulled the trigger.
Raab saw their reactions. He smiled deeply, broadly. On some level, he and those with him in the neuroscience field ruled the future. These men, for all their power, were really just his soldiers.
“Was the operator cloaked?” General Snyder asked. “He seemed very close.”
“Yes. But what you are going to witness live won’t be. He’ll be very visible to the target.”
Everything now turned to the real-time op. It would be the main feature. Seneca, the most advanced, metabolically enhanced, warfighter on the planet.
When Raab got the signal from his assistant, he said, “We’re going live, gentlemen. Real time. This enhanced warfighter you will interact with was a Tier One who suffered extreme traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan. He’s undergone multiple operations and transplants over the years and chip sets that make him one of a kind. Seneca. He’s our future.”
Raab waited for the signal. When it came he said, “Gentlemen, we’re live in La Jolla. The target is a woman I had the honor of working with on this very program. And the reason why the program was shut down and had to be moved out of the States. She’s the creator of the Z-chip set.”
The men picked up their headsets again and entered the brain of Seneca, an experience they wouldn’t soon forget.
Raab said, “He has, among other advanced attributes, the ability to outrun any sprinter, thanks to the third generation piezoelectric transducers in his shoes. He’s a cheetah among men. His cognitive functions allow him to go for days without sleep. He can adjust his vision the way owls do. A kind of dual focus—one eye sees long distance while the other sees up close. Owls need that for night hunting, chasing their prey through the trees. It’s a little weird at first, but once you’re used to it, it’s really cool.”
At first they saw only the predawn darkness in the trees and glimpses of the white tops of the ocean waves out from the cliffs. Then their vision became the soldier’s vision. And it was more intense, more real—so real, it would be almost traumatic if they didn’t understand.
moved through the palms near the ocean in La Jolla. They
saw the bare first flicker of morning filtering across the bluff.
They were now Seneca. His pulse, visions, movements. And it took them away from their individual beings and into the world of one of the great warrior-assassins on the planet.
The target, and Raab’s personal obsession, came into view as she jogged along the bluff. She had long, easy strides, a female in her prime, a female Doctor Raab had great admiration and affection for. And anger and bitterness.
If it went as planned, and he knew it would, life would be as it should. And Seneca was not just the best—he was beyond anything they had created.
Raab had full, joyful confidence. Life had its moments and this was one. He became Seneca, became the ultimate warfighter. It was a very powerful and, for him, delicious moment and would be for all of them.
Ocean breeze filled her lungs, the flow of blood, the predawn, the freedom to do what she wanted.
Doctor Rainee Hall’s strong legs looped easily along a well-worn path on the bluff above the Pacific, moving to the cadence of her personally mixed soundtrack pulsing through her earbuds.
For the workaholic, and one of the premier neuroscientists in the world in rebuilding sub-damaged brain regions and neuromodulation technologies, this was her regular predawn run, her ritual, enjoying this moment when she was alone in her world and away from her work, her obsession.
Her strong, conditioned legs ate up the trail as she jogged along the cliffs near the Scripps Institute in San Diego where she did much of her work with the study of brain injuries.
Nothing relaxed her as this morning ritual. It was her high, her meditation, her necessary endorphin fix and Zen where she escaped her work which, at the moment, was modeling the latest “brain dust” that was so powerful, so energy efficient, and so much a mimic of the brain, they could map the synaptic layout in biometric algorithms that promised an evolution of brain rehab with carbon-based cells.