The World As We Know It/The Underlying Truth

I. Victor and Randy

Unless my memory deceives me, the trouble started on the fifth of August, 2008. Today, in my final hours in the Americas, I will tell the truth about the world. What I have learned in the past week has questioned everything I have ever known. And now, I must warn others. I will hide this truth somewhere secret-somewhere only someone worthy can find. Somewhere the Starborn can't find.

. In 2004 I started my career as a psychologist. I had a successful collage career, and from the start I lived in a medium-wealth with my wife. My sessions were held in our house, in the first-floor bedroom just beyond the kitchen. After two years of perfection, my wife and I had our first major argument. That was the first night I abused my power.

My mind now flashes back to the day where we stood in our bedroom, arguing. Somehow a simple issue over car insurance was able to cause such a strong fight. It was 9:38 PM, and she was packing her bags.

"You already knew I had signed up for one plan. You just weren't happy about it and figured I'd cancel it if you activated the one of your choice."

With that, she turned around slowly, with one of the angriest faces I have seen on a person.

"What did you just say?" She asked, steam blowing off her face.

"We talked about the plan we wanted for weeks-remember, Claire, you wanted to spend the extra money. I tried to tell you we weren't making enough money to afford it. It was you who made the mistake."

And with that, like magic, her face started to change. The anger slowly faded and soon I saw only sympathy, with a tear below her eyelid. She looked back to her bag on the bed, half packed, broke into tears than ran over to me. Ever since that day, things were never quite the same.

I used my ability to brainwash once again the next year, over getting a high definition TV. Claire would have rather spent the money on something we could both enjoy, but I wanted that TV. By the end of the day it was sitting in our living room.

Sometime after that, I was on my way home from work. I was driving through the suburbia we live in when I noticed a cop far down the road. Thinking about my ability to brainwash Claire, I floored the gas pedal. Four seconds the flashers were on.

"Mr., Do you know how fast you were going?" the cop asked.

"Yes, sixty-four miles per hour. That is the speed limit, or do I misunderstand?" I will admit with shame I have never served a ticket since.


And then, on August fifth, things caught up with me. That was when my good-friend Vic Thompson had me over for dinner. I knew from his voice on the phone it would be for more than just dinner.

Sitting at his table, he suddenly stood up.

"Randy.... We've known each other for how long? Three years?" He asked

"Yea... Somewhere around that," I replied

"It was in spring three years ago you did me a huge favor... You saved my wife's life. She was living in utter depression, but it was you who saved her." Vic started to walk to the large bay window at one end of the table. "Well, I have an offer for you. You are free to decline if you'd like, however what I propose will benefit you without doubt. You see, don't laugh, but since a child I've had a far-fetched dream. I have always wanted to become the president of the United States of America. Don't lie, you and I both know equally that you have abused your... way with people... before to get the world to work in your favor."

"I'll admit it, no use lying. Are you asking me to run for president under your name and laws?" I asked.

"Ha, never," he started as he turned around towards me slowly. "I'd like you to run with me. As a running mate. I'd like give speeches of your own, and sway the crowd into believe we are meant to lead the nation. Of course I'll start small, and I'd like to run for mayor this election. What do you say?"

But there never was a campaign. Vic Thompson was pronounced dead on the sidewalk of Washington Street one week later.

II. Assassination

The phone rang at 4:37 PM-I clearly remember my favorite TV show turning to commercial seconds before.. Vic Thompson, dead, drive by shooting. No suspects. No campaign. Best friend gone. I punched my fist into the wall. I could just see Vic, planning his campaign, walking up the street, as a random van pulls up. He looks into the window, the window rolls down. What campaign? What Vic Thompson?

Now what? I already called my patients and referred them to other psychologists.
I can't just call them up and say something like "I changed my mind. Do you mind dropping the guy I recommended? I lied, he's horrible, I'll help you?" Ha. Back to step one. Maybe I'll just "talk" random people into coming to me.

Eventually, my mind drifted back to my best friend, now laying in a morgue. Who would want to murder Vic? Very few people knew he was running for the next election. Somehow I knew it wasn't a serial killing. I could see some twenty-year old kid sitting in a court room, swearing he didn't do anything. His lips were singing blame it on Cain, please don't blame it on me. Ha-ha. Perfect. Now what? My best friend is dead, my plans are gone, and I'm laughing at my own hysteria?

I threw the newspaper I was reading to the side and stormed upstairs to tell Claire.

***

The funeral was a disaster. Vic knew a lot of people, his funeral was the largest I have ever attended. I was "lucky" enough to be a pallbearer. Hurray.

Surprising enough, there was a rough downpour and a tent was erected above the burial site. The small tent didn't do anything about the tarp pathway though. Two of the other pall bearers were old men. As we entered the tent, one of them, Marc, slipped on the tarp path. He grabbed for the coffin and we all went spinning. The crowd gasped. Marc slammed into the tent poll and it started co collapse. I dropped the coffin and it went rolling to the side. It only took me one look at the crowds faces to know that someone forgot to lock the coffin. That was all I could take. Before my eyes were able to wander downward, I ran.

III. Briefing

There I sat, my back up against the ally wall, starring at the waterfall of rain running off my hood. I couldn't believe how badly I disrespected my best friend. It's one thing to be upset, but I'm not a kid anymore. I should be able to handle an untimely death. In the corner of my eye I saw a black shadow move. I stood up suddenly. There was a mugger. I started to look around. It wasn't long before I felt a blow to the back of my head.

***

The blindfold was ripped off my face. I sat tied to a chair, a man in front of me and another to my side.

"Don't be alarmed," the man in front of me said. "We mean you no harm. We only have a proposition."

"Last time I accepted a proposition my best friend ended up dead!" I replied in anger.

"Yes, well, you've got to understand, extreme measures are sometimes forced to be taken. Your friend... He would only distract you. You were like a slave to him, doing all the work while he reaped the perks. We would like to offer you a much higher honor.."

"You murder an innocent man! How can you mention honor?" I flamed.

"One lost fish in a sea of billions matters little. Let me say what I have to offer." He leaned forward. "You may have noticed the badge on my jacket."

For the first time, I looked. The symbol looked like a half pipe with an upside-down triangle placed in it. The end of the triangle hung below the pipe. On each edge of the triangle lay a star.

"This, is the Blazedip. You are currently in your locale's Starborn Society outpost. We are all people like you, who bring good on the world using manipulation. What you have, Randy, is more than a way with people. It is a gift, a power. Very few people have the ability to manipulate like you.

"We formed in the middle-ages in the British Isles. As our legend tells, a Scottish man used his power to recruit citizens into the army. War with England was tough at the time, and he brought in many of the soldiers who helped save the country. One night, that man tried again to use his power. The man resisted it though, and spoke freely. That man is known as William Wallace, legendary patriot during the wars of Scottish Independence. According to myth, it was they who formed the Starborn. It all began with the assassination of the English sheriff William Heselrig. Wallace used manipulation keep morale high in battle.

"It wasn't long before more people with the "Starborn Mind," as it was put then, were found. Before long, the Starborn took control of England and Wales. To evade suspicion, no wars were immediately ended and the name Starborn was left a rumor on the streets.

"In time, the nobles of the Starborn became worried over Wallace's power.. They ordered his execution in the name of England. They he used his last breath on the cursing of the Starborn.

"Throughout the post-Wallace years, the Starborn Society gained control of much of Europe, and gained footholds in Africa and Asia."

"If you are so powerful, then why is there war, why is there crime, why are there countries? Why are some presidents good and some bad?" I interrupted.

"Oh, do you really think it's just that easy? Do you think the Starborn is the only Manipulative society to form? There were countless rebellions in Africa, which led us to claiming colonization of the area. There were wars to prevent suspicion. Although we are the true leaders of many countries, it would not make much sense to have every leader have the same thoughts, so we developed personalities-some war-hungry, some oblivious, some generous, some peaceful. I would like to offer you a position as the governor of Baltimore-You will serve a twenty-year term, and you will be closely monitored by us. You will be known to the "real" governor as a servant. You will communicate with him as often as possible, you will make his decisions.

"You are only aloud to know the location of the outpost in which you work. Use it as a safe house when things seem dangerous-Few countries are under our rule. America is split into around six factions fighting for political dominance. There are constant wars between us you must evade. Many of our soldiers think we are only a small locale gang. What do you say?"

After thinking for a long time, I made my decision. If I said no, they would most surely murder me on the spot. "Yes-I accept. What about my life? Do I just move?"

"We will take care of that. When you are ready, you will be knocked out and blindfolded. You will wake up in a comforting room in Baltimore with further instructions."

"Okay, I am ready." I replied shakily.

Again, I felt a blow to the back of my head.

IV. Baltimore

The note was by my bed, just as promised. In fact, it was a map. I opened it up and looked at the red circle-Mr. Sparks, Unit 14B. Mr. Sparks. Sparks-Blazedip.

I folded the map and put it in my pocket. I got out of the bed, and looked at my foreign clothes-and at the dirty ones on my dresser. I walked over to find another note. Blend in, my friend. I slipped the rags on and walked outside. There sat a rental car from Astronomy Rentals. Astronomy-Starborn. How many false names and companies were there? I checked my pocket and pulled out the keys. I sat in my new car, and drove on to my new life. That's when I started to wonder about Claire.

***

I slammed the car door shut on the rainy day. In front of me stood a dumpy one-floor motel. I became sure that there was nobody staying in any of the rooms, which were more like a poor man's living quarters. Maybe the Starborn set people up to live in there as cover-ups. I'm sure they receive more brainwashing than showers. There it was-Unit 14B. Somehow, I knew what to do. I got a message from my brain dirt, Blazedip. I reached into the plant pot next to the door mat and grabbed dirt. I rubbed the muddy substance on the door and formed the half pipe, triangle, and stars. The door shot open, I walked in, then it slammed shut. Somehow I knew the symbol was gone. And like that, I was the underground-king of Baltimore, the Chesapeake, and Maryland.

***

Three days later, I was walking by a Shell gas station. A man threw the newspaper into the trashcan. I figured I'd take a look. I picked it up, and read the cover story. "Psychologist and wife die in house fire, believed gas leak." There it was, my house, ruined. And that's how the Starborn fix my old life. They kill my wife.

I screamed loudly, and punched the trashcan. It went rolling down into the street, barely missing a truck. Constantly screaming, I began to ran. What traitors. I should have rejected their offer, then I'd be the only one dead. Claire! How did it happen for her? Was she sleeping? Did they tie her down? Why! Why would they need to kill her! Even if they had to cover my death, wouldn't a car crash be enough?

Slowly I started to develop a plan. I remembered the doorstep from the Starborn headquarters-Mr. Sparks house. As soon as an image of a gasoline tank came into my head, my screaming stopped. Blaze for the Blazedip.

***

And there I stood, pouring the gasoline all over Mr. Sparks front porch. I had already poured it on 3 others-those first in case they noticed the smell. I laid out my string, dipping one end in the gas. I wandered ten feet, and put down the other end. I reached into my breast pocket and grabbed the lighter. There was no going back. I lit the string, and ran. I threw open my car door and got in. I drove slowly, my eyes focused on the rearview mirror.

Pop! The flame struck the gas. Suddenly the night was light brightly, flames shooting three stories high-I could already hear cars pulling to the side to observe and report. It wouldn't matter if they saw me, after all, my license plate was probably incinerated by now. I pulled out of the badly paved lot and drove.

V. On The Run

And now, here I sit in an authentic Mexican cantina, my first time outside of the country. I am sipping down the last of my private drink, and looking out to the ocean. Soon my boat will be here, and on to Africa I will go.

Before I left the country, I picked up a copy of the national news. Deadly fire in Baltimore burns motel and commercial district. Believed to be meth related.

I know that would not kill the Starborn-Not even remove them from Baltimore. I doubt my fire even so much as injured a person, most likely their underground base is fire-resistant. Hopefully, my work has crippled their authority temporarily and they will be forced to temporarily abandon that outpost. I wish I could have seen the worried false authority creeping thought the sewer.

I know they are after me. I have the Federal police on my back, with reason. There is no escaping. I can run to foreign country. Perhaps they'll send a bomb. Perhaps they'll cause a civil war, or send a world power. Who knows, maybe they'll send the world. They'll think of a reason. I doubt I am the first to escape, and most surely will not be the last. I can only delay them for as long as possible. And now, my boat arrives. To Ivory Coast, And after that Egypt. I will make my way east through Asia and maybe-maybe there's a chance I can find myself a high Craig in the Himalayas where I can spend the rest of my days. I no longer trust any words I hear, the history I know, or the morals I've obtained. And, now, goodbye to the Americas. What I will find beyond, time will tell.





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