Courtesy: Part 10

The pressure in my head increased. It wasn’t unbearable or even painful, but it felt like it filled my head. 

Over the comm, I asked, “Is anyone else feeling this?”

Everyone seemed to say yes at once with Kals’ voice rising above the rest to say, “It reminds me of an Abominator psi-bomb. I caught the edge of one once when the Ascendancy put down a rebellion we were involved in.”

“You think this is a psi-bomb,” Daniel asked.

“No,” Kals said. “The blast was shorter and it hurt a lot more, but it filled your head the way this one does. I don’t know what this is.”

Daniel said, “It feels organic, not like something produced by a machine. You’ll note the diffuse separate consciousnesses around the edges.”

I didn’t notice that and suspected no one else did either.

Over the comm, Amy said, “That’s right. It’s as if there are hundreds of nearly conscious personalities involved.”

Sensing an interest in Abominator psi-weaponry, my implant began giving me a crash course in every kind of psi-weaponry they’d faced when fighting the Abominators, complete with psychic replays of how they felt.

I stopped it for multiple reasons. First, I couldn’t handle the distraction. Second, after having experienced only a few, I realized that Daniel was correct. Organic attacks felt different from bombs.

The only psi-weapon with a similar feel had been created using the harvested brains of human telepaths. It didn’t take much to notice the key difference—that weapon projected madness, rage, and pain. Dropping it was a relief. The more I knew, the more it appeared to be pure nightmare fuel.

As I prevented myself from being deluged with the memory of interstellar war, the hum progressed into a kind of communication. A voice projected into my head and it didn’t communicate madness even if it didn’t feel quite right.

The moment I heard it talk though, I had a thought that I’d never have expected—I was sure I knew the guy and it wasn’t a stretch at all. Grand Lake’s former mayor (Mayor Bouman) had gone into my head when he’d revealed that he was a telepath.

Knowing that he was here to help Major Justice and that the government had run him through their version of the power impregnator, he had more power to work with these days, but it seemed very unlikely that he had enough to broadcast across the entire city.

Looking down, it was obvious that he was.

The police officers and civilians on both sides of the yellow “POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS,” were looking around, some gritting their teeth, some holding their ears. Others were leaving, some getting into cars and driving away while a few ran down the street, possibly wanting to get to their cars as soon as practical, but maybe panicking. From our altitude, it was hard to say. 

I didn’t like to imagine the effects of that applied to a city with more than one million people when you included the suburbs.

I didn’t have time to worry about it because even as I wondered, he answered my question.

“Citizens of Grand Lake, you know me. I was once one of you, a man consumed by ambition and a need to prove myself the best of you. I thought I wanted to serve, but in reality, I was deluding myself. In my ambition, I sold my soul to forces with no concern for anything but their power.

“You know them as the Cabal and society rightly fought and destroyed them and me with them. I want you to know that I recognized that to be true on my own. I was wrong. I’ve learned better. Since then, I’ve been trying to do my best to serve the society I attempted to manipulate in their service.

“I’ve been working for the military, called in to fight the worst of the worst, hoping that someday I can feel like I’ve truly paid back the country I love for what I did.”

Daniel had fully caught up by then and we both felt the same flicker of recognition and resignation that we’d almost certainly have to fight him again.

“Today,” our former mayor continued, “I felt my pain go and I knew that I’d found my true purpose. It was pure chance, but it meant everything. We’ve all done things that we regret, things that we can’t change. Now, joining together, we can all work toward the same thing knowing that our intentions are good and to the benefit of everyone. 

“I want to share this discovery with all of you. It’s a new identity. We are Synergy. Working together we are more than the sum of all our parts. Relax, people of Grand Lake. Soon you’ll know the peace that I’ve found.”

“Wow,” I said over the comm, “every time I think we passed the worst of this, I’m proven wrong.”

3 thoughts on “Courtesy: Part 10”

  1. Now, joining together, we can all work toward the same thing[–] knowing that [our] intentions are good and to the benefit of everyone.

    “I want to share this discovery with all of you. It’s a new identity. We are [] Synergy. Working together[,] we are more the sum of all our parts. Relax, people of Grand Lake. Soon you’ll know the peace that I’ve found.”

    The mayor’s powers makes more sense. Still, I like the visual of a gigantic mushroom Titan capped with Arete’s head better.

  2. Spell check: civilains == civilians
    s/are/our: “that are intentions are good”
    missing word: “we are more the sum” – add THAN after MORE

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