View Full Version : Wanderer

05-12-2001, 13:34:36

The van pulled into the quiet residential road, and cruised to a stop by the curb. The night remained empty, only the noise of a distant train disturbed the silence as I looked across to Coegan. He looked back at me, and I turned to check the others. The three other figures in the van nodded back their acknowledgement to me, indicating they were ready. At once, all of us except Coegan got out of the vehicle. I led the way towards the house, Coegan had been careful to park two buildings along the street to avoid the obviousness of our destination, although I doubted the occupants would seriously be keeping an eye out for us, the previous four had so far proven easy both to acquire and to control, I supposed that was simply the nature of the nights targets.
The four of us approached the house, it failed to occur to me how strange we must look emerging from our jet-black van at such a late hour, wordless and lazily watchful as our eyes scanned the houses in wide sweeps, but by now the process had become routine, our long black coats and the dark clothing beneath them back home would surely have made us look exactly like what we were.
We turned into the front driveway of the house; its gravel surface crunching noisily under our feet, flowerbeds that must have been attended regularly shone moonlit white in the darkness. A security light came on as Currie and I approached the generously large front door, Merlin and Lockley moving to the side of the house, past its large bay windows, stopping for a moment at the door that led to the garden behind the house. It was unlocked, Lockley looked back to me as I waited with Currie at the front door, I nodded my head and he and Merlin turned and disappeared from sight towards the back of the house. We waited for a half a minute, and then Merlin rang the doorbell.

The woman who opened the door was in her late thirties, long dark hair unkempt from bed, her nightgown was covered by a pale green robe, there was no time to speak though as I heaved open the door, breaking open its latch. Currie seized the woman and pushed her into the hallway, looking around, we both saw the man at the same time. In his late forties, dressed only in jeans and fairly rotund, his thickly mustachioed face looked back at us in round-eyed horror, the baseball-bat he hefted in his hands jerked forward just as I registered the teenage boy behind him, something in his hand- a weapon…
Currie dodged back, the end of the bat clipping his shoulder as he pulled and pushed the woman back behind him, to me. As I grabbed the woman his black-shoed foot came up in a power-full kick to the fat mans mid-riff, hitting him squarely in the solar plexus. The man went down, and the boy, who I now realized was holding a digital-camera, backed into the doorway opposite the front door, a look of terror spreading on his face and his camera now staring at the floor. I pushed the woman before me and closed the front door. Currie produced a gun, small and sleek, its long mat-black silencer was shoved under the fat mans chin, the bat was kicked away and the fat man jerked almost effortlessly to his feet. Currie’s knee came up viciously into the large round belly; the fat man grunted in pain and bent forward, Currie kneed him again.
We pushed them into the inner room, the main room. The fat man was pushed to the floor in front of the teenager, Merlin stood behind him, a gun to the teenagers head, Lockley further back, disappearing into another room. The three were pushed together onto the middle of the main room floor; I took the camera from the boy. Currie went back out to the hallway; I heard his feet as he stormed up the stairs that led to the buildings second floor.
“Get down on your chests, put your hands behind your heads, say nothing unless spoken to” I told them, and then “you, woman, where is he? Upstairs?” the woman’s shrill response was garbled and unintelligible, “we don’t know who you’re talking about” interjected the fat man in a desperate voice. I glanced up at Merlin who arched his eyebrows, indicating there had been no sign yet of the target. I moved over to the fat man, one of his eyes straining to look up at me from under his arm, I lifted my foot and bought it down hard on his head, heard a satisfying crack as his head knocked against the carpeted floor to feel the sharpness of the wood beneath. As he cried out in pain, Currie’s footsteps continued to stamp around upstairs. I examined the camera, it was still filming, I pressed stop.
“Why did you have this, huh? Boy? Answer me, you knew we were coming eh?” the boy did not respond, either too terrified or too defiant to say anything. Lockley appeared from the kitchen that adjoined the main-room, he looked at me, a half-smile on the edge of his mouth “I’ve found something”.
Leaving Merlin to guard the others I followed him into the kitchen, large and comprised of polished dark wooden furniture, the significant collection of empty wine bottles that were gathered on shelves and spare surfaces on the windowsill were the first clue as I rounded the corner of the kitchens main work area to find another open doorway that led down to what must be a cellar. At the bottom was a cramped corridor with bottle-racks on either side, dusty wine bottles cradled in their lattice-like bamboo structures, at the end the otherwise bare-brick cellar a gray iron door stood closed.

05-12-2001, 13:35:20
The woman was fetched down from the main-room by Lockley, I grabbed her wrist and spun her around, lifting and twisting as I did so to produce a sharp yelp of pain from her that echoed closely in the crowded space of the cellar.
“You hear that Raccini? That’s your woman Raccini I’m breaking her arm!” The woman was babbling now, screaming and struggling to get away from me, I lifted her arm again, she screamed, dropped her head forward and then slammed it back, smashing into my bottom lip- cutting it painfully on my own tooth, I grunted, she yelled and struggled harder to get away, bringing her head back again to smash my face, this time I turned my face away just in time, lifted sharply and pushed. There was a sharp snap just before she ploughed into the bottle-rack, wine bottles clinking loudly as she screamed once more.
There was a sound from the iron door- it was being unlocked. I held the whimpering woman’s arm and spun her round so that she was between myself and the door, my gun to the back of her neck and tilted so the weapon would be clearly visible. The door opened, and from the lit clutter filled space beyond- dressed only in a bathrobe and pajamas, emerged Raccini. His lank dark hair hung thinly from a balding head and his spectacles were perched on the bridge of his nose, his face peered gravely at me from beneath a worry-wrinkled forehead. “Leave her alone, it’s me you want, just leave my family alone” he said as he stepped forward.
I had half expected some sort of an ambush, and so when none came immediately I appeared to relax. Pushing the woman behind me towards Lockley I then shoved my gun into Raccini’s face, pressing against his cheekbone and tilting his glasses upwards against his face, holding his collar tightly we moved forward into his strong room. It was filled with files, books and papers, a computer, and shelves laden with video cases and other memory-media. A whiteboard with the title SMST basic steps for beginners was scrawled above scribbled words and poorly drawn diagrams of relationships.
“Been a busy boy huh Raccini” I said as I scanned the room. Most of the material looked uncontrollable anyway at a glance, though the contents of the videos may prove interesting. I was unsure of what to do, the original plan was for a straight-forward pickup, but Raccini had obviously been expecting us, although evidently at short notice, the material all looked present and undestroyed, the computer had not been on, no doubt Raccini had ran in here and agonized over what to do as we gained access to the house above. I picked up the mobile phone beside the landline phone on the table. The screen informed me that a signal was not forthcoming. I placed it in my pocket and checked the landline phone, which was of course dead. Satisfied, I decided we should make our way back upstairs.

We were gathered once more in the main room. I sat now comfortably, one leg atop the other, Currie and Lockley were bringing material up from the cellar. Merlin, having finished rummaging through the rest of the house with the others, now stood over Raccini and his family, all lay face down on the floor, hands at the back of the head. The woman’s right arm lay under Merlin’s foot beside her head, she whimpered in agony but I had to credit the woman’s spirit, I nursed my cut lip and I felt sure she would still cause trouble if given the opportunity. I had rewound the hand-sized digital camera and now sat reclining in one of the large comfortable sofas, watching the tape from the beginning on the cameras little screen. I had found and attached the cameras earphones and put one earpiece to my ear so that I could also hear the footage. It featured a brief introduction by Raccini- stating the tapes purpose as a protective measure, fearing imminent harassment by those he referred to darkly and unsympathetically as “they”.
There then followed a lengthy series of shots of people in public places, all of whom I recognized- in shops and high-streets, then footage of the front of a building “Atlas School of Mind” written in clear-glass against the frosted glass doors, people came and went in front of the building, summer clothes reflecting the bright sunny weather. Then the image shifted to a car parked across the street along the road, the camera zoomed in. A man sat in the car, in his hand a camera; he seemed to be filming the front of the building. A darker figure beside the man appeared to nudge the man with the camera, suddenly the other camera turned to face our camera full on, a metallic ring around his cameras lens glinting in the sunlight like the iris in a fishes eye, there was cursing off-screen and the picture shifted to show a slanted view of a jean-clad thy and a hand twiddling something under the steering wheel before gripping the gear-stick, the cars engine had started up. The next shot was of Raccini and the fat man seen from the lower steps of the stairway in the front hall, both were agitated; the woman hovered in the doorway (the same doorway I glanced up at now from its other side in the main-room) her back to camera- she partly obscured the view of the two men.
“What shall I do, Blake!” she insisted. Blake Racinni dithered, I- I vill answer it Maria...” the fat man interrupted “the phones dead, you know what this means- its them, you’ll be dead if they find you hear- we answer the door, you stay downstairs till they’re gone, they can’t have a warrant or something for this-“
“If its them they don’t need warrants Frederick” interrupted Raccini “where’s the camera maybe someone should be- oh, Martin, well done, okay then I should protect the evidence then, if they come for me at least I’ll have a chance to try and do something with it…”
After a brief pause for Frederick to fetch his bat the next scenes were strangely familiar to me- seen as they were from this other perspective, Curries and then my own face appearing through the suddenly opened door, I made a half chuckle at the expression on my face as it noticed the fat man and then the boy, for an instant my eyes starring blankly at the camera, uncomprehending.
I stopped the camera again.
“Didn’t work did it, Racinni, eh, you couldn’t think of anything could you, hmm… you know what- I think we should take you all in, just to be on the safe side”
“Why don’t you just go to hell, I can’t give you anything you don’t already know” muttered Raccini “you can’t think you can make this disappear, the world should know about your atrocities, and it will! I have copies the evidence distributed throughout the city!“
“I know” I replied lazily, folding the compact little camera away and putting it in my pocket. I removed Raccini’s mobile phone and began snooping through it. “So then what do you think you can achieve by all this” continued Raccini “the media will have a field day because I intend to make sure of it!”
There was a sudden shriek as Merlin crushed the woman’s broken wrist beneath his foot. “Stop! Please stop!” yelled Frederick,
“If… if she screams too loudly the neighbors might hear us”
Merlin moved over to the fat man and pressed his gun to the fat mans face “you don’t worry about the neighbors, they happy where they are, you understand?”
I had just come to the end of Raccini’s cell-phone address-book, and began looking through his most recently received messages when Currie appeared with a box of videos, files and compact disks and in his arms, Lockley behind him carrying the downstairs computers base-unit. “This is all that’s worth looking at, shall we go?”
I got up from the sofa; shaking out my long coat I put the phone back in my pocket, walked over to Raccini and picked him up by the arm. “This is a free country you know?” he growled through clenched teeth. I bought my gun out from my coat and holding it over the chamber so that the handle protruded at an angle- smashed it into Raccini’s face.
He went down, I pulled him up so that I could bash his face again.
“You are not in your country anymore” I said as I hit him once, before kicking him a couple more times in the body. With that I took out a black canvas sack and forced it over his head.
Having pacified Raccini sufficiently, I lifted him to his feet again, wiped the gun on his robe and moved him after Currie and Lockley, Merlin taking up the rear we made our way to the van. Outside the black morning air remained largely quiet, the leafy suburban neighborhood sound asleep. A cat called in the distance, and I was satisfied that my estimation of the neighborhoods tolerance to any audible disturbances appeared to be accurate.

Having bundled Blake Racinni into the back of the van we left the area, with somewhat more then we had anticipated. It worried me that the target seemed to have such surveillance material on our attention to the school and its interests, and it made me uncomfortable to think of the mess the embassy would have to clear up as a result of this unforeseen second layer of complexity (or strategy?). If we had been back in the Outpost things would have been different, as it was I would have to make do with Sarah’s efforts, but then Sarah was very good at her job. Raccini had been wise indeed to stay away from the Outpost, but now of course he and the other dissidents were coming home.

05-12-2001, 13:37:51

SMST 1.1

Breath in, breath out, relax.
Now picture yourself in a far away place.
Simply be there, there is here.

The van pulled into the driveway of the embassy; the three-floor non-descript ex-hotel that was located in an affluent area of parks, hotels and large expensive townhouses. It was a nice enough environment but hardly embassy material in my opinion. Weren’t embassies supposed to look like banks or museums? I consoled myself with the fact that building and location aside, technically- we really were back in the Outpost, and here- I’d be able to properly examine all the interesting new implications of the night’s surprises. Racinni had remained quiet for the entire trip, whether that was because I had thumped him with my gun before or whether it was because he expected far worse to come I could not be sure, but I was satisfied he would talk when I made him.
We drove round to the rear of the house, where the hotels modest staff-parking area was located, entered and parked in the buildings loading bay and exited the vehicle. Coegan took care of the van as the rest of us entered the building, Racinni gripped on both arms by Merlin and Currie. We were taking him to one of the rooms we were using as interrogation cells when Mayfare appeared, his neat dark gray suit and black tie never failed to make me wonder again why this man was in charge of most of the Outposts PR. Then I’d remember how we don’t want PR- as I did now.
“Ah, so you have Raccini, good- that at least, was there a mess?” Mayfare’s weasely eyes examined the blood on Raccini’s face and robe, his glasses had been lost at some point during my beating of him, and so he stood now- blinking and squinting back at Mayfare. “There’s a mess alright, Raccini’s been busy, his family may try to draw attention to us, Sarah should be contacted to control the situation” I said, walking on- Mayfare moved to keep up with us. “Yes, Sarah, she has already resolved that previous thing of yours, you know there is really no need for actual wet-works in our operations here Axinni, they don’t like it when that happens you know, it makes things difficult for everybody no matter how much leverage we have on the locals, The Consensus-“
“Yes-yes I know” I interrupted, growing impatient with the idiots constant complaining. That he was so prone to speaking of things in company often made me nervous, though I supposed he assumed Raccini no longer counted as company, but then there were always bugs.
“I know you know but it never seems to make a difference to you does it, why if we didn’t have Sarah the trouble you could have caused us by now…”
I stopped and looked at Mayfare with all the derision I could bother myself to muster at that moment and spoke “Security issues are not your concern. Get Sarah here, don’t speak to me until then. She can take her time.” Mayfare’s expression soured.
Raccini’s manner had become ever more discomforted every time Sarah’s name had been mentioned, and now he finally spoke “This Sarah, she’s an IO isn’t she, please- look- I have money, please- there is no need to get one of them involved, my family don’t know what this is about- they don’t know half of what I know they were just protecting me, Axinni-“ I backhanded him hard across the face.
“Ak-Seen-Eye! My name… is Ak-Seen-Eye!” I said, annoyed that Mayfare’s bad pronunciation of my name was spreading to the pickup.
I took out a cigarette, lit it- inhaled on it and then exhaled for a moment.
“Anyway, now you’ll never see them again they’ll have to have campaigns, ribbons” I raised my arms in ham-frustration as I spoke “Free the Outpost One!” I cheered mockingly and with no real volume, before turning from the corridor we had stopped at to descend the stairs that led to the interrogation room. The others followed me down, except for Mayfare who had finally gotten the message and gone to bother somebody else.

05-12-2001, 13:39:27
“So” I said, “tell me everything” and then I waited.
Racinni sat now in a simple metal chair in the middle of our yellow-white walled interrogation room, lit only by the light of a single clear-glass sixty-watt bulb, the room would have made a good bedroom or bed-sit, as its previous use had been either as a cheap Mr. and Ms Smith-room, or some kind of staff accommodation. For some reason the number 101 had been taken from one of the other rooms upstairs and bolted to the door, Currie’s sense of humor had always left me feeling a little un-included, and so Raccini’s rhetorical question “you people actually get a kick out of what you have become?” when he saw the number slightly irritated me.
Raccini’s arms were now folded limply in his lap, wrists tied and connected to the cord around his ankles, which in turn were tied to the chairs legs, which we had found necessary on previous occasions to bolt to the floor. He looked small and vulnerable in the stark shadowy light of the room, and I felt more confident that we’d be able to gather up all loose ends. I stood in front of a table a few feet in front of Raccini, flicking through one of the files on top of it that we had taken from his strong room. I recognized the images and texts in many of the files as being the intellectual property of some of those at the Outpost, but they were different from the manner I’d seen these concepts represented before, distorted somehow, and certainly not correct according to Consensus doctrine. All very dangerous stuff indeed.
Some of our OSIO team had already been monitoring the schools internet-sight, we had even managed to hack into their servers, but had found nothing as directly classified as this.
Raccini continued to sweat, saying nothing. It would come; he wasn’t the type to remain silent for long.
“Are you a thief Dr. Raccini?” I asked just to get him going
“No” he replied immediately. I continued to flick through the files
“But you have stolen all this information, you have left the Outpost- did you think you could make money from this?”
“This is not about money, this is about freedom” he replied.
“Freedom Dr? Freedom to steal?”
“No, freedom to evolve! Freedom from control by tyrants! Why should your regime control the source of ze river of enlightenment!” his accent reverting with his rising voice.
“The river of enlightenment” I repeated to myself.
“Hmm, ah yes” I picked up another folder
“Yes- here we are, chapter one of The Atlas School of Mind Manifesto… your mission statement” I read aloud

“-To bring the river of enlightenment to all parts of the world, to bring the flame of knowledge to light the future of mankind…yada yada yada.”

I put the folder down and crossed my arms, looking at Raccini directly with a smirk on my face “You know this is the kind of thing that makes them think you people are some kind of cult Raccini, fantastic!”
Raccini simply stared at his knees, it said more than he realized about his un-preparedness for the lack of response by the world in general to his brave and incredibly foolish plan to form his own ‘breakaway’ organization.
“Its Rash-he-knee” he said finally in a low angry voice.
“What?” I half laughed
“My name, at least get the names of your victims right you murderous psychotic bastard”.
Merlin, who had been standing behind Raccini, now stepped forward, causing Raccini to crouch inwards slightly despite himself at Merlin’s uncomfortably close proximity. Merlin had earlier removed his coat, and now stood with the sleeves of his shirt rolled up, the holster-straps visible across his shoulders.
“You are not making things easier for yourself Doctor Raccini, you would be wiser to cooperate” I said in admonishment.
“Cooperate… heh, you may have got me but there are others, other teachers, and we have students, you can’t stop the knowledge from spreading”
I picked up my own folder, that I had bought down with me after a brief meeting with Hannoba and the others.
“I am aware of the extent of your organization Doctor”.
I removed one of the A4 pieces of paper, photocopies of black and white mug shots- and let it drop lightly onto the floor in front of Raccini. As the image came gliding on a cushion of air to rest gently against his foot, I heard his sharp intake of breath.
“Do you recognize this man?” I asked. He did not answer. I let a few more photocopies drop, one after the other “What about this man…? This man…? This woman…?”
Finally I let one last photocopy fall “How about this woman? Do you recognize this woman?”
“Are they dead? If you’ve harmed her, any of them you will be dead I tell you! What have you done with them!” he asked in a thickening voice. I put the rest of the images aside, no need to let him know how many of his followers had been rounded up just yet, in case he cared to reveal others that we did not know about. I noted his eyes follow the deceptively thick folder of papers as I lay it on the table. Yes, I thought, let him wonder.
I stood up and removed my coat “We have Wanderers you know!” he said, becoming even more upset as I began to roll up my sleeves. Merlin tore open the top of Raccini’s bedraggled looking bathroom robe, his pajama top tearing away with it to reveal his thin bony upper chest and shoulders.
“You know what that means?” continued Raccini “Like your Invisible Ones!” his voice broke at the last word
“I have no idea what you’re talking about”
I said as I removed the baton from its holster against my thigh, where I liked to keep it during interviews like this.
“They’ll have you pay for what you’re doing!” he cried, struggling against the restraining cord.
I twisted the handle of the baton, the machine buzzed to life, making the room smell like it now also contained a soldering iron.
“Now” I said, nodding to the camera in one of the top corners of the room “You are going to start telling me names, without hesitation, I want to know the name of everybody you have tried to contaminate with this nonsense, you don’t need to know whether we have them already, just recite, whenever we have a hesitation from you”-
I tapped the baton to Raccini’s bare shoulder, the flash of blue light accompanied by a crack, and waited while he gasped, swallowed a shriek and struggled with the pain, grunting and snorting. After several seconds of patient waiting I continued
“Okay, we begin”.

05-12-2001, 13:39:57
The car sped towards the airport, Coegan again at the wheel. Currie had decided he wanted to come with us in Merlin’s place, and as I could see no reason for things at the embassy to require his particular talents any time soon- I agreed. Raccini would have to be brought back to the Outpost proper, if what he had told me was the truth- and I didn’t doubt that it was- then we had a problem on our hands. A renegade Invisible One, The horror! The Consensus would definitely have something to say about this, and I had no doubt that The Consensus would require a face-to-face encounter with all involved. As our small convoy swept through the late evening streets of the city, my mind moved on already to what I suspected The Consensus would probably require of me next.
How to find this ‘Wanderer’?
It had taken all the previous morning and all day into the evening to interrogate the pickups sufficiently enough to know what to do next. Some had been dumped on the street, left with the impression they were part of a mistaken identity drugs-bust, those that seemed more of a security risk would all be bought back to the Outpost, until something was decided as to what should be done with them. Sarah would have a big job on her hands, but as our only active IO in the country she would just have to do. I glanced back at the van in the wing mirror and wondered if I was doing the right thing. Hannoba had argued for simply executing the pickups and disposing of their bodies, but Reisnin had already arranged for a diplomatic flight to the Outpost once he’d confirmed we had Raccini secured. The interview with Raccini had confirmed that the others were indeed his entire cabal of dissidents, except of course for the ‘Wanderer’ he had claimed to discover. I had toyed with the idea of getting Sarah to take care of that issue too, but as the car left the cities suburbs and began its approach to the airport- I remained satisfied that having Merlin and Lockley follow up the search was the best way forward for now. In any case Sarah would probably be angered by too much of an attempt to blatantly exploit her abilities, and nobody wanted that.

I reflected on my primary charge as our vehicles drove on through the night, on the highway now, the spaced lights of the roads boundary dividing the night sky in shades of luminescence above the blackness of the surrounding fields, the lighted windows of occasional buildings now spaced fewer and farther between.

Raccini and two of his closest co-dissidents had left the Outpost five years ago, and for the first three of those years, The Consensus had deemed it un-necessary to pursue or control him, although citizenship of the Outpost was a one way deal- Raccini had managed to convince his colleagues and superiors, that he was mad. It was felt a shame at the time, but what could be done, sometimes these things happened, a brilliant mind broken by the even greater brilliance of the wonders to be found at the Outpost.
When Raccini left, The Consensus decided that perhaps it was for the best, and the two impressionable young minds he had contaminated and taken with him were thus inherently unsuitable for life at the Outpost. Basically it came down to the fact that anybody who would wish to leave the Outpost were of the type that usually had to be either forcefully expelled or executed and since it would certainly seem they were mad to the billions of people who had never heard of the Outpost, all the more reason not to worry.
No, it wasn’t till much later that precautionary observance of Raccini and his chums revealed their attempts to distribute certain ‘controlled intellectual properties’ of the Outpost and its associates to the population in general.

It was suspected that Raccini’s ‘friendship’ with a dangerous IO known as Praxta had first led to his dubious notion of becoming an Invisible One himself, as if that could be possible without having been where they had been. Raccini had become an abuser of substances used in the disciplines of what was known as Self Mind Space-Theory, a kind of magical mental algebra for doing extremely useful things that the IO’s were naturally talented in, and used liberally in conjunction with their technology. The substances, known as SMST stimulants, were used to allow the human brain to immerse itself into the polypathic world of the Invisible Ones, and Raccini had taken huge overdoses of them in his quest to become an Invisible One himself.
He claimed to have almost succeeded on three separate occasions. Unfortunately for him the substances soon took their toll, and Raccini had a complete nervous breakdown. He was taken into care by the Consensus and treated in one of the Outposts many medical facilities for a while. He had been deeply troubled by sleep-twisting nightmares, and during his waking moments continued to believe himself to be in the perceptual world of the Invisible One’s, babbling about the ‘thoughts he could see’ and muttering to himself in the corner of the room. On that last point he was just like most of the other inmates, so far as anyone could tell there was no danger of him doing exactly what he did next.

05-12-2001, 13:40:19
None of his case workers at the medical facility, nor the Outpost Security and Intelligence Organization executives following the situation had at that time even realized he had accomplices, before they had suddenly appeared; seized Raccini- and escaped, taking a supply of the SMST stimulants with them.
There had been a large and extensive search, and by the standards of the Outpost’s numerous capabilities that was saying something, but to no avail. Heads of course had rolled, procedures were reassessed, and finally of course, an eye was kept out for Raccini’s next appearance.
Years went by, and it was generally believed that Raccini and his friends had escaped being acquired by the OSIOs many and well distributed security measures by dying lost in the tundra somewhere, and therefore would never be heard from again. After all he had not made contact with any of the old associates from his post-Outpost life, but then perhaps he was simply being careful.
However it wasn’t long before somebody discovered his new life as a freelance quack; one of Reisnin’s people in fact- Raccini had reestablished contact with his family, and was now making himself as highly visible as he could, not even bothering to reemerge with a new identity. It was also realized that Raccini had managed to sate his addiction- artifact of his failed quest for Invisible-hood; by finding a way to reproduce the substances he now craved. The Consensus decided not to react, in that- Raccini’s tactic succeeded.
An eye was kept on things, his organization observed, traced, and mapped.

It wasn’t till he opened his ‘School of Mind’ that Reisnin’s people became concerned about the structure, credibility and professional polish of the school and the practices Raccini was teaching (misguided as they were) and the information he was so openly disseminating through it. Raccini’s growing following concerned them too, the situation could easily become uncontrollable, dangerous; and so Raccini and his band of nutcases were officially classed as dissident by The Consensus, and became my problem.
“Ah yes” I said aloud as I exited the car, shaking out my coat I made my way casually toward the van as it drew to a halt behind us.
“My problem.” The pickups were dragged from the vehicle onto the tarmac of the runway, their wrists were cuffed, and the black-canvas bags over their heads we used to blindfold them made their movements uncertain. They were gathered together, and I decided to have the blindfolds removed.
“Are you sure?” asked Currie “We don’t want them to know too much about our means do we?”
“It no longer matters” I replied “Even the non-Outposters are ours, they’ve all been classified as terrorists; their all ours now, its been seen-to… or its about to be anyway” I said as we made our way towards the aircraft and the small group of suited and uniformed men and women who stood waiting by the boarding stack. The sacks were pulled from our pickups heads as the van and Coegan drove away.
Their mouths dropped open as the pickups come into view of the matt bluish-gray colored type-MA3 Staff Concord that Reisnin had arranged for their collection.
“Mr. Axinni?” One of the dull gray suited figures that accompanied the uniformed customs officers. I had instantly assumed they were to be this journeys nosey government intelligence agents sent to check our papers and snoop through our belongings.
I stepped forward “Hello yes, its Ak-seen-eye by the way, how can I help you Mr.…?
“I’m Pete Morran, I’m here to enquire why you have requested to remove three of our citizens and two others from-“
“Of course” I interrupted, impatient to get on “Yes- these people have been apprehended in relation to suspected terrorist activities and subversive behaviors, and are to be bought back to my country also for questioning in relation to drugs trafficking offences and also paramilitary associations you see” I paused for a moment, snapping my fingers for Currie to produce our papers. The five extraction orders, bearing the faces of our five pickups in starkly unflattering monochrome were stamped with the markings of bureaucratic entities that lived high amongst the clouds of Reisnin’s realm, and whose esoteric paper power-shortcuts I personally had never bothered to understand. Morran looked at the five miserable and traumatized looking men and women before turning to me, a doubtful look on his face
“Terrorists huh?”
“Si Senor Mollan, telloyistas” said Currie flatly; playing the role of a corrupt banana-republic security official he felt was appropriate to humor the moment. Morran looked un-included at this too, and so I moved briskly on; usually, they were shown the papers and stepped aside, but Morran looked like he wanted to become obstructive and I already felt impatient having heard Raccini’s bombshell about having a rogue Invisible One, a ‘Wanderer’ as he had called it working against our interests.
I half expected some sort of hitch to present itself.
“Yes well, maybe they don’t look dangerous but they are, you think they look beat up? Look at me, look at my lip…” I pointed to my split lip and leaned forward slightly so the man could see.
“So can we get on with this please, we are working to a schedule here”
We waited as the security man examined the papers
“Courtney Orlando, James Pascedes, Jason Mullet, Sonia… Blasqoe?” as he spoke their names he passed the papers to the customs officer to co-bureaucrafy.
“And Blake Raccini. Okay well this all looks in order, you may proceed”. The customs officer stamped our own passports and the apprehendees were herded aboard, expressions of shock and confusion on all but Raccini’s face.