Part 41 of an original tale that delves into the unexplored realms of the human mind. Hired by her lover to find a raven haired beauty, Benjamin Bering must avoid the local police as well as the agents of a nonexistent government agency who are after him and the woman. There are just two problems. The woman is in a coma and her body has been stolen. (Part 1 can be found HERE.)
"Now wait just a minute, General!" I roared jumping to my feet. "I've been swallowing all these fantastic concepts of thought exchange, which I would label as electronic telepathy, and quite frankly it's giving me mental indigestion! Now you're going to tell me that our Mr. King has the capability of projecting commands by way of a satellite?"
His reply was rife with indignation that I would have the audacity to question his facts. "It is only a part of his master plan. I have seen the schematics, and I've witnessed the early tests. He can do it. It works, Mr. Bering."
"General Gates, I'm no whiz when it comes to electronics, so you'll have to humor me," I countered. "Wouldn't there have to be a receiver of some kind, maybe a transponder in order for those commands to be processed by those women?"
"You are correct, of course," he replied without blinking. "I know that you and Stu are only too aware that Mr. King's entrepreneurial fingerprints can be found on interests reaching well beyond your newspaper. His most recent investments are in the field of micro-miniaturization, especially the branch involving nano-technology."
Stu whistled audibly, "Today they do have Nano-microchips ... Why not Nano-receivers and transmitters?"
I could see Susan's face reddening and her hands clinching into equally angry fists. "First I learn that my mind's been messed with, then I find that I've been sexually violated without my knowledge, and now you're telling me that there is a god damned radio inside of me!" She stared long and hard at the General and added to her tirade with, "...And oh yeah, I've had my flesh mutilated with a butterfly tattoo!"
"I know it's of little consolation," Gates said raising a finger, "but I was only following orders. It was King who made all the decisions. I wasn't aware of the injections until long after that program was launched."
"Injections?" I voiced as more of a statement than a question. "These receivers were delivered into the body with a shot?" I pondered my question for a moment and reasoned, "Of course. It would be minimally invasive and would leave no scars, no evidence of it ever happening."
Gates nodded in agreement to my words, "Yes. The receivers, as you call them, were injected into the base of the brain through the back of the neck in the hairline to make detection all the more difficult. I won't pretend to know how the things work, but I assume that they must interact with both the brain and the nervous system. As you might know, the various functions of the brain are controlled by neural electrical exchanges fired within the synaptic areas of the brain in reaction to the senses. As long as the brain is alive, that electricity provides a continuous power source for the devices."
I cleared my throat and uttered, "What better place to administer the injections than at the complex housing Check Mate Dating Services. There had to have been a steady flow of women passing through their doors."
"Bear in mind, Mr. Bering," Gates asserted, "that men passed through those doors too."
I shuddered at his words. It had not occurred to me that the men involved in King's experiments would have also been tagged in one way or another. The numbers in King's silent army was potentially doubled to nearly seven hundred. The fingers on my hand were probing the back of my neck, searching in vain for the spot where a needle may been inserted.
The General glanced at his watch and announced, "We are running out of time. We have about forty-five minutes before King and his staff realize we aren't going to show up at N.I.M.H. I need about thirty minutes with Check Mate's main frame to implement some software."
He reached inside of his tunic and produced some compact discs. "These discs represent the last job that the late James Coleman completed for me. The programs on one of them is especially designed to disable the up link capability to the satellite. Another will effectively erase the list of clients, keying on the butterfly tattoos and as well as the injections. Still another is designed to activate and to interact with this device left in your apartment, Mr. Bering." He reached out and placed it in my hand.
"Whoa," I remarked. "All of that will just about shut down the entire operation."
"General Gates," Stu said approaching him, "It would be most beneficial if you could possibly generate a printout of the clients bearing the tattoos and of those who were transplanted with those receivers before those files are deleted."
"Yes, of course," he replied. He returned the discs to an inside pocket and strode over to the bar. He picked up the bottle of scotch, a third of the contents still remaining within it. Determination etched on his face he moved toward the door and addressed Stu, "You can fill in Mr. Bering and the young lady with their instructions and the time tables. By the time the three of you arrive at Check Mate at approximately 1700 hours, I should have had all the software installed and initialized."
"You are certain that we'll have enough time before King and the Fed-boys get up here from Boston?" Stu asked.
He opened the door and stepped outside before turning to address Stu's query. "Depending on how fast they act and how much traffic they'll encounter on the highway, I figure the trip will take anywhere from a half an hour to forty-minutes before they arrive at the Check Mate facilities." He stiffened his posture and snapped to attention before disappearing from view.
We were quiet until we heard the engine of the general's vehicle roar to life. It was only a matter of seconds before the screech of burning rubber could be heard as he sped away.
Susan looked up at Stu and inquired, "Can he be trusted? I mean, are you comfortable with his plan. It seems to me that we are putting all of our eggs in one basket."
Stu placed a hand on her shoulder and replied, "We don't really have much of a choice at this point in time, but to trust him." He smiled and winked at her, "Besides, there is a contingency plan."
"Whew!" I sighed. "Whenever it was that you and Gates got together, it was certainly a most productive session to say the least." I paused and studied his haggard face for a moment. "If you are sure he's on the up and up, then that's good enough for me, Stu."
Susan concurred, "Me too."
"Okay," Stu espoused, "Let's get our assignments and times committed to memory. As the general suggested, we should synchronize our watches, as there will be little time for any setbacks." He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a woman's watch and handing it to Susan said, "I noticed earlier that you weren't wearing a watch, so I grabbed this one for you."
Once she had the watch in place on her wrist Stu raised his arm and positioned his own watch at eye level, "I have exactly four o'clock, or as the general would say, 1600 hours."
Susan nodded and I said, "Check, four o'clock. So now, what happens when we get to Check Mate's office?"
Stu eyed the two of us and shrugged, "I don't think either of you are going to be too thrilled with this ... but here goes. The two of you will enter the building separately, fifteen minutes apart, to avoid appearing to be together or to know each other. You will then ask to sign up for their services."
(To be continued in Part 42 on Monday, 4/20, with Ben and Susan's Lonely Hearts Club.)