In 1975 Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson published The Illuminatus! Trilogy. It remains a seminal work of conspiracy fiction. Today, The Omnivore continues a serial-fiction experiment: Illuminoimia.
Everything You're Afraid Of Is True.
Down in Florida, Theodore Odell talks to professor Tim Tracer about the power-behind-the world and how they control us. The two formulate a plan ...
Down in Florida, Theodore Odell talks to professor Tim Tracer about the power-behind-the world and how they control us. The two formulate a plan ...
Previously On Illuminoimia
June 6th 2013 Atlanta Georgia
Atlanta was about to burn. The haze of teargas was still visible in the streets and we could see Homeland Security forces arrayed on the other side of the barricades. Behind them were the green walls of armored vehicles. On our side of the orange and white saw-horses were the protesters, struggling to regroup after they’d been hit with the water cannons.
Tim Tracer and I were moving in a group of men wearing black uniforms. We were jogging along the ‘controlled’ side of the street at the edge of the ‘Green Zone’ where the World Trade Organization was meeting. There was a scent of desperation and fear in the air--in the intense June heat. The blazing sun of the late afternoon seemed to press down on us and I was filled with a sense of coming dread. They were really going to do it--and we were right in the middle of the killing zone.
Let’s back this up a bit.
I had traveled south to find Professor Tim Tracer after I’d learned of him on the Internet. His blog--Lacuna.com--had broken the story (insofar as being widely dismissed as a conspiracy kook could be called breaking the story)--that the Seattle Shooting (and Sandy Hook and the Boston Bombings and so on) were actually government-run drills made up to look, for the press, like live shooter events.
They chronicled photographic evidence of fake wounds, damaged clothing with perfect skin beneath it, what appeared to be plastic limbs, and other such things. He had called out DisasterActors.org--and its ilk--as being the public face for recruitment. He showed links to FEMA sites where it did, in fact, appear drills of the nature of the attacks were ‘coincidentally’ scheduled for the same days. He showed “early leaks” of breaking news with time-stamps before the events happened on Twitter and Facebook.
No one, so far as I could tell, had even bothered to investigate his evidence and, until a few days ago, they were the kinds of things I’d have had no problem debunking. After all, I’d more or less been there and it still didn’t make any sense to me.
We’d left the auditorium and returned to Tracer’s office in the History building overlooking a wide quad of grass and students. When we’d sat down he’d regarded me with a kind of humorous suspicion: I think he was used to people approaching him with an agenda--usually planning on accusing him of being crazy.
“That was an interesting lecture,” I said. “I didn’t know any of that.”
He laughed. “There’s a lot more--but those are the basics--the foundation for the Controlling Interest.” I heard the capital letters.
“The Controlling Interest?” I asked.
“The Illuminati if you prefer--although to be honest I don’t. The word has been pretty thoroughly bastardized by now and I can pretty much assure you that the organizations I am talking about don’t think of themselves as an 1776 Bavarian Masonic splinter-group.”
I must have frowned as Tracer decided to explain some of that to me--stuff I can assure you I already knew.
“The actual Illuminati--the original guys--were interesting because their pattern was to launch a secret society--themselves, the ‘illuminated ones’--inside an already existing secret society: the Freemasons.”
“Yeah--I know--” I started--but he held up a hand.
“The Controlling Interest is different--their existence at an organizational level is not a secret at all: they are the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and, of course, central banks--it’s their umbrella governance which is what they keep secret from us--and, even that, they explicitly and always hide in plain sight.”
“Right, right--” I said. “I know--the Bilderbergs. The Rothschilds--all that--”
“Yes,” he agreed--but amused--”but … you don’t believe it, do you?”
“People have been accusing the Jews of shit since the dawn of time,” I said. “Accusing the Rothschilds of directing wars is kinda close to that--even if one of ‘em called 1812 right--which is kinda close to holocaust denial--which is kinda close to being a Nazi.”
He nodded. “I know. They know. You’ve got to admit it works for Them.”
“Did the holocaust happen?” I asked him.
“Of course it did,” he said. “It was an abomination. The question is, though: was it a dry-run for an attempt to cull five billion people? Was it a test run for someone to see what they could get away with?”
I scowled. “They managed to kill off Jews, gypsies, homosexuals--if it was a dry run it wouldn’t do all that well today.”
He nodded. “Not for those groups--and not with today’s tone exactly--but how do you think American plurality will fare after two decades of economic collapse? What then? And we have also shown we can export war abroad so long as the targets are browner skinned than most of middle America--however long that lasts.”
“So this is all some giant plan?” I didn’t believe in giant plans.
He shook his head. “I don’t know--but I believe there is indisputable evidence to show that there is both outside influence and guidance for a great deal of what, historically, is sold to us as random or spontaneous events--and that we can see the outlines of an agenda in the past several hundred or even thousand years of history. That agenda came into focus with the creation of central banks.”
“What is that agenda?” I asked.
“To kill five billion people--as I said. Sustainability.”
“You mean environmental sustainability,” I asked. If that was his theory he was a kook. “I don’t think they were all that concerned about the environment in 1600.”
“Not environmental sustainability--although that has been added recently--no.” He shook his head. “The Controlling Interest is interested in sustainability of rule--of domination--of control. They are looking for a present state that will be--for the rest of humanity--the future state.” He looked at me: “They are looking for an End Game.”
When he said that, I had the memory of the swab forced into my mouth by The Commander for some reason, and I shivered.
“When a patriarch,” said Professor Tracer, “nears the hour of his death--when he ages to the point where he can see his own personal end in sight he becomes afraid. The closer he gets, the greater this fear. This is true for religious people--who fear judgment. It is true for atheists who fear the coming nothingness. It is true for all living things--it is built into us and anyone who tells you differently is a liar. All of our religion--our lives--everything we do--little superstitions--little celebrations of love--all of that--it is all architected around one thing: our innate fear of death.”
I said nothing, watching him.
“For the very powerful, however, this happens a bit differently than for the rest of us. The patriarch comes to live vicariously through his children. This is also part of our biology--the propagation of our DNA and the like. For the patriarch their oncoming death is ameliorated by the lives of their offspring and so they take on a different fear than the rest of us: they fear the loss of power.”
“Specifically: a ‘Malthusian wave’--a rising up of the little people against the hierarchy. They fear the breeding, swarming, unfed masses. They fear the throngs using up the clean air and dumping shit into the clean water and cutting down the world’s forests. They fear villagers with pitchforks and torches. The patriarch fears all these things because as he sees his death he can see beyond it the death of his children--and he fears it at their hands.”
“So what he wants--what they have always wanted--was sustainability.”
I wasn’t sure I bought all of that. But I couldn’t necessarily deny it either.
“And the banks?”
“The first conspirators,” Tracer said, “were not Kings who already had power and dynasty--but jealous men with some measure of their own wealth and power who resented them. They were powers below the crown who saw money-lending and currency as potentially creating a power above it. Today we see the extremes of that--where even currency itself does not formally exists.”
I mulled this over. I’d heard ranting about fiat currency before. I decided to tell him what I knew about the drill. He was fascinated.
His blog had started as a way to talk about news stories that for some reason weren’t being covered--the name--Lacuna--meant a gap in memory. He saw lack of media attention as a gap in the conscious collective mass-mind. He thought it was artificial. He thought he saw a pattern. That led him to Deep Events. The idea of seeing how a test-run for a mass casualty Deep Event worked, though, was something he’d never even considered possible.
So we’d sat in his office until it was dark out and we’d gotten to know each other and then he’d suggested it.
“Do you want to do something?” Tracer asked me.
“Do what? There’s no evidence of anything. I didn’t get pictures or--”
He shook his head. “No--even if you had pictures--especially if you had pictures it wouldn’t help. They love pictures. No, I mean actually do something.”
“Do what?” Tracer was no wide-eyed college kid. He was at least a decade and a half older than me. He had gray hair like Reeds Richards at his temples and he was a tenured professor at a major state university. When he sat up though--and asked me that--he had this glint in his eyes--a little wild. Almost … impish.
“I think I know where they’re going to do it next,” he said.
“Do what next?”
“The next mass casualty drill--the next Deep Event. I think I’ve managed to figure it out.” He got up--moving quickly now to his filing cabinet. He unlocked it--and went in the back.
“Look, here--” he said, laying papers out. “I’ve studied how they operate. I’ve … I think I know what to look for.”
FEMA Training pamphlets. Freedom of Information Act photocopies with black ink over pieces of text we weren’t cleared to read. A newspaper story in the Atlanta Journal about the National Guard activation. In the center of the picture were men in infantry dress in front of a Starbucks--the green fish-girl logo looking down at them.
He had more.
“They always,” he said, laying the pieces out, “set up the drill to mimic the event they want to sell. Right? They want a mass casualty shooting--they set up an active shooter drill--got it?”
I’d gotten it alright.
“They use iconography and symbolism,” he said. “There were all kinds of twin-tower cross-hair logos on FEMA training documents. On a CIA Report. There was a Family Guy episode which had the father use a cell phone to set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon planted by a Muslim terrorist.”
I stared at him.
“It’s true--it happened weeks before the actual bombing. We can watch it on YouTube.”
“You’re shitting me.”
He turned to his computer and brought it up. We watched it. He wasn’t shitting me.
“There are certain things they … saturate the media with. Certain images. Here--Melusine--the siren.” He pointed at the Starbucks logo. “The water spirit standing over two soldiers?”
I nodded, dumbly. “Starbucks is important,” he said. “It was key in the 1998 WTC riots too. If you remember?”
“I remember a window got busted?”
“Right--all that violence. All that protest--you remember the Starbucks.”
I couldn’t argue. It was true. But it was also stupid … kinda. I had to admit by now I was hooked though. “What did you call her?”
“Melusine--a folktale from around the 1300s. She was a woman who was, at least sometimes, half fish--half human--but in general? A siren: a symbol of obsession, addiction, and death.”
I blinked at him. “That’s what Starbucks means?”
“Yes. Some people say that upside down the original logo--” he showed it to me. It was way more pornographic than the one where I’d brought my Venti Mocha’s back when I was employed, “--looks like Satan or, more specifically, Baphomet. When you invert her, the two scaly tails become the horns.”
“That one’s a little thin,” I said.
“Doesn’t matter,” he told me. “I didn’t say I could read Controlling Interest--it’s more like where we were with Egyptian hieroglyphs before the Rosetta Stone. I can make out a little--but the message is mostly lost.”
“Okay.” I had to admit there was a bunch of stuff about the World Trade Center with smoke coming out in the FEMA documents. Not that that was a big stretch either--there had been the attempted bombing after all--but still.
“So they’re culturally pre-scripting something--for the WTO meeting,” he told me. “And--I think I know what.”
I went through his material. He had specific dates in mind--certain number sequences--and news images and reports from the Atlanta papers. We put them up on the board on his wall--a wall of crazy, I thought--but fuck me: there were a lot of reporters taking pictures of people in front of Starbucks. I mean, I’m sure there are a bunch of Starbucks in Atlanta. Maybe it’s the Starbucks capital of the world? But every time there it was.
“Hey? You didn’t just take every picture with a Starbucks and leave the rest out?” I had to admit, it was unnerving.
“No--I’m using my number counting--it starts with the Golden Ratio--so two pictures from the first of the month. Then one from the second, the third--the fifth--” I nodded. The Fibonacci sequence and Golden Ratio showed up in a lot of bullshit--and failed beat-the-house gambling schemes.
“And I use a sieve to knock some out,” he said. “It is guesswork--but you can see for yourself?”
I wasn’t sure what to believe. There were a lot of Sirens. Obsession. Addiction. Death.
“Here we go.” There were other pictures then. Some he’d printed off the computer. Some were part of the street shots. “See it?”
“No. What am I supposed to be looking at?”
“The common symbol. No? The triangle.”
I stared. “Okay. Yeah.” They were there. He had a set of Homeland Security Alert Bulletins that had gone out--thousands of them published with the red-triangle exclamation point in them where a logo was supposed to be. An incorrect image--a printing mistake.
Warning signs in the pictures. Road hazards. Bike Paths. I nodded. “Okay: triangles. The Troika? The trinity? What am I supposed to be seeing here?”
He pulled up a copy of a webpage. FEMA Training schedule.
“They took it down--but I got a copy of it while it was live,” he said.
EXERCISE: URBAN FIRE CONTROL FROM DELIBERATE USE OF INCENDIARIES. The drill simulates the response to wide scale use of incendiary devices during an act of terror, civil unrest, or panic. Exercise will include the creation of firebrake zones and traffic stops and searches to control movement of potential arsonists.
I felt cold.
“Here.” He handed me a paper. It was a picture of an ancient text--a page from a codex of alchemical symbols. The symbol for fire was a triangle.
“Deliberate use of incendiaries?”
“There’s a large World Trade Organization protest planned. Tempers will be high enough already. I say the drill is designed to simulate their using firebombs to draw a response.” He had a paper from a folder. Homeland Security Readiness Response Directive for assisting fire departments. It was dated last July 5th. It showed a city skyline in silhouette with multiple plumes of smoke rising above it. Done up in clip-art black and white, it could have been any skyline--from any angle--but I knew when Tracer showed me an actual photograph which it would be.
“Why haven’t you told anyone about this--if you think they’re going to … burn something?”
“Who would I tell--what would I say? That I’ve heard something? They’d want to grill me. They’d think I was involved.” he said. “And when they pulled up my history? Lacuna? If something did happen?”
I didn’t have to go too far down that road. He might be overly defensive but he wasn’t wrong. This wasn’t proof--unless you were a believer.
“But no one really dies during these Deep Event things, right? I mean, they make people up--they use fake bodies and shit?”
“Oh no,” he said. “People die. It’s just not the same way that we hear about it. The drill can be used to amplify the real event. That’s what they did in the Boston Bombing. But it can also be used to cover up a totally different one. Some of the school teachers and at least a few children disappeared in Connecticut. But did they die? Did they die the way the media said they did? I don’t think so. I think there were people on some of the 9/11 flights that are still alive--and I don’t just mean the terrorists. I mean the ‘victims.’”
I stared. I hadn’t told him about ‘Marty.’
“It’s true--there are stories.” He mused. “It’s a little like Elvis.”
I decided not to tell him then--not yet: I didn’t want to go down in his books as an Elvis-sighter.
“So what do we do?”
“We know how they work--thanks to you,” said Tracer. “We get there, ahead of them. Get into the drill. See if we can disrupt it from the inside. If … if I were to guess,” he said, “I would say that this ‘drill’ would be--do you know how the FBI would usually compromise groups they targeted?”
“No,” I said.
“They’d get a plant in there--to join up with the protesters and be really gung-ho. To come up with more and more extreme plans--to drive behavior. The idea is that the agent would get the group to agree to things far more radical than they would have planned on themselves--and once those plans are in place? The snap the cuffs on.”
“I think in this case--this--They might be planning something big.” He looked at our wall: papers, pictures, print-outs. Connecting lines of thread. Arrows. It was crazy--but … I could kind of see it: Big. Obsession. Addiction. Death. Fire. “I think they might be planning on doing something horrible with the drill and having the blame it all on the protesters,” he said. “I think this time they really might kill a lot of people. They did kill three thousand in 9/11 after all.”
“Fuck.” That was the point that I wished I’d never heard any of this. That whoever had fucked with me had just stayed out of it. I wished I didn’t know--and then … I wished I didn’t believe it--but I looked at the wall and God help me, I did. “Okay,” I said to Tracer. “It’s not like I have anything better to do. Let’s go crash Their party.”
“I need to go get something first,” he said. It took him about fifteen minutes to pack at his home. Then another stop at an apartment where I waited until he returned. He didn’t tell me what he went for--and I didn’t ask.
It was a six hour drive to Atlanta and by the time we got there, battle lines had already been drawn. The “Green Zone” ran from Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd in the north down to Edgewood Avenue in the south. On the east Piedmont Avenue was closed and to the west they’d cut off Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Marietta Street. This sealed almost the entire downtown and we could read from bulletins on our phones that the MARTA system had been suspended for those stops.
Pictures showed APCs with desert-camo designs and the helmeted National Guardsmen standing at intervals. The black clad police units were clustered at major intersections. There was no visible presence--but over a thousand Homeland Security personnel according to the papers.
The opposition--the heart of the protesters--were camped out across the street on the west side in a massive tent city that had overtaken Centennial Olympic Park.
“We have to try to stop them,” I told Tracer, looking at the expanse of eclectic shelters. “If you’re right--”
“If I’m right,” he said, “the only way to stop them is on the other side of the street. What will you tell them? That there are too many Starbucks logos in the newspaper? That there are too many warning signs on the roads? That Homeland Security has shown us a picture of a burning city? He shook his head. They’re not going to stop this machine because of us.”
The Loudermilk convention hall was the nerve center for the security forces. The national guard screen didn’t totally stop foot traffic--although we were herded through a checkpoint, our IDs photographed, and moved by alert looking German Shepherds who stared at us with intense eyes. Bomb-dogs.
The building was surrounded by militarized security with a massive show of force. Four black heavily armored humvees with filter-systems and barred windows bore the stenciled letters: Homeland Security SPECIAL RESPONSE TEAM. Soldiers in desert camo with black tactical vests over them and full balaclava masks under helmets stood guard with compact assault weapons slung low. They looked like American Terrorists.
The windows had been covered with construction paper where the glas wasn’t brightly reflective it was a sort of dully glowing shadow.
“There.” Tracer pointed.
There was a row of white trucks with navy blue diagonal stripes down them. FEMA.
“Right,” I said. “Over there.” The drill area. It was still manned. I could see several white pickups full of civilians--the same kinds of civilians I’d sat next to. “They’re signing people up--but this … this is way higher security than they had at the other place.” One of the Homeland soldiers, his eyes visible in the dark oval of the mask stood near the table, hands resting on his weapon.
“I thought that might be a problem.” Tracer said. “Come on.”
We didn’t cross over to where the agents were receiving drill members but rather to the lot on our side of the street where the drill team members were smoking before they got on the trucks. I could see their ID cards on lanyards around their necks. Tracer looked hard through the small laconic crowd--and picked two. I glanced over my shoulder as we approached them: none of the armed security was watching us.
“Hey,” he said. “My bud and I weren’t able to get on the team.” he said. “They told me I was too old and he--” I frowned, “was too fat.”
“Bummer.” The man looked at us with absolutely zero expression and no sympathy whatsoever.
“We really,really wanted to do this one,” Tracer said. “One last time. Do you think we might trade?”
It wasn’t a bottle of Xanax: It was a freaking cannister. I stared at it. So did the guys. No one said anything for a time.
The security forces didn’t even look at our ID cards when we got on the trucks.
We had black triangles on the ID’s.. Although we’d ditched our cell phones and recorders, when we got to the Staging Area and got a look at the time table, I could tell that our drill--in two hours, just into the late afternoon was timed to coincide with the protester’s march down Freedom Parkway. It was supposed to turn on Peachtree Center Avenue and come to a stop before the Atlanta Convention Center.
The route had been cleared by the city months ago--but the new security directives stopped it at Spring Street. That was still inside the green zone but was far short of where they were supposed to go. From what I could see we were going to be where the marching protesters were supposed to end up.
They directed us to a parking lot completely isolated from civilian traffic with a sand table set up to lay out the routes and times. We were given balaclava “ski masks” with open ovals for our eyes. Instead of the muscle-bound commander they had a more nerdy looking technician type. He had the same true-believer ultra intensity in his eyes.
“This drill simulates the use of incendiaries on urban terrain during civil unrest,” said the leader. “Categories will be Green Squares: Civilian Protesters--and Black Triangles.”
“Black Triangles,” he said--and we raised our hands. “You are Bravo Team: Black Bloc.” The term came from European protests where the groups were separated into ‘people chanting’ and those hard-core protesters who were willing to do the real damage. Those people--the Black Bloc, would dress in identity concealing black clothes and break barricades, get into fights with cops, and otherwise wreak havoc.
“You will be moved to the staging area where you will be given incendiaries. When instructed, you will don your masks. At that point the drill will commence and you will move along the designated path--” he indicated the route between wooden blocks representing skyscrapers. “Until you reach the Target Zone.”
There were markers for each group of us and it was then that I could see the scale of this drill. Each team had a letter designator. We were team Bravo. It went down to … Theta. There were red markers surrounding the Peachtree Convention Center. There was one at each major street as well.
“Targets will be designated with RED spray paint,” intoned the team leader. “Each of you will light your ordinance on the command ‘IGNITE’ and deliver it on the whistle. We were working in pairs. One carried the bottles. One the lighter.
“You will throw and then retreat immediately to each marked rally point. Emergency Personnel will be mobilized immediately. On the signal you will move as a group to the Recovery Area, remove your masks for collection, and board the trucks. Actors are NOT to interact with ANY press or ANY person not associated with the drill. If you are in distress, your Team Leader will call for EMTs.”
He looked at us.
The EMT tech was handing out filter-masks to put on under our black masks. There was a ‘hydration station’ where we were to drink water. The FEMA and fire personnel were supposed to be standing by: but I didn’t see any of them.
“These are quite real,” Tracer said softly, looking over the glass-bottle . They were without logo or identifying paper. The white cloth fuse smelled of kerosine. At the top of the bottle the opening was wrapped with black electrical tape--and the bottle itself had a thick rubber band around the center--for grip. I was the ‘pitcher.’ I had a heavy leather gardening glove with special grips.
I nodded. There was almost no talking. These guys, I thought, had done this before: they were … experienced. There was the look of a group checking its weapons--battening things down. Each member going over their two or three bottles, double checking the large lighters. Reviewing the maps to find the Assembly Areas where we were to move. They had pills too: I watched them dose up, taking little drinks of water in tiny paper cups from the coolers on the back of the pick-up trucks.
The sun beat down on us. My feet hurt and I sweated into my clothes. I didn’t like the idea of putting the black mask on. The people were languid--ready. There was tension but it was diffuse. I saw Tim looking around. It was clear: he was thinking we’d seen enough--he was wondering if we could maybe get away. I wasn’t that far behind him.
Then I saw something else. “Shit,” I pointed.
Across the parking lot people were “mounting up:” Climbing by roll-call into the backs of white pickup trucks. On the other side of the parking lot, though, I could see one of the Homeland Security armored vehicles and two people who had dismounted. They were wearing business suits--not military gear--and they were talking to the Team Leaders.
They had papers? Photographs? I hoped not--and the Team Leaders were looking at them and scanning the crowd. They weren’t alarmed exactly--but it was clear they were concerned.
Tracer came to the same conclusion I did: They were looking for something. They were looking for us.
“Come on--it’s our turn,” Tracer said.
“It’s not,” I looked over. “They haven’t called our group--”
“Trust me: it’s our turn to get on the truck.”
One of the Team Leads had gotten two large, dull-eyed, very, very serious guys to join up with them. They were moving through the crowd checking ID tags. They were moving quickly and methodically. I wasn’t sure what they’d do to us if they caught us: but I was pretty sure this time there wouldn’t be any “catch and release.” This event was huge.
We moved across the lot towards another group. I could see an EMT there--handing out pills. I wanted to clutch my ID lest they check it. The picture wasn’t good--a scan of the driver’s license--but I felt sure that if they did check us they’d get suspicious--and if they got suspicious it was over.
“We’re on this one,” Tracer said. The truck was almost full. The FEMA employee was ticking off from a clipboard.
“We were told to go on ahead. They’re going to put five more people on our team.” He nodded to the group behind us.
The FEMA guy looked at him. He was old. It was hot--he wasn’t wearing his mask (no one was). He had gray hair. “You can go talk to the Team Lead,” Tracer said. “They’re packing our group with more people he told us to go on ahead to the Forward Assembly Area.”
“Get in,” said the guy. It was tight.
The truck moved with agonizing slowness into a turn and then took off. I watched the search team moving through the crowd. The guys in the suits on radios. Tim and I exchanged looks--but everyone around us was dead silent. Waves of heat came off the pavement. With almost no traffic in the Green Zone I imagined I could hear the protesters chanting. I imagined them approaching the barricades--the ultimate decision as to whether they would try to press on--or let themselves be stopped and turned back.
Did they know it might not matter? If Tracer was right, by the time they reached the final wall of troops their hands would be forced--under the guise of a drill we would be burning Atlanta … in their names.
The truck decelerated into a side street and from the passenger side a blue shirted FEMA employee gave a blast on his whistle--’dismount.’ I looked at Tracer: What the fuck are we going to do?
“We need to run,” Tracer hissed at me as we got off the truck. “This is too dangerous--” Around us, though, the shops were closed. The Convention Center, hosting the World Trade Organization, was theoretically open--but even there it looked … sparse.
I looked up and down the streets. “There’s nowhere to go.” I said. There wasn’t: walls of glass and stone. Nothing opened at street level. Could we get into a hotel? I thought so--but we’d have to make a break for it.
The search team couldn’t be that far behind us.
“Move it!” said the driver, barking at us--and I did. Tim moved too. We felt safer in the crowd, I guess. I held my hand against the pouch containing the molotovs.
The Forward Assembly Area was down the street. The march-path was short--one block to the drill area. We could see it: Barricades. Several vehicles. I could see a few civilians on the streets--were they part of the drill? Would they be witnesses? What would they imagine they saw after all of this? I was dismally sure--from what I had read on eyewitness testimony--that they would see whatever they were prepped to see--whatever made the most sense to them. I was pretty sure that even if we were all wearing FEMA uniforms they would still see protesters.
We were moving now with the crowd. The Forward Assembly Area--where we would start our mission--it was right under the green and white banner of a closed Starbucks.
“Shit,” Tracer whispered, “They’ve closed everything.”, looking desperately around for an easy exit. He looked at the siren on the Starbucks sign, smiling benignly down at us. “It’s going to happen.”
I was thinking what he was thinking: we hadn’t had a plan--not really--just to show up and see if his theory was correct. Now we were caught up in their plan.
Now I could see the ‘target zone’ down the street--cars marked with spray-paint. The steps of a building. Target zones--and there were lots of them. I didn’t see a single fire truck anywhere.
“We have to stop this--” I said we had fallen back a touch. These guys were in good shape. They were moving as a team: we’d be no match for them.
The color had gone out of Tracer’s face: “We can’t--it’s gone too far. We have to let people know what went down--” Then hit me.
“Here,” I handed him one of the molotovs. “Get the tape off the top--get the rag out.”
“What the hell are you going to do?” he asked--but I was already working on mine.
The cocktails were housed in our cheap black jackets. There was a nylon strap with bottle holders that they were stuffed inside. I worked one open and handed it to him--I got out the other. We had been explicitly and repeatedly told not to remove the ‘incendiaries’ before the command ‘READY.’ We were in violation and as soon as somebody saw us they were going to know we were off-plan.
“Form Up!” the whistle blared and the men were coming to a stop--a cluster of ten of us on the street. Next would be ‘MASK’ and we would put on our Black Bloc masks to become radical activists. Then the command ‘Go’ and we would be on the move--around the corner--to the burning zone.
Tracer was working on the nozzle--pulling on the electrical tape. I already had mine off--it gave a soft shriek as the tape unwound.
“What are you--STOP--STOP!” The FEMA leader had seen us.
“This one’s defective,” I said, holding it up. “It would’ve gone up right away. You all better check--” and then “WHOOPS--” and I was dousing everyone with gasoline. “Ooops! Sorry--oh shit--” It splattered across them--large amounts--soaking into their vests and pants. I reached out and swatted Tracer’s hand sending the bottle crashing to the ground hard--where it broke explosively--covering our shoes and boots and pants legs with flammable liquid.
“Sorry.” Tracer looked chagrined. Hapless. “Butterfingers.” Then: “Run.”
We hauled ass.
I was bolting down the street, feeling the exertion after the first few seconds when further down the black armored Homeland Security Humvee came screeching around the corner (it totaled the rear bumper of a Prius--like that thing was tinfoil--and the hummer wasn’t even scratched) and Tracer screamed as one of the men--reeking of gasoline--took him down. I felt a collision and snapped around, throwing a credible punch--HA! The guy folded. Then they were all over me and I banged my elbow on the concrete and put my arms over my head to cover up.
The smell of gas was stifling. There was no way this crew would be lighting anything--at least I hoped there wasn’t.
Standing over us were the suits looking like grim death--like horsemen of the apocalypse.
“Get them restrained. Get them in the vehicle. Get them out of the drill zone,” said the man. “Do it now.”
“I want a--” Tracer started--and one of the black-jacketed drill members hit him hard across the mouth with a gloved fist.
“You have the right to remain silent,” said the suited man with barest trace of sarcasm in his voice--”and you will use it until we tell you otherwise.”
I realized, as they wrenched my arms behind my back, that we had just vanished: no one would have any way to track us when we disappeared. They pulled one of the hoods--turned backwards--over my head and everything went black.
Continue to Chapter 9: Dear Diary