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.
In this chapter we meet Senator Thomas Mary--one of the few honest men ever to enter congress--as he prepares to deliver a speech before the World Trade Organization in Atlanta.
Previously On Illuminoimia
|Agenda 21's True Face|
Chapter 14: The World Trade Organization
Atlanta Georgia: Just Before Everything BurnsSenator Thomas Mary had been impressed and surprised that the World Trade Organization had invited him to speak at all--much less so on the first day of the conference with a park full of his supporters ready to march on the convention center. Of course the protesters were going to be turned back by black-suited security--but that would just make his speech all the more powerful. If he had his way they’d be allowed to protest right outside: it was their Constitutional right--they’d filed all the right papers.
He knew: he’d had his chief of staff review them personally.
If he’d had any clue what was going to happen he wouldn’t have come at all--much less let them stage a protest.
Mary--and even more so, his father, the venerable Doctor Robert Mary--saw things like the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and even the World Bank as part of a pattern--a concentrated effort to drive a wedge under the bedrock of Constitutional protections that America was built on and sort of “lift them up” so that a new foundation--one made of sand--of money based on nothing more than random ephemeral electrons and an unspoken promise of constant American military intervention--would replace it.
He had seen it coming for a long time--trade agreements that drove the tendrils of other nations deeper into our borders--currency and stock manipulation that moved the basis of the economy further and further into the esoteric realms of higher mathematics--and the creation of a shadow military--a government directed force that operated ‘legally’ on American soil under the guise of keeping us safe from enemies who by definition could never be seen, conclusively beaten, or even negotiated with.
As he walked through the massive convention center he was surprised at how empty it was. The few people he did see, wandering seemingly randomly in the massive complex didn’t seem any more informed. All the materials were there--printed and ready. There was a hall filled with booths for various groups with ideas to promote or products to sell. The vendors were there. The staff was around--the leaders? Not so much. Had the demonstration spooked them?
He continued towards the main hall--where he would give his introductory speech. It was a fire-breather. He figured they’d regret having him after that.
To be sure, Thomas Mary, M.D. (he too was a doctor--following in the path of his father--but an eye surgeon) believed in terrorists--but he also knew that any crisis was a window of opportunity. He knew that there were people involved at every level of an event who could see the possibilities in blood and smoke and would move ruthlessly to capitalize on them. Would they go so far as to manufacture them? He’d seen enough in his comparatively short years in Washington to know it was possible--that nothing was beyond a person once they had dedicated their life to seeking power.
There were so few people--so few human beings, he thought--who were willing to stand on principle that it was easy to change a person once they were given a taste of real authority. Power was, he knew, as addictive as any drug and once tasted even a strong man might do anything to get it back--anything within the limits of lying to oneself at least--and he knew that those limits were boundless.
His father had stood on principle for years and had paid the price: he was a sideshow--a political freak. Tolerated to his face--mocked in private--ignored by the media. Thomas, his son, was not going to make the same kinds of mistakes.
The first part of not making the same mistakes was to be very careful about his message. His father had never compromised--and that was respectable--but together, at the end of Robert’s career (with a humiliating snub at the last Republican convention) and the rise of Thomas’ the two had worked together carefully to make sure he did not have the same vulnerabilities that the elder Mary did.
When he came to Atlanta, to address the WTO on their home turf under the super bright Kelig lights he was very careful about what he was going to say. No ‘speculation.’ Nothing that couldn’t be proved. He’d spent thirteen hours filibustering on the Senate floor a few months ago wearing an adult diaper and letting the administration have it for their use of robotic warfare on American soil--a scenario they had patently and stubbornly refused to rule out. He’d been called a paranoid fantasist with ‘science fiction’ scenarios.
That was fine: the country had rallied to him. He knew how to play this. Here it was going to be a little different. He was going to speak to the world. He might be in front of the World Trade Organization’s cameras but he was really talking to the people on the Internet who would see it later. He would talk about how Globalization hurt the middle class American citizen.
He would talk about ‘polarization’ in job opportunities and wages for America as international trade increased. He would tell them that 97% of the jobs being created in the United States today were in sectors that were not subject to foreign competition. He would show a graph of industries over the spread of decades with medical (you can’t outsource it overseas) improving and manufacturing (you can) in decline. He’d show a cross-section of what that meant for middle America. If you’re a genius it’s great. If you’re not? Good luck, sucker.
That was the first part. The second--the second part of not making ‘the same mistakes’ he had discussed with his father exactly once. It had been done out in in the woods--with cell phones and all other electronic devices left behind. The second part was … stranger.
Robert (sometimes Rob--never ‘Bob’) had fought this fight for years. Back when he had no movement to speak of there had been The Newsletters. These are in the years before widespread penetration of email and he had created them--and then created the staff for them--and used them to get the message out--the message that Washington had a decades long plan to steal America out from under the people who made it up. The message was that the power-elite in Washington would use the tools honed in earlier centuries: class warfare, economic stagnation, and racial division to carve up the melting pot--to separate it a ‘centrifuge’ of fear and rage--into discrete component elements and turn those against each other. In Latin: Divide et imperia. In English: Divide and conquer.
He had gotten the message out. Yes, his father told him, they had determined that at the time the people most receptive to it were lower-income, lower-education whites. Yes, his father admitted, those people, demographically speaking, might harbor racial beliefs or prejudices. Yes, they had needed a coalition--The Enemy was building one with billions of dollars in saturated media and the military/industrial complex. They had to have a first step up to stay alive.
But, his father told him, his old eyes looking sunken and haunted, he had never seen some of the material in those newsletters--even as he’d read and signed them. Every. Damn. One. He would never have signed those things--never have said those things--but there they were.
It was, he said, sabotage. Subtle and sophisticated sabotage.
Thomas had considered this--turned it over--played with it. The idea that a draft newsletter might be reviewed and signed off on--and then changed? It wasn’t impossible. The changes, Rob Mary said, were minor. Alternate language--sometimes moving paragraphs around a bit. Changes in tone and emphasis. He’d seen the signs of a race war being engineered around them--but he’d never said it was the people’s fault. The nuance had been softened and then stripped out. What he was left with … was damage.
The problem, Rob told his son, was that he trusted his people implicitly. He trusted them with his life. He’d trusted them too much. Whoever had done this--and while it was decades ago and memories were a little hazy--it had to involve more than one person--and they had to keep silent about it all these years--had had little reason to do this. It didn’t “take him down” at the time. Even now it wasn’t front and center, he told Thomas. It was just back there, waiting--a barrier to any aspirations of higher office--an insurmountable wall someone had carefully built decades before Robert would ever approach it.
It was a wall that even threatened his son--who would pay for the manufactured sins of his father.
If we are facing an enemy that can do that, he’d told Thomas, as they sat by a river looking out into the woods, then we are facing an enemy I can’t even imagine.
Thomas had decided, a week later, and in the dead of night, that his father was not insane. He decided his father was telling the truth--and that someone, somehow, had moved against him with a fatal blow years before it would ever be felt. Once he settled on that decision … that was when he began to see things.
He looked around the vast corridor with the huge auditoriums to the right and glass windows looking out onto the highly policed ‘Green Zone’ to the left. Atlanta now had a ‘Green Zone,’ he thought--like Iraq. he shook his head and he felt that ‘tickle.’ That ‘tickle’ was the feeling he felt when he thought he ‘saw things’--saw the things his father was warning him about.
For instance had noticed when Michelle King, Representative from Minnesota, and leader of the Tea Party Patriots caucus had been turned. She had always been a firebrand--and always a bit of a loose cannon--and he’d respected her for that. When she went too far, people loved her all the more. When she was made fun of by the press it simply thickened her armor. She was fearless. She was faithful. She was a patriot in the same way he was--and while they might differ on some of the social issues a little--or, maybe, just on the emphasis--she was loyal and strong.
And then something had happened. It was very, very subtle--but he could see it. He’d read about Capgras Syndrome where the sufferer believes friends or family have been replaced by identical looking imposters. Was he becoming paranoid? Degenerative? No. He thought he could detect a fleeting, furtive pain in her. He thought he could see the momentary shift in her mental equilibrium as she changed tack and stepped up to run for President of the United States.
The result was a humiliating disaster which eventually led to her decision not to seek re-election in the Senate. Whatever she had been thinking, he’d reasoned, she must not have known it would come to this--except: he couldn’t shake the feeling that she did. That her statements about vaccinations and mental retardation were timed to end her run--that her sudden rise and sudden fall was a plotted trajectory like a bullet from someone else’s gun.
Thomas Mary couldn’t help shake the feeling that if his father had been equally alert--equally alerted--in the eighties he might have seen this behavior on his staff. He might have seen it coming. He’d told no one--not even his father--but he had come to a conclusion he was as sure of as anything: They got to her, he thought. They got all of her.
When she had told him she would meet with him in the Atlanta Convention Center before his speech he had been concerned, although he couldn’t say why. He only knew that he had felt an uncharacteristic fear. That ‘tickle’--but worse.
Now in the office-like ‘ready room’ behind the auditorium they stood by the conference table next to a huge world map on the wall.
“I went over the deck you’re presenting,” King said. “I have to say a rather like it. Free Trade Isn’t Always Free?”
Mary nodded. “Not the way they do it--” he gestured out at the hall. King looked at her watch. There was a faint, self-satisfied mew. There it is, Thomas thought--and he felt a chill. He couldn’t put his finger on it--but there it was: whatever had changed in her he felt it. She looked up.
She looked … sorry. Sad. There was a sudden heart-stopping finality. She checked her cell phone--and he could see that now, perhaps suddenly, all the bars had gone out.
“You’re good,” she said. “I mean really, really good.” She came around the table to stand closer. She was very well dressed, he thought--elegant. Her best stuff--her best jewelry. Hair. Makeup. The whole nine yards. Going all out for a World Trade meeting she wasn’t even speaking at?
“You might have done it--your father was a firecracker but he was too honest. You’re smart enough not to get down in the mud.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said--but he was suddenly afraid he maybe did. Hearing echoes of his own father’s secret conversation was chilling.
“We were supposed to team up,” she said. “We were going to work together you know--but you froze me out.”
She looked at him--and the look was as hard a steel. “Don’t bullshit me now, Thomas. Don’t bother--time’s run out. How did you know?”
Inside him the pendulum swung back and forth--tell her? Deny it? Voice suspicious he couldn’t even explain much less justify? In the end, several silent seconds later, he had to know. For his dad if nothing else.
“I just knew,” he said. “I knew my dad wasn’t crazy. I knew someone had done unto him. And I could see you turned,” he said. He said it simply. She didn’t deny it.
He waited. Silence was better than any question he could voice. “Well that’s that,” she said sadly. “I never was any good at this bullshit. I said that. I told Them.” she shook her head. “I guess that’s why we find ourselves here. Maybe They knew. Maybe that was what They wanted all along.”
“Who?” he said. “Who got to you? What did they promise you?”
She shrugged. “What does it matter now?” she asked--bitingly bitter--mimicking the Secretary of State’s rage-filled answer-question on Benghazi. “I couldn’t even tell you if I did know. They--oh, they knew exactly what to say. Exactly where to hurt. They were overwhelming and … “ she shook her head. “Loving? It was terribly fake and terribly powerful--it was--” her eyes were alight with the horror of the memory “--it was terrible, Mary. You should be so glad they didn’t come to you directly. You are so lucky.”
He was dumbstruck. “What--what then?”
She looked at her watch. It was minutes until they were going to call for him. He couldn’t go out there like this--not now--he was shaking. Was that part of the plan? To ruin his speech?
“We were going to go arm-in-arm. Presidential candidates this time around. The man on top, of course.” she gave him a demented little wink. “Missionary style.”
“And that would have been the end--scandal. Mud and shit--” the way she swore--like the word tasted bad--made it all the more horribly vulgar. “I don’t know. Girls? Boys? Secrets--dirty bloody little secrets and that would have been that for all of us. If you and I were a team we were locked up. We’d have been great,” she said. “Doomed--but great. The end of the Mary legacy. Well, I guess it has to end one way or the other now.”
“It’s not going anywhere,” he said. His voice was hard. “It’s not going anywhere. I’m going be out on that stage--they’re waiting for me, you know: the American people.”
“Oh,” she said. “But they’re not, Thomas. They’re not waiting for you out there.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Homeland Security forces,” she told him--”they’ve pulled back from the building. I suppose the bigwigs weren’t ever going to be in attendance anyway--out there are just lambs.” Her voice was soaring--but sad--rising in intensity. She repeated herself: “Just the lambs, Thomas.”
“Have you lost it?” He was backing away though. Whatever was happening--whatever was about to happen--he didn’t want to see it--and she was disturbing him. Scaring him. The idea of a massive lapse in security--where was that going?
He backed to the door.
“They showed me the Operation,” she said. “All the vaccines lined up with their dormant viral loads--all over Africa,” she said. “All those little babies are going to die, Thomas. When it’s activated there will be a plague wind like never before. The Army of Flies. They’re going to do it after they turn the lights off in America. That’s starting now!”
She was shrieking and he opened the door behind him and came out--to the hall and the stage--it was eerily, terribly silent even before he arrived. Empty: The rows were empty. There were no cameras. The spotlights for the cameras were there--but they were dark.
Thomas Mary spent no time at all taking it in. He vaulted off the stage and took off at a sustainable jog down the aisle. A voice was screaming in his mind that it was too late--that whatever horror was going to happen had already happened--but he went nonetheless. His father had never quit and he wouldn’t either.
Fuck them. He bolted to the door, sure it was locked, but it wasn’t. Out into the main colonnade--and what he saw finally did stop him. The Atlanta Convention center was surrounded on all sides by massive columns of fire. I could see the flames disappearing into clouds of black smoke. It looked like it had all gone up almost simultaneously. It was immediately and horribly clear: there was no way out.
With the silence of the building--the eerie stillness--he could hear Representative King shrieking back there--words he couldn’t understand or maybe they weren’t even words at all.
Thomas Mary went down--clearing the wide empty staircase in only a few steps. He hit the ground floor running and exited past the now-vacant security stations onto the street. Across the road cars were consumed by fire. The buildings--soaring hotels--parking garages--offices--were wreathed in blazing flames. Overhead the sky was going black and the air was like the front of an open oven. Up and down the way he could the fires--almost certainly set by incendiaries consuming the world.
And then: there it was. A single street--distant--but there--choked with cars that were somehow not burning. A corridor where the fire had not yet spread. Without having to think deeply about it at all, he went into his vest pocket, removed his personal phone and his congressional blackberry and left them both on a low wall that ringed the Convention center. Then he ran.
Senator Thomas Mary, son of Senator Robert Mary sprinted down the street covering ground in a flash, cut left--and ran between two burning buildings down the middle of the street. He passed by a closed Starbucks that smelled vaguely of gasoline without even glancing at it--and as the flames closed in behind him, he put on a burst of speed opening distance between himself and the inferno.
When he found a bicycle he picked up his pace even more and rode hard, aiming inexorably for the edge of the city.
Continue to Chapter 15 Postmortem Interrorgations