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.
Sen. Thomas Mary, leader of the Georgia Resistance, goes out into the winter night to meet with THEM. He goes knowing that if he returns at all, from his face-to-face meeting with the True Kings of the World, he will not be unchanged.
Previously On Illuminoimia
Ch 16: The True Kings of the World
Ch 17: The Second American Revolution
Ch 18: Angels In The Architecture
Ch 17: The Second American Revolution
Ch 18: Angels In The Architecture
Chapter 22: Meeting With THEM
December 21 2013, Georgia Front
The air was still and icy cold. Under the moonlight the twin tree-lines looked like the walls of opposing dark fortresses. Out in the Atlantic, more than a hundred miles away, in a lazy ‘holding pattern,’ was the storm. Its slow march, somehow gathering strength in the cool water, had come to a halt and it sat there, turning, like some cyclopean clock waiting to wind down--or like a raised fist of an angry god ready to strike. Mary stood shoulder to shoulder with Elliott Rosenblatt, expert Constitutional and tax lawyer--and a master of the arcane corners of the legal system. It was the first time they had ever met in person and Elliott was taller and more handsome than Mary had imagined him.
Mary stood in the snow, breath misting, looking into the darkness with a confidence that belied the circumstances they found themselves in.
“Here are the rules,” the lawyer said. “Repeat them with me.”
“I’ve done that,” Mary said. He was nervous now--excited--scared. What he was about to do--what they were about to do--didn’t make any sense--but he trusted Elliott implicitly: He had already trusted the man with things more important than his life. His father, his family--all of them were in Washington DC, directly under the eye of the beast--but for now safe under the aegis of The Law.
Today, the only vague assurance he had that he would not be killed was Elliott’s say so. He had been given it in their meetings--he had ‘explained’ it in the snow after Mary dismounted the helicopter.
“You remember your history--Thermopylae?” Elliott had asked.
“I do--the Spartans against King Xerxes. I even saw a movie.” He’d been feeling irrelevant--giddy--scared. “He had gold chains all over his face in it, if I recall.”
“The real Xerxes had a long, thick curved beard and wore a funny hat,” said the man. “The key point here is this: Leonidas hoped the Persians would kill him in assassination--to bring the Greek states to war. The principal here is a slightly different one--but the outcome is the same: you will march out, alone, to this meeting--and if he decides to kill you, you will die.”
Elliott looked at him: “And you will win.”
“It sounds kind of Star Wars or something,” Mary said. “That sounds like nonsense. None of my advisers like this.”
“They are military men--strategists,” said Elliott. “They think in terms of the ground game. This is esoteric lawfare, Mary. It’s happening at a different level. Not just a legal one,” He paused. “A spiritual one.”
Mary shook his head. He didn’t exactly believe in this--but then again, his enemies from the White House to Congress to the Courts--they had all moved against his family--and Elliott and his lawyers with nothing more than motions and pieces of paper had stopped them cold. The armored storm troopers held a line beyond the estate where his family was sequestered the same way the churning storm lay at bay off the coast.
Elliott had assured him the two were related.
They walked down the ridge line.
“I will not lay hands on him in anger,” repeated Thomas Mary. “I will carry no weapon. I will make no threat even if provoked.” The lawyer nodded. “He will try try to intimidate me. He will try to anger me--to provoke me,” repeated Mary. “I will neither bend nor break.”
The snow crunched under their feet.
“I will yield nothing. I will enter into no compact.” He paused. “This is like a deal with the devil isn’t it?”
Elliott laughed. “More than you know--more than you could possibly know.” Mary looked over at him--the laugh rolled out over the snow and felt vastly out of place under the great darkness above them.
“Who are you?” Mary asked. Elliott had been in place when his father had been in Congress--hidden--secret--but working. The man was perhaps in his fifties but seemed much younger--and he was only one of a group of legal experts whom the senior Mary had engaged clandestinely.
When Atlanta burned--even before the insurrection had become an official force--they had moved into action filing court actions of an arcane complexity that had brought their attempt to sweep the Mary family up into Material Witness Custody to a standstill. They had filed briefs on the part of military commanders caught behind enemy lines. They had lobbied, successfully and, in a few cases, Mary thought, with blackmail material, to make Congress hold the line on the Presidential appointments to the almost-split DC Circuit court where the administration tried, unsuccessfully, to have the motions summarily thrown out.
By a thread--and by one or two justices who had not rolled over for the White House--the law--for now--had held. They would not vanish his family into the machine. He was still guaranteed a fair trial when this was all over--if he was breathing.
“We are the Sanhedrin,” said Elliott--”Or, well, that is a name we go by. We are practiced in many arts--some of them are very, very old.”
“Are you lawyers or magicians?” Thomas joked--gallows humor under the black sky.
“The original Sanhedrin were both,” said Elliott. “Councils of Judaic law and … well, the central science of the firmament is probably more properly called alchemy than magic--but either will do for now.”
Mary had signed papers granting power of attorney to Elliott--giving full legal power over to the man he had not yet met. They had drawn up unfiled papers of “emancipation,” rejecting any ‘14th Amendment presumption of Citizenship.’ If filed, and if somehow upheld, it would mean Mary could no longer be a Senator.
“We’ll file them when the time comes,” assured Elliott. “If it comes. Just having these is a kind of protection.”
It didn’t feel like protection--it felt flimsy and absurd.
Mary continued through the snow. “I will state than I am traveling in a private capacity,” he intoned. “That my name is private property and is owned by me. That the United States of America’s government no longer has title to the Strawman Corporation in my name.”
“I will state that I am an American citizen--” he looked at Elliott who said ‘For now,’ “and subject to neither Admiralty Courts nor unconstitutional martial law.”
“Very good,” said Elliott. “Are you ready?”
They could hear the choppers: Two of them, flying low and in perfect unison.
“He was supposed to come alone,” Mary said.
“So long as he meets you in the center of the field,” said Elliott, “it counts.”
“What about bringing firepower? Those things could be heavily armed.”
The helicopters were jet black with no visible insignia on them. They had angled predatory looking cockpits like the triangular heads of venomous snakes.
“I am sure they are,” said Elliott. “It makes no difference. Go and meet with this thing. Keep the rules--and return. Turn your back on him and walk away: It will be the only time in his existence he has ever been intentionally slighted.”
“And then he’ll kill me?”
Elliott shook his head: “We can hope so--probably not though.” Mary shivered.
“We will see,” was all the man said. “That is what we are here for: to see.” He shook Mary’s hand--and gave him a quick embrace.
The figure did not emerge from the helicopters. Instead the dark figure emerged from the woods behind them, stepping out onto the pale unspoilt moonscape of the snow.
Mary started down towards him, repeating the mantra over and over. He felt eyes on him--imaginary rifle sights from the tree-line--from helicopters--even from the darkness above them.
The man was solid, wore a thick coat, and leather gloves. Under the coat was a bespoke suit--a tie pin that had the strange sheen of some exotic green metal.
They met together at the base of the valley and by way of greeting Mary spoke his words to the impassive man’s face.
When he was done the man’s black eyes seemed to twinkle in the darkness.
“I have a gift for you,” the thing in the suit said. It reached into its vest and removed a slim box, like a box of cigarettes, but carved of wood and hinged with what looked like polished brass. The cover of the box was a woodcut: a naked form on a Medieval surgeon’s table, abdomen open, mouth in a frozen scream as barbaric instruments entered his stomach. He held it out.
“I do not accept it,” said Mary. There was a primitive authenticity to it that made him ill.
“Of course you do not,” said the thing in front of him. “But you will.”
He opened the box with an air of a man doing a magician’s trick.
Mary was jarred--the shock causing physical pain in the muscles of his back as he recoiled. Within the old wood was a flat-screen tablet filling the velvet-lined case and on the screen was a never-ending picture of an open mouth, the tongue obscenely extended in a fruitless attempt to get as much of the sound out as possible--the uvula visible in the red recesses of the throat. Saliva gleamed in the air, projected from the mouth.
How the screamer managed breath was a mystery as the tone changed from one form of agony and terror to another. The mouth was wide enough to count the teeth--to see the fillings--to see the panicked vibrations of the torn throat, the wet inner cheeks--
It was the sound of elemental desperation. Of Pandemonium. It was the sound of Hell.
It was his father’s mouth. He could see the crowns towards the back. The single missing rear molar. How he knew this was a mystery but he knew. He fell then--backwards, landing on his rump in the snow. The screamer had still not stopped--asphyxiating in his attempt to clear the pain--any of the pain--a tiny, tiny fraction of it--through his breath. It did dwindle--but the need behind it? The need behind it swelled.
The man held it motionless.
A part of a word--a first word--a baby’s word--No--and a smaller mouth: a boy’s. Mary could hear the tone and he could place it. A view into that throat where he had paid, once, for braces. One of his sons. The jaw of the screamer popped, dislocating explosively to allow the mouth to open further.
The sound filled the night with pregnant horror.
It changed again as, infinite heartbeats later, the breath ran out--a woman’s? Of course--high and without reason--only abject suffering.
The man shut the case with a crisp pop.
Mary was shaking.
He looked up, pale, into the thing’s granite face.
“I have broken kings,” said the thing. “I have made Presidents kneel. I can see everywhere that you are weak and I can hurt you there--effortlessly--beyond your endurance and I can do so for decades--and beyond even that, reaching into the offered respite of death to continue to twist you.”
Mary’s heart was hammering.
“It’s not them,” he said. “They’re safe in DC. It’s not them--” He felt his heart racing.
“It will be,” said the thing. “If you do not accept this box. We have already done this to those who have done nothing to us. Do you think we will do less when we have them--or--” he seemed to muse---”more?”
“And what of you?” the thing asked. “When your hope is broken and your mind stretched and ready--what then? An example--yes, certainly. A last one--but oh, what an example? And to suffer knowing nothing can aid you--and there will be no mercy--and that you could have bowed and submitted and avoided any of it? When we have you a micro-dram of mercy will be worth the sum total of your love and we WILL. NOT. GIVE. IT.”
He looked down. What Mary felt was a black terror--no longer mere fear. He was transfixed. Horrified. He looked into the thing's midnight eyes and he felt himself fall then--he would grovel for the box--for any measure of salvation for his children--his wife--any sliver of mercy for himself--if he had known what he was facing--
And he came to his knees, reaching for the box--
--and instead he began to pray.
The thing in the suit looked down at him--as immobile as stone--and Mary prayed then, eyes closed. He pulled his hands back--shaken, unsteady, yet--but he turned--on all fours--and then rose to his feet.
Without looking back, Thomas Mary ascended the hill.