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 the aftermath of the Washington explosion, some things change and some don't.
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
Aftermath Part 3: The Georgia Front
Ranger Coyne lay in the medical tent, an IV running into his arm. They had been critically low on supplies when the assault came--when the storm off the coast suddenly started moving and turned north into the sea rather than plowing onto the land.
It was clearly unnatural--the word from Benning was some kind of high-energy square-wave signal from the re-activated HAARP installation in the far north. Apparently global weather could be directed and apparently it was. Coyne had lain in the tree-line and watched the dark man bring the former Senator to his knees while he looked through field-glasses. He was forbidden to touch his weapon unless the dark man killed Mary.
He had orders to kill Mary if he took anything from the man--or tried to go with him. He couldn’t imagine what would make that happen--but it almost had. He had felt the fear and sickness in his bones just watching.
They had adjusted the field glasses to reduce their range--to damage the lens--so that he could not see too much or too well. Stupid, he had thought--but when the two men--or whatever the dark thing was--met, he was suddenly glad he could not see clearly. The flash of the feeling of slime across his skin was so visceral and intense he nearly vomited. He learned later some of the men had.
But then Mary had resisted--and when he got up off his knees he’d returned to their lines, leaving the figure alone. It had stayed, motionless, until they were pulled back.
Then the assault had come. The storm’s winds slowed and the Department of Homeland Security forces had charged forward--a mechanized fist against the front line of the resistance. Coyne had been there to watch it happen. He had been there to join the battle hoping for reinforcements to come on December 25th.
Enemy Intel said they were calling it the Christmas Day Slaughter.
But Christmas, so to speak, came early. The radios went silent at first and then erupted with news: the destruction of Washington DC. The use of nuclear weapons on American soil. The Speaker of the House is the standing president having been beyond the blast radius when the device went off. His orders are fast and final: DHS is dismantled. The Terror Courts are shut down. Prisoners have been released. The war is over.
There will be an emergency election.
Merry Christmas To All and Goodwill Towards Men.
Aftermath Part 4: Charles Brin. Kill Your Darlings
Brin has floated in the unpleasant nothingness for a long time. There have been visitors--they come as distant chimes and appear to him as tear-drops coming from far blackness and then opening before him--he is helpless--and he knows he can feel pain. He feels it--fleetingly--during diagnostic checks and then they recede.
He is terrified he will be tortured--that the torture will start and never stop. He feels certain They can do it. His ability to retain a meditative state seems fractured by whatever condition he is in now. He can’t feel much of his body but when he can, he feels centipedes that make sounds like soft buzzsaws crawl over his extremities. He waits, unable to do anything else, for them to find open wounds and flood him with high intensity, high fidelity pain.
When a teardrop comes, he holds what he can of his breath--and then the sympathy-less ‘Doctor’ is there.
Doctor (A surgical face-mask with dead eyes above it): “Subject is reactive. Prep for final descent. Tartarus Scenario.”
A voice out of view: “Prepping. We will bring him up to four. Full cognizance and pain. Testing three, two, one.”
He feels it then--not pain--yet. Sensation. Blood, viscera. A sudden dip into a pool of almost-feeling. The intense vulnerability of his shattered body. The crushing helplessness of his immobile form. He knows they can hurt him.
Doctor: “Affirm. When the master arrives, he will be ready.”
Charles: “What--” now his mouth feels dry and he feels thirst--overwhelming--he wants water and knows he can’t really drink. “What day is it?” For some reason, that matters.
The Doctor’s tear-drop is ready to recede, but he is surprised. “Christmas eve,” he says.
Charles coughs. Then there is a noise--very faint--and a sensation of a slight drop.
The blackness becomes deeper. The ‘centipedes’ are abruptly gone. Is this “Level 4”? Is something beginning?
Things change. They are coming to hurt him. For moments there is nothing--and then a shudder as the Doctor’s image dissolves--as though his entire limbo has been shaken exactly once. Then ...
Then he hears water--waves on a shore and he feels … sand. It all feels suddenly, incredibly real. He is laying … on a beach. It’s daylight. Gulls--the sounds of cars. He stands. He’s wearing swim-trunks. His body is healthy and whole. Waves come in and he looks down the beach at a line of hotels rising into the sky. It’s a skyline he vaguely recognizes.
Miami Beach. He blinks. It’s a simulation--it has to be--but the waves curl and crash and the grains of sand cling to his body. There are people further down on reclining chairs. He looks up at the road-side and sees large bodied cars. Old cars. Classics. 1970’s? He shakes his head--rubs his eyes. Feels his arms.
Nothing--nothing feels wrong.
He’s thirsty, yes--but not desperately. He starts to walk--south, he thinks. He can hear the traffic. He nods to a woman in a one piece suit. She nods back. She sees him. Her husband, pale and ungainly looking, has white paste slathered thickly across his nose.
Then he sees something that definitely is out of place--and he starts up towards the hotel.
“I saw you,” he says. The Black Magician is up the beach under a Tiki hut at the edge of a resort hotel property. He holds a drink in his hand and wears a brilliant, absurdly loud Hawaiian shirt and red trunks. Without his bespoke suit he looks like a jolly tourist with, perhaps, overly intense eyes.
Charles approaches carefully. He is afraid that when this ends--they will have him. He slides onto the stool next to the magician. There’s a second drink. Margaritas.
He taste it--the gulps it and wipes at his chin. He’ll drink what he can--enjoying the cool sweet taste of the alcohol down his throat.
“Easy,” says the magician.
“This is a dream?”
“Do you think?” The magician asks--but then “No. Or, at least, not in the way you mean it. This is all--” he raps the wood, “very real.”
“It’s 1970?” Brin asks.
“1973, precisely. Late August. It is my current reside, if you will. In a sense.”
“And me--my body?”
“Your brain maintains quantum activity for years after death,” says the magician. “The what-makes-you-you is, really, quite timeless. States of lucidity after death do exist--sometimes for short periods of time. Sometimes … much, much longer.” He gestures around. “This is one of them.”
“So I’m dead?”
“As I currently understand it, a nuclear weapon--the one you procured--was detonated in Washington DC several minutes ago from your subjective perception. The team that was coming to extract you--and what remained of you--was, I estimate--destroyed in the cave-in.”
Brin drinks--this is the best news he’s heard yet.
“So now? This is … heaven?”
“Not so!” The magician also takes a sip. “This is Miami in the summer of 1973. You are here, in person, because of my interference. The problem with your conceptualizing this is that what you think of as reality is a great deal more like a dream than you generally believe. What you perceive as linear time and cause and effect are your mind’s way of making sense of a world that is almost impossible to fit into human context.”
“You can be dead in the 21st century. Alive in 1973. You can be in the very, very real world--and also preparing for your next consciousness at the same time. Dead--alive--these are a continua and not the black-and-white concepts you generally perceive them to be.”
Brin eyes him. Uncertain as to what to believe.
“So they can’t bring me back--I’m not being hunted?”
“Now? No. And here? Certainly not--this is not a ‘dream’ but it is also not exactly what you’d think of as Miami. The truth is that ‘Miami’ is not what you’d think of as ‘Miami,’ but I expect that further conversation down that path would simply lead to frustration.”
Brin takes a measured drink. Longer.
Then he nods: “At least that last part makes sense.”
The magician grins. “There’s a boat for you--an identity in this hotel. Your room--your name. Probably a bag. The craft is the Sea Change. It departs from the pier in an hour.”--He gestured at a dock extending out into the glittering green waves flecked with bright white foam.
The boat is a large day-fisher. He can see crew working it now--getting it ready for the tourists. He can see the name on the side in cursive: The Sea Change. He is suddenly aware of the breeze cooling his skin.
“What happens when I get on it?” he asks.
“You will depart,” says the magician.
“You mean ‘die?’”
He shakes his head. “Travel. Transition. Move on. Your context with Washington and Benghazi and the Secretary of State is destroyed for you. You cannot go back. This is a different context altogether. You are a different if … analogous … thing here. For you, though, these omens--”
He gestures at the boat--at the name--”they have special meanings that don’t apply to others here. You, in your life--you have probably passed by others sharing your observance in their own liminal state.”
“You mean I’ve met other dead people?”
“Yes--and their experience of transition--and the world they saw full of special meanings and signs and doorways was shared with you, and you, of course, would notice nothing.”
“I’m not real here?”
“But only for a time,” Brin guesses.
The magician shrugs. “It is not a dream, Charles. There is no waking up. This is as real as where you came from. It is simply different. Go to your room--take your bag. The tickets.” He nods up at the resort hotel.
“If I’m real here,” Brin asks, “why don’t I remember anything here?”
“You’re in transition. A sleepwalker. The boat is for you.”
Brin nods. He finishes the drink. Then he asks: “Why? Why help me?”
The Magician smiles, broadly, “You were there--you were clever--and I could. If you mean ‘why’ in the larger sense? Well … I never actually liked the forces arrayed against you to begin with. They were trying to break the universe in their own cancerous fashion.” He shrugs. “They are not here. In a certain sense They ‘never existed here’--but that is an improper use of the past tense.”
The Magician takes another swallow from his glass. “These are complicated realities Charles. And you have a boat waiting for you.”
Brin looks out at the water. “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it. Think of it as a gift--from one traveler to another.”
Charles rises--out of some sense of propriety he goes from the bar to his hotel room, finding it easily--his memories coming back to him slowly and in pieces like forgetting a dream--but in reverse.
In his room is a single back bag with a change of clothes. Identification (Charles Brin, Coast Guard Investigation Services). He has a Hawaiian shirt in the closet. Comfortable slacks. He dresses.
At the bottom of the bag is a slim .32 caliber handgun. He checks it. Oiled.
He stands at the foot of the pier. The Sea Change rides in the water down at the end. A fat tourist with a camera around his neck stands beside him.
“Ever been fishing?” the fat man asks. “On the ocean, I mean?”
Brin looks out at the boat--his boat. He wonders what will happen when they are out on that sea.
“I have,” he says. He did--a dive trip down in the warm Caribbean waters.
“The missus didn’t want to come,” the man laughs. “Come on--let’s go look at her.” He gestures at the boat.
But Brin just stands there.
“I think,” he says, turning to look up at the white towering hotel behind them, “I might have forgotten something.”
The man looks at him oddly, but Brin doesn’t care.
It’s 1973, he thinks. Castro is out there, isn’t he? The Cold War is still on. Miami is bright and hot and he has a badge and an Id and a gun--he’s remembering more and more.
He starts up the beach, his shoes crunching into the warm sand. His Sea Change, he thinks, it’ll still be there when he wants it. Won’t it? Why rush things? Why rush anything.
I looked out through the glass doors of our apartment at the gray morning just beginning to get started outside. I could hear birds--faintly--and Sarah’s breathing beside me. In the clear, cool peace of a March morning it was almost possible to believe things had never quite happened the way I remembered them. The past had a growing sense unreality the further we got from it and now three months out, it was, for brief moments in the warm, welcoming dawn I was almost able to shelve it.
But I couldn’t: those hours in the cellar with Rex issuing commands, going through papers that fell apart when exposed to air and were written in a language I couldn’t begin to recognize. Rex spoke to me. I relayed the messages to Hal who sat at a distance, making notes on his tablet, organizing--orchestrating--a media campaign that would take place over weeks and change everything.
Rex had coughed, losing blood--slowing--but he was always perfectly clear, precise, and ordered. Hal would do what he was told: They were in chaos. Washington was in flames. The Georgia Rebellion? The Georgia Rebellion was going to be the Second American Revolution--and if the Speaker of the House had survived the blast … we were under new management.
We worked through the night and into the morning--relentlessly. It became clear what we were doing--what messages were injected into pop-culture, which names--at all levels of every media I could imagine--would be notified of their roles--it was like we were unwinding some giant clock. We were closing doors. We were unspooling secrets.
Finally, Rex had slumped.
He’d looked up, vampire-pale.
“That’s done,” he said. His voice was gone from non-stop talking. “It’s enough: He’ll do it. It’s the only thing that’ll possibly save his family.”
He coughed. “You need to get out of here.”
“What about you?”
I looked down. He wasn’t … dead yet. It wouldn't be long.
Rex grinned. “You’ll need a head start,” he said. “You’ve got to get back to Seattle and you’d better go now because the freeways will be shut down once the government tries to reassert control. There’ll be martial law--for real--for a while.”
“We … can get you help,” I said. It was empty though: I couldn’t imagine what they could do for him. His clothes were soaked, matted--dark red.
“Here,” he said. “Take a look at this--it’s funny. You’ll like it.”
I looked at the sheath of instructions--of symbols and sigils and the archaic type-written commentary. Disposal of a sitting POTUS and next administration: the arming and creation of a terror army practicing the thousand year old practice of decapitation in the Middle East. They would have an easily accessible name in English and the symbol of association would be The Throne. It was a set of kill-codes for a democratically elected president.
I tossed it aside. Rex was dying and I--I had to leave. There was Sarah to think of.
“What do I--”
“Leave me down here,” Rex said. His voice was weak. “I need … my … second wind. You go--and hurry--Seattle is waiting for you. Go!”
I had a feeling I’d better. In the hours of aftermath it wasn’t clear things were going to get better at all. Travel was shut down--I had his car keys … he said the car would be abandoned. I’d left--the elevator climbing and then out--into the street. The city, on Christmas Eve, had been stunned into emptiness.
It was ghost-town silent.
Now, months later I was here--in the New World--uncharted territory--without Them. With Sarah. Now I could breathe. Soon, I thought, I’d be able to share. The Unwinding was happening--slowly--but surely and I could see it. Clearly President Thomas Mary knew what was going on. He was moving with speed and force against what remained of Them. The enemy was unclear--cabals of bankers, international business concerns, rogue nations, and a private elite that existed above the 1%.
I heard the phone ring. It was a wall unit in the kitchen. I still didn’t trust one in the bed room--for no good reason--and I’d avoided a cell phone even. Old habits. I moved to get it--before it woke Sarah for good.
My heart stopped. It was Rex. I felt my mouth go dry.
“I actually wasn’t kidding about the second-wind thing,” he said. “With time and concentration we can seal off a lung and shut down bleeding. It takes a lot to kill one of us … you managed it though.”
I felt like the room was tilting around me. Like everything from a past life had just come swarming back into my reality.
Rex continued--”I’m in Washington--I’m helping with the Unwinding … in a Blind Spot position on Mary’s cabinet.”
He paused: “We have a problem, Theo--and I still need you--as my translator … This isn’t something I’m going to be able to do alone.”
I clung to the phone. I couldn't think …
“Remember what I told you about vaults of gold buried under the lunar surface? Yeah--well, that wasn’t a lie and it wasn’t an exaggeration--we’ve had bases up there since after we faked the first landing … and rituals. Remember what I told you about the Elohim? Look--I can’t go into detail but we--meaning the United States--might just have a very, very big problem and I’m probably the only human alive who can go up there and maybe fix things.”
I sat--heavily--trying to make sense of things--but I felt my pulse climbing. The moon?
“What do you mean,” I asked, “Up There?”
Rex paused. “I mean up there, Theo--if you ever dreamed as a kid about being an astronaut today’s your lucky day. Oh--and this time bring Sarah to Washington. It’s time she learned something about what’s really been going on.”
“You’re not kidding are you,” I asked.
“There’s a helicopter to get you to the SST to get you to Washington right now on its way,” he said. “Get her up and grab your toothbrush. This is serious enough not to fuck around with--but you’re gonna see things that will, I promise, Blow. Your. Mind.”
That got my attention.
I could distantly hear chopper blades.
“Sarah,” I said … a little more loudly than usual. “You need to get up--and get dressed--real fast. We--we really need to talk.”
Consciousness After Death