Forge Netting 31: String Puller

An old man, though you wouldn’t know it to look at him. He laaughed – most of the people who were still playing all those stupid games were old men who should be long dead, but physical bodies were easily reset mechanisms these days. He walked amongst people who should recognise him if there awareness level were above that of a coma victim. He had sat down with these men at negotiating tables and made deals with them that made them billions, and had cost the world its memory.

LEthe, yes, he had worked for them. The Engineer? He’d set that little antagonistic bastard up too. Colin? Didn’t take much of a push. The project which had created Ensign? Check. The counter-project which had created Swift? Well, he had a hand that too. Shifting loyalties? No, never. No, what it constituted was crafting tools for the moment, thinking about repair systems to put in place to clean up the inevitable mess, and moving on after that.

That none of these things had ended cycle and were carrying on was a frustration, an inconvenience, but it was not an unplanned for eventuality. In the intelligence community there were operatives and there were handlers, and then there were the men behind the handlers who came up with the ideas. He was the man behind the men with the ideas.

If there was anyone alive that actually thought that politicians did anything other than make loud noises and fuck inappropriate animals, and actually had any kind of power, he hadn’t met them. Sure, some people believed in the military industrial complex and their Zionist agenda to cause dieback in the population of a mind-controlled world that they wished to reign over, but that was all the paranoid wank fantasises of some hacker nerd with a stack full of papers made up of half-truths and misinformation.

Why would anyone who want real power have anything to do with politics? Why would he have anything to do with an outmoded system such as capitalism? Why would he even be visible? This old man was a ghost in the machine – the machine a notional analogy that had more working parts than an exploded diagram could handle.

His name was buried under more than cover names than most of the services in their entirety could lay claim to. God might possibly have a few more names than this man, but that wasn’t assured.

‘Hello?’

‘Peter?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Colin needs to retire.’

‘Understood.’

He hung up. Dialled a new number. His phone replica was old school – just how he liked it.

‘Paul?’

‘Yes, sir?’

‘LEthe to oblivion.’

‘Understood.’

He repeated the action of hanging up and dialling a new number.

‘Mary?’

‘Sir?’

‘Spanner in the works.’

‘Understood.’

Standing down the assets would be easy to a degree. Those who wouldn’t comply would be retired. Then he and the rest of his crew would disappear into the shadows and continue pulling the strings once more.

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Forge Netting 30: Grey

Umbral vestiges; penumbral lives. They moved around the periphery most of the time, inhabiting the blindspot of your average joe, but now they were having to move centre stage because one of their own had brought the world to its knees.

They had been following Ensign for weeks now and it seemed that he really had no kind of agenda – you could mislead and divert people for so long and then those tactics just started to look like randomity. They learned that he was being cased by his own people who noticed he was being tailed and wouldn’t move in to warn him or snatch him; but not, it was suspected, because of the presence of enemies, but because they were scared of the man.

Even when they had controlled the field he had been an unpredictable factor in any of their games. He wasn’t scoping anyone, wasn’t exploring territories for strategic purposes – it appeared that he was burned out and directionless, and in truth that made him all the more dangerous.

This fruitless cat and mouse couldn’t go on forever, Swift was going to take the bastard out if he could – they didn’t need Ensign walking around and breathing to take a genetic sample and work up some kind of cure. He wondered, given how many people seemed to be interested in this individual, why there was all this pussyfooting around. He wondered why he himself had fallen into that trap too. Hmm, well, because they had an idea what he was capable of if he put his mind to it and were scared what he might do with his mind as out of whack as it was.

At the moment Swift had seen fit not to take out the affiliates of Ensign – they seemed to be paralysed, but how long would that situation remain true? A gamble to be sure, but then all of this was a gamble. Who would have expected that all of this would still be going on, that all of these players would still be in the game?

If things had run as some wished he was sure that the game would have ended in the mess that the disease unleashed through Ruebeau caused – all of them buried. It was strange how things had a way of working themselves out – pushing against whatever edge it was that was forming in the being of Ensign was going to change the geography of the entire land … he was sure of it.

All these dinosaurs were likely to be extinct by the time this thing played itself out. Back in the day they had lived dangerous lives and there was always the promise of death – all this time later and that promise seemed ever more real; was ever more pressing. He felt the weight of an age on his shoulders; kind of hard to shrug that off, but a job had to be done.