And In The End, story and graphic by rac

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III.  In the Presence of Eternity

I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
Over oblivion.
--Thomas Hardy—

Old Calendar:  June 15, 2011
New Calendar:  Day 360, Year 2 A.E.

[Scully: Sorry, I didn’t peek, but, well, it’s, you know…I know. I know what you wrote. For the rest of that day and into the next, you telegraphed it loud and clear. It seems writing about the past was as joyous for you as it was for me. I’ll plow ahead with my turn, now, and share my words with you later. It’s only fair. I sat and thought about the things I wanted to say the past few days, and I realized that nothing, not one damn thing, is going to be a joy to write.

Least of all, that I was right. Except maybe about Four Corners.]

It was the destruction of Washington that made it necessary to relocate the centralized government. It had to be in a nuclear-free zone; we couldn’t risk a repeat of the last horror. But before I had even thought of that fact, I knew where it had to be.

I had dreamed of Albert Hosteen, the Navajo holy man who had come to my aid in earlier crises. We sat around a fire in his hogan, making small talk as I waited for him to reveal what he wanted to say. Finally, he stood, and taking his pipe, presented it to the four directions as he chanted.

When he was done, he turned his head and looked at me, his wise eyes staring at me from his seamed face. “Ut-zah,” he said, “It is done. Ulh-ne-ih Toh-ni-tkal-lo haz-a-gih na-ha-tah-ta-ba-hogan.”  He took his pipe and shook it down toward his feet where he stood for emphasis. “In the center-place of the four directions, go make your headquarters. Go now, Ma-e-as-zloli.”

Remembering that dream, I then knew just what it meant. When I told Scully, she looked at me strangely, but immediately got on the phone and did some research.  What she found was heartening, and within hours we were on our way to the interim government post deep in Virginia. The President and certain other key positions had been evacuated from D.C. as soon as we had reached DEFCON two; now I needed to convince them that I was right.

It was serious enough situation that I resorted to a display of my rapidly unfolding “talents”. Gibson would have shaken his head in disgust. After the assembled VIP’s reattached their jaws, after Scully and I then explained what I was, then, finally, they listened to me. The area I had in mind was completely nuclear-free; there was a confluence of two rivers for water supply, if necessary during emergencies; it was also remote enough that attack by anything other than the aliens or missiles would be difficult, and it would be easy to build airstrips and other necessities that were needed. There was plenty of land.

I watched them as they took in everything we’d said, looking as if it gave them indigestion.

Frankly, I knew—I knew—that the big, bad White Man didn’t want to eat crow and go begging to the Indian Nations. It was one bright note in a somber time; I had to work hard to keep the smirk off my face. I kept having this image of Albert grinning like a fool as the Great Chief of Washington was forced to go begging to the titular heads of the Navajo and Ute Nations at their reservations.

The Four Corners area, sacred to many tribes of Native Americans and way the hell and gone out in the middle of nowhere, was a hell of a place to relocate the center of our government. But they eventually did, I’ll give them that, and in record time. Offices and services that could be relocated to regional offices more easily and without overt danger were assigned that route. Others went out west, and the building and relocation was intense, spilling offices over into Durango, some up in Blanding, and as far away as Albuquerque for certain things. But the main buildings were relocated to the literal Four Corners; not Towaoc, not Shiprock, not Aneth, but that place on Hwy.160 marked as The Four Corners of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. The local economy, sluggish to disastrous in the best of times, was never the same.

Four Corners, Capitol of the USA. There was something eloquent and fitting in that name. The Native Nations really did rise again.

And it really chapped some Anglo-Saxon asses. Damn, but I enjoyed that.

That was the last bit of sheer fun I had; the rest of the history includes lessons about war. The primary lesson: War, at the best of times, is not fun.

Most of the central resources of the FBI…all kinds of resources…were contaminated or destroyed by radiation and explosion, as was everything else in nearly a 100-mile radius. Those in the area who died immediately were damn lucky. Those who didn’t, died soon after. Thank God.

I can’t describe to anyone who doesn’t know what it’s like to experience the surge of mental anguish and pain, the horrific screams of the dead and dying, inside your own head, from a thousand miles away. Scully had her trial by mental fire; that moment of unspeakable horror was mine. Despite the straight-jacket I wore years before when my genetic blueprint was being triggered and none of us, least of all myself, knew what was happening—it was nothing compared to October 23, 2004. I hadn’t really noticed the other two nuclear disasters with my other senses, probably because of distance; this one I felt.

It knocked me off my feet. Scully thought something had happened to me (it had, just not physically) and kept asking me what was wrong, where did I hurt, typical Doctor Scully. She was calling for an ambulance when I stopped her, and choked out what I’d felt. The horror in my eyes was reflected in her own; I must have convinced her. Within moments, through phone calls, we had narrowed it down to where, and it was Scully who had a hard time standing up then.

The long and short of it was that we suffered two more nuclear disasters here in the United States and more around the world, before I finally tracked down one of the Jeremiah Smith clones from years before. Using him as go-between, we were able to negotiate a nominal affiliation with the rebels, who helped us set guards in all our many nuclear facilities around the world. It was from them that we learned the aliens would be content to contaminate the entire world with radiation, making it inhabitable to humans. To them, it was all the same: they weren’t negatively effected by nuclear radiation.

Europe and the UK were riddled with NPP’s, as was Japan and the entire east coast of the United States. South America, Africa, most of Asia and Russia, all of the South Pacific and Australia were nuclear-free zones, as far as NPP’s were concerned. Nuclear warheads were a whole other topic. Everything had to be guarded, everything. It marked a new level of cooperation in human-alien relations. And I learned there were a hell of a lot more cloned alien beings living here than I ever suspected.

The public’s reaction to the revelation about aliens among us was—predictable. There was every variety you could imagine. The doomsayers and religious fanatics, prophesizing the end of the world; the UFO-obsessed who rejoiced at their vindication; the more serious science and religious communities, who reeled under the sudden shift in their paradigms; and the average person on the street, who woke up one morning and, as Scully said, “the sun didn’t rise in the east anymore” but came up from the west. Fear and terror made our job more difficult at times, but we were gratified to find the majority of people were glad to follow government edicts and ensure as few human-created disasters as possible. Their universal compass had gone off kilter, and the masses were grateful, I think, to get any kind of help that gave them a sense of direction again.

Why did the governments tell the public the truth about the aliens? Good question. I have always felt it was their right, by virtue of being human beings upon this planet, that they should know; but of course, I was always in the minority. No one was willing to purposefully create a public panic; yet, when it happened, it wasn’t as bad as some had predicted. In any event, it wasn’t a deliberate decision to break the news to the public.

Some obscure, stringer reporter working the fringes of Europe happened upon documented information from the government, detailed correspondence between their government and the US. I like to think that the poor slob pissed in his pants—not from fear about the information he was reading, but from ecstatic, delirious joy. His career, previously in the basement, went nova in the space of a single breath, quite a dizzying ride. (Scully, yes, that analogy was purely unintentional.) And CNN, that bastion of authoritative and informative reality-come-to-visit in our living rooms, was the rocket which he rode to reach his new professional heights.

It was complete chaos for a few weeks afterward…as if we didn’t have enough to deal with. But it was about this time that the President’s advisors and other top officials requested my presence at a meeting. Old habits were hard to die; my first thought was…what did I do now to piss them off?

Then my new thought patterns kicked in, overriding the old, and I immediately knew. As much as the abilities have been a burden, at times they’ve been very welcome. In this instance, prior knowledge kept me from acting like a complete ass in a roomful of senior officials. (I’d done that enough times in my life, thank you very much.) When they presented me with the plan for a new, reorganized national police force and then asked me if I’d head it up, I was able to sit still, looking thoughtful and worthy of such a responsibility.

Of course, they thought that I’d picked up the idea when I’d come into the meeting. I had, but I think I still would have burst out with a, “You What?” as soon as the information had fully processed. This sedate calmness was so much more…civilized, and less upsetting for those who were very uncomfortable around me and my talents.

My talents were the very reason, they said, that they wanted me to head up the new United National Police agency. After all, who better to determine the true nature of supposed criminals, and be able to keep everything inside our national boundaries safe for the citizens?

There are only a handful of known genetically enhanced humans. Humans, genetically altered so that our active DNA incorporates ancient code. Code so ancient, so alien, that it doesn’t exist turned on in humanities’ everyday genetic material. It’s there in the gene pool, but it exists like vestigial appendages, like our appendix, which scientists postulate once played quite an important biologic role but in present day is no more needed than a sixth toe.

That’s me. An archaic, obsolete, alien oddity.

Maybe we do need the abilities. Maybe over the years, we simply lost the ability to use it due to environmental factors, like eyes in cave fish. Certainly, our world would be a very different place if everyone had this ability turned on.

As it is, to most, those of us with it pose an uncomfortable dilemma: people are fascinated, but horrified that their every thought and secret desire might be known. Without Scully these past few years, life would have been lonely indeed. In the past, I wasn’t exactly Mr. Sociability, but my life was consumed by my obsession, my quest for The Truth: my search for Samantha and the men who were responsible for her abduction.

I found more Truth than I ever wanted to know. Old Smokey had been right years ago when he cautioned me to be careful what questions I asked, to make sure I really wanted to know the answers. Who would want to know the answers we found? And yet, what would we have done without them?

At this point, it’s water under the bridge. Now my days are filled with helping to coordinate relocations from weather-ravaged lands, and most importantly, making sure our country remains strong internally, crime- and terrorist-free. After a few years of trial and error, I surrounded myself with a staff whom I could work with, who didn’t project at me every time they walked into the room: mentally strong and focused people who weren’t paralyzed by embarrassment or fear to be around me. Scully thinks being in my presence acts like some kind of tuning fork to people with naturally strong psi tendencies or talents. Maybe she’s right. All I can say is I’m thankful to have the wonderful, talented people on my staff. They made the choice to be with me, to work closely with me despite the lack of personal privacy such a job would entail.

Others in my life made other choices, unwilling or unable for their own reasons to be in my presence. I understood their reasons, even as they made them. Heck, I understood their reasons even before they made them, and before they understood themselves.

In the case of a few—in the case of one—it…pained me. It pained me to lose something, even though I’d never really had it. How can you lose something you never had? We anticipate, we look at potential and live for the future. And when that future never happens, it feels like we’ve lost something.

But—this person has been in my mind the past few days, so much so that I checked to make sure everything was all right. Now I know why I’ve been feeling restless lately. A piece of my past is coming back into my life again, or near enough; much closer than he’s been for the past handful of years. I wonder what changes time has wrought in him; I wonder if he’ll be interested in seeing the changes time has wrought in me.

I wonder if I’m going to be able to handle the pretense, if that’s the game he’s still playing. I hope not. I’m too old now, too tired. Too lonely.

I’m going to have to go back and edit this journal later…none of this is necessary to the story. But then again, maybe it’s only fitting that the man who reads the minds and hearts of others bares himself to the world through his words. What do you think, Scully? Sound fair?

I dreamed of Albert Hosteen again last night. He smiled at me as we sat around his fire, and I felt at peace. He called me Ma-e-as-zloli again. In the Navajo Code-Talker’s lingo, it stood for the English word ‘flight’. But in literal translation, it means, ‘fox light’.

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