Peshawar, Pakistan, there’s no place like it anywhere else, that’s for damned sure. It was a big, over 500,000 in population, bustling, dusty, and very dangerous city. And the heat, the heat; man it was hotter than a Chinese red pepper, and it was still early in September, 2001.
I was setting in a little caf’, just inside the Qissa Khawani (Story telling) Bazaar, listening to the Beatles ‘Revolution’ on my MP3 player, reading the local English paper, waiting for something, anything, to happen. My mind was going a thousand miles an hour, a common occurrence when I drank the local coffee, which was more like high-octane espresso. I could stay up for days on it, and did when I first got into town. One needed to be alert around here, lots of very bad men toting knifes and guns, and looking for an excuse to use them. I had a piece now, a Beretta high capacity 9MM with several magazines. It was invisible in the local robes I was wearing. I understood why every man here liked the robes. Hell, you could walk around town with an AK47 tucked in them, and no one would notice. Sometimes even those with the AK’s are outgunned here, though, so being alert to your surroundings was key to survival, and the coffee gave me all the alert I needed. With customary dress, and a pretty full salt and pepper beard now, I was doing my best to blend in until the heat died down, hopefully within my lifetime. I spoke a little Arabic and Pashto, and been passing myself off as a freelance writer for an Islamic magazine, looking to do a story on the plight of the Pashtuns in Afghanistan. Even though the ALF (Arab Liberation Faction) had a fatwa on my head, no one here knew my true identity. It was a brilliant place to hide out, if I could survive the day-to-day dangers. It was early morning, 9-11-01 and I was bored beyond belief, wondering if Col. Golden, Lt. Hal, and the Israeli security services, the Mossad and Shin Bet, would ever give up the hunt for me so I could go home. This place was really edgy right now after al-Qaida and the Taliban, so the story goes, blew up General Mousad Of the Northern Alliance. Rumor had it that something big was up, and I hoped to be there to get the scoop. I couldn’t believe the road I took to this place. It all started in the old city, Jerusalem.
My editor, J. Still at the SW/Freethinkers Gazette, had managed to get me to the last place in the world anyone would look for me, especially the Mossad and Shin Bet. Col. Golden, and his personal thug, Lt. Hal, were still hell bent on killing me for that little adventure in old Jerusalem. I’d somehow managed to escape from that frenzied mob at The Wailing Pool and get myself smuggled here. As that angry horde closed in on me, I turned and dove into the pool. Within a few moments the water was full of people after me. Then people by the thousands started jumping in, like a mass baptism, and I managed to get lost in the confusion. After getting out at the Lion’s gate Lynn hustled me off to a waiting cab. She got me out of town and into contact with some of her Arab friends, the kind who did anything for the right price. They got me out of Israel to Lebanon. Later I managed to get in touch with J. S. and he got me here.
I was supposed to meet a guy at the caf’ who was going to take me to an interview with a close aide of Osama bin Laden. This was probably going to be another snipe hunt, I’d already had three such meetings with his gang fizzle out, but what the hell, at this point I needed to do something to get my mind off my present situation. Who knows, maybe he realy did want to get his side of the story out to the western press. At least I had a new camera from Bill, the digital world wizard at the SW/Freethinkers Gazette. It was one of those Sony mini-disc models, pretty small, but capable of some amazing photo quality pictures. It would even run small amounts of full motion video. I was supposed to meet my contact here, who would guide me to my meeting with Osama’s man in a little village in the hills above Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
I sat there sipping on the potent coffee that Abu, my waiter and sometime confidant, just brought me, trying to be patient and alert to danger. There was a disturbance out on the street, a couple of guys in a knife fight. My heart was racing, and my mouth had gone bone dry. This place was really getting to me when a couple of guys fighting each other could get my adrenalin rushing through my mind. While distracted by the fight my contact slipped in behind me and whispered into my ear, ‘I’m Mohammed. You Christian D. Williams?’
I must have jumped a foot off my seat, hitting both knees on the bottom of the low table.
‘Relax infidel, if I meant you harm, you be dead by now. Drink coffee, in a few minuets a truck pull up and I take you to meeting.’
After slamming the bitter brew down, I looked over the situation. After my last brush with death, I was in a hyper state of awareness these days, and this guy was setting all my alarms off. Slipping the safety off the Beretta, I got ready to pull it out. I slowly pushed the chair back and started standing up, then the blood rushed to my head, and I fell down, the room going into a surreal spin. Mohammed was talking into a cell phone in Pashtun, I made out that a truck was just around the corner. My hands fumbled out the Beretta, and I whipped it toward him, only I was moving in slow motion now. He grabbed the pistol and jerked it out of my hands. With a big smelly grin on his face he said ‘lets go for little ride, Mr. Christian.’
As my consciousness started fading from me, and my legs turned to rubber, Abu the waiter and Mohammed walked me to a Big Toyota SUV and shoved me into the back.
I came to a few hours later in the back of the SUV between two ALF fighters, Abu, and another man, according to their conversation. Mohammed was in the front seat next to the driver. My hands were tied behind my back and Abu, my waiter, confidant and new traveling companion, had a big knife that he was using to draw circles around on my face. ‘Mohammed, can we skin him just a little now? Maybe just take skin off his nose,’ he said with a big grin on his face.
‘Not yet, Abu we must get him to the meeting with the Caliph, the messenger of Allah. You know what will happen if we fail him. He said not to harm him.’ A look of fright swept across the men’s faces, and they sat back in silence the rest of the trip.
Now I was worried. The Caliph was a mysterious figure that rumor had it was supposed to be the real power behind al Qaida. He made the Sheik, Osama bin Laden, seem reasonable by comparison. I had thought him to be a myth, but now I would see the man himself. And my confidant, Ali, was into that brutal old-fashioned Afghan tradition, skinning enemies alive, great!
We got to our destination, a walled compound in the foothills of the Hindu Kush above Jalalabad, Just outside of the town of Ada. My bonds were cut off, and I was forced into the back of a big room full of armed Taliban and al Qaida members.
‘The Caliph will be here in a few minuets, sit still and you will have the pleasure of meeting him. Here’s your camera, the Caliph said you could take some pictures later. In the mean time have some mutton, it’s very good,’ whispered Abu into my ear, a big grin on his face, his hand on his knife.
I watched the assembled throng sit and eat from huge dishes of mourgh, lamb, aush, and the spicy sauce called chatni gashneez, that is so favored in the area, but it burns the crap out of my mouth. I could see bin Laden at the head of the circle of men. He was hard to miss, those eyes, the bearded face, and his height, even sitting he was towering over the rest of them. He was bragging about some big blow to the great Satan, America, and how it would cripple our economy. I couldn’t make out all he said. He spoke in Arabic and I’m not real fluent.
After the meal was over the leaders cleared out the area and got down to business. I noticed all the major players were there, hell even Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street were there. And I thought that was just a doctored up picture of him and bin Laden together on the Internet. Goes to show you just how deeply these guys had infiltrated our world.
A young girl wearing a Burka was brought in and paraded in front of the throng. bin Laden said ‘look at her, she is the latest weapon in our war against the Jewish infidels and their Satanic allies, the Americans. >From the little martyr’s brigade who would suspect her of being the latest martyr in our arsenal of weapons for Jihad? See how we have cleverly hidden the explosives under her Burka?’
The men all stood up and crowed around her to get a better look. I was still sitting down, and they blocked my view. The next thing I knew there was a tremendous blast, and the room filled with smoke, fire, and body parts. When I regained my senses, I had been blown backwards, into the wall, Abu’s grinning severed head was in my lap and there was chaos and confusion everywhere. Everyone else in the room was either dead or wounded. My ears were ringing, blood was coming out my nose, and I felt like I’d been kicked in the head by a horse. The little girl went off too soon, or someone had assassinated bin Laden, I didn’t know for sure at this point. I stood up, took out my camera, and shot a few frames. I could see more clearly as the smoke dissipated, driven out by the wind that was whistling through the blown out doors and windows. I got a clear shot of bin Laden, his body blasted into the wall, his arms widespread, a big hole blown in his chest, with several large shrapnel wounds on his torso, a large nail driven between his eyes, which were frozen open in surprise, his mouth agape, blood dripping out. He was dead, no doubt about that, and I had the proof in my hands.
In the confusion, I managed to slip out a back door and make my way to the SUV. The keys were still in it, as was my Beretta and other gear. Driving the SUV out of the gate, an armed guard tried to stop me by jumping into the middle of the driveway and pointing his AK at me, but I turned him into a hood ornament before he could pull the trigger, and made it to the main road. Whatever the Caliph had in mind for me, I sure didn’t want to stick around and experience. It was a rough and wild ride back to Jalalabad and then on to Peshawar, but I made it thanks to the SUV. All the Taliban guards manning the checkpoints recognized it, and I was waived through at each one of them. They must have thought the Caliph was in the back.
Once back in town, I went to the Abasin hotel where I was based and cleaned up. After hooking up my camera to the computer, I downloaded the pictures, and wrote the story. Then I stretched out on my bed and got some sleep, wait until J. S. got a load of the pictures I had. I smelled a Pulitzer Prize for the photos this time. The next day the phone line was busy, a regular occurrence in this town, so I went to an Internet caf’ with a T-1 line and hooked up my computer. The caf’ was buzzing about some airplane crash news in New York and Washington, but I didn’t listen. I had the big story right here.
Once I got online and sent in the article, it was time to sit back and reflect on the day. The response from my editor was fast and to the point. He told me about the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, as well as the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I found myself sinking into instant depression. It was starting to look like the opening round of the next Vietnam to me. Only Vietnam will be fondly remembered in comparison to this war. Elusive, well-armed enemy, religiously motivated and willing to die for Allah, with widespread support from sources that have real economic power. Believes the west, AKA ‘The Great Satan,’ is in need of religious conversion to Islam, or righteous destruction by the forces of Allah. One could argue that this is just another chapter in the recurring religious wars scattered throughout history, and make a good point. Islamic zealots VS the rest of the non-Muslim world, chapter 20(?). Only this time it will be waged on a worldwide scale, with increasingly more lethal weapons. Willing to fight forever or until the end of the world, which ever comes first. Yeah, my memories of Vietnam were starting to look good from here.
‘OK, we’ll run your story on bin Laden’s death. The story and pictures should be hot copy, good job! Hope you’re watching your ass, the Muslim world just exploded in our face today.’
I told J.S. not to worry. I was safe. Now if I could just get myself to believe that.
Later I went to my favorite bar in an alley off the Qissa Khawani Bazaar, ‘The 72 Virgins,’ and had a few drinks. The place was patterned after the gardens of Allah, with a heavy floral motif, lots of cushions on the floor, with many of small rooms for more private sessions with one or more of the girls. Booze wasn’t all they sold here. One could get the sex partner of ones choice, as well as any of the drugs produced in the area, which was pretty much everything anyone could want. Yes there were bars, whorehouses, and drug peddlers in Peshawar, Islamic law not withstanding, but they were a little harder to find than in more open cultures. As I sat drowning my sorrows, one of the 72 virgins came up and sat down. ‘Would you like some company?’ she asked in pretty good English.
‘Sure. Would you like something to drink, miss?’
‘Yes. You call me Ali, Ali Kahn, your name?’
‘You can call me Chris. What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?’
‘Trying to earn living. Come upstairs with me, where we can have privacy. It will cost you five dollars American. I promise you night you never forget.’
I paid her the money, and we went up the stairs to her room, which was much nicer than I thought it would be. It was decorated like a scene out of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, with plenty of fabrics lining the walls and a bed in the center overflowing with cushions.
‘How about some music,’ she said, as she took off her robes. She put on an old Kiss favorite of mine, ‘I Was Made for Loving You.’ I was already pretty drunk by now. I must admit she looked pretty good, though she was a bit husky for a woman. She was very aggressive and soon she was on top of me, undressing me. She was as good as her word. It was a night to remember. The booze had taken its toll on me by now. Later we lay there later and she asked me if I wanted a drink of Absinth, the real thing, from the original recipe.
‘Sure, what the hell. Lets see what this stuff tastes like,’ I replied.
It had the taste of slightly bitter licorice and sent my body tingling from top to bottom. My head started to feel like it was wrapped in lots of fluffy cotton. as I lay back on the bed. I could feel my consciousness slipping away. I’ve had too much to drink, I thought, as the room faded away.
I came to in a murky room, on a hard surface, and I thought, great I passed out and fell onto the floor. And Ali probably took all my money to boot. I tried to get up, but I was strapped down, my arms straight out from my sides and my legs crossed together at the ankles and tied together on a table. ‘Ah, you wake up. Time you meet the Caliph,’ Ali said, a wicked grin on her face.
As my eyes grew accustomed to the muted light, I could see I was in a big rocky cavern of some sort, on a table somewhat like an operating table, but not as well padded. A big swarthy man in robes and a turban came in and ordered everyone but Ali out. Some of his guards expressed some concern with this idea, but he told them they could join Ali if they didn’t get out, and that got a panicked response and a quick exit by all.
‘Well the son of Baal has joined us. You don’t mind if I call you by your first name do you, Chris? I like to be as cordial to my guests as I can. You’re already acquainted with my associate on this biological experiment, Baal. I read your story, (The Wailing Pool.) Boy what a head-trip to dump on you. That Baal, what a buffoon he is. He likes to take all the responsibility for the creation of humanity. Shit, all he did was tinker with some of your ancestor’s DNA and add a little of his own to the mix. Big deal. While it’s true that you’re a direct descendant of his, look at what it’s gotten you. First he gets you involved with Lynn, who you get pregnant, and then he destroys the old city and leaves you as the fall guy. I’m sure he planted the idea that you were part of some grand scheme to save humanity, right? No matter, I’ve been following your situation since then. Well enough chitchat about Baal. Are you comfortable here?’
‘I’m very uncomfortable. How about you un-chaining me and letting me off this table? Have we met before? Who are you?’
‘Can’t let you off the table just yet Chris. We need to get the rules established first. As for who I am, they call me the Caliph around here, but my real name is one you’re already familiar with, due to your little adventure in old Jerusalem with my associate, Baal.’
It finally dawned on me, ‘Shit, you’re Lucifer, the big alien lizard?’
‘Calling me a lizard is incorrect, and insulting. My species are called the Meena, and a little like your chameleon. We can change our appearance to mimic many different species. We closely resemble humans in body style, and we can use our natural abilities to mimic your look. I’ve been a few historically interesting people throughout the last two thousand years, during my visits here. A key aid to Mohammad, Pope Gregory VIII, and Hitler, to name a few. Though your species will surely destroy itself by itself, given enough time, I just help keep the eternal conflicts stirred up a little. Your species is so easy to mess with. It’s almost criminal what I’ve done. Come to think of it, it was criminal. But I’m not the kind of criminal your species will ever catch. How was your little tryst with Ali Khan? Did he please you?’
‘Uh he, Ali was a woman from head to toe.’
‘Sure, now she is, but she used to be a he until he angered me and I turned him into a she. In fact I turned her into a woman specifically to meet and seduce you. I use a DNA re-sequencing device and an accelerant to cause the sex change to happen in under a week. This is one of my favorite methods of installing a little discipline and fear of me in the troops under my command. They all believe that I’m a real messenger of Allah. After all, I can do miracles in their eyes, plus it sure scares the hell out of them. They fear the treatment they’ll receive in the whorehouses after they’re turned into women and put to work. They know just how badly they’ve treated the women here themselves. It’s very effective and one hell of a motivating tool, yes? Also did you like my choice of music by your rock group, Kiss? It gives a whole new meaning to the song, ‘I was Made For Loving You,’ don’t you think?’ He said with a little chuckle.
‘Ugh! You’re creeping me out Lucifer. What do you want?’
‘You can call me Luc, all my associates do. Soon you will be one of them, or you’ll be in need some serious medical attention. It’s all up to you. So where do you think you are, and more importantly, when do you think you are?’
‘In an Afghani Cave from the looks of it. As for what day it is, I have no idea.’
‘Correct as far as location. As for the day, it’s six months from the day you had your little tryst with my boy Ali. I’ve kept you in suspended animation until I figured out what to do with you. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out quite as planned, so you may come in handy. That’s why you’re still alive. We got your personal records from your counselor, and you have many secrets to hide, yes? Foster families raised you for the most part in your younger days. A relative, a baby sitter, and the man who took you in when you were thrown out of the house by your mother and new stepfather, all molested you. Your country sent you to Vietnam, and then left you to deal with the damage to your psyche that the conflict did. You’ve had several failed marriages, multiple jobs, typical PTSD. Life hasn’t treated you too well has it? Want to hear more about your past? ‘
‘No, thanks, I know how the rest of the file goes. My life hasn’t been too rewarding, but there are millions more people on this planet much worse off than me. It’s all a matter of perspective. What did you mean when you said things didn’t work out as planned? You’re the big space alien reptilian with all the technology, how could you fail?’
‘Baal must have told you that there are limitations to what we can do on planets with species as developed as yours, right?’
‘Yeah, he said there were limitations to just how much technology could be used out in the open.’
‘Right, we can do nothing that will be registered by the monitors, who run things throughout the universe. So we have to do this work of ours on the sly as you say. Anything we do has to be circumspect, and not the stuff that will make headlines around the world, except perhaps in the tabloids, like yours, but no one takes their reporting seriously anyway. You have no idea what had happened in the last six months, do you?’
‘No, want to fill me in?’ He did, he gave me the news about the war in Afghanistan, and how well it was going for the Taliban and al Qaida. He told me that the US forces were bogged down, and loosing large numbers of troops. He also filled me in about the war in the Middle East and how Israel was about to collapse. He covered the fighting between India and Pakistan, and the troubles in Ireland.
‘Col. Golden and Lt. Hal are still looking for you, but they’re more involved in the war in Israel right now. However, it turns out that my crowning glory is the attack on 9/11. It will finally cause the final clash between you humans. It will take a few more decades or so to bring about the end of days for humanity. Your species is resilient after all. But in the end humanity will fall. I would suggest Chris that you join me on the winning side while you can. I’ve been giving the al Qaida cells help in developing new weapons of mass destruction, nukes, conventional explosives, biological weapons, stuff like that. I’ve arranged to get three suitcase nukes from Russia delivered to them. There will be an exchange of nukes between India and Pakistan soon, though, of course, the missiles used will be Scuds that we smuggled into each side. It’s so easy, we just position one in each region and fire them off. Each side will see the first strike coming from the other side, and retaliate. I love it when a plan comes together, don’t you? The other nuke will be used to attack a nuclear plant in the US, what a mess that’ll make. We have acquired some fissionable material to make dirty bombs, as you call them, that will be smuggled into the sea containers lined with explosives we already have positioned in the US and Europe. We’ll hit hundreds of cities with these weapons, as well as with conventional explosives, and people and truck bombs. We have lots of volunteers in place for those jobs. These people are so easly led to commit acts of suicidal homicide, what with the seventy-two virgins awaiting them in the garden of Allah. And we haven’t even really started with the biological and chemical stuff yet. Denial of oil, the biggest weapon in Islam’s arsenal, will be used to attack the west’s economic system. These are indeed interesting times, don’t you think? In a few months, it’ll all take place, and the earth will then become ours within a century at most, after humanity finishes killing almost all itself off. We’ve also formed an alliance with some of the Neo-nazi Christian right. We got the anthrax to them for the anthrax attack. I love religions. What a breeding ground for zealots they all are. It doesn’t matter what religion it is, it’s so easy to manipulate the small number fanatics I need to do what I want. And I just love your primitive technology. It allows me to wreck havoc on the human race with just a few thousand followers. Man creates all the destructive elements used, so the monitors will have no reason to suspect us in your demise.
‘Another thing I love about religion is that whenever anyone opposes it, they are seen as an agent of evil, the devil, me. Pretty funny isn’t it? In reality, I support all the Abrahamic religions, and those other religions that help keep conflict going. They are the perfect tools for bringing down humanity. They are the anathema of democracy, authoritarian in structure and dependant on an imaginary being for moral and actual authority. This makes these religions ideal regimes for subverting and preventing humanity from getting what’s needed for its survival. So religion, something Baal created to be mans savior, instead engages in the activities that will hasten the fall of man. Ironic, don’t you think? Though all the religions are useful in this regard, I find Islam to be special. Christianity was becoming weak, I needed a more confrontational religion, Islam is all about authoritarian social structure, confrontation and, if opposed, Jihad. It’s the perfect vehicle for the job at hand, the destruction of mankind.’
‘Another factor that will lead to mankind’s demise is the overpopulation problem, and how it keeps humanity from finding a balance with nature. Again, religion has a built in reason for opposing population control. The more people in a specific religion, and the more people and wealth it commands, the stronger it is. As they all think there is a heaven and hell, and everyone is going to one or the other anyway, why worry about the problems that overpopulation causes here on earth, right? I love it. You’re like lemmings running off the cliff, oblivious to your self-induced demise.’
‘You must admit Chris, that religion is the perfect contrivance for bringing about the end of man. The ultimate authority, God, is a myth, so one never has to worry about their message getting corrected by the supreme power. All it takes is poor ignorant followers, and a leader with a little charisma to get the masses all riled up. You humans are very prolific at producing ignorant masses and a few such charismatic individuals. Hell, I’ve been a few charismatic leaders myself, just to keep it interesting. Also, it’s imperative that the religious masses never forget any wrong done to them, no matter how long ago it occurred. Religion is the perfect vessel for that task too. All conflicts with enemies is locked into the dogma and never forgotten. The Muslims are still mad about the Crusades, and the Zealots within Christianity and Judaism still want the holy lands back. Look at how ideal religion has become in keeping war alive and well in this world, and they all have God on their side. It’s perfect. With leaders like Osama at my beck and call, we can’t fail.’
‘But I saw Osama bin Laden killed with my own eyes. He’s not at your beck and call anymore!’
‘Ah, Chris, there’s dead, and then there’s really, really dead. Osama’s just dead. His image will live on as long as it’s useful for me. As for Osama’s body, he displeased me in the end, so he was fed to the wild pigs here, and his remains, after digestion, were returned to his relatives. His method of death and disposal is something his family wouldn’t want to talk about anyway, don’t you think?’
‘Ugh,’ I said, shivering from head to toe. ‘Why did you arrange for me to take those pictures of him dead?’
‘Yes, that worked out well Chris. He’s made several tapes since you saw him die. In fact one of them debunked your report of his death, and convinced some of your peers that you faked your pictures, or were duped. Either way, it hurt your standing along with your disappearance soon after the first story of your mistake broke. I wanted to discredit you and the SW/Freethinkers Gazette. You have proven most annoying to me. It worked pretty well. You got that picture and story of his death published, and then we released a tape of him denying the attack of 9/11, referring to things that happened after you reported him dead, and the rest is history.
‘Anyway, Osama has become much more useful dead, quite frankly. This way he says exactly what I want him to, when I want him to. Sometimes he would ad lib and say things that weren’t useful. And then there’s his need to brag to friends about his successes against the ‘Great Satan.’ Now we use our facilities in southern California to produce digital virtual reality tapes of Osama saying whatever we want, whenever we need them. Love your technology!’
‘Great, now I don’t have a job anymore. What am I going to do?’
‘I thought you’d see it that way too Chris. So, here’s the deal, you come over to my side and do exactly what I tell you, and you can have money, Ali if you like, or real natural women, and anything else you want. All I want you to do is tell your readership that you’ve changed your mind about God and the importance of Islam, the one true religion. You now believe in God, and recognize the truth of the Islamic religion. There’ll be some other things that I’ll need from you. I’ll tell you about the other things when I need them.’
‘So the deal is I come over to your side, betray humanity by saying that I’ve changed my mind about the existence of God and the need for religion, specifically Islam, and help destroy the human race, and I get sex and money for this?’ I knew then that I had to find a way to con this guy so I could get away from him, and warn people about his grand plan.
‘More than just sex and money but you get the idea.’
‘How about this, I give you the finger, and tell you to buzz off,’ I thought to myself, borrowing a line from Neo. But my logical side said best to play along with him until I found a way out of this quandary. What I said was ‘Sure, I’ll join your side. You can count on me Luc. Just let me out of these chains OK?’
‘All in good time Chris, all in good time. First let’s converse a little more about what I need you to do, OK?’
‘You’re the boss, boss.’ You creepy jerk, wait until I get out of your grasp, I thought to myself.
So let me get this straight, Chris, you have no qualms about becoming my well pampered slave?’ As he said that he looked closely into my face, and I could see his reptilian face peeking out from his chameleon like disguise.
‘Nah, I’m cool with that. I’ve been a slave to some form of work or another all my life anyway. This gig of yours looks better than most I’ve had,’ I lied.
‘Good, that’s the plan for humanities future, too. When humanity has dwindled down to a few hundred thousand, mankind will drop off the monitor’s species of significance charts and become insignificant to them, as you’ll be on the road to extinction. So then my species get to step in and see if we can save Baal’s failed experiment. We’ll then have carte blanche to do what we want to your species. With a little DNA remodel of human bodies and new software, your kind will provide us with a willing population to serve our needs. With the changes we will introduce with our DNA technology, humanity will be programmable at birth through the neural net interface that will be integrated into your bodies. We will be able to monitor all of humanities behavior and wash out any corruption in your brains programs. We’ll keep the religion programs and add some upgrades. It’s done an admirable job to date, don’t you agree? It’s so prophetic that humanity is so close to long term survival, and yet thanks to the role of religion, so far away.’
‘What do you mean Luc?’ I wondered what he was getting at here. Why tell me this stuff?
‘All humanity has to do is get control of its population growth, make your economy more democratic and inclusive in nature, and develop a more democratic world view, loosing the authoritarian regimes you are so fond of. These are things some members of humanity have figured out already, but the message gets lost in the more or less constant state of warfare, warfare that I’ve helped to keep humanity entwined in for over two thousand years. You’ve got democratic government figured out. If you get the hang of a more democratic economy and exercise some real population control, you’ll have beaten all the major impediments toward living past the end of the your sun, and going to the stars beyond. Humanity would have become one of the races that have transcended its solar system and become a true immortal race. As you can see the Abrahamic religion’s opposition to birth control, especially Islam’s opposition to birth control, as well as its authoritarian theocratic state is a major impediment to this goal. Islam is the perfect tool for keeping the poor, ignorant, and less sophisticated forever entwined in war, overpopulation, and poverty. Christianity isn’t that far behind it. Right now, Islam is hot as far as being the religion with the most potential for creating and maintaining conflict, but I’m sure that Christianity will rise back up to the forefront soon. As long as your species keeps producing more people than you can ever feed, clothe, shelter, and employ, humanity is doomed to fail anyway. Poverty will always breed revolution if there is never an end to its grip on so many people. Of course you can’t eliminate all poverty, there will always be some that refuse to work, but you could have eliminated most of it. But you’ll never achieve that level of economic development. Your species is too stupid and warlike, so I’m just helping your kind reach it final destination, extinction, a little faster than you might otherwise arrive at on your own. Of course, humanity will live on somewhat in your replacements, but they will be a shell of what you are now. The new man will be docile and obedient, always in the service of its new Gods, us. So you have no problem with my intention to rid this marvelously rich solar system and the earth of your kind? Is this right, Chris?’ As he said this he had his face very close to mine, peering intently into my eyes. He let his face relax and his reptilian facial structure emerged into view. His eyes were like a dead mans eyes, flat black with no sparkle of life in them at all.
‘No, that wouldn’t matter to me,’ I lied. ‘I’ll be dead by the end and life will have been real good for me in the mean time, right?’
‘That’s right, Chris, you’ll be dead long before humanity gasps it’s last breath, and we take over this planet. Your child, a boy from what I understand, might still be alive, but that’s no problem for you, right? Right?’
‘Uh, right I guess. I mean I’ll never met him, so I can live with that, as long as the wine women and cash are plentiful.’ I said, my fingers crossed.
‘Perfect, I like a willing slave, it makes things so much easier. Oh one more thing Chris, you’re telling me the truth about willingly going to work for me, right?’
With that he waived his hands up into the air, and the chains that held my hands and feet were pulled up and I was lifted off the tables, my hands stretched out to the sides, my feet chained down to the ground. I was suspended in the air in a most excruciatingly painful position.
‘It amuses me that you thought you could lie to me, Chris. Did I mention my race is telepathic, and with enough time and conversation, we can read your minds? How about this, I give you the finger Chris, and tell you to die a most painful death?’ he said, mocking my earlier thoughts about him.
‘As I said earlier Chris, there’s dead, and there’s really, really dead. You’re about to become dead. You’re much too dangerous to us with your ability to write. Plus you have some other attributes of Baal that you would have found out about sooner or later. No, you’re much too big a problem to leave alive. So this little conversation we had was enough for me to find out if you were going to be useful to me, and get a recording of you and your speech and facial expressions, if you’re proven not to be useful. Let me show you something Chris. Let me show you saying you now believe in God and Islam.’
With that he brought over a laptop and ran back part of our earlier conversation, with some things added that I never said.
‘I’ve spent the last six months voluntarily with Osama bin Laden and al Qaida, and have reached the conclusion that my past life spent in the denial of God and Islam was a grave error on my part. I urge everyone who sees this to understand that Islam and Allah is the true path, and save your souls by accepting him into your heart. I have and the peace of mind that it’s given me is sublime. ‘
‘This isn’t a real good recording of me. It won’t fly with those who know me,’ I told Luc.
‘Don’t be silly Chris. This is a rough recording done on a laptop with a stripped down virtual reality program. By the time our special effects lab in L.A. gets done with it, no one will be able to tell the difference between the real you and the digital you. Just like they can’t tell the bin Ladens, real and digital, from each other. So, this is goodbye. I’m going to turn you over to Ali, for her specialty. She’s going to skin you alive with a red-hot knife, and feed what’s left to the pigs. I told her that you were the reason why she was made a woman. Nothing like a little motivation to get her going, don’t you think? You two have fun now. Gag him, put a bag over his head. It’ll increase the terror. You got away from the careless Jews last time, Chris, you won’t be so lucky this time. You’re in the hands of Allah, the fatwa on you is about to be carried out. May Allah be most merciful with you,’ he said with an evil chuckle.
Ali stuffed a small ball in my mouth, taped it in, and put a black bag over my head. I could hear her laughing manically, the blowtorch heating a knife. Crucifixion was starting to look good right about now.
‘I think a little mood music is in order for your journey. Something by one of your favorites, ‘The Doors’ perhaps?’ Luc said. With that he put my headphones on me and hit play on my MP3 player.
I felt the first searing slice into my side, and there was a roaring sound in my head, a wave of fire swept over me, and my world went spinning wobbly into the blackness, while blasting back out of the swirling void came my favorite Doors’ song, ‘The End.’