Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Tale of Jack Martin - Part 3

Part 2: http://www.gainsense.com/2012/07/the-tale-of-jack-martin-part-2.html

What the...where am I?

Jack awoke, groggy and disorientated, still in the van with Dean. His captor's head, topped with an acorn colored crew cut, bobbed to the rhythm of an AC/DC song playing loudly over the speakers.

"So the kid finally woke up? Guess I don't know my own strength!"

Dean grinned, flashing nearly-perfect teeth at Jack, then focused once more on the road.

"We'll be at the compound any minute. Don't worry, our leader has great things in store for you. I know that sounds contrived but in this case, it's just a tiny bit true so bear with me."

Do I really have a choice? Asshole. 

"No...you don't! So put a sock in it."

The car rolled along for several more minutes without much commotion. Finally, a pristine wooden gate came into view. It was flanked on either side by impenetrable looking iron-reinforced walls. Barbed wire lined the top of them as far as Jack could see. As Dean approached, the gates swung open. Jack didn't see any mechanism by which they could have opened, or anyone on duty to do it manually. He assumed that some sort of psychic force was responsible.

"Maybe," said Dean, as if answering Jack's speculative thoughts, "but we'll save all the big reveals for later." He winked, a devilish grin coloring his face.

Jack rolled his eyes.

Finally, the van stopped. Dean waltzed out, head still bobbing incessantly to some song playing in his head. He released Jack from his constraints, and patted him on the back.

"Welcome home kiddo! Time to meet the only family you'll ever need for the rest of your life. But first, you need to meet the boss. Don't worry, we all had to do it. It'll be fine, trust me!"

Dean took Jack by the shoulder, suddenly acting more like an older brother than a kidnapper. He guided Jack through the camp. It was fairly bland. Concrete buildings dotted the landscape, rectangular in shape, decorated with stainless steel in certain key areas. The compound itself was large, covering several acres as far as Jack could tell. Generally speaking, the rectangular buildings formed a neat little square around the center of the compound, which contained a building that appeared more like a modernized version of a medieval citadel than anything else.

"W-what is that building...?" Jack looked up at the towering monolith. It was at least five stories tall. At its core it was very much a tall, thin rectangle. It tapered to a point at the top, much like the Washington Monument or any other obelisk. Beneath the pinpoint top, circular structures emanated every ten or so feet, with five total lining it top to bottom. On these structures protruded vertical walls with openings for projectile weapons. To Jack, the building looked much like an upside-down pinecone, though thinner.

"That's the center of your universe. Home of the boss. Our last line of defense if shit goes down. Where all of our treasured knowledge is stored; yadda yadda you probably figured that out just by looking at it. Let's get in there." Dean released Jack from his grasp and jogged up the stairs leading to the citadel's entrance.

"No point in restraining you here...nowhere for you to run, to be brutally honest." He motioned for Jack to follow as he pushed through the heavy doors leading into the structure.

Jack followed, slowly at first, but soon picking up his pace to keep up with Dean. The interior was a deathly shade of black. Or, really, a color deeper than black. The panels lining the floor and walls seemed to absorb and reflect light simultaneously, creating an eerie effect of unreality.

Dean strode through the halls like a man on a mission.

He's done this a thousand times probably...

"Well...not quite a thousand..but-" Dean stopped mid sentence with a start, energetically pausing before an unassuming looking door.

"And here we are...the lair of the master slash leader slash boss slash whatever you want the guy to be. The big cheese! Our Obama! Ok you get it, get your ass in there kid!"

Dean's playful manner belied a sense of urgency, as he grabbed Jack by the shoulder and essentially shoved him through the door. Jack stumbled, violently flying through the entrance as if tossed by something far stronger than any human. After gathering himself, he made note of his surroundings.

The room was fairly bland. Barely larger than your average office, its walls and floors were affixed with the strange black panels that were ubiquitous elsewhere in the building. The only light emanated from an oversized monitor sitting atop a slate colored metallic desk, designed in such an elegant manner that Jack wondered how such oversized electronic equipment could be placed upon it.

Sitting being the desk sat a man, who appeared to be utterly disinterested in Jack, focusing instead on the data streaming across his monitor. Without turning his attention away from the screen, the man began to speak.

"And so, the great Jack Martin arrives. Our teams have been looking for you for...quite some time."

He paused to drink from a glass of what appeared to be wine. Jack hadn't noticed it on the desk previously. After savoring its flavor, he turned his gaze towards Jack.

"I'd waste my precious time telling you the exact manner we used to detect your presence, but I do not wish to bore you. Suffice it to say, we could use somebody like you."

The man continued looking at Jack. His discerning, dark eyes betraying nothing about his intentions or motivations. Jack examined him thoroughly, noting his perfectly coiffed hair, sturdily constructed dress attire, and elaborate jewelry encircling several of his fingers.

"I'm just an average guy. Why go through all this trouble for me? Dean said something about potential?"

The man smirked.

"Dean never was one to trust with such...confidential information. Though perhaps there are some benefits to you knowing something of what is in store for you."

This doesn't sound good...

"On the contrary, my dear friend, this is the best thing that could've happened to you."

"You can read my mind too? What are you people?"

"The questions remain the same for every recruit. How monotonous. Yes my dear boy, we can all read your mind. Even the lowliest of us--those with a potential of a piddling amount compared to yours--will be able to rip from your mind everything you know until you are properly trained."

Another sip of wine. Data continued to fly across the monitor lying on the desk.

"You are a special case. Normally, we'd send recruits to be trained by Dean, but that would be insulting to one of your nature. You will instead be trained by one of my elites, who you will report to starting tomorrow morning. For now, I will leave you with a taste of the power you will possess, in time."

The man finished what remained of his drink, and stood. He was of average height, and of slim build. Continuing to stare into Jack's eyes, he raised his hand. As Jack watched them come together in what appeared to be a simple clap, everything went momentarily dark. A split second later, he was outside of the citadel again. Dean as standing in front of him.

"Yes! I guessed where he would do it correctly this time! I totally win this bet!"

Before Jack could analyze any of Dean's inane ramblings, the darkness returned, and suddenly, he once again found himself in the office.

"That was a simple demonstration of one of my more...mundane...abilities. You'll be able to do that, and more. Training begins soon. For now, you should rest."

"Wait wait wait...you haven't told me anything! Who are you people? Where the hell do these powers come from? Who are you, in particular, what is this place, what is going on here?!"

"There's no fun in showing one's hand to the opposition."

"And that means what exactly?"

Before Jack could get any meaningful answer, his enigmatic counterpart quickly raised his right hand into the air, thumb and middle finger making contact.

Oh not this again...

Jack slipped into unconsciousness.

Part 4: http://www.gainsense.com/2014/07/the-tale-of-jack-martin-part-4.html

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to Lifehack.org and the Davis Humanities Institute.