#4: The Sleeper
This is a culmination of his risks.
A resultant of his choices.
The outcome of his failures as a man.
Society doesn't know he exists.
It doesn't care.
If he dies tomorrow, no-one will know.
His family thinks he's dead.
But better that than bring them down with him.
He once was a soldier. But now he lies forlorn.
They might think he's gone, a memory, but him lying there, serves a greater purpose.
But what society doesn't know, is that while they sleep, this man walks. While they slumber, he is doing things to save their lives. When they are at their most vulnerable, he is at his strongest. The very same people that look down on him daily, that snicker as they walk past his dirty body, semi-clothed body, lying almost lifeless on the streets.
What they don't know won't hurt them though. If they knew his purpose, what he done every night, he'd be hallowed as a hero. Treated like a king among men. Elevated to the status of legend of our time.
This man is part of a brotherhood of men, so secret, that they have no choice but to live as vagrants during the day. Their purpose is to protect the goodwill and protection of the human race in each country. They don't report back or answer to any government or police agency, as this would be against their code of conduct. You see, each country is run not by who you see, not by those you think you've voted for. It's not controlled or regulated by laws you think have been constitutionalized, not by police agencies enforcing justice, but by satin and silk suits in the shadows.
The suits control everything you see. Everything you hear. Everything you eat. Everything you touch. Everything you smell. You might think you own things, but it is actually your brain that is owned.
That's exactly where Garland was on his way to, so named, because of his garland-like scarf that he always wears. As the night fell, and midnight came, he arose from his slumber, and went to one of the pot plants in the city centre, those big ones, put there to beautify the CBD.
He was summoned to a new mission via his communication device on his arm, cleverly disguised as a cheap-looking arm band that he wears where he lies.
He knelt down and dusted off the bottom of the plant's ceramic pot, then gave the freshly dusted part a gentle blow, and it opened up. The whole bottom part of the pot slid out, it was a hydraulic drawer that could only be opened by his breath. That was his password to open it up. In so doing only he could open it up, because the drawer accessed his DNA make-up in his breath with specially developed Vagrant technology.
He pulled out a futuristic-looking suitcase, and underneath it was his helmet and hooded cloak, which he also took out. He took off the clothes he was wearing and put them in the drawer. He opened up the suitcase and it was full of all sorts of gadgets and things. From it he pulled out a container with pills in it. He opened it and took out one octagonal orange pill and swallowed it. He almost instantaneously froze, then, an icy grip took hold of his entire body, creating a layer of ice, starting from his stomach, spreading to all the points of his body. After 5 seconds, he was totally frozen.
And then the ice broke!
From the shattered ice he emerged rejuvenated and fresh. You see, to keep up the vagrant appearance, he has to not cleanse himself for many days, and live in abject squalour and filth. It is all to sell the pretence that they are not what they are. So what this EndoCleanser pill does is freeze the inside of the body momentarily, which in turn freezes the outside as well, but the pill's effects are two fold, because as soon as the body is fully frozen it releases a heat pang which unfreezes the whole body immediately, thus cleansing the body of all bacteria. It's a well-known fact that body odour is caused by bacteria, and thus the freezing kills that bacteria, which means Garland never has to bathe in a traditional way, you see, there's no time to be wasted on bathing or wasting time on grooming in this vocation. Time is very valuable. He only has a maximum of 4 hours to do a mission on any given time.
He put his helmet on, and initialized the user interface inside it. The Vagrants were very, very well advanced with technology. They had to be, for the forces they fight against are quite far ahead of conventional technology.
With the interface initialized in the heads-up-display, he commanded:
And with that, out of the rim of the helmet, came thick black fluid, slowly moving down his entire body, bonding onto his skin. This was his body-armour being formed. It spread to all the parts of his body, and within 10 seconds, it had fully clothed him.
This armour was made of mix of carbon-fibre and bullet-proof plastic and allowed him freedom of movement but protection of his whole body. It used the electronic currents that run through the body and it amplifies it, making a single punch from a Vagrant as powerful as being shocked by a 1 000 000 volts. It was against the Vagrants code to shoot and kill innocent people, so they only depended on non-lethal weapons during their missions, as their missions were never about killing people or leaders of the suits, but in fact to stop them from killing thousands of people through stealth mass-killing.
He walked opposite the street, to where an old, dilapidated car was standing, he grasped the handle of the driver's door and commanded;
The car's doors and body parts broke into tiny plates that rotated and moved around until it was a black car, sleek, clean, but not out of place on the city streets. Inconspicuousness was key. He got inside and simply said,
'Initiate drive sequence'
and he was on his way. There was no need to physically drive the car, because as he opened up the car, the mission data was automatically placed into the cars computer.
He was on his way to a bread factory.
His mission was simple. He had received information that The Suits were poisoning bread with just the right amount of poison that it couldn't be traceable.
You see, bread was the staple food in this land, and The Suits have figured out that, if they wanted to kill off the population, then they could do so without anyone noticing,
Garland was onto it and soon arrived at the bread factory.
Everything was quiet and locked down at the factory. Except for one little light on an upper floor of the factory. Garland breezed past the boom security-guard, who was fast asleep. Aren't they always? But why would a bread factory even have a security-guard in the first place? Maybe there was some theft of their machines or vehicles or, maybe something else was going down.
Garland quickly made his way across the parking and loading area of the factory, and he put his hands on the big door of the factory in front of him. He attempted to shock it open, it didn't want to work. He could just punch the entire door down, but stealth was key. No-one had to know he was there.
He climbed up on a gutter onto the first floor. He then walked across and launched himself onto a window sill, from there he scaled the wall onto a balcony. This was where the upper echelons of the company would hang out during their downtime. He was close to where he saw the light.
He took his case off his back, and took out what looked like a little dome. It was a drone camera, shaped like a little hemispere. It was minute, About the size of a thumbnail. He switched it on, and sent it through the air vent that was above him, and it started to buzz its way to the room where he saw the light. He was guiding it through his helmet and was seeing what it was seeing in his HUD.
The drone got to the room, and went through the keyhole to enter. It slowly flew through the room, scanning for information and any form of life.
There were voices emanating from one corner of the room, but there was nothing there. Just a blank wall.
Garland initiated the drone to do an infra-red-x-ray scan to see through the walls, and there it was, a secret room, with two people in it. From what his drone saw, it was a male and a female, in their mid-40s approximately. He positioned the drone on wall to try to hear what they're saying, and so that he could record it.
This is what it heard;
'...this why I hired you, Gerero. Is everything in place?' said the female, a stocky-built, imposing woman, business suit, hair tied back, face like a truck had rammed into her face first.
'Yes it is, Ms Wainterburn, everything is in place.' said the man, a pony-tailed, scrawny figure in what looked like a khaki uniform of some sort.
'When does the ergotoxicosis start?'
'It starts in exactly,' he takes a glance at his sports-like watch, wiping off the display, 'in eleven minutes time Ma'm'
'Great stuff, are you sure no-one knows you're here?'
'If they did, they'd be dead. I know how important this is.'
'Stunning. Don't forget to take ALL the documents with you, leave nothing to chance, no-one must find out, understand.'
By this time Garland had realized that the drone had done his job, he'd have to go in himself now. He was halfway to where the room was, when he stumbled a bit, knocking over a bin.
Wainterburn and Gerero heard this. Garland moved faster. He had them recorded already via the drone, but he needed to apprehend them as well, and fast.
'What was that?' asked an agitated Wainterburn, 'I thought you said no-one else was here!'
'Only the security-guard is here, and he's always sleeping, see for yourself,' he says, pointing to the surveillance cameras behind her. 'Maybe it was just something that fell over, I dunno.'
'Fine, but we're done here. Here's the last of the azithromycin,' she said, handing him a small case with viles in it, 'it should complete the dosage needed for the fungus to work its magic'
'Awesome. No-one will see this coming.' Gerero smiled.
As they were packing up, Garland was just arriving outside the room where they were in. There was no way to get in. He took his case off his back, and took out what looked like four plastic tacks. They were shock-tacks. There was another way he could get into the room. He could simply place himself against the wall and explode it out with his electric energy, but, that would cause such a huge explosion and whole in the wall, and debris, and that would not be stealthy.
He put the tacks into the wall in the shape of a door. Two at the top, two at the bottom. He initiated the shock-tacks via his HUD, and slowly the tacks drew red lighted lines to each tack, connecting lines. The lines gave one big pulse and a doorway was perfectly cut. Stealth achieved. But not really. Garland couldn't even bring down the wall when Gerero pulled out a gun and started shooting. Garland dodged the falling piece of cement that was shock-tack-ed out of the wall as it thudded to the floor after being riddled with bullets.
Garland quickly hid behind the wall next to the opening, and as soon as Gerero's gun slowly protruded out the whole in the wall, he knocked the gun out his hand and tied his hands with a cable-tie behind his head, this way, he couldn't reach for anything. Wainterburn was hesitant, she didn't know if she should call someone for help, or try to get her weapon from her handbag, because it still had to be assembled, a business lady can't have big guns in her bag!
But it was too late. Garland had made his way to her. Her phone fell as she fumbled, and then she tried to smack Garland, but this is what he wanted, he blocked her, grabbed her arms, and tied it behind her head, just like he'd done with Gerero. Safe, clean, no-one gets hurt.
'Who are you! And what do you want!' screamed Gerero from outside the room
'Who I am doesn't matter,' said Garland sombrely, as he took the drone and copied the data onto his tiny computer that was in his case. 'All that matters is that I stop what you're planning, before more people are killed.'
'What are you talking about?' said Wainterburn, knowing exactly what he was talking about.
'You know exactly what I'm talking about. You work for The Suits, and I'm stopping your operation'
Her smug look transformed instantly to a more sinister one.
'You were planning to poison all the bread in this factory, like you've been doing for many months, by adding more azithromycin to the bread formula, thus causing Ergotism to occur after people consume the bread, because although the fungi exists in a lot of bread that causes this condition, the potentiator you've been adding, causes it to interact in a way that's harmful to humans when ingested, causing spasms, diarrhea, paresthesias, itching, headaches, nausea, vomiting and in some cases even gangrene.
You're trying to kill off ordinary human beings, and it has to stop. And it will stop. Tonight.'
Wainterburn's face was consumed with irritation now, and she aptly showed it,
'Who do you think you are, trying to stop us?! You'll never succeed,' she yelled, 'no-one will believe you.'
'They will believe. The evidence has already been sent to everyone that needs to see it, and I will destroy all the samples of azithromycin you have, except for the one you're going to be caught with.'
'You do know The Suits will get you, right?'
'The Suits may be good at hiding themselves, but as long as they hide and plan the downfall of ordinary citizens, the more we'll find your sinister plans and dismantle them.'
She then spat on his helmet, which his visor automatically wiped off with a flash of red light across the helmet.
'Enjoy prison, Ms Wainterburn, send my regards to your other cronies I've put away.'
'The Suits will get you!' She yelled as he walked out, on his way to destroy the rest of the azithromycin.
'What will happen to us now, Ms Wainterburn?' Asked Gerero
'We'll most probably be dead by morning.' she answered with resignation in her voice. 'We knew the risks of doing what we've done, so now we'll have to take the bullet so The Suits can fulfil their vision.
'What about my family?' He asked.
'If you live, they die. If you really care for them, you know that dying is the only way to keep them safe.'
Garland dismantled the machine that was feeding azithromycin into the bread formula. And sent his mission notes and footage through to other vagrants in the cities where the other bread factories are, as they have to conduct the same operation, there were three more factories, but that was their mission to fulfil. For now, the lives he saved are well over the millions. And they'll never even know about it.
As predicted by Wainterburn, they were taken away before anyone could notice they were gone, by The Suits' cronies. As important as secrecy is to The Vagrants, it is the same for The Suits as well. No-one could get whiff of what had happened here. They sealed off the room that had a whole made in it by Garland, and as for Wainterburn and Gerero, they were dispatched before sunrise and were disposed of quietly and cleanly, never to be seen again.
Secrecy is a dangerous game to play. But those who play it know the risks. And accept it when it goes wrong.
Garland is one of those people who play in this shadow game of secrets.
You might have seen people like him before. You might have snickered at people like them lying in the depths of despair in the streets of destitution. But you would never be half the men or women that they are.
Garland returned to his pot-plant with his car, as he locked the door, the cars panels broke into tiny pieces once more, this time returning to its less glamorous form, which no-one would ever bother looking into.
He opened the secret compartment of the pot, took out his Vagrant clothes. Took off his case, and initiated the de-armouring sequence, after which the armour retracted back into the helmet. He put it all back in the compartment, and locked it away, never to be touched again until the next mission. He put on his clothes, and sauntered back to his spot where he would spend the next few days until he was summoned once more to save lives.
His job was done. He had fulfilled this mission. He knelt down slowly, onto a familiar spot. And as he got into his lying down position, he recited the Vagrant Agent Code:
'This is a culmination of my risks.
A resultant of my choices.
The outcome of my failures as a man.
Society doesn't know I exist.
It doesn't care.
If I die tomorrow, no-one will know.
My family thinks I'm dead.
But better that than bring them down with me.
I once was a soldier. But now I lie forlorn.
They might think I'm gone, a memory, but me lying here, serves a greater purpose.'
Next time you see a vagrant, don't be so quick to judge. You don't know what they do, what they've done, and what they've gone through..
This photo was taken at 13:18 on the 15th of December 2010. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, this one spoke 3041 words.
© Spenelo 2012
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