Episode 9: "The Future Is Now"
As the sun awoke from the clouds, so too did Juan.
With the realization of the day before, he sprang from his bed immediately awake. Checking his surroundings with a coherent mind, he felt at ease with the serene scene of a cabin in the woods, much like the type he had vacationed in many times.
Virginia was still in a deep sleep in the bed next to his, beautifully content in her dreams.
He laid motionless for quite some time, thinking about all that had happened yesterday. He felt well, feeling spiritually reborn by The Voice and back in the world. He only hoped Virginia and he would share the same feelings. While he felt his overall perspective had changed with his awakening to the world, his love for Ms. Page remained. Hopefully she would feel the same way.
A new perspective might change her heart. Maybe not today, but maybe the next day, or years from now. After all, the Voice had said marriages can implode in an instant.
Not wanting to wake Virginia before he could get some answers from whomever it was that would give him some, Juan headed to a stand near the bathroom where clothes had been laid out for both him and Virginia. After dressing and washing, he tiptoed through the room and out into the light of the morning.
He saw two men sitting at a table just out of earshot. One of which, he thought, was the man who talked to him the the Suburban.
“Juan, I’m so glad to see you awake so early. I wanted to talk to you before you met with the others. Since they were in a more stressful situation and such, they awoke some time ago, and all seems to be going well, but after talking with Mayor Page earlier this morning, I thought gaining your trust would be most valuable in us gaining his, so I hoped we might talk with you. Please, come on over and have a seat,” said the man who he had talked to on the ride to this place. Steve, Juan thought his name was. Thankfully, Steve was as understanding this morning as Juan had remembered him to be yesterday.
“By the way, in case you’re a little groggy, my name is Steve,” he said. “My two companions, Erle and Ray, that you met yesterday, went home to be with their families. I’m sorry, your name is John, but it is not really that different, is it?”
“Exactly. Although I now remember, I have gotten quite used to Juan, and Virginia knows me by that name.”
“Yes, you told me yesterday of your feelings for her. You two are lucky.”
Juan missed the compliment since he felt a little vulnerable after learning he had told Steve about Virginia but had no recollection of it.
“This gentlemen is the man who will be overseeing the integration of the villagers. Mr. King, I would like you to meet Juan.”
Juan automatically reached out to shake the hand of Mr. King, a tall, lean man with a genuine smile on his face and a reassuring handshake.
“So very nice to meet you, sir. I’m sure you have many questions, and I would be the person to talk to about it. But first, I thought you might let me fill you in on what has been going on here over the last two years. I feel it very important as to why we have brought you here now,” Mr. King said. “Let’s break this bread before us, and we’ll talk. And please, call me Reggie.”
“Sounds good, Reggie, because from what I thought I knew about society, experimental village intervention is not a high priority,” Juan said.
“A wonderful sense of humor, too. God, you’ll need it,” Reggie said with a laugh before abruptly turning serious. “Many people have had dreams, the best kind of dreams, too, ones that bring joy from hearts that had grown cold, and hope to those who have none. Sometimes throughout time, civilization and more importantly, the mass of people themselves, shift to other levels of consciousness. These shifts can be both productive and nonproductive. Or right and wrong, whatever you please. Well, shifts are occurring today, Juan, and we are considered a “radical” group — as we are called —that is driving upheaval throughout the United States.”
“Radical group? Well, kidnapping could be called radical,” Juan said, eager to know why his neighbors had to be rounded up like cattle.
“But of course, I almost forgot. Your friends, why did we take them? Because the experiment was to be terminated, with unknown relocation. We heard rumors of prison, even death and we felt responsible,” Reggie said.
Juan was clear and cognizant. Like a hawk circling his prey, he was surveying the logic in Reggie’s story.
“You felt responsible?” he said.
“Well, we had acquired much of the research gleaned from the study of Miller and used it to help set up our own society here. Miller had been created as a surreptitious test-bed for many experimental technologies — you know, low-tech stuff that is also high tech — like the incredible fertilizer that were used in the greenhouses in Miller. That stuff was developed in a secret lab for manned missions in space and tested in Miller. Well, the Millerian generation before the current one was so tickled by the fact that they could grow nearly everything they wanted out of fertilizer made from common everyday natural items, well, that almost ended the experiment right there. But something that never escaped the psychologists, sociologists and scientists that got to run experiments in and on the town was how to keep people together and happy, yet stupid and controllable. Mainly, a lot like what the U.S. is today. It all started with developing tactics that could be effective in breaking community sharing ideals. To break the “communist” system, according to some. But the people of Miller continued to operate as a self-sustaining tiny equal system that innovated and fought their control in so many ways. Stunting the growth was ultimately harder. So many times, those people just died while riding a horse or got poisoned. We heard some psychologists attributed this to the small size of the town, others to isolation, others to the brainwashing everyone had been subject to, but others said that maybe that is how man really wants to live. We received all this information from a former NSC man who tried to infiltrate our group. When he later decided to stay and informed us of his activities, he said the NSC’s intention was to “disband” the community. His turning, he said, began with you.”
“Yes, he was the man who got you into Miller. He said he began to feel guilty about tricking you.”
“Oh, I assumed you remembered. They made sure you would not tell the town or try to leave the experiment by brainwashing you, basically. During your physical, you were drugged and then you spent six weeks forgetting that you could remember. Please, one story at a time. Anyway, when the government roundup was about to begin, we swooped in and plucked you all out just hours before the troops arrived.”
“How come they couldn’t find us? We lived without technology, but from what I can remember, with the equipment and technology of today, it would be easy. The boundaries were constantly monitored,” Juan said.
“The informer was not the only piece of equipment not functioning that morning. We had one of our computer operators create false readings for the monitoring center. They thought the town square yesterday morning was progressing as usual, even though we had already immobilized everyone in the area and you all were on your way here. By now, they know where you are, but that is of little consequence. You will be safe here,” Reggie said.
“And, just, where exactly, is here?” said Juan.
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