Excerpt from Empire and Earth

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Presently, they gave up. They had to let Dalia and Peter and Tina go - no evidence meant no excuse to arrest them. They didn't want to, but I made it clear that they'd be facing the wrath of god and fifty-seven civil rights lawyers, so they caved. Me, they placed under arrest for the heinous crime of not somehow preventing my employee nephew - whose possessions I had no legal or moral right to search, by the way - from possessing two tenths of an ounce of marijuana on my property. They drove me down to the Riverside County Jail for booking, and put me alone in a room with a prosecutor who was introduced as Mr. Mendez, no matter what my rights said. I refused to talk without a lawyer. When the prosecutor started talking about confiscating my property, I said, "Maybe you can, and maybe you can't. Seems to me United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury is pretty much on point, and directly against you. Now how about letting me find a lawyer? Or at least letting me post bail? Maybe actually charging me with something?"

Then the tenor or the interview changed completely. "Look, we have pictures of an Imperial cruiser landing on your property this morning. You know and I know what that means. We want siphons and converters. You get them to us, your problems go away. You don't, we make life hell for you and your family." So he's one of the ticks - whomever was left of the stons' Earthbound stooges after I killed Brian, Greg, and Jeff.
Time to change tactics. Contrary to procedure, we weren't being recorded, so I took advantage. I held my hands up, and made the handcuffs fall off. His eyes got real big, and his mouth dropped open. "You group of ignorant, stone age savages, you really don't have any idea of what you're messing with, do you? You have to be operant to pilot an Imperial starship. I could kill you and everyone behind you, and you're just about making it worth my effort, too. You think you can stop me? Remember when you had operants, and nobody could touch them? Understand that you're looking at the reason you don't have any operants on your side anymore." I stayed seated, kept my voice low and deliberate, "I killed them. I also helped kill the basileus your stupid ston overlords couldn't control. Yeah, I'm only a Second Order Guardian. That makes me only worth about a hundred million of you. You want a war?" I paralyzed his motor control, and his eyes filled with fear. "Try and fight me right now, when you entered the room thinking I was a helpless woman. It's not going to get any easier than this. What are you waiting for?"

I continued, "I know you're just a little errand boy. But you tell your bosses from me to back off. Release my family, get away from us, leave us alone, or I swear upon my Savior Jesus Christ that you will all find out you don't have to die to spend time in hell. You want a siphon or a converter, maybe I can arrange it in return for something I want. So you send me an emissary to buy one. But you try taking one, and not only will it blow you and your rotten ticks to kingdom come, I will personally hunt down the survivors and see to it that they spend twenty years screaming in incoherent agony before I let them die. Is that plain?" I released control of his muscles; he managed to nod, cold sweat dripping from his forehead. Maybe one of the stons had used him to demonstrate what they could do, but he clearly understood that I wasn't bluffing. "I now have your entire organization because you were ignorant enough to put someone who knows something where I could reach them. Even if you hadn't, it would only have taken me a few seconds to trace you back with spak and kored. I can duplicate that any time I want. You have thirty seconds to drop charges and release me before I decide your little farce has gone too far. And while you're at it, release my family and my property and convince me you understand what a boneheaded error you made by fixing it." Adding a touch of auros, "move!" Yeah, some of it was exaggeration, and some of it was lie, but if these clowns really wanted a confrontation, I would carry through. It's one thing to go looking for trouble, it's something else when trouble comes looking for you. And yes, I was and am still Catholic. The Empire is amazingly open-minded about faith.

My diatribe had scared him, but not enough to confront his boss. He didn't understand enough about what "operant mindlord" meant, much less "Guardian". He was going to pretend to play along for a few minutes while he slipped out of my presence to arrange his dirty work. So I spoke to him, direct mind to mind, I understand what you're planning all too well, so you understand this. You try to leave the same room I'm in for any reason before my family tells me they are all safe, you will die. So you'd better do what I tell you and work fast, or resign yourself to wetting your pants. Not that letting him use the bathroom or leave my presence would give him any measure of safety, but maybe I'd picked up the Imperial habit of sand-bagging, making opponents think I couldn't do as much as I could. Besides, you didn't want to give people like him anything in the way of slack - they'd mistake it for being soft, sure as the sun rose in the east.

And nothing. He was still determined not to cooperate, like they still had something to hold over me. So I had choices: I could break out, and be officially a fugitive. I could take him over, and be a mind-rapist. I could let him do what he wanted to my family, and lose most of them. I could get them what they wanted - and even if my family escaped unscathed this time, we'd be subject to extortion forever. Or I could do what I did: Make every neuron in his body to fire at maximum for ten seconds.

I hoped never to see that again, but I knew I'd have to. It was ugly and pitiful, both at the same time. He dropped to the floor, writhing uncontrollably in small jerks, completely oblivious to the fact his thrashing around was banging his shins into a desk or his forehead into a chair leg. Any concern about him losing bladder control, or bowel, was strictly past tense. It was so bad he couldn't even scream until it was over. Two more stooges burst into the room in the middle of it, both foot-soldier thugs in the organization. They started towards me, so I gave them exactly the same treatment. When it was over, they were laying on the floor, whimpering and moaning, completely broken. I said, "That was ten seconds. I can make it last days just as easily. If I want to work at it a little bit, it can last for years. This is your last chance. What's it going to be?"

They were convinced. I'd finally done something that overshadowed their fear of their boss. Weakly, he said, "Ms. Juarez, you're free to go. Mike, get the paperwork for rescinding arrest. I'll sign you out myself." The designated thug slowly limped to a computer in the next room, printed a single sheet, brought it back. The prosecutor thug signed it. I stood there while he ordered the four teams he had harassing my family to stand down.

It was a good fifteen minutes before my family members called my cell phone, telling me they'd been set free. When I finished the call, I turned to the prosecutor thug and said, "You're off the hook for now. Let me tell you how it's going to be. I'm in and out and all over, so if you want something, you send a letter to my sanctuary. Not a messenger, not a phone call, not an e-mail, not a text message, a good old-fashioned US Postal Service letter. You address it to me, personal and confidential. You include a phone number I can call back at. I'll explain this to your boss, too." And I was off - Blink! Blink! From the rooftops in Washington DC, I picked out the federal office building that housed Ms. Okuda - head of the biggest cabal now that the shakeouts from Greg, Brian, and Jeff's deaths were over.

Copyright 2014 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on May 30, 2022 7:36 AM.

First draft excerpt from Gifts of the Mother was the previous entry in this blog.

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