Chapter 26 - Eyes Wide Shut: An Enigma
Top Secret - Hide In Plain Sight
Eyes Wide Shut: An Enigma
Curtis awakened JR. Curtis hesitantly opened his safe-house door and looked both directions as he entered his living room. He checked every room. He and JR were alone. A quick glance out the windows, no suspicious vehicles were observed. A casual glance outside did not reveal anything suspicious. It was time to check on George.
Curtis placed a call to Sherriff’s Sloan’s private cell phone. He answered with a cheery voice, “Sheriff Sloan Speaking.” Curtis said, “Cut the crap, what is going on? Nobody knows anything about George. We have been given the run-around and have been followed.” Sherriff Sloan said, “Sound like you guys being having fun.” Curtis asked Sherriff Sloan to make some calls about George, “Off the record,” to determine George’s status. They had to go to work.
Thursday morning at work, Curtis looked around his office. Something was odd. Curtis walked from his office, the ½ mile back to the entrance of the tunnel to the Marie Guard shack. He whipped out his cell phone and attempted to place a call to JR and George’s office. Mary Sue did not answer the phone. “Rather odd,” thought Curtis. He called direct through his special contact lens. JR answered. Curtis Asked JR, “Is everything OK? Is George there? Where is Mary Sue? Have you seen Daemon?”
JR responded with, “George is not here, Mary Sue is at her desk, and Daemon has not been here. Are there any more questions?” Curtis told JR about Mary Sue not answering the office phone. JR said, “Wait a minute, I will check on her.” JR, shouting says, “Where the hell are you Mary Sue?” JR tells Curtis, “She is not here. She normally gets here about five minutes to 8 am. I got here as soon as I left your house. I arrived about 15 minutes until eight and did not know she was not here. I had better call Daemon.”
Curtis could hear JR calling Daemon. Daemon did not answer his phone. Curtis told JR, “I believe there is more to the Penetration Team exercise. Some agency is thoroughly checking Daemon and everyone around him. Be prepared for the unexpected. I am going back to work.”
Curtis turned to go back into the tunnel and it was locked. What is this? He got into his car and drove to Mojave Air and Space Port. On the way, he placed another call to JR through his special contact lens. Curtis was relieved when JR answered. Curtis informed JR, “He was coming over to JR’s office. He was concerned about Mary Sue.”
As soon as Curtis closed his door of his car and turned toward JR’s office, a man in a dark suit approached him. He asked, “Know anything about office rents in the area, or any of the tenants that were leasing office space.” Curtis shook his head no and continued past JR’s office. He did not want to be associated with any office while the strange man was hanging around.
Curtis had no idea about Daemon’s activities. Did he use his name to lease office space? Did he use his friend’s names when he leased office space? Less said the better. Curtis had no idea who the good people, or who the bad people were. Less is more.
He called JR again via his special contact lens. JR answered. Curtis updated him about the man in the dark suit. JR said, “No one has been in, and the phone has not rung. It has been quiet.”
Curtis did not want to go home. He did not want to expose himself to possible “men in black” suits asking questions, or taking him away. Curtis began driving aimlessly. Even though Curtis knew, Sherriff Sloan would call him if he had an update about George, he felt compelled to drive to his office.
The young fiery redheaded counter clerk asked if she could assist him. Curtis requested to see Sheriff Sloan. She said, “Close your eyes what do you see?” Curtis closing his eyes answered, “Nothing.” She replied with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, “That is correct, you cannot see him. He is on a service call.”
Curtis was curious. He was going to drive by JR’s office again. He stopped and walked into JR’s office. All was normal, except George and Mary Sue were not there. JR seemed on edge. He asked Curtis for an update. JR told Curtis he was beginning to get worried about George and Mary Sue. Curtis said, “Most security sweeps are completed within 48 – 72 hours. Given Daemon is missing too leads to the possibility Daemon is also being detained for questioning.
Curtis looked at JR with a startled look, “Hear that George Strait song, it must be George.” George walked in smiling singing in his deep voice:
“Stranger things have happened to me
And it's getting all over town
That stranger things have happened to me
That stranger is holding her now”
Both Curtis and JR asked at the same time, “What happened to you?” George said, “Sorry about being late. I must have really hit the Jackpot last night. I do not remember her name, or what had happened. I checked to see if I had a blue ribbon around my waist to verify that I had received first place.”
Curtis was not sure about George. He looked at JR. JR knew George for years. JR asked George, “What was the last thing he remembered?” George replied he remembered he worked here yesterday and then waking up this morning with his boots on. An odd thing though, seemed like I saw Mary Sue.” George laughed said, “Maybe I dated Mary Sue.”
JR pouring coffee for everyone leaned back in his chair studying George. Curt was watching and listening. George had his attention. Both Curtis’ and JR’s medallion simultaneously notified them Daemon was watching. This could be good. He was back into circulation. It also meant they were not going to ask any questions at this time. Less meant more. Daemon did not have the need to know anything from them unless he asked them.
George said, “Damn this is good coffee. Where is Mary Sue?” As if on cue, Mary Sue walked in smiling. She said, “I tried to call about sleeping in late, but my phone at home was dead and my cell phone has disappeared. I was tired. I slept hard. I do not remember anything last night. I did not dream either.” George looked at Mary Sue smiling, “Perhaps you are the reason I too slept in late. I tied a big one last night and I do not remember anything. Did we have a good time?”
Mary Sue blushed, puzzled she asked, “You over slept too? Do you remember anything?” Curtis suggested he should go to his office and thanks for the updates. George asked, “What updates?” Curtis informed George as he was walking toward the front door, “He and JR had reviewed JR’s and his work that morning.”
On the way to his office, Curtis called JR on his quantum secured special contact lenses. He asked JR if he could talk. JR mumbled, “no” as he coughed. Curtis understood. He told JR, “Perhaps George and Mary Sue had both been injected with the truth serum, sodium petathol – you know, Thiopental- because, it makes one unconscious and leads to a long period before consciousness is regained. You remember nothing if a large amount is given.” JR did not respond. Curtis understood. They had communicated the status quo. It was time to listen and observe.
Curtis was in his office about five minutes when his medallion notified him Daemon had stopped watching him. Curtis thought Daemon will be in his office any minute and this was not the time to get updates about his own research.
Daemon came into Curtis’s office looking like he had just had his income taxes audited and he was scheduled for another audit by the auditor’s boss. He looked haggard and tired. This was not the time to update Daemon. He would listen.
Daemon acknowledged Curtis with a nod of his head. He went immediately to the quantum computer and received updates to his and Curtis’ research. He left with a grunt, “I will talk to you later.”
It was time to check his two mice. One was dead. The other treated mouse appeared healthy and active. Prima facie results indicated a possible oral chemotherapy that would eradicate T. gondii infection. The computer noted this treatment was highly effective. Curtis had an effective treatment to eradicate T. gondii and it produced no side effects. He disposed of all evidence. He would prefer Daemon not be aware of his successful experiment.
The afternoon passed quickly. Curtis did not see Daemon until five minutes to five when Daemon came into office to tell Curtis he would see him tomorrow at 8 am.
Curtis called JR for a quick updates. He was tired and was going to bed early. Curtis wanted to be alone to review what happened the last 24 hours. As soon as Curtis walked into his house, he noticed things had been moved. No one was there.
Curtis called JR using his secured quantum special contact lens. JR had just walked in. he looked around and noticed he had had a visitor. Things had been moved. This did not alarm either one of them. It reminded them to be diligent. They had experienced both sides of being watched and having watched others.
It was time to eat, read a book and go to sleep. Life could be worse life was good. He would stop Daemon. He had discovered an antidote to T. gondii.
Thursday morning coffee at Curtis’ office was good. He noticed four altered humans walking past his office toward Daemon’s office. He liked the idea that his special contact lens displayed their eyes as being blazing red. Why would Daemon have them here after the strange events?
With one good sip of coffee left, Daemon and his “gang” came in. Daemon introduced them as his associates and told them that Curtis was going to give them a shot that would destroy a side effect they may have. Daemon did not waste any time.
Daemon had with him vials of the drug Artemisinin. Daemon had done his homework. This drug would eradicate the symptoms schizophrenia from the altered humans. Artemisinin would be a good candidate for the regular population who had symptoms of schizophrenia.
All were inoculated. They left with no comment. There was no talking. They acted as if they were doing exactly as instructed. Curtis had no idea where they stayed, what they did, or what, or if they were receiving training. They were a mystery. Curtis did not have the need to know.
Daemon seemed pleased. He informed Curtis he had received a “clean security checkup.” Curtis knew the security checks were 24/7 but there were times unannounced procedures and activities would be conducted to insure the security of given organizations and individuals. It was accepted.
Everyone knew they either lived or died by the constant security checking and verifying of personnel, activities, and security procedures. It had saved Curtis’ life on prior occasions when he worked with an unknown spy. Somebody in the US government knew the person was a spy. He was monitored in plain sight. Curtis did not know he was a spy. The spy died of “food poisoning.” Curtis discovered the truth about the spy working at another Top Secret agency a year later. The spy never existed.
Daemon was pleased his altered human project was making progress. It was a good day. Daemon left Curtis’ office.
Curtis completed Thursday on a good note. He has made some progress in his effort to stop Daemon. Curtis went home. He had enough excitement.
JR called Curtis on cell phone the way home from work. JR wanted to bring George over for happy hour. They agreed to meet at Curtis’ home. Curtis prepared the steaks and marinated for BBQ. It time to relax, play eight ball pool, and enjoy the evening.
George asked Curtis about Daemon. George wanted to know exactly what did Daemon do? If he was in the Air Force, why did he have a private business at Mojave Air and Space Port? How did he make any money from his side business? How could he afford paying their salaries?
Curtis looked George in his eyes and said, “You must ask Daemon, I do not know. I do not work with him on his Experimental Flying Weapon System project.” George was not going let Curtis off the hook. George replied, If you do not work with Daemon on his Experimental Flying Weapons Systems project, how come he has you getting updates from JR and me about T. gondii ? Curtis, smiled, replied, “I am performing similar research as you and JR.” George relentless as a bulldog, asked, “Who do you work for?” Curtis had thought the same question. Was Daemon a front man for a hidden organization, or individuals?
Curtis shooting the eight ball into the called corner pocket, thereby beating George, replied, “You know that is a good question. Daemon gives me my check, but I am not sure who my employer is.”
George replies as he sits down and motions JR to the rack the balls for gamer eight ball game with Curtis, “Perhaps it is the American Veterinary Medical Association, that has an industry-wide concern for Toxoplasmosis and it possible effects on humans. T. gondii, as you know may do us in. I read where T. gondii stays in human’s brains and produces LSD in the human brain and perhaps is a causative agent for schizophrenia.”
Curtis redirected the conversation, “Let’s play pool.” It was a pleasant evening. Exchanging “goodnights” at the door, Curtis asked JR and George if they wanted to meet tomorrow morning an interesting man, Pete Buck, who has a hangar at Mountain Valley Airport. It is a glider airport in nearby Tehachapi, California.
They agreed to meet at Raven's Nest restaurant at 8am. As Curtis pulled into a parking space at the restaurant, he noticed six USAF gliders parked. Curtis recalled the Mountain Valley Airport is where the astronauts train and learn how to glide.
Pete Buck had many unusual planes, and electronic gadgets. He was an avid inventor. He had shown Curtis his tiny remote controlled Mylar constructed airplane and various kit planes. One was a small electric motor glider; another is an electric powered full sized plane.
They agreed to meet next door at the glider port and then explore Pete’s hangar. He was a very interesting man. He is a self-educated engineer and works at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.
Curtis and Pete had prior conversations where each had to simply stop and change the subject. Each knew the other had an extensive background in classified activities. Their interests were wide ranged and similar. Curtis thought JR and George might share his interest in Pete’s activities.
As soon as they entered the large opened hangar door, they met Pete. As George was talking to Pete, Curtis noticed a small 'Hush drive' hand-launched spybot for US special ops in the corner. Perhaps Daemon had consulted with Pete for his widespread use of surveillance activities.
Curtis asked Pete if he knew, or had heard of General Daemon. Pete replied he had heard of him, but had not met him. Curtis decided not to press the topic further. Curtis and JR looked at each other; their medallions had notified them they were being watched by Daemon.
A small object looking like a fly was buzzing around. Curtis asked Pete if was his, or a real fly? Pete said, “It must be a real fly. It is not mine.” Curtis said, “One way to find out and threw a large cloth over it.” As they gathered around the small object/fly, a small wisp of smoke curled up from it. It had to be Daemon. He would design a spybot to self-destruct when captured or disabled. Everyone looked incredulously at each other and examined the small, hard round ball that looked similar to buckshot.
Pete looked at Curtis and said, “Now that is a good piece of design work. Wonder who is behind it.” Curtis smiled as he replied, “It was probably a fly that got too hot.” George was curious.
George studied the buckshot shaped black ball. Looking at Pete he said, “You can design something like this?” Pete nodded his head toward Curtis said, “He had produced various surveillance platforms, both flying and fixed, but not that one.” George, with a puzzled look, said, “So where did this thing come from and what would it be looking for?”
Curtis was sure Daemon was smiling watching George’s reaction. Curtis walked over to George and said, “There are lots of experimental frequencies being transmitted from here. The USAF has powerful high frequency transmitters that communicate with their gliders that fly all over California and Nevada. The gliders many times have flown over 40,000 feet and stayed up over eight hours. Perhaps the fly went through an isolated, high energy zone.”
George laughing replied, “Well if my dental fillings start receiving radio conversations, I am leaving.”
Curtis medallion indicated that Daemon had stopped watching them. Perhaps Daemon had a life too and did other things rather than work all of the time. The rest of the morning was spent in stimulating, fun conversation. It was time to tell Pete goodbye.
Curtis told JR and George to have a good weekend. He was going home. George said, “You are really driving by Mary Sue’ house…” Curtis ignored his comment.