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  • “The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know that a financial element in the large centers has owned the Government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson.”
    — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    A SMALL BLACK woman sat in her cramped apartment in Santa Monica, California. She nestled down into her favorite comfy chair and clicked the television on for the white noise she preferred as a concentration aid.

    She was almost ninety. She looked a little bit like Yoda.

    She wanted to see what was going on out there. It seemed like something had changed recently and she wanted to know what it was.

    She had another name, but she’d called herself Glyph ever since she’d decided she wanted her very own cool cyber-name.

    She was one of the Elite’s failures. Her training never took. They usually eliminated their failures, but Glyph was uniquely talented and had been able to use this talent to avoid them for decades.

    Synesthesia. A condition whereby ideas and the senses are cross-wired in odd — yet savant-like — ways. This had been the condition that allowed her to escape them. Well, that combined with a high psychic sensitivity — and ironically enough, her training. Because she was a synesthete (she loved that word — it sounded kind of like athlete, and she was an athlete of mind). For example, numbers all had specific colors and shapes. But not just any shapes — shapes with meaning. She could perform intensely complex calculations in her head simply by snapping shape-numbers together in her mind’s eye like Legos — and witnessing what new shape-numbers they resulted in.

    Letters also were inherently colored and shaped. Days of the week all had personalities. So did years. And rhymes (synesthete and athlete) had a magical colored symmetry that also corresponded to smells that blended well together.
    She had initially taken to her Black Butterfly training with a natural ability that astounded her trainers.

    They’d attempted to install UNIX commands into her mind, to compartmentalize it, make it programmable. And that had succeeded to some degree, but not because of the usual dissociation (which was impossible for her — her psychic ability meant she could always go somewhere else, she was never cornered in her own mind).
    Rather, it had worked because of her talent. She had voluntarily and consciously learned the trick of it.

    And that meant they couldn’t program her. They had no hold on her. But it did mean that she could use these new internal tools for astonishing feats of concentration that greatly organized and augmented what she could already do.

    They had unwittingly given her a great gift — and the means to free herself.

    The UNIX in her mind, augmented by synesthesia and connected to her psychic talent — meant she could interface to digital devices simply through a trance state.
    She didn’t need neural implants. Instead, she just needed a comfy chair and the snow of an untuned television.

    And now, into the wires!

    She felt around her immediate vicinity — first hit was an Android phone. Somebody walking down a nearby street, probably down on the Promenade. She scanned it. Angry Birds, of course. Address Book that was pretty big. And a Facebook app. Curious: no Twitter, though. But a whole bunch of messages. Lots of them … uh-oh. Looks like she’s been cheating on her boyfriend. Scratch that, husband.

    But she had bigger fish to fry … onward and upward to …

    No, not there. Or there. Glyph was always careful where she entered. She didn’t want to use an IP address that could be traced back to some innocent person with an open WiFi.

    A few moments later, she had her entry point. MAE West, downtown Los Angeles. It was one of the major hubs of the Internet. A great deal of the West Coast packet traffic passed through it — it was easy to hide in there. This was her go-to punch-in point, but it was sometimes hard to hit all the way from Santa Monica.

    The packets flowed through her disciplined UNIX-mind as easily as if she was a router. The packets had shapes and colors also. She read them — no, even reading was too much work to describe what she did — she breathed them, she was them, in real-time.

    Oh, here was an interesting socket connection … streaming video, encrypted. But the encryption was just more numbers which meant more shapes and colors — she solved for it and brushed it away like it wasn’t even there.

    She followed it back to a camera.

    Zuccotti Park. Occupy Wall Street.

    Now this was Remote Viewing!

    She was pretty sure she was looking out of a cop camera. It was mounted high up — she’d heard the cops had hydraulically-lifted surveillance stations. There was no microphone, though, so she couldn’t hear anything.

    She swept her electronic eye across the patchwork of multi-colored tents, tarps, signs — and yes, cops.

    The people themselves were an odd lot. They didn’t look like the normal protest-addicts. This was more of a cross-section of America: some were hippies, true, but the majority were a sampling of everyone else.

    Someone was speaking down there. From the way people were jostling around him, he seemed to be particularly eloquent or well-known.

    She was curious: she wanted to hear what this man was saying. She withdrew from the cop-camera.

    Within a few moments, Glyph was inhabiting an iPhone down on the ground. It was held high and was streaming the speaker live — complete with sound. It was strange to possess electronic equipment — but doubly strange to possess something via a flimsy wireless connection. Anytime there was a blip, she felt like she physically winked out of existence herself. It was actually quite scary, even though she’d done this a hundred times.

    Now that she was close up, she could see in the faces of these people that they knew that something with ‘the system’ was horribly wrong, even if they couldn’t quite articulate what it was.

    But Glyph only smiled. She knew what it was. These people sensed the presence of the Commission.

    Somehow, they knew it was there. Somehow, it had seeped into their dreams. It was not conscious. Rather, it was a nameless beast. But they had correctly identified the proper visible manifestation of it in the world: Wall Street.

    It was curious that they were not protesting at the White House or Congress. They knew the power was not actually there. They knew the President was powerless in the face of … something.

    And they were not going to bow before it any longer. They were enraged, ready to reclaim their stolen freedom. The age of wealth extraction is over, declared a speaker called Douglas Rushkoff, into the ‘human microphone’.

    The game is up, the listening faces said. We know about the wizard behind the curtain.

    Glyph listened, enraptured. This speaker was a direct challenge to the Elite. People who had never encountered them directly were now shouting up at them from the streets.

    That had never happened to the Commission before.

    It had to be terrifying to them.

    But now she wanted to see just what sort of effect this was having on the Elite. She needed a new eye to look out of …

    She followed several dead-ends next. She kept popping out of iMac cameras in this or that house or office. She usually had to flip on the microphone so she could hear where she was, especially if there was nobody or nothing in-frame that could tell her.
    There was one time in the past she’d been able to pop out somewhere very interesting. If she was lucky, she just might be able to do it again …

    She passed through the other major hub in Dulles, Virginia. From there, she needed find a way through the thick fog of encryption into …

    Holy crap! She couldn’t believe it! She was in!

    For the second time in her life, she was looking out of a laptop inside the White House.

    Not the Oval Office, mind you. Nothing so stunning as that. In fact, she was again amazed that the White House computer network was in any way connected to the outside world — that was just a crazy lapse of security. Yet, there it was.

    She was in a sitting room of some kind.

    She flipped on the microphone so she could hear.

    There was a conversation going on out-of-frame. Military men. She listened in for about fifteen minutes before it became clear they were talking about that island again. Aircraft carriers had been ordered to the region as a precaution. Precaution for what?

    Lots of the world’s richest people were all suddenly descending on Nassau. Extra police and security had been sent in as well. But that was not ‘the island’ these men were talking about. After a few more minutes, it became clear that those aircraft carriers were being sent in to keep people away from the island.

    It was all very odd.

    But the Commission was certainly behind it all. They were up to something — something big.

    She withdrew and made her way to a security camera in Cairo airport.

    Yes, there he was. She smiled. Armand Ptolemy. A quick look at the ticketing system told her that he was on his way to Nassau as well. And was that Ashley Veerspike with him? The two of them stood at the ticket counter talking with the attendant. That was curious. Yes, they were traveling together.

    Well, she knew Ptolemy was on the job. She smiled. She’d suspected as much. It made her feel better already, just knowing he was out there.

    And one day, she’d introduce herself to him.

    But not today.
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