The Man From God Only KnowsbyAdrian Leverkuhn©
The Man from God Only Knows
Part I of the Blackwatch Saga
(c)2009 Adrian Leverkuhn
In the immediate aftermath of the Drug Wars, politicians within the Northern Tier turned away from the long held position to simply "go after" traffickers. Long, contentious experience with underfunded treatment programs and overcrowded prisons - coupled with the fractious Islamic ascendency after the Secession Wars - left liberal politicians helpless and at a loss to halt their precipitous slide in the standings; neo-conservative forces made huge gains in elections and after a fourteen year hiatus the leader of the ConIsmus party took the premiership away. On a platform of immigration reform and a promised new round of 'get tough' laws against drug users, conservatives swept aside liberal opposition groups and returned to power with a broad electoral mandate.
The first round of ConIsmus Reforms, the so-called Corupus Iurus Civilis, delivered great power into the hands of Law Enforcement. Police officers on the street were given the power to place any person suspected of being in the Northern Tier illegally into one of several newly constructed detention facilities. Little was said at the time though it was widely known; those who were so detained would never be released, would never be seen or heard from again. The facilities so created became known as Manzanars, and their ranks swelled with tens of thousands from the 'Southern Tier' who were caught fleeing the Drug Wars. Rumor had it that most died from forced labor, but reporting on conditions inside the Manzanars was forbidden after a few feeble attempts by frightened i-reporters.
The second element of the first round of reforms was more controversial from the start: police officers were given the power to summarily execute any person found in possession of or using any form of illegal narcotics, along with broad new powers to search for these compounds.
Drug use fell precipitously the first few months after the Reforms went into effect, the number of people caught trying to sneak into the Northern Tier dropped to a trickle. ConIsmus politicians sneered at their liberal brethren, corporate journalists soon lauded the neo-conservatives for rescuing the new republic and reinstituting law and order, but soon rumors surfaced that the police were using their broad new powers to intimidate or eliminate anti-reform agitators and perhaps not a few liberal politicians; even a complacent media couldn't ignore these dangerous new developments.
Wary ConIsmus politicians rushed through a second set of reforms; these simply modified existing code to include an element of due process. A new class of law enforcement officer was created: the Justinian. Though nominally a police officer, Justinians had to have served as a lawyer for a minimum of five years before appointment; the Justinian's job was to go to the scene of all arrests for narcotics use or illegal immigration and verify that the arrest was valid before certifying a suspect for summary execution or internment. And there was one other stipulation attached to the creation of the Justinians: all would be biologically female.
And from this simple twist of fate a tale comes to mind...
Aurelius Krul-son sat behind an arcing row of tables in the front row of a small classroom; he yawned and wiped a smeary tear from his cheek while other cadets filed-in and took their assigned seats. A fresh spasm tore through the muscles in his neck and he rubbed taut cords of tortured tissue until the pain subsided, then shook his head again as another yawn came for him. He put his hand out and grabbed the edge of the table as he winced through another spasm, this one deep in his back and shoulders. He felt awful, wanted more than anything in the world to go back to the dormitory and sleep for a week. It was not to be, he knew, not with Codex exams less than a week away. He shook his head to clear away the fog, wished once again the PT instructors would back-off from these recent late-afternoon runs.
He opened his notebook – Institute-issued and graded weekly for neatness – and took out a couple of pencils from the attaché case that lay by his feet on the concrete floor. Other cadets did the same as the clock rolled around to 2000 hours, then a door beside the whiteboard opened and the week's instructor – one they had never seen before – walked into the classroom.
Krul-son caught his breath when he saw her.
The instructor was very short, not particularly slender but by no means overweight, yet she exuded an obvious self-confidence that was positively buoyant; more important and certainly more to the point he thought she was sexy, consciously sexy, like she enjoyed projecting authority through the overt appearance of sexuality – and that made her a very rare bird indeed. She walked up to the podium before the class and laid out her materials on an adjoining table, then grabbed a marker and strode over to the board and began writing:
'Sinn August-dottir; District Attorney's office; law of search and seizure.' Her words, like her clothing, were carefully structured, precise; the lettering and punctuation left by her fine-boned hand was clipped and neat. At first all Krul-son noticed was the curve of her hips, but soon the wedding band on the third finger of her left hand caught his attention, yet even so his eyes wandered back to her exciting form.
She turned to the class and nodded to someone in the rear of the room; Krul-son dared not turn around and it was in any event unnecessary. The Commandant of the Regional Institute would be there in her immaculately starched whites, checking to see how this latest class of rookie police officers responded to their new instructor. She would, as was her custom, leave after the first few minutes of class; meanwhile, the instructor took up a remote and lowered a screen behind her and began reading off the highlights of what she planned to cover during their first morning session.
Krul-son diligently began copying every word she said, ignoring the wedding band he saw on her left hand as best he could, all the while trying to wipe away his impure thoughts with the rigorous rules of procedure that dripped like cool honey from the instructor's icy lips.
Lunch was always the same: protoplast steak and soy-carb noodles, a four ounce cup of enhanced water, three supplemental capsules of hormones and iodine. Krul-son sat at his assigned table, in his assigned seat; he looked up from his tray from time to time and squinted at the clock on the far wall, then at the radiation monitor. Everything in the dining room was white – the harshest white imaginable: the walls were white; the clock on the wall, the tile on the floor; everywhere he looked it was as if all of them were afloat on a sea of endless white. Everyone in the room... every one of the cadets, every instructor, was dressed in the same blistering white, and all but one had pure white skin. The sole exception was Misogi Kibata, an exchange cadet from the Asiana Confederation; her skin was perhaps a bit darker than his own – if at all – but it was her shocking silver hair that commanded the most attention. She was startlingly beautiful despite the radiation burns on her right arm. For some reason the latest regeneration sprays had great difficulty repairing irradiated flesh.
Halfway through the meal he looked up and noticed Sinn August-dottir walk into the room with the commandant; to Krul-son she seemed almost grimly determined to keep a private joke suppressed and out of sight for as long as possible. The two women walked through the crowded dining room and on into the private dining room reserved for high-ranking visitors.
'Naturally,' thought Krul-son. His eyes retained the passage of her legs, the soft arcing lifts of her hair, the twinkle in her eyes.
"What did you say?" Pol Dienison said.
"I didn't say anything," Krul-son said defensively.
"I beg to differ. You said 'naturally'; I heard it quite clearly."
"I'm sorry. I must have been daydreaming again."
Dienison shook his head while he snorted. "Your daydreams are as tired as your eyes, Aurie," Pol said consolingly.
"I am tired," Krul-son whispered defensively before he yawned. "I feel like I haven't slept in days."
"Perhaps that's because you haven't slept in days. If you'll think about it for a moment, you might recall none of us has."
"I wonder if they are making us tired for a reason," Aerrik Aerriksonn interjected.
"To what end?" Greggor Tarkusson replied defensively.
"I don't know. See how we handle stress, maybe." Aerriksonn shot back, his eyes bloodshot, his food untouched. "I don't know. Why get us up the middle of the day for a run, then to class on an empty stomach?"
They all turned back to their plast steaks, sipped at their water, savoring the precious liquid. Moments passed in silence, each afraid to contemplate the possibilities that lay under Aerriksonn's question.
"I think Aurie has the hots for our new instructor!" Dienison chimed in from out of nowhere.
"What!?" Krul-son jerked away from the insinuation. "No way!"
The other cadets chuckled, smiled at Aurelius for a moment. Tarkusson looked at the clock, mentioned the time; they rose and took their trays to be recycled and formed-up for prayer, then turned to the flag and saluted as they recited the simple pledge of allegiance:
'I pledge my life to God, and to the Republic He hath founded;
His Word lights the path to Justice as He guides us to Life Everlasting.'
They broke formation and walked across the cool concrete to the classroom building.
Krul-son found he could not take his eyes off the instructor all afternoon; her words seemed to hold him and caress him even though plainly there was nothing personal about search and seizure law. When her legs appeared briefly from behind the table he craned his head and took in the shape of them, fought to control the stiffness that grew from his belly, that threatened to spread through his body like a wildfire.
At one point he flinched when Dienison's elbow slammed into his ribs; he jerked to attention only to find that the instructor – along with everyone else in the classroom – was looking at him. There was understanding in her eyes, but something else was there as well. What was it? Mirth? Sorrow? Pity?
She walked from behind the instructor's table and stood before him.
"What are you looking at so intently, Cadet?" she said.
Krul-son struggled to contain the embarrassment that lurked within, waiting to engulf him; he fought to maintain the presence of mind he knew was being measured by those watching outside the room.
"I ask your pardon," Krul-son began, "but I was lost for a moment."
"Lost?" she replied.
"Yes. So sorry." He looked down at his notes, dreading what must surely come.
"You said that when a citizen is in the public eye there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. But what about things that may not be visible?"
"Perhaps something not so readily apparent. Something inside a coat pocket, say, or inside a backpack? You are saying we have the right to search inside those items as well?"
"Of course! Any container or article of clothing which might reasonably be used to conceal prohibited items may be searched! Were you not paying attention?"
"Yes, Ma'am, I was. But are you saying that probable cause to search is overridden when there is no reasonable expectation of privacy? That when a citizen is in public we may search them at any time, without cause, for any reason? In effect... for no reason at all?"
"Effectively, yes, that is so." Her eyes bore into his.
"Oh." He was fascinated by the complex emotions that swirled in them.
"Oh?" She said dismissively as she walked back to her place before the entire class. "Oh? Is this not clear to you all?" Hands on hips, she stood now and looked around the room. "This provision was at the very core of the First Reforms. If you'll recall your basic history, the fourth amendment of the original constitution, by mandating a prohibition against all 'unreasonable' search and seizures, effectively made it impossible for the police to do their jobs. Lawlessness and runaway drug use ensued, society fractured when promiscuity and immorality replaced God as the focus of their lives. God's punishment was swift and vast, was it not?"
There were murmured assents around the room. No one doubted His wrath.
"Well," she said, looking directly into Krul-son's eyes, "I am glad I was able to clear that up for you." She smiled at him and for some reason a shiver ran down his back.
The weekend's 'ride-along assignments' were posted before dinner on Fritag evening; Krul-son gasped when he saw he had been assigned to ride with the instructor from the DAs office, and stunned when he learned later that morning at dinner that Sinn August-dottir was a Justinan. Cadets had almost never been allowed to ride with, let alone talk to a Justinian one-on-one, and he wondered why he had been chosen. He ate that morning in silence while his tablemates regarded him with a wariness that bordered on awe.
They had two hours of free-time after dinner on Fritags and the cadets from Krul-son's pod usually gathered on the commons patio to gripe and commiserate with one another; they arrived that evening exhausted and with four ounce bottles of water hoarded over the week. They sat in silence, watched the sun rising, and though each longed for bed the need to talk, to spill all the stress that had built during the long week, was overwhelming. The nervousness each felt about Krul-son's scheduled ride-along was all too readily apparent, as well.
The four of them sat side-by-side, their backs resting on the warming patio wall, lost in thought as the sun rose above the distant, hazy horizon. There was not a tree in sight, for none remained in these latitudes. The Institute had been built on what had once been verdant parkland; now every direction you looked you saw a vast, unremitting cityscape spreading into the shifting seas of a vast desert. The sun rose into an almost perpetually cloudless sky; only a thin veil of permanent hi-altitude smog kept people from being roasted alive if they remained out in daylight too long, and only if their filters remained effective. Though they were all in their twenties each could just remember when things had been different...
Krul-son looked at the reflective domes being built over the more affluent sections of the city and wondered when the poorer sections would be covered. Far across the valley he could just make out the entrance to one of the new underground cities being carved from the guts of a mountain. How many would live there? Would it be habitable in time?
"You know," Dienison said, "I think I understand the reasoning behind the Reforms as well as any, but it makes me uncomfortable to be able to disrupt lives so arbitrarily."
"I know what you mean," Aerriksson said, "but there really wasn't been an effective alternative. Who would advocate returning to the old ways?"
Each of them shuddered; each had bad memories of growing up during the depression and resource wars that followed the secession movement and revolution that killed-off the First Republic. No one wanted to see a return to the anarchy that swept the land as drug cartels pushed deeper into the homeland, as first police officers then the National Guard were swept aside by a drug-crazed tide of blood-thirsty immigrants. Only full scale military intervention had restored order and the remaining people had been more than happy to sweep aside the remnants of a wholly ineffectual government.
"Sometimes I think of quitting," Tarkusson said after a long pause.
"What would you do?" Krul-son said as he looked at his podmate.
"I don't know. Perhaps go north. I hear there are still trees there, and water. And farms... I have heard there are farms. Perhaps one could find a job there?"
"I have heard we are not welcome there," Dienison replied, lost to the irony in his words. "They built a wall some time ago. Besides, how would you get that far north?"
"I don't know. It was only a thought, really."
"Some thoughts are better kept to one's self, Greggor."
"I know, Pol, I know; but this does not seem like such a good way to live."
"It is what it is," Aerikksonn said. "Soon it will be our job to protect this way of life."
Krul-son was uncomfortable, wanted to change the subject: "The Codex exam next week will be miserable."
"Why?" Pol said. "We've been studying the material now for a month!"
"Alright, wise-ass..." Aerriksonn cut in, "... what does section 21.03 describe, and what is the range of punishment?"
"Section 21.03," Pol said as he turned to his podmate. "Theft of Water from Public or Private Land. The actor, with wanton disregard for the public good, appropriates water from any source, either man-made or natural, for their own use. Punishment: less than one liter, 500 credits and 500 days in detention; more than one liter but less than ten liters, forfeiture of all property, twenty years detention; ten liters or more will be adjudicated on site by Justinian, the range of possible sentences imposed may include summary execution if deemed warranted by the Justinian and approved by the Tribonian."
The other three clapped. "Bravo! Well done!"
"See! Watch Tarkusson's movements!" the Commandant said as she bent over the screen. Sinn August-dottir leaned too and watched the four cadets as they talked on the patio.
"You doubt his loyalty?" Sinn said.
"I have watched him at First Prayers. His eyes wander, like his thoughts!"
Sinn pursed her lips. "We have seen this before. Many cadets become distracted after so long at the Institute. What makes you think this is different?"
The Commandant leaned back in her chair. "Did you not hear him speak of fleeing to the North? Is that not enough?"
"What is your recommendation?"
"Public opinion is waning again; respect for the Police is falling too."
"Yes, we know that."
"Perhaps if an officer were to die, was to be killed, in the line of duty?"
"I take it you mean a cadet? Perhaps one on a training exercise?"
"While searching a house for drugs? Yes. That would be ideal."
"I will take this to the Tribonian, perhaps Montag morning. But I feel she will want to run this by the Senatusconsulta."
The Commandant reached back and rubbed her neck. "That would be a mistake, a terrible mistake, Sinn August-dottir. This must be kept away from all eyes, all prying eyes." She twisted her neck from side to side, rubbed a spot below her right ear.
"Are you alright?" Sinn asked.
"Yes. Yes, but..."
"You would like me to stay with you tonight?"
The Commandant stood. "Would you?"
Sinn stood, turned and began unbuttoning the other woman's tunic. Soon her hands ranged over taut breasts and firm stomach before sliding her mouth down into the moist warmth that had been waiting oh so patiently for this coming together all week.
Thor Bergtorson, the regions senior Tribonian, looked at the cadet files once again, then at the new video feed from the Institute. As the regions highest law enforcement officer, no one exceeded his authority other than regions two senators – and they only if they acted in concert. He read one of the files, then looked at The Commandant on his monitor; she had never been able to keep her lust in check, and that one simple fact more than any other had always hindered her police work – and her administrative judgment. And he had never once suspected August-dottir of philandering whilst on duty. He knew her eccentricities, knew them only too well, but what he saw now was clearly a dereliction of duty. He watched the two women writhing on the bed, the Commandant's face buried between Sinn's legs, yet he felt almost nothing – just the faintest echoes of memory. All The Republic's Tribonia, all by edict male, accepted ritual castration as a condition of appointment; only male members of the Senate escaped that fate. Now, after listening to the intercepts of their conversation, Bergtorson wondered if the two really were acting alone, if they really planned to keep him out of the loop. He turned up the volume on the feed and listened to their frenzied passion.