Raud's Epic (or: The Mutter Mates Manages My Mess)

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posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 02:53 AM
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(Artwork courtesty: A Boy in a Dress)

[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]




posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 02:54 AM
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FOREWORD



Dear reader;

"Raud's Epic" or "The Mutter Mates Manages My Mess" is a tribute to the ATS/BTS community and the great number of even greater friends I've found here. I am mainly thinking about those I talk to in the BTS "Mutter Box" chat. I wish I could have included every each one of you...


Rather befitting, this will also be the 100th thread I've made.
Quite the celebration really, I reckon.


Great thanks goes out to Biad who didn't only design the cover art, but also helped me with the writing. English isn't my first language and his input gave it much improvement.
Thanks also towards the moderators of this board who let me post this story even though it is no where near a "member short story" with its 30 000+ words.

I could never have written all this without the influence from the "Mutter mates". You guys are the best. Thank you so much for being there for me and thank you ATS for being the best website on the net!

I hope you will enjoy the read and I would be glad to hear your input.

So, get yourself the beverage of your choice. Make sit as comfortable as possible. Turn on your favourite music and let your mind drift away...

[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:16 AM
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CHAPTER ONE



Everything pointed towards it being another slow evening at the museum.
The Visitor’s Book showed an all-time low and the blizzard outside deterred anyone trying to defy that fact.
Once again I came to the conclusion that I had browsed the entire internet and the dull glow from the computer screen made my eyes sore. With the Main Hall lights disrespecting the gloomy corner where the security booth stood, it was the only source of light in this sub-polar darkness.
I felt that my only reason for still being alive was the fact that time had finally dragged its lazy ass to just a few moments before closing, I was glad to going home.
I looked up at the clock on the wall. The seconds lasted for minutes. The minute hand reluctantly let go of another bar. It felt like time was coming to a complete halt and it wasn’t until after a few minutes I realized that the batteries in the clock had run out.
The cell phone rang, shattering the forbidding silence.
I cleared my throat and answered, trying to sound like I was as alert as ever;
“Security, how may I help?”
My vocal chords mocked my attempts and I sounded like I had drunk a glass of sulphuric acid.
“Raud, is that you?”
I immediately recognized the voice of my boss.
“Uhm, yeah, it’s me alright.”
“You got any plans for tonight?”
He made a futile attempt to hide his expectations on my loyalty towards working overtime. I drew a deep sigh.
“No… Not really. Why?”
“Well, something has come up. You have to stay at the museum a little longer.” He sounded relieved; once again he had succeeded in talking me into going beyond my call of duty.
“How much longer would that be then?” I made no attempts at hiding my disappointment.
“I can’t tell you. I am…not at liberty to tell you anything over the phone really…”
There was a brief pause while confusion wrinkled my brow.
“Are you pulling my leg?” I asked, I toyed with the phone cable and glared at the off-white buttons.
“No, Raud. I am not” The boss didn’t sound amused at all.
He continued: “I’m in the vicinity, so I’ll drop by and tell you the rest”.
He hung up the phone before I had the chance to reply.

As the museum closed and the last remaining visitor left, my boss came in. His gait told me he was in a hurry and this was something serious, the way he told the front desk staff in a rather unfriendly manner, to leave, also alerted me to the seriousness.
As they busied themselves with putting books and brochures away, switching off computers and hiding hand lotion, the boss leaned towards me and said in a low voice;
“This, umm, ‘conference’ we are having tonight…”
He may have been about to say more, but the sound of vehicles roaring into the courtyard outside and the many beams of their headlights cut like laser swords through the window curtailed his revelations.
We both stood staring at the frantic activity. Black vans, SUV’s and expensive European cars growled into view, before parking in neat formations. Men and women dressed in white shirts and black suits emerged from the cars, some stood guard, others opened the back doors of the more expensive looking set of wheels. More men and women who seemed very concerned stepped out with briefcases in their hands.
As they started walking towards the entrance most of the others accompanied them in tight ranks while scanning the surroundings.
The big main gate was closed shut and a huge sullen-looking SUV parked to block it.

They entered the main hall and hurried for the conference floor. I had no chance to halt their movement. I saw that most of them wore uniforms of various types. Some looked like military officers with numerous medals on their chests.
My boss fled the field in a rush but before I got the chance to run after him to ask just what the hell was happening, a voice spoke to me with great authority:
“Excuse me Sir!”
I turned around and was met by a tall man dressed in black suit, white shirt and a black, shiny tie. He removed his Ray-ban sunglasses, folded them and put them with great precision in his chest pocket.
“You are Raud, right…? Security officer at this museum?”
It was more a rhetorical question. I straightened up my posture in an attempt to match him.
“Yeah… That would be me alright.”
The man looked pleased, but his smile never reached his eyes.
“We are having a meeting here, as you might see. Are you aware that there is a NATO exercise going on in your country?”
I remembered an article in a newspaper that I had read it earlier. In my opinion, NATO was not welcomed on our soil since we were not in alliance with them. ‘Stupid NATO’, I thought to myself, ‘first they think they can play in my back yard like it was their own, then they come to here, to my museum, and mess with my duty hours’. I realized I had wandered off in my thoughts and replied quickly:
“Yes sir, so I heard. What brings you to my, I mean, this museum?”
The man gave me a very serious look.
“We are having a meeting, that’s all. You will just stay here and keep the lights on. We’ll tell you when it’s over. Until then, you stay put, okay?”
Without really being aware of it, I made a grunt out of sheer defiance. The man took no notice and walked away. I sat back down and decided not to be bothered about things over which I had no influence and returned to stare into the bottomless abyss of the internet.

An hour went by and I was way down in ‘surf coma’ when another member of the visitors came up to the security desk. He spoke with an unnecessarily strong voice:
“Sir!”
I turned my head and looked at him with tired eyes.
“Yes?”
With a snappy gesture, he reached his arm towards me and held out a memory stick.
“Would you please print out a document from this USB stick, Sir?”
He remained in what looked like full attention while I observed his out of place behaviour.
“Yeah, sure…” I said, making no effort to match his overly militaristic behaviour. However, I got a little puzzled over how this impressive array of ‘important people’ needed help printing a document, but I had already understood that I was not in the position of asking any further questions.
Besides, our conference floor had no printer so I guess if they needed any paperwork, I was the only one to help. I couldn’t help feeling at least a little important despite this brute invasion.
As I took the memory stick from his hand he looked me in the eyes and said;
“Do not look at the document. Just print it. Sir!”
I became quite uneasy by this statement. I slowly put the USB stick into the computer, matching the steely glare from this strange individual.
The computer accepted the device with the traditional “da-dink” sound. I double clicked the icon and by now I could feel the stare from the man set to watch me. It felt like two laser beams to the side of my face. I imagined that smoke would start to appear any minute.
As I explored the memory stick, there was but one document, so I opened it just to have the guard shout out in despair;
“Don’t look! Just print!”
I jolted a bit from his outburst and I could see that another member of the security staff looked equally concerned. He started moving towards us and put his hand on the shoulder of the edgy guard.
“There, Williams. Why don’t we change positions for a while?”
The newcomer was probably some sort of superior, so Williams turned and marched a few paces and stood guard a couple of meters away from me, still staring like his eyeballs were about to pop out of his skull.
I on the other hand, used this short moment of confusion to quickly make a little “ctrl c”. I was so fast at it, I hardly noticed it myself. It was just like some sort of instinct had taken over. I now had a copy hanging in the computer, a copy of my own. I could hardly contain myself and inside, I too patted my shoulder.
The printer made its normal chuckling and choking sounds and produced the 50 or so pages. I removed the USB device and handed it over together with the papers to the new, much more relaxed, security officer. He thanked me and made a snappy full turn and marched off to the conference. It took all my strength to keep up my ‘I don’t care’ attitude and I slumped back into my chair with a look of boredom.
After I while, I opened a new browser window and logged into one of my more anonymous mail accounts. Quick as a weasel I “ctrl v” pasted the document onto the desktop, attached it to a mail and sent it to another of my accounts that didn’t at least carry my full name.
It felt like time stood still. I expected to look up and see one of the ‘suits’ peering down at me. I would read it at my leisure, when I was at home.
Now all I had to do was to wait until all this was over, I smiled to myself and prepared my wait.

After a few hours of intense coffee drinking, picture browsing, yawning and face rubbing, I felt that something was happening. The mass of black suited personnel suddenly flooded through the corridors and out into the court yard. The man who had approached me in the beginning of their visit came to me again.
“Thank you for your cooperation, Sir.” He reached out his hand. I looked at it with suspicion for a brief moment before shaking it.
Suddenly, the handshaking stopped but the man kept my hand in his and his grip tightened. He me straight in the eye and hissed:
“This was just a late conference. You know nothing more if someone should ask. Got that, Raudsy boy?”
Now I was scared. I made a faint attempt at saying something but it turned out to be just puffs of air between my shaking lips.
The man let go of my hand and hurried out the door.

The place was once again empty. Not a sound besides the ones coming from various interactive exhibits.
I gathered my stuff in a rush, switched the alarm on and got the hell out of there.

Throughout my way home, I was afraid to look at anyone. It felt like there were agents all around me.
When I got home, I pulled the curtains, locked all the locks on my door and hid under the blanket on my bed.

[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:17 AM
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CHAPTER TWO



The sun dawned on my day off. Usually, I would sleep until the afternoon but this day, that act was far from my thoughts.
I got to my feet, dressed myself in some casual gear consisting of my worn vintage jeans, a black metal band t-shirt and a hooded zip shirt with the Emperor-band logo printed on the back… it’s a favourite.
After making myself some coffee, I fired up my laptop and connected to the internet. To be fully honest, I half-expected my mail account to be hacked, my ill-gotten gain to be lost and then hear a pounding on my door… but no, it was there.
With a trembling left click on the mouse it opened and immediately caught my full attention.
The cover page was riddled with official emblems. There was a NATO badge, European Union ring of stars, US Department of Defence, Russian Ministry of International Affairs and others that I hadn’t even seen before.
But above all was a label I knew all to well: “Above Top Secret – Eyes Only”.
I realized I had stopped breathing; I gulped in some air and hit the print button, my printer wheezed and farted, before churning out one copy of the document. As an after-thought, I put the document on a memory stick and burnt a CD.

I lit up a smoke and started scrolling the pages. The information overload was immediate and total. I could only grasp small details of it. There were plans, charts, graphs and all kinds of notifications from various meetings. I had no real idea of what all this meant, but one specific paragraph put me in a cold sweat;

“To fully succeed with Operation Mind Crush (OMC), all official media outlet must be under absolute and total scrutiny. How this is to be put in effect is up to each branch but the ends will justify the means. Be it by corruption, extortion, infiltration or electronic warfare, the public must never know of OMC until it is set in full effect. We have already confirmed that a global media “blindfold” can be executed and will happen when the board gives the word”.

Now, a total chaos of emotions rushed through my spirit. I was angry, frustrated, scared and worried sick. I sat there, reading that phrase over and over. The printer ran out of paper and brought me back to reality with its angry beeping alarm.
I stood up to jam some more A4 in the damn thing, that’s when the lights went off.
The computer screen went dark and the fridge in the kitchen rattled once and fell silent.

I felt like I had to get out of the apartment right away. I was so eager to flee I nearly started crying. I pushed my feet into some boots and grabbed my jacket, I glanced once in the mirror as I raced towards the door, my face was ashen.
When I heard commotion in the stairway, I froze. The sound of someone putting something in my lock made break out in a cold sweat
.
Instinct took over yet again. I ran into the living room, took the newly burnt CD and the memory stick, opened the window and jumped out.
A couple of years ago, I had made a similar escape this way… the drainpipe into the alley was an excellent fireman’s pole!

I didn’t stop to check my surroundings, I just ran like the devil was chasing me. I would head for the waterfront and hide behind a tool shack.
I walked quickly through the crowded areas… my mind assuring me and advising to remain cool, but inside I had fireworks going off.
Paranoia started whispering like an old friend… ‘Out foul demon’, I thought.
I thought I heard people running around, dogs barking and sirens wailing. After catching my breath I peeked around the corner and saw nothing out of the ordinary. The sirens came from a row of fire trucks driving past on a nearby road. The barking dogs belonged to a couple of civilians taking a stroll and the running feet were just hearty Swedish joggers struggling against the cold.

My pace eased as I neared the Old Kelly’s Coffee Shoppe, the folk had thinned out now and the paranoia retreated back into his dark lair. In real life, Agents don’t know everything and the hero doesn’t have to be ‘James-Bond’ smart.
The three men in the same black suits from the day before, watched me amble towards the waterfront and it was a few seconds later, when I saw them.

They quickly caught sight of me and pointed in my direction. I glanced around and realised my flight of escape lay over the iron bridge that spanned over a strait.
The bridge was two blocks away and on higher ground than where I was, so with gritted teeth, I set off.
It had been snowing during the night and I felt myself slide a couple of times on the packed snow as I raced away. With my breathe pluming out over my shoulder like a locomotive, I glanced back.

The same black SUV’s that I’d seen from the night before, skidded and bumped around the corner and the sickly-blue headlights stared like cats eyes. The terror that was now taking over my entire being, gave me new strength and I rushed up onto the bridge that’s when I saw two other black suited men walking fast towards me from the far end.
I was trapped. I looked over the edge of the bridge down into the black, oily waters that ran below. I hesitated.
If I jumped, I would probably die, and for what? I didn’t even know that.
Then, like a revelation on Christmas day, I saw something coming from under the bridge; the mighty stem of a freighter. In all the action, I had failed to notice how it crept down the waterways, just meters from where I was running. The ship was large and it seemed like the tower would scrape the bottom of the bridge. The suited men saw what I was planning and picked up the pace. I waited for a few more moments and as soon as the tower of the ship came underneath me, I jumped.

The fall was way longer than I had expected and I landed with a heavy thump on the metal roof. I lost my senses for a moment and as my vision cleared and the throb of my ass subsided, I was on my back looking up on the bridge where the suited men leaned over the rail with upset, growling faces.

I rose to my feet and rubbed my back, how the hell had I gotten into this mess?
A faint voice in my head whispered that I knew and that I should stop bitching.
I found a ladder on which I climbed down to the deck and I suddenly realized my predicament.
I was on a ship going somewhere. Hopefully it wouldn’t stop anytime soon. I was free riding this vessel for sure, but still… I better hide. Nobody was in sight on the deck, so I sneaked down an open hatch into the lower parts of the ship. I heard indistinct voices every now and then, but I never saw anyone and nobody seemed to have seen me either.

When I had found a dark corner, I made it as comfortable as I could on top of some discarded life jackets. I figured I was close to the engine compartment because it was rather warm and noisy. I was afraid to fall asleep, but all the confusion during the day and the steady thudding of the engine, made my eyelids heavy and I drifted off.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:18 AM
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CHAPTER THREE



I woke up by someone kicking my feet. At first, I was in a state of complete disarray with no sense of where I was.
In front of me, stood an Asian-looking man. He looked just as confused as I was. I signalled with the palms of my hands that I posed no threat. I guessed he was one of the crew and he seemed to realise I posed no threat. He looked around and pointed at me to stay put. I had no other intentions than to comply. After a while, he came back with a bottle of water and a badly-made sandwich, the mystery-meat inside looked like there was a chance it was fresh, so with a weak smile, I accepted it.
I quickly found out how hungry and thirsty I was. The kind crewmate squatted next to me as I guzzled down half of the bottle and belched with relief.

“Why you here?” he asked in broken English.
“I am hiding…” I said around a mouthful of sandwich... “I have to run away from people”.
“Aaah!” His eyes became wide open and I could see he was more excited than troubled about my presence. He had probably waited for something thrilling to happen during these long and monotonous voyages.
I asked a more vital question;
“Where are we going?”
“We go Norway” he replied with a smile.
Our little conversation was interrupted by the sound of his walkie-talkie that hung from his belt. He picked it up and there was a short discussion between him and the other end in some Asian tongue. When it was over, he put his hand on my knee and said;
“No problem runaway. We come Norway in two day. You stay here. There is toilet in end of corridor.” He pointed down the darkness to the right of me. “Sometimes I come with food. No problem, you safe here”.
I put my hand on his. I felt like kissing him out of pure gratitude, but I refrained from it, it might backfire badly and I could take no risks endangering this valuable new acquaintance.
My Asian friend got to his feet, waved so-long and ran off to work.
I sat there, thoughts rushing through my head like a spring flood. I comforted myself with the thought that there was nothing else to do but sit on my sorry ass and wait…

Time went by extremely slow. Like a long-lost cousin of the museum, this old tub knew how to drag the hours.
My cell phone was still in my apartment and I had no wrist watch either. I tried to meditate to make time go by but there was too much disturbance. My only relief was when my Asian friend came by to drop off something to eat, a can of tuna and a piece of bread.
Suddenly, I heard the engine come to a stop. I thought for a moment that we had reached harbour, but there were no sounds of blaring ship horns or babbling stevedores, I reckoned we hadn’t been travelling for that long just yet.
After an hour or so in this uncertain wait, the Asian crewmate came running in. He was almost in a state of panic. He pulled me up and led me down a dark corridor. He chattered in his own tongue and partly English… the whole thing didn’t make any sense, but I followed on.

There was a number of large plastic barrels stacked in a corner. He opened the lid of one of them and pointed to me to get in. I hesitated.
“No, no, you must hide now!” His face was earnest and a sheen of sweat coated his face.
His voice warbled between a whisper and a shout.
I climbed down into the barrel and looked at him with a questioning face. Before he put the lid on he said;
“Coast guard boat come. They look for runaway. You hide now, I come later. No problem. I sorry”.
He clamped the lid down and I heard him stacking other barrels on top of mine.
I dared not breathe. I just sat there and inhaled the plastic smell. At least it was dry in there and there was a hole at the bottom so that air could get in.

After some time in the barrel that gave me more than enough claustrophobia, I heard someone outside. The familiar broken English hissed to me;
“Okay runaway, they come now. They have dogs. But no problem, I fix.”
I felt like throwing up out of fear, the confines of the barrel urged me to panic and to attempt to thrash my way out… I breathed calmly and the panic went away.

I heard the door to the toilet located close to the barrels open and close. Soon after I heard booted feet and shouting voices coming closer, the sound of walkie-talkies echoed between the metal walls. I held my breath and tried not to tremble so much. The sound of a barking dog echoed through the hallways. I felt like dying. Anxiety had taken a chokehold of me. I prayed to my Gods to save me.
As the voices got closer and the barking was so loud it felt like the dog was in the barrel with me, the toilet door opened. One voice spoke into a walkie-talkie;
“We got one down here”.
“Alright, bring him up” replied the other end. The dog barked like it was possessed. I heard my Asian friend talking rapidly and upset in his tongue. He had hidden in the toilet so that the dog would find him instead of me, or at least make the guardsmen think they got the right guy.
Shortly after, everything became quiet once again. I exhaled slowly.

After what felt like two eternities, the barrels on top were removed and the lid of barrel opened. I got up on sore, trembling legs. Before my Asian friend had said anything, I rushed to the toilet and took a leak so long and hard it felt like my kidneys were going to flow out too. When I was done, I hugged the little Asian man.
“Thank you, thank you so very, very much!”
My friend gave of a little laugh and when I let him go he said;
“Ah, but no problem. They say you maybe jump into sea. Understand please, I also runaway! But I work here on ship now. Police in my country know nothing where am I now. Runaway help runaway, no problem”. He reached out his hand and I shook it with both of mine for a long time. Before he left he said the words I had longed to hear;
“Very soon we in Norway. Just some hours. I tell you when safe to go off, okay?”
I thanked him once again and returned to my comfy dark corner.

I got off the ship disguised with as one of the crew, the coarse-black coat and the woolly hat provided by my Asian friend, let me melt away in the busy dockside. Carrying a sailor’s swag-bag, I ambled along like a stranger waiting to taste the delights of this coastal town.

I waved back at the little figure watching me from the ship’s gangway… I hadn’t had time to thank him and that alone, made me angry.
As soon as I had gotten out from the harbour area, I hid behind a cargo container and jammed the coat and hat behind a pile of weather-worn ropes. Now back in my own clothes that I had stashed in the sailor’s bag, I felt better and I looked around at the vista of the small town.

To my great joy, I found out I had a half full, yet badly wrinkled pack of smokes in my left pocket, but to my dismay, I didn’t have a lighter. Though in bad need of a nicotine fix, I felt a much bigger urge to get out of the immediate surroundings and into hiding. I went towards the market place.

I was met by a convoy of both coast guard and border control vehicles. With my heart in my mouth, I bolted into a repair shop and pretended to look at some propellers. The old shopkeeper looked up from his newspaper on the counter and sauntered towards me, I made a lame excuse and left.
I felt I was starting to panic again and tired to make my way as fast as possible, without looking suspicious.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:19 AM
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CHAPTER FOUR



After some time of hasty walking, I ended up on a hill overlooking the town and the bay.
I guessed I wasn’t far from a major city, but which one?
The sun was shining and the air was crisp and clear. I again felt a dire need to smoke. Looking around I saw nobody except some cross country skiers that speeded across the snow. I figured they were the last persons on earth to carry a lighter, let alone be smokers.
All of a sudden I could hear music playing somewhere nearby. It was a very familiar tune;

“This is ground control to Major Tom…”

I moved towards the music like I was drawn there by some mysterious force.
As I came around a small hill I found a woman standing by a rusty oil drum in which a fire burned bright. Next to her a small portable stereo playing “Ziggy Stardust”. The Woman sang along and swayed slightly to the tune while holding out her palms to the fire. She was dressed in a long white coat and very neat fur insulated boots of traditional Norse fashion. I nearly startled her when I came around.
“Hello” I said in a polite manner.
“Uhm, oh, hi there” she replied with that cheerful Norwegian accent.
“You mind if I have a little fire?” I asked and pointed at the flames.
“Sure, why don’t you. I have plenty already”.
She smiled and seemed very friendly.
I took out a log from the blaze and lit my cigarette, not minding that I almost set my face on fire. The smoke tasted wonderful. I took a deep drag and kept it in for a moment before exhaling.
The woman tilted her head and asked;
“What brings a Swede here then?”
I detached myself from the smoking ritual and thought for a moment what to reply... I hardly knew myself.
“Well…I’m just..uhm…visiting some friends”. I could hear how lame that sounded.
“Oh yeah?” she said “Where do they live?”
I felt like was trapped. My smoking became more intense.
“They, uhm, live close to the city centre. I don’t know what the place is called, it’s my first time here.”
I could see the woman’s suspicion rise and she narrowed her eyes so that they became like two fine lines.
“Come on” she said with a smile. “Why don’t you tell me the truth? You’re lost, aren’t you?” “Yeah, I have no idea where I am and where I am…or going either, for that matter” I chuckled to attempt to ease the mood.
“Well, I am always happy to help a stranger out” she said and gave me her hand. I shook it gently.
“My name is Raud and I am on the run to be fully honest”.
The woman gave out a shout of excitement.
“Wow! I guess this turns out to be a very fortunate day for both of us!”
“Oh, really?” I said with a smile.
“Yeah! I was sitting at home in front of my computer as usual, and suddenly felt a strange need to come to this very place…” She made a pause and examined me closely. “And this song always brings the best out of me; it’s like a beacon for good fortune!”
I laughed out loud and felt a great feeling of relief.
“What’s you’re name then” I asked while lighting up another smoke.
“Oh, sorry, I forgot. Since I love this music so much, why don’t you call me Ziggystar”.
I gave her a curious look.
“Alright, that’s a strange name but what the hell, I’m in Norway, am I not?”
We both laughed.

Our conversation was abruptly interfered by two F-15’s roaring by above us. Ziggystar shook her fist at them.
“Stupid NATO! Play your silly games elsewhere!” she screamed after them.
I was amazed that her words fitted my thoughts exactly.
We watched at the jets become faint dots in the sky, the rumbling followed slowly behind… the day quietening again.
Ziggystar muttered her dislike as she put another stick into the fire.
“You want to hear a story that will probably blow you away?” I asked with a very serious voice.
Ziggystar looked at me, without smiling this time.
“Okay…” she said with suspicion and turned the music down.
I told her the story from the beginning and made sure to tell her my equal dislike towards the NATO presence in an attempt to gain her favour, to see her eyes twinkle like they had with the jets, would make my heart flutter!
There was a long silence after I finished. She poked the embers of the now-faded fire with a rusted metal rod.
“These files” she said, “can I look at them?”
“I don’t know” I said trying not to make my story sound like bogus. “I do have them here”. I took up the CD from my pocket and showed it to her.
“Okay” she said “let’s head to my place and have a look”.

The sun was calling it a day and getting ready to turn in, when we got to her home. It was a rather neat place with a very personal and interesting interior. I quickly understood that we shared an interest in UFO’s and the paranormal, judging from the books in the shelf.
“I’m starving” she said as she switched on her computer. “You want something to eat?”
“Do I?” I said with a sappy grin, and thought of the Asian guy with the sandwich flapped bird-like through my mind… the grin waned.
“Great. I’ll heat up some leftovers if that’s okay with you. I had mutton in cabbage yesterday.”
“Mutton in cabbage sounds delish” I said with a tone of pure delight.
We ate and drank some Ringnes beer. Seldom have I had a better meal in my life. We had a conversation over the Hammerfest and Hessdalen light phenomena and we agreed over many things.
Our friendship seemed natural and I was very grateful to have found such a nice acquaintance. After a while she looked at me and said “So, shall we look at those files then?”
I nodded and felt the anxiety again, creeping up my back icy claws.
She took the disc and opened the document. It didn’t take long until she dropped her chin half way to the floor and whisper to herself, slightly trembling;
“Oh… my… God…”
I felt reluctance towards reading the document. I figured that the less I knew about it, the less problems I would have sleeping at night. I let my eyes travel around the room instead, pretending I was here for a completely different, more relaxed reason.
“So, what do you think?” I said after she had gone through the first couple of pages.
“Oh, I don’t know.” Her eyes were wide open and glued to the screen. “But I might know someone who can help.”
“Oh, really?” I tried to sound optimistic but in reality I just wish I hadn’t come across this mess in the first place.
“Yes, but he’s not here. In fact, he is in Denmark. I think we should go there right away.”
“What? Go now?” I made no attempt to cover up how tired I felt.
“Come on” she sounded bothered by my approach. “It will be fun! It’s an adventure!”
She shook my arm as if to scare my doubts away.
I about had it for as far as adventures goes, but my hands flapped an unwilling gesture of approval.
“You have to agree that with this kind of material, and with your story, there is not one moment to lose!”
I had to agree to that and we got our stuff together, which in my case didn’t take long, and left the place.



[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:20 AM
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CHAPTER FIVE



The trip to Denmark turned out to be yet another uncomfortable venture. Ziggystar insisted that I’d be hiding in the trunk of her car. If it was just to make sure I wasn’t spotted or if Ziggystar had some strange desire to drive around with a body hidden under blankets in her trunk I didn’t know. I just tried to make the most of it which was nothing more that staying put and use as little oxygen as possible. I dozed as we clunked along the highways and byways…but my back complained all the way.
We got onboard a ferry that would take us the rest of the way. Ziggystar was kind enough to let me out of the trunk to stretch my legs and she got me a beer and some grub. I spent the rest of the journey in the back seat of the car thinking this was the lousiest cruise ever since that one I took to Finland without booking a cabin just to save money and ended up passing out, drunk as a skunk in a corridor, repeatedly harassed by passersby. But that is a completely different story.

We arrived late at night and I was extremely tired. I reluctantly got back into the trunk trying to avoid the increasing feeling of claustrophobia. I even tried to explain that if I just sat quietly in the back of the car, nobody would notice… The trunk won the day.

When we got off the ferry, the car jerked and trundled its way towards the main road… but then it slowed and stopped. I heard Ziggystar talking to someone. The discussion became very lively and all of a sudden she took off with a jump. Something had happened that had made her put the pedal to the metal, I grew concerned.
She drove like crazy and I had to cling on for dear life not to get totally knocked out by the sudden sharp turns she made. Old tools and a deflated tyre slew around in the trunk with me… now I knew what luggage felt like.
After quite some time of this torment, the car came to an abrupt halt, just as hard as it had started off. Ziggystar got out of the car and opened the trunk. My head reeled.
“Get out, quick!” she tried not to scream.
I obeyed without a fuss and we set off running.
We twisted left and then right, she seemed to know where she was going and with a weary sigh, I followed.
She led me into a dark alley and we could see the red and blue lights of passing police cars drive past on a parallel street. The sirens sounded like screaming demons out to harvest our souls. My pulse was off the charts.
“What the hell?” I asked in disbelief.
“Sorry Raud, but things went bad.”
“No kidding!” I said with an infuriated voice, forgetting the importance of being as quiet as possible.
“They stopped me, these strange looking men…” she explained. “…They started asking questions and I knew we were deep trouble… I had to make a run for it.”
“Strange looking?” I asked with anxious curiosity.
“Yeah, there were both border control and some men in suits who spoke English”.
I realized they had somehow tracked us all the way here.

“Still, we got to our destination” Ziggystar said and smiled, she saw the positives.
We continued down the alley and it just got darker and darker. At the end of it were a few steps down towards a heavy, rusted metal door. She banged the door like she was sending a Morse code. A small peephole drew open and a pair of eyes met us.
“Yeah?” said a deep voice.
“Ziggystar here. We need parking service” she replied.
The peephole clanged shut and after numerous locks and bolts got slid open, the door creaked ajar.
A tall, dark man let us in and a sweet smell of sandalwood greeted us. Without any words said, he picked up a pair of license plates and headed for the car. His intention was to replace the ones on the car and relocate it someplace safe. I didn’t want to hope too much, but this place felt somewhat secure.

Inside this odd, yet very cosy cellar we came into a room in the back. In the room were numerous computer screens and TV-sets. There was music with a woman singing in Russian playing quietly.
In the middle of this, a man sat on a chair, totally oblivious of our entrance. Ziggystar cleared her throat to gain his attention. The chair swiftly turned around and there was seated a very kind-looking man dressed in a lusekofte sweater. His face lit up at the sight of Ziggystar.

“Ziggy!” he said, opened his arms and gave off a broad smile.
“Hellmutt!” she answered and threw herself in his embrace.
“What the fjord brings you here?” he asked and sounded genuinely surprised.
“Him.” She pointed at me. “Show him the CD, Raud”. She gave me an elbow to my side.
“Ehm, yeah. My name is Raud and I have acquired this document….” I handed over the disc.
Hellmutt looked at me, then at Ziggystar, then at me again.
“Okay…” He said after a while and took the CD and loaded it into one of the computers. His hands flew with great precision across the keyboard. After just seeing the front page, he froze.
“Oookay…” he said, sounding rather concerned.
I tried to escape into fantasy once again and looked at the various screens around the room. All kinds of international news were on the TV screens, web pages with the latest top stories were on some of the computer screens. The walls of the room flickered with the eldritch glow from them.
One of them caught my interest. It was some sort of forum with all kinds of strange topics. I made sure to remember the URL because I really wanted to check that out closer once I got the chance.
“Is it okay if I check this site out for a bit?” I asked Hellmutt. He was deep in reading and just waved his hand in approval. I somehow found the correct mouse among all the others and started browsing. All my favourite topics were covered; aliens and UFO’s, political conspiracies and 9/11, 2012, the paranormal…there was no end to it. I clicked around for a bit and all of a sudden a little chat box appeared to the right on one of the pages about Russian music.
“Hellmutt, you there?” someone had written. I freaked out and thought I had gone off limits. Hellmutt interrupted me as he turned his chair towards me.
He observed me with his hands together on his belly.
“This is both good and bad news, my Swedish sweet brother…”
“I know” I replied with a tired exhale.
“You have any idea of how deep this goes?” He gave me strange look.
“Uh, I really just skimmed through it, but this document has given me some pretty rough times…”
Hellmutt scrutinised my face in silence. He took a half breath as if to say something, but didn’t. Instead, his gaze went down to the floor and he stared into infinity as if he was deep down in serious thoughts. I made an attempt to break the thick silence;
“We could go the press right away with this…”
“Nah, no.” Hellmutt interrupted. “It’s not as easy as that, believe me. I have tried before with much less sensitive material. The electronic highway is no valid option. We really have to think this through”.
“Maybe” I said “we could sleep on it?” I carefully suggested.
“I don’t sleep anymore, but you guys go right ahead. The bunks are down the hall to the right.”
The relief I felt from him saying that almost made me fall flat on the floor and go into coma right away, but I managed to drag my feet down the hall into a dimly lit room with four bunks. I laid straight down on top of the bed and immediately fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.



[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:21 AM
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CHAPTER SIX



I came back to reality by a rude awakening. Red lights were flashing and a siren beeped ominously. Ziggystar shook me back to life.
“Get up, get up!” she yelled at me and I was back on my feet in no time.
We rushed into the computer room where Hellmutt was struggling with the keyboards so hard it made him sweat. Several of the screens were flashing with warnings and security breaches.
“What the hell is happening?” I asked in a loud voice, trying to make myself heard over all the noise.
“We’ve been compromised!” said Hellmutt. “It started out with a minor Trojan malware attack, but then it grew. Now I am having all my hard drives scanned, downloaded and erased! This is the worst ever!”
He worked the computer terminals with frantic clicking and typing.
All of a sudden, everything went black. A moment later, the emergency lights switched on and the whole cellar lit up in a dark red glow making it look like a cheap bordello.
A voice came from one of the speakers:
“We know you are in there. You have one minute to come out with you hands up or we’ll come in there to get you. Resistance is futile.”

Hellmutt gave us both a look in the eye, put his finger to his mouth to show us to keep quiet. Then he rose from his chair and waved at us to follow into the next room. There, a small heater was located in the corner. Hellmutt gently tipped it over and the floor beneath it followed, revealing a hatch to a floor below. Ziggystar climbed down first, I followed, Hellmutt came last and shut the hatch behind him... I was in the dark again.
We had now entered a long tunnel. It both looked and smelled like a sewer. There was complete darkness until Hellmutt cracked a light stick and led us on with the ghostly green glow leading the way. We splashed down the tunnel for some time until we saw a faint light beckoning. Hellmutt gave me the light stick and signalled me to stay while he checked if the coast was clear.
He moved the last meters towards the exit, hugging on the curved walls to avoid making any noise from treading in the dirty dank stream. He peeked outside then hissed at us to come along.
When we came out, it was early in the evening, yet almost completely dark since it was winter season and the sky was clouded. A gentle but icy cold rain came down like a thick mist. We had emerged at the waterfront. Hellmutt took us through row after row with winter stored sailboats. When we came to a garage-looking building, he started fiddling with a large set of keys. He then unlocked one of the garage doors and silently opened it. Once inside we helped him remove a tarpaulin and underneath was a black RIB boat, loaded on a wagon. Hellmutt leaned into it and dug out three big black rubber bags. He tossed one to me and one to Ziggystar.
“Open and get dressed” said Hellmutt in a low voice.
We unzipped the bags and took out a wetsuit and an inflatable life jacket. With some struggle and help from each other, we got into gear, putting our ordinary clothes back into the rubber bags and started, as silently as we could, to push the wagon out from the garage and into water.
Without hesitation, we climbed onboard and Hellmutt started the engines. Even though they were on a very low gear, it felt like the entire world would wake up from the sound. I really had no idea where we were headed but I felt complete confidence in Hellmutt… hell, I liked the guy, so I just clung onto the boat and hoped for the best. As we came out on open water, Hellmutt then gunned the engines to full force so that we practically flew across the waves.

After several hours of speeding through the darkness, I crawled to where my bag was and started looking for my smokes. It was a baffling ordeal since the waves were pretty high and they struck the boat with no clear intervals. When I got one out, I made my way to the back where Hellmutt stood like a statue at the steering wheel.
“You got a light?” I yelled.
Hellmutt tapped the lid on a box that was mounted to the side of the dashboard. I opened it and took out an over-sized jet-flame lighter. Covering behind the windshield, I managed to get the cigarette lit. After a few puffs I leaned close to Hellmutts ear and tired to speak above the commotion:
“Why haven’t they come after us yet? I mean, they must have choppers and all kinds of stuff?”
Hellmutt tapped another device next to him.
“Cloaking device!” he shouted. “Gives off an electro-magnetic field. We can’t be spotted on radar, infra-red or thermal camera.”
“Outstanding!” I replied with amazement.
Hellmutt continued:
“Yeah, you can’t find these things on the market. But that’s not where I get my stuff anyway”
He gave off a broad, crooked smile. “Only problem is, it sucks a heck of a lot of battery power and we don’t have much left. Don’t worry though, I think we can make it” he nodded sagely.
He scanned the horizon, and then pointed at a faint glimmering light a couple of kilometres away.
“See that?” he yelled. “That is our ride for the rest of the way”.
He pushed the gas to the max and we rapidly closed in on what turned out to be a cruise ship. As we approached it from the stern, Hellmutt told Ziggystar to take the wheel and explained what he was going to do.
From a crate, he took out what looked like a harpoon launcher, and as we got within ten metres of the ship he fired towards it. Attached to the line that shot out was a strong magnet that firmly clung onto the hull. The line was slowly retracted until the stem of our vessel almost came into contact with the ship. Hellmutt signalled to Ziggystar to turn the engines off.
“Okay” Hellmutt said after making sure the connection was secure. “Now we just sit tight. This cruiser is going to England. When we get there, we will think out our next move.”
We all sat down in the boat and waited. After a long, long time of struggling with our boat being tossed around by the powerful turbulence caused by the cruisers’ propellers, slacking and tightening the line between us and the cruiser, we could finally, with blood-shot tired eyes, watch the dawn ever so slowly shatter the solid shadows around us.
When it was nearly full daylight, we detached our magnet, refuelled and started the engines and took off. According to the onboard GPS, we didn’t have long until we would reach the British mainland which was good since we all were cold, hungry and nearly dying of fatigue.

We had nearly run out of fuel before we found a desolated beach suited for a clandestine landing. We were about 200 meters from the shore when Hellmutt shut the engine off. We all looked anxiously around us. No activity in the area made us give off a collective, careful sigh.
“Alright, this is what we will do” proclaimed Hellmutt in an authoritative tone. “We will flip the boat over and let it drift, because there is no way we will be able to haul it far enough up on the beach to conceal it. To bury it is out of the question. We will hope that our pursuers will think that we became shipwrecked. I know it’s not much to hope for, but it will have to do for now.”
We secured our bags with ropes around our waists, intending to use them as floating devices. We left our lifejackets in the boat to make it seem like we had failed to put them on during our little “accident” at sea. Hellmutt then emptied the inflated parts of the RIB boat and instructed us how to flip it. With lines attached to one rail we stood on the other, leaning back and pulling for all we were worth, and after a few attempts we made the boat tip over. It was a very dangerous move but because we all kept our minds as cool as the icy water now around us, we managed to pull it off without any injuries. We then looked to the shoreline, made sure our belongings were well fastened and started kicking water… dry land soon.

It was an exhausting effort since the tide was going away from the coastline and out towards the ocean. Luckily, it drew our capsized vessel away, making it harder for any followers to know where we hade come to shore.
When we all got onto dry land we lay face up on the sand panting like dogs in the sun, white specks danced in front of my eyes as my laboured breathing eased. Still, there was no time to rest just now.

We helped each other to get up on trembling legs and moved as fast as we could into the woods a bit further up ahead. Once we got there we fell to the ground, completely out of breath.
After 30 minutes of resting, Hellmutt opened his bag and produced three bottles of water and three high-energy protein bars. We ate and drank in silence. After that, we dressed out of our wetsuits and quickly got back into our dry clothes. It felt like heaven.
“What now?” asked Ziggystar.
“I guess we should get moving” answered Hellmutt.
We all agreed on burying the wetsuits but the soil was too hard so we just hid them under some rocks. Some of the more useful contents of the bags we divided between us. It seemed Hellmutt had been thinking about an eventual escape because the bags had in them some real useful stuff such as Canned Heat, a couple of days ration, different items for making fire, a rather large knife and first-aid kits. There was also a piece of tarp in there to construct a makeshift tent.
We were once again on the move.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:22 AM
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CHAPTER SEVEN



The terrain was hard to move in, full of slippery slopes and young trees. My boots weren’t ideal for this kind of hiking either and the jeans I wore got wet. Ziggystar, on the other hand, turned out to be a valuable source of keeping the mood up, always reminding us of the positive side of everything. Despite being tired, she kept us entertained with anecdotes and jokes. At times, we all laughed so loud we had to remind ourselves that we were on the run and had to keep quiet.
When nightfall came and we still hadn’t come across any infrastructure or landmarks from which we could orientate ourselves we decided to make camp for the night.
We combined our pieces of tarp and made a very professional looking wind shelter. We opened a Canned Heat and prepared a meal each.

After dining we talked about keeping guard, we agreed on three hours each. I was to go first. Hellmutt and Ziggystar made the best they could to construct a good sleeping place, using the bags on top of a layer of branches to get up from the cold ground. Warmed water in bottles underneath their jackets provided some much-needed heat. Still, it was winter and we were all in for a very cold night.
I tried my best to keep my body heat up by moving around and thinking of a warm, sunny beach somewhere tropical.
The wristwatch Hellmutt had loaned me ticked off the three hours and I went back to wake Ziggystar up. She hadn’t slept much and said she was freezing to her bones. I agreed in a low mutter, I was tired.
I got her bottle of what was once warm water but now was just slightly-above body temperature and lay down in a foetal position. Immediately, I started to shiver but somehow I fell into a shallow sleep filled with nervous dreams.

It felt like I had just closed my eyes when I was abruptly brought back to the sound of a helicopter. Ziggystar came running.
“We got to run!” Her voice was close to full panic.
A searchlight quickly found our camp and we were in the sights of our enemies.
“We have to split up!” shouted Hellmutt. “The best of luck to all of you!” He took off into the night.
There was no time for hesitation, so I just started running in any direction away from my two friends. The helicopter could only keep track of one of us and for better or worse, I couldn’t tell, it wasn’t me.
My back ached and my feet felt like chunks of meat… a stranger in a strange land.
I lost track of both time and direction as I bundled myself through the woods.
I fell down slopes, splashed through streams and got scratched in the face by branches.

After what felt like forever, I came to a paved road. As I halted to catch my breath I saw the helicopter some distance away, moving in the opposite direction its droning engine faint and its searchlight flashing from place to another.
I was alone, lost and I had no idea what to do next. I came across a small country road, the asphalt pocked with holes.
I trudged along, hoping I would come across a village ore better yet, my two friends.
After a couple of minutes, two giant cats eyes shone out of the gloom and I smiled as I realised they were car headlights. I didn’t know if I felt like giving up or not, but I took the chance of stopping the car.
I got out in the middle of the road and started waving my arms. The car slowed and I banged as if in a panic on the drivers’ _ As the window squeaked open, I yelled, nearly crying;
“Let me in, let me in, please won’t you let me in, please!”
“Okay, in the back!” answered the driver.
I threw myself in the back seat.

“Go! Just drive!” I begged desperately. The car took off with screaming smoking tyres.
I looked out the back window and saw only darkness. I exhaled slowly and my body relaxed.

Then I turned to look in the rear view mirror. I was met by both surprise and confusion; in the driver seat sat a person whose gender I couldn’t directly tell. Long, deep red hair in a long fringe disguised half the face. Bright red lipstick surrounded a smiling mouth, and the face, that had to my surprise, a five o’clock shadow!
The arms and hands of the driver were strong and had dark hair on them. The driver was also dressed in a pink dress.
“And who might you be, who seems to be in such great peril?” asked the driver in a voice that was darkly cheery, yet with a very feminine touch.
“Well… I’m a runaway as you might say. But I mean no harm, I just have to get away” I managed to say, trying to hide my doubts about the wisdom of this hitch-hiking venture.
“I’d already guessed as much. You see, on my way here I passed a road block”
The strange man glanced again at me in the mirror and continued…
“But my… appearance allowed me a free pass right on through, so to speak”. The driver gave off a giggle.
“Okay…” I tried to sound normal. “My name is Raud, thank you so much for taking me with you. What’s your name?”
“Oh, that’s not important. I’m just a boy in a dress”. He waved away the thanks. “And don’t you worry; I’ll make sure you will be brought to a safe place. Say, do you fancy a nice game of dominoes?” I was surprised by the query and struggled how to answer that question so I just answered honestly:
“Never played that in fact…”
“Get out of here!” the driver barked a laughed. “Well, I think this might be your lucky night then, Raud on-the-run!”
I gave off a tired chuckle and leaned back into the back seat, trying to wrap my head around how things had gone from bizarre to straight-out weird.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:23 AM
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CHAPTER EIGHT



As daybreak turned into early noon we drove on, chitchatting as we went, I gained much confidence in my cross-dressed new companion. The man who so kindly had taken me into his care had very a friendly manner.
His unusual taste for outfits didn’t really bother me much anymore. Judging by the anecdotes he told me of his life, especially one about how he as a young rugby player in his schooldays had a life-altering accident, this was a remarkable personality of which I had never encountered before. One could say we had a jolly good time together and we seemed to connect on many levels after just a short meeting. I tried to stay as far away as possible from the story of how I had got from Stockholm to the back seat of his car, somewhere out in the English country and he didn’t ask either. To my amusement, he didn’t lack that exquisite British kind of humour I always fancied so much and we had numerous laughs that mended my worn out spirit and brought me back to a good mood. I nearly forgot all about my struggles up until this point.

In the early afternoon we reached a mid-sized city and parked the car outside a convention centre.
“Here we are!” the boy-in-a-dress proclaimed and held out his arms in triumph. “The national domino championship!”
“Aaah…” I said with a theatrical expression of amazement, I was a little sad the journey had ended.
“You see” he said, “I’m one of the referees. No one escapes this haughty falcon gaze!” He pointed at where his eyes hid under the fringe and beamed the familiar grin.
We got out and crossed the parking lot towards the entrance.
Before entering I looked down at my dirty jeans. I stopped and said;
“I can’t walk in like this. I look like a complete mess!”
“Aaaw” he put a comforting hand on my shoulder. “You look just fine. Besides, you are with me now and that, my runaway friend, is all that matters”. He smiled again and straightened his dress.

Inside there was full activity. Tables with players were organized in neat rows and a buzz of voices filled the room.
“Would you care for a bite?” my friend asked me.
“You betcha!” I replied, putting my hands on my stomach. “I’m starving!”
He led me to a wide-stretched smorgasbord, filled with all kinds of food. I grabbed a plate and loaded it with a tower of different dishes. We sat down at a table and I devoured my meal and headed off for a second run.
My friend greeted and spoke with many of the other visitors, and I noticed that nobody seemed to care about his extravagant appearance. I finally got to hear his name too, or at least I thought I did; as he was greeted by the others, they called him “Biad”.
When I had finished my third bowl of extra creamy kedgeree and leaned back into my chair, I asked him frankly;
“’Biad’, now what kind of odd name is that?” I got an amused giggle from behind a red-finger nailed hand before he replied with a pedagogic tone;
“Quite simply put; ‘B’ is for boy, ‘I’ is for in, ‘A’ stands for a…” he looked at me and awaited me to finish the explanation.
“Aha” I said “Then I bet ‘D’ is for dress!”
We both laughed at the silliness of it all. Biad slapped his bare thighs in what I believe was genuine happiness.

When I had been given enough time to relax after the insane amount of food I had been eating, Biad showed me around the tables. He told me everything about the wonders of dominoes; the ‘sleepers’ in the ‘boneyard’, the ‘poison ivy’ and the ‘grandma’s peepers’, how to ‘cut a suit’ and what happens in a ‘renege’. All and everything I had no idea I wanted to learn about the game.
Biad got busy about his duties as a referee, so I went outside to get some sun and a smoke. I started thinking about Ziggystar and Hellmutt. I wondered where on earth they’d be by now. I sent a silent prayer for their safekeeping.
I went back inside and asked Biad for some change so I could get a newspaper. Biad gave me a handful of coins and told me with a smile;
“Why don’t you get yourself a nice bottle of soda as well?” I made a girlish gesture with my hand and we both giggled.
After I had bought a newspaper, I scanned the pages closely, trying to find some information over what had happened to my two fellows. There was nothing about it.
I then remembered what the document had said; all media outlet should be kept in the dark. I sighed and wandered into deep thoughts. I reached into my jacket pocket and felt the memory stick. It was still there. I picked it out and looked at it. I felt like smashing it, getting rid of this curse. But I knew this journey would have to be seen out to the end.
I was going to get to the bottom of this and I sensed a feeling of new meaning with my life. I had gone this far, might as well keep going. The only question was how?

It was late at night when the winner of the championship, a Bartley Boone from Ashton-Upon-Ribble, had been proclaimed and we got back to the car and drove off.
After a moment of silence, Biad finally asked me about my story. I took a deep breath and started telling. Half-way through the tale, I began sobbing. Then I couldn’t hold it back and I wept and cried like a girl. The stress had finally caught up with me.
I wanted to go home and I cursed myself for stealing that document in the first place. I was angry and frustrated and afraid. Biad patted me gently on the side of my head.
“There, there…” he said. “Everything will be okay, don’t you worry my friend. You have made all the right choices. You are a very strong and brave man”.
I felt a little bit better after crying and the sound of Biads’ voice was like that of a forgiving father. I stared out the window, feeling lethargic. Biad didn’t say a word but I saw he was deep in thought.
He was just about to say something when he reached and adjusted the rear view mirror.
“I sure don’t like the look of that black van back there” he said. “That’s no proper way of road manners, driving with full beam on.” Biad’s tone implied annoyance.
I turned and saw it too, a big, fat American looking van. It accelerated and got real close to us until it gave us a nudge.
“Why, I’d never…!” expressed Biad with rage. “That was no accident!” He flipped the driver the bird with a gold ring-adorned finger and sounded the horn violently.
The black van came up to our side. All the windows were shaded so we couldn’t see who was inside. Biad clenched his teeth into an angry grin and pushed the accelerator to the maximum.

We gained some distance, but the van was soon catching up with us again. Biad muttered a long verse of curses as we got bumped from behind once again. As we came to an exit, Biad got into the right lane, then, at the very last moment, made a hard left turn. The van had no chance to follow our swift move. Biad gave off a demonic laughter;
“So long, suckers!” he screamed.
But our luck was short-lived; another black van had suddenly got on our tail.
We raced down a two-lane road towards an airport. The van tried to come up to our side, but Biad was a skilled driver and fended it off. The road came to an abrupt T-intersection. In front of us was the airfield with a sloping barrier made of packed soil around it and above that, a bit further in, a barbed-wire fence.
“Hold on to your knickers!” yelled Biad and slammed the throttle to the floor. Then engine gave off a roar and I covered my head with my arms. With a collective cry of “Wooaah”, with Biad sounding like Rob Halford hitting his highest note, the car hit the bank at a perfect angle, making it act like a ramp and we flew over the fence and into the airfield. The van behind us slammed its brakes and tried to turn, but the slippery, frost-bitten surface of the road made it skid and it crashed and tumbled. Our car hit ground with a loud noise of breaking metal and breaking glass. There were a few moments of silence besides a hissing sound that came from the engine.
“Oh, snap!” said Biad. “I think I broke something.” He reached down to his feet. After some fiddling he held up one of his Prada shoes. The stiletto-heel had come off.
I checked myself and besides a sore butt, I was okay.
“I think we should get out of here” I said and released my seatbelt.
“Fair enough” Biad replied and clambered out of the slumped car.

As we got out and inspected our surroundings. We had barely made it over the fence and some of the barbed wire had been caught in the chassis of the car. I tried to understand how we had managed to fly so high and far. Evil Knievel would have been proud of us.
Biad just hummed to himself as he bent to inspect the wrecked vehicle. I watched for any movement from our rear.

Soon we became aware that a convoy of more black SUV’s was driving towards us.
“You make a run for it! Quick! I’ll tell them you held me hostage or something. Just run!”
I immediately started heading for cover. The problem was that I was on an open field, and any actual cover was nowhere to be found close by.
What I did see, however, was a large airplane getting ready for take-off. I ran as fast as I could and managed to jump and throw myself into the back compartment of the plane before the cargo door shut close. It was completely dark, but I got hold on something as the plane started taking off. As it left the ground I laughed like a madman over my triumphant escape. It was no way anyone could have seen where I went and even though I once again was en route to a destination unknown. I felt safe, at least for now and that had to do



[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:24 AM
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CHAPTER NINE



The inside of the freight compartment was noisy and cold. I did however thank my lucky stars that place was pressurized. The thought of how vital that was to my survival didn’t cross my mind as I got in. A few moments after take-off, a dull red light lit up. Wooden crates filled the space and I tried to find a spot to hide.
In between the hull and the cargo, I managed to squeeze myself in and wrapped myself in an old blanket I found. I zipped up my jacket to the top, pulled the hood over my head, got my arms out of the sleeves and crossed them over my chest. The chill came quickly.
Even though the noise was louder than World War two, the steady drone had a soothing effect on me and I soon fell asleep.
I had no idea for how long we were in the air, but I know we landed at one occasion, probably to refuel. When I realized we were going to land I pondered the possibility of my detection. Luckily, the refuelling procedure did not include a close inspection of the cargo compartment, however, someone did look over the freight. If someone hadn’t called out for him to go, Lord knows what would have happened.
It seemed like I had, to my favour, hitched a ride with a very careless crew.

During the second part of the trip, I started thinking about how I should escape the plane once we reached destination. I rummaged around the cargo-hold and to my surprise came across a spare crew-outfit. I was relieved by the warmth of the attire, and quickly stashed my worn-out jeans into my sack
I checked the crates and managed to pry open the lid of one of them. There were a lot of plastic chips. I dug deep into it. It seemed to be a lot of space to spare in there so I climbed in and to test the space. As I did, the thought of looking up at the Asian guy back on the boat flashed by and it dawned on me that I’d been through quite an ordeal.
I dug around to see what else was being transported; I found an antique chest of drawers. It was not attached to the bottom of the crate so I had to be on my guard not to be crushed by it if there would be some heavy turbulence. I got the lid back on as good as possible and scooped a layer of chips on top of me. I felt mighty satisfied about my new hiding place and tried to go back to sleep again.
I snoozed and even at one point, woke myself with my snoring! Through a foggy half-sleep, I felt the bump of touchdown and I rubbed my eyes ready for the next endurance test.

I realized how warm I’d had become and I struggled to get out of my jacket. It felt like we had landed in a furnace, the heat was really building up inside the aircraft. I heard the cargo door open and voices speaking. After a while, it was time for the crate I was hiding in to get unloaded. There was a sudden jerk when a forklift grabbed my box and I was afraid the chest would tip over and squash me like an ant, but it didn’t. The crate got put down on the ground and I carefully lifted the lid so I could peek out. I was on a large airfield and the sun was shining brightly.
Wherever I was, it was tropical. I could see palm trees in the background. The forklift that had transported me drove off to get another load and the piles of crates from the planes were left unguarded. I quickly climbed out, slid the lid back on and brushed the chips from my overalls.
Trying to give off an air of confidence, I started to walk away with my sack over my shoulder.
If I could make it to the terminal… then there was a chance I could make good on my escape.
There were others going to my destination … I wiped my face with my hands and strode on.
Nobody even looked my way.

As I was closing in on the entrance I had set out as my goal, I saw that a guy in front of me had to use a key card to get in. I slowed my pace, desperately thinking of what to do. Looking anxiously around me I noticed a baggage truck coming towards me. I waited until it had nearly passed, then jumped onto last cart. I heard the driver yell something at me so I turned, waved and smiled at him. He shrugged his shoulders and kept driving onwards out through the gates, leaving the fenced area of the airfield.

I directly jumped off and walked straight through the doors to the terminal. Once inside I went hurried bathrooms to take care to a certain primal urge that I had painfully denied for the past 24 hours… the relief! It felt like being born again.
When I was done, I changed back into my regular outfit, but I was more than satisfied with just jeans and t-shirt this time, the jacket and my sweater I kept in the sack. I stepped up on the toilet and lifted a tile in the ceiling and tucked in the crew apparel.
As I left the airport, I went to an airport bar and grabbed a box of matches one of the tables.

Once again outside, I made a startling discovery; there was a row of flagpoles close by, and there, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes, were hoisted the royal Australian flag! My chin dropped. I had flown across the whole freaking planet! All kinds of emotions came over me. What the hell was I doing here? Would I ever get home again? Was this some kind of free-riding record? I sat down in the shade and chain smoked three cigarettes just to get my nerves under control.

After accepting this drastic change of location, I saw in the corner of my eye something very disturbing. I turned my head and there they were, at the far end of the terminal; three shiny black SUV’s. My stomach turned into a knot. I had to get away, and quick! I had no money and the weather was all too hot for walking. I had to get help from somewhere. In front of me was a taxi rank. There were no cabs at the present, but I saw a man that looked to be about my age stand there, waiting. I hurried over to him and soon made eye contact.
“Hello” I said and smiled, trying to look as friendly as possible. “I’m in a bit of a pickle. Do you think I could go with you downtown?” I put my palms together like I was praying, which in fact I was.
The man took of his sunglasses gave me a long look as if I was from another planet. He had a steady posture, a bronzed tan, a traditional Australian akubra hat, and he wore a khaki shirt with matching shorts and a pair of sturdy desert boots.
“Alroight…” he said with a broad Aussie accent and tipped his hat. “Sure you can, mate.” He waved at an arriving cab and we got in, I sat in the back and he got in the front passenger seat.
We drove through a sandy landscape not saying a word. I wondered how my ‘hunters-in-black’ could have followed me all the way here. I must have really pissed someone off but I was still ahead of my enemy.…

We arrived in dusty town just before sundown. I got out of the cab, stretched my aching back and looked around. I got a feeling that this would be the last place on earth that ‘they’ would every come look for me.
“There” said the Aussie. “Now you’re in town alroight. Don’t know whatcha goin’ to do here, but I bid ya ooroo and a good evening”. He once again tipped his hat, nodded and wandered off. I seated myself on a bench and lit up my final cigarette. I was hungry and tired and had no idea where to go. I felt dismal. Hope of getting back to normal was slipping away completely when a voice spoke to me from behind:
“Oi” I turned and saw the same Aussie that had given me the ride here. “Yer not from ‘round here, huh?” I shook my head. The khaki-clad man looked at his feet for a while.
“Well, I reckon I can’t just leave ya here. C’mon and I’ll buy you a lager.” I stood up.
“I’d be more than happy” my hands flew from my sides. “I’m a long, long way from home, that’s for sure.” The nice man held out his hand and I shook it.
“Chad’s the name, Chad Wickus. Welcome to Oz!” he said and gave me a big smile.
“Raud” I said and felt a warm feeling of relief run down my tested spine. “Glad to meet someone with a normal name for a change.”
“How’s that?” Chad asked.
“Nah, never mind”. I replied. “I’ll tell you later”.

We went into a shady saloon that looked like it would fall over at any given moment. The interior was simple but cosy. We seated ourselves at the bar and Chad called for the waiter;
“Oi! Pass me two frosty VB’s and two emu kebabs will ’ya mate?” The bartender signalled with a nod that he understood, served us two ice cold beers and went into the kitchen.
“So, what’s yer story?” Chad asked.
“Well” I said with a sigh. “It’s a rather long one, and I don’t want to bother you”.
“Don’t worry” he said, emptying half the bottle in a blink of an eye and gave off a satisfied burp. “I just got off duty from the mine out in the wastes with no one to talk to so have all the time in the world to hear ya’ out.”
I looked around to make sure no one was close enough to overhear me and took a deep breath.
Promising myself not to start weeping this time, I related my involuntary adventure. When I was done, Chad stared at me, his mouth open in awe. Then he expressed in his genuine Aussie way;
“Fair suck of the sav! That’d be the wickedest story I’ve heard to date!”
“Yeah, it’s quite the odyssey, isn’t it?” I said with a sad smile, I felt a thousand years old.
Chad gave off a boisterous laugh and gave me a hard, yet friendly slap on my shoulder with his big hand.
“Fokken aye it is! You just paid for another beer with that one!” He waved for two more beers at the bartender who just brought in our food.
We ate and drank quite a few more beers while Chad asked me all about my escapades. I didn’t have too many answers to offer him since I didn’t know much about why I had ended up where I was.
But he turned out to be of brotherly nature and promised me to help out as much as he could. He told me that he himself was interested in conspiracy theories and that I had to check out some sort of discussion website. I remembered the one I had seen in Hellumtts bunker, but didn’t mention it.
When the bar closed, Chad invited me to his place and we wobbled through the deserted streets until we came home and I passed out on his couch…

[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:25 AM
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CHAPTER TEN



I woke up with the sun in my face and the worst hangover so far in my life. My body felt like it had been kicked around by an army of skinhead kangaroos, my tongue was like rough sandpaper and my stomach was as acidic as a Russian industrial accident. I moaned and squirmed like a worm when Chad came into the room.
“Still here, mate?” said Chad. I thought my head would burst from the sound of his voice even though he spoke normally.
“Uhm, yeah. Seems like it” I managed to say with a faint voice, my mouth gave me evidence a Koala had crapped in it.
“Thought you’d be back on the run” he said and sat down on a table next to the sofa, sipping on a can of Coke. “Don’t worry about the green around the gills. I’ll fire up some grub right away”.
I wheezed out a ‘thank you’ and painstakingly tried to sit up but my head spun so fast I had to lie down again with a long groan.

After a steady brunch and a long shower, I felt much better. I even got my clothes laundered and I felt once again ready to take on the world. Chad was in a great mood so we headed down to a local outdoor bar and had a beer in the shade. Chad was kind enough to get me a pack of smokes.
“So” he said “What’cha gonna do with that document of yours?”
I got the memory stick up from my pocket and held it in my hand thinking of what to say.
“Shouldn’t you head straight for the papers and publish it?” he continued.
“Nah” I said. “I have a feeling I wouldn’t make it.” I lit a smoke. “Besides, a small news agency would easily be ‘neutralized’ so to speak. And a major network doesn’t have an office close by, do they?”
Chad thought for a while.
“That’d be right. You should go to Brizzie head office, but that is one long trip through the never-never” he said, taking a long, slow sip on his beer. “The outback that is, the ‘never-never’”. I imagined crawling through the sands with vultures hovering overhead. It didn’t seem very tempting.
We sat outside until the heat got unbearable and we had to move inside to cool down. I was happy to see the bar had air-conditioning.
“Bloody warmth!” complained Chad as we sat down at the bar, wiping the sweat from his forehead. A TV mounted on the wall showed the weather forecast. It promised more sunny days to come. Suddenly, I was bumped by a guy who passing to us. He looked mighty drunk.
“Faaaark you” he blurted out.
“Excuse me?” I said. The man gave a drunken laughter and leaned onto the counter.
I turned back to the TV, looked at the drunk, then back at the TV again. I realized that the weatherman and the guy next to me were one and the same person!
“Is that you mate?” I pointed at the screen.
“Fo…ken right it ish” the man hick-upped. “I’m the Osh Weatherman…”
“The ‘Oz Weatherman’?” said Chad with surprise. The drunken man nodded deep and low with a smirk. He then turned his attention to the bartender.
“Need fritded foors…” he said, barely audible and held up his index finger in the air.
Chad tapped me on the shoulder and said;
“That bloke is quite the famous one in these parts of Oz.”
“So I reckon….” I replied, observing the man that had a hard time standing on his legs.
“So, have you been out celebrating or something?” I asked.
“Mo” he said, swaying heavily. “jst been drinkgin…”
“Okay. Well let me ask you something; if you are on TV right now, giving the forecast, there must be a broadcasting station nearby, right? I mean, most of the news is aired live, isn’t it?

The weatherman looked at me with an absent stare. Then he blurted out;
“Need Zaaazz!”
“Zazz?” said Chad, choking on his beer in surprise. “You mean Zazza Frazz? The Zazzbot?”
“Yesh…” answered the weatherman.
A woman came up from the back of the room and laid her hands on the weatherman’s shoulders.
“Oh, excuse me. Is Ozzie here giving you any problems?” Then she noticed Chad. They both shone up like spring daybreak;
“Zazz!” shouted Chad, “Get on over here you beaut!”
Zazz threw herself in Chad’s embrace;
“Chad, you mongrel! How are ya?”
The girl was very beautiful. She had a slim figure with a shimmering light skin and long, golden blond hair and lay in rich cascades on her shoulders. Her appearance seemed to have a bright shine around it. Her bright eyes were shielded by a pair of expensive designer glasses.
“Are you here with that galah?” Chad nodded at the weatherman. “He’s off his face I reckon!”
“Yup” she answered and turned to look at the drunken man, now lying with his upper body on the bar counter. “He’s an old friend of mine, just visiting.
Didn’t take much to get him full as a goog either!” Chad and Zazz laughed out loud. I smiled in the right places, but found it difficult following their conversation; it was with such broad accent it hardly sounded like English at all.

The weatherman came up to me and leaned on my shoulders;
“Shesh a real beaute…ishn’t she?” he slurred.
“Yeah” I said. “Are you guys dating or something?”
He shook his head.
“Nah… Butte…if I wax mdingle…I’d merrybher…” He held up his longneck beer bottle with an unsteady hand, as if to give a toast.
“What?” I said with curiosity. “If you waxed your dingle? What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I laughed at his strange statement.
“No, nooo!” he replied. “If I washn’t single!” he made a pause. “I’d marry her…”
“Aaah” I said, hitting my bottle on his and drinking down. “Gotcha!” We all had a good long laugh.

We spent a wonderful afternoon together. It turned out that Chad knew Zazz from the discussion boards he had told me of earlier. I began thinking about how that strange website seemed to play some hidden part in this story. I even started worrying that it was part of this whole conspiracy, but shook that thought away as nonsense.
I noticed that Zazz wasn’t drinking any alcohol and when Chad offered her a drink she shook her head;
“No, but I can offer you something better! Why don’t I take you to my mansion and we’ll have a barbie!” We all cheered in favour of the idea, paid the tab and left.
I pointed out that I would need to get my sack from Chad’s place, and that was of course no problem.
Outside on the street stood Zazz’s car and both me and Chad had to rub our eyes to make sure we weren’t dreaming. Basking in the golden glow of the setting sun was a diamond black 1971 Dodge Charger, one of the finest machines ever built. Like a mythological beast from the darkest domains of ancient folklore, its powerful, masculine body gave a feeling of utter respect, almost frightening. Even though it was 30 years old by now, it had been so carefully kept it almost looked like brand new. I slowly reached out my hand, aching to caress its majestic shapes and curves when Zazz slapped me on the wrist;
“Don’t touch it!” she told me off.
I quickly retracted my arm.
“I’m sorry, but it is so beautiful…” I excused myself.
“Yeah, I know…” she answered, contemplating the machine with a warm smile. She then made a snappy gesture;
“Get in!”
“Shotgun!” shouted Chad and rushed to take the front passenger seat.
I got in the back and helped the weatherman to crawl in, making sure he stuck to his side of the seat. Zazz turned around and looked at him with a very serious face;
“Don’t you dare throw up... Okay?”
The weatherman almost trembled under her cursing glare and nodded.

Zazz rushed the engine and we got out on the road. Smouldering tires accompanied with our howling shouts of excitement. A massive flock of Cockatoos startled away in the uproar and
As I looked out at the passing birds, I would’ve swore I saw the dazzle of sun on a dark van’s windscreen.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:28 AM
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CHAPTER ELEVEN



After two hours of blasting through the outback like a desert storm we approached Zazz’s seaside home, a very classy resort-looking house; not quite a mansion, but still discretely expensive and very tasteful with its white stone walls and sturdy wooden corners. A long, wide, sloping roof with skylights gave it a very European touch, almost like taken from the Belgian countryside. It was located at the steep cliffs on a cape and up until now, I’ve had no idea we were this close to the coast. The ocean air blended with the wonderful scent from the roses and orchids in the perfectly kept garden and put my soul in complete tranquillity.
As we entered through the door I saw that the interior truly matched the exterior. The warm and welcoming atmosphere made it look as if it was taken from a vacation home pamphlet. Chad and the weatherman seemed to have been here before and were moving around like it was their own home. Zazz came out from the kitchen with a tray of food for the barbeque.
“There’s lager in the fridge” she said and nodded towards the kitchen. “I’ll go out back and fire up the barbie”.
I made my way to the large kitchen, astonished over how clean and neat everything was, and opened the heavy door of the equally large fridge. I got out two 12-packs of Budvar beer, my favourite, and went to join the rest of the gang where they sat on the veranda, overlooking the mighty ocean. There, Zazz had lit up the grill while the others were seated in comfy wooden sun chairs. I received a loud, joyous greeting as I held up the beers.

After a splendid evening, going on into the wee hours of the morning, with several more 12-packs consumed and loads of meat and prawns tossed on the grill, we were assigned each a bedroom. Having guests over seemed to be business as usual for Zazz, judging from my chamber that looked like an upper-class hotel room. I passed out, punch drunk and with a smile on my face, on a soft king size bed. The last thing that went through my mind was that maybe this running across the world wasn’t so bad after all…

I got up the following afternoon by the sound of play out in the yard. Opening the wide curtains, I could see the others having a game of cricket. I opened the window and leaned out, waving at them as they caught eye of me. Zazz called;
“There is brunch set in the dining room. Have some and come out and play with us!”
I got down to the said hall and came across a table set with a rich assortment of various dishes. I filled a plate, grabbed a misty bottle of water and got outside in the sunny weather. A gentle ocean breeze met me with a refreshing caress. I sat down and ate while watching the game progress. ‘I am possibly having the time of my life right now’ I thought and remembered the dull and slow evenings at the museum back in the dark coldness of the Stockholm winter. I stretched my legs out and sat with my hands behind my head, facing the life-giving warmth of the sun.
Chad came up to me and sat down, opening a bottle of lemonade.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I told Zazz about your reason being here…” he said.
“Aha.” I replied, wondering if that was a good or bad thing.
“She would really like to have a peek at those documents too” he carefully suggested.
I looked around, as if I was checking that no suspicious cars or people were around.
“Uhm. Okay” I said. “But then, it will be under my strict conditions”.
“No problem” Chad answered and waved at Zazz and the weatherman to join us.
“Let’s go inside” I said and got up.

When we had gathered in the living room, Chad turned to Zazz and said;
“Our mate Raud here says he’d love to show you the stuff”.
“Oh” Zazz expressed with delight.
“Yeah” Chad continued “but he has some special demands first”.
“Okay” Zazz answered with a smile “I won’t go to bed with you, if that is what you are hinting”. Everyone laughed at the vulgarity of that statement.
“No” I said with an embarrassed, “nothing like that. Do you have a lap-top?”
“Affirmative” Zazz answered.
“I’d also like to do this in a protected area, below ground if that is possible?” I continued.
“How about the wine cellar?” Zazz suggested.
“You have a wine cellar?” I asked with astonishment. Zazz nodded and giggled.
“Well that's just swell” I said with a pleased expression. “Let’s head down there”.

The wine cellar was located in the basement that was almost as large as the house itself. Like any fine establishment it was equipped with a section for wine tasting, set with a steady oaken table and matching chairs. The atmosphere was cool and the soft light made it feel like we were going to have some clandestine gathering of some secret society. Zazz put the computer on the table and turned it on.
“Does anyone here have cell-phone coverage?” I asked.
Everyone got their phones up, checked them and shook their heads.
“No” said Chad. “Not a single bar”.
“Good” I said. “I would however ask you to shut them off and leave them outside this room”. Everyone complied and did so.
I then went to check the computer. I made sure that there was no Wi-Fi connection and of course there was none. I still insisted on that the drivers themselves for both the inter- and Ethernet would be uninstalled and the Bluetooth also. Zazz gave me a curious look but did as I said.
When everything was made ready to face my demands, I handed over the USB-stick and the cursed document once again showed it’s horrific face to the readers.
“Oh my God…” whispered Zazz, here eyes wide open with awe. “What the hell have you come across?” She held her hand on her lips in shock. “This is just horrible…”

After carefully going through each page, I got the memory stick back and we went back up to above ground. The weatherman got us some tea and we sat down to have it in the living room. There were a couple of moments of silence, only broken by our slurping of the tea. Zazz was the first to speak;
“So, what do you plan to do with this material?” She looked at me.
“I already asked him that” Chad said before I got to reply. “We figured going to the press would be the right thing to do, but more easily said than done.”
“Yeah” I said “And since I have been followed everywhere I’ve gone…” I paused as everyone gave me an anxious look. “…but here” I continued “…so far.”
An uneasy silence came over us like a wet blanket as if a ghost walked by us. “So I figured that ‘they’ have pretty much control over all kinds of communication, so I can’t mail it either. I have a gut-feeling they’d put me in some secret CIA interrogation camp in Romania or something in that fashion…” Visions of horror and peril flashed before my eyes as I said that. It felt like I had just sealed my own destiny, like the words were brought to my mind from the Norns of the Old North. I tried so subdue my fear, but my hands were already trembling.
We all sat contemplating our situation, not uttering a word for a while. Zazz took a sip on her tea; gently put the cup down on the saucer. She gave me a deep look directly into my eyes;
“You know you have to go the bottom with this, don’t you?”
I nodded.
“You have to go straight into the dingo’s den” she went on. “You have to go there, to the United States of America.”
I swallowed hard and felt a chill run down my spine. I knew that would be like signing my own death sentence. The others around the table gave Zazz the same look. She continued;
“I know just the man for you; he’s got all the necessary connections, technological solutions and know-how. As long as you can team up with him, this whole thing will be taken care of.” She sat back and looked mighty pleased with herself. I was just about to ask her a little more on what the heck she meant by that when Chad said;
“But how? He hasn’t got a passport, let alone could use it if he had one. And it’s not really walking distance either.”
We fell back into unvoiced, deep thinking. The weatherman broke silence;
“Got it!” he said and lit up with a smile. “I’ll give you a cunning disguise!” Everyone turned to him with curious expectations on our faces.
“Can you handle a photo camera?” he asked me.
“Well, yes. Somewhat” I answered, thinking back on a photography class I’d taken in my last year in school. Even though it was many years back, my interest in photography had kept my somewhat limited knowledge in the field alive and I considered myself a happy amateur.
“The deal is” the weatherman explained “my colleagues at BOM, that’s the Bureau of Meterology down here in Oz, are going on this research trip, all around the world.”
I felt both intrigued at how this developed, but I feared yet another lengthy stay far out at sea. He continued;
“I can’t go, but you can, as a documentary photographer!”
Everyone wrinkled their foreheads at the idea.
“It’s perfect!” the weatherman claimed. “There are always photographers onboard these ships. No one will care and no one will think there is anything suspicious about it.”
My fear of going back on the sea was now confirmed. I tried my best to hide my disappointment. Chad and Zazz handed out high-fives to celebrate this nifty solution.
“Only problem is” the weather man said “they will not go the shortest way. You will have to go half way around the globe, passing south of both Africa and South America. It will take you quite some time.”
“No probs” said Zazz “That will give you plenty of time to ‘disappear’, so to speak. We’ll file a report at the police a few days after you left, telling that a Swedish backpacker we met has gone missing after a walkabout out in the Gaffa. Happens all the time anyway”. We laughed and decided to celebrate this clever plan with a mojito.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:30 AM
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CHAPTER TWELVE



The trip wasn’t due until after a couple of days, so there was plenty of time to relax at Zazz’s place and gaining strength for what lay ahead of me. When the day came, Zazz took me and the weatherman to the harbour where the ship laid ready for departure. Before we drove off, however, I took a long heartfelt goodbye of Chad who had become a close friend. If I hadn’t cared so much about his safekeeping, I would have done all in my power to convince him to join me. I knew this trip will be long and probably pretty boring and his company would have made all the difference. Still, I felt guilty over getting him in this mess, just as I had pulled Ziggystar, Hellmutt and Biad into it as well. Those memories were very painful to carry.
The weatherman talked to the captain. He had already explained that I was to join the travel in his place. I was to go by the name of Sven Eriksson from a Swedish scientific magazine and everything went past very smoothly. Zazz had given me some very fancy photo equipment and a laptop. She had also taken me shopping around the bay area and bought me a proper outfit for the travel.
When the time had come to embark on this epic crossing of the oceans, we took farewell of each other. The weatherman gave me a bottle of whiskey and shook my hand. I didn’t want to let go of it. It felt like my last connection to safety and friendship, like he was holding on to me while I hung down some bottomless pit. I felt my eyes getting watery. I turned to Zazz who looked at me with pity;
“Aaw, poor Raud” she said and hugged me. “Feels like I am sending you into harms way”. I desperately fought back my tears. “Don’t you worry. I will send you my warmest thoughts”. She let go of me. I felt cold and vulnerable. Zazz handed me a sealed envelope.
“Here” she said. “Open it when you are far out at sea. And don’t show it to anybody. It is instructions for when you reach destination.”
I thanked her dearly for everything and before I left I asked her where all her money had come from. She gave a bright smile and said;
“Well, maybe I’ve just been saving up for a rainy day, let’s just say that. And seeing you depart like this sure brings on a cold front in my heart”.
We stood there for a while, without saying anything. The atmosphere felt thick and weary. Far away in the distance, thunder rumbled, adding to the sombre mood of the moment.
I turned and walked up the gangway without looking back, it felt too hard for me to take a ‘last glance’. I just couldn’t bring myself to it.

As we set sail, all the passengers were summoned to the mess hall for a briefing about the trip. There were around ten people in there, mostly scientists from ‘BOM’. I kept to myself in the back of the room only speaking up as my made up name was uttered in the roll call. The first mate, who held the briefing, showed us a map with the route drawn out. Just like the weatherman had told me we were going to cross first the Indian Ocean, making a stop on the southern tip of South Africa, then through the south Atlantic Ocean, through the Cape Horn and, finally, up the Pacific Ocean to the American west coast. I was assigned a small, yet very cosy cabin and made myself at home.

Just as I had predicted, the trip was a very slow one. I busied myself wandering around the ship, taking pictures of the crew and their work. The hardest part was to remain in the background without acting suspicious in any way. The toughest moments were during the meals in the mess hall which were on preset times. I couldn’t sit by myself all the time and others sat with me so I always brought a notepad and a pen and conducted mock interviews for my paper. When questions were asked to me, I did my best in brushing them away. I kept saying this was my first assignment so there wasn’t really anything to read that I had written earlier. I also got away by the fact that no one seemed to know much about Sweden, let alone what school I’ve been, or rather should have been to.
During a rough storm that we sailed into after a week gave me the perfect excuse to stay in my cabin, blaming a seasickness I didn’t have.
It was during that storm I picked up the envelope Zazz had given me. As I read her words, I felt homesick to a home that wasn’t even mine. I’d trade everything in my possession to be back again at her mansion, drinking the hot summer days away with her, Chad and the weatherman, listening to their curious yet delightful accents while they jokingly jeered at each others. I wondered if those days would ever come back…

The letter in itself was very sparse; just a name and a website where I could contact him. The name was Karl Hungis and I was supposed to write an encrypted message on the ‘North-Western Wilderness Blog’ in the comment section about sleeping-pads. He would pick me up at the docks where I had my destination shortly after.
Enclosed was also a neat bundle of US dollars. The thoughtfulness and generosity of Zazz yet again surpassed my wildest expectations. She had truly been an angel, sent down from above to help me in my troublesome, desperate time in life. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of need to repay her somehow, but would I ever meet her, or any of the others, again?
I said a silent prayer for them all as lay down in my bunk, feeling the movement of the high waves and listening to them hitting the hull.
It was as if Leviathan was toying with the idea to take a side… would he favour me, the involuntary knight on his quest, or will she fall in with the powers that seek to spoil my play?
I worriedly wondered.
Outside the little round window, grey cold water whipped against the glass, it trickled down like tears on a saddened face. Melancholy came and settled with the weather. I wished so hard for this to be my final voyage so that I could return to my normal life again, a life that seemed to drift further and further away... Deep inside I knew I wished in vain.
For now, I was out on the upset open sea, in the firm grip of destiny’s crooked hands. It would probably be another week before we would reach the Cape of Good Hope. And that in turn, would not even be half way there.



[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:31 AM
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CHAPTER THIRTEEN



The rest of the journey was uneventful and I became overjoyed to see land again as we closed in on the South African bay where we would refill our supplies. I imagined this was what it must have felt like back in the times when people did the same travelling across the deep with wooden ships with no other propulsion but the untamed wind.
As I made myself ready to disembark the boat and to enjoy the treat of solid ground for a while, a shadow eclipsed my happy demeanour. There, on the quay, stood a band of black vehicles.
The unwanted welcoming committee that I was sure had come just for me waited like the statues of Easter Island… blank faced. I didn’t feel the least flattered, instead I panicked. I knew I couldn’t hide this time. The crew had lists of all passengers so the benefit of free riding wasn’t with me this time. They would just see who was missing, and that would most certainly be me.
I rushed back to my cabin and peeked out the window from where I could see quayside. There was still a little time before the gangway would be pulled up, so in a hurry I gathered a little backpack of clothes, stuffed what I could of Zazz’s cash into my pockets and set off to try and find a suitable route of escape.

Once out on the main deck I realized that my only option besides taking the gangway and straight into the hands of my enemies would be jumping into the water. The surface looked oily and disgusting.
I was just trying to get the courage to do so when a terrible noise made me jolt. It was the rattle of the anchor chain and then the loud splash when it stuck the water. I looked around to make sure I was alone. I checked the windows of the Captain’s lookout, there were some people there, but none of them seemed to be watching the area where I was, at least not yet.

I seized the opportunity and climbed over the rail. I clung onto the chain for dear life. It was slippery and dirty so going down fast was easy… my hands clutching for purchase.
I slipped into the dirty water, struggling to keep my head above the scummy surface, and swam quietly towards the harbour. The backpack was waterproof and worked as a lifejacket, offering much needed buoyancy.

As I splashed on like a dog in the foul, rotten water a series of large motorboats sped past me. It created rough waves that tossed me around violently. I swallowed a mouthful of the salty waters and lost my breath. I fought to fend off the harbour wall but the force of the waves was too strong and I slammed into the concrete with full force. Bells rang in my head and I knew I wouldn’t be able to swim much further.
My arms and legs went numb. The impact had made the backpack detach from my back and with my last remaining strength I managed to cling on to it like a baby lemur clings on to its mothers back.
It barely kept me afloat but it was enough for me to move on until I had come to the end of the dock where rough rubble had been placed as breakwater. There, I crawled up and hid behind a large boulder, catching my breath and eventually vomiting up the muddy liquid I had swallowed. As my head throbbed and my stomach lurched, I wondered if all this was worth it.

After resting for a while, I carefully got up and checked the surrounding. I saw that in my state of panic, I had managed to swim a rather long distance. I figured it wouldn’t take long for them to find me in this open area so I had to get moving. The only problem was that I had nowhere to go. To my left was the docks and they would probably be fine combing it at the moment. To my left, the breakwater reached out for another three-four hundred meters or so, reaching out towards the ocean.
My mind raced, frantically thinking of an escape, and then I heard voices from the other side of the barrier. I got down on my belly crawled swiftly over the ridge of the rubble lizard-like.

Once over, I came across a couple of fishermen and to my near hysterical delight, they were in possession of a small rowboat. I crouched behind a rock close to them and tried to get their attention.
“Psst!” I hissed. One of them turned. I peeked up from behind the rubble and waved discreetly. The ragged, African fisherman walked carefully towards me. I dug up the bundle of money Zazz had given me from my pocket. I signalled to him to come closer. I held up a couple of twenty dollar bills.
“Hey” I whispered “take me in across the bay, would you please? I have to get out of here, please!”
The fisherman looked at the money, turned and said something to his friends in an indigenous tongue I didn’t understand. The other men replied something. He looked at me again as I made a desperate expression, putting my hands together in prayer.
“Please sir, you have to help me” I begged. The fisherman scratched his wild grown salt and pepper beard and looked around and then finally he gave me an approving gesture to get into the boat.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I said and snuck through the rubble, down to where the rowboat lay. The man pointed at me to get in. I got down in it, laying flat on my back and pulled a blanket over me. From underneath, I whispered to him;
“Please, row as fast as you can. I just need to get across the bay, away from the docks”. The fisherman muttered something in his language and I felt the boat being pushed out into the water. I hardly dared to breathe as we gently made our way towards the town on the other side.

After a while we reached the shore a safe distance away from the harbour. I handed the man a couple of bills. He held it up and nodded, saying something I took as thanks. I waved my hand at him showing that it was he who should be thanked. Little did he know that he had probably just saved my life.
I got out of the boat and hurried away from the open shoreline towards a copse of palm trees. There I hid in the shade behind a couple of bushes for a while, anxiously scanning the area for followers. All I could see was a couple of surfers in the distance. The weather had become windy and the sky was clouded so the beach where I had landed was almost completely deserted. Further up were a street and then a block of houses stood as the city began, reaching inland. I opened my backpack and changed from my wet, smelly clothes and back into my regular outfit; the trusted Emperor hooded zip shirt and my jeans.
I had just begun moving away from my shelter among the bushes when a hostile voice came from the right of me;
“Yo, brah!” I turned my head and came upon two young men that looked like nothing but trouble. They wore dirty, worn out clothes and their skin was pitch black. One of them held a rusty iron rod in his hand, clearly for the intention of bashing someone’s skull in.
“Whatcha doin’ in our turf, doffie? Are you bosbefok?” the unarmed one of the two yelled at me with an intimidating look on his face. I was at a loss for words since I had no idea what he was saying.
“Uhm, I’m sorry?” I stuttered.
The one with the rod pointed it at me like he was challenging me to a duel;
“What’s your plak, mampara? You looking for kak? Don’t make me befok, I’ll klap you hard!”
The situation started getting out of hand. I made myself ready for self-defence.
“Listen” I said, trying to defuse the tension “I don’t want any trouble, I am on my way out of here. I’m sorry…”
The unarmed gangster gave off a mocking laughter;
“You a rooineck, ey? You make me fokken moer in!”
The armed one encircled me, almost dancing around, looking for a moment to strike. I realized this was going to go bad.
Suddenly, a strong wind rose up and sand blurred the vision. I made my move and ran for the street. The gangsters screamed after me as I fled, head over heels through the soft sand.
When I reached the street, I grabbed the first person I came across, a young girl.
“Help me” I said in between my heavy panting. “They are trying to rob me!”
The girl directly understood the severity of the situation, turned to the two bandits and without the a shadow of fear she screamed at them;
“Hey! Voetsek!” Her voice cut like a razor through the air. The gangsters stopped, thunderstruck at the sudden scream, but after a while, the unarmed one smiled and started strolling towards us. With a very slimy voice, dripping of false sugar he said;
“Howzit biscuit…we’re not hurting this china. Just having a jawl, that’s all...”
“Ja” said the other one, looking just as ingratiating. “He’s skrik vir niks.”
“Is it?” the girl responded, putting her hands on her hips. “He seems pretty gatvol of your type of jawl.”
The two thugs had now come within an arm-lengths reach. The atmosphere was getting tenser. The unarmed one looked at the girl with a crocodile smile.
“Ja, biscuit…” he said “…maybe you would like to have some jawl instead.” He reached down to his groin and gave it a provocative grab. “Got me a fine boerewo if you’d like a braai for three?” The two thugs had a wicked laugh.
The girl made an offended face and as fast as a puff adder, pulled up a can of mace and emptied in their faces. They screamed as if they were set on fire. I followed behind the girl as she ran off across the street and into an alley. After a few minutes of winding alleyways, the girl stopped, turned to me and said after catching her breath;
“Are you alright? Did they hurt you?”
“No, uhm, I’m okay. Thank you”. I felt the aftermath of the adrenaline rush as my body was trembling. The girl gave me a concerned look;
“Come on. Let me get you a drink” she said and led me further down the alley and into a coffee shop.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:33 AM
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CHAPTER FOURTEEN



When we got out from the windy weather, which had now turned into a gale, I got a better chance to look at my saviour. She was very cute, about 20 or so year’s old, long dark curly hair. Quite short, but that just added to her cuteness. I felt a little embarrassed that I, a tall, Scandinavian security officer who once did military service had been rescued by such a delicate young woman… But on the other hand, those two thugs on the beach would probably have been quick with my demise… I was exhausted again.
The girl picked up her phone.
“Who are you calling?” I asked.
“I’m calling the police” she answered, looking out the window trying to see where the gangsters went. “Those bastards have been haunting the beach for long enough.”
“No!” I shouted out, a little louder than I intended. “Please don’t!”
I tried to snatch the phone from her hand but she was faster than me, retracting it out of my reach.
“Okay…” she gave me a curious look. “I won’t.”
I realized I had made a little scene and looked around the room. Two old men at the next table eyed us with mild curiosity.
“Uhm, I’m sorry” I excused myself. “Thank you for helping me, but I really got to get going.” I went back out on the street. The wind was really strong now and there was so much sand being blown around my eyes felt like the gust was throwing needles.

I had to find shelter fast but I couldn’t see where I was going. A taxi drove up to my side and the back door opened.
“Get in!” It was that girl again. I couldn’t think of anything else but getting out of this infernal wind so I jumped in, out of the maelstrom.
“Don’t you run away from me again, mystery man!” the girl said with a smile.
“I’m sorry” I said feeling a little ashamed of myself.
“My name is Jinx” she said and held out her hand. Her skin was so soft I felt sorry for having to put my dirty paw in it but I didn’t want to be rude.

“My name is Raud. I’m pleased to meet you.”
“Now what kind of name is that?” she giggled. “You are apparently not from here, are you?”
“No” I said a little disappointed that I had given myself away so easily. I was yet again in a land with a new accent I would never fathom. “I’m from far away.”
“A stranger in a strange land, huh?” she observed me from top to toe.
“Yeah, something like that” I mumbled and strayed off into thoughts about my situation.
There were a few moments of silence before I plucked up the courage to ask “Care to tell me where we are going?”
“Oh, I forgot to ask you what hotel you are staying at. Is it downtown?” She leaned to the driver. “Would you turn around and go down to the centre please?”
“Uhm, no” I interrupted. “Let us not go downtown, just take me…” I realized I had no idea what to say next. “…just somewhere remote, please.” I gave off a nervous chuckle.
Jinx gave me a strange look.
“What about we go to my place and you can think it through?” she asked.
“You really don’t have to…” I started saying before she lay her hand on my knee and said with a sincere tone;
“Listen here my strange friend; where ever there is filth in this world, I am obliged to clean it up and you…” she wrinkled her nose “…you stink! The least I could offer you is a shower.”
I became aware that the smell from my swim session in the raw sewage of the harbour waters had really gotten into my skin. The cab driver looked at me through the rear view mirror and said;
“Yes sir! I hope your home is close-by girl, because your new friend reeks like a sick hyena!”
We laughed at the awkwardness.
With a reddened face I muttered “I can’t argue with that.”

Jinx’s apartment was very neat and cosy, I felt directly at home as I stepped through the door. The theme was dark wood and traditional African craftsmanship. Even though Jinx was white, it felt a little like I had stepped into a Zulu witchdoctor’s hut. It smelled wonderful of incense and the thought of Ziggystar’s home in Norway flickered like a candle flame.
She showed me to the bathroom and after I had three or four rounds of thoroughly sanitizing my body I got rid of the smell. My clothes weren’t that infested so a unisex eau de cologne she handed me covered up what remained of it. Jinx then made some coffee and I seated myself in one of her very comfortable armchairs.
“There” she said, putting her cup on the table and leaning back. “Now I have clothed and fed you, time for my reward”. She looked mighty self-assured.
“Eerr” I also put my cup aside. “What did you have in mind exactly?”
Jinx laughed;
“Nothing like that!” She gave me a knowing glance. “You are supposed to tell me what you are doing here!”
Somehow I just knew she was going to ask that. I quickly thought up a story.
“I, uhm, come from Holland…” I realized that that must have been the stupidest lie I had ever attempted for anyone to believe in and I unintentionally made a pause and underlined that I was not talking the truth. “And I…” I sunk deeper into the verbal quagmire. “I got abducted by a UFO three months ago, and the last I know I was washed up on the shore where you found me!” I picked up my cup again and drank to symbolize that I was done telling.
Jinx tilted her head and said;
“You know that such a stupid excuse only makes me more curious…”
I looked down at the floor.
“Yeah, I know…” I sighed. “I am on the run.”
Jinx took on an intrigued expression. “You haven’t killed anybody, have you?” she asked frankly.
“No, no!” I gestured vividly with my hands like I was brushing that idea away. “I would never!”
“What did you do then?”
I felt that I had once again reached ‘that’ moment, the time when I had to reveal my case and tell that long story. I did not feel like I was up to it. I looked into her eyes.
“Promise not to turn me in?”
Jinx looked shocked by my question.
“No, you can trust me. As long as you are nice and tell me the truth, I’ll treat you likewise”.
“Do you or anyone close to you work for the military or anything of that kind?” I asked, still looking her deep in the eyes.
“No…” She looked up, thinking it over. “No one I can think of and certainly not myself. I am kind of anti-war.”
“Oh” I relieved some of my seriousness and decided to take a shot at it; “Are you into government conspiracies and such too?”
“Am I ever!” Jinx shone up. “I am at this internet forum all the time, it’s called ATS., and…”
She stopped talking as she saw how I froze like I had seen a ghost. This constantly returning internet forum, here it was again! I broke out in a cold sweat, and I was turning pale. ‘This is just too freaking weird’ I thought to myself. ‘Is everyone I meet a member there? Just what the hell is going on?’ It felt like the room was spinning around my head.
“Are you alright?” Jinx asked with a frown.
“Yeah…yes. I’m okay…” I stuttered before taking a deep breath and closing my eyes to draw some strength and get on top of the situation. I exhaled and with that air went my fear out of my body. As I thought it over I came to the conclusion that since everyone I had met so far who had been members of that website have had such Godlike kindness towards me, I confidently invested all my trust in this young woman too. As always, I needed the all the help I could get.
“I have to show you something”. I took up my USB memory stick, showing it to her. Her eyes went wide open with expectation, like she knew I had some real big deal in my hands. I went over the same security measures as I had done with Zazz, minus the wine cellar of course.
Jinx’s reaction was more of the excited kind, rather than the awe and terror that the others had felt. “This is so cool!” she expressed, turning to me with her mouth open in a wide smile. “This is just awesome!”
“Maybe” I said, trying not to be smug about it, which I really wasn’t anyway. I actually detested that document.
“What are you going to do with it?” she asked.
I thought to myself… ‘oh that old question again…’ At least this time I had an answer.

“I'm supposed to meet up with someone in the US. He’s supposed to help me.”
I told her in short terms about the trip from Australia to South Africa, but the rest of the story had to follow due to Jinx’s extremely inquisitive nature. Her company was so very comforting and enjoyable, I totally forgot that I probably had to get out of town pretty fast, and I forgot even more so when she cooked me an outstanding ‘bredie’ and the best gosh-darn homemade nachos I’ve ever had, accompanied with a bottle of exquisite South African wine.
We ended up talking about the injustice in the world, with emphasis on organized religion where we soon found a common ground, until dawn broke and we decided to have some well needed shut-eye.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:49 AM
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CHAPTER FIFTEEN



I woke up to the smell off fresh coffee. Outside, the wind had eased and the sun was shining like gold through the windows.
“Good morning, err, I mean afternoon!” Jinx said with a voice like birdsong.
“Good afternoon…” I wheezed. My version of the birdsong was a little more raven-like.
“I have been thinking about how to get you to your destination” she said and served me a plate of buttered toast. I immediately took a piece and shoved it into my mouth.
“Mmm?” I mumbled with my mouth full.
“Yes” she said, pouring me a cup of coffee. “I have this friend who ships wine world wide. He might be able to take you with him on his next delivery to the US. It happens quite often.”
I raised my eyebrows;
“Oh really…? by air?”
“Yup” she replied, adding an excess amount of sugar into her cup.
I was tremendously relieved by her response. ‘No more sea travel for me’ I thought. ‘This is finally starting to go my way!’ I took another piece of bread. The crunchy goodness of it tasted marvellous and the coffee was the best I had ever tasted. It really felt like this was my day, the long awaited slack had been cut, I was in it for the win now.
“Agh!” Jinx suddenly expressed, smacking her palm on her forehead. “I have to run off for a bit”.
“Where to?” I said anxiously, fearing my good luck would turn if there would be a delay.
“I have to get down to the shirt printer” she hurriedly drank her coffee. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to go either, not with this babbelas!”
“With this what?” I asked.
“Oh, I mean hangover.” She tucked a piece of toast into her mouth and washed it down with a glass of juice. “You stay here, I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
“Okay” I said with a salute “I won’t go anywhere miss ‘Jinxy-jinx’.”
“Bakgat!” she answered with two thumbs up and picked up her keys, got her shoes on and bolted out the door.

I remained on the sofa for a while, finishing my coffee and reading a wildlife magazine.
After an hour or so of reading and relaxing, the whining of the nicotine demons in my brain became impossible to ignore. I dug around in my backpack and eventually found a wrinkled pack of Winfield’s. Greedily I tore it open, took one out and started looking for a light. I found a matchbox and headed out on the small balcony. I lit up and inhaled the unhealthy, yet extremely satisfying fumes.
My satisfaction would turn out to be short lived.
I dropped the cigarette from my mouth as I looked down on the street below and saw two black SUV’s drive up at high speed and stop, right outside the front door. The doors flew up and a swarm of men dressed in the terrifying familiar black suits scattered around, several of them rushing through the entrance. One of them looked up and glared at me.
I stood paralyzed with fear on the balcony looking into the black orbs where is eyes should be.
His mirror-glassed Ray-Ban’s stared directly at me and he pointed in my direction, his face like carved stone.

I ran back in and I could hear the commotion in the stairway. I was at full panic now, my heart was racing and I broke out in a heavy sweat. Suddenly the noise outside stopped and there was a determined knocking. A voice spoke;
“Raud. We know you’re in there. Come out with your hands up or we will come in and get you the hard way.”
I had to buy some time so I replied with a trembling voice, very apparent with fear;
“Yes. I'll come out…. in a minute”
“You will come out, now!” the voice on the other side shouted.

I picked up the memory stick from my pocket. I looked at it realizing there was only one place to hide it properly. I put it in my mouth, ran to the kitchen and while the men in the stairway started kicking the door in, I swallowed it down with a glass of water. It hurt, but it got down.
As the men in black flooded into the apartment, I tried my best to fight them but it resistance was futile. Two of them grabbed my arms and one stabbed me with a syringe. Moments later the world started to spin and fade away. My legs failed me and I felt my body become extremely heavy and tired. I tried to scream but all I got out was a slurred sound as my tongue became a small mammal, ready for hibernation.
Drool dripped down my chin and through the darkening haze, I believed I was done for.
The last thing I saw was one of them speaking in a walkie-talkie;
“The rat is in the trap. I repeat: the rat is in the trap…”
Then blackness.

I vaguely came back at some point, like a diver surfacing, the light seemed very bright,
But as my eyes adjusted, the light thinned away.
I could see and hear, but my muscles slept on and it took all my strength, just to turn my head.

I appeared to be on an aircraft but not an ordinary airliner, more like the one I had been on when I flew to Australia. It was very noisy and the only light shone in through a small _ Someone leaned in close to my face. He lifted my eyelid, checking it closely.
“He's awake, sir” he said and his voice echoed in my head like it came from deep within a cave. Another man came out from the misty surroundings. I felt a pinch on my thigh and went though I fought, I fell helplessly into the arms of Morpheus and down he dragged me back into my sleep.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:51 AM
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CHAPTER SIXTEEN



A fierce coldness struck me as a bucket of water was thrown in my face. I gasped and tried to fend myself but my arms were locked behind my back with handcuffs. I was in a brightly lit room. My wide eyes wildly panned the room, sucking in as much information as possible.
This place had bad, bad news written all over it.

The walls were painted white but that must have been long ago because the paint had faded and flaked. The chair I was tied to was the only piece of furniture. I was accompanied by three men. Two in camouflage uniforms, a type of green pattern I hadn’t seen before, and one of the ‘suit men’. One of the soldiers threw another bucket of water in my face. It felt like he had thrown pure ice in my face. The pain was extreme.
“I’m up! I’m up!” I managed to scream from the top of my lungs. I gasped as the coldness soaked through to my skin.

The man in the suit made a gesture and the three left the room. I started to freeze immensely. If the chair hadn’t been bolted to the floor, my shivers would have moved it across the room. My head ached like it was going to burst. My eyes were sore and unaccustomed to the angry white light that shone in my face.
There was a strange smell that stung my nostrils; it reminded me of the chloroform I had used in biology class when I was a kid. Brown stains were on the floor and on the walls; I feared it was dried up blood.
I tried to get some orientation. There was a window on the wall next to me. I could see a forest. It was dusk outside. I tried to loosen my handcuffs, but the held fast.

I sat there alone for maybe an hour, my fear rose, abated and then my mind busied itself with possible outcomes.
Suddenly, the door flew open and soldier in a ski mask charged towards me with a tazer in his hand. He jammed it to my chest and gave me a massive jolt. My entire body jerked violently. I wanted to scream but couldn’t make even the slightest sound. I mouthed silently like a fish out of water and my eyes were like saucers.
As soon as the shock was over, he hit me again with the device. My body wracked with electricity, jumped and flinched… I focused on screaming.
Again and again, the volts flew through my muscles… I blacked out after the fourth time.

Through a groggy haze, I woke up and peered around the room. It was dark except for one table light shining straight into my face. My hands were still locked behind my back but I had been dressed dry clothes… an orange jumpsuit to be precise. I smelled cigarette smoke and sensed I was not alone.
There was a desk in front of me and on the other side someone was seated. A hand came out from the darkness and knocked the ash off the cigarette into an ashtray on the desk and disappeared back into the gloom.
“Name?” asked a deep voice. I recalled my army training; I was only going to answer name, rank and number. Everything else would just be ‘I cannot answer that question’. I didn’t have a number, so I guess my social security number would have to do.
“Name?” the voice asked again in exactly the same deep tone. I cleared my throat;

“Raud Starke, civilian, 8201271309…”
“I just asked for your name.” said the voice unimpressed. “How did you get to South Africa?”
“I cannot answer that question.” I said, looking away from the light.
“No?” The voice said. “Did you not come there by boat?”
“I cannot answer tha…”
“Travelling from Australia?” the voice interrupted me. I understood that this was going to be a little game.
“I cannot answer that” I repeated. There was a moment of utter silence, only broken by the sound of the man in front of me crushing the ashes of the cigarette into the ashtray. He drew a deep sigh;
“You must be hungry, I bet”
I said nothing, but to my astonishment a plate with a big, fat hamburger was placed on the desk. The voice continued in its methodical manner;
“If you answer me correctly, you can have a bite.”
The burger looked mighty fine and I sure was hungry like a beast. A USB memory stick was not enough to satisfy my hunger for all eternity.
“Where do you work?” the voice asked, now back in its monotonous tone. I gave no answer… I just stared at the food.
“You see…” he continued and I heard the creak of the chair as he leaned back “…we already know the answer, so this is just a stupid game. I’ll ask you again; where do you work?” I didn’t answer.
The interrogator took off the lid of the burger, threw it away and said “You work at the army museum in Stockholm.”
This game was getting on my nerves, but I wanted to remain strong. ‘I could do without the burger’ I thought to myself, ‘they won’t starve me to death anyway’.

“Okay” said the voice. “How did you get to Norway?”
“I cannot answer that question” I replied trying to ignore the delicious smell.
The man removed the bottom bread, leaving the meat on the plate alone, and tossed it into the dark.
“You hid and somehow evaded us onboard a freighter” the voice said. “Now you are down to the last piece of the burger. You know you want it and all that is in between you and a bite of this juicy, charbroiled, tender beef is yourself. Just answer. You know I know the truth anyway.” The interrogator drew a deep breath before he continued;
“How did you escape us from the woods in England?”
I tried to resist, but then I remembered what Biad had told me before I got on that cargo plane.
“I hi-jacked a car, taking a cross-dresser hostage” I said with a smile.
The interrogator shoved the meat in my face and I barely got a bite.
“Good. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?” he said. I shook my head, enjoying every single morsel I had gotten in my mouth. The taste was out of this world.
“Now” he said “let’s continue shall we?”

I went back to looking away, licking around my mouth so I could taste as much of the food as possible. All I had in mind right then was getting another bite, and this time I’d get a big bite.
“Where is Hellmutt?”
I was stunned at that question, stunned and relieved. I realized that they hadn’t caught him and if they had Ziggystar, she probably hadn’t told. At least not if the interrogator had that answer too…
“Now that question, I really can’t answer”.
I held my breath, fretfully waiting for what answer to come. I heard the chair on the other side of the desk move and the interrogator lean forward. Out from the darkness emerged a face that was very unpleasant to see. It was an older man with a wrinkled face. He wore black sunglasses and his lips were dry and cracked. He had a breath with a pungent stench, hitting me like a whip when he spoke just inches from my face;
“We can go on all night and all day. Just tell me, where is Hellmutt?”
I thought that if I told a plausible lie, I would still get a bite of the meat so I said;
“We said we would regroup in Dover, and then head over to Calais.”
The interrogator looked at me for a while. Then he retracted back into the shadows.
“No, you didn’t.” he said with venom-dripping words and stood up.
The man took a few steps, then came back to the desk, picked up the meat and jammed it into his mouth, chewing it loudly with open mouth so close to my face I could feel the stains splatter on my skin. When he was done he grunted with satisfaction.
“I’ll see you real soon, boy.”
As the sound of his steps faded into the darkness, others loomed into view. The ski masks told me it was tazer time once more. As my body bucked and squirmed, I focused on the retreating shoulders of the stranger before I gratefully ran to unconsciousness.

I awoke lying on the floor of a new, much smaller room. The walls were made of timber and the floor made of planks. I struggled to get on my feet. A stark bright light shone in from a small, barred _ It was place high up on the wall, so I had to stand on my toes to peek out.
I couldn’t see much, but the light seemed to come from a searchlight mounted on a watchtower. I could see a section of barbed wire fence so I guessed I was in some sort of prison camp. I walked over to the heavy door leading to my cell and banged it violently with my untied fists but the door was solid and it barely made any sound.
“Hello?” I screamed. There was no reply so I went back to my thin mattress. The light and the cold made it impossible to sleep. I stared at the ceiling in dismay. It felt like I was in hell.
I lay awake until morning came and gritted my teeth, when two soldiers came in and hidden under ski masks as the local fashion seemed to offer. They lifted me off the floor and put a hood over my head.
They dragged me outside and into another building. There, they tied my hands together, lifted me up again and I felt my ankles being bitten by nylon rope.
I was hung from the ceiling, I presumed from a hook, I creaked backwards and forwards in small arcs.
An angry voice shouted in my ear; “Where is the document!?”
“I cannot answer…” was all I got to say before I suffered a heavy blow to my side. My ribs felt like a train had hit them.
“Where is the document?!” the voice screamed again. When I didn’t answer, the train barged in again.
The treatment kept on until I thought I was going to die. I was in so much pain when they cut me loose and I fell to the floor with a heavy thump like a sack of potatoes… I cowered, waiting for the next blow.
The voice screamed one more time; “The document! Where the hell is it?! If you don’t tell, we will kill you, so help me God!”
“I… I lost it” I sobbed. “I lost it when I escaped the ship! Please don’t hurt me no more! Please!” I wept like a baby, I feared for my life.
My arms were grabbed and I was taken back to my cell. The door slam shut and I was lying, snivelling in a foetal position.

After a while when I had calmed down a bit, I recalled that the USB device was still in my stomach. I thought that the sedative they had given me before must have been opiate-based because I hadn't felt the ‘need’ since. Now, I just had to keep it that way.

[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 03:52 AM
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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN



The following days kept on in pretty much the same manner. Sometimes I would play the ‘game’ with the wrinkled face in sunglasses, who turned out to be more scary than a good interrogator, and sometimes I would get the tazer treatment.
The sleep depravation and lack of nutrition made everything blend into an unpleasant blur. They were however kind enough not to repeat the beatings more than one more time and when I took a leak there was no blood in my urine so the fear that they had busted my kidneys left me smiling into the dirty bucket I had as toilet.
On the few occasions I got something to eat, it would be a foul tasting soup or stew. I was starting to become utterly exhausted from the lack of sleep and I knew this would assist in weakening my will.
But I stayed determined to rather die than let them have their precious document back. I started thinking about what those at home thought I was. ‘Maybe I would become a hero, post-mortem’ I thought to myself, ‘like some sort of Guantanamo Bay prisoner’.
The consideration of that particular camp made me think that who ever was holding me here might do so until the end of time. That wasn’t very comforting. What was kind of encouraging though, was when I started understanding how little they knew about my activities up to the time I got caught.
Seemed like my choices, voluntary or not, had been just enough to confuse them real good. I also figured that an organization that wants absolutely no attention from the public or media will have a hard time taking advantage of the police force or any other type of service that are monitored day and night by scoop-hungry reporters. Being ‘super-secret’ isn’t always the best approach, at least not the most efficient one. Still, they had me caught and I started to seriously believe I would be executed and buried in a nameless grave.

‘If they want to stay in the dark’ I thought ‘they can’t possibly let me out unless they erase my mind first…’ The MK-Ultra experiments I had been reading about came to mind and brought with it a chilling terror that went deep to my heart. To me, it felt like it would be a fate worse than death to have your soul assassinated in that way. I’d rather die.
Some nights, I ‘d catch myself hitching into a sobbing fit and it would take a lot of focus on my family, friends new and old, to send the tears back into the darkness.

I the midst of all this peril and distress, I had a little light inside of me that kept me company in the dark; each interrogation that didn’t mention any of my helpers or their whereabouts was a success. Hellmutt had already been asked about but nothing implied that he had been caught. Ziggystar and Jinx were also names that they knew of, but they never went in on any details about them so I figured they were safe too.

They seemed very interested in how I had met the weatherman in Australia but I lied and said I had just met him in the docks and bribed him into letting me onboard that research vessel. Why they had found me in Jinx’s apartment didn’t seem to interest them either for some reason. Biad was only mentioned that first time I met the wrinkled, crooked old man, but Chad and Zazz seemed to have escaped their grip totally. This was great news for me because the idea that they were all free and safe on the outside was an invaluable source of inner strength for me. For the most part I just both acted and actually was lethargic.
When the interrogator got tired and angry with me, I just turned silent like a brick wall and prepared for the electric shocks. At least then, all I had to do was scream and eventually fade out into the safe darkness of unconsciousness where no further questions could be asked.

My biggest test was not to turn insane, which I was bordering closer to for each day that passed because the second or third night, when I was thrown back into my chamber, they started playing a tape with a repetitive loop that soon dug a deep scar in my brain;
“Resistance is futile. You will crumble and fall. There is no escape. We will crush your mind”
I wouldn’t let my mind be crushed, I refused to, but that infernal, monotonous message just kept on going until I started hearing my own version of it;
“Reliance’s benign. You Cumberland enwall. Kherson in tape. Vigil brush yeoman…”
It didn’t make much sense, but I kept myself busy trying to figure out what to make of it. My vivid imagination was a great tool in this darkest hour…

So came the day when the ‘need’ had been denied for too long, but to my favour. I woke up with a horrible stomach pain. When the guards came into my cell I moaned like a wounded animal and begged to be taken to a doctor. They left the room but came back shortly after. I was taken outside, with my regular hood on, and put in a car. We drove a short distance and then I was taken into a house. As they put me on a bed and removed my hood, I saw that I was in a field hospital. A medic gave me a short examination. I suddenly became aware that if I told them the real reason for my pain, they might give me a laxative and then it would all be over. Instead I pointed to my sides;
“The pain… They hit me so hard. Please, give me something for the pain!” I squirmed and moaned the best I could, but in fact, I really was in deep pain. The medic looked at the guards with disgust and they left the room for a while
I heard a discussion going on but couldn’t make out any words. A few moments later, the medic came back in. He gave me a concerned look and said quietly;
“These are some real bad people you’ve come across. They won’t let me treat you. But I will get you something for the pain and you are allowed to rest here for a couple of days”.
He opened a jar and gave me two pills.
“Here, take this” he said and gave me a cup of water. I swallowed them down. Soon, I felt a comforting numbness spread through my body. I slowly slipped into some strange state of dull dozing.


[edit on 28-3-2010 by Raud]





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