The hate crime of having attacked the President of the Unites States could not go unpunished, it was an affront to civilization. The failure to exercise vigilante justice against President Clint Williams invited a ruthless backlash not only against us, but against any citizen suspected of harboring revolutionary thoughts against the presidential junta. The cruelty of the retribution would have made Stalin blush. Clint Williams was not a man to blush.

"Sometimes I think my adversaries are pathologically obsessed with my destruction," the president spoke to a rally of supporters. "They do not understand the Transhumaist political process of peace on which we are embarked. Peace is about real people and their hopes and their dreams. So this recidivist opposition to our environmental and domestic pacification programs, to our inoculation drive, sometimes you ask how do I put up with it? Well, how do you put up with mosquitoes in Arkansas? You just swat them and go on. It's part of living."

And swat them he did. "Dusting off former President Biden's decades old National Strategy for Combating Domestic Terrorism, Williams unleashed the FBI on anyone who mouthed a word of dissent. Stalin's enforcers were the dread NKVD secret police goons, but President Williams was more sophisticated. He appointed Mahdi Ahmadi director of the Center of Disease Control and its Civilian Police Force.

Disease was defined as anything that stood in the path of a New World Order. Anyone who opposed the regime was declared "insane" and shipped to new Gulag asylums in the Mojave desert for "re-education". Was Ahmadi a savior, a healer of the world, or the president's jackboot enforcer? Few knew the president's intent, cloaked behind onion layers of Machiavellian calculation interspersed with assertions of moral purity.

"I am appointing Mahdi Ahmadi, my friend and a true American Patriot, to be the director of the CDC," the President proclaimed before a press conference room of slackjawed federal journalists. "Now, there have been rumors on hate radio and from the mosquitoes who often attack me, claiming Mahdi Ahmadi is not an American. That he is an Jihadi Islamist!" A look of disgust curled on the President's face at the thought of these intolerant insects. "These are the same hatemongerers who are engaging in partisan politics against our national inoculation program. To silence these rumors, I am giving a special presidential citizenship dispensation to my friend the Mahdi."

"I ran for president for a very clear reason," Williams continued. "I thought our country was divided and drifting; that we were not succeeding; that we were clearly the greatest country in human history, but that we were too dominated, completely paralyzed and in the grip of mosquitoes. We can no longer endure the mosquitoes, that is why I am also giving the CDC and Mahdi Ahmadi new enforcement power to assure the success in our war against disease, against those who would deny peace to this nation!"

The Mahdi's appointment would have been unusual at any other time, but not so strange perhaps in a time of war. The President gave enforcement tools usually held only by the FBI to his head of th Center for Disease Control. The president's executive order giving Mahdi Ahmadi directorship also authorized the CDC to begin confiscating the remaining guns held by private citizens (they were a disease on civilization and therefore came under FDA regulation). It would soon become unhealthy to oppose the will of this president, and especially unhealthy to oppose the FDAP, the Food and Drug Administration Police. FDAP was now the feared agent of change.

Some thought of Ahmadi's new citizenship and appointment to head the FDA as a legitimate campaign perk (after all, Ahmadi had given $3 million of Ultima funds to the reelection campaign). The press went ho-hum. Those who might have objected were afraid of the retribution they well knew this President capable of.

Vice President Gregory Alberts raised the rhetoric, and eyebrows, even higher, in his praise of the president's appointment.

"The health of the entire world is at stake, we all know this. How could the fight for Gaia not take into account the overpopulation of our planet and the pollution it has caused? With Mahdi Ahmadi's appointment, the CDC now has the teeth necessary to begin enforcing population control measures that will benefit us all."

"We have also enlisted the private BigTech information sector to help search out and destroy the insurrectionists. Gaggle, Facely, PeachPhone and Twister are working together as the Cyberspace Information Service to track and root out all subversive information packets, no matter whether they are fractally encrypted."

Even as President Williams was congratulating Mahdi Ahmadi on his new position, elite CDC stormtroopers, honed in through Cyberspace Information Service surveillance, were assaulting Sapphire's rebel hideaway in Monterey. The troops, really the Mahdi's praetorian guard enlisted as the new enforcement arm of the CDC, were closing in on us.

I was walking in the forest, unaware of the appointment of Mahdi Ahmadi, contemplating the part I'd played in Sapphire James failure to stop the President's evil juggernaut, when the assault began. The first notice I had we were being attacked was when I found one of the children, Billy, dead in the brush by the side of the trail, shot through the back. Billy had been walking his dog Trooper. Trooper trotted up as I kneeled by the boy, licked the young child's face and lay down in a pool of blood panting out its own last breaths. I began to run, crazily, towards the compound.

Far down the trail I could see snipers in the trees holding 50 caliber Barrett rifles, coldly sniping my friends in the rebel group as they moved about the cabin site. I saw Adrian, holding her child, fall with a bullet through the forehead. Samuel, Billy's father, chopping wood, was felled quietly so no panic would ensue.

"Attack!" I yelled at the top of my lungs, "Take cover!" This attracted fire to me and the rocks around me whistled with the sound of high powered rifle shots. An FDAP agent appeared on the trail even as I pulled a Berretta from my waist. I aimed and fired four 9mm slugs into his flak jacket, stopping his attempt to shoot back. A final slug between his eyes solved the problem.

Sapphire was brought down by a tazer gun as she tried a desperate attempt to make an escape up the hillside. Realizing she was caught, she raised her gun to her head. "You bastards can go to hell!" She screamed in defiance, but was caught by another jolt of voltage before she could pull the trigger.

"This is the package we came for," one of the agents was heard to say cryptically, holding Sapphire down and binding her hands with tie-wrap cuffs.

I wanted to shout "Here I am, take me!" But I realized with sickening disgust that the better part of valor was to run for my life. My friends were lost to superior firepower. If I were captured, all hope of retribution would be gone.

Then all hell really broke loose. An AC130H gunship let loose with 30mm and 105 milimeter howitzer fire ripping up the hillside and outer buildings in a shower of wood splinters and tracer bullets.

Another sniper had turned his attention to me, telltale plink sounds came as bullets hit rocks on the trail. I aimed and felled him with my Beretta, pure luck at that distance. I turned and began to run into the forest, the feeling of yellow cowardice nearly overwhelming my logical decision to save myself to fight another day. I ran until I could run no more.

Late in the night, a hooded figure visited the splintered remains of the rebel cabin, only to find bodies stacked like cordwood on the cabin deck, waiting shipment for forensic study in some infernal CDC laboratory. There were two CDC SWAT agents and a reporter from the Cyberspace Information Service listlessly standing guard, confident that any assault on them would be suicide. They were surprised to find a hooded man kneeling by the corpses, glowing as though someone held a penlight to his face.

"He's here!" One of the agents screamed, and 20,000 watts of floodlights inundated the scene.

"You can't fight, we have overwhelming force arrayed against you Dr. Heller," a very nervous CDC agent spoke quietly, using his best conflict resolution technique. In the background all that could be heard was a silent whisper of wind through the trees, and the clicking of ammo clips and rifle mounts as twenty weapons trained on the lightbeing.

"Make my day," the lightbeing said quietly, began to rise as if to surrender even while drawing a silver samurai sword with the same stroke from over his back, beheading the nearest agent where he stood.

An explosion out of nowhere doused the flood lights (a handgrenade trip wired near the generators and set off by one of the CDC agents). A carnal inferno arose as a firefight lit up the area with streaking sparks of tracered ammunition. The screams of dying agents, slashed and gutted by the raging lightbeing, or caught in their own crossfire, rent the air. After a seeming eternity, quiet reigned.

"Vengeance is a poor substitute for the lives of the innocent," the lightbeing cursed the night. A new mound of corpses was raised and a message pinned on them.


Now it was midnight and the lightbeing was on the run again, crashing through the underbrush, pursued by elite CDC commandos and Cyberspace Information Service agents. The sky was heavy with helicopter dervishes which pierced the darkness with their searchlights, tracking his body heat with infrared sensor pods. Yet, more frightening than these hunters of flesh, blood and lethal machinery was the lightbeing's own inner terror. While his body was threatened by reality, his mind was a million miles away in a parallel flight through cyberspace, chased by demons who pursued him and his protecting angel Ell.