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In the darkness, amidst the gloom of a dilapidated barn on a West Virginia farm, surrounded by drifting and blowing snow, two menacing phantoms huddled against the graying clapboards of the old building. Chilling brisk wind swept through cracks in the wall, causing the pair to pull their heavy winter coats against their shivering bodies. The winter storm had swept across the Midwest and was now taking its fury out on the hill country of West Virginia. The old abandoned farm sat a few miles southwest of Charleston and served as a meeting place for the two men when their business was so important, so secretive, it demanded utmost privacy. They'd bought the farm a few years before. It had more significance than merely serving as a meeting place for their infrequent clandestine operations. Their research lab was located on the property, completely isolated from the rest of civilization. Only eight members of the research team even knew the location of the laboratory. They'd die before they told anyone else about it. They were the most secretive research team on earth because the scope of their research involved the fate of the entire human race. The value of their knowledge was estimated to be in millions of dollars.
One of the figures stepped closer to the other to be heard above the howling winds. "Okay, Schwartz, what's so damn important you had to call me all the way out here in this freezing weather at midnight? It'd better be monumental."
Schwartz looked deep into the old man's dark eyes. He thought he could see something so evil, he couldn't contemplate how foreboding, how horrifying that something really was. The endless darkness in thoseeyes seemed to tug at him, luring him into the murky void of horror that had encapsulated them both for over fifty years. Traumatized for a moment, he stood with snowflakes as large as his thumb falling around them, sleet peppering his already frozen skin and wind cutting through his heavy coat like a knife. Finally he answered, "We've found certain chemicals to stimulate the brain cells and thought processes…allowing us full control over human emotions and activities. Of utmost interest is the fact we can induce a subject to do what we desire simply by suggesting it or giving the subject a direct order. That means we can completely modify human behavior. Control everything humans do, and influence the direction the human race will take for our own benefit. This is the most important discovery in history."
The old professor stood staring at the other man. He'd been hopeful for such a development. After years of meticulous, painstaking research, they'd finally reached a milestone. Now he was closer to realizing the dream his father, whom he admired more than anyone else in the world, had visualized more than sixty years ago. That dream would mean the coming of a new world order unlike anything the world had ever seen. Even the mental image of the German, god-like figure his father had admired, worshiped and followed paled in comparison to what he'd be one day soon.
His father, a devout Nazi and great physicist, had been in search of a human behavior control mechanism, too, but his father had failed. Now the son had taken up the burden and after fifty years had finally succeeded where his father had failed.
"Those brown shirts will one day march across the planet, with their high-stepping boots slamming the ground so hard the echo will be heard around the world," his father had once predicted. He grinned slightly at the thought of being so close to making his father's dream come true. Hitler and his thugs hadn't been able to make the concept work.
But the professor had the money and resources, plus advanced technology far beyond anything available to the crusaders of long ago. He'd make it work, because he'd promised his father he would. The professor's grin faded as he recalled what those brown shirts, swastikas and polished boots stood for. Millions would perish; nonetheless, in the aftermath of the slaughter and chaos, a new society would arise.
"Splendid," he finally proclaimed, pulling his heavy coat about him with great effort. Shivering anyway, he asked, "Did you find a drug that will allow us to finalize our plans?"
"Oh, yes," Schwartz shouted, his voice competing with the screaming wind. The professor had hearing difficulties. Schwartz obviously wanted to be sure the professor understood what he was saying. After all, the professor's grant money had funded most of the project. "We finished working on the drug last week. We can start testing as soon as we can locate subjects interested in contributing to our research."
"We have to make sure it works," the professor said, putting his hand firmly on Schwartz's arm to pull him even closer. "I want a full test program, to make sure it's what we're looking for. We cannot afford any further delays. What have you done to meet our goals?"
"Goals? We've completed our research and determined the human mind can be controlled with the proper drugs. The drug we developed enhances a person's susceptibility to subliminal projection-the power of suggestion-and allows us to completely control behavior. Criminals could be turned into ordinary citizens and common ordinary citizens will be whatever we want them to be.
"In our case, we want the masses to become our first step in creating a master race of superior beings. I've already recruited men, and have begun the first phase of creating our army. We have enough doctors, technicians, and engineers at our hidden complex to ensure the first stage of our operation is a complete success. The next step is to recruit six subjects to test our drug and our ability to control their behavior through subliminal suggestion and by direct commands. I'll start the recruitment process immediately."
"We must handle this carefully, Schwartz," the professor cautioned. "We only need a few people for testing. Once we're sure the drug works, we'll get rid of them and the research team that worked on the project. With all of them out of the way, we'll be the only ones with extensive knowledge about what has happened. We can tell them they're testing a flu vaccine. They won't even be aware they're testing our mind-control drug. Of course, we need to be sure we have all the data the research team collected before we let them go, so to speak. Nobody must know about our accomplishments. Absolutely nobody."
"That can be easily arranged," Schwartz assured. "We'll need to conduct further tests on the subjects after we've done the preliminary studies. We'll need blood samples and their brains to study. We'll simply kill the study subjects and recover their brains. That will eliminate possible information leaks and get rid of any threat they might present to us."
The shadowy phantom Schwartz addressed only as "the professor" struggled against the prevailing wind to maintain his balance. Even with the barn to protect them, the wind still chilled their souls. "Let's step inside," the man said, tugging at Schwartz as if he thought he hadn't heard. Schwartz followed him inside and pulled the double doors closed behind them. Wind whistled through cracks between the boards and snow swirled in with the wind. "This is a little warmer, but not by much," the professor admitted.
"A little better than outside, though." Schwartz stood staring at the piles of drifted snow inside the barn and wondered if the professor really understood the implications of their research. They were within days of realizing their dream of conquering the world…or most of it.
"Enough idle chatter," the professor announced irritably, his voice loud inside the empty barn. "Next time, we'll meet at the complex in an isolated, but heated building, where nobody will know."
"That's impossible just now," Schwartz argued. "With limited space available, every building is crowded with occupants. By next month, we'll have plenty of space because of the new construction. It was entirely necessary to meet here because nobody must hear our conversation or learn our secret." Schwartz wondered why he was defending his actions against the old man. It had been his suggestion they meet in such an isolated spot in the first place. Schwartz would rather have met at Wendy's or some other warm restaurant.
The professor was in command for the time being. Soon, his function would change, and Schwartz could hardly wait until the day when he himself took over the operation. After all, even Hitler had his enemies, as did every other dictator in history. Schwartz would bide his time until everything was right, then strike like a rattler on a hot summer day.
"Oh, I agree," the professor said. "What was it you were saying about needing their brains? Why do we need to have those for study?"
"We need to know exactly what affect the drug has on the brain cells and if anything might cause us problems. Although we will conduct an extensive study and follow strict scientific principles, I'd feel much better directly observing what happens to the subject brain tissue after they've taken the drug. The only way we can get samples of their brains to study is to kill them."
"If there's no other way, we must do what we must do," the professor muttered. "What do we do about the team members? How will we get rid of them?"
Copyright © 2007 Dallas G. Releford.