“Lev, it’s Gray, let me in! I was captured! I have vital information! Hurry! I’m fading! There’s not much of me left…” Gray knows his lines. I have none.
Through a combination of post-hypnotic suggestion and Gray’s real time promptings, I will know what to do when it is time. Meanwhile, I am to be given a series of memory suppressants and mind-altering, disorienting substances. By the time I’m left off in Carnival city, there won’t be much of me left, if any.
I will be sent by well-stocked robocar to the squat where Kore is suspected of hiding. This is the tricky part of the plan, since we are not sure that the mercs are ignorant of the place. But I will need a secured hide-out from the street noise if there is to be any chance of keeping me from attention grabbing public freak-outs in my to be debilitated state. This is why I am being sent with supplies. We don’t want me on the street any more than necessary to get Gray to his bio-twin, Lev. We need to avoid the chance of me being picked up in a general street sweep against derelicts and possible trouble makers by the local authorities, or being recognized somehow as a freak by any of ours or theirs, which would blow my cover. We are pretty confident that if the mercs did know about Kore’s hide-out we would have seen evidence of that by now. Even if they are watching the place and did discover me there, though, the probability would be that I would just appear to be some crazy street person seeking shelter. It’s a small risk that we have to take.
If Kore is there, Gray will give me the trigger for an encoded message in a nonsense song to let him know to escape in the robocar. In any case, my post-hypnotic orders will get me and the supplies into the squat, after which the car will take itself, on its own orders, far away and I will forget entirely its and my former existence.
Gray has his story mapped out to convince Lev of our dire condition, and the folly of letting Central Command know there’s a ghost in their lair. Once safely linked in, he will tell Lev that the hit on the compound killed our leaders and most of the technical crew. Gray, barely alive, was able to escape in the confusion as his captors realized they were on their own. Now the rebels are only the motley group and individual survivors who were away from the compound on assignment. They are lost without their planning elite to give them their orders. Of course, it would not be wise to let Central Command know this intel came from a quickly fading ghost. They might well torture Lev in pursuit of more information that he does not possess. No, much better to tell them that he picked this up from panicked empaths in the Carnival crowd during his security sweeps. There must be no more than a very few disorganized rebel agents here, probably trapped after the capture of their cohorts not so long ago. Once Gray is assured of Lev’s cooperation, he can fade out as if his ghostly presence is no more, leaving any questions Lev might have formed without focus to form around. Then, Gray can listen to the Central Command’s plans and concerns through Lev’s unknowingly compromised consciousness, and pass on the intel through me to Calinda.
“Calinda will link in with you, but she will maintain silence and be physically in a different location, out of range of the patrolling merc force. She will relay the messages you pick up from Gray, without involving your conscious participation.”
Reag emphasizes our security concerns as we are weaving out this plan, looking for holes to pick in the fabric, making sure we are all in sync. I am to be an idiot-conduit. Rather, I am not to be at all. The consciousness previously known as Dorie will be back in her ignorant bliss of non-existence. This time, though, there’s more than my life riding on the outcome. In fact, my life, my sanity, are not even concerns. There’s plenty of chance that I will not be coming back from this mission, whatever the overall success or failure, even if I physically survive.
We know the Central Command will be meeting at the Imperial Hotel, where they have been putting their security in place. The hotel is well placed in the center of the city’s arts and entertainment complex, the heart of the Carnival celebrations. There will be plenty of crowd cover as I wander about, giving Gray the opportunity to discover Lev’s location. The Guard will have several occasions to circulate among the crowd before and during the festivities.
Once I get Gray to his bio-twin, any damned thing can happen to me, as long as I stay alive to be a conduit for his intel. This mission is what matters, my people, my cause. That’s who I am, not some trivial identity, so flimsy it can be erased with drugs.
We have decided to go in on the first night of Carnival. The robocar can enter the seedy, public service abandoned part of the city where I will be landing under cover of darkness. All the mercs’ attention will be focused on the center of the crowds and entertainment. Their Central Command, ensconced in their secured hotel, will be feeling safe and ready to enjoy the early ceremonies and festivities, relaxing before their substantive meetings later in the week. This gives us just a couple of days to prepare. We are keeping this operation quiet; only the very few of us directly involved need to know. We have been making our plans in a secluded, secured location. Tonight I say my good-byes to these few friends, comrades, family. Tomorrow I, essentially, will be gone, with no assurance of return. As if there is any real assurance for any of us, day to day. It’s not like I haven’t been down this road before, and that by my own volition. Best that I concentrate my thinking on my will to success. Now, no more thinking, concentrate on enjoying this evening with loving companions while that option exists.
A robocar, stocked with everything we have thought to need, will soon be landing in a cleared space within our conspiratory camp. Tomorrow I will be tied down and injected with mind-killing drugs. I will be left with pre-programmed suggestions, my orders, waiting to be triggered by a ghost at the appropriate times. The next day, crazy and haunted, I will go to Carnival.