Night of Syn

syn - scarecrow

From the 1964 television show “Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow.”

“The character Hellspite only appeared in a 1963 television series based on the Russell Thorndike Doctor Syn novels. As you know, Thorndike created the fictional Christopher Syn and his alter ego, The Scarecrow in a book series he authored between 1915 and 1944, which was subsequently adapted for a 1937 movie and the aforementioned TV show.”

“Thank you Danae, but we already know this. How does it pertain to Fleming’s current location and where he is holding Sienna Thomas?”

Geoffrey Colins and Mikiko Jahn had arrived late last night and were currently running on determination and caffeine. This early morning meeting, jet lag, and the time change on top of lack of sleep had rendered Colins surly.

“Quite, but I need to relate the background so that my report will make more sense.”

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The Protector

iowa city fire

© J Hardy Carroll

The Present

“I’m gonna help you out Devon, but it’s the last time.”

Devon Willis was recovering from a compound fracture of his right arm at Rush University Medical Center. He’d told the police that he’d gotten into a fight with three other guys. Didn’t want to identify them and didn’t want to press charges. His doctor said he should stay for another day or two, but he had to get out of Chicago. His brother Cameron was going to drive him to the place he kept in Iowa City. Only Cameron knew about it, Devon’s hideaway.

“I know. I appreciate it. I swear I’ll pay you back.”

“The only thing I want from you is to never hear from you again. You broke poor Mama’s heart more times than I know. I haven’t told her you called me again. Figure she don’t need the grief.”

“I just need to get away from here. The other night…”

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Five Years On

memorial japan

In Namie Seiko Yoshida and her husband Tsutoshi offer a prayer for their late daughter Miki, who was killed by the tsunami while at work at a post office, in Ukedo district, 5km north of the nuclear plant – Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

Mikiko Jahn and Brigit Monroe stepped out of the ruins as the older couple drove away. They’d placed flowers on the foundation of what used to be their home across the street.

“I had dinner with them every weekend. I’d just introduced my fiance’ Ichioka the Sunday before the accident.”

Brigit, Mikiko’s psychologist, touched her forearm and felt it trembling. This visit was dangerous, but Mikiko insisted on going home for the anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Five years ago, the reactor 3 hydrogen explosion injured eleven and killed one, except Mikiko was only presumed dead. Her injuries were catastrophic. The government covered up the events around her reconstruction as the first synthetic organism. Cybernetic brain implants regulated all of her emotions until this morning when Brigit ordered the firmware upload.

Now Mikiko could feel…everything.

“Ochan. Otousan.”

Brigit put her arms around Mikiko and let her sob for hours.

I authored this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps image and location and use them to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Fukushima, Japan. I couldn’t believe it. For just over a month, I’ve been writing a science fiction/espionage series about a woman horribly mutilated in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster which began with a devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 and set in this very location.

Mikiko’s latest published adventure is The Most Dangerous Predator but the events here occur after Woman Under Repair but before Woman in the Shadows.

It’s tough to compress everything that’s happening in this scene into 150 words and have it be a complete story. As readers of her series know, soon after the accident, her “designer” Dr. Daniel Hunt had several cybernetic chips implanted in various parts of her brain to regulate her emotions. Being horribly mutilated and then being the object of numerous, highly invasive surgeries, literally being rebuilt from scratch using synthetic materials based on artificial DNA would be emotionally intolerable to just about any human being. The chips regulate those emotions, allowing Mikiko to endure her state and her transformation with relative calm. Her emotions can be programmed to even allow feelings of well-being and happiness under the most horrible circumstances.

Brigit Monroe is Mikiko’s psychologist and in her opinion, sooner or later, Mikiko must learn to regain at least some control of her emotions and especially to be allowed to experience grief over her loss, not just of her original body, but of her former life. Even Mikiko’s parents don’t know she’s alive, and because she is regarded as most secret by both the Japanese and British governments, she can never tell anyone she survived.

So I wrote this. In a longer tale, perhaps a novel, I would expand upon these events quite a bit. For now, this is the best I can do. The photo at the top has a caption that tells the real story of the people depicted. At the bottom, I’m including another photo of a real person memorializing those lost in the tsunami, but one I hope will express how Mikiko eventually embraces her new life.

Oh, “Ochan and Otousan.” are the best I can do using Goggle to have Mikiko say “Mommy and Daddy” in Japanese. If anyone out there can offer a correction, I’d appreciate it.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

flowers-memorial-fukanuma-beach-sendai

On Fukanuma beach, Sendai, a woman throws a bunch of flowers – Photograph: Ken Ishii/Getty Images

The Most Dangerous Predator

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Chicago skyline – stock footage

Mikiko heard and smelled them coming. The contact wasn’t with them but she’d been told they would arrive about now. When the door was kicked open and half a dozen heavily armed agents burst into the room, Sienna jumped halfway off of Fleming just as his hand emerged from the underside of a chair holding a Glock 26. He’d already been rapidly reaching for the weapon before the agents abruptly entered but to Mikiko, he might as well be moving in slow motion.

Sienna was on her hands and knees staring at the door, the agents behind her were still running in, and Timothy Fleming was now swinging his arm up from under the chair in the process of attempting to aim at Mikiko.

She moved her arms slightly and fired. Although his head and chest were now exposed, Mikiko avoided those targets. She could have permanently crippled Fleming by firing into his shoulder joint, but instead shot his right deltoid. At nearly point-blank range, the impact was astonishing, sending searing waves of pain through his arm, neck, and chest. He immediately released the Glock and reflexively shielded his wound with his left hand. She could have crippled him for life or even killed him. Why mercy? For Sienna’s sake or her own?

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What I’ve Always Dreamed Of

venus airships

Artist’s concept of a Venus cloud city — a possible future outcome of the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) plan.
Credit: Advanced Concepts Lab at NASA Langley Research Center

“Don’t look for what you don’t want to find…”

“So this is it; this is what I wished for; just isn’t how I envisioned it…”
— Eminem, from “Careful What You Wish For.”

Genaro tried to remember what happened. He’d been sleeping a lot lately but it wasn’t a natural sleep. They were trying to keep him quiet so he wouldn’t be a bother. Why couldn’t he see? Why were his arms and legs so heavy?

He tried to stand but although he could find the floor, he couldn’t find his feet. Something at the end of his leg was touching something below and to the side of him, but it wasn’t a foot. It was…was… What was it? What had happened? He realized now he couldn’t move his fingers. What was at the end of his arms? Why was it so hard to breathe?

He opened his mouth but couldn’t scream. He felt like he was suffocating. His head, yes he still had a head, was aching. The pain spiked and then there was nothingness.

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The Vengeful

900 N Michigan

© Marie Gail Stratford

It was late when Mikiko Kojima checked into the Four Seasons Hotel at 900 N. Michigan in Chicago.

The building was known as Bloomingdale’s given the shopping establishment’s significant presence, including its name on the structure. It contained some of the most upscale stores in the nation and the rather luxurious hotel in which Mikiko had been booked occupied the 30th through the 46th floors of the building.

There had been a sudden mix up in reservations at the last-minute once unknown government agencies requested that a room be made available for Ms. Kojima’s stay. Accommodations for at least one guest had to be made elsewhere with certain financial incentives added in order for Mikiko to have room 3014 open to her at two hours notice.

Her suitcase had been sent ahead of her, although it wasn’t actually her luggage. A large Louis Vuitton case had been purchased and clothing in Mikiko’s size was bought, packed, and then sent to the Four Seasons and placed in her room. She would seem a more legitimate guest this way since she had left England only with a small handbag and a carry on.

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Pursuit

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Body being pulled out of the Thames River – found at DailyMail.com

The body of a young woman has been found in the River Thames in Reading.

Thames Valley Police said the corpse was found shortly before 10:00 GMT on Tuesday morning, near the Thames Lido.

She has not yet been identified but officers believe she may have been a recently arrived undocumented immigrant.

Police are currently treating the woman's death as suspicious. According to Det Insp Robert Farming, an appeal for witnesses has been made.

Mikiko Jahn sat reading the BBC news story on the borrowed tablet over and over again, and then after a while stopped being conscious of the words. A photo was run with the story. She recognized the girl from Sebastian Wright’s security file.

The dead woman was a fourteen-year-old Syrian refugee who had been trying to escape to Europe when she and a group of twenty-one other young girls between the ages of twelve and seventeen had been captured by human traffickers. She and four others were routed to the UK, London, specifically to Wright to provide a night’s “entertainment” to a few select delegates at the symposium Mikiko had attended last week.

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Predators in Haven

 

sunset in haven

© Sue Vincent

She couldn’t believe he’d done it again, the assassin-for-hire known to international law enforcement agencies as Hellspite had eluded the American FBI, CIA, and even the unnamed British Agency she was on loan to.

Mikiko Jahn was a unique individual. Six years ago, she nearly died in a nuclear power plant accident and would have if the brilliant and eccentric scientist Daniel Hunt hadn’t saved her, literally rebuilt her from scratch with new and revolutionary processes and materials collectively known as Synthecon.

Now, even though in every manner conceivable, she looked, sounded, smelled, and acted like any other woman, only portions of her brain, nervous system, skeleton, and internal organs were biological…human. The rest, which made up over ninety percent of her physicality, was a set complex biosynthetic structures, maintained by hundreds of thousands of nanoscopic probes coursing through her bloodstream.

After the accident, the Japanese and British governments gave Hunt unlimited funds and resources. They only had two conditions. The first was to give Mikiko back the ability to be human, to interact with society normally, to seem to be the person she had been before. The second was to, as much as the technology would allow, make her more than human, augment her abilities, senses, even her emotions. They had plans for her.

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Hellspite

scarecrow

Scarecrow of Romney Marsh – from the Official Disney Fan page

“Why the bloody hell wasn’t I notified earlier? Never mind that. I want every available agent to comb Orly. Thomas might still be in the airport. And get people on her daughter’s disappearance. I don’t mean the local police, I mean our people. Tell them they don’t need warrants, they just need to produce results.”

Geoffrey Colins had been in bed fifteen minutes when the cell on his night stand rang. Amanda Thomas had abruptly left London by air over five hours ago, no explanation and certainly not on her schedule. Ever since Mikiko Jahn had discovered her identity and that she was tied to the Shadow Man, now revealed to be high-priced attorney Richard Singleton, his agency had been routinely monitoring her digital communications, but for some reason there was a foul up and the recording of her conversation with her daughter Sienna’s apparent kidnappers hadn’t been reviewed until less than an hour ago. By that time, Amanda’s flight had already touched down at Orly International Airport just outside of Paris. Agency staff reviewed Paris police computer records and discovered that her nineteen-year-old daughter hadn’t attended classes all day long. Presumably, she had been taken very early this morning by parties unknown.

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The Man in the Dark

shadow man

Black soul – Foto Giovanni Dall’Orto – Wikimedia Commons

Autumn 2017 – London

“Here’s what we’ve got from your video and description of the suspect. Amanda Thomas, 48 years old, born Zuhal Amanda Clarke, Father George Sanford Clarke, British, a nationally syndicated columnist and novelist, Mother Aliya Fowler, moderately successful painter of mixed English-Arab descent.”

Mikiko expected to be debriefed or briefed or whatever in some official government office, like the British Secret Intelligence Service building where MI6 was headquartered, but she found herself sitting in an uncomfortable wooden chair with several other people, none of whom she knew, listening to Geoffrey Colins speaking to them in a darkened room in what seemed to be an out-of-business clothing boutique, or rather the break room of said-business. A small, portable projector was throwing images on the blank wall behind him, showing a loop of the video she’d taken last night of the woman now called Amanda Thomas.

She didn’t get back to her hotel room at the Premier Inn Heathrow until after midnight this morning. She’d walked back to the nearest bus stop from the house she’d been watching and then, in her normal identity, got on board a bus traveling in the general direction she had come from. She’d received a text from Colins as to which stop she’d exit the vehicle. Once on the street and with the bus out of sight, she heard a car engine starting two blocks away and then drive toward her. At the same time she got a text from Colins stating “Get in the back.”

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