They had brought Cora down a long hallway. When they reached the end, the General opened the door and motioned her inside. The room was barren save for two chairs. He motioned her to the furthest chair. She sat down and watched him carefully. There was an obvious tension. She did not trust this man. And didn’t even know exactly why. He sat down in the chair across from her. She barely perceived the nod he gave. She felt a stick and a few seconds later she felt heavy, her mind foggy. She took a breath and let it out slowly. The fog cleared some but she found she couldn’t move. She heard the General’s voice as if from a distance. “You fooled us, young lady.” He said. His voice quiet and yet stern. “You were supposed to have died within hours of your birth.” How would he have known that? “You proved stronger than any of the many subjects we have used over the decades.” Did he say decades? “Yes, child.” He answered her unspoken thought. “You are one of a handful of children who survived the initial trials of an ambitious hybridization experiment.” Hybridization? Cora had a healthy love of sci fi and conspiracy theories. She had read stories of women being impregnated by aliens of different races. But in these cases, the women were artificially inseminated. If the pregnancy was successful, the aliens or the military would return and abduct the women. They would remove the child and the woman would be none the wiser. On rare occasions though, the aliens would go to far and remove the uterus entirely. This would be explained away that the woman had never been born with one and had experienced a phantom pregnancy. One extreme case, a woman was five months pregnant and had gone to the doctor one morning. During that exam, she saw a perfectly healthy child in the sonogram. By the following morning, she sensed something was terribly wrong. She could no longer feel the child’s movements. When she returned to the dr’s office and a second sonogram was done, her uterus along with the child was completely gone. The doctor was shocked as was the woman and her husband. And yet days later, the doctor called her back claiming there had never been a viable pregnancy. Her records stated that she she had been born without a uterus altogether. There had been no sonogram. He even went so far as to claim he was treating her for pseudocyesis. He threatened if she didn’t stop calling his office, he would have her committed for severe mental illness. She spent years trying to acquire her past medical records only to be denied access to them altogether and when she was finally allowed a copy, it claimed that she had been diagnosed as not having a uterus as a teen. This conflicted with the memory of all the pap smears she had had since then. Despite the MIC’s best efforts, they could not convince the woman of their version of the truth. All the woman could do was grieve the loss of her child. Some years later, they went on to adopt children, but the loss and the obvious coverup was never forgotten. Cora had a mother and father, so she knew she was the product of the two, having both her parents qualities. The General chuckled. “The hybridization process can occur anytime during the first three months trimester. When your mother came in to find out the sex of the child, it was easy enough to inject the alien Dna into the fetus using the amniocenteses. Your mother’s use of drugs and alcohol no doubt had a negative effect on the experiment.” Cora felt lost and angry. Her entire life had been a struggle. Suffering one loss after another. Children, relationships, and even her sanity at times it seemed. She had thought that her psychic abilities had been hereditary. Didn’t her mother claim that all the women in her side of the family had been blessed with abilities? Each woman exhibiting different and yet similar abilities. Premonitions, Intuition, Lucid Dreaming, Manifestation, Healing, Empathy. The General continued. He seemed to know exactly what answers she wanted. “Your lineage has been most useful. Of all the families we have chosen over the centuries, yours has produced extraordinary numbers of children with the most useful abilities. Your children are three for four at this point, I believe.” Cora glared at him. The General only waved her away. “Your children never showed enough potential to be used as assets. It was the fact that you had been the first to produce highly sensitive specimens repeatedly. And without manipulation being needed.” Cora took another breath. The fog was nearly gone now. “If you want us to be willing to expend the resources to rescue your son, you will need to cooperate and procure the information we need. The sooner you get us what we need, the sooner this will be over and you can return to your life. The only guarantee I can give you is that as long as you do as your told, no harm will come to you or your children.” He paused. The next words he said chilled Cora to the core. “Or your grandchildren.” He intended to continue to use her family? There seemed to be multiple enemies involved in this game. Did Noah know? She waited, expecting the General to answer her unspoken question yet again. There was silence. “Shall we begin.”
Noah had returned to his room, he was exhausted. The meeting had run for over ten hours. He had hoped that Cora would be waiting for him when he opened the door. She was still gone. He lay down and closed his eyes. He relaxed his mind. He could sense Cora’s frustration. He reached deeper.
The General motioned to the men to stop when he saw Cora’s nose begin to bleed profusely. Her head lulled to one side. They had reached their limit with her. He growled. “Clean her up and return her to her room.” He barked. The two soldiers each grabbed an arm and drug her from the room. The General rubbed his temple and sighed in frustration. When he finally left the room, he found Jennings holding Cora’s unconscious form in his arms. His lips tight. Jennings wanted to punch his superior in the face. They had pushed Cora too far too fast. He had seen so many good men and women destroyed during these sessions. “Two days.” Was all the General said. He walked away.
Noah heard the knock on the door. His eyes flashed when he saw Jennings holding Cora. “They’ve given her two days to recover.” He told his friend as he gently lay Cora down on the bed. Jennings took a seat at the table. Noah kissed Cora on the forehead and gently covered her up before joining his friend. “Did they learn anything?” Jennings shook his head. “The General drugged her heavily during the first session. Definitely not standard procedure for remote viewing.” Jennings watched his friend close his eyes. “What information are they after exactly?” Jennings shrugged. “I would assume the location of her son. This would at least lead them to further intel. We know that the ones holding her son are the lowest rank. They are simply following the orders from higher up the food chain. The General will want the motherload. He’s going about it the wrong way. They’ll burn Cora out at this rate. She wasn’t trained for this. Least of all an intensive session right out of the gate.” There was something more personal going on here. Noah knew. The fact that the General was involved with Cora’s very existence was troubling. “Jennings, could you get some information for me?” His friend looked at him, raising an eyebrow. “You know me too well.” Noah told him. “I’ll see what I can do. Getting her files won’t be easy. It will mean calling in all my favors and maybe a few of your own. But you can’t read it here. I’ll see if we can get a mission on the outside. The General has too many eyes and ears here.” Noah caught his breath. His friend smiled at him. “Don’t worry, we’ll be back before she comes to.” Jennings got up and led Noah out the door, locking it behind him. He leaned in and whispered to the guard. “No one is to disturb her. Period. And if they do, you let me know.” The young man nodded. “Yes, sir.” Noah looked at his friend. “I made sure only my most trusted men are around. That way no matter what goes on, I’m the first to know. We’ll make this quick. I promise.”
The mission they were given was a simple one. Jennings and Noah were sent on a supply run. While they were out, Jennings called in his favors and within three hours a sealed envelope was delivered by courier to their hotel. As Noah poured over the mountain of paperwork, he found a family tree that went back hundreds of years. In each generation, the women were kidnapped, impregnated and watched. Any child that showed the highest ability was removed from the family permanently. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome seemed to be the common thread. Cora’s own brother was pronounced dead with it. He was born Sept 2, 1977. Three months later, the father claimed the child had died in his sleep. He denied the mother the ability to see the child’s body. When the day of the funeral arrived, the mother held a baby in her arms in a photo. The mother knew this wasn’t her child. The baby she held was five months old at least. And yet any attempt she made to point this out was countered by those around her. She was imagining things. She must be suffering from temporary insanity due to the trauma of losing her child. And yet Noah found a receipt written to a General and his wife for ten thousand dollars. The money given to the father for the sale of the supposedly dead child. It made him feel sick. There was no more interference as the mother went on to have two more children and was allowed to keep them. Though they were watched carefully. Neither of them exhibited any sign of psychic ability. The abuse the children suffered at the hand of their parents was written in extensive, thorough and disgusting detail. It nearly made Noah throw up. They knew of the abuse and apparently watched and did nothing as it continued for years. Noah marveled again had how well Cora had survived her childhood. Despite all she had been through, she was still a happy, upbeat and optimistic woman. Noah smiled. The General may have well met his match. Whatever challenge Cora was presented with in her life, she always overcame it. Going beyond the expectations of others. Especially the military. If Noah didn’t know any better, it was almost as though the General were afraid of her. He believed he had control. And his record had proven that to be true with resounding results. The children he “acquired” went on to be great assets. Allowing the military to have almost limitless power. Almost. Each child was only able to be used for a period of time before succumbing to the side effects of using their abilities. They were always pushed to the breaking point. Resulting in coma and ultimately death. The military always assumed they could find more. Cora’s children were exceptional compared to all the crop they had grown over the years. Three of her four children showed great potential and yet somehow, the military had been unable to simply take the children. They had tried to take them all at once on one occasion, but Cora had beat them at their own game. All of her children were returned to her not long after removal. But not without some residual damage and trauma. The MIC had overplayed their hand making the children useless to them. It was no wonder the General held animosity toward her. She had not only survived, she had bested the system. Her children had grown and thrived and went onto live happy lives despite their interference. Until now. Cora’s son Bowen was now being used as bait. But for what purpose? What did the enemy hope to gain by holding Cora’s son? Surely they knew that Cora would not be allowed to simply walk into a trap. The General already had her. So taking her son was redundant. Unless there was a separate agenda. And his father had taught him at a young age that plans laid out by those with evil intentions were always webs within webs of moves, countermoves, and backup plans for all of them. “Let’s take a break.” Jennings says. “You’ve been pouring over those papers for hours. How bout a drink?” Noah sighed. A drink sounded good. A welcome distraction. They found a local pool hall and spent a few hours unwinding. They would head back with the supplies early the next morning, so they drank sparingly. They returned to the hotel, packed their few belongings and slept well that night. They made it back to the base a few hours later. After reporting in. Noah hurried to his room. The paperwork had been returned discreetly after Noah had copies of the information copied and put away for safe keeping. When he opened the door, he was relieved to see that Cora was indeed still sleeping. He undressed and slid into bed beside her, hearing her sigh as she cuddled up next to him. He could feel the tension in her body ease, her breathing become more even.
She woke just in time for dinner. As she and Noah sat enjoying their meal, she described to him what had happened during the session. Noah explained to her how the training and sessions were supposed to be conducted. Being a civilian, she was being introduced to their methods in a very barbaric way. Though Cora understood the purpose, she voiced her opinion of the General boldly and without reservation. Noah chuckled. “You’re much stronger than he wants to give you credit for.” Cora nodded. “I love a challenge.” “No doubt.” Noah said in agreement. ” Then again, so does the General. He knows what he wants, and he will stop at nothing to get it.” He took Cora’s hand. “But you are the only one who can control what happens. You have no idea the extent of your abilities. And neither does he. But you must pace yourself.” Noah switched to telepathy. “Give him what he wants. But not all of it. And not all at once. It’s like a game of chess.” Cora frowned. “I was never any good at chess.” Noah laughed. “Then just follow your instincts. They’ve gotten you this far.” Cora nodded. Noah held her chin gently and kissed her deep, igniting her core. With a smile, Noah picked up their tray. He heard Cora groan. Noah had done that on purpose. He had told her after she had woke up that he had volunteered for guard duty that week. And of course his shift started as soon as he dropped off the dishes in the mess hall. Well two could play at that game.