Episode 1 - The True
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The force is strong with this one the Seer thought; silently groaning at the clichéd reference. He had sensed an extraordinarily strong projection of the True Presence when he had met the young man at the job interview earlier in the week. That had prompted him to move quickly to put together an attractive offer and get him hired. It was rare to find individuals with an acceptable level of the Presence and extremely rare to find one with his level.
Despite the mental groan, his next thought was how astonished, intrigued, and probably fearful an ordinary person would be if he knew how realistic his thought was and all that entailed.
Callum McKinney tried to control his excitement. Enki Genetics was one of the most respected firms in the field and had a reputation for being on the cutting edge of genetic research. Less than two months ago he had graduated from UCLA’s graduate program in Genetics and Genomics. He had met an Enki representative at a job fair and he had been interviewed by Dagan Thoroddson himself three days ago. He had a job offer the next day. Currently, he was seated at a table in a small conference room adjacent to what he assumed was Thorroddson’s office. Thorroddson had indicated he was going to have two of his associates join them and had gone to retrieve them.
His train of thought was broken as Thoroddson returned with another man and an older woman. He watched them approach. Thoroddson was tall and had a lean runner’s body. When he moved, it was with a purposeful stride and seemed to exude a controlled power.
The other man was shorter and stockier. Not fat, solid. He moved with a careful, confident stride. His movements were precise and measured.
The woman was slender and lithe and moved with an effortless glide, almost seeming to float across the floor. She was one of those women that it was impossible to tell her age; beautifully mature, but not old looking. As he stood to meet them, the one thing he noticed immediately was that all three had striking steel-gray eyes.
“Haya, this is Callum McKinney. Callum this is Haya Karasdottir, she is in charge of all the training that we do and will be conducting your initial sessions.”
She extended her hand and as he took it he responded “A pleasure to meet you. I am looking forward to working with you.”
“Erran, Callum McKinney. Callum, Erran Bragason. He’s in charge of the group you’ll be joining. Now, shall we get down to business?” With a round of nods, they all took seats around at the table.
“Human Resources took care of most of the formalities, but there is one item that we always take care of personally.”
That’s a little weird. I wonder what the hell this is going to be about.
“We work with a great deal of proprietary data that is highly sensitive. That includes both research data and personal data of our subjects. We require that you sign this non-disclosure statement before we go any further.” Thoroddson pushed the document across the table to McKinney. “I want you to read it carefully before you sign. You will see that it is very restrictive; almost like getting a security clearance. I want to make it perfectly clear in the strongest terms that we will hold you to this promise. If you violate this policy you may expect the most severe legal consequences. Please consider carefully before you sign.”
What the hell? I mean yes it’s sensitive, but it is just genetic research. As he read through the document he felt a slight knot beginning to form in his stomach. While there were certainly controversial issues within the field of genetic research, especially from an ethics standpoint; this seemed to far exceed what was required to address those issues. The university had made him sign an NDA for some of the research he had worked on, but nothing as detailed and restrictive as this. He paused and weighed the restrictive nature of the document, wondering what in the world they were working on that required this level of scrutiny. While the detail of the restrictions worried him a little, the excitement that went with the possibility of working on something like this overrode his uneasiness and he signed anyway.
“Now that detail is resolved, let’s get started.” Thoroddson began. “What you are going to hear for the next few hours will probably astonish you, disorient you, confuse you, and maybe alarm you. I will remind you of the significance of the document you just signed.”
At this point, the knot had grown to the size of a softball. What the hell did I just get myself into?
“We take a very different perspective on genetic research here at Enki. We have a unique and critical mission for a particular aspect of our work. Are you familiar with the tales in ancient Eastern history and the passages in the Old Testament that describe monumental and fierce aerial battles among the gods that were fought with flying machines and all-powerful weapons?” Thoroddson asked.
“Vaguely.” McKinney answered, his curiosity piqued. “Why?”
“We believe those tales are highly accurate historical accounts of events that actually happened.” was the reply. “Those tales also spoke of gods visiting earth and interacting with the local people.”
Oh, crap. What kind of nut-job outfit have I gotten myself involved with? “And you know this how?” he asked with a slightly sarcastic tone.
“We have first-hand knowledge of those truths. Those ‘gods’ were our ancestors. And probably more surprisingly, yours.”
“What are you talking about?” McKinney replied. This is just getting more ridiculous by the minute!
The woman spoke for the first time. “Several thousand years ago there were two warring alien factions, who were attempting to gain control of the earth. It was rich in natural resources that both sides coveted. After a fierce and decisive battle, our ancestors were defeated. The few survivors fled to the earth’s surface and attempted to blend in with the population to avoid their enemies, who would annihilate them if they found them. For the most part, they looked very human and were able to avoid detection. That last battle was so widespread and so vicious that both sides must have incurred catastrophic casualties.” She paused for a moment. “Information from the period immediately after that last battle is very sketchy. Much of what we believe happened is educated guesses and conjecture. Our ancestors were desperately trying to survive and apparently scattered widely. What is still a mystery is what happened to our foes. They seemed to disappear for almost five hundred years. What we have come to assume is that their causalities were so severe that they too believed they had lost the battle and fled.”
“Wait a minute.” McKinney interrupted. “So you’re telling me that you are some kind of aliens?”
Thoroddson smiled. “Exactly. Genetically almost identical to humans, but aliens. There were several small groups of us that stayed together in various locations and maintained the purity of our kind. The ancient Hopi Indians called us their True White Brothers and to honor them, we call ourselves The True. True and pure ancestors of those original survivors.”
“You’ll have to pardon me if I’m having a little trouble wrapping my brain around this.” McKinney offered, trying to process this new information. “So how many of you are there today?”
Karasdottir answered, “There are a few thousand of us, scattered across the globe in small groups. Over the centuries, we migrated to places where our distinguishing features tend to mimic the local populations. Scandinavia, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, and here in the United States where there are large groups of immigrants from those countries. We are fairly confident in believing that many of the original small groups were lost or simply assimilated and got on with their lives.”
McKinney shook his head, mentally trying to come to grips with what he was hearing. “Okay. Suppose I buy all this. You said they were my ancestors too. How?”
“If you remember those stories that talk about the gods coming to earth and mingling with the natives; it also said they interbred with them. In doing so, they created a hybrid race. The human DNA tended to overpower and subvert our DNA and after a few generations, our DNA became highly recessive. You could not physically distinguish the hybrids from humans.”
“So I am one of your hybrids? Is that what you are telling me?” McKinney had started to feel a little light-headed.
“Over the years, our DNA was almost completely bred out of most of the hybrids. However, purely through chance, there are a small number of the hybrids that have survived with almost all of the True DNA intact. This was most probably facilitated by small, fairly isolated populations that did not disburse and tended to breed within the population. We refer to the True as kin and the hybrids as kith. The references come from old Scotland. Kin were blood family and kith were more distant relatives and in-laws, who were still considered part of the clan. Kith seems a little less clinical than hybrid.”
“And I am one of those?” McKinney asked.
“You are. You have one of the higher True DNA retentions I have ever encountered.” Thoroddson told him.
“How in the world do you know that?” McKinney asked. “You haven’t done any kind of testing or analysis on me.”
The woman smiled. “The Seer doesn’t need to do any physical tests. He can sense it through physical contact. Just a handshake is enough.”
“Are you this seer?” he asked, turning toward Thorroddson.
“I am.” Thoroddson replied. “I can sense the presence of our DNA. I can see your DNA report without having a report.”
“This is all a joke right?” McKinney stated. “Nobody can do that. This is crazy,”
Karasdottir spoke again. “Hidden within your DNA are keys to a wealth of information and abilities that you inherited from us and that has been passed down through the generations. For example, you have a complete knowledge of an ancient martial art that would make you a devastating hand-to-hand fighter if it were released and recalled.”
“Seriously?” McKinney replied, starting to get a little annoyed with the apparent absurdity he was being presented.
The woman stood up in one smooth motion. “You indicated on your resume that you have a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, is that correct?”
McKinney nodded. “Third Dan.”
“Then come show me.” she commanded as she moved to an open area in the office.
“Are you sure?” he asked with a slight chuckle. This will put an end to this BS, he thought. He moved into the open space as he took off his jacket and removed his tie. He then took off his shoes and socks. “Are you ready?”
She took a slightly open stance her hands extended in front of her, elbows drawn in. Her left arm was extended almost completely and the other closer to her chest. Her hands were open, but not tense. He threw a few quick jabs that she avoided easily. He tried a jab and cross combination that came nowhere near landing.
She’s had some training. He tried a few more punches and then fired off two kicks that missed badly. He was beginning to feel a little foolish. Okay. She is very good, but it doesn’t prove anything. A punch and kick combination also missed badly. I’ve never seen this style before. She almost seems to float away from every attack. Like she knows what’s coming. He tried a spinning back kick. It was his best move. The women stepped inside the arc of the kick and then slid away from the kicking leg with no contact whatsoever. Shit. He was starting to get a little alarmed. I was completely vulnerable and she chose not to attack. He threw a hard right hand. The woman deftly redirected his punch with her left hand and quickly stepped in and slapped her right palm against his chest. He felt a tremendous shock surge through his body. His knees buckled, his vision blurred and there was a loud ringing in his ears. He found himself sitting awkwardly on the floor and was having difficulty getting his eyes to focus and could not seem to catch his breath.
“What the hell was that?” he mumbled. He tried to get up but stumbled and sat back down.
“The ancestors called that technique Aksipati.” she replied. “It means ‘strike with a bolt’.”
“You have no doubt heard of tai chi masters who can project their chi.” Thoroddson added. “This is that same practice enhanced five hundred times. Skilled practitioners, such as Haya, can kill with it. It takes years of training to be able to control it to the degree she can. Few of us have the precision she has, which can make its employment dangerous.”
“And you say that I have that knowledge and skill hidden away somewhere in me?” McKinney asked, still trying hard to hide the skepticism. The Seer nodded a response. “And you can just bring it out if you want?” Again, he got a nod from The Seer.
“Have you read Jean Auel’s series of books about the Earth’s Children?” McKinney nodded. “Do you recall how the children of the Clan didn’t have to learn things, but instead they just had to be helped to remember? That is exactly what we do. We remind you of what you know.”
McKinney slowly shook his head. Am I gonna buy this story? “I’m still having some doubts about all this. It’s a lot to take in and process. I assume that’s the normal reaction?”
“We assume it is.” Karasdottir answered. “But we really don’t know what normal is. Only a very few kith are discovered and accepted by the Council. We have found fewer than a dozen in the last decade. You are the proverbial one in a million.”
McKinney shook his head again. “I’m not sure how to respond. This is so..”
“Bizarre is probably a good word for it.” Thorroddson interjected. “Right out of a science fiction movie. But this is very real and very serious. Perhaps a better demonstration will help you make up your mind. Come here and have a seat.”
McKinney got up slowly, still a little shaken and unsteady. He moved over and sat down in the indicated chair. The woman moved up behind him and began to speak in a low, soft, very soothing voice.
“I will help you remember. First, get comfortable and close your eyes. Relax. Listen to the hum of the air conditioner. When you think you are hearing it clearly, imagine you are looking at a bright blue, turquoise colored sky. Large, fluffy white clouds are slowly rolling across the sky. As you watch them move across the sky, focus on their movement. Empty your mind. Focus on the slow sinuous movement within each cloud.” Her voice droned out the instructions and became very encompassing. “Your only focus is the movement of the clouds.”
McKinney was vaguely aware as the women stepped directly behind him and gently pulled his head between her breasts. She wrapped her arms around his head and precisely placed each finger on a particular spot. He was now only conscious of the softness and warmth that enveloped him. Then he suddenly became aware of the others in the room and that the woman was no longer holding him.
“What just happened?” he asked.
“You have been reminded of a special body of knowledge and skills that you did not know you possessed.” the woman responded. “Come here and I’ll demonstrate.”
McKinney slowly got up moved toward the woman, not sure what to expect. Just as he was almost to her, he sensed rather than heard or saw movement behind him. Without a conscious thought, he turned and saw Bragason moving quickly toward him holding an object that looked like a raised club. He instinctively slid to one side without realizing he was moving. In two quick moves, he avoided the strike and disarmed him with what seemed like no effort. He followed by quickly taking him down and pinning him to the floor. At this point, he again became conscious of where he was and what he had just done. What he could not explain, was how he had done it. It began to dawn on him that nothing he had just done was a part of any martial arts he had ever studied. He looked up with a somewhat confused look on his face. As the enormity of what had happened began to sink in he blurted out “Son of a bitch! It’s true!” McKinney sat awkwardly on the floor, trying to come to grips with what he had just decided. So what do I do now? was his first thought, his head still spinning from what had just transpired.
C.C. Winchester      1/11/21 10:13 PMThis is a fun read and I'm excited to see what happens next! And I love the pop-culture references. I do that a lot in my writing too, because it's just fun.
Joe Gordon      1/12/21 2:22 PM
I am glad you're enjoying it. I appreciate the feedback!