COMMANDER AT THE SLIPGATE

SECOND DREAMER

Commander At The Slipgate 1

Audio log of Tácito Flores, base counselor, Cornudas Transport Research Complex: 1st week complete! The base is more remote than I thought. A 90-minute drive from anywhere. It is mostly underground. (Like most other civilians, I have to stay above-ground.) My office is a trailer in the shade of a hangar where they cage the dogs at night. They asked me not to talk to people about details of their work. I am used to that. The new commander-the 4th this year-arrived today: Col. Montell Rice. I need time to review his file. There is some history.

Commander At The Slipgate 2

He was sent to anger management more than once. First time, 18 years ago, a fight at Fairfield Works led to another man losing his hand in a rolling mill. Successful military career otherwise. Why would Dr. Gilman request him? Strange enough to have the head scientist make decisions for base operations. But deployments also? People say Gilman never talks to anyone except through the electronic mail system. I think that he lives down there. The mood is more tense here than other facilities I worked at, military or corrections. Armed patrols and guard dogs at all hours. Why?

Commander At The Slipgate 3

They say Rice is a good and caring leader most of the time. But Rojas is the 4th marine in the last several weeks to express fear of his sudden outbursts of rage. I need to report to BGen. Elwood. I do not know what the consequences will be, but someone could get hurt. Maybe related to recent changes at the Slip-uh, CTRC. Shifts are longer now. Many contracts of civilians have been terminated. More sessions are being cancelled. I wish I could see what is happening in the lower levels, for the sake of my clients.

Commander At The Slipgate 4

I am okay now. I am recording this while marines clean up my trailer. Elwood ordered Rice to see me the next day. He kicked the door down and started smashing things in a frenzy. He was delirious, shouting about blood and slag. I stayed calm. He grabbed me but then stopped, exhaled, and fell into a chair. I carefully began the session with questions. Responses typical of dissociative fugue but with flashes of rage. IED, maybe? He has had night terrors for several weeks. They started with his first (and only) inspection of Gilman’s lab.

Commander At The Slipgate 5

I do not know where to start. He was mostly calm but delusional for session 2. “You know how many levels are underground?,” he asked. “Me neither.” He described winding metal hallways, some without light, some flooded in green water, leading down into the mountain. “I saw them. I saw the schematics,” he said. I asked him to explain. “We are the Dark Young,” he said. “It’s us.” He said marines were being fitted with ‘bad blood, bad bionics.’ Then he opened his shirt to show his sternum. I … need to leave this place. I’m leaving now.

Commander At The Slipgate 6

Hello, Mr. Flores. Thank you for leaving your FUCKING TAPE here for me to exalt our Maker, YOU CHATTEL SCRAP. Gilman is already through. Ascended. Here’s what happens now. I give our very last marine a ring-yes, Mr. Very Special Veteran, you know the one-and tell him to get here on the double. “You’re our best man. This is Operation Counterstrike and you’re in charge.” Then I go through the Gate because THEY ARE WAITING FOR ME. Then he goes through the Gate because HE IS THE FUCKING OFFERING. Blood will flow. Lava will flow. Thanks, buddy. We’ll be seeing you!