Wow....tooo much time on my hands...
It was way too late for visitors.
Cautiously, he opened the door, just wide enough to still conceal the pistol pressed against it.
A visitor at the bottom of the RV's stairs. “Mr. Greenwich, I presume?” The visitor was not dressed for the summer Arizona night. Black slacks, black shirt, black tie—all covered over with a heavy black trench coat. The polish on his black dress shoes glinted even in the moonless night. Capping off the ensemble, was a pair of black aviator sunglasses.
Door opens again. Deep breath. “WHAT….do you want? Am I under arrest? I have a prescription for this, and Sarah Connor doesn’t live here.”
“Sir, my name is Thompson. I represent a former employer of yours.”
Greenwich stared perplexed, his bushy gray eyebrows knitting together. “Why are you wearing sunglasses in the middle of the night? And it’s eighty degrees out here. What’s with the duster?”
The man in black responded mechanically. “Regulations, sir. New regulations.”
“Regulations? My former employer has regulations? Did HP start building the Matrix?"
In response, the man in black produced from the folds of his trench coat, a sweat-drenched brown envelope.
Skeptically, daintily, Greenwich peered inside…
The RV was cramped, and dimly lit.
Greenwich slid the bottled water across the table at his new guest.
“Thank you. This air conditioning is nice.”
Greenwich still watched the man in black warily, the pistol in his lap concealed beneath the table. He spread the bills out before him. “Ok…so let me get this straight. You are with the US Government, and you need my help. To work on some project.”
Thompson finally settled himself in the chair and snapped the cap off the water bottle. “That is correct.”
“And you got my name from where, exactly?”
“From your previous work with DARPA…”
“You’re crazy. I have never worked for DARPA. I’m going to shoot you now, ok? Try not to bleed out while I call the cops.”
Thompson, annoyed, “In 2007 you worked as a veterinary technician for Arborside Animal Hospital in Denver Colorado. That animal hospital was secretly providing test animals for DARPA--for another project called Prometheus.”
“And…how does...feeding the rats...qualify me to do whatever it is you are asking me to do?”
“Budget cuts and ignorance. Prometheus was evaluated as unethical in 2009, and the project was shelved. For security reasons, all names were redacted from the files on Prometheus.
The only name anyone could find still associated with Prometheus was you: The guy that fed the rats at the vendor
providing the project with test subjects.
You are the only name on any records from that project. That makes you the expert.”
Greenwich nodded slowly. "So...somehow, my 15 dollar an hour temp job at the vet
(that I really only took because I wanted to date the doctor) got my name added to a secret government bio weapons project that was censured because it was unethical?
Thin, Weak, Unlikely plot device, but possible. How did he know about the vet
"Wow...and I thought I needed to watch my credit score. 'Develops unethical biological weapons'--that's probably gonna mess up my Match.com profile.
So, other than the giant pile of cash you just laid on me--which I'm keeping, by the way--and thank you--how do you expect me to accomplish your little comic book miracle?”
Thompson pulled a small steel bauble from his pocket. It was a memory card. “This memory stick will connect your computer to the DARPA network. You will be provided access to all relevant DARPA files on Project Prometheus, as well as access to staff and resources at other DARPA facilities.”
Slowly shaking his head, Greenwich rolled the tiny chip over in his hand. There's no way this is for real...“What was project Prometheus?”
“I’m not required to tell you that, but because you have the files anyway: Prometheus was a bio warfare project. It's objective was to use chemical, radiation and gene therapy to make 'enhanced' rats to use as a biological weapon.”
“That is both sick and crazy. And you are with DARPA?”
“No. I’m an Agent.”
“No. TIA. New branch of the CIA. Answers directly to the President.”
“Yeah. Unlimited budget, no regs, licensed to kill, and free In-N-Out Burger anywhere in the continental US. I like my job. The CIA was ok, but so ineffective. We are REALLY getting things done now, though...”
Greenwich laughed, a little more nervously, “Uh huh...so let me see if I can sum this up. You have come out here...with a...uh...license to kill...from Langley Virginia, to this tiny RV park in the middle of the desert, dressed as the Men In Black, because the **President of the United friggin' States**, wants ME, a jobless dirt miner--living in an RV in middle of nowhere, to resurrect an abandoned DARPA Black Hat bio weapons project. To make super rats."
Thompson nodded, taking a long swig from the glass bottle in his hand.
"You want to pay me to make Super Rats for the President? I assume this is to counter the imminent threat of the new Russian tactical assault Vole? Am I on camera?” Greenwich brought the muzzle of the pistol up over the top of the table.
“There is WAY too much meth in this desert. Agent Smith, I don’t know where you escaped from, but we are going to call some nice men with sticks and guns to take you back there.”
Thompson was suddenly not amused.
White hot pressure exploded behind Greenwich’s eyes, and the coppery taste of blood filled his mouth. Through the ringing in his ears swirled a cacophony of barking and screeching. Lifted bodily out of his chair, the bile erupted into his throat as an iron fist plowed into his stomach.
Greenwich eyes stung with tears and blood--his head pinned to the table….shards of broken glass biting into his face; the stench and sting of his own vomit rioting in his sinuses. The barrel of his own pistol cut into the side of his face. He convulsed, dry heaving against the table.
Thompson grabbed a handful of hair and twisted down harder, “Yes…” he said calmly, “That about sums it up. But not rats. Sugar Gliders. This little Sugar Squadron of yours, specifically. The boss saw them on the INTERNET and he’s all googly about ‘em. Not just anyone. Them.”
Greenwich fell back into his chair. Reeling, he sobbed for breath as his hands groped to cover the vomit and blood on his face. sounds
seemed so distant but, through the haze and blood he could still hear Thompson’s voice. “The dogs aren’t necessary to the project. We’ll hold onto them for you—until you’re feeling better. Good to have you on board, Mr. Greenwich, or whatever you want to call yourself. We do find GREAT people! Get some rest. Big day tomorrow!”