When I opened my eyes, it felt as though every muscle within my body was aching. How awful, I must have been sleeping in a bad position. I looked across the room and saw Catlain still asleep so I pulled myself up, threw off the cover and got up out of bed. My legs felt so heavy that I could barely lift them. What a peculiar feeling, they must have still been asleep or something. I managed to walk over to Catlain’s bed and sat down. “Hey you, sleepy head, wake up, I've got to tell you about this crazy dream I had.” “Oooh, Lyluth, I feel like I've been squashed or something. My entire body hurts all over”  Wow, that was a trip, so did mine. What ever did we stuff ourselves with last night? I felt like I must have gained about fifty pounds during my sleep. “I know one thing,” Catlain professed, ”I won't be doing that again. How about you?” “Not me! To tell you the truth, I can't remember what we did last night. I have to tell you about this dream I had before it evades me and I forget it. I dreamt we were at this huge party. Everything was all sparkling and beautiful. There was a man, he must have been important like some kind of teacher or leader or something like that. I remember that I was dancing with him. I felt so proud that he picked me over all the others that were there at the party. He kissed me and I felt like I had been put into orbit. This kiss sent me places that I have never been before. It seemed like I was in some sort of fantasy land. I can remember the two of us leaving the party together and everyone was smiling at us as we left. I think he took me to his room and we were about to make it, but then I woke up. Wasn't that strange?”

    “That is what I call bad timing Lyluth. I will tell you what's so strange about it though. Are you ready for this one? I dreamt almost the exact dream. I also dreamt that we were at a huge celebration of some kind. The people were so strange looking though. I felt an odd connection, like I was one of them even though I don't look like one of them. I can remember seeing you dancing with this...I think it was a man that I knew you really wanted to be with or something. I can't help but feel that these dreams are a result of being so nervous about our graduation and all. You probably dreamt about this guy being some kind of leader and you being seduced by him because of what you are about to do with that Lasiter fella. I know that you're a bit scared by it all and that might be why you woke up before it was over with.  Who wouldn't be? You might simply be wishing that you could wake up before it happens. Then, you won't have to go through with the plan. No such luck sweetie, you have to do it like the rest of us.”

     “I know that Catlain; I'm not trying to get out of anything. It was just a stupid dream. What's so important about a silly dream anyway?  you bet I'm scared....I'm scared about getting caught snooping around. It seems that we might be taking on a bit much with this movement.”

“Lyluth, if we don't do this there will be a lot of senseless suffering to come upon everyone, ourselves included. We really don't have anything to lose if you think about it. If we don't find out what's going on, our minds might be replaced with a computer program. We wouldn't have any control whatsoever in what we did or what happens to us. At least this way, we are the ones deciding what we want and don't want. Not the Almighty Command!”  “Aren't you afraid of being caught? Or worse yet, what about being killed?” “That's funny Lyluth, I don't have any feelings at all about death. I never really thought about it. I don't know what it means to die. What happens to you, were do you go? Is this all there is to life and that's it? What a waste, what would be the purpose if this was true? I just don't know what to feel or think about it, do you?” No, I guess I didn't either. I couldn't remember thinking about it much before, much less why I brought it up now. There was one thing that I did find comforting. As long as Catlain and I were together through this spy thing I knew everything would be just fine. Even if we had to die, we would be together for that  too. We would never be alone as long as we had each other.  “We had better get ready for school, wouldn't want to be late for our last day. Odd how it all went by so quickly..” I began the process of extricating myself from my bedding. It seemed to have its own mind and it wasn't about to let me out so easily. “Well Lyluth, you know what they always say, Time flies when you're having fun.” “Who says that Catlain, who are they?” “Oh, be quiet and stop giving me such a hard time.”

    I wondered if Aster and Jaroe were awake yet? Aster was probably in the kitchen as always. I could swear that the lady was trying to fatten us up to sabotage the entire plan. After all, who would want to make it with a butterball? Speaking of...” I think I’ll skip breakfast. I don't think I’ll be eating for a week, the way that I feel.”  “I know exactly what you mean, I won't be eating myself. Not to mention, this pounding headache I have. Wish that I knew what was the matter. This is definitely an uncomfortable feeling I could just as well have done without, especially today.” Catlain responded.  Beginning to dress, we heard a knock on the door. “I’ll get that,” yelled Aster.  It was Jezeri and Asbeth.  “Oh, come on in girls and make yourselves welcome, Lyluth and Catlain will be down shortly, they are still getting dressed. Would either of you care for some breakfast?” “Um, no thanks Aster, any other time we would jump at the opportunity but, Asbeth and I are not feeling too well today for some reason. We just aren't hungry at the moment but we would be glad to, some other time."

    Catlain and I walked into the room. I noticed that the both of the others had a sick look on their faces. “So, you guys feel a little off too? Don't feel alone, we aren't feeling that great either. It seems a bit strange to me, I wonder what's going on? We won't be eating this morning Aster, I hope that it won't inconvenience you.” “Not at all girls, I just hope that none of this is catching. You gals are nurses so you had better get along and get yourselves looked at. We are all looking forward to your graduation services this evening. Hope to see you with big smiles on your faces by then.” “Thank you Aster.” I said, “ We we're all looking forward to tonight.” Each of us waved good-bye, piling out the door.

    As we made our way towards the learning center, we sounded like a bunch of old ladies, complaining about our aches and pains. We were all moaning and groaning when we noticed a small pudgy figure heading towards us, rapidly picking up momentum.  “Hey, It's me.... Millon,” he proudly declared,  although his voice seemed somewhat shaky and cracking. “I have your identification grid cards so that you can get into the complex. They had to be modified a bit with some new information. By the way, you will all need to stop off at the clinical services building for an inoculation. It seems that one of the viruses that another class had been working with was somehow mishandled and it ended up...well, it ended up all over the building. I believed it was a faulty containment receptacle that became damaged allowing the virus to escaped into the atmosphere. They were able to clear up the leak and destroy the virus before it spread any further, fortunately. Unfortunately, you girls in the TRACS training unit could have been exposed to it and from the looks of the lot of ya, I would count on it. Don't worry, honest it's not as harmful as it is uncomfortable. They have an injection that will fix you right up.” “How do we know what they are giving us Millon? You know yourself how sneaky they are Maybe they know what we are doing and they are trying to do us in because they're aware of the resistance efforts.”  “Calm down now Jezeri, its not like that at all,” explained Millon, “I personally set up the inoculations through our own crew working inside. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. You had better be going. It is best that we always talk as briefly as possible. Go on now and get yourselves feeling better. Today is a big day for all of you. I have to catch the others and let them know what I just told you, Selah!” he threw  his jacket over his shoulder as he trotted off.

     “What do you think of all that?” asked Catlain. “It sounds a bit flaky to me but what are we supposed to do? I wonder how he knew that we were already ill, feeling the effects of this so called virus?” “ He is on our side you know. You can look into his eyes and see his honesty peering out all over the place. What's the trip with you guys and your paranoia? I don't think we would have gotten this far without him. Why would he do something now to mess things up for us? We have to trust someone sometime.” Asbeth declared. “I really don't care, you all. I just want to get over this, whatever it is. I can not go through the rest of the day like this.”  We were in agreement that it would do us all good to get this out of our systems. We headed swiftly towards the clinical services building located next to the TRACS unit. We had never been inside the unit or the Command Control Center towers yet. All of which would change very shortly.

     Today was the big one. This was our final day of training, graduation, and a face to face meeting with the men of the Command Control Corps. The fact that all of us were sick on such an important day was just not good news. A bad omen it would seem to an already paranoid bunch. We explained to the receptionist that we were the new trainee graduates and that we were told to come in for inoculations. We had been exposed to some rampant run-a-way virus that was soon to take over the entire planet turning us into cyborg zombies. Just goes to show that we do have a sense of humor you know? Our sense of humor was probably the main thing that had kept us all sane thus far. It always gave me the creeps thinking about a stranger injecting who knows what into my system. After all, it's pretty much the same as this whole mind manipulation stuff. As long as we allow it to be done to us without questioning, it makes it that much easier to be subjected to the next step, what ever that may be. I guess that it's just as much our own fault. We were equally responsible for allowing it to be accomplished so easily. We always tend to grab for the quick fix not thinking beyond that instant gratification that awaits us, unfortunately all too often to our own disappointment and destruction. Our own fears and paranoia are to be thrown back at us so we might see what they look like.  I bent over and whispered to Catlain, “I don't think that I am overreacting from a bad case of paranoia, but something doesn't feel quite right to me. There is something strange about this whole set up. I can't quite put my finger on what it might be but I am sure that I will sooner or later. It's a gut feeling that we're not being told the whole truth about something. If it weren't for Millon’s involvement with these injections, I would opt to stay ill. We would never know if someone had been altered by TRACS until it was too late to do anything about it. We need to be more careful in the future and do more to cover our backs from now on just in case.”Catlain just numbly nodded.

    Lucifer's technology had exceeded the mass's ability to responsibly utilize it. It often made me wonder if we had achieved the medical technology to transfer ones consciousness into computers or other beings. If indeed we had, there were bigger problems to deal with than we thought. You could never tell who's side who was on. Worse than that, who's the good guy, and who's the bad? No one could trust anyone at all. I guess life would be pretty miserable in such a scenario. I could definitely see how that would allow Command Control and the Corps more power than they had previously. All they would have to do is make everyone believe that they were the only ones with the capability to protect the citizens against such technologies. For all we knew, it could currently be set up like this, being executed precisely as they planned at this very moment. People would be so overwhelmed with the predicament of such a circumstance that they would do what they've consistently done in the past. They would seek out some sort of deliverer to get them out of the entanglement they permitted themselves to be caught up into. Once they give up their individual power, it makes them an exceedingly easy target for suppression and ultimately, enslavement. Well, they sure won't take me without a confrontation.

    “OUCH! “ Was I supposed to feel that?” I queried the nurse initiating what seemed like an assault from a pin pointed insect of some sort.  “Oh now, stop complaining. It isn't all that bad lightweight.”  “Is that so,” I snapped back. “How many of these have you had before?”

I heard the other girls giggle so I sent a facetious smile towards them. I scrutinized each of their faces as they received their shot, responding similarly to the way that I had. “It makes me so delighted to know that I am in such noble, yet nightmarish company. Isn't it just grand that we're a congregate of lightweights? How will we ever survive the rest?” “We better stop fooling around and get on the ball or we are going to be tardy for our last flippin day in the real world, girls. this the end or just the beginning?”  “What’s the difference. It's all parallel Lyluth. It just depends on the perspective now doesn't it? You know, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.”  “Gee Jezeri, I didn't think that you knew how to reach such depths within that noggin of yours. How did you ever get so profoundly philosophical on such rudimentary inquiry?”  “I guess it's just my remarkably analytical intellect, sweets. But, what would you comprehend of such matters as these?” She batted her eyes at me in an obviously asinine manner.  “Ok Jezeri, reserve your superior genius capacity for the opposition. However, they might not take your wisecracking so favorably. We are all too aware of your proficiency at out thinking us by now. Fortunately, we each have our own distinctively individual attributes that might not be found elsewhere, ya know?. Yep... like pieces of a puzzle, it takes all of em to complete the picture, now don't it?”  “Bravo, Lyluth. Now you have traveled fairly deep to extract that fine little actuality and bring it to the surface wouldn't you agree girls?” Everyone burst out laughing as we busted a move to get to our destination.

    We entered the classroom and briskly took our seats, waiting for the remainder of the girls to arrive. It appeared that the injection we received was performing rather adequately. It did manage to somehow divert our attention away from our aches and pains. Before too long, all of the girls were present,  accounted for and in a state of complete anticipation. The teacher enthusiastically explained the remainder of the day's events. We would shortly be observing actual patients undergoing stress reduction therapy in the Telepathic Resonance Administrative Clinical Services Unit, otherwise known as TRACS. This way, we would be able to see first hand precisely how this particular therapy was being administered as well as witness the amazing results  of it. We had been disciplined in stress reduction techniques for the last eight weeks; being taught how particular areas of the brain could be manipulated to produce certain chemicals that would invoke feelings of well being. This just happened to be one of the techniques we were being trained to administer to the clients. As far as we knew, that was all that was occurring when we placed the telepathic resonance visors around the patient's head. We were taught that low resonance frequency waves, transmitted through what were known as the telepathic centers of the brain, and would stimulate the production of endorphins. Endorphins considered by some as a naturally produced drug in which a state of euphoria was the effect.  Naturally produced by unnatural means seemed to be a contradiction to me. From my experiences, contradictions always produced imbalances somewhere down the line. I tossed the thought around in my mind for a while questioning, who was I to be making unsubstantiated assumptions on how any of this were being utilized? Even so, I could not shake the strong feelings that I had about what was being done with the knowledge gained in this particular area. There was a tremendous amount of good that could be accomplished with this information. Unfortunately, it didn't appear that this would be the case as far as Command Control was concerned. In the past, most of the focus was on hard scientifically proven fact. Lately, there happened to be an undeniable amount of interest in intuitive powers, brought on by evidence of a growing phenomenon developing within a minuscule segment of the population. Some of these individuals were claiming to be receiving messages from other dimensions and beings. This escalated the stresses currently being experienced by such a highly automated existence. Once again, the interest was from those in authority and not the general populace. Formulating yet another method in which to conceivably manipulate the population, of course.

    The more technologically advanced that Lucifer becomes, the more arduous it is for the inhabitants to contend with the tension brought on by imbalances created between the spirit and the physical. The physical body doesn't manage the additional burden or pressure on the system very well alone. The level of stress then escalates to a point that is extremely difficult to cope with. The fact that there was absolutely no attention given whatsoever to the spiritual aspect of one's being made the situation reach an intolerable zenith. That is supposedly what the TRACS Unit was developed for. This is also what we were being trained for. We would all be entering into a high security area within the complex shortly.

The teacher wanted to know if everyone had received her personal grid cards from security management.  “If any of you have not received your card,” she continued, “you will be unable to enter the complex along with the others. If any of you  have lost, misplaced or forgotten to bring your card with you, you also will not be granted admittance into the complex. Are there any among you who fall into either of these categories?” No one raised their hand, but security management had not issued the cards that we had, for sure.  I whispered to Catlain, “I hope these things work alright. I wouldn't know how to talk myself out of a situation with a bogus identification card, would you?”  “I don't even want to think about anything like that happening,” she sighed.

    “Today, you will also meet Commander Lasiter and a few of the Command Control Corps officers.” The teacher went on, ”He has a special gift for each of you. I'm sure there will be plenty of interesting surprises in store for you by the time today has ended. You girls will provide a welcome relief to the medical technicians that have, to this point been administering the therapy sessions. This will afford them the freedom to focus their energies and much needed talents in other areas in which they could be of more service to the citizens and the Corps. You really are an asset to all of us here at Command Central. I am sure you're all as proud of your selves as we are, and I must admit, you are definitely the loveliest group of girls I have ever seen in one place before. I would expect you to be turning many heads at the graduation services. Commander Lasiter will fill you in on all the details of the ceremony. Sure wouldn't want him angry with me for ruining his little surprises. At this time, I would like to offer you some friendly advice concerning the men in the Corps. They have held such high positions for so long that they are capable of very volatile or explosive behavior. Better that you not provoke them. Be relatively agreeable with them whenever possible. They are a lot like children who have been allowed their way for far too long. However, when it comes to protection and enforcement, you can't find a more dedicated group of individuals. That is when the men of the Command Control Corps are great to have behind you. I always like to prepare everyone in advance as to what these gentlemen are like. I don't know if the word gentlemen would be appropriate in these circumstances as I have seen some situations that might have been prevented if only the persons involved had some prior knowledge of the personalities they were dealing with. So, now that you know what to look forward to, is everyone ready for the grand tour?”

    I didn't know about everyone else, but my heart was beating so hard and fast that I could feel it in my throat. The anticipation was great and I could hardly wait to check things out. Without any warning whatsoever, I blurted out,” I'm ready!” Everyone was laughing wildly at my outburst but you could tell that they were all just as excited as I was. We stood up and formed a tight tidy line and filed out through the door. Our destination was the mysterious new TRACS Unit located directly inside the main tower within the compound. There were two guards posted on either side of the entryway. Their responsibility was to monitor the identification process. We managed to contain our excitement well enough to form two lines, each of us placing our identification grid cards into the laser scanning device. It was our first time using them. Luckily, the process went without any glitches whatsoever. Cleared for admittance, step one had been successfully accomplished.

    When we passed through the door we entered an expansive waiting area furnished with posh, exceptionally comfortable looking seating. Stationed directly in the middle of this area sat a lone receptionist, appearing as though she were looking out over a vast terrain. Capable of viewing the entire area in any direction that she wished by a simple twirl of her seat. Her strategic positioning afforded her the ability to observe something coming at her from anywhere in the room. Looking at the way she was sitting there reminded me of a sentinel posted at the center of a battlefield. How metaphoric, we would soon be entering into a battle of the emotions. Pretty symbolic, that there would be only one door in and one door out. Looks like the only way out was through. Still yet another fitting metaphor to the greater mysteries that lie hidden behind the door just slightly beyond reach of the individualized eye of an entity's experience. At present, the individualized eye of the entity happened to be mine. It was me who would be experiencing it. The step I was about to make through that door, leading into the unknown, as always, seemed to be an overwhelming move. Dwelling upon the situation at hand gave me the sensation that I was experiencing the same feelings or emotions as someone contemplating the act of dying, or death itself. What was it that waited on the other side of that door?

    The receptionist smiled at us and waved us through toward the door. We were free to enter but were cautioned to do it quietly, so as not to disturb the clients inside the treatment area. Once inside, there were rows of lounge cots that appeared to be rather comfortable, at least by the looks upon the faces of the clients that were awaiting their stress management therapy. No one looked to be stressed at that particular moment. I wanted to alert these poor unassuming future slaves to what was really being done to them. Of course I couldn't, without bringing down the entire resistance movement but the thought was definitely on the top of my wish list. There was still hope for these people if we were able to work fast enough. Luckily, a total transformation process took a series of sessions in order to be successful. Unfortunately, there were quite a few that had already reached that point. Usually these people would be chosen to receive the therapy sessions free of charge. The target groups were those with little or no family and friends. Most times they were taken from an undesirable class within the inner cities, people who wouldn't be missed much by others. The prime candidates were often prisoners or those known as useless breeders by the Command Control. A presence of urgency bore upon us to work as quiet and quickly as possible, alerting as many individuals as we were able to. If I could, I would tell them to beware of the very people that they placed into positions of power and protection. Open your eyes and see what is being done to you. Your leaders are leading you right into total slavery and darkness. The worst part wasn't that it was being allowed to happen but people were actually asking that it be done, without realizing it. I wished that at the very least I could shake them and tell them to wake up from their illusion of false security, be aware of what was really taking place. Asking them to look at their own issues, dealing with control to gain insight into why they are involved in such an experience in the first place. The information, the clues, the proof, was right in front of their eyes if only they would open them. I wanted to yell out at each one of them stretched out so comfortably to  WAKE UP! Don't just let them do this because you are tired or too lazy to wake up. WAKE UP!! Sadly, even their tiredness and laziness were not their own. They too were just another part of the plan. Make them weak, make them tired, make them lazy, and the job is half done. Pollute their bodies and their minds, keep them confused, overwhelmed and unhappy. Every now and then offer up a brilliant solution that you never truly intend to implement. Give them a false sense of hope so that they become even more dependent than ever on a system that has been created for their destruction and not their salvation as supposed. Make them need you to make all their decisions because you have convinced them that they are not capable of making their own. Actually, cut them off from any assistance whatsoever if they show evidence of self-reliance, self-respect, conviction or strength. Stifle their creativity and under any circumstances do not ever allow them to focus on their imagination. At the first sign of a creative imagination, kill. Surely I could go on and on but it agitated me to no end to see all of it happening so smoothly. People just nonchalantly allowing everything to breeze on by, walking around in la la land. Hating every bit of it but doing absolutely nothing about it, not even resisting it. Most things that have been left untouched, unmoved, unnoticed, eventually stagnate, rot or disintegrate to nothingness. Without conflict there is no opposition. Without opposition there is no resistance and without resistance there is no movement. Without movement, there simply is no life, period, that is... in the physical world. Why was I so caught up in all of this right now? Instantly, a thought shot through my mind with lightning speed. Without thought, no thing exists anywhere and all thought is constantly changing. Why was it that there were so few people who were able to see these things? What made them so apparent to me? What I really needed to do was to be paying closer attention to how this therapy was being administered so we could put and end to it.

    We were asked to step into an area that had an example of each of the machines or appliances that were currently being used for treatment, and shown how each instrument was to be handled. A quick overview was dispensed to remind us of the various things that we had learned in class along with our first opportunity to see and touch the actual hardware itself. “Pretty awesome stuff wouldn't you say Catlain?” She had been practically standing on top of me throughout the entire tour. It was as though she were trying to catch a thought trying to escape my mind, oozing out my ear or something. It wouldn't surprise me a bit, as powerful as my thoughts were becoming, that they could possibly be heard or felt by someone as close to me as she was. What a dangerous drama had we become involved in? I was sure that it would become more exciting as we went along, action, suspense, and mystery, at every corner. The scriptwriter must have been working overtime to pump out quality stuff such as this. Bravo, I applaud whoever’s ability to make it so very interesting. The question that haunted me most was, what if I had been the playwright and this was my play?

    The teacher spoke from the head of the line, “Ok, girls, gather up, come this way, over here. I am about to take all of you to meet the Commander in charge of all military and protective services for the entire population of Lucifer. He is an extremely respected and powerful leader of the people. You will have the occasion to be working with the Command Control Corps on matters that will be explained to you individually by the Commander. You girls will be very instrumental in raising the people's productivity levels, which will raise their self value and importance. Everyone involved in this program is a winner!”  I wondered if this woman actually believed what she was saying or was she being made to say it. Did she even have a clue for that matter? The way in which she spoke and carried herself appeared suspiciously programmed to me. What a concept for a new form of entertainment or game perhaps. It could be called, ‘Spot the Robot’ Or, better yet, ’Catch the Puppet Masters if you can’. The latter could very well prove to be somewhat difficult to play being that the puppet masters would be the ones controlling the strings. You just couldn't be a puppet without strings attached. All one needed to do was to sever those ties and learn to stand on their own. Each being could then experience what it feels like to be free of restrictive movement or manipulation by those in power. Power can only captivate by fear. Once the fear is overcome or removed, the individual is in power of their own experience and can no longer be manipulated by outside forces .

I must have been daydreaming because I had no memory of leaving the unit and walking towards the Security Compound. It was the voice of the guards ordering us to produce our identification grid cards immediately that brought me back to current reality. I handed the guard my card looking directly into his eyes. I would have liked to have sent him the message that for the good of all concerned, things are about to change. You can just as easily be a part of the solution as you are a part of the problem. He motioned for me to go on through to the waiting area on the other side of the entrance behind him. Not once did I lower my eyes as I walked past him while he handed my card back to me. Turning to look backwards, I slightly smiled at him. It was more than obvious that he was completely puzzled by my actions. I could tell that he wasn't quite sure how to respond. He returned my smile with a subtle smile of his own, trying hard not to be seen by anyone else. Flirting was my specialty and I loved to do it. Such a wonderful challenge was this game I had chosen to participate in. The greatest challenge however, was waiting for me just around the corner. Lasiter was about to present himself to me at any time, which would prove to be the ultimate test of my abilities for sure.