Sunday, June 17, 2007

George Quenzelbutt -- Camp Brackwater

[We first met George Quenzelbutt a few months ago, when he was recruited by EndRun Enterprises for training in Coercive Interogation.]

Camp Brackwater is where George Quenzelbutt received his first training in Coercive Interrogation. A skill at which he was later to excel in when the State of Enduring Emergency was declared to Protect the First World Peace from numerous dangers as they were perceived by Ronald Rexona, when he invoked the Directive he himself had promulgated almost unnoticed by the mass media -- this directive gave him the authority to assume dictatorial powers in order to "ensure the Ground Law of Arrogance" against any (unspecified) danger...

The training camp was about twenty five miles outside of Poosah City.

They were transported there in a large, dark green bus. It was a comfortable ride. The weather was lovely, the sun was shining and the flowers of spring were in bloom. The fantastic thing was that Threnody Jones was also in the group. It made for a song in his head and a thump in his heart. There were sixty new employees on the bus and only five of them were girls, the rest were guys about his age.

He didn't know any of the guys, but he sure as hell knew Threnody – you could have knocked him over with a feather when he'd called her and told that he'd gotten a real good job, "What's the name of the company?" she'd said, "EndRun Enterprises" he'd replied and she'd just about set his ears ringing with a squeal of delight, "O really? How super cool!" And now she was sitting in the bus with him on the way to Camp Brackwater* Training Facility. Along with the spring that made for a song in his head and a thump in his heart, the thought that he might just get to know Threnody better put a lump in his jeans.

Actually, George did know a couple of the other guys, Joe Pardass probably was the one he knew best. But he wasn't what you'd call a friend really, he was more of an acquaintance. He'd worked with him for a while at the MacBarf on North Street in Poosah City. He'd drunk a couple of beers with him after work a couple of times so he knew a little bit about him. He'd been a football player in Poosah City High School, played guard, he was a big hunk and he was a pretty good footballer. He was supposed to get a scholarship to play in college, but then there was that incident with some girl and him and a couple of other players and the scholarship sort of disappeared. No charges were actually brought but like I said, the scholarship** kind of scuttled away and he ended up flipping burgers at the MacBarf and stuff like that. He was okay to work with but there was something of a mean streak in Joe and being big as he was he wasn't somebody you'd want t' cross. It was kind of puzzling in a way, with the background checks and all, they took on somebody like Joe...

The bus arrived at the training center early in the afternoon. The camp was surrounded by a double row of three meter high chain link fence. The lady dressed in desert fatigues who called herself Ms. Mangle had been going on and on about the Camp like a damn tourist guide the past fifteen minutes and something she said (or was it the razor wire glinting in the sunlight on top of the chain link fence) set his mind wandering…

He recalled the test a couple of days ago that Dr. Churrin had given him. Actually it was he who had given the test. Some guy was supposed to answer questions and if he answered wrong or not fast enough, George gave him electric shocks – well, actually, all he did was push a button – but that guy sure did holler! It was his own problem though, he was a volunteer. Anyway, Dr. Churrin had been there in his white doctor's gown with a stethoscope hanging around his neck. If a doctor said it was okay, it must be okay. It was kind of funny when he pushed the shock button labeled "DANGER!!!" and the guy he was testing screamed real loud, kind of gurgled, collapsed and slumped over in the chair to which he was manacled and strapped. But Dr. Churrin said it was okay and anyway EndRun was working for the government, so even if there was a problem it wasn't his problem. He had to admit it was kind of fun to see that guy flop around in his chair every time he pushed the button when he didn't answer before the red light came on.

It was kind of like a computer game, if he pushed the button before the light came on he lost points and if he waited too long, he lost points also. Dr. Churrin had said he'd made a real good score and "had talent" for this kind of work. Had Threnody also taken the test? He hadn't thought to ask, well maybe later, but there were other things he'd like to talk with her about than electricity and pushing buttons for Dr. Churrin. Shit, he'd lost complete track of what Ms. Mangle was talking about, but how could he keep his mind on her? Ms. Mangle was a stocky, broad, round headed with her black hair cut real close and she had big tits that looked like they'd been glued on. Actually, it was the pug nose stuck between the close-set eyes that had his attention.

"…so, anyway, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Brackwater, you're going to learn a lot here in a month, we'll be at the compound itself in a few minutes, we'll show you where you will be staying and tonight we'll have a little welcome party and get to know each other better."

The compound itself could not be seen from the road, the gates swung open and the bus drove for five minutes before reaching a cluster of white buildings connected with gently curving sidewalks. A swimming pool glinted blue in the sun and there was a large building which they soon learned was an auditorium and teaching area as well as indoor gym. The place was nicely, albeit recently, landscaped and they could hear birds singing in the trees as they disembarked from the bus. They could see some training exercises going on at training fields not far away.

* * * * * * * * *

The new EndRun employees were seated in the auditorium on red and green plastic chairs. Actually, they were more recruits than employees. But the Company, which was actually a semiofficial paramilitary organization (funded from secret governmental slush funds) preferred to maintain the fiction of being a Company and, although an undercurrent of military esprit ran through the organization, there were no military titles. People of importance were simply referred to as "Mr.", "Ms." or "Dr."

When the new employees/recruits were seated in good order, Ms. Mangle got up on the auditorium stage, took the microphone, gave it a tap a spoke in a sharp crisp voice, "Once again, I welcome you all to Brackwater – are you all glad to be here?"

There was of course no answer from the audience, so she repeated herself, "I said, are you glad to be here?" Silence, "Well, dammit, maybe you liked the lunch you just had? Yes? No?"

There were a few mumblings from the assembly. "What's that? Did I hear somebody say 'Yes, Mamn'?"

There was a mumbled chorus, of yes mamns. A brief smile flicked across her face, "Well, that was kind of polite, but I'd like to hear it maybe just a little bit louder?"

"Yes, Mamn."


"Yes, Mamn!"



"Well, that's nice to know! And thank you so much for saying so, and now I think you all are ready to meet the Camp Leader of Brackwater Training Facility in the way that he deserves, everybody, I mean everybody please stand!"

There was a bustle as sixty young people got out of their seats and stood more or less at attention.

A tall, athletic figure strode briskly down the aisle. He was also clad in desert khaki and his hair, although cut short, was not short enough that you might call him a skinhead. He was an impressive figure as the spit-shined combat boots clicked against the auditorium floor.

He bounded up on the stage and with a brief bow took the microphone handed to him, "Thank you, Ms. Mangle and once again to all of you, welcome to the Brackwater Training Facility – welcome to all of you new EndRun employees. My name is Per Nicious; I am your Camp Leader."

"In one brief month you will learn the kind of security EndRun specializes in and you will be trained in the techniques of Coercive Interrogation. Ms. Mangle here, whom you have already met, will be your main instructor. You will be divided into three squads and when you go over to the barracks, you'll meet the three instructors who will be assigned to your particular squad. After you get settled in you'll all come over to the mess hall and have supper. Then we'll have a little get together and get to know each other better kind of informally."

You have all heard the term "Coercive Interrogation" and wonder just what it is. First of all you need to know why it is necessary or rather it rapidly becoming necessary – our beloved country is threatened by forces both outside and inside. There are people who hate democracy and freedom and the Arrogant Dream. As you know, we have run background checks on all of you before inviting you to join EndRun to do very important work to help safeguard the National Security of Arrogance. The thing is, there are things which need to be done which the government cannot at this time be openly connected with. Therefore, our democratically elected government has contracted a select number of private companies to do what needs to be done. One of those companies is EndRun – and you fine, young people have been selected by EndRun!"

"This is the problem. We need information from people who won't give it to us. These people are plotting and planning to overthrow our government and destroy every thing Arrogance stands for."

"In the bad old days, people like this would have been tortured until they told us what we need to know. But torture is disgusting, illegal and something no true democracy would engage in. Therefore, in conjunction with doctors and scientists, EndRun has developed and perfected a series of techniques known as 'Coercive Interrogation'.

"Coercive Interrogation is a suite of methods which can quickly get uncooperative subjects to divulge information. Although there can be some physical discomfort for the subject, actually, it is the interrogator who suffers more as it is the interrogator who must monitor the subject – but enough of that! The point is that Coercive Interrogation is a scientific and medically approved system which has absolutely nothing to do with torture."

"Finally, you should know that our dear leader and Prez'nit, Ronald Rexona, has given his personal approval to this project."

* * * * * * * * *

It was one damn good meal they had and the "get together" afterwards was a bang up party and George got to know Threnody a lot better – but not as much better as he would have hoped. He woke up the next morning not only with a throb in his head but a tender case of blue-balls, which caused him not a little difficulty in the exercises Ms. Mangle and the other instructors put them through the next day and the rest of the week.

George didn't realize it, but the new recruits/employees were put through a crash course version of a military boot camp, the purpose of which is to hone off the edges of individuality which every normal human being has so that they could meld into a group prepared to do whatever was required of Authority.

As a private contractor, the activities of EndRun could never be a burden to the office of the Prez'nit and, as they were hired by agency responsible for the National Security, EndRun could not be held responsible.

It was a real sweet deal, the money went down and kickbacks were quietly made and everybody, that is everybody on the gravy train was happy.
* The reader must not think that there is any resemblance, reference or connection here with the Blackwater Company in our world. Blackwater recruits their employees from ex-military, usually elite soldiers and they are basically mercenaries, but not in the classic sense. Basically, they do clandestine and some times "off-color" work the would prefer not to be directly connected with or liable for. EndRun of course was similar in that regard, however, as it’s focus was on other areas of security, preferred to recruit young people who are more malleable to their purpose. Thing is, if you get young people inexperienced in the ways of the world and tell them what you’re doing is for the sake of God and country you can train them to do the darndest things to other people – you just to label them "enemy", "terrorist", "traitor" or whatever suitable word with a pejorative connotation comes to mind and your recruits will gladly twist an arm or two.

** I appreciate that some may find it hard to understand that Joe could lose his scholarship over something as silly as a gang-bang. But the reader must keep in mind that some things are less parallel than others in the world in the Third Galaxy which Ishman has transmitted to me. In spite of the terrible things which unfolded there, it was in many ways a happier and less hypocritical world than our own. In the end, the Alien Veggies did land there and put things straight which is not likely to happen to us.

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