I thought we were heading for the border, but I was wrong… after a stop to Wally World to buy things for Milo, and a stop to mom’s safehouse, we went to the airport in Tulsa. The DCA Border Wall puts the Mexican Border Wall to shame. It’s like Great Wall of China of the West World.
Mom pulls up to the drop off curb at Air Canada Ticketing Terminal. She hands me a blue folder. Inside is a ticket a one way Quebec City and fake documents for Milo. His birth certificate says he was born in London, England and now my last name is Bardem? According to my new documents I was born in Madrid, Spain. I went to boarding school in England, just outside of London. Neither Milo or I have dad’s listed on our birth certificates. I have a different mom on mine… What is going on here?
“The safest place for you to be is in the DCA, but unfortunately, you can’t go there as my daughter.”
“And why not?”
“Tucker is smart, I could never pass you off as mine with a different dad than Zave. He knows me too well. The only child I would belong to your father.”
“I still don’t get-,” she cuts me off.
“You don’t need to have a thick Spaniard accent, it can be subtle. When you get compliments your English is really good, sell the boarding school in London, but throw in as a kid your mom took you to the RA a lot. And um, read the background profile I put in there for you, that will help you build your cover…”
“You put a lot of thought into this…”
“Well, you always have to be prepared for things to change. Now, there’s nothing in there about Milo’s father, you’ll have to come up with that, but keep it simple and model him after someone you would go for, you know… and if you give him a name, never come up with last name… just keep it at a first name, but don’t really talk about Milo’s father… Tucker or even Zave is the type to go track him down.”
I try to interject but she just keeps talking.
“The only person you can trust will be Tucker. He won’t be very trusting of you, which is fine… And you’ll want to break down and tell Zave you’re his daughter, but you have to promise me you won’t.”
I nod silently promising to keep the truth from the man I’ve dreamt of meeting my whole life. The way mom talks about him, she wouldn’t be a human being without ever falling in love with him.
“And avoid talking about London at all costs because you haven’t been there in a while. If you meet someone who knows the area well, unless you bring up the place and location, don’t agree with what they say.”
“Clearly, wait, I’ve been to London?”
“You were two, not a big deal… and um… if you ever have to leave the DCA, I left an email address you can contact me once. Don’t directly tell me where you’re going. Use that cipher we created when you were nine.”
“The Grimm Brothers’ Fairytale one?” I double check not understand typing childish gibberish could be useful and still translatable. I don’t even know if I remember how to use it…
“In case you forgot the cipher, I put a cheat code in the folder, for your eyes only.”
Moms think of everything.
She grabs be by the head, digging her hands into my wavy black hair, and she kisses me on the forehead, “I love you so much, you know that…”
“I love you too,” I say, trying not to sound panicked.
She let’s me go, “You don’t have to bring Milo…”
“No,” I say feeling attached to him already. Mom explained that since he imprinted on me, for the first few months of his life, if he’s away from me for than a week he’ll die.
“As soon as take down Guyon and terminate Project Hercules II, I’ll come for the two of you.” Mom promises. We both probably have that eerie feeling, she may never come for us.
We get out of the SUV and she helps me bring in my bags and the stroller while I carry Milo in his carrier. A courtesy escort takes over for mom inside by the ticketing. I set Milo down on the ground and reel mom in for one last hug. My eyes let loose the tear as I cry, preparing to forego life without my mom. Now, I’m supposed to tackle motherhood without her. It’s insane!
On my travels, everyone is super nice. Freakishly kind… even when I drop that I’m a teen mom, still overly polite to me.
I thought for sure on the flight, Milo would wail during takeoff and during landing, but he remained asleep in my arms. The Flight Attendants checked on me like every twenty minutes and worried about Milo’s uncanny ability to sleep all the way through a plane ride. It’s a good thing I can brush his peculiarity off and blame it on him being genetically engineered, otherwise their concern would have me panicked.
According to the lovely backstory mom came up with for me, I was born to disowned Spanish heiress. Her father owned a vineyard and had several business ventures in Spain, France, and England. She went to Madrid to pursue a career as a model but got stuck waiting table, after she got pregnant with me. That’s when her father took her back in, because of me, and I was spoiled to death.
My mother started working for my grandfather. When he started vineyard in the RA, he sent me and my mom out there to look after it. In middle school, I fell in with the wrong crowd and grandpa said boarding school was the answer to fix me. However, they were wrong… I stuck with the bad and go myself pregnant. I was shipped back to my grandfather.
A few weeks ago, I witnessed my grandfather’s death by Guyon’s men. For years, granddaddy was cutting deals with Guyon and his men. My mother’s been an informant for the RA, but becoming close friends with Mara, my real mom, she begged Agent Taylor to take me away and keep somewhere safe. This also includes baby Milo now too.
Tucker will tell his neighbors and friends that I’m the child of an old Interpol buddy who just died in the field. To ensure my safety, I’m to stay with Tucker until his Interpol buddy’s killer is caught and it is safe to say no one is after me. I really don’t know why I just could be the dead Interpol buddy’s kid, but then again, I’m not an official spy… I don’t know how weaving a web of lies convincingly works.
In the waiting area, a gray-haired man dressed in a navy blue suit, white button up, and a red tie held up a sign with me new name one “Elle Bardem”. Me and my courtesy escort walk up to the man I presume to be Colonel Benjamin Tucker.
“Elle and Milo Bardem?” The man asks in a raspy, monotone voice.
“Do I have to call you Colonel or can I just call you Tucker?” I wonder.
He takes the stroller from the escort, while he follows me to baggage claim. He’s definitely the quiet type. This will be interesting…
When I was a toddler, the Republic of America declared independence against the United States of America. Sleeper agents for the RA within branches of military and intelligence agencies rose up. Those who considered themselves to be conservative, patriotic, capitalistic made of the RA. It wasn’t over race, even though race served as a factor. Minorities had a tendency of siding with the USA over joining the USA. Russia backed the RA sending aid and troops.
For three years, Americans were forced to pick sides that offered them the best chance of survival. It was clear the RA was never going away. Out-manned, out-gunned, and at the risk of losing territory, what remained of the USA on the East Coast signed a peace treaty with the RA… agreeing to new borderlines and recognizing the RA as a country.
Washington, Oregon, and California remained as a part of the USA. Everything between those states and the Mississippi River became the Republic of America.
The year of the treaty, the great lakes flooded, drowning Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and most of Pennsylvania and New York. A virus spread across Washington State, Oregon, and California killing 80 % of the population. The land also became incapable of producing vegetation. The survivors were forced to seek asylum in Canada, the RA, and Mexico because USA was found guilty of using biological warfare that devastated those three states. Their target was the was RA, but they miscalculated. Some think the RA did it and framed the USA. Those regions are now the “Dead Zone”, an unlivable place.
The next year, the USA reformed their branches of government and agencies forming the Democratic Coalition of America. The government gave more power to the people over policymaking, eliminated capitalism and started merit economy called meritism, and became determined to be the manifestation of Utopia.
The Republic of America Government & Agencies
(Allies: Russia, France, Italy, Israel)
National Language: English
Agencies of Intelligence for the Republic of America
MIB: Main Intelligence Branch (CIA knock-off)
PAN: Protection Agency of the Nation (NSA knock-off)
CDI: Countrywide Department of Investigations (FBI knock-off)
The Eagle’s Senate
The meeting place of Senators of the Republic that represent each RA State. Just 1 Senator per state.
The Eagle House
The Eagle (President knock-off)
1st Olive Branch (First Lady/First Gentleman)
The Eaglet (Vice President knock-off)
2nd Olive Branch (Eaglet’s spouse)
The Democratic Coalition of America Government & Agencies
(Allies: Australia, England, China and Japan)
National Languages: Spanish and English
HORAI: Headquarters of Reconnaissance and Intelligence (CIA knock-off)
NDS: National Department of Security (NSA knock-off)
DDI: Division of Domestic Investigations (FBI knock-off)
Hall of Democrats
The meeting place of hundreds of Democratic Representatives from each DCA State. (Half the number of the USA Congress)
House of Liberty
Lead Democrat (knock-off president)
1st Assistant Democrat (spouse of the LD)
Associate Lead Democrat (knock-off vice president)
2nd Assistant Democrat (spouse of the ALD)
Opinions vary but each country still operates a lot like the old USA. Except on is highly conservative and the other is super liberal.
Mom speeds down the highway heading for east border. Clearly, she is not worried about getting pulled over or caught by speed regulator cameras.
The baby stays quiet in my arms. He’s sort of cute. But his constant hypnotic stare at me is totally creepy.
“In New Jerusalem, we’ll get a motel and I’ll go out and get us some things for our trip.” Mom says like she’s still thinking about a million other factors to flee the country successfully.
The RA has spent millions of dollars to rebuild and wipe the memory of the old America away. I hear the DCA mends what is broken, but they don’t generate enough revenue to start over and build everything new.
“Where are we taking a trip?”
“Well, if you never opened the bag, I was just going to take you to a safe house for a few days, but your disobedience changed our plans big time.” Mom sounds disappointed as she keeps her eyes on the road.
“I’m sorry… I didn’t think you were in the baby smuggling business… a weird smuggling baby business that has genetically engineers infants that imprint on their masters/caretakers.” I defend myself, weakly.
What am I talking about? This all sounds nuts! When mom explained it all, I felt more insane by every unfolding detail.
The Chinese were working on Project Hercules, which combined the research of the Prometheus II Project with the concept of coding the Theus Sphere properties into a genetically engineered human being. The Theus Sphere was designed to fuse with a person and make someone average into a superior human being that would a be killer machine taking orders from the boss. Project Hercules would breed humans that at birth would imprint on their handler, forming a bond to secure total allegiance and compliance. (Sort of sounds like a video game about assassins, huh?) The baby in my arms is the very first baby if the reality.
A wealthy mercenary, Baptiste Guyon, stole Project Hercules the Chinese and destroyed all their research and either kidnapped or killed every person connected to the project. At first, when the RA got the intel 10 years ago, they thought Guyon wanted to sell the project to the highest bidder, and the RA was prepared to purchase it, but then it became clear he wanted it for himself.
He set up headquarters for Project Hercules II in the RA near the Mexican border. Mom was sent in to infiltrate his organization. She played herself. A spy without a country to serve. For the past eight years, she’s been a field agent for Guyon, while feeding his plans and operations to the MIB. Occasionally, she would send misinformation to Guyon.
Mom’s original orders, once the first Hercules was born, was to destroy all the research and to bring the baby back to MIB central in True Dallas. But the day this baby was born, mom learned Guyon has several facilities around the world and more babies like Hercules I were about to be born. She called her MIB handler and got a new directive. Fake the baby’s death, bring the child to HQ, and go back undercover to find all Project Hercules Facilities across the globe.
Seeing what Hercules I was capable of, mom planned on killing the baby for real, lying to the MIB and to Guyon. But in case her plan failed and the RA was going to burn her for treason, she wanted to come take me to a safe place. If Hercules didn’t imprint in the first 24 hours of his life, he was going to die. Mom figured he could die slowly and peacefully in that duffle bag not wanting to add baby-killer to her repertoire. I screwed up the plan.
She’s going to still tell the RA and Guyon the kid died. It will be convincing because mom was on security detail transporting the surrogate in labor back to the facility from Guyon’s house, when Mara and her team were ambushed in a tunnel. Mara got out of the vehicle just as it exploded, unable to rescue the surrogate and the baby.
The real story is that mom stopped in a tunnel the MIB was sending a drone to attack. She killed everyone under her charge. Then she ripped baby Hercules out of the surrogate’s womb and fled for cover with the baby in the getaway SUV she parked nearby. She drove away as the drone bombed the tunnel.
I’m not sure how she’s going to fill in the holes to the MIB or to Guyon, but she’s survived being a spy for over twenty years, I’m sure she’ll figure it out.
“Do we have to call him Hercules?”
“You can call him whatever you want. He’s your new baby son.”
“Why can’t he be your kid?”
“I’m not going on this trip with you. I can’t and it will be easier to keep the cover that he’s your son and not your brother.”
I don’t see her logic. But the last time I didn’t listen to her I became a mom, so if I don’t want to end up dead, I ought to do what she says.
“Milo Xavier Taylor.”
“Xavier? You like that name, huh?”
“It’s dad’s name…” I say.
That much she has told me. My father is Xavier Douglas Wace. When they met he was an analyst for the CIA. They fell in love while he was a field agent after fusing with the Theus Sphere from the stolen Prometheus II Project. She was sort of in love two different people for a bit. When dad first used Theus, his own consciousness would be suppressed by a the persona built into the sphere. Agent Xavier was Agent Theus, a different man in attitude, demeanor, decision-making, and personality. But eventually dad figured how to use the properties of Theus without letting the Theus-persona loose. Then they got married and were working on impossible missions as part of a deal with the CIA that would end in their early retirement to enjoy civilian life. More than anything my mom wanted to start a family with my dad and they didn’t want to be spies raising a family.
Their last mission was to intercept a piece of technology similar to Theus, but instead of fusing with the technology, the tech was a giant download onto some willing person’s brain. All this information would be in their mind to learn without having to take time to learn how to do things. What would take months or years to learn, only took seconds after finding the info on the hard drive of their brain. There was one version before the type they intercepted but it killed the person was the guinea pig. The Traverse 1.0 fried their brain into liquid… literally. Good thing that didn’t happen to my mom. Neither of us would be here.
Dad wasn’t as good of a spy as Theus. He got himself captured by the bad guys they took the Traverse 2.0 from. Mom wanted to save him, so she used the stolen tech– the Traverse 2.0, and it worked long enough to save dad. But her brain couldn’t handle all the information and she passed out. When she woke up she could talk and walk, but she couldn’t remember the last five years of her life… She couldn’t remember dad at all.
Mom got pregnant before that mission, but she didn’t find out until that mission was complete and she had already left my dad in the dust. Her mind rebooted during her pregnancy and by the time I was one, she remembered her whole life with my dad, and was in love with him all over again. But thanks to Civil War 2, there was no family reunion.
Now, all my life, she told me she picked up a regular civilian life after the war. The truth is, the MIB formed and drafted her services. If she refused, they were going to kill her and put me in an orphanage, because they didn’t want her joining the former USA now DCA.
Until a few months ago, I believed her civilian life lie. But then I began to wonder why my mom forced me to learn to Spanish, German, French, and Mandarin. She’s taught me Kung Fu, Krav Maga, and how to use guns, swords, and knives. I know how to read a room to find a way out in case of an emergency. Every once in a while, we would go on free shopping sprees where she taught me how to shoplift without getting caught. When I was 12, she ditched me on a camping trip and left a note for me to get home using what I had and without getting help. If didn’t make it home in three days, she would come for me. Sometimes in sparring she would beat me to a pulp just to increase my pain tolerance. I know how to make a bomb out of household cleaners and house items. Need I think on this more, she trained me to be a spy! So I started snooping on her.
First, I cracked the code to her safe in her closet and found her journal. I know it is a major invasion of privacy but reading someone’s inner thoughts is the fastest way to discover what is going on with a person. I learned fast mom was still in the spy game. I just didn’t what she was doing. I know if I read about this Baby Hercules Project, I wouldn’t have removed that blindfold and I would be childless now.
“You want me to be his mom because if he loves me like a mother, that’s the best way to ensure he won’t become a monster… Right?” I check if I figured out her angle.
“Um, I guess… He’s designed to only form a personal connection with a parent figure. I’m not sure he’ll have the emotional intelligence to care about siblings… But I’ve been thinking. We should kill the baby.”
“You’re not ready to be a mom and if my plan goes south, it will be easier to survive on your own. Plus, if anyone ever figures out the truth. They’ll kill you just to get him. Then whoever has him, will make more of him.”
“Cloning people doesn’t work.” I point out.
“No, but anyone with the right background could make an army like him with his DNA. And they wouldn’t hesitate to train him and use him in the field. It’s better to kill him and burn his body.” Mom argues.
Before we make any rash decisions, I have to know, “What is the plan, with me as his mom?” I ask.