Friday, April 30, 2010

[Mythos XVII] A Brief Interlude and History Lesson

With apologies to HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Charles Stross. Copyright 2010 Thomas James Hardman, Jr, all rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. References to real places and things may be included but their usage is fictional in nature and intent. Any similarity to real persons or parties is coincidental and should be seen as fictional in nature and intent.

Perhaps you'd like to jump back to the previous chapter?

How can you tell that a shopping center is a decoy, nothing more nor less than a Potemkin Village?

It's simple. The merchants don't want you to shop there.

Sometime in the late 1980s, I walked into a courthouse in beautiful downtown Silver Spring Maryland.

It turns out that if you get a speeding ticket, and do not pay it on time, you will get a summons. If you petition for a delay, and get a new court date, and then petition for another delay, it's quite possible that the issuing officer will not show up for the trial. This is a common strategy. It is not the strategy I used, not this time.

The officer was there, but I did not intend to fight the ticket, not exactly.

When my case was called, and the judge asked how I wanted to plead.

I did not make a so-called Alford Plea.

I made one of the most unusual courtroom gambits ever seen outside of high-profile organized crime show-trials of the 1930s.

"Your Honor," I said, "I'd like to plead guilty to all crimes, known and unknown".

The judge blinked, twice. The stenographer clicked away at her recorder. The police officer looked at me with an expression of total disgust; this case was the only reason he was present in the court on that day. His expression said, plain as day, "You couldn't have just paid the ticket, could you, ya jerk."

The judge said the same, more or less. "You couldn't have just paid the ticket?"

"Your Honor, I wanted my day in court, and then thought better of it."

"All crimes, known and unknown?" His expression hovered somewhere between amusement and distaste.

"Yes, Your Honor."

He whispered to a clerk, who did things to his computer terminal. Moments later, the clerk whispered back.

"So ordered. I fine you $45.00 and assess you one point on your driver's record, for exceeding the speed limit by less than ten miles per hour."

The gavel banged, papers were stamped, and down the hall they stamped my papers again, took my cash and gave me a receipt.

I had just plead guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction, and was now protected by the so-called "double-jeopardy" clause of the US Constutution. It's not like I exactly was getting away with anything much, but it's always good to know that there's no possibility of anything hanging over your head from your juvenile years. I understand that since that simpler -- more straightforward -- time, laws have been changed to prevent people from doing this sort of thing. But just in case anyone wants to try it in my case, all I can say is "the Constitution prohibits ex-post-facto legislation". If anyone wants to know why I did this, all I can say is "on advice of counsel, I wish to avail myself of protections against self-incrimination in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution". I will then shut the fuck up and not say diddly squat. What happened in the past stays in the past. In any case, "there was no law against it at the time."

And no, I am not Michael H Kenyon, and I was never, neither in Illinois nor elsewhere, an enema bandit.

In the early 1980s, the Cold War between the Western World and the Communist powers escalated to new heights, and along with that came escalation of espionage activity.

Some of this got pretty much out of hand, or as out of hand as it could get without it becoming an international incident. Since everyone wanted to avoid an international incident -- international incidents could of course lead potentially to what was tactfully referred to as "mutual assured destruction" -- as a rule the bar was set a lot higher on what sort of out-of-hand activity would be considered eligible for escalation into the diplomatic realm.

Activity which in other eras would have led to public hangings after show-trials was, in this timeframe, pretty much brushed under the rug and studiously ignored. Yet it went on.

The Mitrokhin Archive conclusively reveals that the former A&P grocery store in Aspen Hill was a favorite meeting place for spies, but it also clears up something else: the spies had no idea that they were standing literally on top of an immense subterranean complex rivaling the Government Relocation Center at the Greenbrier Hotel.

It was in this early-mid-1980s timeframe that a certain escalation in international tensions triggered a lockdown at the facility, which the internal security system classified as ending in an actual nuclear exchange. The lockdown kept the place sealed for years, by which time the people inside had become very strange indeed.

Not too long after the Cold War ended with the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union, rumors were widely circulated in the global internet, to the effect that extraterrestrials were building, or had built, vast subterranean complexes and were using them for purposes generally discussed in unpleasant terms. These rumors are now understood as out-of-work spies trying to nail down loose ends, and possibly to gather information that would be valuable on the resale markets.

The friendly folks who built our national defense system during the Cold War did sell off some of those assets, such as the old Nike missile sites which some folks have bought up and converted into residences.

Sometimes, they might get more than they expected by the time they actually take possession, but since the1950s, widespread public education has educated the public on how to prepare:

Such minor difficulties generally are controlled with ease. Sometimes, such facilities get infested and they just collapse the structure with whatever explosives might be required.

But how can you explosively decommission a structure nearly the size of the Pentagon, which was concealed by building a thriving (if sketchy) community of 32,000 right on top of it?

Well, first you have to find or make a way to get rid of the 32,000...

Did I mention that the way you detect a Potemkin Village shopping center camoflaging a massive subterranean bunker is by looking for merchants who don't want to do business?