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Jorge Valdivieso

Jorge Valdivieso

Chemist by day...
Science fiction/horror author by night...

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The Paragon

The Triangle

The Paragon: The Triangle is a novel aimed towards anyone who enjoys a good scare. Jump on a terrifying roller-coaster to a world where you will question reality.

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Sci-Fi Horror
Wisconsin, United States
56,067 words
100% complete
2 publishers interested

Synopsis

The world has changed.  The Bill of Rights, just as the United States’ Constitution, has been revised to protect not only the rights of humans…but also mutants, or people with extraordinary abilities.  All agencies under the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security report to the International Mutant Patrol Organization (IMPO), the world’s largest—most elite—national defense agency responsible for the enforcement of law and administration of justice to humans and mutants.  The agency’s mutant operatives are considered to be the best in their skills: telekinesis, astral projection, and extrasensory perception.  But they may be no match for what suddenly threatens the IMPO…and also the world.

One of the IMPO’s best human operatives, Special Agent Victor Prescaro, has realized he may be a pawn in a dangerous game with a force as secretive as it is lethal, The Triangle, an organization so well-integrated into society as we know it, it may be impossible to stop.  But time is running out.  Now, Victor will be forced to uncover secrets that stem from intergovernmental ploys used during World War, while exposing himself to creatures from the darkest parts of the mutant world in order to stop the deadly organization, controlled by a mysterious group, The Three, who will stop at nothing to dominate the world to create a population worthy of its existence…the paragon...

Outline

Cover

Title Page

Disclaimer (i.e., Work of Fiction)

Acknowledgements

Dedication

Author's Introduction

Prologue: A phone call between a man named, Gary Anderson, and a mysterious person on the receiving end.  It is implied the Anderson's life may be in danger and he is seeking immediate rescue.

Chapter 1: A meeting at a classified location between two military officials, General Michaelis and General Schultz.  Schultz is discussing his solution to national security, while Michaelis already has distinct prior knowledge of the solution and cautions its implementation, as it involves three rogue men known for flaying their victims.  He furnishes an old confidential document to his partner.  The document refers to a highly lethal program from Special Warfare Development, Project Red Eye, which links the three men.  Michaelis states to his partner that he would be “chasing ghosts”, and Schultz leaves without another word.  It’s clear he knows something that Michaelis may not.

Chapter 2: Introduction to the main character, Special Agent Victor Prescaro, a human operative at the International Mutant Patrol Organization (IMPO), Washington, D.C.  He receives a call from his boss, Special Agent Monica Lewis, Chief of Investigative Operations (CIO) to report to IMPO headquarters immediately.  There is a disturbing situation.

Chapter 3: Description of IMPO headquarters.  Victor arrives at Monica’s office to discuss the situation.

Chapter 4: Introduction to The Triangle, an organization as deadly as it is secret.  There is a conference between the three leading executives to discuss an intercepted communication with a certain (and too familiar) keyword.  The three are interested in locating the target, and already have “bait” strategically placed to lure it out, while also preparing to deploy assets for an attack.

Chapter 5: Victor and Monica discuss the situation, classifying it as “a matter of national security”.  Apparently, an unidentified envelope had appeared at Monica’s office.  It may not be just a letter, but a warning, followed by something more lethal (and explosive).

Chapter 6: Victor and Monica recover from the explosion.  Victor takes her to get medical treatment at the IMPO infirmary, which is practically a mini-hospital.  Also, the explosion is investigated by IMPO Intel division.

Chapter 7: Introduction to Kumala Advanced Weapons Systems (KAWS), the best international defense contractor in the world’s arms industry; however, it is the business of one of the leaders of The Triangle, Jacques Kumala.  He is preparing his deployment reports for the next conference.

Chapter 8: Description of the IMPO infirmary; Monica and Victor seek medical evaluation and care.  Intel reports to Victor that pieces of the explosive device were recovered and had the logo of a triangle.  Monica tells Victor a secret about the logo and tells of its designer, Gary Anderson.  Victor discovers it may be the “calling card” to a secret organization, The Triangle, and suspects Anderson to be a critical component to the investigation.  Monica and Victor prepare to leave to Baltimore, Maryland, the location of Anderson’s architecture planning firm, STV, Inc.

Chapter 9: Description of STV, Inc.  Apparently, an assassin has found Anderson first before the IMPO.  Anderson is killed.

Chapter 10: Victor and Monica are continuing to prepare to leave IMPO for Baltimore, Maryland.  While in an elevator, Monica informs him that they will be leaving in fifteen minutes, activating the elevator override to descend to a secret area of headquarters unknown to Victor.  It was an aircraft bunker.

Chapter 11: The three Triangle executives are having another conference to discuss deployment reports.  There is also discussion of the “bait” being ready soon.  Another figure walks into the conference room; it is the assassin carrying Anderson’s head.  As the three understand IMPO is now investigating the existence of The Triangle, they agree that Anderson’s death is just the beginning…and perhaps someone at IMPO will bring them closer to their goals…

Chapter 12: Monica and Victor leave the bunker using a private military fighter jet capable of traveling at Mach 1.  They will be reaching Baltimore, Maryland in about five minutes.

Chapter 13: The three Triangle executives are continuing their conference; one of the deployment reports shows availability of equipment to upgrade weaponized robots, Blood Hounds.

Chapter 14: Monica and Victor land in Baltimore, Maryland.  They are finding a cab to take them to STV, Inc.

Chapter 15: Access to the Blood Hound Vault.

Chapter 16: Monica and Victor arrive at STV, Inc.  The plan is to intercept Anderson, but Monica may have other intentions.

Chapter 17: Blood Hound Reanimation Sequence complete; the killer robots are ready for deployment to their target’s location.

Chapter 18: Once inside Anderson’s private office, Victor discovers that Anderson is dead; his head is missing from his body.  Suddenly, there is a clicking sound from behind him.  It is Monica holding him at gunpoint.

Chapter 19: Orders are updated from The Triangle to the Blood Hounds’ central computer, which is interpreted and implemented by the Alpha, or the lead-robot of the group.  Orders are now active…

Chapter 20: Monica, still holding Victor at gunpoint, admits to working for The Triangle, explaining the reasons for the deception.  Furthermore, she suggests that global control by The Triangle will ensure the betterment of the world’s population.  Victor feels helpless, but suddenly realizes that his rescue has come after a stun grenade goes off, following the entrance of a rescue team.  Monica is unconscious.

Chapter 21: The disturbing arrival of the Blood Hounds at STV, Inc.  They are on the hunt for their target…dead or alive.

Chapter 22: Fighting to regain normal mobility after the stun grenade, Victor meets his rescuers, a group from a secret sector of IMPO, the Emergency Response Command (ERC).  The group’s leader, Marco, tells Victor that his safety is the priority of the mission.  But the mission could end in failure as the Blood Hounds are nearby.

Chapter 23: Monica regains consciousness notices she is not the only one in Anderson’s office.  The Alpha Blood Hound emerges from the darkness, and approaches her while awaiting an updated order.  She greets the Alpha and states the new order: TERMINATE VICTOR PRESCARO AND ASSOCIATES.

Chapter 24: Victor and members from the ERC team are moving briskly through the maze of corridors at STV, Inc. and reach a stairwell to exit the building.  Marco confirms on his radio to air-support to prepare for extraction on the roof.  Suddenly, a Blood Hound attacks one of the team members and the group is forced to run to escape danger.  The team makes it to the roof when they are greeted by a CH-47F Chinook to evacuate. Victor and Marco make it safely on-board, but witness more team members die at the hands of the Blood Hounds.  Victor then passes out.

Chapter 25: Monica is on the phone, reporting the escape of Victor with the ERC group.  The voice on the receiving end is one of the three executives of The Triangle, disappointed with her news, and notifies her of her dismissal from their services.  In addition, he eludes to knowing all along that she had joined The Triangle to steal information on Project Red Eye, since she was the one who had spoken with Anderson, who had leaked information about the program and its developer, Salvador Dorado (who The Triangle is desperate to find).  Suddenly, Monica discovers the Alpha Blood Hound nearby with modified orders.  She accepts her fate openly, as the Alpha’s loyalty has just been changed…

Chapter 26: Victor wakes up, noticing he is still aboard the aircraft that rescued him, while inside some high-tech hangar.  He starts to explore the area and eventually meets Marco…again.  Marco informs him that he is at a secure, classified facility under IMPO’s control.  Furthermore, Marco tells him just how important he is to protecting the world from an imminent threat.

Chapter 27: Although the Blood Hounds failed to capture Victor at STV, Inc., the three Triangle executives attempt to relocate him using a different means…a more sinister means.  The executives order the activation of The Octagon and standby for the awakening of their most dangerous weapons, the Demigods.

Chapter 28: Introduction to the ERC; Victor is about to meet the man in-charge of the ERC, General Schultz.

Chapter 29: Introduction to The Octagon and the awakening of the Demigods.

Chapter 30: Schultz meets with Victor to discuss his rescue from STV, Inc., stating he was already aware of Monica’s “false loyalty” for some time.  Furthermore, he explains to Victor that he [Victor] is the mission to defeat an evil emerging from the world, the first manifestation of a threat to life as the population knows it.

Chapter 31: The three Triangle executives receive a transmission from The Octagon.  The Demigods are online and searching for their target.

Chapter 32: Schultz informs Victor about the organization that threatens the world, The Triangle.  Victor assures that there are mutant operatives at IMPO capable of defending the population from such threats.  But to his surprise, there is a power unknown to him that the general suggests is a true rarity, astral projection.  Furthermore, the general confides to Victor that The Triangle may have something to do with the rare—almost extinct—number of mutants gifted with astral projection.

Chapter 33: After the meeting with Schultz, Victor is given private sleeping quarters for the evening.  Exhausted, he effortlessly falls asleep and starts to dream.  The dream, however, could be lethal.

Chapter 34: Victor awakens from the dream briefly, seeing he did not awaken on his own.  A woman, Olivia Sykes, tells Victor that she had rescued him from the dream, where a dark creature, a Demigod, was seeking to tear apart and consume his astral body in order to control the physical body.  Suddenly, Victor passes out and Olivia is forced to return to the astral world to free him from the remaining clinches of the Demigod.

Chapter 35: The three Triangle executives are in the conference room glancing at the Demigod Visual Feature, being able to see what the creature can see.  They see Victor’s face on a widescreen monitor.  His location is discovered, and more importantly, the location of the secret IMPO facility.

Chapter 36: Victor is rescued from his dream.  Olivia informs Victor that she is part of an elite team of mutants assigned to IMPO’s Emergency Response Group (ERG).  Furthermore, she informs him of the danger of a Demigod.  Worried to the reason for the attack on Victor, she decides to re-enter the astral world to find the answer…with Victor joining her.

Chapter 37: Introduction to Jacques Kumala, one of the three Triangle executives.

Chapter 38: Olivia and Victor enter the astral world, spying on The Octagon.  Olivia’s discovers that Victor was targeted by the Demigods to find the location of the facility.  Realizing the location of the facility is compromised, she goes to warn the others of the ERG.

Chapter 39: Vrakas Laboratories, a sub-sector of The Triangle located in Siberia, unleashes its weaponry on a nearby village for a “trial” assault.  It succeeds beautifully.

Chapter 40: The ERG members are at a conference room waiting for Olivia, who excused herself a while ago.  Schultz is also part of the company.  Suddenly, Olivia enters the room and announces that the facility will be under attack soon by The Triangle.  Schultz agrees to warn the US agencies—FBI, CIA, NSA—of the danger, while the ERG (and Victor) protect the facility.

Chapter 41: Introduction to Tobor Industries, another sub-sector (and headquarters) of The Triangle.  The three executives meet and prepare to leave together for the assault on the IMPO facility.

Chapter 42: Victor discusses a battle strategy with the ERG to defend the facility from attack.  A mutant with telekinesis, Ariel, agrees to defend the outer perimeter of the facility with a group of soldiers provided by Marco.  Meanwhile, Olivia and a psychic mutant, Zen, will perform surveillance in the astral world to anticipate attacks of The Triangle’s assets.

Chapter 43: An enormous fleet of helicopters are approaching the IMPO facility, which is located in the Arctic Circle.  A missile is fired at the facility to initiate the assault.

Chapter 44: The facility is attacked by the missile, killing several soldiers guarding the perimeter.  Olivia and her group of soldiers go outside; using her powers, she takes down several helicopters surrounding the area.  Olivia and Zen notice that Ariel’s defense is effective; however, Demigods may be active again.  Olivia prepares to fight to help Ariel.

Chapter 45: Michaelis arrives at The Khanal, a maximum security prison in Spain for both mutants and humans.  He has a mysterious meeting with Schultz, who should be in Washington, DC to warn the President about the threat of The Triangle.  Schultz has a secret to show Michaelis: a cryochamber with Salvador Dorado inside.

Chapter 46: Ariel and her group are being attacked by a monster formed by the corpses from the missile fired earlier.  The monster is being possessed by several Demigods.  Olivia and Zen, however, start to kill the creatures in the astral world, weakening the possessed foundation of the monster.  Ariel finally destroys the monster.

Chapter 47: The three Triangle executives are surveying the battlefield of the facility from a helicopter afar, watching Ariel destroy more helicopters and assets, one-by-one.  They decide to send a rather formidable asset to kill her.

Chapter 48: Schultz kills Michaelis, since he seeks to use Dorado’s discovery, Project Red Eye, to defeat The Triangle, and eventually control the world.

Chapter 49: Ariel fights the asset, who is not only the assassin that killed Anderson, but also appears to be her “ex-lover.”  He is far from that…  The two fight and Ariel get seriously injured; before the asset can kill her, Victor distracts him, allowing Ariel to kill the man.  Unfortunately, her injuries are too severe and she dies.

Chapter 50: A horde of Blood Hounds is starting to descend from the helicopters surrounding the facility, causing the remainder of the ERG and soldiers to return to the facility for safety.  Victor, however, has an idea that may exploit a significant flaw to the design of the killing machines: destroy the Alpha.

Chapter 51: There are three other cryogenic freezers next to Dorado’s.  They open, and three beings emerge, devouring the corpse of Michaelis, leaving nothing behind except for his skin.

Chapter 52: Olivia and Zen are in the astral world and locate the Alpha.  They prepare to radio the position to Victor and Marco who are taking an alternative hidden route.

Chapter 53: Victor and Marco are in a secret maintenance turned in order to get to the outer perimeter of the facility.  Victor receives the location of the Alpha from Olivia.  Marco and Victor eventually discover the Alpha, which is located on a crevice of a large glacier in the distance.

Chapter 54: The three beings escape from the cryo-chamber and explore the rest of The Khanal to find more flesh to feed from.  The prisoners make a fine feast.

Chapter 55: Marco and Victor fight the Alpha.  Marco is severely injured, and surprisingly, takes a grenade and sacrifices himself to destroy the Alpha.

Chapter 56: The three Triangle executives in their helicopter order the remaining aircraft fleet to return to headquarters.  They agree that the assault on the facility was effective enough to continue plans for their assault on Washington, DC.  The Octagon is activated again…

Chapter 57: Olivia and Zen find Victor alive, in which he reports that Marco sacrificed himself to destroy the Alpha and shutdown the Blood Hounds.  Suddenly, a helicopter descends to the facility, and Schultz emerges from the cargo door.  While Victor and Olivia board the aircraft, Zen appears to want to stay behind.  Before Olivia can speak to him, Schultz order the aircraft to take off and explains he can stay behind and ensure the security of the others until the rescue choppers arrive.  Minutes later, once Schultz’s chopper is out of sight, a fleet of helicopters fire upon the facility, destroying it and killing the survivors.

Chapter 58: The Demigods attack the White House, paving a bloody red-carpet-welcoming for the arrival of the three executives of The Triangle.  It was the end of the White House.  The beginning of the end for humans and mutants…

Audience

Based on data collected through the book's Facebook page, the target audience is young adult males (ages 18-24), while there is additional [significant] interest from the millennial population (ages 25-34).  During a book synopsis launch on May 17, 2018, approximately 660 people were reached in less than 24-hours; 60.2% of readers were males, while the remaining 39.8% were females.  This demographic illustrates the potential for marketability in a simulated 24-hour period.

Author

Jorge Valdivieso III is a chemist specializing in organic chemistry.  He has been working in the chemical industry for over six years, with experience in pharmaceutical development and inorganic (heavy metal) material synthesis.

A pre-medicine graduate of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Jorge is an avid reader of science fiction and medical thrillers.  He enjoys spending time drawing and painting, visions from both of which have inspired his creation of this novel.  This is his first work as a writer.

The Paragon: The Triangle is the first novel of the Paragon series.  Jorge lives in Wisconsin with his fiancée and two pets, where he is currently working on his second novel.

Promotion

Facebook: I have a dedicated Facebook page for the Paragon Series, featuring the synopsis and artwork that will be featured with hard cover special edition copies (*E-book will not feature the exclusive content).  This is also where I can update fans on my progress of different projects (i.e., illustrations, book cover art, website development, funding/sponsorships, etc.).  Updates are given weekly.

Twitter: I have a dedicated Twitter page for the Paragon Series to update followers.

Book Website: I have a website being developed since May 18, 2018, that is targeted to be online by the end of June.

Book [Video] Trailer: Scheduled to be finalized for YouTube by end of July.

Competition

1. Ender's Game//Tor Science Fiction (1994)//Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses -- and then training them in the arts of war...(*provided by Amazon)//

DIFFERENCE: My book offers highly memorable characters due to complex backgrounds so that the reader can’t help but empathize with them, and in some cases, even cheer their prevail throughout the book.  I also challenge that readers may build personal relationships to certain characters.

2. Harry Potter Series//Scholastic (1998)//A boy realizes he is a sorcerer and falls into a world of magic, good and evil//

DIFFERENCE: Marketability!!! My book is a first-time novel and not as well-known as the Harry Potter series.  However, J.K. Rowling has done a great job targeting the younger population (ages 9-13) with her books, and I plan to do the same with older readers (ages 18+).  The younger population is always looking for newer, better, more unique thrills...this book achieves that with original ideas and a strong fear factor (and could definitely lead to gaming and/or movie contracts).  It is guaranteed to be a roller-coaster ride!

3. IT: A Novel//Viking Press (1986)//Seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It...(*provided by Amazon)//

DIFFERENCE: My book is aimed to be an action-packed adventure with some twists and turns to frighten readers to the point where they question what is "real" and what is not, by reaching the pinnacle joint of science and horror.  Readers may not want to sleep with the light off...or sleep at all...  If one craves the scare factor, this is the book.  If you do not scare easily, this will challenge you!  Sorry, Stephen King, but no more clowning around!

4. War of the Worlds//William Heinemann(1898)//Southern England is invaded by Martians//

DIFFERENCE: My book offers a different depiction of world destruction.  Frankly, the depiction is graphic and disturbing, but keeps the reader interested by linking the connection between fact vs. fiction (using a lot of research), and may elicit some controversy (like Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code).

5. Coraline//Bloomsbury and Harper Collins (2002)//When Coraline steps through a mysterious door in her house, she sees a house strangely similar to her own (only better).  Everything seems to be marvelous, but it may just be a deadly farce//

DIFFERENCE: Unique monster!!!  Coraline is a very unique idea, with a brilliant monster ("the other mother") that leaves readers disturbed.  My book offers the same thing, but the monster is much more disturbing and seems more realistic (as it is associated with YOU...your dreams...your memories...your imagination).

Sample

Prologue

Time: Present Day, 1037 hrs

Location: Baltimore, MD

MAN:                         Are you certain that you can bring me in safely?  I know they are watching.  Even now, they could be monitoring this call.  Is this line even secure?

UNKNOWN:             As I told you at the beginning of the conversation, the line is secure.  And I promise you will have total protection and complete amnesty of any criminal activity you were involved with in regard to the organization.  Just get me all of the information I have asked for.

MAN:                         I promise to tell you all I know.  I just want you to guarantee my safety.

UNKNOWN:             I promise that no harm will come to you, Mr. Anderson.  Now, tell me everything…


Chapter 1

Time: 1841 hrs

Location: Classified

General Robert Michaelis looked down at the glass of brandy held in his right hand, observing its golden-brown color, which fluoresced the light from the wood burning in the rustic marble fireplace.  It was the only light in the oak-paneled room. As the brilliant glow covered his face, his gaze then moved back to his best friend and ally, General Mitchell Schultz, who sat in a chair next to the fireplace.  Both were the same rank—four-star generals—and commanders of the most highly trained elite and top-secret paramilitary unit in the United States.

Michaelis and Schultz were both graduates of the highly esteemed military academy, West Point, one of the most respected and celebrated academies in the nation.  Upon leaving, they thought their paths would never cross again in their military careers.  However, the military, like many other things, was just another small world.  Special Forces Command had unintentionally reunited them once again.

Within the sector of Special Forces, Schultz had pursued a career in counterterrorism, constantly deploying to various third-world countries as a ‘last respondent.’  His sector nickname—Santa Claus—was a twisted reference to his jolly nature of “dropping off gifts to all the good little boys and girls” to cleanse parts of the globe of government corruption and terrorism.

According to Michaelis, it took a very special person, like Schultz, to do the dirty work of the sector.  Although he, too, joined Special Forces, Michaelis was interested in the training and assessment management of Special Warfare Development.  In this sub-sector, he, along with psychologists and experts in unconventional warfare from around the world, supervised the design and implementation of recruitment battery tests to select candidates for Special Forces.  He even had the distinct honor to meet some of the personnel responsible for creating a program more effective, more lethal, than the widely recognized moniker, SEAL Team 6, which they later called Project Red Eye.

It was a program, however, Michaelis regretted to ever have been associated with.  Yet now, present day, the memories of the program’s insidious design were resurfacing.  As Schultz was trying to convince him of a newly discovered potential asset for the Special Warfare Development to benefit the United States’ national security, the harsh combination of fear and regret settled over him.  He had already seen the program once…he could not allow it to be used again.

“Mitchell, you are chasing ghosts,” he said confidently.  “You may think you have the solution to our nation’s security, but you do not know what you are getting yourself into.  This is nothing but a hoax.  “You would never—”

“What?  Find them, Robert?” Schultz interrupted.  “Like these guys are that fucking secretive?!  I have dealt with much worse, even mutants for Christ-sake!  I am used to managing individuals like this, my friend.”

“Well you can’t,” he exclaimed in a rigid tone.

Schultz was skeptical now.  “And why is that?  Because this is a just a so-called hoax, or is there something you wish to tell me?  You want to explain yourself?”

Michaelis sighed, realizing there was no way around the subject.  “These men that you’re so interested in finding were part of an elite group within Special Forces.  They were the finest soldiers ever to be used in this sector.  But even if you found them, wherever they may be, you do not know what they are capable of.”

“Finally, the truth comes out,” Schultz said, glaring deep into the Michaelis’ eyes and smiling.  “Sounds like you really knew these men and their backgrounds.”  The answer was clear on Michaelis’ face.  Yet it was apparent that he was ashamed of the fact.  “Why don’t you tell me exactly what you do know?” he suggested.

Michaelis cleared his throat and took another sip of brandy.  “You see the news.  You see the countless reports of the wars oversees and our nation’s promoted self-righteous motivation to continue to intervene in the plethora of global issues.  It all stems from money, weapons, and our government’s ridiculous and ill-qualified ways of conducting diplomacy.  A while back, one of our researchers put the U.S. war count at 74, with many being unannounced or undeclared war against enemies that sought no political or strategical gain.  But how does one treat such a poison?

“You treat poison with a different kind of poison,” he continued.  “The U.S. government claims that it does not conduct political assassinations.  Back in 1976, then President Gerald Ford signed an executive order stating: “No employee of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire in, political assassination.”  We both are aware of the outlandish nature of this claim, given by the extensive list of U.S. involvement in coups and assassinations worldwide.  But what you did not know is that the assassinations were conducted by my predecessors from Special Warfare Development.  And that is from where these three men spawned.

“These were the perfect assassins.  But unlike their counterparts, who understood that the assigned missions were just ‘jobs’, they obsessed over the brutality offered by their environment.  So much to the point of being insane and unethical.”

“Well, isn’t brutality part of the job for our soldiers specializing in unconventional operations?” Schultz interrupted.  He was beginning to get confused as to what his friend was trying to explain to him.

Michaelis’ head was shaking.  “No, you don’t understand,” he said.  There was a distinct shiver in his voice.  “They would not only assassinate the target, but—without orders from their command—also murder civilians.  Innocent men, women and children.”

Schultz was looking at Michaelis intently.  “Our sector would never authorize such an action.  Although that certainly exemplifies efficient containment.”

“Not exactly,” Michaelis said, hesitating to speak his next words.  “The bodies would always be found stripped naked, completely disemboweled and flayed, with only the skins left behind.”

“Flay?” he said in disbelief.  The blood drained from his face.  “So, you found only the skins and not—”

“Yes,” he said, while placing his left hand over his face to hide the wave of nausea.  Michaelis did not feel it necessary for Schultz to go into further detail about the gruesome findings.  “Understand, these were men without a conscience, without any boundaries, prone to disobey orders without the fear of being caught.  We speculated their reason for flaying their victims was to debase the bodies of their tainted outer structure, similar to some controversial religious beliefs.  They tried hard to hide the evidence of their actions.  But eventually, the other soldiers found out about their unusual activities and reported it to their command group.  Considering that the men’s instability could be a liability to the sector, command’s orders were that the three had to be eliminated.  Termination was planned to take place in the Sahara.  Unfortunately, command lost communication with the Special Forces group, so it was assumed that the allies within the group were killed.”

“Killed by just three men?” General Schultz asked, still amazed at the potential.

“Yes, Leon, Simón, and Dean Vegas.”  A hellish chill crawled down Michaelis’ back as he said the names, which were more unique than any he had ever heard.  Just stating the names felt like someone was sliding a knife down his spine, prickling down his skin, causing the small hairs to stand tall.  “They were brothers.  Triplets.”

“Brothers in arms.  Literally.”  Schultz smirked.  “Very interesting.  So then what happened to them?”

“Well, we seriously questioned the possibility of their survival.  If our assets did not kill them, they would have died in the Sahara, being an environment as desolate as its temperatures lethal.  We assumed they died.  But then a few years ago, one of our observation satellites picked up something.  It was an abandoned campsite.”

“An abandoned camp site?  In the Sahara?”

“We scanned the area.  Digital photos were then sent to a research team to analyze the data and investigate the matter further.  They later discovered that there was some kind of underground facility beneath the camp.  And then that is when we found evidence of the soldiers’ survival.”

“What evidence?” Schultz asked with great confusion.

Michaelis answered, “We received communication from someone that used to work with an organization that he was reluctant to speak of.  But he did, however, mention the name of someone who previously worked in our sector of Special Warfare Development.  Apparently, a pioneer in our military research.  His name was Salvador Dorado.  Apparently, he was the organization’s lead research scientist for a highly specialized program they called Project Red Eye.”

Schultz was frustrated now.  “I have never even heard about this program.  We have the same top secret security clearance, along with other things.  Why wasn’t I, too, informed of this?”

“Mitchell, this program was so dangerous that it had to be hidden from the world," Michaelis cautioned.  It was led by Dorado himself, and nobody but him worked on this assignment.  I never met him, and I have very limited knowledge of the program.  But I know that the program was exceptionally selective, even being deadly during its admission.  In Dorado’s mind, he wanted these men to be so mentally broken down, so disciplined, they would be absent of any human emotions.  In the end, they would not question any order, nor fail any mission given by a controller.  They would be the perfect soldiers.”

“A perfect soldier?” Schultz questioned the possibility.  As if there was such thing.  “Even our Special Forces soldiers have imperfections, although quite minimal.  But they are still human, which is a weakness in itself.  And that is something that cannot be removed.”

Michaelis anticipated the comment.  “Actually it can.”  He paused, getting up from his chair and moved to his desk.  “That is exactly why, Mitchell, the program’s extreme level of secrecy existed.”  He reached into the top draw of his desk and pulled out a large, string-tied, manila folder, throwing it to Schultz.  It appeared old, etched with scratches and dents from overuse, and had a large red label stamped to the top.

TOP SECRET

“Read this, Mitchell.  Only then will you understand,” Michaelis said.

Schultz opened the folder, revealing Dorado’s personal scientific journal.  His eyes were locked on the priceless artifact.  It was like holding the Devil’s bible.  He opened the book to preview the pages.  There was one part that included the admissions procedure of the program, Project Red Eye.

//…START CONFIDENTIAL REPORT…//

18June1993

2. Methods

2.1. Subjects and Procedure

Subjects were recruited for a randomized study of a recorded intervention aiming to improve the military’s knowledge and understanding in the control of combat stress reactions in a high-intensity training environment.  In addition, the study aimed to investigate the factors desirable for the “perfect soldier.”

All subjects planned for information about a clinical trial in phase 2.  They were included in the intervention study by a study psychologist in connection with the program about the clinical trial.  No other inclusion or exclusion criteria besides applicants to the clinical trial were used in the study.  All subjects were service members, at least 21 years of age, possessed the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) rank of at least ‘Sergeant’ (or equal rank), demonstrated exceptional skills in combat/ leadership/ problem-solving (based on evaluation reports from respective units), and considered exceptionally fit (based on scores from physical fitness tests from respective units).  Clinical data were collected from subjects’ medical files (from respective units).

2.2. Phases and Instrumentation

Phase I:  All subjects underwent intense physical training.  Training included ruck marches (30K-50K), advanced land navigation, several obstacle courses, and combatives training.  In combatives training, the subjects completed at least 1,200 hours of hand-to-combat, and 800 hours of knife training.  In addition, all subjects were included in the Repair Program for further testing.

*Special Note 1:  Combatives Training instructed the fundamentals of punching and kicking, ground fighting techniques, chokes, arm/leg bone-breaks, and body manipulations.

*Special Note 2:  Knife Training focused emphasis on the following items: SOG Seal Knife, Karambit, and Push Dagger.

*Special Note 3:  The Repair Program was aimed to torture the subjects in order to mentally/physically “repair” their weaknesses.  Subjects were placed in the Repair Chamber, while strapped to a mechanical chair.  Once secured, a guard explained the procedure and began the session.  Torture methods included punching to any bodily extremity, water boarding, whipping, and flogging.  Throughout the procedure, both a physician and psychologist were in the room at all times to monitor the pain threshold and overall health of the subject.

Phase II:  Upon completion of Phase I, subjects underwent a clinical trial, experiencing acute behavioral disorganization and mental fatigue.  Many subjects exhibited symptoms of mental illness (such as panic, depression, and hallucinations); however, they were still fully operational at the conclusion of Phase II (based on clinical data).  Subjects remained under close supervision by psychologists during phase 2.  Also, all subjects were admitted to ‘The Nightmare’.

*Special Note:  ‘The Nightmare’ program simulated the death of people, particularly a subject’s loved ones.  Prior to the program’s commission, it was highly debated whether the deaths should be simulated or real.  Since the aim of Project Red Eye was to protect the United States, harming civilians during training would violate that goal.  All subjects were placed in a locked room, in front of a glass chamber.  A guard would speak to the subject while using an intercom, and explain the procedure; however, unknown to the subject, the event would not be real.  Once the procedure had started, the subject would be forced to witness their family slowly die in the glass chamber.  The purpose of this was to force the subject to experience a terrible loss, especially one involving their loved ones.  Theoretically, if the subject thought they had no family, then there would be no emotional motivation to deviate from a directive.  Thus, the subject would be fully detached from all human emotions, and much more committed to following an order.

2.3. Statistical Methods

The two randomized groups in the study were humans and mutants, both well balanced in respect to their demographic variables, which were included using multivariate logistic and linear regressions (see Figures 1 and 2, and Tables 3 and 4).

3. Results

3.1. Subject Characteristics

A total of 200 subjects participated in the recorded study, 197 (99%) died during the experiment, leaving 3 (2%) subjects that finished the study.  It was found death was a direct result from psychological trauma to the frontal lobe.  High stress reactions damaged subjects’ motor functions attributed to logic, speech and judgement, thus causing lethal paralysis to the brain.  Those subjects were included in the clinical trial, and as presented elsewhere in this report, the subjects showed highly favorable stress reaction levels for all phases of testing.  The subjects’ demographic and clinical data are presented in Table 1.

3.2. Associations between mutants and humans and demographic factors affecting psychopathy and mortality

Figure 1 presents the results of the univariate and multivariate analyses of associations between the mutants and humans and demographic factors affecting scores of psychopathy, linked to mortality.  Lower mortality rates were associated with humans in both the univariate and multivariate analyses.  In addition, a similar result was found for “obeying orders”, where disinclination to follow orders was predictive of humans.

4. Conclusion

In summary, rates of higher mortality and obeying orders were related with mutant clinical trials.  Unfortunately, there was no association between any demographic factors found, including the ability of the mutant.  Yet the 3 subjects that survived the experiment were human.  Pathology reports confirm the latter, as mutations would have been seen in the blood samples.  Is this a new hope for the advancement of humanity?  Regardless, results indicate that further experimentation at increasing military knowledge and understanding of controlling combat stress reactions may improve rates of mortality in high-intensity training environments.

Salvador Dorado, Ph.D.

Chairman, Project Red Eye

//…END CONFIDENTIAL REPORT…//

Schultz finished the journal entry, sipping the remainder of the rich, golden brandy in his glass.  His face looked speechless.  He then looked at Michaelis, while still holding the journal.

“Is this the only copy of this journal?” he asked, holding up the folder.  His eyes now pierced those of Michaelis, hoping to chisel out the truth.  But he afforded him no time to respond.  “Robert, does anyone else have any knowledge of this?” he asked.  “And what about the drawing at the bottom?” Schultz’s eyes fixed on the page.

At the bottom of Dorado’s signature was an ornate symbol, closely resembling Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.  But the body was split into two different sides.  One side had the same angelic face and humanoid representation, while the other side was overly-muscular.  God-like.

“Does this drawing mean anything to you?” Schultz asked Michaelis, even more confused.

As Michaelis stepped away from his desk, the light from the fireplace only added more contrast to the micro-wrinkles in his face, which only enhanced the visual display of his mental and emotional discomfort.  Why suddenly all of the questions? he wondered to himself.

“I have people still working on that, Mitchell.  It is probably a seal of some sort, like a family crest.  I doubt there is any significance,” Michaelis said, hoping his words would ease the mind of his old comrade and friend.  “And yes, this is the only copy.  The original.  The only people that know about this matter are you and I,” Michaelis assured Schultz.  “And we will keep it that way.  Anyone else that gets involved, we will ensure that they are silenced…permanently.”

Schultz’s eyes began to become narrower now as he exchanged his next words with Michaelis.  “By the way, what do you think the men did with the bodies after they flayed them?”

Schultz’s question was rather unexpected, throwing off Michaelis’ focus.  He continued to pace around the room.  “Well, I never thought of that before.  Maybe they hid them somewhere.  Again, trying to hide all evidence.”

“That’s my point though.  Why would you leave the skins of your victims behind if you are trying to hide the evidence?”

Michaelis stopped moving suddenly, and turned around to Schultz, perplexed.  “I honestly do not know.  Perhaps severe undiagnosed psychopathy?  Like you said, humans are not perfect.  Neither is the human logic.”

Schultz’s face went from a stern look to, quite surprisingly, forming a smile.  You really have no idea, he thought.  “So, you never told me the name of the person that reached out to you.”

Michaelis did not expect the inquiry, but nonetheless answered truthfully.  “Gary Anderson.  He is an architect from Baltimore.  I’ve never heard of him.”

“Me neither,” Schultz said, while leaning up from the creaking high-backed leather swivel chair.  He placed his empty glass on the side table nearby and began to stand up.  As he walked toward the door to depart from the meeting, he stopped suddenly, turning to Michaelis to set the stage for a final question.  “I do have to ask though, how we would even find Dorado, or even these men.”

General Michaelis exhaled.  “No need.  There is nothing that we can do at this point.  As I told you, you would be chasing ghosts.”

Schultz grinned, leaving the room without another word.

Five minutes later, Schultz had already cleared the security checkpoint, crossed the tarmac, and was walking up the ladder to his private jet.  The aircraft’s doors closed behind him, and the engines roared to life.  He buckled himself into his seat, and then took out an encrypted cellphone from the inside of his jacket pocket.

The cabin itself was similar to a luxury airliner, featuring the same amenities: a full-size bathroom, dedicated bedroom, furnished lounge, kitchen, and meeting room.  However, the high-tech windows exploited one of many of the aircraft’s deceptive capabilities, as the engineering was modeled after the F-16 Fighting Falcon.  Each window’s innermost layer was 0.5-inch-thick polycarbonate and molded to fit the frame space, while the center was 0.05-inch polyurethane bonding to the outer layer, a 0.125-inch layer of poly (methyl methacrylate), or acrylic glass.  The design was critical, as the jet was capable of speeds of Mach twenty.

Schultz gave the pilot, who was seated at the front of the aircraft and revving the engines, an elated nod in the anticipation of his next destination.  The jet would be there in under ten minutes.  As the aircraft continued to prepare for takeoff, he glanced out the window to see the view one last time.  Suddenly, the engines roared underneath.  Within 45 seconds, it had already climbed a height of 15,000 feet – just above cloud level.  Now hovering miles above, Schultz relished the sight of the tiny cluster of buildings.  The endless space felt so empowering.  He then returned his attention to the keypad of the phone and began dialing.  He is right, he thought to himself.  There is no need.

Within a few seconds, a voice answered on the other side.


Chapter 2

Time: 1041

Location: Washington, D.C.

The car gradually came to a halt as it pulled up to a brick house.  Despite the stunning foreground of the silver Aston Martin, the view of the house property was much more impeccable.  The bricks were handpicked from Italy, and vines grew over the sides of the house and towards the entryway, bearing pink and white flowers.  The walkway, of course, was a sight itself.  It consisted of an endless array of horticulture, including jasmine, lavender, tulips and roses.  Seeing the house of his ex-wife was part of a daily ritual for Victor Prescaro, every morning and every night to and from work.

Being a graduate of Harvard Law School and earning several diplomatic awards, his skills were undoubtedly fit for today’s society, where mutants and humans coexisted.  In the year of 2012, the Bill of Rights, like the Constitution of the United States, had undergone many legal and diplomatic modifications.  One of the modifications was equal rights for humans and mutants.  Not many changes were made to the laws that governed humans’ way of life; however, certain rules were set in place for mutants since their powers had potential for problems concerning social acceptance.  In order to maintain the enforcement and admission of these rules, the United States government commissioned an agency, the International Mutant Patrol Organization (IMPO), dedicated to one purpose: monitoring and securing the social, interactive environment of both mutants and humans.  As a Special Agent for Human-Mutant Life, Victor was one of very few people—an elite group—charged with the protection of both mutants and humans.

Victor felt a vibration and then a sudden ringtone.  He quickly grabbed the cellphone out of his pocket and placed the speaker to his ear.

“There has been a situation.  Report to headquarters immediately,” said a distorted voice, since this was a secure line.

The call immediately ended, and the phone was tossed onto the passenger seat.  He quickly accelerated away from the house.  While Victor’s left hand remained on the steering wheel, his right motioned to a back-lit remote-control box mounted to the center console of the car, activating a 120-decibel dual tone siren to alert others of his right of way on the road.  His past life lay behind in the far distance.

The Cadillac approached 60-mph, screeching through the neighborhood as school buses were finishing their morning pickups, and civilians left their homes to go to their jobs.  People are so ignorant, blinded to the real world, Victor thought to himself.  He could only think of the countless lives he had saved on multiple occasions, being a crucial asset to the security of mutants and humans alike.  It was interesting how his agency’s diplomacy influenced many aspects of daily life: education, politics, economics, employment, and above all else, the law.

The law was under direct control by the IMPO, establishing a strict judicial balance between mutants and humans; if that was ever hindered, there would be serious consequences.

That was not an option for Victor.


Chapter 3

Nearly fifteen minutes later, after speeding on the highway at 120-mph, Victor approached the IMPO headquarters, which was marked by a decoy parking garage building.  Being an underground facility, the agency was celebrated as the most secretive in world history, yet one of the largest buildings in the world and infamous for employing one of the most elite security systems known to man.  The building was about 6,500,000 sq. ft., of which 2,500,000 sq. ft. were used as offices and 1,500,000 was used as an ultra-maximum security prison; the remainder of the building’s infrastructure was classified, and not even Victor knew some of its purposes.  However, Victor did know that there were approximately 20,000 military and civilian employees—including both mutants and humans—and about 1,500 non-defense support personnel working in the building, which were strictly human employees.  The exterior of the IMPO had three sides, ten floors above ground, six basement levels, and hundreds of corridors per floor, amounting to a distance of approximately 35.5 miles.

As Victor approached the entrance of the false garage, he had his identification badge ready for inspection and prepared for his voice, facial, and retinal recognition scan.  Over the past twelve years working for the IMPO, all of the overwhelming security systems the building had to offer had become second-nature for Victor.  Although being a full-time employee and seeing the building on a regular basis, not a day went by that Victor was not impressed by its seemingly impenetrable security.

The car pulled up to the scanner, which was fixed to a large concrete post.  As Victor rolled down his window, two automatic gattling guns with depleted uranium rounds were raised from the ground on both sides of the vehicle.  Two lasers pointed at the frontal lobe of Victor’s head, designed to help the fixed gun emplacement follow but also anticipate any movement of an intruder.  Not even slightly intimidated, he continued with the scan.

[BEEP BEEP]…“Identification please…,” the scanner asked.

Victor calmly responded, “Victor Prescaro…alpha, zero, nine, nine, six, four, three...” 

As he stated his name and personal security clearance code, the scanner completed all other biometric recognition protocols—facial, vocal, and hand scans—and automobile inspections for weapons and other hazardous materials.

[BEEP BEEP]…“Access granted…Welcome Special Agent Prescaro…,” the scanner finished responding, and two 30-ton blast-proof doors in front of Victor opened with two red lights blinking at the top center frame. 

Victor continued to drive the car past four other fixed gun emplacements, and entered the parking garage.  Once out of the car, he approached an elevator, where yet another security scan was about to be initiated; however, this scan was not one that could be easily bypassed or manipulated.  Unlike any elevator designed in the world, the elevators at the IMPO required a personal key code and a fresh DNA sample for access.  It did not matter if there was one person, or multiple personnel.  The elevator’s scanner would override to a lockdown mode until all DNA samples were collected from all occupants.  Beeping sounds from Victor’s fingers typing on the keyboard panel echoed inside of the elevator.  Suddenly, a subtle hiss followed with another panel opening underneath the keyboard, with a well big enough to occupy a finger. My least favorite part, he thought.  Victor squeezed his lips together in discomfort from the micro-needle sampling his blood for a DNA scan.  No matter how many times he had done this, it always was an unwelcoming feeling at work.  Victor then pushed a button and the elevator started to move downward.

As the elevator moved, Victor glanced around the elevator, admiring the interior design.  Although the elevator was elegantly crafted with imported zebra wood and granite tiles, the elevators were fixed with hidden sensors that measured any [and all] biofeedback from occupants.  These sensors were so accurate, they could identify—in less than one second—if a person was under duress based on stress levels in voice patterns, or if there was simply normal activity.  In any hostile situation, the elevator was programmed to automatically go into a panic mode, in which it would deploy a nerve gas to temporarily paralyze any occupants, and then shut down the elevator’s control system until security personnel arrived.  In most situations, the security staff was the IMPO’s Level-1 Security Personnel, which majority of the special agents termed as Skins, based on their appearance and design.

The elevator stopped at its destination, and a subtle hiss once again followed the operating elevator machinery.  Immediately as the doors opened, a Skin greeted Victor, one of two that were stationed outside the elevator entrance.  Despite seeing the machines on a daily basis, he still marveled at their design, although it was a bit creepy.  These machines were built of titanium, covered in a tan-colored synthetic polymer, similar to that of latex, resembling skin tissue to make them look more human.  As a result, their bodies mimicked that of a manikin’s, except red lights and cameras replaced the eyes.  Interestingly, the cyborgs were immune to almost any weapon other than electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks, which proved to be quite effective in disrupting their computer programing.  But at the same time, the most dangerous thing about the machines was their functional ability as a group.

During any altercation, the cyborg’s computer system would record information about the hostile target and environment, then quickly calculate—with a speed of approximately 1,000 trillion calculations per second—the likelihood of neutralizing the situation.  If the situation were determined to be unfavorable, the system would automatically alert a team of fifty cyborgs to come assist the cyborg in distress within minutes, thus making them a more exhaustive force.

This was one of the most important hallways in the entire building, hence why it was so heavily guarded.  At the end was the office door of Victor’s boss, Monica Lewis, the IMPO’s Chief of Investigative Operations (CIO) and responsible for all investigative decisions and policies regarding human and mutant laws.  More importantly, she was also the only person for which Victor would have deliberately broken road laws, going thirty miles over the speed limit, to meet.  It was very rare to get a phone call from her extension—commonly characterized by the distorted voice heard twenty minutes earlier—as Victor was only required to talk with her during monthly meetings, usually over a secure line and pertaining to detailed briefings and updates on the IMPO training protocols.  Due to matters of personal security, their means of physical contact was always limited.

Victor opened the door.  The room was colored a pail turquoise and decorated with stainless steel walls, white marble flooring, ceramic light fixtures and teal blue leather couches.  As he continued to walk, Victor’s eyes eventually fixed upon Monica, who sat behind her stainless steel-glass executive-style desk.

To refer to the CIO as a powerful woman was a gross understatement.  The CIO, Special Agent Monica Lewis, was strong and tall, with soft pale skin, an unforgettable face, silver-dyed hair, and light blue eyes, which—despite having to deal with the agency’s dark secrets on a daily basis—never ceased to lose their glowing, sapphire-like appearance.  Being a natural-born leader, she was motivated by those who worked under her, while envied by those above her.  A brilliant strategist and the model of efficient investigative discovery, Monica ran her division of the IMPO with an unrivaled clarity.

Victor stopped and stood in front of Monica’s desk, surprised by the sight of her.  Her hands covered her face, resting her elbows on the desk.  Monica Lewis resembled nothing to a woman who wielded the power to control the investigative affairs of human and mutants.  She uncovered her face but did not look at Victor when addressing him.

“Special Agent Prescaro, please have a seat.”  Her voice, although subdued, had a notable rawness to it.

This was most definitely an unexpected emergency, Victor thought to himself.

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