Monday, 12 February 2024 01:31

Living on a Song and a Prayer; part 2

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Living on a Song and a Prayer, Part 2

By Camospam, with help from Wendy K.

A Non-Canon Second Generation Whateley Universe Adventure

 

Jason 

 

 “Suicide!?!” 

 “Nah mate, you’ve got it all wrong! I don’t wanna die. Fact is, I’d really – really like to live. It’s just that, well, back in Auckland all the Hospital staff were laying odds on when I’d die, an it wasn’t very favourable odds that I’d make it. 

 “Yah see, so much was going wrong with my body at the time, that staying alive wasn’t looking too likely. Sorry mate just had a flashback to an old Bee Gee’s song. It happens to me now an then, then I can’t get the tune out of my head for a while.” 


Music does that to a person. What sort of health issues are we talking about? 

 “When my bones started to melt, I could no longer walk cause my legs wouldn’t stay underneath me. I lost use of my hands soon after that, all them small bones began to disappear, and my fingers became these useless sausages that I can’t bend anymore.” 

 “As the bone loss continued, it affected my ribs, and I could hardly beath. When they intubated me, yah know; stuffed a tube down my throat, it was like I was being inflated like a balloon, it hurt a lot too. So, they operated on me, put a breathing tube inta me, now a pump pushes air directly into my lung, an they also put a feeding tube into my stomach cause of my throat closing off, I couldn’t eat when that happened.”

How do you …? 

 “I’m fed this yucky green paste that gets pumped right into my stomach. A nurse told me it’s specially formulated to provide all the nutrition a fulla needs. Honestly, it looks gross, and I miss tasting real food – I haven’t had a cheeseburger in ages.”  

I don’t get it. If you can’t breathe, how is it you can talk? 

 “Yah, right. I know. Mom made up this little fan gizmo that first cleans, then pushes air into my lungs at a low pressure - so I don’t inflate, I still gotta exhale through my mouth - cause of that, I can speak. Being intubated messed my throat up bad, Doc Simmons theorized that my body altered because of it. It took me a while to control my throat afterwards, I needing to learn how to talk all over again. I haven’t figured out how to sing though, that’s a might trickier to master.” 

Can you drink? 

 “Yeah Nah. That valve in my throat is completely closed off into my stomach now, I can’t eat or drink nothing. It’s all gotta come through the feeding tube.” 

So your wheelchair? 

 “Mom made it, it’s my own mobile life support system. It handles all the stuff a normal person does, yah know - in … an out. I keep telling myself it’s a living, and I’m thankful for it, but it’s hard to lose everything yah know. Life doesn’t mean much when everything you used to enjoy just isn’t an option anymore.” 

Would you say you’re an invalid? 

 “Now yah see mate, that expression irks me some; its like saying I’m in-valid, that I’ve passed my due date and should have expired. It isn’t like I have no reason to live, or even a right to life. An maybe I can’t do all what I used to, it doesn’t mean I want to up and kick the bucket.”  

 I hadn’t meant to suggest such, but I see your point. I’m only trying to determine if you represent a burden to society. 

 “I don’t want to be, an I hate how Mom has given up so much because of me. I really don’t want to be a burden, I wanted to be a minister so’s as to help other people. But now, now I’m the one needing a heap of help. I’d have rather never seen the insides of a hospital or be stuck needing air pushed inta me. I’ve had to continuously look into the face of my own mortality, and I’m grateful to have such a wonderful Mom.” 

Explain what you mean by mortality? 

“I’ve had to accept my limitations, if those go unchecked, I could die. Yah know, it’s like how a fulla’s gotta breath, an let me tell you - when you’re gasping for every breath, you appreciate each bit of air you get. Or consider bout how you gotta eat, without food you ain’t gonna last long.” 

 “That what being mortal means, you recognize needing outside support fer staying alive … sorry, Bee Gee’s again. Where was I? Oh yeah, if’n a fulla was immortal, he’d have life within his-self, wouldn’t need ta rely on any outside support. As I see it, a mortal man needs air, water, food, and warmth to keep alive – an I’ve had trouble with each of those so far.” 

How about gravity? I took a biology class that talked about gravity being a necessity. 

 “Dunno, never been to space, an I can’t fly either, so I can’t speak bout gravities effects. Although, come to think about it, I did get an upgrade to my iron lung on the way here, which allows me to be positioned more upright, it improved my blood circulation … so, maybe?” 

Did you choose coming to Canada because of the free health care? 

 “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t weight into the decision, but mostly, it’s because Canada’s been accepting mutants as refugee’s, not many places put the welcome mat out for people like me. Also, Mom an me, we’ve got relli’s living here, so that’s a plus.”

 

Avonlea

 

You’re a mutant? You should have started with that.

“The Police and my Social Worker told me not to openly discuss it.”

Why is that? 

 “At the time, people were in a frenzy over the murders happening in and around Auckland, the police wanted to control the narrative the public received. The wrong message could have heightened animosity towards mutants, blamed mutants for all the wrongs happening, even instigated more attacks from the likes of Humanity First. I suppose they didn’t want to have people demonizing mutants and giving hatemongers free reign to spew vitriol.” 

 “Between the Police and Social Services, they decided to keep my mutation hidden. I figured it was best for all concerned, and they’re the ones who dealt with all the details.”

Was the MCO notified? 

“No, not that I’m aware of. As I said: the Police didn’t want to give my location away to deranged lunatics, which – honestly, kinda describes the MCO to a tee. So, my identity and everything about me and my family was classified as secret. A judge sealed my file to keep it from prying eyes.” 

Did you ever get tested? 

“Is it important?” 

Absolutely. 

 “If you say so.” Avonlea gave a heavy sigh at discovering she might spoil Jason’s chances. “I’m guessing I’m a Gadgeteer, that’s the most likely ability.” 

Nobody suspected? 

 “In university I downplayed my abilities so as not to draw attention to myself. At work I design civil infrastructure and manage complex construction projects, I had that job for the last eleven years.” 

Did your employer know? 

 “I told the company president when he interviewed me for the position. Mr. Storch kept it to himself, no one else knew. I developed a reputation for finding solutions to the most difficult problems.” 

Did the serial killer ever get caught? 

 “No, not that I’ve heard. The Police hoped my attacker would slip up - but nothing so far. The Police have his fingerprints and DNA, but he’s still out there. I’ve lived in fear that he’ll find me - and Jason, I have no doubt he’d kill us in a heartbeat if he ever found us.” 

Do you know what level Gadgeteer you are? 

 “Likely mid-level from what I’ve seen online. I can look at a drafted drawing and visualize it perfectly in my head. When I see a mechanical process on paper, I can identify its strengths and weaknesses, and come up with a fix. Plus, I’m able to formulate new ways to improve upon any design.” 

Nobody spotted your - talent? Any distinguishing physical features?

“My eye colour changed, I was born with brown eyes, they’re violet now. But I wear brown contacts.” 

Who else knew? 

 “Mom and Dad, both are dead now. My brother John. Detectives Jacobson and Neals, Luke Neals has retired. Mr. Storch, the boss I mentioned. And then Doctor Eugene Simmons. That’s all I can think of right now.” 

Your son Jason doesn’t know? 

 “I could never bring myself to tell him, I wanted to, and almost did on many occasions. But no, he doesn’t know.”

Don’t you think he deserves to know? 

 “What? That his father is a wanted maniacal fiend. Maybe I could tell him that I didn’t want him, that being pregnant reminded me every day of the horrors I went through. How about this? That he had a seventy five percent chance of being a mutant because his mother is one. I had no idea how to broach any of those topics. If you think talking about sex to a teenager is tough, I’ve got news for you.” 

So, you left him hanging? 

 “I tried to let him live a normal life, a life stolen from me. And I let him have hope, because hope was one of the few things I could afford to let him have. He had a twenty five percent chance of not manifesting, and I bet his future on that slim hope. I was wrong, okay? I screwed up!”

 “Now Jason is paying a heavy price for my mistakes. Maybe I’m not the best parent, heaven knows I was little more than a child myself when he was born. I’m doing the best I can.” 

Why didn’t you get an abortion? 

 “Nearly everyone told me too, and I faced plenty of pressure to end the pregnancy. But you have to understand, I was raised to believe that all life is precious and sacred before God. I didn’t deserve what happened to me, but that tiny spark of life inside me had certainly not done anything wrong, I couldn’t kill it. It was the most agonizing decision of my life up till then, even now. But Jason is easily the most important thing in my life. I’d be lost without him, so I’m not second guessing my choice.” 

I’m not judging you, but I needed to ask. 

 “I appreciate that, I want to do the right thing, really I do. It’s why I’m telling you this, because Jason needs all the help he can get. I’m his mother, I’ll do anything to protect him and keep him safe. Even if it means confessing to all my mistakes.”

 

Jason

  

 “You’re asking what I bring to the table, what I have to offer. I don’t know what to tell you, I won’t lie, maybe if I could still play music, it’d be something. But I honestly don’t have a clue why I’m even still alive, let alone for what reason.” 

Being a little dramatic, aren’t you? 

 “Maybe, I suppose I’m a little biased to be truly objective. When you’re sick, it tends to cloud your judgment.” 

You think being a mutant makes you sick?

 "Don’t know, all I can say is that ever since I was diagnosed as a mutant, I haven’t been healthy.”

Fair point. Looking at the doctor’s assessment, it says you suffer from several physical anomalies. 

 “Anomalies? Is that what you call not having any joints left in your body, and most of the smaller bones having already disappeared completely.” 

How is that even possible? 

 “I don’t have an answer for that. Doc Simmons told me I have some of the worst GSD going.” 

But you look normal enough? 

 “Thanks, I guess. But you’re going to love this, apparently, I have a Body Image Template, it’s wrapping me up in a tidy package - it’s all that’s keeping me held together, I’d just be a blob otherwise.” 

Let me get this straight, your skin is all that’s keeping you looking human?

 “That sums it up nicely. My cuzzy Pam told me ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.’ I’m not sure what she meant by that. Mom used to say that beauty was only skin deep, I’ve stopped trying to imagine just how ugly I really am - underneath, what I could become.” 

Have you noticed any changes to your physical appearance? 

“There’s been some, my hair is turning black, you can see it against my scalp, it’s like I got a bad dye job. My eyes are now blue, and…” 

Go on.

“I think I’m taller, hard to say for sure since I can’t stand.” 

Right. How does having lost bone structure affect your muscles? 

 “They aren’t attached to anything, so I have zero control over the most basic movement. For example, I can twitch my fingers a little but … it's like they don’t listen to me anymore, they’re no longer part of me.” 

So playing piano …? 

 “Not a chance, once my fingers started feeling like stuffed sausages, I couldn’t play anymore. Now my hands, arms, and legs just flop around like wet noodles. Here, try holding my hand, now, bend my fingers backwards, don’t worry it doesn’t hurt, that’s it, they can go all the way back.” 

Oh my! Your fingers can touch the back of your hand. That’s … disturbing. 

“Yeah, freaky ain’t it. I’m like one of those toy figures that bends around.” 

Like Gumby and Pokey.

“Sorry, never heard of em. Nigel has a Stretch Armstrong - but he stretches, an I can’t do that, Pam tried - that hurt.” 

So, your bodily functions? 

“I guess you’d say it all works, aside from the breathing, and eating – walking – singing – swimming – anything needing hands … or needing much exertion. Although I do have pretty good lung capacity, they figured that out after filling up my lung like a balloon.” 

Lung? As in singular? 

 “Yup, my lungs merged into a single large one, that was around the time my esophagus closed off. The Doc’s determined my body reacted to each of the treatments I received, so they came up with another solution to keep me alive, an put me into an iron lung.” 

 “I should mention that most of my organs are messed up: like I have four kidneys, two hearts, and a massive pancreas. Oh, and they’re not sitting where they’re supposed to be either. Without a skeleton holding it all in place, they’ve drifted about.” 

How do you …? 

“What? Live?” 

Sorry to have to ask. 

“Yeah, no worries. It’s because of my mom. For example, she designed this wheelchair, it holds the pump that pushes air into me and has some elastic type bands that go around my body, when they constrict it squeezes my chest and helps force the used air out. You may have noticed that I must pace my voice to match what’s going on.” 

I’d been wondering, It’s not quite like how a normal person breaths. 

“I can only last for so long in the chair, then I have to get back into the iron lung. But getting out and about again is a huge plus.  If you’re wondering about how I control this chair, the band that goes around my head keeps my neck straight, and the bits covering over my ears converts sound into vibrations – cause the little bone inside my ears disappeared way back. Anyway, there are bumps on the front of my headband that watch my eyes and tracks where I’m looking, and the chair heads in that direction.” 

Impressive. 

“Yeah, I told you Mom was a good engineer. This chair has been a life saver, it feeds me, keeps me upright, gets me around - as long as the batteries hold out.” 

How long? 

“The batteries?” 

Yes 

“Four or five hours maybe. Actually, is there a power outlet nearby? It would be smart to keep the charge up.” 

On the wall behind you.

“Thanks. Would you mind plugging me in? The cord is beside my right-hand tyre, it should be long enough to reach.” 

Tell me why you left New Zealand?

 

Avonlea 

 

Tell me about Jason?

 “I thought I was. Every parent hopes their child has a better life than their own and works hard to be a good parent - not that mine were bad, but you want to give your child every advantage in life. Jason has already faced a lot of pain, and more is to come, sometimes all I can do is cry because I can’t fix it.”

You would rather take on all his troubles than see him go through it all. 

 “Exactly. After my rape, I never thought I would find love, never looked for it either. But love still found me, every time I look in my boys eyes, I know my life is better because of him - I don’t want to lose him.” 

 “It’s just that every doctor has said the same thing: ‘He’s going to die.’ I don’t accept that; I can’t accept that. I won’t let that happen.” 

Have you considered what happens if he does …? 

 “I’m not ready to deal with that, after my dad died I lost my anchor, Jason filled that empty spot, he became my focus and my purpose. I’m not sure what I’d do without him.” 

Is that why you ran? 

 “It is.” 

Can you talk about it?

 “I’d rather not, but it needs to be said.”

Take your time. 

 “Jason’s condition rapidly deteriorated, it didn’t take long before he couldn’t walk, his legs gave out underneath him a couple times, leaving him sprawled out on the floor before he stopped trying to get out of bed. When he lost use of his hands it was devastating to him, realizing he couldn’t play music anymore was a deathblow, music had been his comfort and consolation.” 

 “If it hadn’t been for Pamela’s visits, he would have lost hope. She came nearly every day to the hospital, they would listen to new songs or watch movies together. She was a lifesaver. Not like that girl: Tammy. She only visited him once in the hospital. When she found out he was a mutant, she never came back … which was tough on my boy – but it was for the best. Tammy spouted off a tirade against mutants before she left. She even broke off any association with Pamela, shunning her because Jason carried the mutant gene.” 

 “I saw how Tammy hurt Jason, but he never talks about her, he buried it under another layer of pain and hurt. I credit Pamela for keeping Jason positive during some very negative times. The life he knew, or wanted, had ended. I’ve tried to ensure he has a future.” 

Please describe what that means.

 “At the time my work had some very serious problems. I’d discovered somebody was skimming money from the power generating project, they altered construction designs and diverted funds from contractors. I discovered that falsified documents and drawings had been issued. The generator project was going way over budget by a magnitude of five. I notified Mr. Storch and he decided to bring in the Police. “ 

“Initially, I was the one who the senior partners blamed, and I was fired.” 

Without a job, did you have medical coverage? 

“No. Well, not enough for all of Jason’s needs. Which opened the door to another problem.” 

Go on.  

 “With Jason’s diagnosis as a mutant, it was reported to the government. I was visited by a Captain Eric Bartlett with the New Zealand Defense Force. He said the military had an interest in Jason, and they wanted him to become a cadet. I said no, telling him Jason was a conscientious objector and would never willingly join the army.” 

 “Captain Bartlett wouldn’t accept that answer, he began a smear campaign to have Jason removed from my custody so the government could put him in the army. The Ministry of Children was called in and told to have me pronounced as an unfit parent. Being unemployed was a major hurdle their lawyers used against me.” 

What did you do? 

 “I’m glad you asked. I had to appear in court to defend myself and our beliefs against taking up arms. After leaving the courthouse one day, a very large man sought to get my attention. I ran, he was scary big.” 

 “Later that evening at the hospital, that man came to Jason’s room. He introduced himself, I was surprised to discover we had already shared emails - about the generator project.” 

His name? 

 “Oh, right. Percival Lund. He’s a partner with Global Dynamic Systems, the suppliers of the thermal generators for the project I mentioned. He had wanted to meet me. Global Dynamic’s was being manipulated to provide a monetary kickback on the project, and Percy wanted to know of my involvement, if I was responsible.” 

 “I told Percy about how I had discovered the chicanery taking place and was fired. Percy consoled me and said he was glad I wasn’t involved.” 

“You can’t imagine my surprise by what happened next; Percy offered me a job – on the spot! Global Dynamics had been very impressed with my work on the project, my design ideas would’ve increase plant output by twenty percent.”

You said: “would’ve”? Please explain? 

  “Mr. Lund wasn’t going to submit to being extorted so he canceled Global Dynamic’s contract for the project after he’d arrived in New Zealand. I doubt the generator project is still going forward now, the next lowest bidder was three times GDS’s price and would only provide half the power.” 

What happened next? 

 “Percy invited me down to the hospital’s cafeteria for coffee to let Jason sleep, when we were sitting, he asked me if I was mutant. I was dumbstruck, but he said he was a mutant too, given his size I suppose it made sense. Global Dynamics figured only another mutant could have made the improvements I’d recommended.” 

 “Percy described the job to me: the pay and benefits. Honestly the employment conditions are exceptional, far better than I ever dreamed. He called his office and notified them of my immediate employment. Within a day I had a stack of business cards, had been supplied a laptop and phone, and a corporate credit card, I had only heard of platinum cards before, I never knew they were actually made of platinum.”

 “When I told the judge about my new job, he dropped the law suit against me. Captain Bartlett wasn’t going to let it drop though, he tried another tack – or I suppose attack. He used an old law called the War Measures Act to forcible conscript Jason into the military, citing that Jason was a vital asset for defense of the country.” 

Why the interest? I thought you said Jason was pretty much incapacitated. 

 “He is. The Judge demanded Captain Bartlett’s intent. Turns out each country is currently engaged in an escalating build-up of capabilities, an arms race if you will. It involves utilizing mutant soldiers to, and I quote: “defend our sovereignty”. According to Captain Bartlett, New Zealand is falling behind other notable nations, such as Australia. So, anyone who manifests is wanted in the military, as a resource.” 

I don’t get it. If Jason couldn’t even stand, what use would he be?

 "I know, right? It gets convoluted to understand. But Captain Bartlett was adamant, he’d accessed Jason’s high school records to identify Jason as someone the military could use. It turns out that a while ago a guidance counsellor had screened Jason’s aptitude for suitable placements. She determined Jason had the skill set to fit into the category of a Field Marshall. Best as I can tell, that seemed to be the driving factor.” 

I didn’t know that was still a thing. 

“Field Marshall? Yeah nah, it isn’t a job posting you hear about often: Rommel, Montgomery, Patton. Not exactly role models Jason wanted to emulate, or a career he wished to follow.” 

What does Jason want to do? 

“He wanted to be a minister, dedicate his life to God. He’s a gentle boy, he wanted to help people - not wage war.” 

So, what happened? 

 “Captain Bartlett tried to have the courts place Jason into compulsory military service; conscript him. It was slated to be a long legal battle, we needed to establish that Jason, and all mutants are people not property. Fortunately, New Zealand doesn’t permit slavery, which is what the military was seeking to enforce.” 

 “My brother John knew a fulla who was a lawyer: Matt - er Matthew VanHorne, he agreed to take my case. I filled him in on everything, so I guess he’s another person to know the whole story.” 

 “The Militaries lawyer’s argument was that a single mother, especially a Jehovah’s Witness was an unsuitable parent to raise children. The hours of debate to refute the claim; that being part of a religious minority wasn’t grounds to have custody revoked, that took a long time and was very draining emotionally. However, when I refused to divulge who the father was, their lawyer insinuated it was because I was a slut who couldn’t keep track of all the sexual encounters I’d had.” 

 “Matt asked to speak with the judge in his chambers, the two lawyers came back shortly afterwards, the judge announced that that line of questioning was stricken, and court was put into recess until the next day. On the way out of the courthouse, Matt had advised I keep my head down, so when a rather large man outside called my name, I panicked and rushed away. I hadn’t known who Percy was at the time.”

So why…? 

“I fully believed the army was going to seize Jason, take him away despite any court verdict. Bartlett let slip about his idea to experiment upon Jason, he wanted to try transfusing other mutants’ blood into him, see if that would make him into a weapon.” 

 “Hasn’t the world already experienced enough horrors from trying to make super soldiers? When the militaries plans slipped out, I knew we had to run.”

Jehovah’s Witness are against blood transfusions. 

“Yes, it goes against God’s will, blood is sacred, so we refuse transfusions. 

So, you decided to leave based upon ethical and religious reasons?

 “Yes, that sums it up nicely.” 

 Describe how you escaped? 

 “Alright.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Jason

 

 “I was in pain all the time; I was constantly dopey with some kind of sedative or pain dulling medicine. I was incoherent for much of the time from being so drugged up, other times I worked through the pain so I wouldn’t have to feel groggy.”

 “Pam would bring in music for me to listen to, she had this little radio that played CD’s and cassettes. She’d find songs that I’d never heard of before, and we’d listen to them. Pam would ask me what I thought, what I’d change - how I’d play it. She wrote stuff down. We must have done that for months.” 

I thought you said you couldn’t talk.

 “Yeah, while I was intubated, I couldn’t talk. When I got put into the iron lung I could speak again – after…  I forgot to mention that Mom petitioned the doctors for some other way to help me breathe. Which was great, cause my lung hurt badly from the air getting forced into me. When the people at the hospital found an old iron lung in the basement, they dusted it off and tuned it up. I was put into it with just my head sticking out. I couldn’t do anything or see much, but I was able to talk after relearning how to.” 

 “Mom did a lot to the iron lung to keep it working, in part I think she was bored, so it was something she could do to look after me.” 

 People lived their entire lives inside an iron lung, what happened? 

 “Mom faced lots of pressure, she’d lost her job, the Police investigated her for criminal activities. Then she had to fight to keep custody of me and stop the military from taking me. If Mr. Lund hadn’t come along when he did, we’d have been in a pickle.”

Mr. Lund? 

 “Yah, big fulla, way big. Don’t know his full name, but his company was an equipment supplier to the generating project Mom worked on. He wanted to meet Mom, an offered her a job. He was the fulla that helped us escape from the Military.” 

Tell me about that?

 “Not much to tell I’m afraid, at least not from my perspective. I was pulled out of my iron lung one morning, laid out on a wheely bed, had an oxygen tank connected to my breathing tube, and a sheet placed over my body. I was told to be quiet as I got wheeled downstairs. I got scared when they put me into a coffin, the lid wasn’t nailed down or nutt’in – but still? How to freak a fulla out!” 

 “I was loaded into a vehicle, I found out later it was a hearse when I got unloaded – an taken out of the coffin. I was hyperventilating by then … I’ve had nightmares about coffins ever since, and when you’re stuck inside an iron lung, it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes.”

 “Anyway, I had been taken out to the wharf, we were beside a shipping container Mom had arranged. I was put into a homemade iron lung Mom had built outta plastic pipe and pumps and other stuff, it was waiting for me inside the shipping container.” 

 “The shipping containers door swung closed after I was breathing steadily, once the door closed, I couldn’t see what was happening outside, but I felt the container getting hoisted into the air. Mom has the details; I really didn’t see much more than the interior of that metal box.” 

What action had the Military taken against you? 

 “They’d been attempting to discredit Mom, saying she was a bad parent. Just before the judge was going to interview me, this strange girl showed up in my hospital room, she told everyone she was a psychologist sent to assess me. She tried to mess with my head – tried to convince me to voluntarily join the army.” 

 What happened?

 “Turns out she was trying to pull a whammy on me, she was a Psychic and was, like, hypnotizing me, I suppose…” 

Did it work? 

 “Nah mate, she was acting all goofy like, then her nose started to bleed, an she passed out.” 

What did you do? 

 “I called for help.”

No, what did you do to her that made her pass out? 

 “Nothing mate, honest. I tuned her out after she started repeating: ‘You want to join the Army’. I told her: ‘No, I don’t’. An that’s when she went into a frenzy. I’m telling yah, it was freaky. They strapped her down on a wheely bed an took her away. I told the Judge what had happened, and he was a might peeved bout it.” 

How did you ‘tune her out’? 

 “She wasn’t saying anything I wanted to hear, so I stopped listening.” 

Is that a psychic ability? 

 “I … I dunno. Never gave it any thought. I mean, it’s not like I can hear people’s thoughts in my head or nuttin.”

   

Avonlea

 

 “Global Dynamics gave me a signing bonus, which covered the debts we’d accrued, and between Percy and I, we developed a plan for leaving the country.” 

Did Global Dynamics instigate your leaving? 

 “No. Percy said they could use me wherever I was. He even tried to talk me out of it. It’s just that, as hard a choice it was to make, there was no future for us in New Zealand anymore. Fleeing was the only option – the only way I could keep Jason safe, even if it meant leaving my brother and his family behind.” 

 “I knew Canada was accepting mutant refugees. Percy had a contact to help me get passage onboard a freighter leaving Auckland, it was owned by Global Dynamics and was in port to drop off materials for the generator station.” 

 “We found a shipping container and kitted it out. I’d already made a custom iron lung for Jason, so with that and some of our possessions, we left.” 

 “I mean, it wasn’t easy cause the Military was watching me, so I had to be careful in getting our stuff together. For a decoy, Percy bought plane tickets, as well as booked passage on a cruise ship heading to Hawaii, all to throw people off our scent. But, even so, we had a run in with a group at the port who tried to stop our departure.” 

What happened? 

 “Captain Bartlett had already sent his pet psychic to manipulate Jason into ‘volunteering’ to join the Army, she was one of the militaries lackies who tracked us to the port, along with a man in a long black cloak with this gawdy pendant that glowed purple.” 

 “They caught up with us just as the shipping container Jason was in was getting loaded onto the freighter. I was already on the gangway at the time, about to board the ship, watching the container swing on the cables. The Psychic pointed at me, and the cloaked man made some wild gestures and held out his hand toward us.” 

 “It was strange, but nothing happened, well – not to us that is. The cloaked man got violently thrown backwards into a pile of wooden pallets; it was like he’d been hit by a wrecking ball. The Psychic girl ran off when port security arrived and arrested the man.” 

 What about Mr. Lund? 

 “Yah, right. I forgot to mention him. He went to the cruise ship and was accosted by a bruiser onboard the ship, he’d been waiting for us to show up. Percy later told me he’d locked the fulla in a windowless room after they’d tussled. The brute was arrested when the ship arrived in Singapore. Percy traveled home on the cruise ship – he has a dislike of airplanes.” 

 How about you and Jason?

 “We stayed aboard the freighter: Dawns Embrace, it brought us to Halifax – eventually. She’s a midsize ship as freighters go, it’s dwarfed by some of the other ships out there. But it looked brand new until I saw she was built back in the nineteen sixties. Dawns Embrace underwent a total refurbishment and upgrade after being bought by Global Dynamics just before she was going to get scraped, least that’s what I was told. Now she travels the world supplying Global Dynamics equipment to different power generating projects.”

   

Jason

 

 “Being stuck inside an iron lung can be such a drag mate, staring at the ceiling, day in and day out, it was enough to make a fulla loopy. Between being stuck in a hospital room – then inside a C-can; I felt like a little tweety bird caught in a cage – with the cage being put inside a prison cell. Its why Mom made me the wheelchair, to give me some mobility.” 

 “Until Mom finished building my first chair, all I got was a little time each day when they opened the containers door, and I got to see the sky when the weather was good. However, A fulla changed my iron lungs set-up, I was kinda out-of-it for a time and was on a heavy dose of pain killers. Anyway, this guy, he comes and alters the machine Mom made, so’s it’s now able to tilt up. Afterwards I could be positioned to see out the door, and I felt much better too.” 

How long did the trip take? 

 “Months! The ship made stops along the way, and Mom would get called away whenever we stopped. Good thing is, the captain’s wife; Jacqui, she became a second mother to me … maybe a grandma, because she looked after Mom too.” 

 “Jacqui set up a schedule to relieve Mom so she could get some rest, and had others come to watch over me – all the crew members had a share, they’re good people. Jacqui also collected music from among the crew and they’d play it for me, stuff from all over the world. Her husband: David, he’d read me Sherlock Holme’s stories.” 

 “There was another fulla on board, a young kid who’d stowed away aboard the ‘Dawns Embrace’ long before we’d showed up. He’s not too much older than me, but Jacqui and David took a shine to him and let him stay aboard, they didn’t shy away from mutants. He’d come practice his English by reading to me. 

His name? 

 “Called himself Gecko, cause he can stick to walls. It was neat to have him visit cause he’d stick himself to the roof or wall, so I could see him as we talked an he read. Oh! The ship lent me a TV too, was hard to watch at first though, I could only turn my head sideways for so long, until my ‘lung’ could tip. Mom and I watched Gilligan’s Island together, they didn’t have much other stuff recorded. I learned a lot from that show.” 

You’re kidding, right? It was just a silly old comedy at best. 

  “No, honestly mate. If you analyze the whole premise of the show, it’s quite insightful. A group of people stuck on a tiny island together, each person represented a different facet of society: The Professor was knowledge; higher learning and science an stuff. Mr. Howell was all about business and wealth. The Skipper was the authority figure – kinda like government. Ginger was glitz and glamour – yah know? Fame and the good life. Mrs. Howell portrayed religion, who always sticks close to money. MaryAnn personified family to me, cause, well, she reminded me of my cuzzi Pamela.” 

 My pals in college debated who they’d rather marry: MaryAnn or Ginger. 

 “Definitely MaryAnn … not my cuzzi thou – that would be weird. But someone like her, yah know?” 

I hear you. My wife’s a MaryAnn too. You’d like to get married? In your condition? I mean – I don’t wish to pry, it’s just … 

 “No worries. I’m not much of a catch am I.” 

I didn’t mean to insinuate …

 “It’s all good mate. Sure, I think I’d like to get married someday, my heart works fine – both of them. But would a girl be happy with … this? I dunno, I’d like to think so. Honestly, I imagine me-self a Gilligan, the only fulla on the show who was happy, despite whatever circumstances came his way, he was resilient and made the best of what life threw at him.” 

I had never considered Gilligan’s Island to provide a life lesson. 

 “Strange isn’t it, the things you learn when you’re forced to slow down and really listen. 

 

Avonlea

 

How long did it take to get here? 

 “Just under two months. The freighter made several stops along the way, dropping off and picking up materials.” 

Such as? 

 “Our first stop was Madagascar, for a solar power installation. Then the Falkland Islands: they had a wind and wave power generating project underway. Next was Curaçao, St Croix, St Maartin. The places in the Caribbean mostly had solar panels being delivered. I assisted with installations, and made some design improvements along the way, all part of my job with Global Dynamics.” 

How did Jason manage … in his condition? That far from a hospital? 

 “He had some complications, around the time we were at Curaçao, he was running a high fever and in great pain. That was when another of Global Dynamics vessels had joined Dawn’s Embrace offshore, to help with the project there.” 

What ship? 

“The Daylight Runner, it’s a smaller catamaran – zippy little thing with a circular sail. I wanted to take that sail apart to see how it works, but …  anyway, a fulla had come aboard to sort out details – he took a keen interest in me an Jason, asked to see Jason when he heard Jason was sick … Outlook was the name he gave, but Captain David called him Cameron. I got the feeling he was in charge, but he never acted like a big bossman. A diff-rent bloke he was, his eyes were covered all the time with glasses that looked like safety glasses.” 

 “Outlook took one look at Jason, an said Jason was suffering from kidney stones and an infection around his breathing and feeding tubes. Next thing I knew, I was handed a mess of little pebbles, told to cut down on the heavy dose of multivitamins Jason was being fed daily, and then watched as Jason’s iron lung changed into what I can only describe as a clam shell mold … yah know, the kinda thing you make Jello in.” 

 “Don’t ask me how it happened, I still can’t wrap my head around it. All I know is, the altered iron lung fit Jason perfectly and could tilt up so Jason could be more upright – to help stop Jason’s kidneys from making stones and take pressure off his back I was informed. After that, Jason improved quickly, hasn’t had a problem since.”

About your job, will you continue to work for Global Dynamics? 

 “Oh yes, they’re a very friendly group, amazing benefits, and decent pay … Can I tell you something?” 

Go ahead. 

 “This happened while Outlook was onboard the Dawns Embrace, I showed him my idea for a hydrogen powered engine, he took a look at it and asked: “Will it work? My reply was: “In theory.” At that he got up and we all headed down to the engine room. Frank: the Chief Engineer, was told what we we’re up to, and in minutes, my engine was sitting there … running. I was gob smacked.” 

I don’t get it. 

 “To see your design be instantly deployed – it’s unheard of. I’d even say it was impossible, I still feel that way, but I saw it with my own two eyes. It’s just, in a blink of the eye, there it was, ticking away like clockwork.” 

 “I thought seeing a design – one of my projects, get built in a couple months was amazing. Sometimes it could take years, it’s just that, poof! And there it was.” 

  “We did some testing, and only needed to make some minor alterations, afterwards we tweaked the seawater – hydrogen distillation system. Outlook decided to install four azimuth thruster pods to supplement the old propulsion system.” 

Did it make a difference? 

“A difference? Captain David was scared to take the Dawns Embrace past half speed, it moved too fast, it made him nervous. Now the Dawns Embrace never needs to refuel, she just scoops up seawater and it gets converted to hydrogen. It ended up increasing how much cargo the ship can carry and gets it there sooner.” 

 “Personally, the possibilities are boundless with Global Dynamics, my heads been swimming ever since. For a Gadgeteer to get instant gratification, to see immediate results, it’s like opening your front door for the first time and seeing the whole wide world out there. I don’t think I could ever go back to a mundane job again.” 

 How much do you estimate you’ll earn per annum?

 “Starting wage was set at 250 K per year, bonus’ have been most generous so far, double the base amount to my calculations. Every time I submit a new idea, my account manager alerts me that my bank balance has jumped. It was becoming such concern to him, that on his last call he asked me if I was doing anything illegal.” 

 In just a few months? I don’t suppose they’re hiring. 

 “I can’t say, I’ve had little direct contact with the head office, but I must admit, they have been ever so accommodating, and receptive to my suggestions. Also, they’ve been ever so willing to help solve any problems I’ve encountered. I can’t say I’ve ever felt so appreciated.” 

Do you have a place to stay while in Canada? 

 “Yes. I have a distant relli that has offered to put us up until I settle into a routine.” 

Name and occupation? 

 “Pamela Campbell, she’s a Technical Advisor with the RCMP.” 

The same Pamela you mentioned prior. 

 “No, another Pamela Campbell. We share a great grandmother; both my niece and Pamela were named after our shared ancestor.” 

 What is Pam’s posting with the RCMP? 

 “She’s with Special Investigations, living in Halifax. Here’s her business card.” 

That’s an impressive reference to have on your file. I doubt the MCO will give you much trouble. 

 “I don’t understand?” 

The MCO is monitored by Special Investigations in Canada, if the MCO knows what’s good for them, they won’t upset the RCMP by giving you grief.  

 “Does that mean you’re going to grant us entry?”

 You’ll get official documentation within a week after you both get assessed by the MCO. Beyond that, I see nothing to hinder processing your immigration. Congratulations, welcome to Canada.

 

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 June 14, 2016.  End transcription of interview conducted upon Pamela Marie Cambell, aged 30, in concert with her son Jason Cambell, aged 15. Immigration Officers Sawyer and Coombs conducted the interviews, neither Officer placed any restrictions upon the pair aside from obtaining testing by the MCO.

 June 17, 2016. Supplemental data:  MCO testing results confirmed the party’s status as mutants. The mother’s chosen persona is Scribbles, rated as a level 4 Gadgeteer, appropriate MID has been issued. The son: Tempo, could not undergo classification by the MCO due to his inability to perform the most basic of physical testing. All tests for Psychic or Magical abilities provided negative results. As an interim rating he is classified as an Exemplar 1, deemed the lowest rating a person sporting a Body Image Template (BIT) can possess, an interim MID has been issued.

 June 20, 2016. Residency as Landed Immigrants has been issued by this office, including associated documentation to support their status within Canada.

 August 10, 2016. Application for a student visa to attend school in New Hampshire, USA was received, authorized, and issued for Jason Cambell.

 End of file

 

Read 1818 times Last modified on Saturday, 17 February 2024 01:30
Camospam

I do not see myself as an author, I enjoy storytelling and write them down. I’ve never sought to be a writer, and I am more surprised than anyone by how many stories are under my name. It’s because I don’t see myself as an author that I haven’t sought to become a canon contributor.

 I write as a way to track my journey of self discovery, each character I create is in some way representative of who I am, who I’ve been, who I want to become. Telling a story has become therapy, given how much I’ve written should be a hint that I might have issues.

I did not set out to step on anyone’s toes, had I used someone else’s character’s it was meant as a compliment. 

Looking back, I’ve tried to tell a story I wanted to read, escape for a little while, let my imagination out to play, and have found there are others who enjoy an adventure and willing to be taken for a romp.

I am helped by some wonderfully creative minds; Wendy K and Gabi, collaberators who provide healthy advice and correct my multitude of mistakes.

I encourage everyone to pursue thier dreams, to see a positive whenever clouds are overhead. A rainy day can be refreshing if you look for the good that comes of it.

DO your best, feel good about yourself, it doesn’t matter what others think, what matters is that you are happy with yourself.

 

 

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