Dystopia 17: The Spy

“Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.” Jane Austen

Dystopia 17:  The Spy

Liquor burned Jack’s throat and warmed his gut but did not take the sting out of his heart.  Today was the day he had dreaded since he had left Jaguar Village and Laissi behind and returned to Fort  Jenna.  Today the Blackwaters were attacking Callum and his men.  They were attacking men Jack considered his friends.  And they were doing it based on Jack’s instruction.

So Jack sat perched on his bar stool slowly doling out his money for liquor.  Money he had been given as a reward for the where abouts of Callum’s men.  With no desire for the more expensive leisure time activities, he used the money to get himself drunk and he was well on his way with only half the money gone.

He had been welcomed back to Fort  Jenna with open arms by the men who had known him.  They considered his return a miracle and had gathered around him to hear what promised to be an exciting tale of capture and escape.  But his long absence from the fort’s embrace had not gone unnoticed. He had not been surprised when his story was cut short by a small detail of Blackwaters.

They had come to take him to the Big House of the Family.  They had bound his hands and frog marched him into the place.  They had blindfolded him on the porch and then taken him through a series of corridors until he was forced into a chair and his hands and legs were bound.  Only then did they removed the blindfold.

He was is a small chamber with a desk and no windows.  Two doors on opposite sides of the room decorated the chamber.  A low cabinet stood in a line along the wall opposite the desk.  The chair they had forced him into actually had straps affixed in place.  Apparently, the Family greeted people in restraints on a regular basis.

A balding, pudgy man entered the room.  He was clean shaven and dressed in clothes so spotless that Jack thought they had never been outdoors.  He had a floral smell to his skin that to Jack’s unaccustomed nose was almost feminine.  He was dressed in a nearly white shirt and canvas pants with shoes that were too delicate to be of much use and had clearly never seen a day in the dirt.

“DJ, welcome back to us.”  The man began in a voice that slid over Jack’s skin like the oily scales of a snake.

“Do you always welcome your guests this way?”  Jack had inquired glancing down at his restrained arms.

The man chuckled smoothly.  “You must forgive my guard.  They are always so careful to protect us.  It’s just that we are not sure of your intentions.  You were gone a long time DJ.    Others have come back to us a little…wild.  Gone rogue as it were.  Living in the desert with that scum can do strange things to a man.”

Jack’s stomach clenched at the mention of “desert scum” but he was careful to keep his face relaxed.  “Does it?  It just made me thirsty.”

“Well now,”  the man’s smile was full of teeth that were whiter than any Jack had seen on an adult, “you’re among friends, here.  Maybe we could quench your thirst.”  He nodded at the Blackwater to Jack’s right who undid Jack’s restraints but then stood at the ready.  In the mean time Mr. Teeth turned his back to Jack and went to a cabinet at the far end of the room.  He opened a door and produced two small cups and a bottle of brown liquid.  He poured two fingers worth of the liquor in each and walked back to Jack to hand him one.

“You look well, DJ.  It appears they have fed you and treated you well.  Better than most men I see coming out of the wild.  Tell me, how did you survive out there for so long?”

Jack took the drink and downed it.  He made a face at the burn but then handed the empty glass back to Mr. Teeth, who raised an eyebrow at him as he sipped his own drink.

“I was taken by one of the rebel bands and kept as a prisoner…”  he started the story he had rehearsed time and again with Callum.  This tale he could reproduce drunk or sober.

“…When the Blackwater’s attacked, some of the band was able to get away.  They met up with another cell and reestablished another campsite.  They used me as a slave and so fed me well.  It took me months to figure out where I was and in which direction I should go as well as collect the supplies I needed to cross the desert…”

Once the tale was told there was more alcohol and Jack told them the location of the faux camp that Callum and his men would build to stage a battle to bolster Jack’s credibility and create the spy they needed.      

And so it was that Jack found himself getting drunk by himself as Callum’s men fought the Blackwaters in a battle brought about by Jack’s own hand.  He had carried out his mission flawlessly.  Even though this was the plan, he could not help but feel guilty.  Men would likely die today based on Jack’s words.

He sat on the bar stool contemplating his fifth shot when a woman slid onto the barstool next to him.  She was pretty or the liquor made her appear so.  She had the dark skin and high cheek bones of the natives.  Her long, black hair was drawn back and tied at the nape of her neck.  For a moment Jack saw Laissi, and not this woman, but when he realized his mistake he fell even further into the trap of self pity.  He gave her a quick look and then went back to staring at the bottom of his glass.

“How about buying a lady a drink somewhere more private?”

“You’re wasting your time, sweetheart.” Jack replied without looking up from his glass.  “I’m not going to waste my money on something I’m too damn drunk to do.”

“Dat is what I am counting on.”  she said.

“Look, I appreciate the offer but I’m just not in the mood right now.”  he continue to discourage her.

She leaned in close to his ear and said in perfect Guarani, “Chendive morotî mitâ’i.” Come with me, white boy.

Jack’s eyes widened at the use of his somewhat derogatory nick name from Epi’s clan, but before he could forget himself and answer her in Guarani, she was up off her seat and heading for a table in the corner.  He eyed her for a moment wondering if she had hit on the name by accident and only guessed that he was able to understand Guarani by his long stay in the desert.  Curiosity about the woman won out and Jack signaled the bartender for two more shots.  Then he dragged himself to his feet.  He was not drunk enough to stagger…if he walked at a slow and deliberate pace.  So he carefully carried the two drinks to the table and set one in front of the mystery woman.

He sat across from her at her table and gave her a blurry stare.  She sighed and spoke to him in English in a low tone so he had to lean forward to hear her, “I would like to keep our conversation private.  Would you mind coming closer to me and acting like you’re interested so I do not have to shout?”

He sighed and moved the chair next to hers and leaned on the table so that their his forehead almost touched hers.

“Who are you?”  he asked.

“It depends.” she answered in Guarani.  “If you are a Jaguar, I am your best friend.  If you betray us I am your worst nightmare.  Betray us, white boy, and I will kill you.”  she said this in a deadpan manner that made Jack sure that she meant it as a fact and not a threat.

“What should I call you, then?”

“Tendo.  You can call me Tendo.”

“Alright Tendo,  what do you want from me?”

“I want nothing from you.  Callum wants to find a way to get his men into the Fort during the attack.  He wants to know where  the supplies and weapons are.  I have gotten him some of the information but he thinks I am not allowed as much freedom as you will be after today.  I will be your contact while you are here.  I will get whatever information you can get back to Callum.”

“How do you get the information back to Callum?”

She smiled at him, “I can’t give you all of our secrets.”

For a second Jack had an odd sense of de ja vue.  “How do I get the information to you, then?”

“You will see me here on your free days.  You will use your wages to get a room for us upstairs.  You will pass me the information at those times.”

Jack had no intention of ever being alone with this woman, whom he had decided he did not like.  “I don’t think that is wise.  I have someone at Jaguar Village and I don’t…”

“Don’t be an idiot.  You think I don’t know about your…sleeping arrangements in Jaguar?  I’m very acquainted with your lover.  My only use for you is getting what Callum needs to defeat the whites.”

Jack considered this for a moment.  “You know Laissi?  Did you know her when she was here?”

“I am why she knows you.  I was the one who distracted the guards while… others broke into the hold and stole her away from Fort Jenna.  Incidentally, I would not use her name here if I was you.  Even in Guarani.”

“You are the one who rescued her?”  He looked up at this woman with a new found respect.

“When I first saw her after they were through with her, I thought she would die.  Your kinsmen had beaten her almost to death.”

“Let’s get one things straight; they are not ‘my kinsmen’.”  Jack snapped at her.

Her eyes met his with a cold stare and she continued as though he had not spoken.  “The Jaguars took her to the Paje.  He healed her physically but inside she could never heal.  I do not think she will ever heal.  I wonder if that is why she took you to her bed.  Because she is still wounded from that experience.  Because it made her a little crazy.”

Jack clenched his jaw and returned her cold stare measure for measure.

“She had been a good spy until then.  She never betrayed us.  Even with all that they did to her, she was true to us.  But I knew when I saw her, she could never be a spy again.  She was sent back to her family.  Back to Epi.  You should be half the spy she was.

“Now you must learn to be a spy.  Being a good spy means saying what you don’t mean, acting what you don’t feel, and most of all keeping you mouth shut.”

She leaned in and grabbed the collar of his worn and faded shirt.  She pulled him toward her and kissed him hard on the mouth.

Her face was pressed hard against his.  Jack’s skin crawled at the sensation.  Jack stiffened and clenched teeth but he did not pull away.  He forced himself to place a hand on her shoulder in a mock embrace.  This kiss made him feel like he should wash himself where she touched him.  It made him miss Laissi all the more.

To the casual observer the disdain on Jack’s face could pass for passion if one did not look too closely.

The Concepts behind the Fiction

1.  Obama the Spy

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

– United States Constitution

“it is not the breaking of a man’s doors and the rummaging of his drawers that constitutes the essence of the offense; but it is the invasion oh his indefeasible right of personal security, personal liberty and private property, where that right has never been forfeited by his conviction of some public offense”

–Justice Joseph P. Bradley

“The makers of our Constitution undertook….to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions, and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment.” –Justice Taft Olmstead v. U.S., (1928)

“Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government.” –Justice Taft in Brenninger V. U.S. (1928)

One of the things that aggravated the left about the Bush administration was the wholesale destruction of the Constitution.  It is one of the issues that allowed Obama to become president.  Key among the threatened Amendments was the the Fourth Amendment–the right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.  The Bush Admin argued that it could spy on anyone without a warrant if it was a matter of state security.  The laws against this are clear and the ACLU sued them to find out what had been done and to stop the Bush Admin from continuing its “warrantless wiretapping”.  The Bush Administration have argued that they can not divulge who was spied upon because that is a state secret and would harm national security.

So the spying has stopped since Obama came to power, right?  No.  In fact the case brought by the ACLU continues to be fought by Obama’s Dept of Justice.  Indeed, the Obama DOJ put forth a new argument to support warrantless wiretaps using The Patriot Act (“sovereign immunity”).  His NSA was caught “over collecting” information from Americans in April and tried to spy on a member of Congress.  His military is spying on civilian organizations and not cooperating with court orders to hand over documents related to that case.  The groups being spied on?  Not groups prone to violence but ones with economic ideals contrary to wall street’s wishes. Organization such as Students for a Democratic Society, Industrial Workers of the World and Iraq Vets against the War.

Apparently, Obama does not support the Fourth Amendment any more than Bush did.

2.  Ode to Copenhagen

I was going to dedicate this discussion to our eroded right to privacy but as I was researching the right to privacy I could not help but watch the events of Copenhagen unfold and I started to see connections.  I want to talk about those connections next chapter but for now lets look at what happened last week.

I started this blog after reading Six Degrees (See Booklist for this episode).  In that book the results of each degree of global warming were outlined.  The research in the book is now almost outdated.  The book and most scientists agree that if the temperature increase is not maintained below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) the world will become nightmarish.  In order to do that, we have to decrease our emissions by 80% by 2050.  This would require that the world be off coal completely by 2030.  This would limit the carbon in the air to 350 parts per million (ppm).  Currently we are at 387 ppm and increasing rapidly at a rate of 2 ppm per year.

Accords have been held in Kyoto in 1997 and Bali 2007 to try to achieve this goal.  The US refused to sign the Kyoto and Bali agreements.


And so over 100 nations met last week to try to make a binding agreement that would guarantee that we reduce our carbon to 350 ppm.  Meanwhile over 100,000 activists protested outside of the meeting to encourage the nations to make such a deal.  Thousands of other demonstrations were held worldwide making it the largest environmental demonstration in history.

And the accord failed miserably.  Most industrial nations committed to 20-25% cuts from 1990 carbon emission levels.  The US committed to only 3-4% cuts after Congress refused to allow anything more.  This was after Fox News and the radio talk shows trumped up the very fallacious “Climategate”, a scandal as valid as “death panels”.  All of these cuts are voluntary and nonbinding.  The record on voluntary restrictions of carbon emissions is abysmal by the way.

Why is this so hard?  The science is overwhelming and “Climategate” is actually on the verge of being silly.  The risk to our children and grand children is extreme.  The protests and demonstrations show that the support for our leadership to act is there.  In fact there is a great deal of distress world wide at their failure to do so. So why can’t the leadership of the world lead?  My next few chapters will look at how, with so much at stake, our leadership could fail so miserably.

Climate Safety


You Tube Video about Climategate  (Flashbacks to Death Panels)

More “Climategate”


    • dkmich on December 22, 2009 at 22:03

    I’m not so sure what to make of it anymore.  Is it really worse, or are we just older and smarter?

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