(Screenshot photo from Project X )
January 6, 2017
As Lee Benson stood before the building, he couldn’t resist tilting his head back to see if he could view the top floor that was lurking over 500 feet above him. He narrowed his eyes slightly in the bluish, moonlit air and tried to focus his vision to the top of the dark tower rising before him like some dystopian monolith from a dark future.
“So this is TITANPOINTE”, he thought to himself.
Setting down his briefcase, he shrugged his shoulders to adjust his suit jacket and tighten his tie. The gentleman who drove him from the field office at Federal Plaza, smiled and said: “Is everything OK, sir?”
“Of course”, Benson replied, “But it is a little strange the first time you see it in person. Especially at night”.
“What do you mean, sir?”
“The building. Here we are in Manhattan after dark, and the building looks like a shadow. Out of place, ‘ya know?”
As the watch officer began to respond solicitously, Benson picked up his briefcase and entered the building. For some reason the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters” popped into his mind and he half expected to see a spookily spaced-out Sigourney Weaver asking him if he was the “Keymaster”. To which he would have replied: “Yes. I AM the Keymaster”.
Indeed he was. He spent the last several years being careful. Ever so careful. He played things smart. He moved up. And tonight, here he is in New York City for a meeting on Floor 29, the very top of TITANPOINTE.
As he waited for his intercept, Benson tried to recall what he could about the building. Completed in 1974, it once housed the telephone infrastructure for LITHIUM, the code name for AT&T. It was built to withstand a nuclear attack and is a small city unto itself; with capabilities to sustain 1,500 people for weeks should the Big Apple ever go dark. Currently, the facility is covered under Verizon…
“Hello Mr. Benson. My name is Ruth Peters.”
Benson’s reverie interrupted, he quickly turned to see someone who looked quite familiar; although he had never met her before. She looked exactly like Aunt Bea from Andy Griffith. A rotund and portly woman with spectacles, rosy cheeks and mirth behind her eyes.
“Hello Ruth, it’s nice to meet you.”
“If you will follow me,” she said, “I will take you to Mr. Miller. I believe you two know each other?”
“Yes. We worked together for three years”, Benson replied. “I’m afraid I can’t say where.”
“Of course!” Ruth exclaimed with a grin. “I am sure, like Mr. Miller, you are very good at your secrets. If you weren’t, you would not be here tonight, isn’t that right?”
Benson smiled as the door opened and the dark-haired Miller jumped out from behind his desk and said with a roguish smirk: “Well, well, well. Look who is moving up in the world!”
“Hey, Bub. Good to see ya’. How ‘ya been?”
“Fan-fucking-tastic! But I will tell you, this fake news shit sure got out of hand in a hurry,” said Miller. “Who knew?”
“I saw that”, replied Benson.
“Have a seat, buddy boy”. Miller sat down again behind his desk. Then, in a hushed voice, he said:
“I think it’s coming under control now, though. PSYOPS really blew it on that Vermont Utility deal. The fucking laptop wasn’t even connected to the internet!” UPSTAIRS was definitely pissed. Fortunately, JOHNQ never reads the retractions, right?” Miller grinned mischievously. “But at least we got Trump back on the ropes. The other day, he even Tweeted his support for the intelligence community and our people in the press are getting better at making him look like an amateur.”
“Fucking patriots and populists, right?” responded Benson grimly. “Are we making any further inroads with the Alt-Media, though? For a while it looked like they may have turned the op backwards on us”.
“Yeah, for a while, they did,” said Miller. “But now JOHNQ has pretty much swallowed the Russian election hacking hook, line and sinker. Repetition sells, I guess. UPSTAIRS says both DAVOS and LONDON have calmed down some. Trump has been delegitimized, marginalized and compromised. That’s all that matters, right?”
“You bet. I see Drudge went down a couple of times recently,” Benson teased. “Has GUNSLINGER been activated then?”
“Hey buddy, you know I can’t talk about that”, said Miller. “It’s ‘need to know’ only, and you know it.”
“Whatever” said Benson with a sneer.
Adjusting his tie, Miller asked: “Hey, did you bring me anything?”
“Sure did” said Benson and handed Miller a small flash drive from his brief case. “Check it out.”
“What is it”?
“Well, you know our ‘friend’ over at Breitbart?” Benson smiled, “Let’s just say his daughter keeps her laptop up in her bedroom, if you know what I mean. You’re welcome”.
Miller, laughing, said: “You’re awesome, pal. I’ll check it out later.” After placing the flash drive in his desk drawer, Miller stood up and said: “We better get upstairs.”
As the elevator door closed behind him on the 29th floor, and upon exiting the foyer and hallway, Benson took a quick inventory of the room where the meeting was to take place. It looked like any other boardroom, yet there was a stark sparseness about it at the same time. The Spartan-esque feel only added to his sense of uneasiness. His anxiety increased even more as he saw the screens around the elongated table that was situated in the center of the room. He was on Candid Camera and he wished the damn building had windows. He wanted to look outside.
While he stood there, a little man came through the doorway to his left and walked around the end of the slate black table. He was an odd fellow of slight build wearing a black suit. With dark eyes and a thin little mustache, the man came complete with a cringeworthy combover. Benson’s oldest daughter would have said the guy looked “rapey”.
“This is UPSTAIRS?” Benson thought to himself. Well, maybe it wasn’t so surprising after all. As the years have shown him, nothing is as it seems. Whom did he expect anyway, Darth Vader?
Miller said very deferentially: “Hello, sir. This is Benson from BUMBLEHIVE. Benson, this is John Mook.”
With a glum smile, Benson shook Mook’s hand. Of course nobody’s name here was real, including his, but the name “Mook” did seem to fit this guy perfectly. Not only did “Mook” rhyme with “spook” but it also seemed fitting how his name derived from the words “mope” and “geek”.
With a seriously somber demeanor, Mook sat down at the head of the table and instructed both men to sit at opposite sides, each to his right and left.
Mook grinned and asked Benson: “How are things at BUMBLEHIVE”?
Benson replied in a deferential manner: “Very well, sir.”
“Are you enjoying the facility? How do you like living in Utah?”
“I actually enjoy it, sir. My wife just took a new job there, plus, we have a pre-teen now, one in grade school and another one on the way”, said Benson.
“I know”, said Mook.
The way he looked gave Benson a chill. He seemed so average. Banal even. If Benson were to describe him, it would be exactly the way he pictured the character of Ellsworth Toohey as written by Any Rand in “The Fountainhead”; or, perhaps, Mustapha Mond from Huxley’s “Brave New World”, but minus the ‘Alpha-Plus’ physique. On second thought, maybe the Bernard Marx character was a better fit from Huxley’s brave and dystopian world. In any case, Mook seemed very non-threatening from a physical standpoint, yet he seemed absolutely sinister at the same time. Benson suspected he would need to be very careful around this one.
“Our focus is different here at TITANPOINTE,” Mook said. “As you know, DAVOS and LONDON are concerned about keeping this Trump fiasco under control. They are worried about the timing as well as the overall concealment of the project you are about to start. Above all, the timing will be crucial. The dominoes must fall in order. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir” replied Benson.
“Good” said Mook as he stood up from the table. Miller will show you around and get you acquainted with our operations. Later this evening, he will be taking you to PIZZAHOUSE where you will have some photos taken. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir” said Benson sheepishly.
“Good”. We have very high expectations of you and we need you to be completely on board.”
“Yes, sir.” Benson replied.
Then Mook looked over to Miller and said: “Once you have everything in order here with Benson, I need him to handle the ‘Red Dawn’ arrangements with COUNCIL and NETWORK. Got it?”
Miller grinned submissively and said: “Just to clarify, sir, you mean the ‘Red Dawn’ film airing as we discussed last week, and NOT the sub-op under NORTHSTAR, correct?”
“Oh yes,” responded Mook, “thank you for clarifying. The film. DAVOS and LONDON want to keep the white male demographic churning. You know, the Trump supporters.”
“You mean the high-school educated white males, don’t you sir?” queried Miller with a knowing smile.
Mook first glanced over at Benson who was also smiling in a menacing manner and then back to Miller with an impish smirk: “The very ones. We want them waking up every night in a cold sweat over the Russian nightmare.”
“COUNCIL said AMC or SPIKE would be the best the cable channels for the demo and PSYOP agrees,” Mook continued: “NETWORK will arrange the buys once Benson sends the orders.”
“Which film sir?” asked Miller.
“What do you mean, which film?” responded Mook.
“The 1984 version of ‘Red Dawn’ where the Russians invade America, or the 2012 version where the North Koreans invade?”
Mook responded: “Ah, yes. It’s in the file. PSYOP says the 1984 version would be best because they want the threat to be from Russia. You know, it’s the ‘Red Dawn’ with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. PSYOP says it has just the right blend of cold war paranoia and patriotism for the demo.”
“Absolutely, sir”, said Miller.
“And one other thing, Miller,” Mook said seriously.
“PSYOP has informed me that Langley has put BEAR CLAW into play. This will take precedence over GRIZZLY STEPPE, do you understand?”
“After Benson here is fully initiated tonight, you will need to bring him up to speed on this. He will be handling the data sequencing and transmissions for Langley through PSYOP. Got it?
“Yes, sir!” Miller exclaimed.
All three men grinned to each other and shook hands before Miller stated through a sly expression and a toothy smile:
“Trump will never know what hit him.”