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New world Disorder

New world disorder

By Nagesh Kumar Yadav Published 2 months ago 17 min read
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New world Disorder
Photo by Hamish Dowson on Unsplash

New World Disorder

Chapter One

  COL(r) Samuel Pope, Ph.D. was sitting alone in his office at the industrial College of the Armed Forces late one evening when he died.

  **FLASH**

  A sudden brilliant burst of light washed out Pope's vision. He closed his eyes tightly, trying to block out the blinding illumination. He had no idea how long the light lasted. Over time it changed from bright white to a deep indigo. Eventually it blinked out and Pope tried to open his eyes.

  What he saw shocked him. He was in a lab of some sort, with shattered screens and wrecked fixtures scattered about the space. Against one wall an unknown machine was enfolding some sort of indigo energy vortex. Tendrils of deep purple plasma were writhing out of the swirling maelstrom. One tendril ensnared a woman in a lab coat. As the energy touched her, she began to incandesce from within, quickly burning to a column of ash which collapsed to the floor. Another tendril consumed a portly man in a suit as he tried to wrench open the lab door.

  Then Pope saw a pair of tendrils reaching for him. When they touched him he felt an all-consuming pain, a great sucking sensation, and then ... nothing.

  Beep ... beep ... beep ...

  Pope woke in an unfamiliar bed. His ears told him it was likely a hospital. He could hear the steady beeping of a monitor of some sort, along with the breathy whir of the air conditioning. In the distance he could make out the rolling of rubber wheels on tile floors and the soft-voiced conversation of the nurses at what he assumed was their station outside his room. The blood pressure cuff on his left arm began to constrict. This caused him to open his eyes, looking for the nurse or technician. There was no one in the room and a few seconds later the automated sphygmomanometer released its hold.

  The room looked much like he expected, save that it was a single. Neither the VA nor Walter Reed usually allowed such a luxury for a mere retired colonel. He tried to look through the door, but it was hidden in a recess, concealed for his current poison. Also in the room was a chair, currently empty, and a window, currently obscured by a drawn curtain. The angle of the shadows and the color of the light in the window told him it was either morning or evening. He could just make out faint traffic sounds through the closed glass.

  The smells of the hospital were stronger and sharper than he expected. He realized all the sensory inputs were abnormally detailed. This made him consider whether he was suffering from hallucinations, possibly as the result of a stroke. The flash and the pain he felt could both be the result of brain hemorrhages. And the bizarre events in that lab or whatever it was must be some sort of delusion.

  I need more information, he decided and reached for the call button. His hand was wrapped in bandages, but he found he could move his arm without discomfort. A quick press of the button and he heard the voices outside his door get louder and faster. Someone's excited, he thought.

  A moment later two women in scrubs came in to the room. One went immediately to the monitor and started typing on the built-in keyboard. The other, a young African American woman bent over him and started feeling his face. He noted that her name tag read Maya.

  "How are you feeling?" Maya asked with a friendly smile. She had hazel eyes, Pope noted.

  He tried to speak but his mouth was too dry. He gestured to his mouth and the nurse poured a cup half full of crushed ice from a plastic carafe on the table next to the bed. She used a spoon to bring some of the ice to his lips.

  "Just let this melt in your mouth," she said.

  After Pope slowly swallowed the water he was able to speak, but his voice sounded very odd to his ears. "Thanks ... I feel ... ok? What happened?"

  "There was an accident," she said slowly. "I can't give you any details. But both your doctor and your parents have been advised you are awake. They should all be here soon."

  "My parents?" Pope said, confused. Suddenly a series of images and memories flooded his awareness. First was a woman, tall with raven black hair and a svelte figure. She appeared to be between twenty-five and thirty-five in the various images. He pictured her with a small brown man when she was younger and a large Caucasian man when she was older. What? Who are these? He thought. This seemed to open the floodgates as more memories not his own crashed upon him.

  "Arrrgh!" he cried out as the images and sounds cascaded into his consciousness. They were overwhelming, and he could not stop them. He started to thrash in the bed. The second woman grabbed a syringe from a drawer and quickly placed it against his neck. He felt a cold bite then slowly drifted into darkness.

  Again Pope woke to the soft sounds of the hospital. He kept his eyes closed and started thinking about what had happened. Slowly he pulled up memories of a mother, a father, and a step father who he had never seen, but knew intimately.

  Mariela Coleman, the beauty, was his mother. His father was Ouran Bry, the small man, but he was dead eight years ago. Mariela had then married Jock Coleman, a former NFL player and current owner of Coleman Electric. Pope recalled Coleman was not a nice man and did not get along with his step-son.

  Who does that make me? Pope thought desperately.

  Oran Bry. Age fifteen. He accessed a memory of himself looking in the mirror after his shower just that morning. He saw a compact, muscular Eurasian teen, with shaggy, medium length black hair and dark blue eyes. He saw Oran at taking a test at school, swimming in a race, working on his computer, and running from a group of bigger boys. More memories started to tumble into his mind, but Pope stopped them with some effort.

  Almost involuntarily he opened his eyes and looked down at his body in the bed. This was not the familiar aged wreck that too many years and too damned many miles had created. This body had the smooth golden skin and tight muscles of a healthy youth. "What the hell is going on?" he muttered.

  "Oran!" came a voice from the vicinity of the chair. Pope looked over and saw 'The Mother' rising to her feet and reaching for him. "Oh, my baby! Baby..." She reached out, obviously frantic to take her son in her arms, but not wanting to hurt him or disturb the various tubes and monitor leads.

  "Hi?" Pope replied tentatively. He was shocked to hear a very different voice come out of his mouth. This clear tenor had never barked orders over the beating of a Blackhawk's blades or screamed in agony as shrapnel tore through his body.

  "How are you feeling, baby?" She clasped his hand in both of hers and squeezed lightly.

  Pope tried to decide how to deal with the inexplicable, unreal situation in which he found himself. He quickly broke down his immediate options – Ignore it all as a hallucination or treat it as real while playing for time to gather information?

  "Oran?" she prompted.

  "I'm ... I don't really know." Pope admitted. He took an internal inventory. He felt nothing missing or seriously hurting. "My body seems ok. But I'm all fuzzy headed. None of this feels real. What happened?"

  "I'd rather not go into that at this time," said an older black man in a tie and white lab coat. He even had the stereotypical stethoscope around his neck. He was followed by a gaggle of younger men and women in lab coats over scrubs. This was familiar to Pope, after all his time in hospitals.

  "Dr. Hart," Oran's mother interjected. "Surely he can know what happened. He might even remember something that could be helpful."

  "Possibly, but it would be better to run a few quick tests now that the is conscious," the doctor insisted.

  Pope said nothing, just watched as the proto-docs started querying the monitor for his history and looking at his chart. He was beginning to think that he was not the standard patient. The extended, in-depth examination that followed seemed to confirm this suspicion. More than an hour later Dr. Hart and his minions gathered by the door for a whispered consultation. Pope was surprised that he was able to hear them clearly. The gist of the discussion was that there was nothing physically wrong with him. Even the burns and lacerations he had suffered in the explosion had healed more quickly than expected.

  "Do your think this was an emergence event?" one of the lay interns asked.

  What is an emergence event? Pope thought. Oran's memory supplied an explanation that made no sense. An incident that brought superpowers out in people with the inherent capability of manifesting such powers. Super powers! Where the hell am I?

  "No way to be sure unless and until he actually manifests some sort of abilities," Dr. Hart replied.

  "What about the healing?" Another intern asked.

  "There is some mention in the anthropological literature that Australoid-Melanesian natives of the Anderman Island are said to have significant resistance to disease and infection and heal surprisingly fast." Dr. Hart's students looked at him blankly. He continued, "I believe Mr. Bry's father fits under this genotype, though from Palau. So, there may be a mundane explanation for the observed phenomena."

  Pope thought that the good doctor really liked the sound of his own voice. Nothing is wrong with me. That's good. Of course, he has no idea that I'm not teenage Oran, but seventy something Sam. I wonder what his explanation of that would be.

  "Hang in there, baby," Oran's mother patted his shoulder. She was a statuesque beauty, but the faint dark circles under her eyes that her subtle makeup failed to fully conceal and the slight tremor in her hand made it was obvious that some stress was eating at her. "You're going to be alright. You're not going anywhere."

  "I'm here," Pope said, taking her hand. While she was nothing like his daughters, he had been a father for far too many years to leave a young lady in such distress. He could also sympathize with her as he had been in her place, sitting sentinel next to his daughter's hospital bed while she struggled to recover from a collision with a drunk driver when she was a teen. "I'm right here."

  "Mr. Bry," Dr. Hart interrupted. "I'd like to talk about the incident the put you in the hospital."

  "Alright," Pope agreed.

  "What do you last remember?" the doctor asked.

  Great...what do I say? Pope thought. I was sitting at my desk when I think I had a massive stroke? Then things got weird? He reached into that pool of Oran's memories that could, for some unknown reason, access to determine where he had been and why he was there.

  "I was visiting my grandfather's old company. Jock had arranged for me to see some of the decommissioned projects and equipment." Pope explained as he recalled the events.

  "Damn it! I told him it wasn't safe," Oran's mother swore. "PowerSource has been mothballed for five years. Only Dad knows what's safe or not."

  "Jock offered to let me see some of my father's old projects," Pope continued. "I agreed, and we were in his old lab when ..."

  "The Hypertap?" Oran's mother gasped.

  "Mrs. Coleman, please," Dr. Hart chastised. "Let him tell it."

  "Jock, Mr. Coleman, didn't say what the projects were. He was not with us when we got there. He had something came up at Coleman Electric and left me with two of his people. Grant Yarrow and Isla Holloway, if my memory is correct. Anyway, when we got to the lab Mr. Yarrow turned on the power main and suddenly a device covered in canvas near the back wall started up and ..." Pope stopped. The memories ended with a bright flash.

  "And ..." Dr. Hart prompted.

  "And I can't remember anything after that." Pope decided there was no way he was going to mention the energy vortex and the tendrils burning the others to ashes.

  "Ahh." Dr. Hart looked at the tablet in his hand. "Well, there was an explosion and you were rendered unconscious by some combination of concussion, energy discharge, and debris. You were unconscious for 78 hours, with one episode of lucidity approximately twelve hours ago."

  "Are you saying I am well rested and ready to check out?" Pope snarked.

  What the hell was that? He thought. I sounded like my grandson. Even if I'm in this body somehow, I am not fifteen.

  "Come on, baby," Oran's mother scolded. "You're staying here until we know you're all better."

  "We want to keep Mr. Bry under observation for at least thirty six hours. But if nothing significant changes in that time it is likely he will be able to go home on Saturday afternoon." Dr. Hart said with a smooth smile.

  Oran's mother took his hand and shook it gratefully. She stayed standing while the doctor and his gaggle cleared the room. Pope took a deep breath. The room had felt too crowded to do so earlier. The tall beauty resumed her seat next to Pope's bed and took his hand.

  "Your step-father and siblings will be so happy that you are better," she said. "I am going to go home and let them know. I'm sure they'll want to come visit. But not just yet. You don't mind if I stay with you a bit longer, do you?"

  "Not at all."

  It was almost 2 a.m. before Pope was alone enough to really think about his situation. The nurses had performed their late-night tests and Mrs. Coleman was long gone. His body was showing no signs of needing more sleep. Perhaps the three plus days' worth he'd just had would last him a while. He. I. We? I don't even know what pronouns to use anymore. What the hell am I supposed to do now? Am I really in another body? In another world? Is there any value in assuming that this is some sort of dream or delusion? That way lies an imaginary straitCarlet and a pretend padded cell. Does that mean I have to assume the role that comes with this body? Can I? It has been a long time since I was fifteen. Is it better for me to get away from here and try to figure out what happened and how to get back without trying to fit into someone else's life?

  Pope spent the rest of the night exploring Oran's memories, looking for any clue as to what might have caused the current situation. Even with access to Oran's apparently eidetic memory he found no clues. He had so many unanswered questions. If the situation were real, was Oran stuck in Pope's aged body. Was there any way home? Pope contemplated the question of whether he really wanted to go home. He was semi-retired, offering nothing new to his field, and living in constant pain. His beloved was gone, and his kids were set safely on their own paths. Maybe this was an opportunity to be grasped rather than a prison to be escaped.

  By morning all he had decided was to move forward with the pretense of being Oran. This was only possible because he had full access to Oran's memory, though he had to consciously work to recall necessary information.

  This became important when Oran's mother reappeared with the rest of his family. Jock Colman still carried himself more like the professional football player that he had been for sixteen years than the energy company CEO that he was now. Muscles pressed against the fabric of his well-tailored suit. Pope smiled knowing that must be deliberate. The man was not above using his size for intimidation in his business and personal dealings. Along with the parents were two teens. Oran's memories identified them as Eric, age seventeen and Kirsten, age fifteen. Oran and Eric did not get along. The larger, older boy had always bullied his smaller step-brother, encouraging his friends and teammates to do the same. Mostly it was social persecution, but occasionally the abuse took a physical turn. Oran's memories of Kirstin were more neutral. They existed under an extended détente. She ignored him at school and was courteous to him at home. From Pope's perspective he saw evidence that Oran was more responsible for the chill in their relationship than was the girl.

  "Decided to rejoin the world, Orange?" Eric quipped.

  "Please, Eric," Mariela protested.

  "You were lucky," Jock said as he took up Oran's chart. "Neither Grant nor Isla made it out of there. I don't know how you did."

  "But we thank God that you made it," Mariela added, looing angerly at her husband. She took Oran's hand. Kirstin walked to the foot of the bed and gently touched his toes.

  "Did the rest of the building get damaged?" Pope asked. Oran's memories showed the building as relatively small and removed from most of the structures on PowerSource's shuttered campus.

  "No. Somehow the damage was contained to that one lab." Jock sounded frustrated. Pope had discovered that Mariela's father's company, had been an occasional competitor to Jock's Coleman Electric. Pope wondered if Jock would rather the destruction had been more widespread.

  "Ouran's lab?" Mariela demanded. Jock just looked at her.

  "You know the Hypertap was dangerous," she remonstrated. "Dad left it there because it was unsafe to dispose of. When I put PowerSource under Coleman management I had no idea you would let this happen."

  "Darling, this is not ..." Jocks phone chirped. He pulled it out and frowned at the screen. "I have to go to the office. Take care, Oran."

  "But ..." Oran's mother protested. Jock simply nodded to her and walked out.

  "Yeah, I gotta go too," Eric said, not even bothering to look at his phone. He bailed before Mariela could object.

  "What about you, Kirstin?" Oran's mother asked. "Do you have a forgotten appointment too?"

  "No," she said quietly. "I'd like to stick around a bit, if that's ok."

  "Great, I'll get another chair." Mariela said, smiling.

  As Dr. Hart predicted Pope was released on Saturday afternoon. Oran's mother was there to check him out. She brought him out to a silver SVU of an unfamiliar make.

  Pope's room window having overlooked an only interior courtyard, he got his first look at the city around him as they drove down the crowded streets. He saw tall buildings, mostly made of steel and glass. Only a few older stone or concrete skyscrapers were noticeable. As the SUV ascended a ramp, Pope saw that the city streets ran on several layers, with high elevated roads connecting the tenth and twentieth floors of the tall towers.

  This must be New York, Pope decided. But I don't recognize any of the buildings. And no city I've ever seen has this extensive a web of elevated roads.

  "We'll take it easy when we get home," Mariela said. "It's spring recess next week so no classes for a while."

  Lovely! Pope groaned. High school all over again.

  Just then the SUV rounded a curve exposing a vista of the Hudson River. It was partially covered by numerous bridges and buildings. But what caught Pope's eye was a woman in red and blue tights flying towards a giant man that stood at least eight stories tall. She slammed into his chest, knocking him off his feet and into the river. The tremendous din of the impact actually shook the SUV over a hundred yards away. High above the fray floated a massive red and silver disc the size of an aircraft carrier, covered with several buildings surrounding a tall tower. He'd never seen anything like it.

  "I really don't think we're in Kansas anymore." He muttered out loud as the giant surged to his feet and took a swipe at the flying woman.

  "Oran, you've never been to Kansas," Marielasaid, obviously not getting the reference. That made him feel even more out ofplace.

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