Tuesday’s Five Minute Flash Fiction #4: Prompt – Myths

When I was a middle school student, I had a tendency to classify “myths” as ancient stories written and told by Greeks and Romans.  Through the years, I learned  a bit more about myths.

Salamis, Cyprus

 Myth, Fact, or Fiction – You Decide

It was two days before Jake’s mind was stable enough for him to figure out that he was in Ward 8 at Bethesda’s Navel Hospital in Washtington D.C.  Before that he was on a ride like none he’d ever experienced.

He was still piecing together the chronology of events that brought him before the panel of military medical professionals who required his presence in their conference room.  Jake wasn’t ready to share anything of value with them as they were all of junior rank and he was still uncertain as to whom he could trust.

When he entered the room, Colonel Jake Barrows was instructed to sit at the head of the table where there was a brown folder awaiting his review and along side it, a wooden number two pencil.  He sat down and without making eye contact with his inquisitors; he opened the folder where he found nothing but blank sheets of binder paper.

“Tell us again about what you saw,” demanded the Navy Commander seated immediately to Jake’s left.

“When?” Jake asked.

“Last night when the tech was drawing blood samples you were telling him something about how impressed you were with the rapid improvements in battle field medical technologies.  Do you remember what you said to the tech?” asked the Commander.

Jake was well versed in the arts of elicitation and wasn’t going to bite on the Commander’s question.  Instead he scribbled something on one of the blank pages that were provided in the folder in front of him.

“MK ULTRA,” he wrote in big capital letters before frantically erasing what he’d written, realizing it was more of a thoughtless doodle than anything he’d want the care team to examine later.  He quickly closed the folder and without swiveling his head, scanned the room for obvious optical sensors before returning his attention to the uniformed personnel sitting around the table.

“Well?” asked the Commander again.

“Yes, I recall complementing the corpsman on his IV technique.  I might have asked him if he’d had the chance to use the advanced battlefield kits that were being sent to Iraq back when our troops were being sniped, but that is all I remember,” said Jake.

The Commander looked around at the other members of the care team in case any of them had further questions for the patient.  Seeing that everyone was satisfied, he turned to the Colonel.

“Sir, I think that will be all for this morning.  You’ll attend ‘group’ in an hour and we’ll let you know more about your treatment plan later today.  Unless you have any questions, you’re excused,” said the Commander.

This last statement annoyed Jake.  He was not used to being told by subordinate officers that he could be excused or any other offer for direction from them.  He kept his emotions in check and casually slid his chair from the table and rose to depart.  At the door he turned to the care team and made eye contact with each of them in turn and said, “Gentlemen, Lady, have a pleasant morning.”

After Colonel Barrows shut the door, the Naval Commander turned to the members of the care team and asked, “Well, he seemed pretty evasive.  Thoughts?”

“Sir?”  From Amanda Brown, a young Army Captain who specialized in psychotropic medication research came an urgent request to say something.

“Go ahead Amanda,” said the Commander.

She knew what she saw Colonel Barrows scribble or write as he doodled on the paper in the folder earlier and reached across a Marine Major who was sitting next to her and slid the folder towards her and pulled the paper out where the letters had been erased.

“He knows!” she said and looked at each of the officers around the table.

The Commander put his elbow on the table and let his head fall into his open hand as he listened to Captain Brown elaborate on the consequences or this latest revelation.

Captain Amanda Brown’s elaboration of MK ULTRA was meant to convey historical fact without confusing it with “Urban Myth.

The passage above is formed from a story arc I’ve developed while writing a techno thriller titled, “A Dangerous Element”.  MK ULTRA was (or still is) a Department of Defense (DoD) experiment gone wrong.  LSD was used on military personnel in a variety of positions and levels to test tolerance and ability to maintain security of sensitive information at the same time.  Over the years since DoD admitted to the Classified program and terminated it, the idea that MK ULTRA might still be in use, but in a more advanced form, has evolved into Urban Myth.  My techno thriller includes the deployment of STUXNET and the disruption of Iran’s Nuclear Material Enrichment Program.  The modern derivative of MK ULTRA is part of that story.

Next Week’s Prompt – “Backbone”

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