Sergeant Jim West let the warm water wash over him. He had his right arm extended in front of him, the veins in his biceps bulging as if his arm was supporting the wall. His left hand worked the soap into a lather on his pecs, six pack abs and then finally his formerly sweaty and now sparkling clean balls and dick. He felt the dirt and fatigue of the day get scrubbed away, dripping down his body to the white tile floor and then down the drain of the army barracks shower.
It hadn’t been all that difficult of a day, truth be told. He had planned to work out with a few of the newbies, making sure they were pushing themselves to the limit, but they had all bailed on him, so he worked out alone with just a few other guys in the gym. Then it was onto a shift babysitting the R&D poindexters –who hadn’t bothered to show up nor told him they would be working on campus today.
Training for an upcoming marathon, he had just finished a long run around the base. Things had been unusually quiet on his run. No recruits being put through their paces on soul-crushing drills. No guys enjoying a little R&R shooting hoops. It was as if the entire base was otherwise committed; unseen, out of view, behind closed doors.
And now, he had the shower room to himself; an unheard-of luxury on a major military base. It should have unnerved him, but Sergeant West couldn’t see the warning signs. Not yet, anyway. Solitude was a rare thing on an army base. He had almost forgotten what it was like to be alone with no one and nothing but his own thoughts.
He lathered some shampoo into his brown hair (kept to an appropriate military length, thank you very much). He had only gotten the gig watching the science nerds because the commander knew Jim had been raised by deaf parents and was therefore fluent in sign language.
Not that he needed to use it all that much anymore. Not since Anderson had got the implants. Anderson was certainly capable of translating for West so that Bonner could understand him. West also knew they both could read lips pretty well. Still, their contract stated that the Army would provide a sign language translator. And Bonner was pretty insistent that West sign. Something about being present in Bonner’s world or some such bullshit. Like being deaf was such a fucking gift or something.
Some gift. West had grown up very cognizant of how much his parents both had to struggle in the hearing world. West was always firmly planted between the hearing and deaf world, translating as needed. From the time he could talk and sign, he was constantly pulled between each of the worlds, never really feeling at home in either of them.
It was exhausting to always be translating one way or the other. It was one of the reasons he had left home and joined the army. And here he was now, assigned to two hearing impaired scientists working on some top-secret project for the military. And once again, Jim found himself straddling the two worlds.
He tried to spend most of the time just outside the lab. West past the time away by doing wall squats, sit ups and push ups. He had never been the type to just stand watch. He was an action man.
He occasionally would catch Anderson watching him. Anderson had even popped a boner once or twice. West would smile and do another dozen crunches and then wink a knowing wink. West was flattered by the attention. And, if he was being completely honest, he had tapped an ass or two when no women were around. A hole was a hole was a hole, after all. And Anderson’s perky little bubble butt was just begging to be pile driven by a stud. West was just the guy to do it, too. It the two were ever alone and the chance presented itself, that is.
“That enough for now little buddy,” he said stroking his semi and then turning the water to cold. The barrack shower was no place for throwing wood. Empty or not.
He wrapped a towel around his waist, made sure little Jimmy was not tenting and then walked into the room he shared with his best bud, Sergeant Trask.
Two soldiers stood in front of Trask’s bed. West couldn’t tell who they were from behind. One of them appeared to be holding something in front of Trask.
Trask had one arm over his head and seemed to be enthralled with whatever they were showing him.
“Hey, Trask. Who are your buddies,” West asked as he stepped into the room –his body still dripping from the shower.
The two soldiers turned to him in synch. Their eyes were glazed over and their smiles were not natural.
“So beautiful,” Trask breathless exclaimed.
It was at that point that West saw what Trask was doing with his other hand. Trask was stroking his dick, a steady stream of pre-cum dripping down its impressive shaft.
“Trask, what the fuck?”
“Language, Sergeant West,” came the reply. West looked over at the other twin bed in the room –his bed. Sergeant Major Roarke was sitting at the foot of it.
“I need you to sit down on this bed and let me show you something,” Roarke said.
“Yes, sit down, Jim,” Trask moaned. “It’s so beautiful.”
“He’s ready,” the taller blonde one standing in front of Trask said.
The shorter, dark-haired soldier by Trask passed a phone to Roark as the blonde pulled Trask’s regulation boxers down and bent Trask over between them.
“Connection made,” the taller soldier said as he plunged his dick into Trask’s ass.
“Obedience is pleasure,” Trask said as the second soldier stuffed his mouth with cock that Trask was only too eager to suck.
West starting backing out of the room.
“Sit down on the bed. That’s an order,” Roarke demanded.
“I –I,” West stammered, “I think I left something in the shower.”
He quickly pivoted to turn, slipping on the wet floor. His head hit the damp concrete and everything went dark.
It was the sound of nearby voices that woke him. Though he kept his eyes firmly shut; better to still let them think he was out cold so he could assess the situation.
His legs and arms were tied down to the bed. He could hear equipment pinging and beeping in the background. It didn’t exactly take a genius to realize he was in the infirmary. But why tie him down?
West slowly and cautiously moved both legs and arms. The leather straps were tight. He wouldn’t be going anywhere soon.
“Doctor, Private Shore doesn’t appear to be responding to the input stimulus,” a male voice said.
West could hear the shuffling of papers as if the doctor was consulting a file or chart.
“Interesting,” the doctor murmured. “It would appear that Private Shore suffers from protanopia. You needn’t keep sucking his cock, Lerner.”
“Protanopia, sir,” the other man –now clearly identified as Lerner asked. West could hear him wiping his mouth and face. Private Shore moaned.
“Portanopia, Lerner. Better known as color-blindness. A human condition where the eyes do not detect color. Most likely the reason why Shore here isn’t reacting to the stimuli. Pity.”
The doctor sighed and then said “Dispose of him in the pit with the rest of the rejects.”
“And this one, sir?”
West could feel the heat coming off the male nurse’s body. He was clearly standing over him.
“Concussion. We’ll have to see how it impacts him when he wakes,” the doctor said.
Both left him. He could hear the sound of a medical bed being wheeled out of the room and then silence.
But only briefly; the silence was shattered by a single gunshot. West had heard plenty of gunshots before –on the firing range, during basic training, target practice in the woods behind his house as a kid. This thunderous shot shook him to the core.
The nurse had taken care of the problem once known as Private Shore.
Alec Anderson watched as the military transport pulled off the shoulder and back onto the road leading to the base entrance. It was the third vehicle to stop and check on him. He couldn’t get on the base with out his pass and his best mate Brett Bonner was 15 minutes late to their agreed upon meet up spot. Alec had pulled over and put on the emergency flashers for his 2019 Toyota Camry hybrid. He had even opened the dark blue hood of the car, hoping to make it look like he was having car trouble and not arouse any suspicion from the base.
Soldiers all being a helpful lot, many had pulled over to see if he needed any help. He had tried his best to communicate with them without sign language. He tried to sound out “Triple A” but knew it probably came out as “tipple, eh.” One by one the good Samaritans had all nodded, got back into their cars and continued onto the base.
To pass the time, Alec had been watching trucks, jeeps and cars going in and out of the base. Every so often, a vehicle would be motioned to pull off behind the guard building. Alec started keeping track. 10 minutes and then the car would pull back out from behind the building and continue on. He had a hunch what was happening to the drivers of each of those vehicles when they complied with orders to pull around behind the guard building.
All it would take is a few guards –one to restrain the target while another showed them the captivating and pretty lights and sounds. God, the memory of it was making Alec hard.
And while the one soldier held the device in place in front of the latest victim, once the struggling stopped, the other soldier could reach in front of the man, unbutton his pants and pull pant and underwear down, thus beginning the final connection. A few thrusts and one literally mind-blowing orgasm later, they would help their latest recruit redress and send him on his way with instructions to spread the signal.
It was a model of efficiency. Just enough to quickly spread the Signal on the base without arousing suspicion. One recruit would become two, two would become four, four would become 16. It would spread rapidly and before anyone was the wiser, the entire base would be secure.
God damn it, where the hell was Brett?
He was about to give up and turn back around when Brett’s red pick up pulled up behind him.
Alec looked at the truck through the rear view mirror for any signs that something was off. Brett got out of the truck, ran his fingers through his hair and walked over to Alec’s car.
Alec paused a minute before opening the door. Was he just being paranoid or was Brett’s hair that dishelved?
“Where the fuck have you been,” he signed, opening the door and getting out of his car.
“Stuck in your bedroom closet while your roommate and a bunch of other guys kept…”
“Processing. They were processing people by fucking them,” Alec answered. “Force them to watch something until they stop struggling and then it begins.”
Brett nodded. Alec couldn’t tell if Brett was genuinely shaken up. He had essentially watched them rape eight guys until they stopped struggling and became active participants in their own violation. Was he being paranoid?
“Did you get it,” Alec signed his question.
Brett produced the lanyard containing his key card.
“Why aren’t we affected,” Brett asked after handing over the keycard.
“Working theory,” “Alec signed after putting the lanyard around his neck. “Since we can only see, it can’t full take over our minds. The images aren’t enough, but they are sufficient to make us compliant.”
“But your implants” Brett asked.
“Shorted out while my roommate was sucking my cock,” Alec signed. “If they hadn’t, I would have gladly let him merge with me. God help me, but right before everything went silent, it had a hold on me and I welcomed it.”
“Follow me. I’ll sign you in. We’ll say you left your card in the lab. You’ve done it before. They should be used to it.”
“And then what,” Brett signed before turning suddenly because something caught his attention.
A police car with its lights flashing pulled up behind Brett’s truck.
Alec slammed the hood of his car down, got in and started the car. He gave a thumbs up to Brett.
Brett walked over to his truck. Alec watched him nod to the cop before getting in his car.
Brett followed closely behind him as they pulled into lane four. Private Mitchell, a big, beefy blonde from somewhere in the Midwest (Milwaukee, was it?) would be on shift. Alec did his best to verbalize the predicament, taking care to sound out each and every word even though he knew it probably made him sound drunk.
Mitchell had laughed and waved both cars through. Alec watches as Brett waved and nodded to Mitchell.
The lab was located in the middle of the base, nestled between a mess hall, an infirmary and several barracks. Alec drove slowly. The base was devoid of its usual activities. It unnerved him.
He pulled into his assigned parking spot and Brett pulled up along side him. Far to close to the driver side door. Almost as if he didn’t want Alec to be able to get out.
Alec through his car in reverse. He slammed on the brakes and before Brett could counter the move, opened the car door and jumped out.
Alec was shaking and his heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest. This was contrasted by how calm, slow and methodical Brett climbed out of his truck.
“When did you know,” he signed and then laughed. “It was Mitchell at the entrance, wasn’t it?”
Alec shook his head and then signed. “You had your back to oncoming traffic. I saw the cop car, but you heard it. How?”
“WE fixed me,” Brett signed and then spoke. “WE can fix you, too. You had a taste of pleasure from belonging. It can be like that all the time. WE can be one.”
Had whatever controlling Brett learned from its mistakes? How could pulses of light and sound learn? It would have to be some sort of sentient being to be able to learn from its mistakes. The scientist in him was curious at the scientific uncertainty. The man in him, however, was certain. The thing that looked and talked like Brett was not his friend.
“Think about things rationally, Alec,” Brett said. “You can’t win. There is nowhere for you to run. We have already begun to spread out across the globe. By morning, WE will be all that is left.”
Brett reached into his jacket for something. Alec knew it was probably a cell phone, but he didn’t stick around to make sure. He ran towards the infirmary. He didn’t bother to look behind him. He knew Brett was following him. He ran into the first patient room he came to, slammed the door shut and locked it.
“Alec, Alec, Alec. Open up and let US in. Let’s finish this. WE…miss you,” Brett said.
Alec pushed some heavy medical equipment in front of the door and quickly scanned the room for something he might arm himself with. A two-bed room, the privacy curtain was pulled back from the one station and the bed was gone. The other curtain was closed and Alec quickly realized he wasn’t alone in the room.
“Poor, frightened Alec. So afraid to make a move on his roommate. On his best friend. On…” Brett paused as if scanning a bank of memories. “On…Sergeant West. Yes. WE can give you Sergeant West. All you have to do is open the door and accept US. It doesn’t even hurt, WE promise.”
Alec ignored the words from the creature that had been his former friend. He crept slowly across the room to the curtain and quickly pulled it back.
“Sergeant West,” he sounded out.
West was tied down to the bed and very, very much naked. Alec felt his face flush.
“Anderson…what the fuck is going on? Untie me before they come back.”
“First, tell me what happened,” Alec signed. He had to be sure.
“Fucking untie, me, dude!”
“What if you are one of them?”
“Would I be tied down if I were one of them?” West demonstrated just how helpless he was by pulling on the restraints. Alec remained unmoved.
“Look, I came out of the shower to find two soldiers holding my roommate down and showing him something. They started fucking him. The Major Sergeant was there, too. He ordered me to lie down on my bed. I slipped and must have hit my head and knocked myself out. I came to here, tied to the bed.”
West spoke slow so that Alec could read his lips. He told him everything including playing opossum and the nurse disposing of Private Shore after they failed to convert him.
Color blindness. Deaf. Two instances in which the Signal failed to take hold and, if Alec was right, West’s brain swelling from his concussion would be a third inhibitor. He quickly untied West and then tossed him a hospital gown.
“What happened to your implants,” West asked.
“No time to explain. Can you get me to silo 14,” Alec quickly signed.
“We’re both gonna need to find some OCPs if you want to move through the base undetected,” West signed, actually glad for once to be able to speak with his hands.
West forgot he was talking with a civie. “Camouflage. Operational Camouflage Patterns. We call them OCPs.”
“And where do we get them,” Alec signed.
“The Attic,” West signed, and then added, “It’s not really an attic, it’s what we call the clothing store on base.”
West peeked out the shades of the window. The Attic was diagonal across from the infirmary. The coast was clear –for now. They would have to be quick though. He opened the window as quietly as he could. He helped Alec onto the window sill and then down to the ground some six feet. Then he lowed himself down.
Having made sure it was still a clear shot to the Attic, he signed “Run!”
The pair made it to the door of the clothing store. West peered inside. Two soldiers were fucking behind the counter. If they were quiet, they might not notice them.
He slowly opened the door and they quietly entered. They ducked behind one of the shelves of clothing. West reached up and grabbed two pairs of 32 inch waist camouflage pants. He tossed one pair over to Alec and slipped the other pair on.
“Just put them on, dude,” West signed. This was not the time to be bashful.
Alec quickly pulled down his jogging pants and stepped out of them.
“Tighty-whiteys, really,” West signed with a smirk.
“Fuck off,” Alec signed back, quickly buttoning the pants.
West quickly peeked over the shelves. The couple were still fucking. He quickly crawled over to the next aisle and grabbed two khaki t-shirts and then finally two pairs of boots.
Miraculously, everything fit West. Alec was not so lucky. The boots were about two sizes too big and the shirt hung on him. It would have to do for now.
They both crept out of the store and West went to the first Jeep he could find. Of course, the keys were in it (no one would steal a Jeep on base). Alec was no sooner in the passenger seat and the two men emerged from the Attic and ran towards the car.\
“So much for blending in and being undetected,” West said as he gunned it and peeled out.
West grabbed Alec by the neck. “Keep your head down, genius,” he spoke slowly so Alec could read his lips. “They are going to start firing on us.”
As West quickly zipped through the base, he glanced all around him. It looked like some carnal Armageddon. Soldiers grabbing other soldiers and forcing them down on the ground; using cell phones, laptops and other devices to quickly make them docile and then literally fuck them into total submission.
The silo Alec had mentioned was on the other side of the base, hidden in a small mountain. Other jeeps were quickly following them. Why hadn’t he thought to grab some sort of ammunition? They were unarmed.
“How close are we,” Alec signed.
“About a mile out, why,” West responded slowly.
“Turn around and head back toward them,” Alec signed as he searched for something in his backpack.
“Anderson, have you lost your fucking mind,” West retorted.
“Just do it. And let me know when we are about two miles away from the silo.”
West did a 180 and turned the jeep around. One of their advisories turned too sharply, causing the jeep to roll. The two other jeeps came to a complete stop and then turned and began to pursue them again.
“What’s the plan, Anderson,” West said with some urgency as he eyed the fleet of jeeps they were heading towards and the two coming up from behind through the rear-view mirror.
“How far from the silo,” Alec asked.
“One and a half miles,” West replied. “Keep going?”
“Keep going,” Alec signed.
“I always loved a good game of chicken,” West mumbled to himself.
Anderson glanced at the trip odometer. Just a little bit further!
The distance slowly ticked up. Several Jeeps swerved to avoid hitting them.
“Hit the brakes,” Alec shouted as the trip odometer hit the two-mile mark.
Alec pulled the pin on the last of his EMP grenades and threw it as far as he could.
Enthralled soldiers surrounded the jeep. West through his hands in the air.
There was a small explosion followed by a wave of electromagnetic air pushes past them. Jeeps came to a sudden stop. Bodies were still in motion and flew from vehicles. The soldiers that had been surrounding the vehicle collapsed in heaps all around them.
Wide-eyed and shocked, West turned to Alec.
“What the fuck was that?”
“Three years of research and a second field test,” Alec signed with a smile.
West turned the key in the ignition as Alec grabbed his arm.
“Nothing in a two-mile radius is going to work,” Alec signed, hopping out of the vehicle.
“You coming,” Alec continued.
West could see up a head in the far distance that soldiers out of the blast range had already started to make their way toward them.
“Two miles, double-time” he signed as he began to run. “Try and keep up.”
As they ran toward their goal of the mountain-base silo, West couldn’t help but admire Anderson’s form. Nerd or not, he was a pretty decent runner. The life or death situation and the adrenaline no doubt were helping.
“I would have never taken you as the runner type,” West signed.
Alec nodded. “Thank God I’ve been preparing for the marathon.”
West stopped. “No shit?”
“We actually have something in common,” West said with a smile. “Race you to the finish, nerd.”
Alec could feel the burn in his legs, but he managed to keep up.
They approached the entrance. It was a keypad entry. West frowned. They were screwed.
Alec calmly walked over to the keypad and entered a sequence of numbers. They heavy door opened.
“Always program a back-door entry,” he signed.
He ran over to the one the keyboards and began typing furiously.
“Once I execute these commands, we’ll have about 10 minutes to get out that door before the EMP goes off and this becomes a tomb,” Alec signed. “Make a run into the mountain. We just have to avoid being captured for 10 minutes, soldier.”
“What happens in 10 minutes,” West asked.
Alec pointed to the computer screen showing a map of the world. He couldn’t chance the signal some how surviving, so he’d have to knock out all electronics worldwide. He had just quickly programmed several missiles from various bases throughout the world to go over in a sequence that would allow EMPs to ripple across the globe, effectively beginning another dark ages.
“Are you sure about this? You’re going to kill a lot of innocent people,” West asked, thinking of planes dropping out of the sky, people in hospitals on life-support suddenly having their electronic plugs pulled and all his fellow soldiers dropping like flies.
“What choice do we have,” Alec signed.
West knew he was right. He sighed.
Alec entered the launch sequence and they both ran for the door. They didn’t stop running until they were high into the mountain. When the emp detonated, the force of the wave knocked both of them over. The lights of the base went out.
When West picked himself up, his ears were ringing. He wasn’t sure if it was a temporary side-effect, but there was nothing but silence all around him.
He ran over to Anderson and shook him.
Alec slowly came to. “How was your first time? Did the earth move for you? It did for me,” he signed with a smile.
West helped him to his feet and they slowly and cautiously began to descend the mountain back towards the base.
The bodies of brain-dead soldiers –many naked and frozen in the midst of carnal pleasure –were everywhere West looked.
They silently walked the five miles into town along a highway marked with dead cars. A few people untouched by the signal stood by the side of their vehicles, trying to make sense of what had transpired.
“Where to now,” West signed as they finally reached the center of the town. It was as lifeless as the base had been. “We can’t exactly stay here.”
Alec thought about it a bit as they continued to walk. He and West were the only ones alive to know the truth. To the rest of the world, what Alec had done would no doubt be considered an act of terrorism.
“We both kind of need to disappear,” Alec signed.
“Where ever we go, Anderson, we go together,” he signed and then grabbed Alec’s hand.
“How are your rowing skills,” Alec signed, letting go of West’s hands.
“Growing up, I practically lived on a lake in Wisconsin.”
“My uncle is –or was, I guess I’m not sure if he survived this – a doomsday prepper,” Alec signed. “He owned an isolated compound on Catalina Island. What would you say to building a new life together in a little cabin in the woods,” Alec signed with a smile.
“You had me at ‘isolated compound,’ Anderson,” West said with a laugh.
“There is one more thing,” Alec stopped and turned.
“Yes,” West signed.
“Call me Alec.”
West nodded. “Jim.”
West had been right about Alec’s perky little ass. But that, perhaps is a story for another time.
So, gentle reader: if you happened to find yourself reading this on something other than in ink and on paper, you might just want to think about turning off that computer. Power down that tablet. Throw that iPhone in a drawer. Get out there and live your life, because if you don’t, you just might find something out there willing to live it for you.