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The Awareness

Heather in History by Rob O’Neil

New Agent Briefing:
Office of Transhuman Affairs
Director of Forecasting, Heather Kalafut

“The events that triggered what we now refer to as ‘The Awareness’ happened during incident 202003-475AZ, known around here as ‘The Battle of Sanctuary.’ Due to the public nature of the events, video and still images of the events were posted to the internet faster than even our own unbeatable team of Spooky and Spooks could shut them down or discredit them.”

At this the room broke out in chuckles, the Director of Forecasting waited for the assembled agents to calm down again. She smiled as she thought about those frantic days and weeks after the incident. Her agency’s two top electronics experts had spent hours working their magic, but it was all for naught in the end. She continued her briefing.

“Because the video and image evidence began to spread, the government was forced to finally acknowledge that the original division called ‘Section 28’ not only existed, but was useful when it came to dealing with an enemy that regular law enforcement or military units were unprepared to battle. Our unique training and weapons made the difference and ensured our survival as the United States.”

“As you have already studied, roughly a year after the events of the Battle of Sanctuary the public pressure on Washington led to the formation of this department. Representation at cabinet-level with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, our mission is to maintain the treaties that we currently have with transhumans from other dimensions or realities, as well as interdiction, sanction, and forcibly remove those entities that threaten the peace of the United States. This also includes humans from this reality that connect with outside entities to threaten the peace of the nation.”

Kalafut paused as an agent near the back of the briefing room raised his hand. She nodded at the young man, an analyst if she remembered correctly, “Yes, Agent…” the Director of Forecasting trailed off, at a loss to remember the young agent’s name.

He cleared his throat nervously, “Anthony Wagnaar, ma’am. Even now the public kind of knows about the crazy stuff, but how much effort does it take to keep stuff under wraps?”

“Thank you, Agent Wagnaar.” Kalafut smiled, enjoying the perfect segue to her next point. “How much effort do we spend on concealing our activities from the public, now that they are aware that we exist? We spend an enormous amount of time and resources covering up our activities, as well as hiding the activities of the transhumans that are under our purview. In short, we hide as much as we can, and barely acknowledge what we cannot hide.”

“The Awareness refers to the fact that the general public actually has some true knowledge that they are not alone in this reality. In fact, we’ve been receiving reports from both forecasting and intelligence that there is a growing undercurrent of awareness and even celebrity with transhumans. We are seeing a shift in public opinion, led by the media and pop culture, to ‘humanize’ and draw sympathy to transhumans.”

“Whether this is a good shift of opinion is not our determination. Our mission and charter is to specifically hunt transhumans that threaten the nation or public, and to maintain diplomatic relations with those who don’t. That’s it. We do not, and cannot, make any determinations about whether the public sentiment is worthwhile or not. We enforce our laws and treaties with complete impartiality. We are professionals.”

Kalafut moved her gaze around the room, catching and briefly holding the eyes of every new agent in the room. She needed them to understand the legacy that they were standing upon. They were a serious group, only the second to come through the new hiring and training courses after the reorganization. Once the Director of Forecasting believed she had their sole attention, she continued.

“Section 28 has a long history of living up to our mission and charter in the utmost fair, just, and professional manner possible. Each of you has gone through a rigorous screening regimen, including some methods that none of you have the security clearance to know about, let alone understand. The OTA is built upon that foundation of justice and professionalism, and I expect each and every one of you to uphold those traditions.”

“The public is gradually becoming more aware of the existence of transhumans. As they become more aware, and as public policy shifts, our mission will adapt within our charter. Our nation has a history of eventually choosing to humanize the ‘other’ person. Slavery from the start of this nation was ended when the public came to see that  the ‘other’ person who had a different level of melanin in their skin and a different culture was ‘human’. Japanese were interned in camps because of their ‘otherness,’ and Chinese were virtually slave labor in the early west.”

“America, for the most part, has overcome that loathing of the ‘otherness.’ There are small pockets that exist across color or culture lines, but our country has a history of quashing the dehumanizing effects of racism. If I was a betting gal, I would bet that America will eventually get over this ‘otherness’ as well. With that said, our job is not to shape public policy. We work within our charter and mission to protect the United States. I hold each and every one of you agents to that standard. Any questions?”

After a few moments, Kalafut saw that no one was going to ask a question. The Director of Forecasting smiled and looked at her watch, “That’s it for this briefing. You may return to your assignments. And welcome to the Office of Transhuman Affairs.”

Special Agent Memorial Wall
  • Heather Kalafut
  • Chris “Spooks” Swanson
  • Anthony Wagnaar

Bryan Donihue
Bryan Donihue

Bryan is a published author (fiction and non-fiction), game designer, graphic artist, web designer, consultant, trainer, ministry leader, and multiple-business owner. He is also happily married to his wife of over 20 years, Christina, and father to six or seven kids, depending on the day. He even sleeps occasionally.