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  Table of contents Issue Twenty-seven IN ONE BASKET



roject Titan

Investigative Working Group Incident Report

File date: 5 October 2037

Attached File 1 of 22

Computer Generated Video Recreation of Incident

(based on crime scene imagery and testimony of eyewitnesses)

“Very good, Alicia,” Louise Albans said. “Now, let’s try seventeen times thirty-eight.”

The chubby red-haired fourth grader sitting in the second row scrunched up her face in concentration. “Um, 646?”

“Yes, that’s right. Excellent,” Louise said, smiling. “Ricky,” she said, turning her attention to the boy right behind Alicia. “It’s your turn. What is twelve times sixteen?”

The door to the classroom opened while Ricky was bent over his paper. A man in a dirty gray sweatshirt and blue jeans stomped into the room, carrying a black duffel bag. He closed the door firmly behind him and locked it.

Louise rose from her desk, reaching for her handbag. “How did you get into the school?”

The man whipped a pistol from his waistband and pointed it at her. “Shut the fuck up and sit down.” When she complied, he swung the gun around and waved it at the class. “Okay, listen up, I don’t want nobody calling the cops. Put your hands on top of your heads and don’t move.”

“Do as he says,” Louise said, putting her own hands on her head as an example.

“Yeah,” the man said. “Now!”

The children obeyed. Most were crying, and a few looked like they were about to faint.

The man’s brown hair was filthy and disheveled, and he had dark circles under his wild eyes.

“What do you want,” Louise said.

“I said, shut up!” he said, grabbing her bag. He whacked her across the face with it, then flung it into the corner.

Louise blinked, eyes watering. A few drops of blood dripped from her nose onto her white blouse. There were gasps and exclamations from the children.

The man opened the duffel bag and withdrew some zip ties, which he used to secure Louise’s arms and legs to her chair. Then he produced a roll of duct tape and tore off a strip, which he slapped hard over her mouth.

He stepped back, swinging the gun back and forth at the children. “Okay, all right, you two,” he said, indicating Kenny and Shannon, who were sitting in the first two seats by the window. “Pull the blinds.”

They hesitated until he waggled the gun at them. Once the blinds were drawn, he ordered the children to all stand, keeping their hands on top of their heads.

He kept the gun moving, aiming at one terrified young face after another, mumbling to himself the whole while.

“What are you doing this for?” Evan Greene asked. Tears spotted his glasses, but his face was resolute.

The man seemed taken aback by the question. He went up to Evan, who stood beside his desk, front row center, and placed the muzzle of his pistol against Evan’s forehead. “I’ll tell you. Why not?” He lowered the gun and took a step back.

“One of you,” he said, raising his voice, “is a monster. The government has a secret project to create a genetically enhanced human being, and it’s one of you.”

Louise tugged at the ties holding her wrists, but they didn’t budge. She wiggled and jerked her body, but when the wooden chair protested audibly, she stopped.

The man didn’t seem to notice. He laughed and ran a hand through his hair. “I’m going to stop it before it’s too late. I’m going to save us real natural humans before we’re replaced by soulless monsters.”

The children, confused, merely stared at him.

The man nodded. “Yeah, I know. It’s one of the boys,” he mumbled.

Evan opened his mouth to speak, but his teacher’s fervent shake of the head caused him to close it again.

“Shit,” the man said, rubbing his eyes. “I’m so fucking tired. Let’s get it over with.” He waved the gun. “All right, the girls, go stand in front of the windows. Go ahead.”

Less than half a minute later, all sixteen of the girls were lined up against the windows, elbow to elbow, since they still had their hands on their heads.

“And the boys,” the man said, “get over there, along the opposite wall.”

When the thirteen boys had lined up, the man looked back and forth between them and the girls. “No, no,” he mumbled, scowling. “I can’t be sure who’s who. Some of them could be transgendered.” He kicked Evan’s desk, knocking it over, scattering paper and pencils.

He paced in a circle at the front of the room, occasionally glancing around at Louise and the kids. He kept mumbling to himself, saying, “No, no, no,” over and over.

“I don’t have a choice,” he said finally. “No, I ain’t a fucking perv, but I gotta know.”

After sticking the pistol into his waistband, he opened the duffel and pulled out a red bandana. Going to Louise, he said quietly, “Listen, I know you think I’m crazy. I know I’m crazy, but I gotta do this, it’s the only way. You don’t have to watch, though.” He tied the bandana around her head, covering her eyes.

Picking up the duffel bag, he took up station in the middle of the room among the desks. Facing the girls, he said, “Okay, ladies, I need to know if you’re all really female, so drop your pants and lift your skirts. Panties down.”

Almost all of the girls went red-faced. None of them moved.

“Come on,” he said. “You can cover up right away. I just need to know, so I don’t make a mistake.” To accentuate his point, he pulled his gun and aimed it at them. “Do it. Don’t make me do it for you.”

Still, no one moved.

He ran a hand down his face, then wove his way through the desks to stand before the first girl on the right, the redheaded Alicia. He stuck the muzzle of the gun in her face, an inch from her nose. “Pull down your goddamn pants. Now!”

Tears streaming down her cheeks, she slid her pink sweatpants down.

He nodded. “Underwear.”

Alicia choked out a sob, then lowered her white panties.

“Okay,” he said, “that wasn’t so hard. Pull ‘em up.” He stepped back and waved the gun. “The rest of you, do that right now, and I’ll be happy. Don’t fuck with me.”

In ones and twos, the other girls did the same. When he was satisfied, he told them to put their hands back on top of their heads.

The boys were less reluctant, but instead of telling them to cover themselves, the man merely nodded, laid his pistol down on a desk, reached into the duffel, and brought out a submachine gun.

Without hesitation, he clicked off the safety and began to fire at the line of boys, tracking back and forth. It was over in moments. The man-made his way slowly towards the carnage, pausing to regard the blood-spattered crayon drawings of houses and animals on the wall before continuing.

He reloaded, and then he methodically shot the four who were still breathing in the head. He dropped the submachine gun, and reached for his waistband.

Finding nothing there, he swore and turned around. On the far side of the room, the girls were clutching each other, weeping and whimpering. That was, all but one.

Alicia stood beside his duffel bag, wearing a grim, determined expression. She held his pistol in a two-handed grip. She raised it and put a bullet through his right eye.




Project Titan

Investigative Working Group Incident Report

File date: 5 October 2037

Page 24 of 56

22. Conclusions and Recommendations

This working group has obtained public and private medical records of the instigator, one Daniel Gregory Wilcox. These records indicate a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia (see Appendix G, Sec. 2).

Based upon the testimony of surviving eyewitnesses (see pp. 3-9), this diagnosis was in error. Given that Mr. Wilcox had some knowledge of Project Titan, it is the opinion of this working group that he had possessed transcendent abilities.

Transcendence, formerly known as Extra-Sensory Perception (ESP), if left unidentified and untrained, will invariably lead to a condition identical to paranoid schizophrenia. The fact that medications had little or no effect on his condition should have alerted medical professionals as to its true nature.

It is fortunate that Mr. Wilcox’s abilities were not highly developed. Otherwise, he might have been able to ascertain the true identities of the Titan subjects. Likely due to personal bias, he erroneously believed that there was only one subject and that the subject was male.

Titan Subject Three, named Alicia Redmond, ended the incident by fatally shooting Mr. Wilcox. Based upon a tentative personality profile (see Appendix G, Sec. 4), he was likely to have ended his own life shortly thereafter had Subject Three not acted.

None of the Titan subjects were physically harmed during the incident. However, it is not yet clear as to whether any of them have sustained lasting mental or emotional harm. Their superior intellectual capabilities do make them more resilient, but we recommend closer observation for the foreseeable future.

It is also the opinion of this working group that placing all sixteen Titan subjects together in one facility was in error. It is clear that, while for experimental purposes, it was convenient for Dr. Albans and her colleagues, but in terms of security and the long-term prospects of the project, it is recommended that in future, Titan subjects should be placed in geographically disparate locations.

Finally, in furtherance of the Titan Project, we recommend that in areas in which Titan subjects are present, concerted efforts should be undertaken to identify, incarcerate, and if necessary, terminate untrained and uncontrolled transcendents.




Ronald Linson lives in New York City and has a degree in Computer Information Systems. He has several stories and poems on bewilderingstories.com. Currently, he is in collaboration with Gary Clifton on a science fiction novel.

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