New chapter inserted into our novel Confrontation …
Lieutenant Benjamin takes command of the aircraft carrier. It is a negligible event and things move on with the activities of the ship as it leads the American fleet against the Chinese navy.
Benjamin stands behind the crew-member steering the carrier for a few minutes. Then, he walks around the bridge checking various readings and chatting to crew members. Then, he walks into the private meeting room off the bridge. The war situation room, the strategy planning room. Where all the important decisions on the great carrier were made. It is like a type of greenhouse attached to the rear of the bridge, almost totally surrounded by glass and facing back and not forward. Likethe stern back part of a ship or boat, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter rail to the taffrail. The stern lies opposite of the bow, the foremost part of a ship. It was known to the crewmembers as the Fantail in the Sky.
It is close to nine hundred hours in the morning on a day that fills the greenhouse windows of the bridge room with a blue sky in all directions. Benjamin stands by the window of the room that look backward toward the east and the rest of the fleet. One might call it the “fantail” part of the bridge.
Benjamin knows about acid trips. His parents were old California hippies living in the Venice area of Los Angeles in the seventies and eighties when disco and flair pants were the rage. To them, LSD mean taking an actual “trip” somewhere far away from normal reality. Benjamin hated this. He always felt abandoned when this happened. He smoked marijuana when he was a kid but never wanted to try LSD because of what it did to his parents. After graduating from the Naval Academy Benjamin’s life went an interesting way. It wasn’t that he was not a very attractive, smart and resourceful person. The anxiety in his life was like a monster that consumed any positive images he had of himself.
It was impossible for him to keep a steady job. The anxiety continued to take over his life. It was much more than a mere monster in his life. Rather, it was more like an ominous, evil environment that came in over his life like a great approaching dark storm. The anxiety was something that was the great barrier that stood in the way of a person’s happiness and sadness in one’s career and life. At least it seemed this way to Lieutenant Benjamin.
During those tough years, he was taking all types of drugs for depression and anxiety. Smoking high grade marijuana. Exercising like a mad man. Yet, he was still full of anxiety and fear and a desperation that was always present in his life.
Then, someone slipped him LSD in a drink at a party by spiking his drink.
It was an event that changed his life.
He understood that it was up to him to view LSD in the way he wanted to and not how he saw it when he thought backward in time to that past of his parents.
This new understanding led to a type of rebirth for him and a career in the Navy. He rose fast within the ranks, one of the fastest rising young people in the navy during his time. It was during this time that he connected up with another rising star in the Navy, his old friend and fellow football teammate from the Academy, Thomas Harrison.
There are so many moments together with his old friend when Benjamin came to the Navy. A number of assignments where the two of them worked together and pulled off impossible missions. Tommy was right – Benjamin thought – when he said there was some special magic when both of them worked together on some common mission. Benjamin wanted this mission to be one of those magic times.
* * *
Benjamin takes a shot glass from a little bar in the room and pours a liquid into it and takes the shot glass down in one swoop. He has taken the micro-dose of LSD he has been taking for years to fight off the anxiety in his life. It worked so much better than all the uptake inhibitors like Lexapro from Big Pharma. It even worked better than the most high-grade marijuana he had ever smoked. He sits down at the large oval shaped meeting table. In a few minutes, the anxiety demon was put back in its cage and Benjamin felt his mind free for the decisions at hand.
The door opens and Benjamin’s top assistant Manchow Knoa comes into the meeting room.
“Ready to make the call?” Knoa asks.
Benjamin takes out his cell phone and pushes a button.
“It’s done,” he says into the cell phone. “Harrison has been given the LSD and taken to his room. I’m running the ship.”
“And the FBI?” asks the voice on the other end of the phone.
“They’re questioning those caught with the LSD right now,” Benjamin says. “I’m sure they’ll discover the plan to spike the crew’s lunch with LSD.”
“How did the NCIS ever find our group?” the voice on the phone asks.
“Someone must have tipped them off,” Benjamin says.
“What about you?” the voice on the phone says.
“They’ll make the connection between me and the plan,” Benjamin says. “I’ll be arrested soon.”
“You know nothing about any outside plan,” the phone voice says. “This was all your plan from the start.”
“I’ve got it,” Benjamin says.
“Good luck to you,” the phone voice says.
“Something else I should tell you,” Benjamin says. “I’ve heard that the FBI has agents on all ships in the fleet. They suspect that lunches of all the crews in the fleet will be spiked with LSD today.”
There is a moment of silence on the phone.
“You still there?” Benjamin asks.
“Are you sure about this?” the voice asks.
“Have it on the best of authority,” Benjamin says.
After this, the voice on the phone is gone.
“Do you think he believes you?” Knoa asks.
“It’s all we have right now,” Benjamin says. “But I don’t think he’ll risk carrying out the plan on the fleet. It puts things too close to him.”
“That son-of-a-bitch with his fake story about LSD research for the navy brass,” Benjamin says. “A test of the effects of LSD on extreme stress.”
“I never did trust him,” Knoa says.
“I trust our contact on his ship,” Benjamin says.
“A loyal New Patriot,” Knoa says.
“He took a big risk in contacting us last night about the plan to spike the entire fleet crews with LSD,” Benjamin says. “And we thought the plan was just confined to our carrier.”
“We’ve done all we could do to sabotage his plan for this ship,” Knoa says. “If we hadn’t contacted the NCIS and FBI last night and gave them the group involved with the plan, everything would have gone ahead without any hitch.”
“We would have a captain and thousands on this ship stoned out of their minds,” Benjamin says.
“And the same thing repeated on other ships in the fleet,” Knoa says. “The entire fleet disabled. Much more than any experiment to test one crew under stress.”
“Nothing short of treason,” Benjamin says.
“Yes,” Knoa says. “And we’re taking the wrap for it.”
“It’s the only way right now,” Benjamin says. “We have to make it all look legit.”
“He has such a different view of using LSD than we do,” Knoa says. “He uses LSD to control people. We use it to free people.”
“We’re not going to be free much longer,” Benjamin says.
* * *
Benjamin and Knoa leave the meeting room and come back into the bridge area. They stand behind a young ensign at the huge wheel of the great carrier. Below, a jet shoots down the short runway and then out over the Pacific, the white light of its exhaust getting smaller and smaller until it disappears.
“It’s only a matter of time until we’ll be taken into custody,” Benjamin says. “We’ll be considered traitors to our country. The real traitor will continue operating in his position of power.”
“The way it always is,” Knoa says.