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DKUSAN17 video footage and photos) The defensive


DARKSIDE: The United States of Anarchy; "Coming to Take Me Away..."

[Version Control: Original.]

[Disclaimer: This text is intended for adult audiences, if you are
not of age to view it, be somewhere else. This series of stories
explores the darker aspects of the human experience, if that might
offend you, then you were warned, and it isn't my problem. -- KTM]

Anything can happen in the Multiverse. Even a world that
is much like ours, but which somehow... isn't. A world that is a
magnet for the blackness in the dreams and souls of humankind. A
world known as: The Darkside.
The World's economic system depends on a delicate
interlocking system of mutual trust and financial debt. When
those bonds shattered, the governments and monetary institutions
crumbled. Even the most idealistic civil servants left their jobs
when their families were gripped with hunger. The Survivors of
the Chaos would come to call their nation the United States of
Chapter 17. "They're Coming to Take Me Away." -- by KTM.

'They're coming to take me away, Hah Hah!
They're coming to take me away. Ho Ho, Hee Hee, Hah Hah!
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time,
And I'll be happy to see those nice young men In their clean white coats, and
They're coming to take me away, Hah Hah!'
-- by Napoleon the XIVth.
[Willowdale Psychiatric Institute, Philadelphia.]
[Case History: Patient - Carmichael, Phillip Owen. I.D. # 000-87-1842]
[Height - 5'8". Weight - 168. Caucasian. Hair - Brown. Eyes - Hazel.]

"This man was seventeen when he attempted to rob a Federal bank. His
weapon of choice was his hand, bent into a pistol, a fact which was revealed
after he received the money his note demanded. He pulled his 'gun' from his
jacket pocket, and pretended to fire several bullets into the ceiling as he
backed to the exit, making the appropriate sound effects vocally. Observing
that the subject was, in fact, unarmed, a security guard apprehended him.
"Throughout his arraignment and trial, the subject maintained that he
possessed a 'real' weapon. A gun that he could make appear with a suitable
gesture and banish by opening his hand. He was found mentally incompetent and
sentenced to a maximum of ten years in a subsidized psychiatric hospital. The
patient's motive for the attempted robbery was reportedly that he 'was out of
money to buy bubble gum and comic books.'
"During the past year, several experts have tried to show that Phillip
was faking his incompetence to avoid incarceration. However, his symptoms
have proved convincing to the facility staff. He has proved to be
cooperative, but has of yet shown little signs of improving his condition."

Phillip smiled, as he put his case folder away. He'd tried to make his
commitment entertaining. Even with the dry clinical language they used here,
some of the humor showed through. He'd got himself committed because he was
tired of living on the streets, and even now he couldn't believe how close
he'd come to getting away with the money. But that wasn't the point, so he'd
'shot at the ceiling'. The file didn't mention his knack for getting into
places that he shouldn't, but his appointment as a trustee helped there.
He knew he wasn't supposed to be in the patient files, but that never
stopped him before. He wondered what his friend's file said. His buddy Rex
was a good-looking big man, with the mind of a child. Phillip never did find
out how he got here. He pulled the file, and sat back in the Institute
Director's leather chair, his feet on the walnut desk.

[Willowdale Psychiatric Institute, Philadelphia.]
[Case History: Patient - Timmons, Rex Harrison. I.D. # 000-41-6954]
[Height - 6'5". Weight - 290. Caucasian. Hair - Blonde. Eyes - Blue.]

"A varsity Junior in a college football team, this patient was a star
Center in contention for the Heisman Trophy. Known for his fearless charges
and aggressive playing style, his team was in the first game of the Playoffs,
when he was critically injured.
"He'd gone literally head-to-head with a defensive lineman at crushing
speeds. (See video footage, and photos.) The defensive man's neck was
broken, and he remains paralyzed. The patient's helmet split, and a piece of
it drove into his brain. Rushed to the hospital, they managed to remove the
foreign object. He lay in a coma, while his parents negotiated a substantial
monetary settlement from the helmet manufacturer.
"Eventually he awoke, but he wasn't the same. His mind had regressed to
his childhood. His parents couldn't deal with a 'six-foot preschooler' (their
term) who could inadvertently injure them while playing. Regretfully, they
committed him to the Institute, where he could be cared for adequately, and
watched for any sign of return of his adult mentality. So far, the prognosis
for such a recovery has been very poor."

Wow. Phillip frowned. He thought of the crayon picture his friend had
drawn for him. Rex said it was puppies and flowers, and Phillip could just
about make that out. It was crudely drawn, but painstakingly colored with
much effort and concentration from the bigger man. Now it was Phillip's prize
possession, and hung above his bunk in a place of honor. Rex wasn't a screw
up, like himself. He'd had a good life, before he was hurt. It was a shame.
If only he could help....
Phillip shrugged. His friend had plenty of food and clothing, and the
maid service couldn't be beat. He wouldn't be hurt anymore, and he didn't
have to work for a living. Since that condition was Phillip's main ambition
in life to achieve, he couldn't imagine that Rex would want anything else.
But still....
A knock on the door made him jump up and straighten the files and
quietly close the cabinet, retrieving his wire lock pick. Rex's signal meant
someone was coming. He scanned the room, making sure it was in order.
Phillip took the small bag of waste paper and left the office, locking the
door as he did so. His peripheral vision told him the intruder was Nurse
Kratchen, the nastiest nurse at the institution. She was one of the few
staffers he hadn't been able to charm. He thought she was a prune-faced,
dried-up old spinster harridan, and she didn't like him much either.
"Come on, come on," she said impatiently. "You have two more corridors
to finish before dinner or you won't get those privileges you wanted."
Rex turned a frown to Phillip, his big hands tightening anxiously on his
mop. Phillip shrugged back. She didn't have the authority to break their
agreement with the floor's head doctor, but she could make a complaint if they
didn't appear to hop to her directions, as senior nurse.
As trustees, they didn't have to do any janitorial work, but they did it
to earn time in the computer lab. Phillip liked shoot'emups, and diplomacy
games, while Rex avoided anything that seemed to be confrontational. The big
man liked simple puzzle games and simulations, as anything complex gave him a
Ms. Kratchen watched them work for a while, then went about her duties.
Phillip nodded at Rex, and went into her office to tidy up. Before he took
her trash out to the cart, he hit the catch of her hidden stash of
psychoactive medicines. He already knew they weren't accounted for on any
inventory in the institute. He used the pills to buy favors from the staff
and patients. He had no idea what she used them for. Much the same as he
did, he supposed.
The handle of Rex's mop hit the office door, and Phillip cleared out of
the secret cabinet in seconds, hiding the bottle he'd taken just as quickly.
That was the signal for someone coming so quickly his friend couldn't knock to
warn him. He was reaching for the door with the bag of trash when Nurse
Kratchen jerked the door open. She scowled at him, as her eyes raked past him
to see if anything was out of place.
"Hurry up and get out, you," she grumbled. "I have to make a phone
call." Phillip smiled docilely, and slipped out of her way. As her door
clicked shut, the two continued with their chores without further incident.
Later that night, after they'd enjoyed their computer time, he made the
exchange with Bob, the orderly. Thirty Valium pills were traded for one over-
the-counter bottle of chewable Vitamin C for him, and a bottle of Flintstone's
Vitamins for Rex. Phillip could have gotten cigarettes, alcohol, or porno for
the stuff, but he considered it a good trade. Anything he could do to make
his big friend happy was worth it to him.

Phillip started hearing the Congressional hearings about the Debt Crises
after he'd been at Willowdale for almost a year. The facility was State
funded, and quiet rumors of cutbacks and cost-cutting ran rampant among the
staff. The patients were mostly upset that their cartoons and Soaps weren't
on. When the Atlanta Riots hit the news along with graphic footage of the
Trucker's death, the day room TV's cable feed was disconnected. They only saw
videos after that.
He had a bad feeling about the way things were going. Phillip
understood the news more than most of the patients. According to the
newspapers he 'borrowed' from the trash, Congress was frantically trying to
create a special funding Bill to at least pay the outstanding interest of the
debt the U.S. owed to friend and foe alike, to keep the country's credit good.
But it was mid-Spring, with another scorching Summer forecast, and
following a wickedly cold Winter that had killed thousands across the country.
FEMA was stretched to the limit, and the projected taxes that were only now
trickling in were insufficient. There weren't enough liquid funds in the
government to make the budget's frayed ends meet.
Nation after nation turned down humble U.S. requests for loans. They
were all being hit hard to pay their own debt, and were demanding that their
creditors pay in turn. It was a cycle that proved endless. No country could
completely clear their debt to offer help to any other. Wars were threatened,
and crippling special taxes levied, but taxpayers the world over rebelled.
Whole armies and police forces began to vanish when their pay
disappeared. The Atlanta Riots were the first domestic sign of just how bad
it was going to get. When Congress ended the session early without resolving
the situation, Phillip began to quietly prepare to leave. It was harder than
it used to be, because he had to consider Rex. Phillip knew how to live on
the road, but his giant buddy was as naive as a child.
Some staff members stopped showing up after the second IOU in lieu of a
paycheck. Others came back just long enough to steal things, like the
computers and the televisions from the day rooms. The rest of the staff
grimly hung on, surviving on the supplies they shared with the patients. As
long as living here was easier than the outside, Phillip would stay.
He and Rex were almost invisible to the tense staff, and Phillip liked
it that way. They helped clean the place and didn't make any trouble. He was
surprised, though, to see a new face with everything that was going on.
Doctor Berger was wheeling in a pretty girl to the women's ward a few days
after the facility's Director cleared out his desk and left.
The girl, a Miss Christina Spencer, was a transfer from a private
facility across town that had shut down. Doctor Berger wanted to keep her
under treatment, it seemed. It looked to Phillip like the man was a little
too possessive of the vacant-faced girl. Still, it wasn't any of his
business. Nurse Kratchen came up behind Phillip while he was distracted from
his sweeping, slapping his elbow, and making him jump.
"Get busy, you slacker," she said. No one had ever struck him here
before, and he didn't like it. He didn't let it show on his face, though.
The missing Director had a strict policy of not using any force on the
patients beyond what was absolutely necessary. It looked like that policy
left when he did. Along with the food getting progressively worse, it was
just another thing encouraging him to leave.
Over the next few weeks, as he and Rex did their chores they saw
difficult patients strapped to their beds, or cuffed into line. Tranquilizer
doses were increased in some cases, and a nightly lock-down was instituted for
everyone but staff. Phillip stopped most of his usual extracurricular
activities, and concentrated on getting the equipment and supplies for his
planned escape.
In the day room one day, an orderly Phillip did 'business' with took him
aside. "Look, Phillip," Bob said, "Steve and I are going into town to Sammy's
Market. We need the food, and there's an attached Pharmacy."
"That's a small store, isn't it?" Phillip said. "What about the
"Those are already looted," the orderly said. "The cases are broken
and anything frozen or fridged is spoiled. Sammy's is out of the way, and it
was still locked last night. Those just going through the area must have
missed it. We need a big group though, so we want you and Rex along."
"You know Rex won't fight," Phillip said dubiously.
"Yeah, but he won't need to," Bob said. "He's big enough to scare 'em.
You two are reliable, and you're a good scrounger. This will help you too,
Phillip. What do you say?"
"We'll be there," Phillip said. He figured getting a look outside was a
good idea. "Maybe I can get him to frown at anybody coming near." They both
laughed at the idea of raiders fleeing from the gentle man's scowl.
The raid on Sammy's went perfectly. Phillip opened the doors, and the
team loaded up the big flatbed. On the way back was when trouble struck. A
makeshift barricade that wasn't there the first time brought the truck to a
halt. Several ragged men stepped around it to face them, some of them with
guns. "Leave the truck and go," one of them said, as the others shuffled
"Not a chance," said Bob, raising his own pistol. Phillip gingerly
fingered the trank gun Steve shoved into his hands. The orderly glared at Rex
for refusing to take one. The blonde giant flinched at the look.
"Rex, old buddy," Phillip whispered, "we just need you to pretend to be
mad at them. If you don't do something, they could hurt us... hurt me."
"Hurt you?" Rex's blue eyes widened, then narrowed in a frown. "No. I
won't let them." His great paw wrapped around a baseball bat next to Phillip,
and he climbed down to face the men. They jumped at the apparition of the
towering All-State linebacker, and all but one of them broke and ran. The
last one swung a knife at Rex, cutting the big man's knuckles slightly, until
Rex knocked the blade away with the bat.
Phillip fired the trank gun, catching the bandit in the shoulder. As
Rex raised his weapon over his head, the man collapsed. Rex paused, and
looked confused. He looked at the unconscious man, and then at his bloodied
hands holding the aluminum bat. It dropped from Rex's nerveless fingers, and
he whimpered suddenly.
Rex groped back to the truck-bed, ashen faced, rubbing his hands
together. "Don't leave anything behind, Phillip," Bob said. Phillip hopped
down and retrieved the bat, the knife, and even the trank dart. On the ride
back to Willowdale, Rex kept rubbing his hands against his pants, tears
flowing down his face.
"What's the matter, buddy?" Phillip said.
"I didn't want to hurt him, Phillip," Rex said, with a sniffle. "But, I
didn't want him to hurt you, or me... Oh, I don't want to hurt anyone!"
Phillip could hear the anguish in his friend's voice.
"It's ok, Rex," Phillip said. "You won't have to. I promise." Phillip
was quiet for the rest of the evening. He'd come to this place to avoid
responsibility, but it was time he faced facts; he had one. All six feet
five, two hundred and ninety pounds of him.
Sleep that night was difficult for both of them. Rex tossed in the grip
of nightmares, and Phillip could hardly sleep. At one point he could have
sworn he saw a black shadow flow through the walls and seep into both of them.
In the morning he shook his head at the memory. He had dreamed it, or this
place was finally getting to him, and he really was going crazy.
They were both gripped in a sudden fever the next day. A few of the
others were sick, but none as bad as they were. Rex seemed calmer after the
fever broke the day after, and Phillip felt strangely more confident. He
prepared for an immediate departure, putting the hunting knife he'd taken in
his secret stash of supplies.
He concealed his stash again, and turned to see Nurse Kratchen standing
silently behind him. She had a look of pure 'gotcha' on her face. Acting
crazy was an old habit that was hard to break, Phillip realized. He
straightened imperiously, and waggled his fingers at her. "You don't see
anything unusual," he intoned, with his best fake-British accent. "These
aren't the 'Droids you're looking for."
The harridan blinked, and swayed briefly. Phillip's head blossomed
suddenly with a spike of pure pain, as he focused all his gift of 'convincing'
people into the command. He forced himself to continue when he sensed her
confusion. "There's no one here," he insisted in his normal voice.
"No one here," Kratchen repeated dully.
"You have important things to do," he said firmly, trying to stem the
flow of blood from his nose.
"Important things..." she muttered, and wandered away down the hall.
Phillip ran to the bathroom and cleaned up. His 'Old Jedi mind trick' had
really worked! After he came to terms with that, he began to think how he
would use it.
The first thing to do would be to avoid the curfew, and see what was
going on at night. Rex agreed to pretend his friend was with him, as a game.
Phillip locked eyes with the nurse who came to lock them in. She obligingly
showed him where the spare set of keys were, and went back to locking doors.
Phillip prowled the halls, telling anyone he met that he wasn't there.
Near the women's ward, he saw an exchange made between a young intern and a
stranger. The man gave the doctor six cans of food, and the intern let him
into one of the women's rooms. From the way the guy was unbuckling his pants
as he went in, Phillip could guess what he'd purchased.
It wasn't right, though, he thought. Then he wondered where he'd grown
a conscious from. To be sure though, he came in after the stranger, to find
him busy fucking the girl in the room. She was bound hand and foot to the
bed, totally nude. An open tube of K-Y jelly had been thoughtfully placed on
the bed stand, and from the smell the guy had used it, just as he was using
the girl.
The animalistic grunting, the primal thrusting motions of the man's
hairy flanks, and the wet noises of his balls slapping against her had an
effect on Phillip. His cock swelled, and he stroked it. He was tempted to
tell the guy to move over, so he could dip his own wick in her now juicy cunt.
He moved over to see her better, and started in shock. He knew the
girl. She was an autistic. Phillip had never gotten her to talk or even to
smile in all the time he'd been here, and he'd certainly tried. She was a
Jane Doe at the institute, with no one to miss her, and no one to turn to.
She didn't make complaining noises as the man roughly twisted and bit
her nipples. Jane just stared up at the ceiling, a trickle of drool running
from her slack mouth. She was panting from the pounding she was getting, and
Phillip thought he saw a hint of tension around her eyes. Her hands were
clenched on her pillow, and suddenly he had enough.
He made eye contact with the man. "Pull out, dude. Go sit on the
floor." The man slowed down, his face contorting in a grimace. He started to
pull back, but his reluctance made him very slow. Phillip barked, "Now!" The
guy did what he was told. Phillip rubbed his spiking headache, and felt
another warm trickle on his lip. Just a trace of blood, this time.
The girl's breathing quieted, and the tension if he'd really seen any
faded, as her hands relaxed. Phillip still had an aching cock, and the guy
was still there. He had to make this look good. "Sorry, Jane," he said. He
unzipped and masturbated quickly, bringing himself to climax. He sprayed some
on her cunt, and then shot on the man's groin.
Catching his breath, he looked at the guy and caught his attention.
"You just had a good time with her," he said, "and you feel relaxed. Now get
outta here."
The man stood up and wiped up on a provided towel. Then he put on his
clothing and left. Phillip wiped up also. He wished he could help her... but
no. Jane was a lot of work to handle, and there was no way he and Rex could
take care of her on the road. They had to leave her, unfortunately. Back in
the hall, the man was talking to the intern again.
"So, how much to get her from you, for good?" he said.
The intern, to his credit, shook his head. "I don't think you
appreciate how much trouble it is to care for an autistic. Dressing, bathing,
meals, bathroom; you have to help her with everything." Cynically, Phillip
thought his show of concern was touching.
"Don't care," the man said. "I want her. I got a whole case of stew,
and a bottle of something good for you, Doc."
Furious, Phillip grabbed the guy's chin, relying on his standing command
to prevent the intern from noticing. "Listen, you. I think you'll leave now,
and give him all that stuff anyway. Don't come back. In fact..." and Phillip
pushed here with everything he had, " just suddenly realized you're gay,
and you need to come out to all your friends."
The guy turned pasty white, and Phillip didn't feel any better. He felt
like his brains were going to leak out of his ears any minute now. It was
definitely time to leave the place.
Phillip got his stash, then woke up Rex and got him dressed. As he
turned out the lights, he spotted Rex's crayon drawing. Carefully, he took it
off the wall and tucked it into the bag his friend was carrying. "Come on,
big guy," he said. "It's time to leave."
It was getting hard for Phillip to keep people from noticing. His head
pounded terribly, and he felt his energy draining. Still, he had to get them
out of there. It wasn't safe anymore. They were almost to the exit when a
room burst open, and a naked girl ran sobbing into Rex.
The big man stared in shock. She was naked! Then he registered that
she was crying, and patted her head with one enormous hand. "It's ok," he
rumbled. "Why are you sad?" She froze for a moment, staring up at him.
Then, apparently deciding he was no threat, she clung to him, still crying so
hard she couldn't speak.
"Ditch her, Rex," Phillip hissed. "We can't help everyone here. We've
got to look out for ourselves."
"No," Rex said. He used that soft, deep tone that Phillip knew there
was no arguing with.
The door opened again, and a disheveled Dr. Berger stood there, glaring.
He had scratches on his face and a darkening bruise under one eye. His pants
were unzipped, half revealing his shrinking penis. The girl 'eeked', and
scrambled to hide behind Rex. Rex frowned at him.
"You there," the doctor snapped. "Bring her back in here... say, you're
patients. What are you doing out of your rooms?" He raised his voice,
"Quiet!" Phillip said. Fear allowed him to tap resources he didn't know
he still had. "Sit down. Forget us. You're having a nightmare. You must be
asleep." The doctor's eyes closed, and he slumped over.
Rex was still patting the girl gently, and she was trying to articulate
something to him. "Help... he... pictures... drugs...."
Phillip sighed, and went into the room. There were the usual shackles
on the bed, but the room also had an expensive camera on a nice tripod. There
were film canisters and piles of negatives and developed pictures of the naked
girl. Tucked in the camera case was a large manila envelope with more
pictures, nasty ones. The envelope said 'Happy Father's Day, Senator
Spenser'. It was addressed to Boston, Mass. Phillip shrugged, it was as good
a place as any.
A journal was next to the envelope, and Phillip skimmed it. It detailed
the drugs that kept the girl docile for the doctor's obsession, and for his
planned blackmail against her father. She had seen him abuse another female
patient, while being treated by him for 'nerves'. It was unfortunate that
she'd suddenly 'collapsed', requiring the doctor's constant care.
Phillip collected all the evidence, including the camera equipment. He
pulled more film rolls from the doctor's pocket. He even woke the man up and
made him open the safe in his office next door to get the last of it. In the
hall, Rex had wrapped the doctor's lab coat around the girl.
"Come on," Phillip said. "We'll get her some clothes from the nurse's
lockers." They turned back into the Institute. "She coming with us?"
"She wants to go home, Phillip," Rex said. "We can take her."
"She's from Boston, Rex," Phillip said, only half arguing. "Do you know
how far away that is?" The truth was, Phillip had a very good idea that
Senator Spenser would be glad to see his daughter again.
"No, but we can try," Rex said. He looked anxious that his friend agree
with him.
"Yeah, we can try, old buddy," Phillip said. Rex's smile made it worth
it. It didn't take long to gather some clothes for Christina, and they
finally left the institute.
By dawn they were holed up in an empty house across the city. By the
end of the week, they were ready to head out of state. They stayed long
enough to scrounge the rest of the supplies they'd need for the trip. Phillip
didn't think they would get much hospitality.

It was only a thumb's length journey on the map Phillip picked up a
month later. He'd found it on the littered floor of a looted mini-mart near
their hideout 'du jour'. Only a thumb's length, but that translated to a
little less than 200 miles between Philadelphia and Boston. He'd gotten a
groggy debutante and a super-sized preschooler over most of that distance.
He worked out a little bottle of Bayer's wedged behind the lower shelf
of the minimal medicine section. He seemed to have a headache all the time
now. He'd already grabbed everything else useful, so he slipped out the back
to meet up with his companions.
Rex had cut his foot walking barefoot in camp a couple of days ago.
Luckily Christina didn't need the big guy to carry her anymore, as the drug-
cocktail Dr. Berger fed her gradually left her system. She was mostly
coherent, but her temper was fragile.
Phillip didn't know if it was because of the lingering chemicals, or
just a newly learned distrust of people. Whatever the reason, Phillip was
more concerned with keeping Rex's bandage clean.
When he got back, Rex was watching Chris cautiously pet a gaunt, half
grown puppy drinking water from a hubcap. It turned and lunged at him when he
approached, snarling viciously.
Instinctively, Phillip dropped to one knee, and locked eyes with the
dog. "Easy," he said softly. "We're no threat to you, but I'm boss here."
Cringing back, it lay down, exposing its belly. A female, he noted. He
cemented his words by grasping her throat briefly.
He divided some stale beef jerky from the mini-mart between the humans,
leaving the last piece for the dog. She wagged her tail as she devoured the
scrap, then turned back to the water. Phillip's headache was back, so he took
some of the aspirin.
Briefly, Phillip considered a way to tell Rex that keeping the animal was a bad idea. But as he watched them, his friend smiled joyfully as he used
his brush on the dog, and even Chris seemed more relaxed. The pup wriggled
over to Phillip, and submissively licked his hand. He sighed. Like with the
girl, he seemed to have gained more responsibility.
"The puppy is cute, Phillip," Rex said. "Now all we need are some
Phillip gave him a curious look. Rex could hardly remember what
happened a few days ago, but it sounded like he was referring to the drawing,
from months ago. He was shaking his head at the thought when the pup yelped.
Immediately a big pair of hands scooped her up like she was newborn. Rex
looked her over and found where she had sliced open a paw on something sharp.
"Poor girl," the big man rumbled, "hurt feet are no fun." He rubbed his
hands over her again, and Christina gasped. Rex's hands were glowing. They
were surrounded by a softly pulsing golden light. The light clung to the
injured foot, and when Rex put her down again, she didn't limp.
His face intent, Rex took off his shoe, and unwrapped his bandage. The
fading glow picked up again, and as they watched, the cut healed. Rex
absently brushed off the dried scab. "I can make hurts better," he said. He
rubbed the scar on his temple, and the glow became too brilliant to bear.
It faded after several minutes, and Phillip looked up to see an
unfamiliar clarity in his friend's eyes. Rex smiled and took Phillip's hand.
Through the golden nimbus, Phillip felt the band of pain, that had been with
him day and night since they left the institute, snap away. He sobbed in
Rex turned to Christina, and he framed her face with his big hands. He
frowned slightly. "Those were bad drugs," he said. "I can help, but it will
take time. I can help anybody." The big man sat back, closing his eyes. He
laughed ruefully. "I can't believe I used to *like* football."
"Rex!" Phillip said, holding Rex's shoulder. "My head feels so much
better. But you... you remember."
"A little," Rex said. "Bits and pieces. My brain was pretty badly
damaged. I've been remembering stuff for a few days now. It's like it all
happened to someone else, but that's ok. I'm a different person, now.
"But..." his voice sounded bemused, "I remember most of my schooling,
but not my college major. I remember my parents, and my room, but not what
color the house was. Things like that. I'll probably be able to get most of
it back, but some things are gone forever."
"I'm just glad you're ok," Phillip said. He had a queasy feeling in his
stomach, but he didn't let it show. If Rex was ok, would they still be
friends? So much of his life lately had been wrapped up in caring for the
bigger man. If things were different, Phillip didn't know what he'd do.
He should have known better. Rex knew him too well. Before he could
react, he was pulled into an economy-sized embrace. "It's ok, Phillip," Rex
said in his ear. "You're still my friend, and you always will be. I just
don't need you to be 'daddy' anymore. We'll look out for each other."
Tears welled up in Phillip's street-hardened eyes, and he hugged his
friend back. He had never had a place to belong since he ran away from his
unhappy home years ago. Now, he had a family again.

Two weeks later, two men, a girl and a dog made their way into Boston.
Eagerly, Christina led them to an expensive home. Her reunion with her father in his study was tearful on her part, suspicious on his.
"How much do you want for bringing her back to me?" the Senator said,
with narrowed eyes. The two men were scruffy looking; desperately in need of
a change and some grooming.
"We don't want any money, sir," Phillip said. "Not that it's worth
much, now. It was just the right thing to do." He ignored Rex's raised
eyebrow and smile. He was negotiating. "We don't even want anything for
this," he continued. He handed him a bag with Dr. Berger's journal, the film
and pictures.
The Senator sat down heavily as he looked over the items, cursing
steadily. He turned as if to throw it all into the fire, when Phillip
restrained him. "We left him alive, sir," Phillip explained. "If a set of
laws comes back to the country, you'll need evidence of his wrongdoing to get
him punished. Put it in your safe, and wait."
"That makes sense," the Senator admitted. "But what am I going to do
with you two?" He looked at them appraisingly.
"We are not without skills, sir," Phillip said. "My friend here can
heal people, so he can work at a clinic." Phillip had a small scratch on his
hand, that his friend took care of in front of the Senator. "As for me, I can
do counseling, and behavior modification. For example, Chris told me you
smoked." As he said it, the Senator was putting a cigarette in his mouth.
"I'm trying to quit," the Senator said distractedly, fumbling for a
lighter. Phillip slapped his hands down loudly on the big desk. Startled,
Christina's father looked up, and Phillip had him. Once their eyes locked,
the other man could not look away until Phillip allowed him to.
"When you light that," he said, "it will smell and taste like everything
nasty and disgusting you have ever seen, felt, or imagined being set on fire
in front of your nose. You'll put it out immediately, of course. After that,
whenever you get a craving for tobacco, you'll remember that smell clearly.
Even the shakes won't be so bad in comparison."
Smiling, Phillip handed the Senator his lighter. The man lit the
cigarette with a skeptical look. He drew in some smoke, and started choking.
Half retching, he stubbed it out, quickly. His hands automatically drew out
another, but he paused with it halfway to his mouth. He stared at the
cigarette, wrinkling his nose at some odor only he could smell. Slowly, he
put it back in the pack.
"Just put them in your drawer until you're sure you want to get rid of
them," Phillip said. "When you've made the mental adjustment, and don't need
them anymore, throw them away. Now, can you see how I can help people?"
The Senator nodded, accepting the suggestions. Soon Rex and Phillip
were working at a Boston hospital, performing wonders.

When the Empire expanded to cover the Northeastern coast, Sondra happily
accepted Rex Timmons as Co-Director of the Golden Tower. Phillip Carmichael
was appointed a Fellow of the Silver Tower, and approached by the Power Team.
As for Dr. Berger, he was located and sentenced to 15 years of labor in
a Boston chain-gang. The Willowdale Institute came under new management.
Phillip helped make sure the surviving patients started receiving good care.

To be Continued...

Jan, 2000 -- Darkside: United States of Anarchy, Part 17 of 20.
Series Continues after #20 in Darkside: Imperial States of America.
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