The Delta Depository

PERIMETER

Somewhere in the darkest neighborhood of the Shining City there is a place called the Delta Depository, a processing facility for a special category of package: citizens recently detained as part of the Permanent Emergency. Behavioral algorithms, motion analysis and communication filters have ascertained with mathematical certainty that these citizens will at some point in the future conspire to attack the Shining City. As a preemptive measure, these citizens are thus registered as packages, and sent to the Delta Depository.

The Delta Depository is not a place for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is a place designed to rip open the package, so as to reveal the criminal and violent actions latent within the behavioral matrix, as measured and confirmed by the algorithms. The Delta Depository always succeeds in this endeavor, always succeeds in extracting the evidence necessary to construct the legal basis, after which the registry of the package will become as permanent as the Emergency that required the design and construction of the Depository.

Packages registered inside the Delta Depository will never return to general circulation within the Shining City. They have joined the ranks of the Disappeared. Permanent Emergencies always require a parallel category of the Disappeared, a category designed both to terrify and to justify, that is, to extract by torture the legal framework required for the preemptive rendering of citizens as packages, as dead letters, meaning they will never be heard from again; they cannot be delivered nor returned.

Now consider the case of a young man with initials A. M., or Alpha Mike. Alpha Mike is a good apple, a patriot, a man who loves the Shining City. Consequently, and with every good apple intent, he enrolls in the military to defend his country during the dangerous time of the Permanent Emergency. He expects deployment to Persia, yet during basic training his superiors tell him that he is too intelligent for battle duty. They tell him that he is uniquely qualified for special service in a special place called the Delta Depository.

Alpha Mike has daily contact with the registered packages. At first, he finds them confusing. They speak intact variations of his own language. They look like his neighbors, like his friends. He cannot see their dark algorithms; he cannot see the criminal violence against the state predicted as their future with absolute mathematical certainty. All he sees are young men and women, normal citizens like himself. Might there have been some mistake?

From the corrective training he receives daily, he learns that such doubts are a breeding ground for a potentially lethal illusion. He is reminded that the packages are dangerous treasonous murderers, time bombs ticking off until their latent future becomes their violent present. He must not be fooled by superficial evidence of a common humanity; the criminality of the packages has been mathematically certified. The game being played is a deep one, unfathomably deep, even for someone too intelligent for battle duty.

FEED CHANNEL

So the packages must never be permitted to sleep; the packages must eat cat food; the packages must use toilet paper that has been soaked with pepper spray; and the packages must be subjected to relentless humiliation around the clock, because all these treatments will in due course combine to open the packages once and for all, to reveal their secret truth, the dark truth that will fully justify the treatments and thus fully exonerate Alpha Mike. Inside the Delta Depository, this is called the Circle of Ultimate Justice, a Circle that must be turned around the clock, never missing a tick, or else Ultimate Justice will never arrive.

Good apple Alpha Mike believes in the Circle of Ultimate Justice, and so he does terrible things to the packages. Bad apple things. Rotten apple things. As his suspicion that the packages are no more dangerous than his neighbors fruits like a fungus inside his chest, his actions become even more corrupt. The packages insist on pretending to be normal humans, and this ticks off Alpha Mike. Soon he is feared by the packages as the most merciless of their torturers. Even the other guards fear Alpha Mike; they fear him, and then they emulate him, creating a second Circle: the Circle of Infinite Pain.

No matter the extremity of his rotten apple actions, the fungus continues to fruit inside his chest, and the day soon comes when Alpha Mike begins to suffer crippling chest pains. Another day, he bleeds from his eyes. Another day, a large bump appears on his forehead which, when lanced, releases a black beetle. The attending physician at the Delta Depository captures the beetle and places it in a jar for further study. Alpha Mike is sent away on leave, to a beach without beetles. After three weeks, he is redeployed to Persia and never heard from again. He thereby joins the swollen ranks of the Disappeared.


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