The Archivists Petty Revenge [Short]
Anyone who doesn’t think the government is up to weird stuff is living with their head buried in the sand. Things like MKULTRA have already been publicly acknowledged, and although the alphabet soups do their best to cover it up it seems like we’ll get UFO’s confirmed by the government any day now.
And don’t even get me started on ESP and other weird phenomena like that. While officially that remote viewing project was shut down, a recent dump of declassified documents included several that discussed the various issues regarding analyzing and disseminating the take from ESP sources without revealing them to those who have been read-in on the key words. Not that they discuss what those are in the document, naturally the caveats for those have been redacted in the released documents.
Even the National Archives, of all places, has a side to it blocked to the public. It’s rather ironic, that an agency tasked with increasing transparency has a secret archive who’s very existence is downright verboten to be discussed. But someone decided that public knowledge of the existence of these documents was a very real threat that would cause untold damage to the security of our nation, so they’ve been classified out the ass and locked up in a secure facility in Central Maryland.
One more building of unknown ownership surrounded by a barbed wire fence really doesn’t stick out much with all the other beltway bandits and contractors working in the region, and the small amount of employees adding to the traffic in the region goes practically unnoticed.
Now, how did I end up with a part-time job in such a place? That’s a rather more complex question to answer, but looking back at it I would almost be tempted to call it fate.
I had always been rather open-minded about the supernatural. In elementary school I had taken the existence of ghosts for granted, and had even tried begging my mom for a deck of Tarot cards. I guess it wasn’t the most Catholic of interests, but my interest continued as I grew up, though I eventually kept it to fantasy novels and anime.
Of course, my parents had no idea how to deal with my interest in these less than scientific interests. Both were engineers, who met at work of all places, and they both had a thoroughly engineering mindset when it came to viewing the world. Everything has to be based on what’s logical and the most rational choice, and this was reflected in the direction they tried to push me for my career. Engineering.
I’ve been told I’m rather intelligent, and honestly I have a hard time denying it, so naturally my parents assumed I would go along with their plans. But I downright hated math, and the thought of being stuck in such a rigid setting would have been downright torture to me. But at the same time I did not have a clear idea of what kind of career I wanted out of life, at least not clear enough to convince my parents who, quite frankly, had final say over where my college savings would go and to which academic program I would go into.
So what options were there for a rebellious teen, who is young enough to be swayed by fantasy and the promise of adventure? Someone who is unsure of the direction they want to go in life, doesn’t want to be stuck studying for a degree they’re not sure they want, and wants to be able to pay for college without relying on her family or going into debt? A place to broaden your horizons, learn new skills that most people would never pick up and get paid for doing so? Surely, if such a convenient option existed it would be swamped wouldn’t it? To my adolescent mind, the answer to all this was the Military.
I filled out the “request more information” on the USMC’s recruiting website and in no time at all a Staff Sergeant in a spiffy uniform was calling my home phone, forever pushing me down the path of being associated with eating crayons and glue, as Marines are known to do. For all my supposed intelligence I was easily swayed, and one of my parents having been a Marine. did nothing to help. It’s probably close to brainwashing, having a parent telling you “they’re the best of the best” while a heroic looking guy fights off a fire golem in some weird stadium during a recruiting commercial.
My parents opposed the decision, at first. Honestly I played it off more like the recruiter talked me into it at the time, rather than admitting that joining the military was what I really wanted. Even back then, I was shy, and it took me quite a bit of motivation to act truly assertive when it came to things I wanted. Really not the kind of person you’d expect to join the Marines. But my parents warmed up to the idea after I took the military’s aptitude tests, and scored high enough to qualify for any job they had. Not that it’s that hard to do so.
With the promise of a technical field and a spiffy security clearance my parents were more than happy to sign my enlistment papers since, being at the age of seventeen when I joined, I still needed their permission to enlist. The irony of going into a field heavily dependent on math with a rigid structure because I wanted to avoid being an engineer is not lost on me. But at the same time I gained a newfound freedom living away from home. Minus, of course, how much boot camp sucked.
All that said, I still couldn’t get past an attraction to the paranormal, and it didn’t help that my units buildings were in a state that’s best described as “haunted as fuck.” It’s really funny, a unit consisting of literally the brightest minds in our branch and everyone believes in ghosts.
Footsteps in the hallway of the battalion headquarters at night, a phenomena experienced by multiple people when stuck as duty driver. Furniture rearranging itself, in a locked room, in the most secure building on base. Said building also had pockmarks in one of the walls from an overeager guard shooting at what turned out to be an apparition with a shotgun.
Not that this activity was limited to our unit. At one point there was a major incident that occurred from some people in another section of the base playing around with a Ouiji Board. This led to paranormal shit happening all over base. Several units outright banned Ouiji Boards as a response, and you can find a few paranormal channels on Youtube discussing the event.
Oh well. Anyways, I was content to finish up my enlistment making as little waves as possible. I had “offers” to get deeper into my career field, and the secret-squirrely world that it implied, but it all seemed to imply a level of social interaction that just didn’t appeal to me. I already managed to build up a work history that would get me a job at any number of government agencies once I left the base. And I had taken hard to the common Marine Corps saying of “never volunteer for anything.”
It didn’t help that some of the people making these offers were sketchy as fuck. One in particular. He gave off a weird vibe, like The Smoking Man from the X-files. And he kept on talking in weird innuendos. I mean, I’m no stranger to the typical doublespeak when talking officially and getting your message across while not outright confirming anything. It was literally part of the public speaking training they had us do. But this just put shivers down my spine, like I’d end up in some weird laboratory being fed LSD on a drip.
It’s far better to avoid sticking out too much. Getting too deep into the world of sketchy alphabet soup agencies just seemed like a bad idea, although arguably I was already in that world. But when you’re in it just seems to gather an air of being downright mundane. You look at the tier deeper than you, and think “wow, they’re really up to something spooky” when to the average grunt, you’re the spook.
Despite my efforts though, I ended up dealing with trouble anyways. Not through anything cloak and dagger, but through the regular fuck-fuck games of a careerist officer. This guy thought, as Marines, we should be doing more “tip of the spear” stuff. And so he had us go through a massive fitness screening. He thought our unit needed more people to be prepared to go through the kind of training required to work with the type of special forces guys people always tend to idolize.
Unfortunately despite my best efforts I passed the screening and was voluntold to do more training. Even bringing up how women aren’t allowed in combat arms didn’t get me out of it, since FETs have been a thing for a while now. And so, during a stupid field exercise, I accidentally slipped up, got injured, and ended up with a medical retirement.
Despite living up to the stereotype of an unmotivated E-3 on the surface, I was devastated by this. A lifetime of back problems, admittedly the norm for the Marine Corps, already sucked but not being able to finish my enlistment irked me on a deeper level. I still have my pride.
Back in the civilian world it honestly took me a bit to get back on my feet. I attended a community college for a while in my hometown, living with my parents, but jumped from interest to interest never really settling on a career. I ate through a fair amount of my college savings from my parents since I couldn’t be bothered to start using my GI Bill when I wasn’t sure what I was going to do yet. My parents, understanding at first, eventually grew frustrated as they felt I was wasting my potential.
Finally, they signed me up for a job fair, got me dressed in presentable clothing, and dropped me off. While being my usual shy self, I can’t imagine I stuck out too much to the hordes of contractors and government types there, but one agency seemed to have taken notice of me. Actually, I was rather confused. Why would the national archives want to hire me?