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What Doesn't Kill Her - Excerpts

Updated: Aug 29, 2021

Chapter 1 HER FATHER'S BURDEN - It was Katrina’s first visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Her father had been there several times – some for official duty as part of an honor guard during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Getting out of the sheltered underground parking, Katrina buttoned up her light jacket. Edwin welcomed the fresh air on his face; a contrast to the staleness of the retirement home. A spring landscape greeted visitors paying respect to the fallen. Blossoms graced the hallowed grounds to herald nature’s renewal. Katrina was struck by the symbolism. Death was not the finality most people fear. She believed death allowed one’s spirit to seek a new existence based on its past life. She wondered about her father’s spiritual fate, based on the callousness of his words and actions towards his family. Why was it so difficult for him to show kindness? Was his military bearing driven so deeply into his core to make being a gentle and caring father unfathomable.

Chapter 2 HER OWN APOLOGY - Katrina found a comfortable place to sit as she revealed to Emma the details from her visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Emma sat, stunned, intent, quiet, but with occasional expressions of surprise, incredulity, and simple awe. When Katrina revealed her father had told her she had been abducted, Emma’s eyes began to tear.

“It seems so odd that I don’t know my own mother as well as I should,” her daughter claimed.

“That is really why I am here. After Grampa revealed all those secrets to me, and told me things about myself and my brother that I had never known, I realized that I needed to have the same kind of talk with you before it became too late. Yes, I needed to let you know about Grampa, but there is also a lot about me that I never told you.”

Chapter 5 HER ERODED INNOCENCE - Her first session went well and she returned for three more sessions, learning the martial art of Chi. She learned that Chi, an eastern discipline, is not just for self-defense. Her instructor professed it was the vital life force energy of the universe. He maintained that the energy flows through the body at specific points known as chakras. Sonny explained that in order to communicate with the Chi, the students needed to learn to use their minds. They needed to imagine their center of gravity just below the navel. To demonstrate his point, he asked the class to form a group in front of him and try to shove him off his feet. In unison, they applied their strength to move him. They failed the first time. Surprised by the resistance, they put more effort into the push. They failed again. He could not be budged.

Chapter 6 HER SPIRITUAL INTUITION - Although her father retired as a Navy officer when she was a young girl, the military continued to impose its will on him and the family. It was also rumored there were other members in the family that were involved with the CIA and NSA. Because of her father’s involvement in highly sensitive activity, Katrina’s family was constantly under surveillance. But it wasn’t only the awareness of being watched that had an effect on her. Agencies dealing with intelligence went beyond eavesdropping and monitoring. They took aggressive actions against Katrina, impacting her day-to-day activities, not allowing her normalcy. Their intrusions caused her to always be on alert, always waiting for some form of harassment.

Chapter 7 HER SELF-INCRIMINATION - Doctor Donald Richards also happened to be a CIA asset. Richards had an ongoing role in documenting the damage and recovery from the Chernobyl incident in the Soviet Union. Like Garson, Richards also showed an interest in Katrina. After Katrina’s failed marriage, he conspired with other town doctors to make it difficult for Katrina to have any serious relationship with any men. Men avoided her after they were harassed by the doctors and CIA operatives. The CIA cell was notorious for making life difficult for non-conformists. They were intent on adding to the despair in Katrina’s life. Thus, her demeanor degraded to the point where she sought help for depression.

Chapter 8 HARASSMENT AND TORTURE - Weeks passed before Katrina sensed a different, more sinister sound in her mind. The hiss had been replaced by a constant, louder, low hum. The ear phones were ineffective at masking the invasive sound. The sound became a source of discomfort. Beyond being a bother like the hissing, the sound affected her health. It interfered with her sleep pattern. The constant drone gave her headaches. After a couple sleepless nights followed by miserable, ineffective days at work, Katrina sought help with over-the-counter sleeping pills. Katrina feared it would put her on cyclical path of chemical dependency. After a week of struggles to remain alert and awake at her job, she decided to quit. She lied to her parents and said that she had been laid off for lack of work at the firm. She held everything to herself, keeping her parents insulated from any sign that would give them a clue of what was happening to her. She preferred to not add to her mother’s already stressful and painful day-to-day existence.

Chapter 9 THE RUSSIANS - The next morning, before being subjected to the electronic bombardments, Katrina awoke took her daughter in her parents’ car, in order not to draw attention, and drove straight to the Russian Consulate in San Francisco; about a two-and-a-half-hour drive. The building was an ornate Italianate Revival edifice, occupying half the block. Walking towards the entrance, she felt a tinge of anxiety. She realized she was walking into yet another situation that presented critical unknown consequences to her and Emma. Pausing with her hand on the door, she recalled what her father had told her before retiring for the night: “You’ll be back”. She surmised there were as many reasons for her not to go through the entrance as there were reasons to enter. She opened the door and found herself inside the building. It seemed too easy.

Chapter 10 HELP FROM SOCIOPATHS - “I’ll make it up to you with as much help as I can. There must be a way for you to be able to defend yourself with the abilities you have. After we talked on the phone, I called some friends familiar with the psychic phenomenon you possess. They were intrigued and want to meet you to hear more. They also suspect that what is happening to you in Grass Valley may not be sanctioned by the CIA. There are many rogue units around the world comprised of people that were originally recruited for their psychological makeup. Deep down, they are sociopaths. You see, one of the CIA’s dirty little secrets is they recruit people who have no regret for killing or injuring other people. Equally disturbing, is that they believe they are exempt from obeying the law. Recruiting people like them make assassinations, torture during interrogation, and questionable methods of surveillance more possible."

Chapter 11 RETALIATION - That week was more of the same: fifteen-minute sessions on the hour, at an increased level of intensity. If her spine began to feel like it was burning, she would get into the cold water. Her sensitivity during the pulses was acute. She read and heard every thought, every conversation clearly. She visualized dull gray painted boxes in a dull gray painted room with fluorescent lights that made everyone look sickly and pale. Is it any wonder these men needed some outside stimulus to make them feel real and to give them a sense of purpose and reason? Every day, for eight hours, someone was assigned to sit on a stool, in a windowless cramped lab, taking notes and working the dials delivering in the most impersonal way, the inhumane acts. It was hard to determine who was under surveillance and confinement – Katrina or the lab technicians.

Chapter 12 PSYCHIC AFFAIRS - All had been quiet since the EMP attack. Then came a knock on the door. Looking out the window, Katrina saw it was a man in an Air Force pilot’s flight suit. She opened the door just enough for him to see her, and he introduced himself as Major Kyle Upshaw, a U2 pilot stationed at nearby Beale Air Force Base. She glanced back at her father. Meeting her eyes, he nodded, motioning her to let the pilot in. Katrina was caught by surprise, not knowing what the visit was about. “Come in Major. You came a bit sooner than I anticipated. Nevertheless, come sit down,” Edwin said, waving his hand.

Chapter 13 TURNING UP THE HEAT - “They think that they have a right to torture you ‘in the name of science’. To them, you are a project, not a human with feelings. Using numbers to study you, further dehumanizes you. They are not conditioned to care about your feelings. I, however, thrive on understanding the feelings of my subjects. Katrina, you do what you feel you have to do. I cannot stop you. But if you are going to succeed, you must think like me. You have to want to take pleasure in returning the pain they send to you. As for me, I will watch you again, and if they do decide to escalate these battles, not only will they suffer your wrath, they will also have to deal with me.”

Chapter 14 THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY - Because of her connections, Katrina was hired as a ‘specialist’ with a NASA lab in Nevada. Aside from the classified work she was involved in, her life was generally, normal. She started her own blog, Dragon Lady. She posted information about the psycho-kinetic phenomenon and psychic activity in general, including remote viewing. At home, her mother’s health was deteriorating from the advanced arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Katrina had to care for her often, and keep up with her young daughter approaching school-age. Her father was little help with either burden. And as he lived by the motto, “ignorance is bliss”, he did not talk to Katrina about her condition. Katrina assured her parents that the episodes of harassment and torture were over.

Chapter 15 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT - During her off hours, Katrina continued to write in her blog. To Katrina’s delight it attracted sensible and knowledgeable people that indulged in engrossing conversation, exchanging ideas. The contacts through the blog allowed Katrina to enter another world related to the psychic ability. The head of the Project on Government Secrecy, at the Federation of American Scientists, Steven Aftergood, approached her through a private message. He had worked to reduce the scope of national security secrecy and to promote public access to government information. Mr. Aftergood informed her of a program that was declassified in 1995 called Stargate. That was the code name for a small secret US Army unit at Fort Meade, Maryland, established in 1978 by the Defense Intelligence Agency. According to Mr. Aftergood, the mission was to investigate psychic phenomena and its applications in military and intelligence gathering. Aftergood mentioned to Katrina that the project primarily dealt with remote viewing. Aftergood told her that the project was terminated after a CIA report concluded it had not been useful in any intelligence operation. Aftergood was interested in what Katrina would write in her blog about remote viewing and psycho-kinetics. Katrina kept a lot the details to herself. She maintained the blog to see if she could find other people that had abilities. She had no interest in making contacts with people in positions of authority. Aftergood’s information provided Katrina the first evidence of remote viewing as part of a U.S. Government program. Through her caution, she never went further in relating with Mr. Aftergood.

Chapter 16 AL QAEDA - She continued her blog, gaining more followers and subscribers. The blog continued to attract characters considered to be on the fringe of society. She would often have to temper their input of extraordinary conspiracy theories. Some cultish members would post strange, somewhat oblique messages daily. Out of a crop of those messages, she picked out an intriguing one from a cousin. Kent Williams worked in a cryptology office for NSA, in Missouri. He relayed to her that a prominent engineer from Pakistan, was interested in contacting her. The engineer’s name was Iqbal Ali. Ali had been following Katrina’s blog and had been asking Kent questions. Katrina trusted Kent and passed on to him her contact information. The Pakistani engineer called her shortly after Kent conveyed to him Katrina’s number. Ali sounded boastful, but the stories he told her revealed that he was astonishingly resourceful and influential. For example, somehow, Ali knew details about her cousin’s private life. During the phone call, he imparted his concern regarding her cousin, Kent.

Chapter 17 THE OIL SHEIK - Tawfik Elahi was a loyal subscriber to her blog. He was an Iraqi oil sheik living in Switzerland. Like Katrina, Elahi was an electrical engineer. Some people were intrigued by Katrina and what she wrote about her psychic ability. Others were obsessed. That was Elahi. Katrina had learned about Elahi before he ever made contact with her, through his second ex-wife, Zia. Katrina befriended her through a meditation group on social media. Zia came from an aristocratic Filipino family.

Chapter 18 THE AWAKENED ORPHAN - Katrina spent as much time with her mother as she could. Together, they decided to trace Katrina’s lineage. They discovered she had Cherokee blood in her ancestry. Katrina, anxious to learn more, visited web sites concerning issues particular to Native Americans. At one site, she entered into in-depth conversations with a Jicarilla Apache woman, living on a reservation in Dulce, New Mexico. Hiding her identity in the public eye, she called herself: ‘The Awakened Orphan’. Katrina enjoyed the chats with the woman and invited her to visit her own blog. They engaged in discussing spirituality and psychic phenomena.

Chapter 19 DULCE - There was silence for a moment, then she replied. “I have reason to believe there is something going on in that mountain. Close to the top of the mesa, there are signs restricting access. There is a portion of the mesa that is government land. Some of the land is owned by an energy company. We have heard of trespassers being stopped by the Jicarilla Police. Some folks I trust, were able to get close enough to hear sounds coming from underground. Someday, I am going to find out what the truth is.”

Chapter 20 A MUTUAL RESCUE - Early fall in the desert brings cold nights. The veteran’s rough life made him look older than he was. Getting used to the absence of warmth at night, he imagined being in the mountains of Afghanistan. After a long day of panhandling, he surrendered his will and some of his day’s earning to a half-pint. It was his way to self-medicate, at the risk of corrupting his body and mind. The addiction diminished his spirit, deconstructing him from a hero of stature, to an anonymous lost soul. He roamed the city without destination, avoiding as much personal contact as possible, aside from his fund-raising come-ons. Stumbling, he stopped to rest, still haunted by scrambled thoughts and unbearable memories. Curling with his back to the wind, he laid down on his worn, but reliable backpack. Faithfully serving two tours in Iraq, then two more in Afghanistan as a senior NCO Army Ranger, he was later diagnosed with PTSD, honorably discharged, and discarded. Like many, he was a victim of a society without conscience, where self-appointed ‘patriots’ who never served, waved their assorted flags in hypocrisy. He was on the social back-burner where people chanting ‘America First’ continued their jingoistic fervor. It was a shallow nationalism supported by those who worked to weaken the very institutions that were set up to rescue veterans like himself from a gradual decline into useless anonymity.

Chapter 21 THE CONTRACT - Robert did not want to appear too knowledgeable, as it would give away his military past. He scanned the rifles, looking for a semi-automatic weapon. There were three to choose from. He suggested Katrina take an older version of the AR-15: an M-16. Katrina preferred a pistol and opted for a 9 mm Beretta that she had shot as an older teen. Katrina’s father had no objections to letting her have both weapons and provided necessary rounds of ammunition and accessories.

Chapter 22 UNSANCTIONED RETALIATION - Katrina replayed to Robert the conversation between her and DD. He wasn’t surprised. She wasn’t the only expendable that he knew. It conjured bitter resentment from his tours as a soldier. Learning that a scoundrel like Ali was granted immunity and protection by the organizations he had defended presented more evidence of how the world has damaged itself through compromised values. He refused to accept it. He refused to feel helpless and he refused to allow Katrina to feel it too.

Chapter 23 CLOSURE.


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