Where were you when convicted murderer and reputed terrorist Corvus Corax broke out of the Dingo River Correctional Center?
~Jonah Fox, CityNewsNet
That event remains one of the darker, defining moments in Human – Psion relations; as fresh today as twenty years ago when Corax snuffed out forty-three lives in his bid for freedom. Forty-three lives extinguished by a single thought.
Mankind has long thought itself master of this world. But, among its ranks giants grew. Beings of immense power, outscaling humanity, and reaching out toward the Promethean fire, and in so doing cast behind them a twilight; leaving us, their brethren…In the Shadow of the Gods.
Eighteen prisoners, six guards, four police and two canine officers, an unnamed Paladin Brigade operative, and twelve innocent bystanders died; killed by a thought-burst. It took fifty-one seconds from the time Corax left his cell until he disappeared into the darkness.
These points are never in dispute. A Brigade suborbital surveillance asset broadcast the footage on every available channel, including multiple outlets on the web. That day’s footage caused the biggest viral video sensation the internet has ever seen before … or since. The asset’s internal AI determined the breakout was of such concern as to warrant mass notification. The world watched stunned, horrified, and speechless. That silence didn’t last.
The ensuing cacophony of outrage dredged up old fears long buried. The public demanded their governments answer for the excesses of these extra-normal beings, these Psions. Why weren’t they labeled, tagged, and tracked? Shouldn’t they be segregated? Incarcerated? Exterminated? These brutal questions reared their ugly heads as talking points and sound bytes, and digital oracles brayed forewarnings of the death and destruction to come.
Anti-Psion riots broke out from Atlanta, Georgia, to Topeka, Kansas, to Fresno, California. All in all, it took forty-eight days to reestablish some measure of normalcy to the country. The Brigade worked tirelessly in conjunction with Knight Incorporated, the FBI, Homeland Security, and local authorities. The toll was devastating, so much so that twenty years on it’s still being assessed. Recent reports from the Corax Institute estimate that over a hundred deaths, thousands of injuries, and millions of psychotic breaks are directly attributable to Corax’s escape.
He remains at large to this day. There is no reliable intelligence on his whereabouts, or even if he is among the living.
Which is odd, given that millions of individuals swear they can feel Corax’s presence in their mind; that he continues to directly influence their decisions on a daily basis. This includes his number two man, the “chosen disciple of the one,” Raeka Vix. I reached out to Vix, but he declined to be interviewed.
A report from the surgeon general, released on the first anniversary of Corax’s escape, identified over three million people suffering from a condition that has come to be known as Corvus Syndrome. Those suffering from the residual effects of Corax’s mindblast reported feeling manipulated by him on a daily basis. Today, that number has nearly doubled.
The effects vary from person to person, but nearly two thirds of the afflicted continue to report sightings of the terrorist. These reports come from all over the globe. At a rate of one every four-and-a-half to five minutes. That’s thirteen reports an hour, every hour. Twenty-four hours a day. Three hundred-and sixty-five days a year. For twenty years.
These sightings are believed to be the result of the massive, and indiscriminate psychic barrage Corax used to overwhelm anyone standing between him and freedom. His image psychically burned into his victim’s brain. Now surely, if that were the case, these psychic echoes, and ghosts from his psionic oversplash would’ve faded over time. And yet, reports of sightings have increased.
At the heart of the debate is the inevitable finger pointing. The Paladin Brigade’s forensic psychologists claim to have predicted his escape twenty years ago, and attempted to stop it. Peter Abeling, COO of the Corax Institute, vividly remembers the night of the escape. It thrust him into a very public spotlight, followed by a crushing depression, racked by guilt.
Abeling claims that he, and three other Brigade profilers, had reported to multiple federal agencies at regular intervals regarding the serious lack of appropriate security measures surrounding Dingo River and their newly constructed Psion Security wing.
“It really had very little to do with the prison facility itself. Dingo River was and still is one of the most secure facilities in the world. The problem lie with the personnel stationed at the facility. The methods used to train the Dingo River guards and staffers, in an attempt to prepare them for the challenges of incarcerating extra-normal humans, were wholly ineffective and ultimately allowed for Corax’s escape. In his wake, hundreds of people died and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property was destroyed.”
We asked Miriam Klaus, Dingo River’s communications director, for comment on Dr. Abeling’s accusation. What we received was a very brief email containing the following statement:
“The training and technologies used for Dingo River personnel are compartmentalized as special access programs.”
What does that mean? There was no signature, and the email used very formulaic phrasing. At first blush, it seemed we had been bounced by an auto-responder. So, what was the upshot? The information we requested is deemed highly classified, and we didn’t need to know. The next morning, agents from Homeland Security arrived here at our studios to interview staff, and gather physical evidence. It seemed they needed to know what we were investigating. Our request had triggered the Hale Protocol.
Developed prior to the Dingo River breach, the Hale Protocol is a suite of digital security objects used to contain and expunge mentions of classified information in the public domain. Or, so the tinfoil hats tell us. Officially, the Hale Protocol doesn’t exist. Unofficially, there is evidence of that, or something very much like it, having been deployed at uncomfortably regular intervals.
It is reputed to be an autonomous solution that compartmentalizes and isolates security assets dynamically as needed, and according to data received. It was initially developed to assuage public concerns regarding the warehousing of criminal Psions into one or two facilities. It did this by blocking access to the information on prison populations. Without the media’s constant fanning of the flames, the public facing portions of the problem just went away. It is believed the Justice Department then greenlit the widespread deployment of the Hale Protocol, and that it defaulted to it’s most discriminatory mode. At the first sign of trouble, it locked down access even tighter.
“They did such a good job that my colleagues and I could not break through the constantly changing digital security barriers to reach the Justice Department and to provide them with the information we’d come up with, no matter what we tried!”
The Hale Protocol is so effective at controlling information flow that it appears to continue being used today as the conduit for top secret information, some federal communications and government servers, and, of all things, portions of The National Archives.
As for Dr. Abeling, he has long since retired from the Paladin Brigade’s prestigious profiler division. He did so just days after the rioting had been quelled, all those years ago. A few months later, he launched the Corax Institute. There, he and his staff implement their own set of protocols, based on those originally designed to assist the staff of Dingo River. You know, the one’s they couldn’t get to the Justice Department. They are now engaged in helping those afflicted by Corvus Syndrome, and providing relief whenever and however they can.
“There is still so much to do. So many people still affected even today and no telling when new cases will start cropping up.”
Dr. Abeling declined to comment on his own personal well being and wished instead to keep the focus of this report on the anniversary of the escape itself, and the millions who’ve been affected by it since.
I asked him about Corax, and the likelihood that he’s still alive, and could be manipulating the lives of millions people all over the world each day:
“You’ll have to ask the Paladin Brigade about that. The Brigade is the only organization powerful enough to track and capture or kill Corvus Corax.”
Are they powerful enough? We’ll have to hope he’s right.
You have been reading and listening to “In the Shadow of the Gods” episode one, “51 Seconds.” Written by Caine Dorr and Paul Ellis. The audio was performed by Paul Ellis. Theme music, “Into the Storm” provided by Brandon Liew (lee), and is available at free music archive dot org.
This episode was produced at Wireless Adventures; all the thrills, with no strings attached.
This article is copyright 2017 by the Adventure Frequency’s CityNewsNet, and is distributed under a Creative Commons, attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives, 4.0 international license.
Reporting for CityNewsNet, I’m Jonah Fox.