Iron Rose Bleeding

Chapter 7

Anne Azel

To: Inga, Lisa, and Susan, thanks for your help.

The Anne Azel's World web site is now found at

Note To The Reader: All the information used in this story about trends and concerns on our planet is current and accurate data. In the next fifty years, our world will change completely.

These are the events as we know them.

We recorded them factually and objectively.

And now we report them to you.

Haichen Lai blinked in amazement at what she was seeing. A short time earlier, security had contacted her with a bizarre tale that she couldn't quite envision. Because the story involved Courtney Hunter, she had stopped what she was working on immediately and had come to see for herself. Their quiet and hard working archivist had proved to be a resourceful, stubborn and totally unpredictable element. She was also a personal project of Tap's and therefore had to be handled with extreme caution and care.

Just how she was to deal with this, however, she had no idea! There in the centre of the courtyard gardens, on a island formed by a splitting of the water channels, was a small orange tent. Courtney Hunter had reached the island consisting of three trees and some hibiscus bushes by removing rocks from a nearby garden wall to make stepping stones across the channel of water.

Carefully, Haichen stepped across to the island. "Court? Are you here?"

The orange flap flipped back and Courtney Hunter crawled out and stood to look at Haichen with a smile of pure devilment.

"Hi Haichen. I thought they would probably send you or Ian. What do you think of my new quarters?"

"It is a pup tent, Courtney Hunter. Camping is for the wilderness . Why have you set up a tent in Tap's courtyard?"

"I needed a place to stay while I am in training. I will not stay in a room where I have been held prisoner and there is no other suitable place. Besides, I like it out here. How big is this courtyard?"

"It is 1.5 acres. You have no washroom or power source," Haichen argued.

"I will use it only to sleep and store my stuff. I can use the library, dining hall and gym facilities so this is really all I need. It suits me fine."

"But Court..."

"Tap did say I should find a place from which I would not want to escape." Courtney smiled when she said this, so Haichen reported. It was not so much a smile as it was a dare. Haichen did not dare argue. Courtney Hunter was Tap's project.

"If this is suitable to you then it is a good choice. Do you need anything?"

"Nothing I can't find myself. Thanks for stopping by, Haichen." The worried woman nodded, realizing she had been dismissed, and took her leave. She would report the developments to Tap when she could and let Tap handle the troublesome archivist.

Tap was deep in her research and recording and it was late in the afternoon before she clicked on the report that Haichen had sent her. The report was brief and to the point.

Time: 14:23 01.10.01

Subject: Courtney Hunter

Location at time of report: green zone library.

Note: Courtney Hunter has set up an orange nylon pup tent on the small island in the courtyard. She plans to use this as her quarters. I have talked to her. She seems firm in this decision noting that you requested that she find quarters from which she would not wish to escape. HL

Tap blinked and read the memo through again. Then she shook her head in disbelief. Perhaps it would be safer to terminate Courtney Hunter. She never did what you expected. If she was terminated then possible future problems of a very serious nature could be avoided. Tap had never given the order to terminate anyone. She did not doubt that she could but she felt that it would have to be for a very good reason. This is how she justified her decision at the time not to terminate Courtney Hunter. Later, she would be able to admit that her decision was not made objectively.

"Send Courtney Hunter to the red zone library immediately."

Tap clicked the message she had typed off and then wondered at her decision. It might be best considering the strange and disturbing events that morning to avoid Court until she had found out what was going on. She had, however, made Courtney Hunter her subject and that commitment could not be ignored. Already she had gained from this decision by this morning's experience.

She waited for confirmation and then walked down to the library. Court was, of course, already there. It would not do for Tap to be seen waiting. "I have ordered some more reading for you on educational movements. You will please read these and be prepared to report to me later this evening."


Tap nodded and turned to leave then stopped and looked back. "Was the tent necessary?"


Tap turned and left, pleased that she had not sensed or felt anything unusual even though she had stood close to Court. What happened this morning at the park was an unexplained anomaly.

"What do you know about the Club of Rome?" They were sitting in the dining hall over coffee. Later that night, Tap had come to look at the little orange tent in amazement as had many others during the course of the day. She had then sought out Courtney Hunter in the library and invited her for a coffee. Tap was not fond of coffee. She drank it because she knew it was a ritual in the day to day social bonding process that people needed.

"Not much. I know it is a great honour to be asked to give a lecture for them. I believe one of their mandates is to gather data. So I guess you have something in common." This statement was made with a bit of sarcasm that Tap chose to ignore. Sarcasm is a tool of criticism used to convey a meaning far deeper than what is being said.

Tap nodded. "In a way, yes. The Club of Rome functions outside of any political boundaries and is a non profit organization. They are essentially a think tank providing a forum for discussion and debate on various topics. They invite significant scientists, economists, business people, civil servants and heads of state to speak. This information is then made public for people to consider and use."

"Use. I like the sound of that word. Is this where we are going? I take it there are to be a series of lectures on the environment. Since that is what I have spent the majority of my time studying."

"Yes, it is where we will be going but the lectures will be by leading economists talking about the economic restructuring."

Courtney grimaced. "That sounds deathly dull."

"It is not. It will be your job to understand the essence of what is said and be able to relate its significance to your studies this week."

"Okay. Why?"

"It is part of your retraining."

Courtney frowned but said nothing. She wasn't sure she wanted to be retrained. It sounded a lot like conditioning. She would have to be careful and not start questioning what she felt to be true.

"You will now tell me what you learned this afternoon."

"Some rather disturbing things. About five years ago a report circulated based on a study of technological knowledge. It was noted that the cutting edge of technology came out of the military and filtered down to researchers who tooled the ideas for industry that then passed it on to consumer. Lastly, these technological breakthroughs end up being taught in schools. This filtering down of information takes about fifteen years."

"Good, go on."

" The U.S. at the time was concerned about the inroads that the Pacific Rim Nations had made in industrial markets and so adopted a policy to reduce this knowledge gap through a number of means."

Tap smiled. Courtney had a good mind and was able to extract the essential information quickly and see the underlying patterns. "Go on."

"Their first step was to tender contracts to new companies to write innovative curricula. The biggest contract was given to a company that was a partnership between Disney, the Pentagon and Microsoft."

"Strange bedfellows," Tap observed with a smile. She was well aware of such companies but wished to put Courtney at ease. The woman seemed tense around her. Small talk which seems at first to be meaningless fulfils a role in establishing alliances and identifying common world views.

"Yes, very strange." Courtney was tempted to go on and express her concerns about manipulation of thought but checked herself. What Tap did was record objectively. She stuck to the facts. "The next step was to increase educational standards. This was done by discrediting public education. The public then was willing to support chartered schools and reduce funding to remedial programs that did not appear to be getting results. Governments could then fund money into those that they felt were "worth"educating while disenfranchising weaker students. The trend is to improve all standards but to direct moneys to the bright and wealthy. Progress is evaluated through standardized testing."

"You are now taking about governments. Explain."

"The U.S. is certainly not alone in its policies. Canada and many European countries have followed suit. Education is geared to producing science and math graduates to be the bullets in the economic wars that policy setters see as the future trend."

"A bias is showing," stated Tap raising an eyebrow. It is often difficult for people to divorce emotion from reason.

Yes a bias.

Yet she has learned a lot.

But much more yet to learn.

Courtney folded her arms and looked at Tap with a good deal of scepticism. "It is a strange sort of security system that offers opinions."

"Yes, it is."

Courtney waited. Tap offered no more. "Are we finished?"

"Almost. Explain to me, Courtney, why we are going to hear these lectures at the Club of Rome."

"Because that is the missing piece of the puzzle."

Tap nodded and stood. "They are one of the missing pieces. There is yet more to the pattern. Good night, Court."

"Good night, Tap."

Courtney returned to her new quarters feeling disgruntled and out of sorts. She was pleased that Tap seemed satisfied with her training. To be truthful she was working her tail off to impress her boss. Yet what she was learning was upsetting. That of course is the nature of the age of knowledge. Information overload has resulted in a public that would rather watch sitcoms and knowledge is held in trust by a few that may not necessarily be trustworthy. She went to bed early and read more reports until she fell asleep with her palm pilot still in her hand.

The dream was more sensation than images. The feeling of strong sensitive fingers exploring her lines and hollows. The radiant heat from another. Kisses that built a fire low in her being. Then the shiver of passion as her lover entered her, a tidal force that surged, retreated, and surged again over and over, responding to her body's demands. They were so close that Courtney could almost feel her lover's thoughts; sense the powerful emotions that ran through her. The pace quickened and her short gasps of need became a silent scream of release.

There she was again, part of an endless warm sea. One of many - many in one. Courtney felt whole and at peace. She had only to reach out and she would know ...her eyes opened to darkness. The smell of nylon and mold. She could hear the water bubbling along its channels. She lay on her back where her dream had left her and stared into the darkness wandering about what it all meant.

Tap woke with a start, her heart pounding and sweat coating her body. With effort she managed to regulate her breathing, then she slid from under her sheets and padded to the shower. The hot water helped revive her but it did not fade the memory of what she had been doing and with whom. That thought sickened her. Please don't let my brother find .

Chapter 8

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