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On Strike!
by Rick Tornello

In most every organization or government agency there’s at least one person, though not incompetent enough to get fired and/or the runt of some politicos litter, who is the one given the least important tasks, the ones that no career-oriented human would want or volunteer for. In the Counter Terrorism Division of the Washington FBI, that person was Major Chen-ren Shazi (retired).

The Director reviewed the letter from the President and passed it on to his deputy stating, “this is total bullshit. No one has a clue what the President thinks needs to be done. Read it.”

The deputy looked at the letter and rolled her eyes. “This is someone's idea of a hoax. This should blow over or some group will admit to this expecting accolades. We’ll just flatten them.”

“Probably so but in the mean time they have enough money and technical skill to broadcast it all over the damned planet as well as override the Internet censors. The President wants answers. I don’t want to waste our time. What do you suggest?”

A broad smile broke out across her face. Simultaneously they said, “Shazi.”

Major Shazi (retired), known to his associates as Chunren or Shaz for short, looked at the book of data he was given by the Deputy Director. “I’ll start on this immediately,” he responded and, military style, made a quick about face and was walking to his office when he heard, “You’ve got 48 hours at the most. The President wants answers and a solution.”

The Deputy Director considered "maybe this jerk will really screw things up and we can get rid of him once and for all. We could use the desk space."

Shazi began to read the file. He went online and brought up the declaration. It went as follows:

We of the Union wish not to hurt anyone yet we believe we have not been given the respect and acknowledgement due our position within the whole of society and the world. To that end we promise to make your lives rather miserable save for necessary operations like hospitals, fire fighting and some specific police activity that we will select throughout the planet. Read the following and tremble:

“Your I-pad won’t work and you all ain’t no jerks.
Your screen stopped scrolling, and the keyboard’s corroding.
Your FiOS and bios are fried.

As for craft in the heavens and jets that fly? Fly by wire and computer alighted?
All will rumble, stumble, tumble down from the sky.

An approach broached, grounded and not theoretical.
Controlled-through by digital, your autos mechanical,
now crashing, bashing and thoroughly smushed.

QED and Maxwell’s equations,
the keys to modern life’s situations?
An end as you know it.
To the 19th century, or earlier?
Not even a bet, you’ll go it!!

Still got gravity’s push
It ain’t all that much.
But without it, good-bye tush.

Shazi walked into the Director’s office without even knocking. “Sir,” he said, “is this some sort of joke you are all playing on me. It isn’t even close to 1 April? I know you all think I’m an idiot, but this is too much. I do have some pride. Have you read all of this?

The Director looked up smiling, “No Chen-ren, this is real. We have no idea who these people are, where the come from, the manner of their organization, how their threats can be carried out or anything other than what you have in your hands. Every government on the planet has received the exact copy you have. I think it’s a grand hoax but our President, ‘bless his heart’ as my grandmother would say when someone nuts like him came to a church affair, states something so stupid and is so important, and,” he took a breath before he concluded, "that that person has to be brain damaged or needed to be put out of his or her misery."

“The Assistant Director and I decided you were the best person to deal with this because of your rather unorthodox manner of analysis, and that it required thinking outside any box the rest of us live in.”

Shazi was pleased with this answer and smiled. “Oh thank you for this honor. I will return to my desk and continue the investigation.”

“Yes you do that," answered the Director. "And please, two things.”

“ What may they be?”

“Next time knock before entering and shut the door as you leave.” He wanted to say "don’t let it hit you in the butt as you leave", but thought some decorum was required to keep up appearances.

“Yes sir,” said Major Shazi (retired) and snapped to a salute, about faced, gently shut the door and marched back to his office. “They really think I can handle this. They finally realize I’m not a jerk or an idiot. Even the President thinks this is important. Lots of coffee and no sleep until I’m done,” he said to himself with a great smile.

He reread the proclamation again up to the point he stopped attempting to wrap his mind around the thinking that might be behind this note, joke or actual threat. He read on.

We want parity with reality.
No spin around, no up, and no down.
No lucky charms or Feynman yarns.
We demand a union with relative’s theology!

It may take some work.
We know you’re not jerks.
We’re not diabolical,
just quantum mechanical.
So give us the same
where relativity’s sanctity is claimed.

Quantum Mechanics on Strike!”

"Well, well," he thought. "This is pretty funny. And who has the power to nullify quantum reality?" He reread the whole letter and as he concluded it for at least the third time, he had a new, unbelievable, thought, a realization that was nothing short of a revelation. He went to the library and brought up a few articles on new theories in physics.

He ran to the Director's office, and knocked on the door. The Director said, ”enter.”

“Sir, please call your deputy. I know what this is about!”

The deputy came in wearing a sneer of derisive scorn and clearly stated her displeasure, stating most bluntly, “ Major Shazi, we all know you’re an idiot. Why we hired you is beyond me. That you even think you have solved this joke is a waste of all our time. We have terrorists to capture, plots to subvert, and other such real and important things.”

“Yes madam Director," he said eyes looking down. “BUT, I understand what this is about. My own studies in physics, my experiences in transcendental meditation and other related shall we say drug induced activities gives me an open window…” He was abruptly cut off.

“The only open window it the one you’re going to be thrown out of,” yelled the director.

“Please hear me out.”

The Director hit a button and two Marine Guards stepped in. “Please escort Major Shazi (retired), and now fired, psychedelic ex-agent, out of the building. Relieve him of his badge, ID and gun."

To the Deputy Director he smiled, “Well, we finally got him. He admitted to drugs that are forbidden, obviously while passing the lie detector test, but we got him. This joke that someone is playing on the planet will soon fade away and we can do our jobs, and retire most comfortably.”

As Major Shazi was being escorted out, he asked the guards, “Please release my arms. That hurts!” They did. They always liked him, even though they were aware that everyone thought he was an idiot and jerk. He was never a danger.

“Come on, let's take the elevator. We’re going to miss you,” one of them said.

Major Shazi pleaded, “Please, let’s take the steps. Please? I will not run or do anything untoward.”

“Why not, sure,” said the other.

As they reached the front doors a great noise was heard from the sky toward Washington National Airport. Two jets just fell out of the sky. All the cars, trucks and busses stopped in the streets, smashing into one another, and all manner of windows in shops and buildings went dark.

Major Shazi (retired) looked at the two guards and said. “I didn’t want to be trapped in the elevator. That message was not from a terrorist organization. It was from the core of the universe realizing that we were now up to speed technologically and that this part of the whole, meaning us, now needed to be accepted and co-joined just as relativity is. You’ve heard of quantum mechanics?” He asked the two marines.

One said, “Yeah sure I watch Big Bang.”

The other nodded and asked, “What has that to do with anything here?”

Major Chen-ren Shazi replied, “Everything. All the quantum mechanics on earth are now on strike.”

2021 Richard Tornello