It was probably the first time on the trip that the noise had gotten so bad from rocks bouncing off the tractor.
In fact the small cab in what a man sat silently shook tremendously from the long mountain climb.
The passenger's, hip harness meanwhile grew tighter as the shifting cab rocked back and forth. In spite of
the impossible angles the cab shifted to, the harness held Jim secure. His bones were rattled and the noise even in the soundproof
cab was beyond that of considered comfort levels. In truth he was not that comfortable in spite of the contour cushioned chair.
Agent Rayne had been riding in this tractor for about an hour. For the last twenty minutes he'd been climbing
an otherwise inaccessible mountainside.
His blond hair was a mess. His mouth was dry.
It's true his blond thin scraggly mustache last month had been thick and brown as his hair had been. Every
once-in-while he was compelled to manage a change in his appearance. That was in order to comply with the demands of his profession.
He was five feet six inches in height and recently well built. He kept a low stance that made him appear
even shorter. He wore no high-heeled boots, these days.
This day agent Jim Rayne wore a brown jump suit with the electric company insignia over the shirt left pocket.
Jim was on an important assignment.
The tractor ride was proving to be a bit of a strain, Jim was growing tired. He was having trouble with his
vision from the sweat in his eyes.
Suddenly Jim smelled smoke.
"This dune buggy is on fire." He mumbled to himself.
Jim quickly opened a window.
There was a cool peaceful sunset in the sky. The air was fresh in the mountains and stimulated the agent
enough to restore his comfort and afford him fresh air in the smoky cab.
Somewhere in the working programs of the computer an emergency program was recalled. Designed for the terrain
and the event of fires from sparking stones thrown against the underside by the tracks against the rocky roads it was deigned
for. Lights began to flash and buzzers started to beep.
Jim recalled the words of the supervisor that issued the tractor, a government operative in the electric
"This tractor, she isn’t old. It was 2005 they got the circuits and track designs perfected, and this
here is the new model. A piece of cake."
Rayne recalled the obese supervisor walking around the vehicle pounding on it and kicking it.
"With the new structuring designs and the space age metallurgy, this baby is as safe as an evening at home
with the wife and kids. I expect the odometer to go back to '0,' twice at least before they junk it."
Jim recalled the supervisor’s hand bouncing off the hood as he continued his diatribe.
Engine fires must have been a dreaded occurrence before the safety features had been added. The bits in the
cab computer control clicked together.
While red lights flashed and smoke billowed from the engine the automatic safety devices were activated.
Jim pressed the information button. It initiated a system report. The computer voice mechanically provided
the evaluation of the current system warning,
"There is fire in the engine. Fire retardant is being sprayed on the engine while all engine systems have
been automatically deactivated. Estimated time till all systems are operational three minutes"
Jim initiated the voice recognition program in order to speak to the machine.
"What should I do meanwhile?" He asked.
"There is no danger; you may do as you wish. Time till repairs are completed, 2 minutes, 39 seconds."
Jim Rayne stared at the setting sun for a moment. He could not help but think how long it would take to accomplish
his mission and return home.
The blue sky was now streaked in red by the setting sun, sinking into the distant mountains.
Below in the valleys a river and highways stretched into the horizon in a colorful panorama.
The air was sweet from the mountain greenery.
Jim thought to himself, 'If I wasn't tracking these phony professors I'd be at a nice comfortable desk in
the office watching the secretary’s ferry papers from agent to agency.
A passing eagle overhead reminded him that in many ways he was very fortunate to be in the great outdoors.
It was just a job.
He straightened his bones against the contours of his chair.
He took a double lung full of rocky mountain air and held it to absorb the high oxygen content.
He exhaled reciting a Hindu mantra his latest lady friend had taught him. She was a health consultant well
versed in the arts of meditation.
Jim was a man with almost twenty years of job experience and it was no wonder he had been selected for this
rather bold mission. It came from high up, maybe the President himself.
It was a top-secret assignment.
He thought about all his years of education.
It was amazing the kind of credentials it took to be an assassin for the government.
It was quiet and relaxing here near the top of Slow-cut Mountain as the gluttonous supervisor had called
it. He doubted that was it's actual name, but it would do.
Rayne had learned during his investigation that the indicted professors planned a surreptitious getaway.
Appearing to vacation in the Rocky Mountains they would slip down to Boulder, Moon Launch, and catch a rocket
to the moon where they would await extradition.
Extradition from multinational Lunar Base Three might take forever.
It was by monitoring Doctor Singers private phone line that he overheard the helicopter reservation to pick
the group up at their mountain resort home.
A short ride to the Departure Base, a hop skip and jump to space station Lunar Seven and then Moon base three,
there to hope fully be safe till the next President took office at least.
Jim suspected the group had arranged new identities and plastic surgery for all of them. Then he believed
they planned to sneak back on a smuggler ship hidden under a pile of moon mushrooms. But that was only suspicion. He'd nothing
but overheard fragments of conversations to confirm them.
The moon mushrooms were very popular on the moon, grown there from Psychedelic spores from earth. Apparently
the lower gravity conditions spawned huge fungus growth of highly increased potency.
Jim kept abreast of the work at different departments since they occasionally over lapped.
As a defender of the Empire ones vigil must never cease.
Jim knew his way around in the underworld of drug smuggling and Mafia crime. He'd seen the white slavery
rackets ebb and grow again, ugly blotches on the face of national conscience. He was the Clearasil applicator.
Jim knew where to get information too. If there was a kidnapping or a big heist he was one of the first operatives
to chase down leads. It had been that way one occasion after another.
Jim had worn out two sets of clothes, one wig, and two pair of eyeglasses, one Vesper scooter and a Dodge
Viper, on this assignment.
Jim worked with a partner who had taken off two days ago to chase down a lead on a still operating arm of
the filth ring.
He loved the way the crumbs he followed threw away cash, it made him more certain of their guilt and he had
fewer qualms about the fate that he had planned for them.
He hoped they didn't have a major army unit stashed away on their payroll; he didn't plan on shedding any
blood over this inspired project the big man himself had authorized.
When orders like his come down from the top like they do it helps you feel secure as to your position in
He was sure the culprits were wanted for many notorious destructive activities that no doubt weren't brought
up to protect the victims and their families, certainly no one like them.
Jim reviewed the case file and his notes on the tractor COM apery; there would be at least a half-hour before
the auto tractor reached the mountain cliff it was programmed for. Except for adjusting to the shifts in gravity in the cab
as the tractor scaled the rugged terrain Jim was free to play the case files.
Jim's investigation revealed that the credentials of these professors were as credible as the one's he used
in his false identity roles.
The difference being Jim worked for the government as an undercover investigator; his phony Identification
documents were officially issued.
The professors Identification Documents on the other hand were smart forgeries.
After twenty-five years in his division he was honed enough to be called as an expert at trials in this area.
To be honest though, (and I’m sure the reader would agree, from just this description of the person
and his business), observing Jim’s activities, Jim Rayne in every way might have appeared more like a real criminal
then most crooks would appear, going about their nefarious activities.
Jim cleared 350,000 including perks from the higher ups for special assignments like this.
The video-screen sprang to life after he inserted his disc and pressed the initiation control. He pressed
an earphone to his ear and reviewed the last five entries, undaunted by the noises outside of stones and scraping as the tractor
inched its way up the rocky face.
The computer voice began a narration,
"This is obscenity charge file for indictment 76589403 Boston Massachusetts June 8th 2027; Indictment has
been pressed against a number of professors from Boston State and Connecticut State colleges for running an obscene media
company through the auspices of the university.
"In the photo you see twenty-five ladies who are registered students at the Boston State University being
arrested for lewd display in media presentations.
"Now you see twenty ladies arrested in Connecticut State University. The interstate nature of this operation
alone involves federal authorities.
“The next films, you will see, were of the professors, in question, of both colleges, being read their
citizens rights, by arresting officers.
"The professors were indicted with, Federal Code 8976, the moral and physical endangerment, of youth, in
the professional care of licensed instructors.
"The punishment starts at five years imprisonment to life depending on the amount of damage done.
"Two students found dead of apparent suicide have been linked to the operations of this ring of pornographers
and the professors face a maximum penalty of two life sentences for their monkey business.
“The first group of twenty-five women, (pictures of salacious sex idols being arraigned in mass), were
accused of a conspiracy to involve other students. They were acting in ways, to draw unsuspecting men and women from the college
into their criminal hoard. They are also charged with malicious mischief and third degree murder, in the death of the otherwise
“The second group of twenty women, (photos of the twenty sex goddesses), were likewise charged in a
Massachusetts federal court.”
The video image suddenly shifted to close up dissection charts of the persons we recognize as professors.
The computer voice continued,
"The two university professors here are accused of leading the operation that recruited female college students
in search of extra cash they needed to finish college.
“The University contends; by their use of instructional material unworthy of scholastic recognition,
they have created an atmosphere that spurred greater interest in pornography as art, confusing students into abandoning moral
rigidity. This intrinsically led to the so-called suicide deaths of those students then in attendance at the college’s
While the computer voice spoke, candid movies of the professors teaching their classes were projected on
the screen. The voice added a narration to what transpired.
"The professor now peering over his eyeglass frames is Doctor Singer, Psychology instructor. As you can see
he has a dark beard of medium length and dark curly hair. His eyes are dark and he is approximately five feet eight inches
“This man is considered dangerous. He is believed to be the brains behind the entire pornography operation.
“In the picture you are looking at now, he is with a crony, as they say, who played a major part, mostly
as a performer, in the, sexually explicit, films, of this gangs operation. The bald Greek worked in a nearby lunch counter.
He has been mistaken for Yule Brenner. He played an instrumental part in many of the organization's recruitment for sex film
productions. It is believed his payment for his work in the films exceeded his earnings at the lunch counter for the twenty
years he worked there.
"Doctor Singer’s favorite comment is,"
Here the film went to an interview scene, where Doctor Singer is asked, "You've heard the charges, what do
you have to say?" The camera shifts to only the Doctor's face as he responds into the interviewer microphone, "I've not one
Iota of information upon the whole subject."
The video shifts to a scene from a movie.
The computer voice explains, "This is a scene from the popular drive in movie version of Surfer Sam the Bayside
Beach Man, one of the rings more lucrative productions. In the picture you are looking at, we can see Doctor Singer in his
bathing suit among a large group of well built and bikini clad female students who at this time were earning extra income
to apply to their studies. Now here comes Sam, who we readily determine (stop frame mug shot comparisons), is none other than
the luncheonette man. He is carrying a large surfboard and on his arm are two women".
The picture stood still.
“The lady on the left was from Connecticut State. She was engaged to the dean of students’ son;
the other girl was from Boston State and she was engaged to the Presidents nephew.
“The two young gentlemen now are both deceased.”
The image on the screen now shifts.
"This is Doctor Abrams. Doctor Abrams is Doctor Singer’s lover. The both Doctor's are estranged from
their first spouse.
“Doctor Abrams here is wearing thin brown frame glasses. She has curly hair. She is five feet five
inches tall, and buxom. A thin lipped fifty-two years of age.
"When Doctor Abrams was questioned about the smut ring operating at the college she had this to say.”
The sound came on in video playing as the microphone is placed in front of the Doctor.
"'This is a subject which I've been willing to discuss openly at any time I believe is proper for such a
discussion, but at the moment I would like to consider the charge of which
I've been accused. Thank you, no comment.'
"Your job Jim is outlined in the folder.
"On a personal note - In the congress alone there were three daughters and two sons attending those two universities
"It's an honor to halt the spread of corruption, and the bonus the department head spoke of will be deposited
in your account tonight."
That was all Jim needed to hear.
The gear ground together on the tractor as the right side made its way over a large boulder. As the lifter
arms lifted the vehicle over the stone the cab shifted and the vehicle was carried beyond the impassable obstruction.
Jim recalled the earlier days on the mission living like a bum in the street. Watching the comings and goings
of the professors through the parking lot gates, when they arrived and when they left, who was with them and who wasn't, taking
photos for the case records with his spy cam recorder.
He also rented a near by apartment to each of the professors places, as a convenience during stakeouts and
in order that his presence would be a supportable phenomena, a casual thing.
When he heard they would be coming by the route on the road that winded below along the mountainside his
heart beat with anticipation of what was going to occur in a few minutes now.
There in the cab the blood in his veins filled his capillaries and energy rushed into Jim's muscles and sinews.
Meanwhile the hulking vehicle climbed the Rocky Mountain incline, to a spot over looking a certain mountain
Jim pulled back the window some more and looked out at the magnificent view.
He could almost see the bend in the road below as the highway weaved around the mountains.
He looked at the distance ahead of him. From the hill over the bend he would see the professors’ vehicle
as it sped along side of the mountain weaving its way slowly to the top.
When the tractor vehicle reached the topmost cliff, Rayne would be above the municipal observation cameras.
"Beep, Check, seven, twenty minutes, beep."
The computer voice startled him.
Company tracing devices followed the professors’ auto on municipal surveillance cameras. The position
of the car was indicated on a computer-generated grid.
This tractor vehicle had state of the art equipment but it was no match for the sophistication of the devices
in his regular surveillance vehicle, a brand new Dodge Viper.
The grid indicated the location of the Dotson on the road below.
In the car below on the highway, Professor Rand lit a cigar, and spoke through the billowing smoke.
"That was an interesting show wasn't it Doctor Singer." He referred to the commercial telecast of photos
taken on the moon of strange ghost like phantoms. It was a three-hour show and they had just televised the final program in
the series. Most of the final parts were photos taken over surveillance cameras on a deserted moon base.
The professors were watching the Highway telecast as their auto drive vehicle carried them up this rocky
mountain road on their way to professor Abrams retreat.
"Yes, yes," Professor Singer agreed with good Doctor Rand, as he gazed out the window at the view. "By the
way, did you notice this view, Doctor Rand?" He continued.
"I've been all but overwhelmed." Doctor Abrams commented reaching for a bottle of bourbon.
Doctor Singer fell apart laughing, amused by the dear ladies attitude.
Jim turned off the COM apery. It had made his eyes tired.
He sat back into the contours of his seat when he noticed the forward motion of the vehicle appeared to be
at a halt.
The tractor was on the top of the mountain. Jim stepped out level with the cab on to a nearby large flat
Rayne gazed out over the mountain and noticed a spying eagle hovering between to high peaks. Unfortunately
the agent didn't have the time to properly contemplate the view.
Instead he stood at the cliffs edge developing a mental orientation of his position in relation to the winding
Jim selected a large boulder he'd spied at that location during an aerial survey he'd made earlier. It was
about, 8 feet by 3 feet by 4 feet, in dimension.
Jim manipulated the rock to what would be its launch spot.
While he breathed heavy from moving the boulder he computed the trajectory and time needed to hit the road
below. There was a bit of heavy mathematics involved and Jim utilized the data banks and computational skills of the on board
Suddenly there was a warning beep from the tracker on board that the Dotson below on the road was approaching.
Jim was just thinking how nice it was to be out in the fresh country air.
The speed and obstacle evasion controls on the Dotson below were designed to avoid collisions with falling
stones or obstructions in the highway.
Jim had been sure to disable that mechanism on the Dotson using override codes the manufacturer had preprogrammed
into the car computer for use during servicing the auto.
Jim Rayne computed every muscle movement; tension or resistance factors in his marvel of a mind.
As the Dotson below passed a certain point, at its prearranged speed, Jim cleared the great stone over the
protruding cliff's edge.
As Jim watched the rock plummet sweat blocked his eyes for a moment.
Through the mist in his eye he could see the tragic collision below, "Thump!" as the great stone hit squarely
dead center on the roof of the passing auto below.
He made a mental note to watch the evening news videos from the low-level surveillance cameras. The crunch
and the sight of flames springing into the air, from the ignited alcohol were a remarkable image he would not soon forget.
Jim Rayne climbed back into his electric company tractor.
A message lit up on the apery screen.
Jim spoke loud and clear,
"Take her home partner."
Rayne pressed the music program button. Ornette Coleman on Blue Dolphin Street dripped out of the speakers
of the four tracks on board stereo.
The special agent leaned back into the comfort of the cabs contour chair.
An auto guidance tractor made its way down a Rocky Mountain slope.