Author : David C. Nutt

Major Janus took one last look at the soldier’s file. Rank & Name: PFC Johnny Benton Ralston. DOB: 12 SEP 2134. HOR: Southington, CT. Psi Aptitude: Off the charts. The accompanying progress reports told a familiar story. Phase I & II of training showed top marks and strong progressions- clairvoyance, telepathy, psycho-cognizance. In fact, PFC Ralston was only the second candidate in the US Army’s PsiCorps 100 year history that exhibited indications of apportation- the ability to materialize, disappear, or teleport an object. They had so much hope for him. Then, the mid Phase III decline. Inability to control mastered areas, lack of concentration, regression to level I skill sets, and finally, failure in all areas. Janus shook her head. It was a sad but familiar tale. Only 6% made it to Phase IV and of those, very few had weapons grade skills as opposed to just reconnaissance and remote viewing.

There was a halfhearted knock on the door.


A baby faced young man stepped into her office. “PFC Ralston reporting as ordered.”

“At ease.” Janus motioned for him to sit. “Johnny do you know why you are here?”

There was a heavy sigh. “Yes Ma’am. I’m failing. I’m here for you to tell me I’m out of the program.”

Now it was Janus’ turn to sigh. “You are correct PFC. It’s my job to tell you the bad news.”

PFC Ralston swallowed and nodded. Major Janus could tell he was holding back tears. “I figured as much. I know it means not only am I out of the program, but out of the Army as well.”

Major Janus nodded. “You’re correct again Johnny. We’ve found that once a soldier is bounced from PsiCorps, they really can’t be returned to the greater Army. If your skill set hasn’t degraded entirely, then you could, willing or unwilling, unduly influence your peers and superiors. We can’t have a rogue psychic influencing command decisions and troop morale could we?”

PFC Ralston shook his head. “No Ma’am.”

There was an awkward silence. Major Janus stood up and PFC Ralston scrambled to his feet. “Well, PFC Ralston even though you are out of the Army you’ll find that the PsiCorps severance bonus is quite generous and you automatically get education benefits so college is tuition free.” Major Janus leaned over her desk and shook his hand. “Good luck son.”

“Thank you Ma’am.” Johnny came to the position of attention, snapped off a smart salute and left Major Janus’ office.

Back at his room Johnny waited for his ride to the train station. Johnny looked into the duffle and noticed there still was some room left. He looked at his watch. There was just enough time for one more go around. Johnny took a deep cleansing breath and exhaled. He cleared his mind as his instructors taught him to do. With great effort he dialed down all of his senses and focused on his target. Johnny felt his face get hot then sweat. He felt the familiar “elevator down” feeling deep in his gut that made him feel queasy, but in a familiar and good way. Johnny nodded. Success. With great effort he closed the full duffle and went to meet the cab.

“Jeezum Crow son!” The cabbie complained, “What do you got in that duffle, gold bricks?”

Johnny Smiled. “No bricks. Just three million dollars in hundred dollar bills, sir.”

The cabbie laughed and they both got in. Johnny made a mental note to give the cabbie a good tip. After all, with his PsiCorps benefits, he could afford it.