Author: Rick Tobin

Adam Three Horses shuffled past an unmarked drab gray metal door into a cold sparse room filled with file cabinets and a single, elongated metal desk with one laptop in front of a squinting goat-faced military officer bearing colorful astronaut patches on his chest. Captain Yagar didn’t look up as he opened a fresh manila folder from a leaning pile marked Top Secret.

“You Three Horses?” Yagar asked in an emotionless drone.

“Hmm. My people don’t like to be called by our last names. Adam will do.” Adam stood feet apart, staying away from the metal folding chair positioned across from Yagar.

“Don’t give a shit. Your people aren’t here. This is Space Corps. I’m Captain Yagar. I’ll call you pony poop if I want. Now sit your ass down!” Yagar looked up, bristling, still squinting with jowls tightened. Adam quietly complied, remembering his maltreatment after being kidnapped in a rendition from his reservation home at night by Homeland Security thugs.

“You got down the entire hall in one piece. Huh. It’s amazingly quiet out there for a change. None of the others made it past two cages.”

“What cages,” Adam asked, perplexed. He saw no animals or bars.

“Every one of those ten rooms holds a person barely human by my count, filled with rage, madness, and horrible intent. They’re too violent to serve in the Corps or to ever be let out. You don’t seem worse for the exposure. Your predecessors all needed special care.”

“Was this some sort of test? You know I’m not part of your silly space travel. You don’t let Indigenous Natives serve…right?”

“Correct. You’re from your own independent nation in South Dakota so we can’t draft you, but we can still sequester anyone on U.S. soil who has special talents for our programs. Says here you’re a heyoka empath. Haven’t had one before. First one of your kind in here. Maybe that explains the hallway.” Yagar continued staring down while studying Adam’s dossier.

“I never called myself that. None of The People do. I get it. I’m just another redskin to do your bidding. You take our words just as you steal everything else from us, even our sacred ceremonies. You know nothing. You want everything, no matter the cost.”

“Sorry, chief. I’m not here for a philosophy lesson. I’m head of intelligence. Says here as a child you always wanted to travel to other worlds. We might have an offer for you. We’re working on the 369 Protocol, named after Nicola Tesla. Ever hear of him?”

“I’m not an idiot,” Adam snapped.

“We’ll see. We can’t send new enlarged transport craft into deep space for mining operations if we store more than 369 new recruits aboard. They freak out en masse—shrinks call it group cogenesis. We need shock absorbers…empaths to quiet three thousand we send at once.”

“Not recruits, Yagar. Those are inmate slaves. No one volunteers for space mining. You whites never learn.”

“Point taken, but you’ll go and you’ll keep them sane enough to mine for us after they catch the vacuum willies. We need that shit off 16 Psyche near Mars before the Chinks get it.”

Adam leaned forward. “Captain, heyókȟa means standing water…a mirror. We reflect” He touched Yagar’s right hand, watching him scream, as all the hallway madness transferred from Adam, now requiring Yagar’s special care later after Adam walked unimpeded from the base, protected by the Wakíŋyaŋ—Thunder Spirits— in saucers overhead, ready to continue Adam’s travels to other sacred beings on nearby planets and moons.