shedding new light on stories of old

A Strange World - Part 9

See how history can be changed by taking humanity beyond what anyone before has imagined

The Mirror Man



The Inspector General hovers over a groggy Darius, who lies at his feet like a wet rag.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Are you still with us, Muddlefix?

DARIUS: Yes ... yes, I think so. What happened to me?

INSPECTOR GENERAL: It seems that you lost consciousness for some reason.

DARIUS: What do you mean ... lost consciousness? I don’t understand.


DARIUS: Fainted? But how is that even possible?

OVERLORD ONE: Just one more by-product of your recent demotion, I’m afraid.

OVERLORD THREE: Surely you remember by now, Mister Middlefax, don’t you?

Darius shakes his head, frustrated.

DARIUS: Not really, no. I’m afraid the exact details of my crime are still eluding me.

Even the Inspector General is puzzled at this.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: That’s strange. I’ve pumped enough liquid memory into you to jump-start a retarded rhinoceros.

OVERLORD TWO: No matter; when the time is ripe, he’ll remember.

OVERLORD ONE: When he needs to, when he’s ready, it will be there.

OVERLORD THREE: Whether he likes it or not.

Suddenly, a huge viewing screen lowers down with an eerie hum.

OVERLORD ONE (clearing his throat): Enough of this. There is no more time to lose. Earth history will not pause simply because we wish it to. Now, get on with it, Soltaire. Stop allowing this mere Record Keeper to delay the inevitable. If he doesn’t choose to cooperate, we have to begin searching for another candidate.

The Inspector General bows.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Of course, your Excellency. Forgive me.

He turns his attention back to Darius.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (CONT’D): As for you ... are you or are you not interested in redeeming yourself?

Darius stands up and wipes himself off.

DARIUS: Of course I am.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (slowly): Very well, then. Time to proceed.

The Inspector General turns his intense gaze toward the huge image screen, which flickers with images from Earth.

Story Continues Below
To watch author and historian W. Kent Smith discuss the contents of his book On Earth as It is On Heaven, at the Sacred Word Revealed Conference 2023, hosted by Zen Garcia, CLICK BELOW.

Story Continues From Above


INSPECTOR GENERAL (V.O.): In the year 7532 P.A. or 2032 A.D., whichever you prefer, the United States of American Federates was leading the way in new global anti-terrorism strategies and tactics. Then certain unforeseen technological breakthroughs began to provide American scientists and technicians the unique ability to blend nanotechnology with the art of plastic surgery.


OVERLORD ONE (V.O.): The new key ingredient: Mercury-based liquid nanorobotics.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (V.O.): After several years of varying degrees of frustration and success, Project: Mirror Man finally fulfilled its original mission.

OVERLORD TWO (V.O.): For the first time, military or paramilitary operations could incorporate the ultimate in personal stealth technology, providing camouflage tools unprecedented in the history of covert espionage techniques.


INSPECTOR GENERAL (V.O.): A properly trained agent could now assume the identity — via the remolding of the visual appearance of an individual — of virtually any human being, thereby producing the greatest candidate for a double agent the world will ever know.

OVERLORD THREE (V.O.): With some basic linguistic skills combined with the art of mimicry and acting — skills which any undercover cop requires to survive the streets — an agent could truly become the proverbial chameleon, quietly, easily, blending into any covert operation, invisible to the eye of nearly every enemy known to man.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (V.O.): The human cost, however, was not, at first, without its own unique difficulties and downfalls. Of course, not every human specimen is capable of assimilating this marvelous new synthesis of technology and humanity.

OVERLORD ONE (V.O.): The same thing happened when artificial organs were introduced into the human biosphere.


INSPECTOR GENERAL: As with all new advancements in the history of scientific discovery, not everyone is willing to pay the necessary price to achieve it in their own lifetime.

OVERLORD TWO: Only those who need it the most will be capable of surviving the process.

OVERLORD THREE: Some people are willing; but unfortunately not everyone can finish the process once it has begun.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: It is typically a very daunting task.

OVERLORD ONE: Many die from shock; many more go insane. But, so far, it always ends badly... murder, coma, even suicide.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Your mission, Mister Middlefax, will be to help one man, the first man — by the name of Maximus Drexel — to reverse the negative aspects of this milestone process.

DARIUS: You mean to say that I’ll be helping this Maximus Drexel to overcome the technical challenges of this new nanobiotic process?

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Not exactly, no.

DARIUS: What, then?

INSPECTOR GENERAL: You will help Max Drexel survive the first successful integration process in human history. For Mister Drexel, to be the first nanotechnology transplant survivor he will quite simply require the will to live, the will to survive what no one before him has ever been able to survive, to change history by taking humanity one more step beyond what anyone before him had ever imagined was possible before his survival.

Darius is awe-struck.

DARIUS: Good God, the implications are staggering. This has tremendous potential to effect world history. A mission like this brings with it a tremendous, I say, a tremendous responsibility.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Good. I’m glad you realize just how important this mission is.

DARIUS: Yes, well. That’s also why I’m just a little bit uncomfortable with your giving me this new assignment.


DARIUS: I don’t do so well with people, that’s all; I’m better with communicating ideas ... you know, about things ... like, you know ... contraptions, gizmos, widgets.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: This isn’t a vacation we’re proposing, Metalfinch! You will still be on the strictest kind of probation for the duration of the mission.

DARIUS: Probation? Sir, I’m still not entirely clear why I’m being reprimanded.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: For God’s sakes, man. You’re just one strike away from having your number retired, that’s all.

DARIUS: One strike away, you say?


DARIUS: From what?

INSPECTOR GENERAL: You know perfectly well from what ... three strikes and you’re out!

Taking out an ancient scroll, the Inspector General shows it to Darius as proof of his point.

DARIUS: Three strikes! You must be joking. I’m facing what amounts to a court-martial because of three simple infractions?


With a flick of his wrist, the Inspector General spools out the scroll, unfurling it to reveal a very, very, long list.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (CONT’D): Try three hundred.

Stunned, Darius gulps hard.

DARIUS: May I at least find out more about the mission before I disembark?

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Never mind about details right now. That will all work itself out in due time.

OVERLORD TWO: You will at least be happy to know that this particular mission will have you literally up to your eyeballs in technological wonders.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Embrace this mission ... Doctor Middlefax ... like a loyal servant, and I promise you, in addition to earning your pardon, you will have all the contraptions, gizmos, and widgets your heart desires. Now ... do we have an understanding?

Hanging his head, Darius is a beaten man, a willing slave.

DARIUS: Yes, indeed. It seems we do.

The Inspector General smiles triumphantly, rubbing his hands gleefully.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Then your bodyguards will escort you to the next phase of your operation...

The giant bodyguards grab Darius by each arm and gingerly drag him toward the exit.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (CONT’D): We will be in touch, Doctor. Good luck and God’s speed.


Making himself at home, Darius confidently makes his way down the hallway, examining all of the photographs of the Drexel family.

DARIUS: Seems like a charming family. Too bad looks can be so deceiving. Something’s not quite right with this picture, though. What could it be?

Instead of finding the twenty-nine-year-old Maximus as he had anticipated, Darius discovers Max is an eight-year-old boy.

DARIUS (CONT’D): Good God, that’s it. This isn’t the year two thousand and thirty-two... It’s two thousand and eleven. Of course. Someone has made a terrible error with my contact point. But who? Some silly Time Clerk from Administrations, I imagine. Or maybe a particularly bored Button Pusher with Earth Expeditionary Force.

CORNELIUS (O.S.): Greetings...

Darius turns to see a dignified-looking gentleman addressing him: CORNELIUS FOSSBINDER.

CORNELIUS (CONT’D): You must be Darius Middlefax.

Darius nods back at him, still a little confused.

DARIUS: Yes ... yes, I am. Are you addressing me, sir?

CORNELIUS: Of course. Who did you think I was talking to?

DARIUS: Excuse me. I don’t want to appear rude, but who are you?

CORNELIUS: My name is Cornelius Fossbinder. I am Guardian to one: Maximus Drexel. I’ve been expecting you. You’re right on time.

DARIUS: No, no. I’m sorry. That’s impossible.

CORNELIUS: What are you going on about, sir?

Turning toward the child, Darius scowls disapprovingly.

DARIUS: I do not belong here now. The man I’ve been sent to help isn’t a man at all... The man is ... is a child! What can I do for a child, for Electra’s sake? I’m a Dream Giver, not a nurse maid.

Cornelius nods politely, not yet sure where Darius is going with all this.

DARIUS (CONT’D): This is simply not the way things are usually done. Normally, I show up at just the right time and place in a man’s life, I work my special magic, and presto, I’m off to my next mission.

CORNELIUS: But I have to insist, sir, for the sake of the child, mind you, that you are here precisely according to schedule. Now, please, may we proceed with the mission?

Darius takes another look at the child and shakes his head, unwilling to relent.

DARIUS: No, no, no. This is not what I anticipated. This is unprecedented. But I promise you, I will get to the bottom of it.

CORNELIUS (unimpressed): And just what are you going to do about it?


The Inspector General gazes down ominously at Darius.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: What is it now?

DARIUS: Pardon me, sir, but unfortunately there is a slight problem with the mission.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: For your information: There have been no mistakes ... only misunderstandings. And the misunderstanding we have here is one based solely on your assumption, Mister Muddlefix, that the person you were assigned to was supposed to be twenty-nine-years old when you arrived.

DARIUS: You’re kidding, right? Please tell me you’re not really serious. You’re just testing me to see how I’ll react. You are, aren’t you?

INSPECTOR GENERAL: So you arrived twenty-one years sooner than you expected, so what? Time is apparently the one thing you still have plenty of ... for a while, at least.

Darius hangs his head in defeat.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (CONT’D): Now get back to work.


Darius returns to find that Maximus is now twenty-nine years old — just as he had originally expected — but he is working at quite a different kind of job.

DARIUS (in utter disbelief): He looks like some kind of a ... don’t tell me ... a security guard? Good God, he is a security guard. Only ex-cons and flunkies from the police academy wind up as security guards. What in the name of Electra is going on here?

Sitting casually behind a bank of surveillance monitors, Max munches on the contents of his bag lunch.

DARIUS (CONT’D): Why aren’t you on the verge of becoming the first man to fulfill the objectives of Project: Mirror Man?

Max gulps his soda down and BURPS.

DARIUS (CONT’D): What am I supposed to do for you now? Inspire you to perfect the spit-polish on your belt buckle?

Tucked away in a corner of the surveillance monitors is a small television playing old movies. Darius peaks over his shoulder to see that “cops and robbers” is the thing that has Max’s rapt attention.

DARIUS (CONT’D): Oh, great, a down-and-out security guard who still dreams about cops and robbers. But is there any evidence for it in your actual life? Where did your life go, anyway?

CORNELIUS (O.S.): Greetings, Mister Middlefax.

He turns to see Cornelius Fossbinder addressing him again.

CORNELIUS (CONT’D): What took you so long?

DARIUS: Mister Fossbinder. Hello. Uh, so ... how are you today?

CORNELIUS: Fine, thank you. I must say, I am impressed.

DARIUS: Impressed? Really. By what?

CORNELIUS: You obviously have friends in very high places. Whoever you talked to actually rearranged the entire schedule just to suit you. Most impressive.

Darius, too, seems pleased with himself over the apparent results.

DARIUS: Yes ... well. It certainly is nice having some effect on the big scheme of things, however small an impact that may be.

CORNELIUS: I’m now very anxious to see you in action first-hand — up close and personal, so to speak. I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.

So ends this Act of A STRANGE WORLD. To read more, please click on one of the following links:

Read the Next Act of The Mirror Man to learn why Darius Middlefax is finally ready for a life where only our dreams reach to the farthest star.

Read the Previous Act of The Mirror Man to see that a guardian angel still has a lot to learn about his real subject matter: the human race.

Read Driven to learn how some people are driven to greatness, some to degradation, and some are just driven.

Read Snow Madness to meet a man searching for that most sought after prize, power, until one day power dispensed a lesson of its own.

Read A Strange World from the Beginning, to see how we seek the truth, like strangers in a strange land, then when we least expect it, truth finds us.