Same problem, father?

Afraid so, my boy.

Would you be so kind as to bring me some reading material... and some Dulcolax?
I could use some help in here.
Father, you know what the doctor said about....
Father, you take any more Dulcolax, you'll damage the nerves in your colon.
Son, your concern for my colon is truly heartwarming.
However, my colon and I don't have much time left on this earth, and I do have more important struggles to attend to than this one.
I wish you wouldn't say such things, father. You're still a young man.
Oh, don't be such a baby, Mohammed. You have eyes. You can see my time is coming soon.
I just hope that when you're my age, you don't suffer the same health problems I'm having.
Let me offer you a word of advice...
Eat your vegetables.
My problems really began 20 years ago, when I spent that year with the mujahedeen in the high mountains, eating nothing but Soviet dry rations for 9 months.
The other soldiers -- all native Afghans -- carried onions with them. Ate them the way you and I would eat figs. But I couldn't stomach onions, so all I ate was canned meat and crackers. Not a single vegetable for 9 months....
That diet tore my asshole inside out.
I was in such bleeding, itching pain, every waking moment... but I was too embarrassed to tell anybody.
The mujahedeen already regarded me as a soft-bodied rich boy playing at jihad. Think how they would have laughed at me if I'd complained about hemorrhoids.
Subsequently I gained a reputation as a brave fighter among the mujahedeen. Men respected me for my courage. I became a great leader, then I started compiling the Base, and.... well, you know the rest of the story.
Only one thing could take my mind off that horrible, constant pain -- Charging into enemy fire.
Whenever my platoon encountered the Soviets, I was always the first to rush at them. I didn't care if I lived or died -- I'd do anything to escape that burning, throbbing agony of my rectum.
There is an object lesson to this tale, Mohammed. Beyond a simple admonition to eat your vegetables, remember this...
...You have no idea what private agony he may secretly be struggling with.
Show kindness to every person you meet. No matter how ill-tempered a man may seem....
Corporal Bendicio.
Come in.
Lieutenant Miller, ma'am.
General Conchis will speak with you now.
Class A dress greens, Lieutenant! I've ordered you released from psychiatric observation.
Tomorrow 0630 Kabul time, you'll board a C-40B, destination Washington D.C... And when you arrive -- I'm pleased to tell you this, Lieutenant....
At ease, Lieutenant.
I have good news.
Good afternoon, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant.... before any further hilarity erupts in this room.... here's a concept you might want to warm up to:
You're speaking to the only person in the Armed Forces right now who's authorized to fish your ass out of the loony bin.
So unless you really want me to think you're crazy....
... The next few words out of your mouth had better be very carefully chosen, Lieutenant.
Probably something relating to your Senate testimony.

We seem to have started off on the wrong foot here...

Let's hit the reset button on this conversation, shall we? I need to speak with you on urgent matters.
But before we can proceed, there's something I need from you.
An apology, Lieutenant?
   No sir.   
Y'see, General, I'm not the complaining type. Even if I'm exposed to an experimental nerve agent on the battlefield, then locked away in a psycho ward in Kabul, and forgotten about by my COs -- hey, I'm a soldier. Shit happens.
And even if my brain's boiling in my skull... and milk's leaking out of my tits... and the whole time, the doctors keep telling me to my face there's nothing wrongwith me...
... That's all just par for the fuckin' course, ain't it?
But there's one torture I can't handle, General:
Bad coffee.
Like the shit they serve in this hospital. So weak you can see through it, and tastes like peanuts boiled in gym socks.
It's been a living hell, General.
Sorry, Miller, I can't seem to locate the "piss Frappuccino" button on this spider.
Captain Serling's got a stash of whole bean French roast his wife sends him from the states. A pot of that shit would make me a most agreeable lass... y'know what I'm saying?
Corporal Bendicio.
Please relay my order to Captain Serling's office; a pot of fresh coffee is to be brought to Lieutenant Miller's room, on the double.
Lieutenant Miller, ma'am, where --
On the chair,
Yes ma'am.
Right away,
Yo, Corporal....
What's with the look?
Begging your pardon, Lieutenant...
You've.... been the topic of some conversations, lately...
Jedi mind powers?
Dismissed, Corporal.
Thank you, Sir.
Oh, and Corporal? I'd like some cream with that coffee. The real thing, not that non-dairy shit.
Yes ma'am.
Is she out of the room, Lieutenant?
I trust you realize, if you'd pulled this shit with me on any other day but today, you'd be stuffing your guts back up your asshole right now. But as you've guessed, Lieutenant, today's a special day. Probably the last day I -.
Yes, General.
Was there something in that gas that's destroying my nervous system?
No, Lieutenant. For the record, you are not dying.
At least....
no faster than the rest of us.
There's something else in that gas... besides MDMA... Isn't there?
It contains a viral mutagen, Lieutenant.
...A biological agent designed to stimulate dendritic growth in the prefrontal orbital cortex... the so-called "empathy centers" of the brain.
Why doesn't the world know about about this?
Because, Lieutenant.....
The world hasn't asked.
The world knows that Extacine contains MDMA. That fact alone has generated enough moral panic that nobody has yet thought to ask what else is in Extacine.
Begging your pardon, General... I really want to throw your damn spider out the window.
I've been locked in meetings with President Gore's attorneys and think-tank geeks for the past week...
No Miller, I could not. I ate, slept, and showered in the White House for the past 6 days and nights. Even if I'd had a heart attack, they would have called in a medical team rather than let me out of their sight to go to a hospital.
They've been drilling me, Lieutenant, on the Official Lie I'm supposed to present as testimony to the Senate today.
Witnessing the birth of an Official Lie... it was like watching 500 eels fucking in a swimming pool full of snot.
I may be guilty of the sin of omission, Lieutenant... but I am not a liar.. .
Then what will you do, General? Subtext: why should I give a shit?
I will not go before the Senate, in the uniform of am Army general, and perjure myself in front of the American people..
I intend to disclose the full ingredients of Extacine gas.... the names of the biotech and pharmaceutical companies who created it... and the ethical thinking behind its deployment.
In uniform,
sir, or in a straightjacket?
You're coming home tomorrow.
....You will officially be a member
of the Army General Staff. Congratulations, Lieutenant!
Your Afghanistan tour is officially over. From here on out, you'll be fighting terror from the comfort of the Army Research Institute* in Alexandria, Virginia.

* U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences
Ever been to Alexandria, Lieutenant? You'll like it. Great blues club on King Street. And as soon as our schedules allow it, I plan to take you and your parents to dinner at Bullfeathers. Best damn steak on the east coast!
Been a long time since you've had a steak, I bet, eh Lieutenant?
Aaahhh... Lieutenant...
I know you've never been the.... gushy type.... But... I had expected this news might make you just a tiny bit happier.
Since I inhaled that Extacine gas at Malak-Jin, pretty much everything makes me happy now. .

I don't get angry much anymore. When I do, it takes a concerted effort for me to stay angry.
So before I lose that precious edge, there's something I really need to say now, General:
Fuck you.
You're here because you need something from me, General.
Say again --
Am I dying,
Lieutenant.... Do you really think the Army wouldn't tell you if you were dying?
That's not what I asked you.
You're telling me the U.S.A. is conducting biological warfare in Afghanistan?...
If you define "warfare" as "destroying the enemy's will to fight..."
Whatever sins I may have committed in the defense of democracy, I will atone for today. I promise you that.
I'm glad.
Miller, you've got the rest of your life to hate me. I've only got two hours before I have to testify.
"Locked"? You could have left anytime you wanted.
They don't ask, we don't tell.
But most importantly... I intend to make an emotionally compelling case for why I believe it's a good thing.
The only thing I expect today is to be wheeled off the Senate floor on a stretcher.
I hope we haven't sunk so low that you expect me to congratulate you for being honest, General.
I'm glad you think I'm joking.
The exact same insanity I stayed in the Army after My Lai to prevent from ever happening again.
Where... do I fit into all this again, General?.
As to why you should give a shit, Lieutenant... This "hearing" is being orchestrated by men in the Pentagon who want me gone so they can launch an old-fashioned punitive war against the Afghan people.
Bombs, Lieutenant...
falling on the heads of those people you're watching out your window right now. Search-and-destroy missions. Whole villages gunned down and pounded to gravel.
I can't tell the whole truth unless I know the whole truth.
And the piece of the puzzle I'm lacking is your account of what happened to you at Malak-Jin.
Aren't there.... videos you can watch, General? Didn't.... hundreds of tiny robots.... film me from every possible angle?
Not good enough, Miller.
I've been watching the spider/hover videos of you all week long. All they show me are the externals.
What I need to know, Lieutenant, is what happened inside your head that night.
Do you know the one thing in this universe that truly terrifies me?
No, but that's a good guess.
What scares me, General, is the possibility that someday I might not be a soldier.
So long as you have a pulse, Miller, that day will never come. Trust me on this.
We who choose a life in the military are extremophile mutants. Spiritually or genetically, we were born different from other humans.
We're adapted to life on the fractal edges of Civilization... We're happiest when we're confronting the demons of this world head-on.
Lieutenant... The night of August 9, you were forced to do a terrible thing to get out of that canyon alive.
The person you killed... should never have been in the combat zone to begin with. And it didn't help matters that you were tripping on empathogens when you pulled the trigger.
Good morning, sir.
Got a problem here, General....
But I'd only be worried about you if you weren't traumatized... If you weren't horrified.
And Lieutenant... Even though the doctors warned me not to bring this up... I do have to point out...
You've killed in combat before.
Back in 1999...
When you liberated the rape camp in Miljevina...
Did you feel especially traumatized when you shot those six guards?

Just annoyed.

Mutherfuckers done what I told them to do, they'd be alive today, beatin' their meat in a Dutch prison.
But no.
They had something to prove.
Left me no choice but to drop 'em.
You never saw the whites of their eyes.
No sir. I was on nightvision. They went down like green ghosts in a video game.
They called you
"The Celicianator"
after that night.
General, I was under a lot of pressure on that mission. First all-woman commando raid. Had to shine like a star. For the sisters. Couldn't afford to fuck up.
I couldn't allow myself to be....
distracted... by what I saw in that place....
"War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it."* The first half of that statement is still true...
And that's what we're doing in Afghanistan... Using every technology at our disposal..
Nobody has made more sacrifices... or taken more risks in this endeavor... than you have, Lieutenant.
You've consistently made the Armed Forces proud.
General... What if I told you the woman you decorated for bravery 3 years ago...
You're going to decide I belong in the loony bin.
But as to the second half, we have to believe otherwise. We have to at least make the effort to refine war into something less cruel.
Once I tell you what happened in my head at Malak-Jin...

The Spiders: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.0

electric sheep comix
Am I dying, General?
...Then yes, Lieutenant. We are.
The possibility that love might not be enough?
Even when those demons appear... in the mirror?
I'd say... "that woman"... has been in the loony bin too long, stewing in her own post-traumatic juices....
I'd say that once you're back in uniform, back in your game, that woman will come roaring back with a vengeance...
What if I told you she died at Malak-Jin?
I hope you're right about that, General.
* Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, 1864
no longer exists?
But I have this feeling...