Ask Dr. Eldritch

Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!

Dear Dr. Eldritch,
Do you have any experience with controlling spectral intelligence agents? If we don't reacquire our assets, the terrorists may win.

You see, I work for the Extreme Solutions section of an intelligence agency (you know I can't say which one). We're the group assigned after failure by Black Ops and Dirty Tricks (but I'm not saying that they exist). We received a directive to explore means whereby intelligence could be gathered from hostile foreign governments and terrorist cells without risk of detection or compromise.

To achieve this, several hand-picked elite agents were given intensive language and reconnaissance training and were subsequently transitioned to a metabolically inactive state. We then used paranormal communication specialists to make contact with them and direct the operatives to specified targets. Initially this worked very well, they were able to penetrate any location without detection and relay back key intelligence.

As the program progressed, however, the operatives became difficult to mange, requiring extensive coaxing to engage a mission. When they were convinced to perform their function, information returned was less and less useful. For example, one operator penetrated a terrorist cell, but subsequently only described to the para-comm specialist how drops of water condensed on a soft-drink can and sparkled in the sunlight. We've tried to remind them of their duty and sworn oaths to protect the country, but they lack motivation and commitment.

Can you please help us? The country will be in your debt (not that we would admit it).

-- Code Name "Necromancer"

Dear "Necromancer,"

Excuse me? "Transitioned to a metabolically inactive state"? You killed your own agents and sent their ghosts to spy on people!?! Forgive me for being blunt, but Great Zanthor On Toast! What the hell is wrong with you?

This is why I don't work for governments any more. Something happens to the brains of "intelligence" agents. They seem rational at first, but then start spouting off about omelettes as if breaking an egg was morally no different than killing people that work for them! What is it with that? It's not like an unfertilized embryo has devoted years of its life to building a career, making friends, possibly raising a family. Perhaps if the saying was "You can't make an omelette without betraying a loyal and idealistic human being who is just trying to do their job," then you people wouldn't be so quick to "transition to a metabolically..."; no, I can't bring myself to say that.

Why is it when someone says "sacrifices must be made," they're never the one expecting to make the sacrifice? Maybe you should take the trip to the Other Side and have a chat with your intractable assets. Buses leave regularly, just find one and step in front of it! What's the matter? Suddenly lost your taste for omelettes?

My advice? Stop bothering them! Oaths made while living don't carry over to the Next Realm, except those of mythic caliber. And being killed by the very government that one is sworn to protect is a sufficient escape clause for such a covenant. Political manipulation and power struggles may seem dreadfully important to you, but the No-Longer-Living have radically different priorities. They don't care any more! Leave them alone!

While you're at it, never write to me again, unless it's to tell me you've seen the error of your ways and have quit the intelligence community and are now doing good works for orphans and kittens. And don't lie to me. I'll know.

Good luck, and let me know how it comes out! Shove off.

- Dr. Eldritch

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2005 Evan M. Nichols