"Operation Birdsong was a highly classified program between the U.S. marines and the CIA. It was designed as a last resort of defense for our country in case of invasion. All the candidates selected for Operation Birdsong were selected by a strict set of requirements, all had to have the strongest possible will to survive, no matter what, each had to be physically or mentally stronger than normal, or both, and each had to be willing to give up everything."
"But most of these pictures are of children, General. And none of them look well enough to fight of a kitten, let alone an invading army."
The general nodded and looked up at the PowerPoint on the screen. "I'm aware of that, Mr. President, but that's why I'm talking to you about this. Everything with Operation Birdsong was working out great, until the new head of the CIA came to power."
The slide changed and showed the recently retired head, a tall man with a hawk nose and silver hair.
"Director Fagan was abusive and cruel, particularly to the child candidates."
The slide changed again to a girl who seemed to be three or four years old. She was pale, with skin stretched tightly over her thin bones. Her eyes were deeply sunken in and ringed in dark shadows. Stringy red hair hung around her face as she stared out from the slide.
"This is Renee Trivitt, called 'Ren' by a few other candidates. Director Fagan enjoyed torturing her the most. When the CIA and Marines took him down, she was trapped in a pit of snakes and spiders, and close to death from venomous bites. How she managed to survive was a mystery, she'd been in there for six weeks when we pulled her out."
"What was the pit like?" the president asked as he forced himself to look away from Ren's pale eyes.
"It was small, it was cramped, and it was pitch black. She lost her eyesight in light, but somehow the darker it gets, the better she can see. She can see perfectly fine in total darkness. She's also now immune to all spider and snake venom after her ordeal. She's been sent to a hospital and therapy to help her get through the trauma."
"How old is she, General?"
The general looked down at the papers on the desk. "Seven, sir."
"And her family?" the president asked as he looked back at the picture.
"Her parents are dead, but she'll be living with her aunt and uncle after she's released from the hospital."
The president nodded and the slide changed again, showing a young boy, around ten, and as malnourished as Ren. His pale skin made dark bruises seem even more livid. His piercing silver-grey eyes glared out from the picture. Oily, stringy black hair hung down in his eyes and fell to his shoulders.
"This is Tray Mitchell. He was with us when we rescued Ren. Director Fagan would beat him with chains and leather whips. He'd also cut him all over with a blade as this as paper, let him heal, and then cut him again in the same places. This left scars by the time we rescued him."
"What happened to Director Fagan?" the president asked as he leaned back his chair.
"He was sent to prison for life, but if Ren isn't healed soon, if Tray's mental and physical trauma isn't fixed, and depending on the welfare of all the others he abused and tortured, it is very possible that he could be out on trial for attempted manslaughter or murder in the first degree and given the death penalty."
The president shook his head. "I want this man killed."
"Sir?" the general asked.
"You heard me, General. I fought in World War III, and every war between then and now, and never have I seen anything even remotely similar to what I've seen now. He's guilty of war crimes worse than anything I've seen."
"Yes, Mr. President," the general answered with a small nod. "May I continue?"
The president nodded and attempted to listen about the accounts of the others who'd been tortured, but his mind kept wandering back to the young girl and boy he'd first seen.