Watching the Days go by

Watching the Days go by
As it turned out, the wedding was set for two Sundays after the first group of Chimps returned from their off-campus training. What Frederick had shared with Mark and Darcy during their absence was that he envisioned the chimps being flown in a large army cargo aircraft to somewhere in the Deep South.
What he described to them sounded as if they were getting military training. Upon their return, they confirmed that they had been given a primate equivalent of “boot camp” that initially centered around following orders and conducting relatively benign maneuvers as a group.
They ate as a group, exercised as a group, slept in common quarters, and followed several trainers’ instructions, which included wearing helmets with video cameras while patrolling forest perimeters searching for human intruders who had been assigned to infiltrate their territory.
They were taught to activate an alarm when they initially discovered the invaders as well as how to capture and subdue them, including immobilization techniques and flex-cuffs, all done unarmed and without harm to the captives.
They were also taught how to follow a wrist-watch sort of GPS map that each of them was given to coordinate group maneuvers. The trainers had not expected it to work quite as successfully as it did, although they did notice that the chimps were more inclined to follow their instincts than the exact directions of the map.
They often cut through designated paths to utilize more direct routes, for instance, and actually anticipated several of the maneuvers better than the trainers thought possible.
It was considered a mixed success insofar as they worked very well as a group, and were generally quite enthusiastic about following orders and instructions, but were sometimes unpredictable because of their penchant for improvising, even when it worked better than the designated plans.
The trainers were not prepared to recognize intuition amongst their test subjects, largely because they did not possess it themselves.
Sebastian Lodge was kept informed of the progress of the group and seemed to indulge himself in a certain glee about only informing Mark and the other researchers about the nature, extent, or details of the experiments on a very limited basis.
When questioned, he would smirk and put a finger to his lips and mouth the phrase “Need to know” if pressed to divulge anything Lodge did not care to share with the Mark and the trainers.
Interestingly enough, the chimps generally enjoyed the entire adventure, the exercise, the outdoors, and the break from the monotony of telemarketing.
There had been a few isolated instances of rebelliousness or disobedience that had been mitigated with either tranquilizer darts or Tasers. The incidents made a lasting impression on the chimps, who were deeply disturbed by the use of punishment as a form of control, which was something to which they had never been subjected before.
Another group was sent out immediately after the return of the first group. The trainers were told to anticipate this schedule until all the chimps were eventually rotated through the first round of training. They were also told there would be additional rounds of training sessions off-campus in the coming months.
What was not anticipated was how poorly the chimps would acclimate themselves back into their old positions at PharmaCorp. As much as Mark had been suspicious of the intentions of “The Corporation” when the off-campus training began, he understood why the chimps preferred it to the “research” they were conducting for PharmaCorp, which he had already noted, was far too much like a “job” that stifled and victimized the primates to maximize corporate profits.
The real dilemma was that he could not discuss it with Lodge because he was not even supposed to know about it in the first place, and he did not intend to show his hand as far as his sources of information, although it is doubtful that Lodge would have been willing to accept that the test subjects had communicated any of this to Frederick, or that Frederick had leaked this to Mark. Were he to say anything at all, it would trigger too much suspicion and probably get him thrown off the project.
Although Mark and Darcy discussed it extensively, they decided to take the information to the rest of the group to ponder.
As researchers who were personally involved with their test subjects they were disturbed and offended that what was being done was to prepare the primates for some kind of military training.
Charles was the first to point out that canines are routinely used by both the Police and Military services. The chimps were enjoying the break from the soul-killing monotony of telemarketing, and this might represent a breakthrough for the status of the primates.
Think about it…because of their police service, specially trained canines were legally considered law-enforcement officers, who are never charged with excessive use of force or held accountable for doing anything other than what they were told to do. To resist or harm a police canine constitutes charges of Assault on a Police Officer, which is a serious felony.
No such sort of recognition or status has ever been bestowed upon any primate. Perhaps military service would enable them to “climb the ladder” within our social order.
It generally takes a changed paradigm of public opinion to effect any changes in our society.
It has only been in the last few years that the use of higher primates (especially chimps) for medical research has been banned by most countries in the world.
Ash argued that the same sort of logic could be used to justify the slavery of Africans as a free trip to America. Once sentience is introduced into the equation, it is questionable to justify any activity that does not include the free will and choice of the participant.
The rest of the evening was devoted to planning the wedding and making arrangements for Mark and Darcy to move into the Sanctuary.
Charles and Suki already owned their home, but it was understood that they could move onto the premises at any time, or even build their own quarters on the property if they chose. They were still considering their options and in no rush.
Although the presentation of the Church officers (wedding) would be a public event scheduled for the Sunday service so as to accommodate Frederick’s presence, the reception would start in the Sanctuary and eventually move to the rectory for the rest of the evening.
Select members were invited to the reception at the Sanctuary following the service, but only the members of the group (minus Frederick) would be in attendance at the rectory. As it was, they planned for Frederick (and Stan) to be around until at least seven o’clock.
Frederick was greatly missed over the last several months since he was only allowed off-campus for the Sunday services, but Mark and Darcy planned that they were going to petition Sebastian G. Lodge to allow them to take him off-campus for entire weekends once they were moved.
The argument was that the increased human social contact would be beneficial to Frederick, and could be well documented by Darcy, and that he could be transported by Stanley Linderman to and from the facilities, ostensibly to protect the interests of “The Corporation”.
The property surrounding the Sanctuary was a well-controlled and protected habitat that would help to provide a nurturant and supportive environment. Because Frederick had not chosen a mate, it would give him (and Lilith and Malkira) a break from his enforced isolation.
It was hoped that it might sublimate the frustration and violence that often begins to appear in chimps kept in captivity beyond about the five-year mark by providing a social network and interaction with a larger group of individuals. Frederick’s case was unique indeed, due to his Chimp/Bonobo hybrid status as a self-proclaimed “Bonanzee” who really had no peers.

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