“Section 6” is the title of a short story I wrote in 2006. It takes place in a near-future United States and revolves around a counter-terrorism task force whose primary focus is on domestic terrorism, the titular unit being the focus of the story. Much of this first story was inspired by the series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the 2006 film Casino Royale, and the NBC series Law & Order. In tone the story was originally conceived as something of a dark comedy, exploring the absurdity of politics in the United States and the legacy of the War on Terror, particularly laws like the Patriot Act, the increasing use of executive actions by the President, and the privatization of military force through companies like DynCorp, KBR, and Blackwater. At the time I was writing the story, the George W. Bush administration was two years into its second term and Barrack Obama was not yet a household name. I wanted to explore a world in which the powers for combating terrorism created following 9/11 were being used under a “third-term” Republican administration for domestic terrorism, not realizing at the time that a Republican would not win the White House in 2008. I have since renamed this story “Anesidora” after the goddess who opened the proverbial box of evils.
Almost immediately after completing the first story, a sequel took form, this one grander in scale and far darker than the first. The story took on the name “Caelius” fairly quickly, being named for the code name used by Cicero in reference to some scheme he claimed to have devised at the start of the civil war of 49 BCE. Although I never completed the story, I drafted many of the key scenes and outlined the vast majority of it. It was inspired by the expanding war with drug cartels in Mexico, rising tensions with Russia in Georgia, and the status of immigrants and minorities within the United States in the final years of the Bush administration. As before, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex served as part inspiration, with the latter season 2nd GIG and the movie Solid State Society providing inspirations not yet available at the time of the first story. Little did I realize how relevant these concerns would remain.
One characteristic of the world of Section 6 is the presence of a President who works under the control of his Cabinet. With the recent election of a President who seems to be, at times, operating on the whim of his own circle of personal advisors, the two stories have taken on a certain amount of renewed relevance. Much has changed in the intervening decade since I first penned the story, and consequently allusions to BlackBerries, Joint Forces Command, and a litany of other anachronism have been or will be revised. I will also have to add in greater uses of smartphones and drones, technologies which we now take for granted, but which even in 2006 were not yet as ubiquitous as they have become in 2017. Of interest, the disturbingly similar circumstances and events which inspired the story — particularly “Caelius” — have remained consistent parts of our lives down to the present day, which means that much of the substance which I wrote then remains, for better or for worse, unchanged.