Fiction: Unchained

Kent Dahlgren
14 min readJan 1, 2021


Looking back, it’s hard to put a finger on how it happened.

The point is: it just did.

And despite the palatable sense of desperation emanating from within the opaque strata of “senior management,” fast-tracking a bottomless pit of funding which has fueled the legions of loremasters like myself in the many ironically-named “post-mortem” analyses…short of rewinding the tapestry and going back in time, that genie is just not going to go back into the bottle.

Not willingly.

And, also, heh: genie, singular. As if to suggest there was just one, and oh how I do love the “genie” as metaphor, to suggest that there were three wishes, and with them: great peril.

How it began

Didn’t I just say it’s not known precisely how it happened? Ha! Perhaps I misstated.

Because the intelligence community in general is not known for its rational consistency, everyone knows how it happened, without even thinking very hard.

They just don’t know where and when they should have stopped their exploration.

How it happened: research budgets afforded nearly infinite resources to explore a near-infinite variety of fantastic pursuits, and it didn’t take long before the mumbo jumbo domain of metaphysics (psychic powers) merged with research from the domain of “battlefield futures.”

Which sounds ridiculous, right?

Of course the government is providing secret funding in pursuit of a desire to call upon the wisdom of soldiers that are technically deceased, while millions of its own citizens are driven from their homes and into the streets.

You heard me right: somewhere along the line, some researcher felt that corresponding with dead soldiers was a pursuit “worth exploring.”

And not just that, but corresponding with dead soldiers for the explicit purpose of creating better ones, which is just about as macabre as it sounds.

It’s not difficult to imagine that the interviews went something like this:

“Hello. We are alive, and you are dead. Thanks for coming to our séance. We’d like you to help us teach soldiers who are still alive how to be better than you were, so they don’t get killed.”

Of course, I don’t have access to all the material, but according to documents within my purview as a loremaster, there have been forays into this domain of “speaking with the dead” since the dawn of civilization, but it wasn’t truly systemized until the mid-20th century, in the years following WWII.

The work toiled along on a relative shoestring budget for a few years, but then there appeared to be a rich branch of knowledge from “eastern thought” that was grafted in by the late 1950’s, and with it: a steady annual increase in research resources.

It’s not my intention to bore you with an exhaustive tour of all which transpired. Believe me: there are other loremasters who are more than willing than I am to take you down that rat hole.

Let’s cut to the quick.

Somewhere along the way, and apparently by happenstance, a research team encountered something called a “necromancer” in what they call “the wild,” and “among the natives.”

Given the furrow upon your brow, I sense that it’s time for me to pause and introduce some necessary vocabulary, so we are understanding one another.

“In the wild” and “among the natives” is how the researchers within the intelligence community had come to refer to people who are naturally gifted in the hocus pocus art of metaphysics, and these people are loosely referred to as “natives,” not to suggest in any manner that these people were from the indigenous community, although that’s frequently where they were sourced.

A “necromancer” is how they describe a person who can work with someone who is technically dead, although my own research on the nomenclature finds this definition to be ambiguous and inconsistent with what I’ve seen elsewhere.

In any case, there was a research team that began collaboration with a person they described as a “native necromancer,” and this person opened a communication channel with a solider that had been killed in Afghanistan, just a few years prior.

The documentation I’ve seen from that period is heavily redacted, but given the context of what happened next, I believe this is what happened:

The sessions with the deceased soldier enabled the team to validate the claimed veracity of the connection, possibly because the necromancer conveyed certain details known only to a few persons, including the man who had been killed.

Yeah, I’m also a little skeptical, to be honest. Just bear with me, because things get really weird in a hurry.


For reasons of expediency, I’m going to share a bunch of information at once, and will back-track and provide some necessary definitions, as necessary.

The documents suggest the “native necromancer” was considered important because he claimed to have been what he described a “demonic soul” in a past life.

To understand why this is important, one must entertain belief in reincarnation, if only for theoretical purposes.

Consistent with the musings of the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the belief in reincarnation suggests that our consciousnesses are not bound to our physical bodies, and our “souls” cycle in and out of this world as we are born into new bodies, in pursuit of what some call a “spiritual evolution,” so to speak.

According to the documents and video-recorded sessions within my purview, the “native necromancer” described the human nervous system and our “gut bacteria” as how our energetic souls “drove our meat suit,” in his words.

I’ve seen no photos of this “native necromancer” — everything pertaining to his precise identity has been heavily redacted — but it’s not difficult to imagine him being short, slovenly, crude, and surly. He must have felt right at home among the spooks who breathlessly hung on his every word.

In the interviews I’ve seen, he describes how a sliver of our conscious energies pierce into our dimension and intersect with a physical body along a spectrum of energy that some commonly refer to as our “chakras,” but in parsing his words he seems almost disdainful of how poorly the notion of “seven chakras” communicates how nuanced and precise these connections actually are.

In what is elsewhere described as the “eerily coarse but flat voice of the deceased soldier,” the “native necromancer” relates the following in one video-recorded session:

“Imagine you awaken in a home you’ve never visited before. Until you leave the house, it is nearly impossible to discern what region in the United States you are, because at that low scale, everything looks more or less the same.

You walk out the house’s front door, and looking at the plants, you can form a hypothesis about what region you are in, but until you follow the streets to the major arteries, and until you interact with the outside world, you could be in Arizona, or you could be in California, or Texas. It’s hard to know for sure until you zoom out far enough.

So it is with the chakras.”

Elsewhere, it was reported:

“The chakras are a useful abstraction for teaching the general concept to large numbers of people in a deterministic manner, but they are not precise; who’s there to describe the almost infinitely detailed manner that the heart chakra overlaps with the throat chakra, and vise-versa?”

The “native necromancer” goes on to describe how, as a past life “demonic soul,” the more precise insights he had about the energies enabled him to learn how to press his own soul energies into the nooks and crannies of another living person, forcing their energies out in favor of his own.

I just want to restate this, so there is no misunderstanding about what I’m saying:

The “native necromancer” describes how he (meaning: his “soul,” or his energetic consciousness) would “forcibly inhabit the body of another,” referencing knowledge gained in prior lifetimes.

I’m a well-compensated loremaster, but I’ll acknowledge that it’s above my pay range to suggest the following: maybe this is when they should have terminated their research.

Anyway, they didn’t.

It seems that the “native necromancer’s” absurd claims sparked an equally absurd idea: what if we could “resurrect” our best soldiers, placing their energetic souls back into flesh?

We could leverage their wisdom to create far more effective soldiers!

Because of course they wanted to do that, and anyway: that’s what happened, according to what I’ve seen, although I’m still not sure I believe it.

The redactions get sloppy through this era of the documentation, and although it was clearly intended to obfuscate his identity, in at least two places I’ve seen the name “Sergeant Tilston” referenced, who had died in Afghanistan in 2010.

In a long series of interviews which occurred over the course of months, the “native necromancer” opened a dialogue with the deceased soul of Sergeant Tilston, and through the exchange of information known only to a few persons, he was able to verify his identity.

Hey, I’m just reporting what I’ve encountered in my research. Don’t ask me to defend this information as truthful, but this provides a compelling insight into what’s happened to the world’s militaries these past few years. Bear with me.

During the interviews, the “native necromancer” seems to have taught Sergeant Tilston a more nuanced and disciplined use of his energetic expression, and after about six months the team claims to have succeeded in guiding Tilston back towards what they eerily call “resurrection.”

I’ve never been much for religion, but every time I see the word “resurrect” in these archives, my hair stands on end, and don’t even ask me to describe the dreams I’ve had.

Anyway, let’s just be precisely clear what the document archives suggest occurred:

A team assembled from the intelligence community and the military entered into collaboration with a private citizen describing himself as a “necromancer,” and they taught a solider who had been dead for over ten years how to occupy the flesh of someone who is still living.

And to be absolutely clear: this technically means that they killed a person in the process, assuming their own beliefs were predictable or justified in the details as described in the archives within my domain have any merit.

If Sergeant Tilston was successful in forcing his way into someone else’s body, this means that the person who was henceforth occupying that same body is now no longer in flesh, which is what we more commonly describe as “dead.”

It’s hard to imagine this is the same government that claims to have an interest in solving the riddle of what causes post traumatic stress, you know?

Regardless, according to the months of articles, documents, and archival material I’ve examined, the experience seems to have been a success, aside from pervasive systemic inflammatory troubles reported by the reborn Sergeant Tilston, which the “native necromancer” said is normal.

The first indications of trouble begin to manifest in about month seven of the project.

At first, and almost as an aside, there’s some a small bit of commentary about “contention” and “instability” among the first, second, and third-degree contacts with the soldier whose body had been chosen for the resurrected Sergeant Tilston.

Of course, the man whose body was not being “driven” by Sergeant Tilston was afforded no contact with anyone from his past, the soldier chosen had already been isolated from family and friends for precisely this reason.

Nonetheless, babies and small children within his circles began to express inflammatory issues and irritability, as well as periodic episodes of anger. There’s a description of one young boy, aged four and previously described as having a gentle temperament, throwing his arms, violently thrashing, and screaming “leave me alone!”

Nothing was thought of it at first, but in a pinned, cross-referenced report dated four years later, a researcher from an team adjacent to mine observed that the resurrected Sergeant Tilston was able to stabilize his own inflammatory issues at almost precisely the same time as similar issues manifested within the “halo” of his first, second, and third degree connections.

The researcher responsible for the later report posited that Sergeant Tilston’s energetic expression (his “soul”) was reaching out and seizing energetic support from those he could most easily utilize (the young), and as a chilling aside, the same researcher noted that the first, second, and third degree connections to the deceased Sergeant Tilston were also reporting the same symptoms, during the same time period.

The ratio appeared to be about 30:1, implying that the post-resurrection stabilization of Sergeant Tilston necessitated the sustained reliance upon about 30 other private citizens, mostly babies and young children, but in some reports there’s the suggestion that some of these people were driven to drug and alcohol use, and some committed suicide, obviously without knowledge of why they became suddenly destabilized.

I don’t know what to do with that kind of information, to be honest.

The researchers were apparently too enamored with their progress to consider the potential negative implications, and continued their research with great enthusiasm, for there’s a few months of steady progress reports until about 13 months into the project.

It’s my theory that this is when it dawned on the researchers that Sergeant Tilston may have been pursuing his own agenda.

I mean, who can blame him? He’d been dead over a decade, and then he’s coaxed into forcibly occupying the flesh of another, effectively killing that person.

It’s not that he hadn’t been trained to kill or that he hadn’t killed before. With the encouragement and instruction of his superior officers, he “killed” a brother in arms for no solid reason other than their greedy curiosity.

In a brief cascade of communiques it becomes clear that they researchers realized they had a problem on their hands: they can’t actually kill Sergeant Tilston, because he now knows how to step back into someone else’s body.

This knowledge was all the more concerning because the “native necromancer” had died without any rational explanation: a sudden cerebral hemorrhage, whereas in the most recent flight physical, he had demonstrated no health issues.

With rising alarm, the later documents suggest that there were more “resurrections” among the population of private citizens that were normally called “natives,” and from there: the entire thing devolves into panic and chaos.

Was Sergeant Tilston teaching other deceased soldiers how to “resurrect?”

Was the “native necromancer” responsible? Do we know his agenda?

What happened?

Which is how myself and countless other “loremasters” were hired and brought in to conduct the “post-mortems,” and determine what we could possibly do about it.

I don’t know if this is how my experience and research dovetails with the stories that have come to dominate the news these past few months, but, god damn: it’s a fricken apocalypse out there, and the governments clearly no longer have any control over their soldiers.

Or almost more like: as soon as they do, the soldiers … seemingly become someone else, with their own agenda, and this has happened to a few leaders as well.

I don’t know any other way to describe what’s happened, can you?

I can’t speak of any of this with my peers, for fear I’ll lose my security clearance, but in what’s probably been the most lucid and logical conversation I’ve had on this topic, I spoke with a homeless vet one evening in the park.

I don’t know why I was drawn to him, or rather: as I recall, there was something in his eyes that I found disarming, or familiar (he reminded me of my grandpa, who had died when I was a teen, honestly), and before I knew it, we had spoke for hours, well into the night.

He was a veteran, as so many of our homeless are, and he’d described how one “takes the oath” to “protect and serve this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

He said that the oath doesn’t mean as much when you’re 19 as it does when you’re 40 or 50, and although you may leave your term of service, you never really recant or “untake” the oath.

He described how so many veterans have a deep loyalty to the people of their respective countries, but not to their governments, many of which are apparently in the exclusive service of the super-wealthy.

It was his theory that this phenomena of chaos was actually quite orderly, depending upon perspective: he’d noted that life had generally improved for the poor, and definitely to the detriment of those loyal to the rich, including the governments.

True, they didn’t have more monetary resources, but the people were definitely working in greater harmony with one another, even if the economies had collapsed in shambles.

The way he saw it, the global phenomena of soldiers who had “gone rogue” was actually something akin to “guardian angels” sent to “restore order to a system that had become a cancer.”

I don’t know.

There’s certainly some fitness to what he said, but this has been ghastly, and the scale and scope of what’s happened is without precedent in human affairs.

There’s something he said that I can’t stop thinking about.

He said “there’s those among us who have the ability to see and cage those who do not belong, and rest assured brother, they are doing their work.”

Now, look: like I said, we spoke for hours, and a lot was said, but what I just shared came to me with great lucidity in a dream a month or so later, and now I can’t stop thinking about his words.

“There’s those among us who have the ability to see and cage those who do not belong, and rest assured brother, they are doing their work.”

This really got under my skin, and eventually I tried to go back and look at a document I’d previously seen that now piqued my interest.

I was alarmed to realize the document was now almost entirely redacted.

I requested access to the original, and my request was denied, and I was scolded by my manager, so all I have to go on is that which I can glean from memory.

I recall an interview with the “native necromancer” who spoke of a group of people capable of “discerning” the presence of a “demonic soul,” and possessing the metaphysical tools necessary to cage or trap them so they are no longer able to occupy the flesh of others.

Naturally I thought this was just nonsense, but like I said: I’m still not even sure I believe that any of this metaphysical mumbo jumbo is real in the first place.

But, as private citizens, at what point do we start entertaining our own contingency plans? Because the government isn’t doing anything beyond circling the wagons.

Consider this: supposing that the “native necromancer” was telling the truth. What’s the government up to?

Are they trying to find these people, capable of “discerning and caging” the demonic spirits? Are they trying to cage the souls of Sergeant Tilston and the “native necromancer?”

Or are they still riding the wave of their madness and encouraging more and more possessions to create an army they have no more hope of controlling? What possible deals could they make to “fix” this situation?

Or are they trying to destroy those who are able to discern their presence, and have them caged?

It’s hard to know what’s real, and what’s not real, but this has been pure madness.

I keep going back to this: at what precise point did the researchers take leave of their wisdom and sanity in their vain pursuit to claim victory over death?

What if death itself is a gift, designed to clip the wings of our great ego, and limit our impact upon others within our world?

I don’t know, but I keep hoping the answer can be found within the archives of documents within my purview as a loremaster. Candidly I’m prepared to pursue the solution to this riddle whether or not I’m paid or even authorized to do so, for upon reflection I’ve come to realize that I too take an oath, during my lengthy discussion with the homeless man.

I’m beginning to realize that this might be why I am here, you know?

My whole life I’ve felt as if each endeavor was merely a form of on-the-job training, preparing me for something. I don’t know what, but it felt important.

Well, I think this is it.



Kent Dahlgren

Product management fix-it guy. World-famous people skills. Extremely small hands. (edit) marketing lady says I’m also supposed to say “CEO of software company”