markl  
Thu, Jul 26, 2007
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A Request
Project: Designing Science Fiction Scenarios
It is a victory that you’re seeing me on your browser. I speak to you from high orbit, 22,000 miles above your planet, your planet because I walked away from it rather than admit I was wrong.

You can see me but I can’t see you, we don’t have the two-ways here, but it is beautiful, to hear the voices of those of you who are here. How many of you?

Forty-four online, right now. Okay, or is it this sixty-four thousand odd? No that’s… that’s the number of connections. Okay, so forty-four, now it just went up to forty-five.

RESPONSES:

FORTY-FIVE AND WE’RE LOCKING. YOU’VE GOT THE ROOM

I don’t completely understand how this all works, I understand though there may be hundreds, thousands, or even millions of you who will, well, who are now seeing this because this was sent to you after, and you’ll get to make your choices too.

Well I love you Nguyen, for your courage. It’s a little scary to make this request of you, having never actually spoken to you, just seeing your face that one time in the old soccer stadium next to Our Great Leader. You are the spirit of the Accountables even with many of them not knowing what you were up to, braving their judgment right along with the rest of the world’s for years.

RESPONSES:

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?

So when I was little, I believed it when they said there were bad people. I yelled at Mum and Pa when I knew they were thinking things. I was strong and I loved to be the one at the front of the parade waving one of the big flags and making all the other kids jealous. I felt like a star with the youth brigades marching behind me and adults with Kalashnikovs and RPGs and banners and bodies of the fallen behind them and the chanting crowds. I too loved the smell of fear, and I thought it my greatest day when Our Great Leader himself took my hand on his birthday and declared me a symbol of a new generation and the rebirth of our people. When I was five I believed my teachers when they said that Our Great Leader was going to CLEAN THE STREETS, and I suppose he sort of did.
I was right there with the youth chants, burning foreign books as grownups gave them to us and they said they envied us because we got real uniforms.
By 8 I raided, looking for old stuff and things written in foreign languages even though we couldn’t read. And I was proud of it. We burned old women’s mattresses; we pushed illegal satellite TVs through skyscraper windows I felt powerful because I could make the grownups do something I thought was…

RESPONSES:

A LITTLE PITCHY… ARE YOU TRYING TO CONVINCE US OF SOMETHING?

RELAX. WE’RE WITH YOU. JUST BE WITH US. YOU DON’T HAVE TO...

WE DON’T NEED THE WHOLE STORY. THES TORY ISNT GOING 2 BE WHAT INSPIRES US. STOP FOR TEN SECONDS, CLOSE YOUR EYES AND RELAX

Okay, what then? What is going to have you hear me?

JUST THAT. YOUR BEING REAL. NOT TRYING. THIS IS WHO YOU ARE ; ) PS WERE GLAD 2 HAVE YOU

Okay, I’m calling down because this is all I can do. The only thing I can do so you can know what’s in my heart. I want to give to all of you. I want to make a promise to you, and it would be honor me if you’d relate to me as accountable for it. Accountable like I’m willing to be judged and even killed. It would be an honor to me for you to hear my promise, and to relate to me like it’s going to happen.

I’ve been an accomplice to murder. I lived for a lie, and I lived for a country, and for an opinion that wasn’t even mine, and when I knew it I still did it, and when I looked down on those swirling clouds and seas, it was all washed from all of us here, and I’m going to have it be possible for everyone on Earth to know that experience.

I do want you to know where we came from, where I came from, because that will show you how amazing it was, and how we stopped.

RESPONSES: OKAY

When I was 9, they told us at the youth chapter about Eleventh Hour and how it was more dangerous than the regular internet, it was actually Satanic, so they were shutting everything down. Then Salvador, one of the youngest boys cried in his bunk because he’d be blocked from his shooter games. Those were illegal too but they’d let us have them anyway. We took him behind the house, hung him by his feet and beat them until he could no longer walk. This is the kind of people we were.

RESPONSES: WHAT KIND OF PERSON DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? WHAT DID THAT MAKE YOU?

Horrible, a monster, and it got worse. Mum said no but Pa said yes when they told us we could go to the desert, to the border, and I volunteered. I pretended it would be like school camp and we’d get to sing all the songs all the time but I really knew it wouldn’t be like that and when I got there it was… the Golden Army had thousands of foreigners naked in cages there and they fed them 300 calories a day.

RESPONSES: ARE YOU A MONSTER?

RESPONSES: HELLO?

I’m going to look at the Earth again.

RESPONSES: IF YOU WERE A MONSTER WOULD YOU BE HERE WITH US?

I stood guard over a couple of brits who’d smuggled mobiles into the camp somehow and got them to work. The second week I was there, one of them held his up to the wire for me to see it. The screen was cracked but I could hear this woman, “By 2030, all people will have the choice of literacy.” I just covered my ears, but my big fat bunkmate shot the guy without a thought. The guy just looked at us for three minutes and then he shot him again, dead.

RESPONSES:

SO IF YOURE A MONSTER, THEN WHY ARE YOU HERE WITH US?

I guess I am not a monster. (Crying)

RESPONSES:

SOUNDS LIKE YOU WER TERRIFIED WHYD YOU STAY IN IT, GO TO SPACE FOR IT?

I should have my wife tell you, she said it good.

RESPONSES:

YOU HAVE A WIFE?

Well, I don’t know. It didn’t feel like a wife until today. Up here on the station, Our Great Leader had this big ceremony, where he said we’d be granted manhood and wives. I don’t know what day it was since all you could see of outside is the sun making the tubes glow though you couldn’t ever actually see out because they had a radiation film over them and they always glowed the same. We went into his personal ring and had a big ceremony with a huge feast, probably most of the chickens in the Barn Rings and each boy recited a verse from his Book. He declared we were warriors and the generals told us who our wives were.

RESPONSES:

HMMMM…. GOT IT. DO YOU SAY SHE’S YOUR WIFE? DOES SHE SAY YOU’RE HER HUSBAND?

I don’t know. It’s weird. I guess she never said so, either.

RESPONSES:

THAT’S WHAT MATTERS, THAT’S ANOTHER TOPIC THOUGH. GO ON. YOU WERE SAYING ABOUT WHY YOU STAYED WITH IT AND WENT TO SPACE.

Yeah, well first she just sat there in my quarters and stared at me for a long time. She wouldn’t even go to the diner and wouldn’t report for work until the bullies came for her. When she came back she looked at me straight and said how I was the big flag waver in the parades, but where’d it gotten me? She said how they were even going to turn the gravity off because Our Great Leader was so fat he couldn’t go off his ring otherwise and that we all just let it happen and pretend to believe all the bullshit because we’d all just rather come out here and die than admit we were wrong. We’d all dug ourselves in so deep that we had nowhere left to go. She said we’d probably find out if we lived that nothing had even happened to Earth.
I fought her so hard. I beat her all over the cube first. We’d both heard him say before the launch how he had 30 nukes and how he was going to cleanse everything, get rid of the devil. When we went up in the rocket they told us to close the windows and we saw flashes outside under the window covers that could have been anything. We’d just wanted to believe so bad, we were in so deep.
The enemy – you – were horrible because when I saw you for real you were just like us, in fact the ones I saw were starving and dying in cages and slaves. There had to be something horrible behind you, some kind of monsters I hadn’t seen. And it especially didn’t make sense because we had the bombs and weapons and cameras and police. You just had invisible stuff. I guess you’re calling it things like being, and communication and alignment and commitment. It didn’t make sense because I couldn’t do anything about it, it was like fighting an invisible octopus with a million arms and it was even in me, and without Our Great Leader and His Glorious Vision I was just a dumb kid who’d given his life to nothing.
When I got to the camp on the coast you were everywhere. The grown up guards were secretly running Eleventh Hour. One of them waved me into one of the little tents right next to the ocean one night and told me that the sea had been a kilometer away when he’d arrived here seven years ago, screamed at me till I cried because I couldn’t believe it and Our Great Leader either didn’t know, or couldn’t do anything about it or didn’t care. All the guards told me it was up to us, and they were going to free the prisoners. I was so scared and confused I stayed up all night. I told in the morning and the commander just said he knew and they’d already found antennas coiled right into the barbed wire around the camp. The guards freed the prisoners that day and a huge navy of old row-boats took them away.
The ones of us still loyal drove out that day, and we went through a village when our bombers came over and blew everything behind us. Families just stood in the road waving at us. People came up to sell stuff and ask for rides to the city. When we got back into the city it was flash mobs waving like they’d planned it, hospital caravans that smelled like French fries, music like I’d never heard before and people building, tearing down and planting right through curfew with police looking like they didn’t know what to do with themselves. I saw my face reflected and squashed in the windows of a new kind of silent taxi that was everywhere and painted all wrong. They’d put up a big wall around part of the city and there was a banner of Our Great Leader on it but right below it was a picture of the Health Minister and it said in blue spraypaint A GOOD MAN KEEP THE HEALTH MINISTRY and next to that it said E-WASTE PICKUP HERE 9 MONDAY in black and people were piling a trailer high.
That’s when Our Great Leader came on our radio and said there were just 6,000 who were righteous on Earth and that there was a great war between good and evil going on. Our nukes were riding the highways right now. Anyone who didn’t want to go could get out of whatever we were driving in and take our chances on Earth but we were welcome to follow him onto the space colony were we’d wait seven years of darkness and return to rebuild. I knew there were no flag wavers in that new world out there, so it was as good as bombed and I went. Nobody even noticed us when we left the city and went to the desert instead.

RESPONSES:

WOW. I CANT IMAGINE HOW AFRAID YOU MUST HAVE FELT YOU REALLY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IT WAS LIKE THE WORLD WAS THIS WAY AND THEN SUDDENLY IT WAS THAT WAY.

I WANT TO ADD – YOUR HEARTS CLEAR. CAN YOU FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR ALL OF THAT? EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED?

I don’t know.

RESPONSES:

UNDERSTANDABLE, JUST THAT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO MAKE THE REQUEST YOU WANT TO MAKE UNTIL YOU CAN YOULL JUST GO DOWN SOME ROAD YOU’VE BEEN DOWN BEFORE AND WE CANT HAVE YOU ACCOUNTABLE AND DOING THAT

I am willing then.

RESPONSES:

EXCELLENT. SO WHAT DO YOU WANT US 2 GET?

Well, when we looked at the Earth the first time, it made us like brothers and sisters. It pulled to us, like it wanted us to see it. My wife actually made two bombs, a little one and a big one that could have blown out a tube and killed everybody. She worked in the Barn Rings and from youth brigade she knew all kinds of things you could do with half-processed shit. Anyway she just did it, she didn’t know why, just did it, and she blew up the little one in the tube to scare the bullies when they came. Then we found tools to scrape away the radiation shielding on the inside of the tubes that made them impossible to see through.
People passing by stopped and took turns scraping, until we could see half the planet, and we hung to one another in the middle of the tube. The bullies just fell apart when they came to stop us again, crying like babies. I had no idea what really happened on Earth; I was estranged from my mother, and here I realized that I cared for her, that I was the one who ran away. I saw an o-jumper float by in a white suit, and I just cried for hours.
Nguyen, I can hardly believe it, did you really convince him to build the station with all that money he stole? Did you really know it was going to happen this way?

RESPONSES: NGUYEN IS NOT IN THE ROOM, BUT MAYBE WELL SEE IF WE CAN GET HIM TO WATCH THIS AND POST BACK TO YOU. WE DONT KNOW AND… THE MORPHOGENETIC RESONANCE PART OF IT DIDN’T QUITE WORK OUT. STILL ITS PRETTY AMAZING FROM WHAT WERE HEARING FROM YOU

Yeah, everything changed right then, when we all saw the Earth.

At the next meal the drivers didn’t bow but we just didn’t care. We all looked them in the eyes. Our Great Leader himself came into C-Diner, and we just all listened to him. We’d turned the gravity back on and he was huffing and preaching about joining him in Paradise and how the devil’d taken the station. And he lost his poetry right there.


Thu, Jul 26, 2007  Permanent link

Sent to project: Designing Science Fiction Scenarios
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