Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. - Winston Churchill
The final installment in the #1206 "fiction" series ….
He adjusted his tie as he looked at himself in the mirror. The years had aged him significantly, he thought, but the greatest worry didn't show. At least he hoped it didn't.
It was September 11, 2019 and five years to the day since terrorists had executed a perfectly synchronized takedown of 113 civilian aircraft simultaneously around the world with shoulder-fired rocket launchers they had acquired several years before. Allowing the Libyan rebels to obtain the weapons during the overthrow of Gaddafi had seemed like a good idea at the time. So did providing training and similar weapons to the Syrian rebels a short time later.
It was also five years to the day that he had invoked Executive Directive 51, dissolving the Congress and the Senate and waiving the need for elections in America. It seemed at the time that it should have fixed a lot of issues and should have made it much easier to govern a nation embroiled in turmoil … racially, politically, socially, ecologically, economically and emotionally. The attack that day made everything seem so …. convenient … so easy … almost perfect beyond coincidence.
"If only we hadn't avoided the real issues then", he thought as he fussed with his tie again.
In a hot, humid, crowded room on the third floor of a run-down building in a bombed out city no different than many such cities around the world, three men stared at the 3D image projected in front of them, containing simulations of the biometric data they would need to penetrate the launch systems of US and Russian defense systems.
Manipulating the images with the help of their neural interface, they looked at each with the realization that they were about to achieve their dream.
They were about to go to heaven.
In the Vatican, the Pope sat and reflected on the message his two visitors had just presented to him. They had woven together tales of chilling prophetic visions and unlimited hope, along with a promise and an ultimatum.
No one makes demands of the Pope, he thought and then, hesitating for a moment, he called his friend the Archbishop of Canterbury on his neuralphone.
His friend's image appeared before him, his gaunt, haggard face presenting a reflection of how he felt.
"Funny thing that you should call", said the Archbishop, "I just had the strangest two gentlemen here telling me ...."
As he listened to his friend's story, the Pope was alerted to a call coming in from a friend of his in Tel Aviv, and then another call from a Muslim colleague of his.
"One moment", the Pope said, interrupting the Archbishop, "I think we need to bring some people in on this conversation. Would you mind?"
"Not at all", replied the Archbishop as the Pope conferenced in the other callers.
Within minutes, it occurred to all of them that two gentlemen, Yajuj and Majuj, had seemingly appeared to all of them simultaneously.
In each case, the same promise was made.
As was the same demand.
"So what do we do now?", asked the Pope. “That which we have worked so hard to hide for centuries was about to be exposed”, he thought sadly.
In a brightly lit, modern office in Mountain View, California, a group of scientists stared at the streams of data that had suddenly started flowing in on their long range SETI scans …….
"Two minutes, Mr. President", came the muffled voice through the door, accompanied by a light double-tap on the door.
"Be there in a moment", he called back. "I wonder who really cares what my tie looks like. In 10 minutes, it won't matter anyway", he thought.
He looked down at the two stacks of paper on the vanity. One was his speech to the people. The other was a newly signed executive order.
He gathered them both up, opened the door and passed the executive order to his Chief of Staff. "The Vice President must be given this immediately and I mean now", he said emphatically.
"Yes, Mr. President", replied the Chief of Staff, taking the document and promptly turning down the hall.
Secret Service personnel fanned out in front of him as the President walked down the hall towards the podium outside.
His head was swimming, unable to focus on anything.
"If only we hadn't avoided the real issues then", he thought again.
His eyes suddenly became fixated on the service revolver on the belt of the DC policeman in front of him.
"Metropolitan Police Department - A Monsanto Organization", emblazoned on the back of the police officer, distracted him for a moment.
And then his gaze returned to the revolver.
Outside the White House, the press corp waited impatiently for the President to make what was described as the most important speech in the history of the nation.
A speech that the White House had promised was about to change everything.
Suddenly, a shot rang out from inside the White House.
At the same moment, air raid sirens began wailing all around them.
And the sky was suddenly filled with a brilliant light that seemed to originate from nowhere and everywhere.
It was …. the end .... or was it the beginning?
© 2013 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved
This series, a departure from my usual musings, is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks.
While this musing is just “fiction” and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)
The series concludes with this installment. I’ve enjoyed writing it but must conclude it for a variety of reasons that I can’t get into here. Suffice to say that I am not permitted to add any other layers to this story, to avoid breaking covenants that I have signed and at the suggestion of a few “friends in the industry”.
And while it is just “fiction”, I hope it has encouraged you to think.
Such is the reason behind everything I do – I just want people to think.
This “fictional” musing is continued from ……
By Way of Deception, Thou Shalt Do War – August 30, 2013
Serving Two Masters – August 22, 2013
Growing the Rot From Within – August 6, 2013
The Coming Storm – June 8, 2013
The Master of Distraction – May 15, 2013
Living on the Edge – How Close Do You Dare? - March 29, 2013
Preventing A Disaster – Or Preparing To Survive One - November 29, 2012)
Divide and Conquer - August 5, 2012
Financial Crisis – March 11, 2008
There is benefit to reading those first (oldest to newest) but it is not required.