March 24th, 007 New Era. . A meeting in the Caesar’s office at the top of the Empire Building in Babylon.
“Come in and settle quickly.” The Caesar snaps the command from his place at the head of the table where he is already seated, the agenda spread before him—a thinner document today, but apparently an important one.
It had better be important. I can’t miss that shuttle. I need to get out of here for a week or two. Or forever. I wish. I wish there were somewhere I could go to get away from this hellish place for good.
There isn’t. He’d find me. He’s got the most uncanny way of keeping track of things, and people.
But I can’t stand much more of this. Of him. Damn, I’m stressed.
“I’ve called you all here for your benefit. I want you to enjoy seeing the fruits of your labor first-hand.” He smiles—ever the benevolent dictator.
Benevolent. That’s a joke. There’s nothing benevolent about this man.
“I want to give you the privilege of observing, first-hand, from this vantage point at the center of the earth, what is going to be considered, from now on, to be the crowning event of human history. Mark this day, gentlemen. This day, the seven-year anniversary of the birth of what we have designated “the New Era,” will now become the beginning of a new millennium. A millennium that you, my comrades, will enjoy ruling in, under my direction. It will be the first millennium in human history to enjoy the benefits of universal peace.”
I’m sure, Commander. But of course you mean “piece,” not “peace.” We’ll each get a piece of this millennium. And yours will be the biggest, by far.
“I also want you all to survive. Anywhere else today—at this hour—might be dangerous. If you’ve all done your homework, and things are in place as they should be, only the intended targets will be eliminated, but there might be some glitches. You’re supposed to have planned this procedure well, but there have been ineptitudes.” He looks around the room.
Not so as you’ve noticed. If you’d noticed any ineptitudes, we wouldn’t be here. There are plenty of us who aren’t. Take my buddy, Josiah, for example—the most recent disappearance. What did he do to deserve whatever you did to him?
“Let’s hope there will be no last minute surprises this time. This—the grand finale and the grand opening,” he says with a flourish.
I wonder what your diabolical mind has conceived this time.
“Gentlemen, I invite you to move to the window, where you can see this momentous event unfolding. We should be able to get a view of some of it in the distance. Don’t be concerned. We’re perfectly safe. All the activity will be outside the city.”
Outside the city. Where I was supposed to be going on vacation. Oh, great. Did you do this on purpose, just to inconvenience me?
Comrades, in exactly thirty minutes, the issue will be dealt with for good. No one will ever have to deal with ‘The Israeli Problem’ again.”
So that’s it. He’s got it orchestrated at last. I wonder what my part in it’s been? My piece of the puzzle.
“It’s time.” He looks at his watch. “Video stream, ready? The speech will begin in thirty seconds. Wait. Move that light. There’s a shadow on the right side of my face. I want full spectrum, solar lighting, directly on my face. Why is it so hard to find competent technical help? Do I have to tell you everything?” He swears.
“Okay. Speech from the Throne begins in ten seconds. Ten…nine…eight…”
And the voice streams out into cyberspace, assaulting the ears of every unsuspecting member of the global community. On and on. Same old drivel.
“. . .great progress . . . thank you for your cooperation . . . global efforts . . . great strides forward . . . .”.
And I should be out there, with my wife and kids, listening from the comfort of our condo in Maui.
My God, I’ve got to get out of here! The water cart by the door. Maybe if I move. . . Good. No one is looking this way. Now, if the door is only unlocked. Yes! A crack. Eighteen inches between me and freedom.
I’m outa here!
“In a few moments, the Global Regime will enter a new year. This year will dawn fresh and clean—bathed in peace and prosperity. No remnants of discord or dissention will mar the glorious future ahead of us. . .
“If you are among the dissenters, you will die quickly and painlessly. Do not try to run. You are in the place you should be. If it gives you comfort, you may consider yourselves martyrs to the cause of universal peace. I will speak again to those who remain when the new year has begun.”
Then the countdown begins. “Ten, nine, . . .”
“Caesar, what’s that bright light in the sky over there?”
“Over there, just to your right and up. It’s getting bigger and brighter. Is it part of the project? Jesus, it’s close!”
Jeez, It’s too close!
“five, four . . .”