Welcome to Friday Fiction, which I have the privilege of hosting this week. Look for the Linky tool after this intro.
I had to miss last week, as I was on an out-of-town trip to a location that was completely disconnected from phone, internet, and pretty much any other form of electronic communication, but I’m back this week, and with a new story.
I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2013, and at this time, I’m planning a story to follow on with my 2009 NaNoWriMo story, “Empty Threats.” I’ve thought a lot about what might happen after the closing events of that story, and I find the story potential strong. Towards the end of the first story, the main characters must deal with a growing uprising on the colony world of Alsafi, where lab-grown humans are available as “made to order” servants, programmed at the time of their requisition for whatever tasks the buyer requests. In essence, these are treated as biological robots, and not as true humans. The Empties play a part in the first story, and the technology will have a strong influence in the second. This scene will not appear in this year’s NaNoWriMo book, but it does establish certain parameters that will play into the story.
Previous appearances of this concept on this blog were in the stories, “TheRequisition,” “Exiled With a Fool,” and in the excerpts from “Empty Threats” in November 2009.
By Rick Higginson
Eldorado was in turmoil, and the Ruling Council Chambers sealed against the threat of the mobs outside. He approached a small side door, which was opened for him by a security agent inside.
The guard crossed his wrists, palms facing out, beneath his chin. “Esteemed sir, the Council is waiting inside.”
He nodded to the man, and strode down the corridor towards the secured meeting room. The fortified door swung open for him just as he reached it, and another guard inside repeated the greeting and the gesture. Without a word, he went to the chair at the head of the table, and took a seat.
The Council Member at the far end of the table stood up. “Who are you, and how did you get in here? We were expecting the Adon.”
He studied the man for a few moments, and then leaned forward to rest folded hands on the table. “Sit down, Beretti.”
The man returned a shocked look. “I beg your pardon. I am a member of the Ruling Council, and I do not take orders from the likes of you.”
“No, Beretti. You take your orders from your Corporate Benefactors and the Colonial Council. That will no longer be the case. I am the new Adon, and you will take orders from the likes of me.”
Another Council Member spoke up. “Preposterous! If something has happened to the Adon, then the new Adon is chosen by this Council.”
“That may have been how it was once done, Grenwald, but by appointment of the Revolutionary Council, I am the new Adon. Your choice now is to pledge your loyalty to me and work with the Revolutionary Council for the smooth transition of power, or to find yourselves arrested as enemies of Alsafi.”
Beretti looked like he was ready to have an aneurism. “This is against the Archipelago Charter. When the Colonial Council hears of this-”
“I have severed our bonds to the Archipelago. Alsafi is now an independent, autonomous world, free of the imposition of the Colonial Council and their oppressive Charter.”
“You can’t do that!”
“I already have, and as I have already said, your choice is to side with me, or to join the deposed Adon as an enemy of Alsafi. Might I suggest that any of you that wishes to remain loyal to the old Adon, stand up now. Any of you ready to accept the new ruling order, take a seat.”
Better than half of the Council stood up, most with angry expressions. Those that remained seated appeared confused and uncertain.
“Thank you for clarifying your positions. Those of you standing should step back against the wall, and wait to be taken into custody.”
Beretti laughed at him. “It’s you who should wait to be taken into custody. We have the majority opinion of the Ruling Council standing up, and the Alsafi Security Forces obey the Ruling Council.” He looked at the guard by the door. “You there – arrest this usurper.”
The guard came and stood next to him. “Esteemed sir?”
He waved his hand in resignation. “Show Beretti to the wall.”
“Yes, Esteemed Sir.” The guard moved swiftly to the other end of the table, and seized Beretti by the arms. The man gave a cry of outrage and protest, before he was flung face-first into the wall. Beretti collapsed to the floor, with blood streaming from his nose.
“Now, does anyone else need any help finding the wall?”
Grenwald folded his arms. “You have one guard in the room. We have our assistants. You can’t overpower us all.”
He smiled. “Your assistants, yes. I should remind you that each one of your assistants is an Empty, programmed before they were delivered to you.”
“And your point - ?”
“I promise you that you do not want to rely on them for your safety.”
“But I should rely on you to be truthful?” Grenwald pointed a finger at him. “I’d say you were behind this entire uprising. You were the one breaking into the media servers and encouraging sedition.”
He stood and bowed. “Guilty as charged, but your realization is too late to do you any good.” He looked to the young man that stood behind Grenwald. “You may act on Administrative Resolution Fifteen.”
“You can’t give my assistant orders-”
Before Grenwald finished speaking, his assistant delivered a kick to the side of his knee, dropping him to the floor. As Grenwald tried to get back up, the young man took hold of his head in both hands and gave a sudden twist, and then let the Council Member’s body slump to the floor.
With expressions of shock and fear, the remaining standing Council Members hurried to the wall.
“The Alsafi Security Forces obey me now. Your Empties will obey me. The population of Alsafi will soon hail me as their liberator, so if any of you sitting here are harboring any thoughts of subversive actions, forget them now. Have I made myself understood?”
The voices were weak, but there was a chorus of, “Yes, Esteemed Sir” from the Council Members that had remained seated.
“Good. Assistants, take your former masters to join the former Adon. The guards outside will direct you where to go. Two of you others, help Grenwald’s assistant to remove him from these chambers.” He waited until they were all gone, and then looked around at the remaining faces. “Now, before we get down to the business of a smooth transition of power, are there any questions?”
A woman to his left raised her hand slightly. “Where is the former Adon?”
He smiled. “I will indulge that as the one and only question I will allow about him.” He spun his chair to face the large display mounted on the wall. “System, display feed from Provisional Corrections circuit six.”
The display illuminated to show a long gallows, where two bodies dangled from ropes.
“Welcome to the new order of Alsafi. I promise you that dissent will not be tolerated.”