Steve’s shorts: Prequel to Chaos…

[While many of my books lead up to Survivors of the Chaos in the “Chaos Chronicles Trilogy” and are on the same long timeline—in particular, the “Clones and Mutants Series” and the bridge novel, Soldiers of God—I decided that, considering the current political situation in the U.S. right now, a short-story prequel to The Chaos Chronicles Trilogy Collection, just recently released, was in order.  Consider it a funeral dirge for democracy treating how fast my warnings about fascist capitalism are coming true. 1984 missed the point—now it’s the worldwide oligarchy who are the fascists.]

Prequel to Chaos

Copyright 2018, Steven M. Moore

The three hydrogen-powered limos pulled in front of the 202m-tall building on Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets. First to get out were the security guards who created a perimeter to protect their charge from unwanted New Yorkers like the infirm, hungry, and homeless who filled the streets around the tower.  When that was established, Randall Holmes, chief lawyer for GenCorp, stepped down and followed some of his security personnel into the tower.  There he met Daniel Ito, chief lawyer for GenCorp’s main competitor, WorldNet.

“You do pick unusual places to have a meeting,” said Ito, waving a hand to indicate the ornate lobby now a tarnished derelict compared to its original splendor.  “Is this—?”

“Yes, it is.  It possesses some symbolism I find useful for our meeting.”

Ito nodded.  “Let me guess: A phallic symbol of how we’ve screwed the common man, perhaps?” He smiled, but the smile was cold and forced.

“I have no regrets.  You shouldn’t either.  The masses deserve to be screwed.  They’re all idiots.”

“We all operate with that assumption.  Want to make a coordinated entrance for shock value, or should I go in first because you’re the one who set up the meeting?”

“Don’t be petty.  I need to make a call to our fearless leader, so go on up.” Holmes waited until the elevator doors closed and then made his call using subvocalized commands to the wi-fi device implanted in the right side of his head.  “They sent Ito,” he said.

“I think he’ll go along with the plan,” said the GenCorp CEO. “It’s beneficial to all of us, after all.”

***

When Holmes stepped out of the elevator, he had to smile. The corridor that led to the meeting room was in worse shape than the lobby. The frayed carpets had curious splotches on them.  He couldn’t help imagining squatters defecating on the floor.  There are multiple facets to this symbolism, he thought.

His security detail joined the others already present who barely acknowledged his presence. Ito probably had a better reception because he had already sent his security up.  All VIPs are equal, but some are more equal than others, he thought with a smile. He didn’t really give a damn about Ito or WorldNet.

He entered the room and eyed those who were already seated around the huge table—nine CEOs from multinationals looked his way, some nodding slightly, others showing a more curious expression, and still others, disdain.  He took his chair at the head of the table.  Ito was already sitting at the opposite end.

Representatives of the most powerful multinationals on the planet. Can we ensure our future? More importantly, can I guarantee GenCorp’s?

“No introductions are needed,” he said, “so let’s get down to business. We will have to take matters into our own hands if we’re going to survive.  We’ve caused a lot of this general breakdown in world society we now call the Chaos.  We have to come up with a fix.  Is everyone in agreement?”

There were nods of agreement, but Ito’s was less enthusiastic.

***

“The breakup of countries into feuding but large tribal-like groups is the end game of the tribalism promoted by that crazy U.S. president so many decades ago,” the WorldNet representative said.  “While I might generally agree we have to come up with some kind of solution to guarantee our future, why is it only our responsibility to fix things?”

“That psycho admired the fascist oligarchies of China and Russia,” said Holmes, “but our predecessors supported him so that they could all get rich.  As a consequence, America became a fascist oligarchy too and split into different countries just like everywhere else.  We benefitted from that and still do.  We have continued to do so ever since.  But in this Chaos, our profits might dwindle and anarchy is a distinct possibility. Anyone here want that?”  They all shook their heads in the negative.  They all wanted to preserve their place in the oligarchy, which was now entrenched and worldwide. “Then listen to what I have to propose.  Shall we go to the slides?”

That was really a command for the computer to start projecting slides for a talk Holmes had carefully prepared.

***

“My proposal is simple. We have been content to play in the background as long as governments did what we told them to do. With the breaking up of countries and their economic pacts across the globe, that tactic no longer is feasible.” He gave a subvocal command to the computer.  It changed the slide from the first one titled “What to Do About the Chaos?” to the second with bullets outlining his plan.  “We’ll have to refine this plan, so it’s only a beginning, but I think the main ideas are solid.” He began to cover the bullets.  The AI followed his words, highlighting each one as he came to it.

“We no longer should play in the background. We should just take over and tell all these idiots what to do.  We should police the world by hiring mercenaries because the surviving governments cannot possibly maintain order and protect us from the rabble.  We must take over all space exploration because it’s already been shown that it is profitable, hence our heavy investment in it. We must make sure the ruling classes are well taken care of and ignore all the masses who are causing this Chaos.  When protests occur, we should crush them mercilessly.” He came to the banner at the end. “If our worldwide oligarchy doesn’t do these things, our system won’t survive.”

“Sounds doable here on Earth,” said Ito. “What about Mars and the rest of the solar system?” The WorldNet rep looked around the table for support. He received none.

“China Inc. already controls Mars,” said Holmes. Not even the Chinese rep objected to their nickname for the consortium of huge Chinese companies that still competed on the world stage.  Holmes nodded at the rep.  “I already have their agreement for my plan.  The Russian oligarchy has also agreed in principle. Why wouldn’t they? They’ve been doing the same thing to their own people since Putin.  What say the rest of you?”

“I’d expect some tax benefits if WorldNet has to pay for mercenaries and other security services,” said Ito. “I’m sure the others will feel the same.”

“Or we can just make all the splinter-countries pay for protection,” said Holmes. “It worked for New York mobs once upon a time.”

“We’d have to make some kind of truce,” said the WorldNet rep.  “We can’t fight among ourselves as much and still pull this off. Building such a truce will be a bit dicey.”

“We’ll limit our competition to profit seeking. The truce only has to work to maintain order amidst the Chaos.”

***

They debated for another three hours.  The truce they obtained was an uneasy one, but the multinationals’ representatives agreed to the basic plan modified by some tweaks.  They would go about implementing the plan in secret, of course.  The rabble could never know they were being manipulated.  They had rarely known, and when they did, they were powerless to do anything about it.

***

The Chaos Chronicles Trilogy Collection, a bundle of sci-f novels, is available now on Amazon, Smashwords, and all the latter’s affiliate retailers and lenders. The trilogy takes the reader from an Earth dominated by multinationals and policed by their mercenaries to the first interstellar colonies…and beyond–and exciting ride from dystopia to new horizons for humans and ETs. Many hours of sci-fi reading await you. No reviews of this bundle yet, but you can have a free copy in exchange for an honest review–query via my contact page.

New review of Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by Nazis in World War Two. Their efforts lead to much more as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and Smashwords and the latter’s affiliate retailers (Apple, B&N, Kobo). It’s available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it). See the quality five-star reviews on Amazon—thank you, reviewers, for not writing one- or two-line simple endorsements instead of reviews!  I’d rather have one detailed review than ten product endorsements.  You can also peruse the review and interview on Feathered Quill.

In libris libertas….

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