The Last Dark Age: The Dictator

Thomas put on an act for 80 years, the world only saw the mask and the power one man wielded fearing him. No conspiracies other than the ones he wanted to exist, Thomas hid one secret from his world–his true purpose.

No matter what happens to him, alive or dead, one mans plan becomes unstoppable.

A lone statue in green corroded bronze is the only evidence of his existence to this day with only the words inscribed “Reviled/Revered” in the plaque riveted to the granite base.

He was atop no horse, nor wearing any military uniform. The base of the statue was far more grand than the figure at its top. The guy looked like a vacuum cleaner salesman and the monument looked like an over-glorified employee of the month display. This man was anything but ordinary–only remembered as the last dictator. Don’t let the spectacles, receding hair line and short stature fool you, he was no pushover. The statue was well preserved for its age the advanced methods of metallurgy and erosion prevention guaranteed it would remain there for a very extended period of time

This unassuming man ruled over the planet from that very spot in the capitol city of Pacifica nearly 5000 years before. Taking power, violently and swiftly much to the surprise of the former continental governments. Whose separate organized uncoordinated attempts at resistance to his rule had failed miserably driving the final nail into the concept of continental self governance.

He snatched power away from the 5 inhabited continents almost overnight while they continued to fight amongst themselves. Australia and Africa were in the middle of a huge naval war over parts of the Indian ocean, North America was under a trade embargo enforced by South America, and Eurasia was in a constant state of internal civil unrest since declaring a single continental government.

We’ll start further along than this, toward the very last breath of the dictators reign.

A final letter from the office of the Earth president:

To the citizens of the planet Earth,

If you are reading this letter, I am dead and my plan has been a success, but ultimately so has yours.

I am sure this confuses many of you that I believe that in my death I have reached a pinnacle of success but it is true. You came together, you rose up as one and removed me from your miserable existence, your combined common hatred of me was just the first step at unifying as a single human race. This was my idea from the very beginning to get all of yours to quit your petty bickering and stand together.  I took a very calculated risk in this endeavor early on in my rule relying upon your innate cowardice towards initial compliance with my iron clad policies. I knew there would be resistance based on antiquated ideologies and everybody had separate reasons for seeing me come to harm. I write this now on the very last days of my rule for the very first time revealing my true intentions, which was not for power or prestige for myself, but to teach a valuable lesson to humanity about team work through which our species is capable of greatness.

I have lived a very long time, longer than necessary many think. Managing 80 years of direct rule I have killed tens of millions with my direction and hundreds at my own hand I will be remembered and reviled far worse than any other conquerer in known history.  On the subject of history, I have kept a hidden library secret from the public containing all the knowledge that was censored from the world during my reign, and driven to people to forget.  So that with my death I bequeath this substantial storage of all of Earths data to you with new eyes to study and interpret without the bias of our ancestors. It was my hope from the beginning to clean humanities slate, I stated no purpose throughout my reign other than to maintain order, while selecting those elements which would eventually lead to my own destruction allowing them limited free movement to plot and foil as necessary. As I lived my plan was to bring you all together creating order and forcing you all to get along or else–going as far as threatening the entire planet with nuclear annihilation at a few points early on in our shared history before conversion of the warheads to asteroid mining devices. Now, I am certain I am dead my expected resistance forces will have taken the capitol by morning without any warning to anyone else on the grounds, but I have expected them and will have couriered 21 copies of this letter to your resistance leaders around the world explaining the exact situation.

My goal was not to keep me in power but to change the course of humanity by any means necessary at first to force you to get along, then to train you to get along, eventually seeing that you mutually agree of your own free will to get along with a common cause.

I will have resisted attempts at my arrest until the very last, I will certainly be dead when this has ended. 

Long live peace for humanity.

 Thomas. 

The Reviled

The week before:

“This would be my last parade attendance”,Thomas quietly muttered overlooking from the balcony of Pacifica capitol as he waved on the quieted crowd below and turned to enter the office chamber.

He was alone in that building shielded from attack by an array of sophisticated robotic sentries and plasma shielding which kept him separate but still in complete control over the entire planet. He had killed his last human servant a decade before just to tie up loose ends and has not really ventured beyond that building in a number of months thinking to himself that it was still a little too early to implement the end game, but now would be the time. His loyal guard kept outside the building and his military forces were beginning their collapse. Just a matter of tapping the final domino and sending the tumbling wave across the planet leading back to him.

“It will all end soon”, he said with a tear in his eye. Hundreds of millions dead in the wake of his calculating plan–no one group was targeted with the exception of the elderly. The elderly were the only real target. The old would have been the monkey wrench in the machine Thomas built. They remembered and they told the stories of the past–it would take decades to eliminate those generations of humans carrying various cultural and family traditions removing that factor from Thomas’s tightly controlled society where humanity remained diverse but was rendered culturally neutral with no reference to past long before other than what Thomas allowed. This wasn’t Thomas’s dream to become the planetary dictator, but a means to an end for him and a victory for the entirety of human kind. No one ever knew his true purpose Thomas never wrote or spoke a word of it until just hours before his reign ended. A healthy man for 120 years old–quite likely the oldest man on the planet. Having eliminated anyone who might have preserved the past he was the only tie left and soon only the secret library would be the only record of history. He wanted no living influence on the new human society including himself. History should be seen with new eyes only–no winners, no losers, no revisionists with personal or cultural stakes to take from history any personal offenses or misplaced guilt over ancestral wrongs.

Ending the day signing orders he strolled off to the bedroom to lay down and read.

“Tabula rasa”,he said to himself as he switched off the light above his bed placing the book of Greek philosophy on his night stand he usually kept secretly in the library vault along with millions upon millions of other volumes and artifacts. Tabula rasa was an old word meaning ‘clean slate’ Thomas believed in this concept. The library in Pacifica was grand its only nearest rival was that of ancient Alexandria and this secret library overshadowed that one threefold. Never but one human was aware of its existence it was constructed and organized by machines directly under Thomas’s explicit control. Thousands of machines were ordered to build it and then immediately destroyed upon its completion to remove all data of its existence and the organizing machines within were kept in total isolation only knowing to organize the collection unaware that any humans other than Thomas existed. But in the morning those machines would be destroyed as well, sent to a remote bunker within a library that was already a massive underground bunker on its own where their power supplies would self destruct.

The awareness of existence of other humans besides Thomas might cause unpredictable results if the library machines were to encounter them, they would be sealed in their tomb with the Earths entirety of data for at least a year until the outside world cooled off and became completely curious of the library. Not even a nuke could break through, that Library could survive the entire planet exploding thanks to the materials remotely mined from the asteroid belt over those last few decades.

Thomas remained in relative isolation for another couple of days following the parade, the last of the books being stocked in the library as he cleared his personal shelves for categorization and in another 12 hours he would shut down the robots for good. All of them including the sentries guarding the inside of the building leaving only his loyal guard manning the exterior of the building. Barely 2 dozen people with unquestionable loyalty to Thomas trained only to guard him from the time they were born. The rest of the world was just waiting for that first domino to tumble and that would be very soon.

The hours passed quickly, all the volumes of data were in and the vault’s time lock could be engaged set for one year from the day of his death. Thomas executed the destruct order for his robots and had the sentry system shut down inside the building before going off again to bed. In the morning Thomas would trip the dominoes and in a few more days the wolves would be at the door. “Gone from a house of brick to a house of stick”,Thomas said to himself as he dozed off thinking about his next actions,”and the big bad wolf said,’I’ll huff and I’ll puff’…” then Thomas yawned. In his house of sticks beginning his wait for the big bad wolves–who would be alerted the next afternoon starting the final revolution.

Thomas awoke that morning feeling revived and fresh for the day he sat down to a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs with a side of toast and jam at his desk before calling in 5 of his loyal guards. Thomas debriefed them that he was going on an outing and they would accompany him the remaining members were to stay at the building and keep watch. One last act as ruler which would require his personal attention, and it gave him a chance to breathe the air outside of Pacifica one last time before his death. Five guards was enough to handle a crowd just in case for this outing they were extremely well conditioned in hand to hand and tactical combat–programmed and skilled enough to eliminate threats as large as 50 persons per guard. They could easily handle a medium sized angry mob with efficiency–the whole guard could take on even larger. Raised as warriors from infancy they were perfect killing machines only loyal to Thomas, but in a matter of days the forces that would be bearing down on them would be far too immense to stop. Numbers so overwhelming speaking as one shouting in individual voices as indistinguishable as the static of the universe. They will have finally had enough, and all will converge on Pacifica to impeach Thomas from life voting with his blood.

A single ideology has united Earth, that of liberty, the only thing stopping them is a little fear of this ruler who would be considered by some a God if such a word still existed in language. Closest words left to it were Deist and Atheist which essentially were the only allowed philosophies–an allowance for the individual to conclude the existence or not of a creator as a prime cause to the universe was a question that would always persist and alone it was a safe unanswerable question. Thomas eliminated the elderly to eliminate the various traditions behind the conclusions which brought so many conflicts to human kind. The living experiences and accounts as their diversities in beliefs were then forbidden because of the influence they possessed on the youth of Earth. Alive the elderly were a liability to his plans passing on rituals and biases to their progeny. He was the last, the oldest, and by the deity he would see no more of the old humanity fighting over philosophical conclusions, political differences, regional biases as he had witnessed in his youth. The only way he could see to it that humanity appreciated it’s liberty was to completely remove it from them for just long enough that they all feel like the same victim otherwise they might forget and start victimizing each other as power shifts from group to group. Remove everyone’s entitlement to special treatment all at once. Repress the whole of the species giving no special favor to any particular group–all are punished for being human at the same time and give them only one thing to focus on and to hate, one thing to remove, one thing to unanimously agree upon with all of their being–Thomas will die.

By noon Thomas and his guard were on their way. His seclusion for so long in Pacifica was part of the set up now all he had to do was show a sign of weakness and that would be enough to tumble his regime. The seclusion raised many questions for many months but Thomas’s actions would settle many of those questions once and for all. The carriage landed later that afternoon in Moscow, West Eurasia. Thomas’s business wouldn’t take very long–he was to meet his only known possible successor the Governor General of the Eurasian continent Norman Perry the second most powerful to him. Thomas would not allow the world to remain the way it has been for the last 8 decades and the only thing stopping the change would be Norman continuing the policies, but for the sake of his own power and glory. Thomas had to be there in person to eliminate him or the decades of planning would be a failure, without the General the armies would quickly collapse and the resistance would have its opportunity to act swiftly to remove Thomas. The other continental Governor Generals were selected to be weak in global patriotism appointed directly by Thomas quietly conditioned to fold and turn, but disciplined to follow the Eurasian leadership on military matters as long as he lives and the direct orders of Thomas should the Eurasian Governor General fall.

Norman was an ambitious man who enjoyed his status and answered to no one other than Thomas. When it came to Thomas, Norman had shown the reverence of a groveling boot licker never questioning Thomas’s authority patiently awaiting succession as promised. This really disgusted Thomas but he had to act as if the power was really his, all of the atrocities Thomas committed in his lifetime made him wish he believed the old stories of hell were true and he would spend an eternity paying penance to an anti deity whom only he was aware of from the forbidden folklore. Unaware that he was at any point a liability to the true nature of Thomas’s plan the Governor General just waited. Conspiracies require conspirators but from the very beginning and all throughout Thomas’s reign every conspiracy was false–they were true enough to the people conspiring around him, for him, against him, but the element none of the false conspiracies orchestrated accounted for was the perfect secret that there was no conspiracy created around. A conspiracy requires a shared plan. One human alone does not make a conspiracy, Thomas never shared–his plan remained his alone.

Thomas awaited the general in his, office overlooking Red Square pacing the floor calmly to have one last discussion and one last death directly at his hands, before spiriting back to Pacifica and isolating himself in his grand automated tomb to purposely refuse communicating with his armies remotely watching them crumble and turn against him joining the revolution which would kill the very last of his loyal guard and break down the weakened defenses. The Earths people flooding in atop of him to slay him and carry his body through the streets chanting “freedom” as one united world.

“Sir! It is such an honor to see you here again.” Norman hailed with genuine reverence, and continued,”It has been a long time since your last trip to Moscow, We must reminisce! Come have a drink.”

Thomas replied calmly,”That will please me Governor, it is very good to see you again old friend.”

Thomas may have been sickened by the Generals groveling most of the time but the general was as close to a friend as Thomas knew. They did get along great other than the boot licking, authoritarianism and politics involved. He was really going to hate killing this man, but it was for the greater good of humanity–tabula rasa. Thomas would be done putting on his 80 year act and make one final verbal confession to his most trusted political puppet just seconds before executing him.

Norman poured two glasses of Kentucky bourbon and spoke again,”What brings you all the way to this side of the planet on such short notice my old friend?”,he paused,” I assume it is an urgent matter.”

“Yes, it is a matter of utmost urgency and your cooperation is key,”, Thomas returned pausing to clear his throat after a sip of that fine centuries aged libation and began again,”but we’ll get to that in a little bit. How are your grand sons?”

Norman replied with a small frown on his face,” Oh, they don’t talk to me much anymore. Since their parents passed away they have little to do with me. No interest even in my life or the future I offered to provide them. They are very independent.”

Thomas had no doubt of this about the Generals grandsons he knew what his chief governor had not, that they were high ranking members of the resistance, put into that place by Thomas as part of his means to an end. The Generals own grandchildren part of the carefully orchestrated conspiracy to oppose the current world government.

Thomas had no heirs, he had not taken a spouse because sharing his secret would have been compulsory with trusting a mate. He remained celibate and relatively sober only ever imbibing a single drink whenever in mixed company. No one ever took notice during government functions because he would nurse the same glass the entire night. Occasionally disappearing from the room the guests at these events if they thought anything of it would assume he was getting a refill like any normal folk, but the glass was always the same one taking small sips slowly emptied.

Thomas stood up as their conversation went on and moved to the office wet bar. “I’ll pour us two more old friend,”Thomas said.

Norman was a little surprised,”Another? You?”

Over the years as it turns out. Norman was quite observant of Thomas’s drinking habits. He was a little surprised but accepted the glass Thomas handed to him. Norman spoke again,”I have watched you for years nurse the same drink, this matter must be quite grave for you to pour again so quickly.”

“And you have kept that to yourself for a long time?”, Thomas replied.

“Aye Tom. It’s not for me to comment on how a man takes his drinks, especially a man with the world on his shoulders–I have always admired your control and sobriety given what you are in charge of”, Norman said as he downed a quarter of his glass.

The timer started, Thomas had slipped a scentless tasteless time release chemical agent into the Generals Bourbon which would give him 20 minutes from ingestion to death known as chrono-cyanide–a much slower acting micro-capsulated form of the original which was time released and harder to trace in the blood stream. A poison well documented before the first revolution but now kept among the forbidden records in the sealed library vault. Thomas was the only man living aware of its existence and the only man to use this.

Chrono-cyanide relied on the structure of buckminsterfullerene–also known as a “buckyball”–formula C60 which is a lattice of carbon atoms forming a spherical shell similar to the pattern of a soccer ball used for hundreds of medical and industrial applications. This particular form was engineered from a relatively unstable carbon isotope with a half life of roughly a half an hour long as a means of transport containing the toxic cyanide molecules. As the unstable carbon isotope decays it shatters it’s molecules spherical structure and breaks the bonds of the isotope based buckminsterfullerene slowly releasing small doses of cyanide contained within each disintegrating nano-scopic sphere–killing body cells as they are freed. Sort of a slow death, but an effective time release agent meant for far nobler applications in past times.

“General, old friend, I have a confession to make…”,Thomas began as the poison started its slow release and he told Norman of his true plan for humanity. Tears falling from his face as he watched Norman slip away into a dark sleep.

Thomas exited the office and ordered his guard to transport him back to Pacifica where he would remain in seclusion as the armies toppled and turned. In about an hour the Generals death would be public and the forces would attempt turning to him for advice, but he would not be there. He would have all communications to him blocked–it would not work otherwise.

The last day in his fortress he sat down at his desk and wrote that letter by hand then making duplicates to be released by carrier bots. Communications with the world outside Pacifica were severed and his guard was unaware of the unfamiliar sound. Like static the sound of billions of humans crying out for liberty it could be heard outside Pacifica, very few stayed home all routes by land and sea were flooded with humanity reaching out for Thomas. The people with an overwhelming drive to destroy him the only thing they know and hate, but no longer fear. They would tear the building down brick by brick if necessary to get to him, but that wouldn’t be necessary all internal defenses were disabled the messengers had been sent on. His guard would not be able to defend against the overwhelming forces drawing down on the city.

By morning Thomas would be dead, in one day the world would know why, and in one year the world would know their history again. All of the data of all known history given to a humanity with new eyes and a clean slate. Human identity solidified the species would move about the galaxy in cooperation rather than in competition exploring expanding and exploiting the natural resources of the Milky Way. Furthering human evolution in ways never conceived in the far past eventually abandoning Earth when the Suns time came to go out leaving very little left of the world now as a galactic race on the verge of exploring other parts of the Universe opening communications with other beings found existing in the Universe.

The thousands of years of quarreling before Thomas’s reign had nearly halted human evolution. His plan was extreme but highly calculated as humanities only shot at survival where Malthusian scenarios were quickly becoming a grim reality. Expand to survive or overpopulate and perish. Humanity would fail without expansion and would get no place quarreling beyond that of an earthly tomb.

Thomas was a boogeyman to the world centuries following his death. When the old died their grand children would say Thomas has taken them. The old on the other hand seemed to revere Thomas’s Legend. As children grew they learned the stories and looked at him with more pity than anything. Because of him humanity evolved and expanded once again, no one liked the history but accepted that history for what it was. No longer clinging to misplaced moral outrage to unchangeable events. A stronger awareness of the ability to change the future evolved with humanity as it eventually became a new species.

The billions of years passed as Earths surface was eventually stripped bare by the heat of the swelling sun, the library has long since been moved and only one figure remained, that of the bronze statue of such an unassuming man not totally recognizable as human by Earths last inhabitants. On his granite block with the plaque reading,”Reviled/Revered” in a language no longer well understood. Thomas staring directly into the swelling sun eating away at the inner worlds as the source which harbored Earth life finished taking its very last breaths.