Working Chapter 14 of my Is it for us alone? novel in progress
Anders mind had been at work work while his body received its much needed rest from struggle and strain. When he was in this peaceable state, no consciousness vied for dominance or lobbied to have their thoughts brought to the fore. It was as if they all enjoyed a short rest – like the political community during labour day weekend in Washington DC or the spring bank holiday in London. Of course it would never last, but the moment was still there for posterity and if it could happen once it could certainly happen again.
As the slumber ended and Anders stretched out his stiff body after sleeping in the folded down rear of the Ford SUV, his jury began to filter back into the box. They were grumpy, angry and numerous, doing their best not to act like a crazed mob and only just succeeding. Anders called the proceedings to order in his head and shouted out for the next witness, “We know you survived and that you are amongst us. We call you to share your version of events clearly and truly.”
There was a small side debate over whether it was worth calling aides and other advisers. Anders quashed this debate quickly though as clearly there were only three other main actors – the key decision makers. Instead, he shifted the debate back to how the could find them within Anders head. There were many ludicrous suggestions that popped into the forefront of Anders mind, suggestions that showed a complete lack of understanding of the situation. “Send a search party,” “Let’s Lynch them,” and “can’t we use the space satellites,” were amongst the most ridiculous.
It occurred to Anders that perhaps the most straightforward way was to concentrate on the people themselves, one at a time, with great focus, until their memories came to the forefront. He concentrated on one of the names that was familiar to him from the news – President of South America, Micaela Calouthino. As he remembered, and other memories rang true with this, she was a short woman, with shoulder length dark hair, piercing eyes and an intellect to be reckoned with. She was constantly on international news programs fending off any criticism of South American immigration and environmental policies and doing so eloquently and convincingly, which is why there were so many memories of her.
President Calouthino counted her intellect as her number one asset, as did so many of the commentators around the world. She was a strong person who carried a populous type of wit around with her to bed dispensed at any uncomfortable moment on policy or action by her administration. News outlets would devote reels of airtime to her quipping that, “It’s better to have a senator who is well satisfied and focussed on the work of the people than a chaste priest at the wheel,” in response to allegations of one of the top senators in her party frequently using the services of prostitutes in his office and potentially tipping them from public funds. The news outlets proceeded to replay this clip rather than focus on the story at hand. Luiz Pesco, the senator in question, eventually got reprimanded and let off with a small fine which would be deducted from his monthly pay check for the remainder of his four year term. This was her greatest power and what people remembered about her the most. Then there was her ability to befriend people, drinking caprinhas with members of different parties on the beach frequently to resolve polarised issues and never having a loyal follower turn on her.
Anders grasped for memories of her family. They were under the surface somewhere as she had always been very protective of her family. There was a daughter and a son, and a loving husband, this much was fairly public and off repeated information. Beyond that it was a struggle as she kept her family life very secretive, Presidebt Calouthino did.
And then the witness appeared, her memories found by focussing on those closest to her.
The jury analysed the memories and then Anders as the chief inquisitor began his line of questioning.
“Do you have a side of the story that you’d like to share with the rest of us, President?”
The response came with passion, “I am and always will be fiercely loyal to my people. They voted for me as they knew I would always represent their interest even in the most difficult of circumstances. This was more difficult than most, but there were no other options.”
“Systematic murder by cutting the rest of the world off from you and your allies was the only option? This sounds an awful lot like conspiracy or war than simply a lack of options,” the inquisition retorted, “Be advised President, we are after the truth of the matter here, not the plain facts.”
“I stand by my decision to agree to the Prime Minister’s suggestion as it was the best course of action for my people.”
“Inadequate Micaela,” Anders yelled in his mind, losing his temper with the steadfast President, but also seeing parts of her motivation, “There are many of your constituents amongst us that are very upset indeed with your rash actions. How would you explain yourself to them?”
This was a slightly harder truth to pull out of the consciousness of Micaela. When everyone was alive and protected, there was little concern about the morals of the whole thing, though there were of course objectors.
“It was impossible to foresee the events which led us to where we are. That much is undeniable, though it is admitted that our actions were a direct cause of the event. The truth is that I thought the General and the Prime Minister were too bullish and too eager to pursue such a drastic course of action, but when faced with the wall of statistics and projections which have been so painstakingly compiled, and told that timescales don’t allow for experimentation, what possible other action could have been taken?”
“We have heard this from the General. Was it not possible to take a few more months or even weeks to come to a conclusion? It appears to us that no such consideration was truly given, but the easiest and most prosperous short term course of action for those involved was taken. This is unacceptable.”
“What you have done is what is unacceptable. How can I possibly be so culpable when you pulled the trigger? I reacted to the situation in front of me, with the interests of those who I represented in mind.”
Many of the jury understood the feeling, and yet there was still an enraged feeling of anger that this is how decisions were made. “It is a shame that this is the truth of the matter for you.”
Anders passed out once again in the SUV, spent from his trial.