Direction – First of the Triumvirate

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.

Direction – An SUV for the night

Working Chapter 13 of my Is it for us alone? novel in progress

There wasn’t t anything resembling privacy in this new world order.  Though it didn’t stop some from trying to take advantage of the ‘needle in a stack of needles’ effect that ostensibly was Anders mind at present.  It wasn’t as if a neighbouring consciousness could raise the alarm and point out the culprit swimming right next to them in Anders mind.  No, this hunt for the triumvirate was more akin to trying to remember where you left your keys if you had 9 billion sets of keys.

The inquisition of the General had been relatively simple, but it had strained Anders mind nonetheless.  He lie passed out on the bluff where he had been sitting for some time, now with the sun close to setting.  There was no danger present and yet he felt the primal need to find shelter as the darkness approached.  The SUV he had thought of earlier would do just fine seeing as he could then use it for the next leg of his journey.

Anders groggily pulled himself off the floor and stretched his limbs, the air between some of his joints making a satisfying pop as he did so.  The SUV was a short walk down the main road adjacent to the beach.  He walked at a leisurely pace, his memory of the area so honed that he could easily find his way to the SUV blindfolded.

The keys were in a drawer by the main entrance to the house – the same place they had always been and where he always remembered putting them and incidentally a very similar place to where most put them.  It was all second nature.  It was all as he remembered.  Waltzing between the front door and the driveway, keys in hand ready to drive to work.  Only, of course, this work was very different from that which his memories alluded to.

A Ford SUV sat in the driveway right where it’s previous owner had left it.  The details of the make, model, colour and condition excited parts of his mind, notably those that had designed it, but the vast majority had a nonplussed reaction – it was just another car after all.  Tonight this car was also shelter.  Anders reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a chocolate flavoured protein bar.  Branded and loaded with artificial claims and tastes to compliment the artificial proteins.  It certainly had convinced most of Anders that it was an effective substitute for real food.  Still, effective as it was, it lacked that essence and love in food, like he had cooked when he first absorbed the consciousnesses of that group of friends.  They had shown him the initial joy of food, but the night was late for that and work was afoot.  He cradled into his Ford SUV for the night – he would rest for the night and begin his interrogations again in the morning.

Direction – The inquisition of General Howerton

Working Chapter 12 of my Is it for us alone? novel in progress

The memories were muddled and being actively hidden from the group. There was no method of coercion or force that could work given the nature of what was sought after, but the consciousnesses within Anders were all for understanding what had happened so there was plenty of help in seeking them out. Many memories surrounded the night in that bunker, where the fate of mankind was ultimately sealed. The only particularly notable one besides that of the three heads of state was that of the General Bradley Howerton, the loyal though somewhat blunt commander of the North American military and chief adviser to the President.

Howerton’s memories were easy to find and the first analysed by Anders and the ultimate jury he had assembled that included all human consciousness. He had no regrets. At the time he made the decision it was the only course he could see to preserving the human race – at least his part of the human race. There was no way he could have foreseen the actions of Anders, who was in his mind the true culprit here.

There was silence from the jury. They considered their next line of questioning in light of the General’s brazen bluntness.

“How is it that the systematic extermination of a third of the world’s population was the only course available? We’re other options even considered?”

Truly a question for the leaders rather than the General, but he took it and answered in his own way.

“There may have been solutions had there been a proper assessment of the risk a decade ago, but by the time we got to reviewing our available options, there was only one course. I was able to stand by my president in his decision as my view of the scenario, at the time, was that there had to be a cull in order for the race to survive. I’m afraid to say that it really was as simple as that.”

An answer that wasn’t truly an answer. Typical of those being accused that know their guilt deep done. Of course this was no ordinary interrogation and the jury knew all of these feelings that flew around now that they were so focussed on the general. It was just not possible to hide his emotions.

“We see that there is guilt nonetheless.”

“Of course. You may think me a brutish man, but I was only suggesting and supporting the course of action that we took as I truly believed it to be the correct course. Even as a soldier, or rather particularly as a soldier, I don’t take the idea of killing lightly and I idea of mass killing is that much worse. Still, something had to be done or we would have all died.”

A long silence pervaded throughout Anders body as he sat looking out over the sea. He felt almost peaceful though he knew what rumbled beneath the surfaces in the shadows of his mind. In other times a passerby would have thought he was a deep in meditation. He was very mindful, but it was his own culpability that he was mindful of.

This inquisition before the court of humanity was a gathering in order to fully understand the facts of the matter. Judgment had already been passed and the sentence handed out indiscriminately. Still those countless members of the jury needed to understand the how and the why, at least in so far as it was understood and interpreted by the individuals that were there. Truth was not something at issue here as lies weren’t possible when peering directly into a person’s consciousness. That doesn’t mean that others might not take issue with that truth.

“Most of us fail to understand this rationale. Did you originally suggest your doomsday scenario?”

It was less of a question and more of a lead to structure the thought pattern. “I did not,” came the response as expected.

“It was no doubt a politician with a mandate to protect his people and their interests.”

No comment or judgement from the General. He had his job. He was a tool and he gave his service to do what he thought was required to safeguard those under his charge.

“You could have objected. You knew the inherent difficulty in even completing the task so why was there no discussion of this and straight on to the planning!?”

“As you know and I have said, there was no other course in my mind, so objecting to state that the task would be difficult would be utterly pointless. I’m given a task which I create a strategy for and my men implement. If they had come to me before this had become a breaking point issue, I may have been able to provide some alternative advice, but by the stage the meeting was held there were no alternatives.”

A line of thought the jury hadn’t considered.

“We see that you think things could have been controlled with selective Marshal law. This does not seem to be the fairest approach that could have been taken, but it would surely have saved our lives. Do you truly believe it would have worked?”

“It may not have been fair, and I am only speculating based on what I know, but I believe it would have been controversial, costly in some lives, but not to the extent that was to be considered under the alternatives.”

The line of inquisition is fruitless. While deplorable the General’s actions may have been, there is no recourse and the only truth that he offers up is tainted by his strict point of view. The jury wants an apology, an act of acquiescence or some other form of admission that he is guilty. General Howerton had essentially used the classic line of denial. He was, he finally contended, “Only doing his job,” as many of his men also contended. Their moral compasses were shrouded by fear and the desire for self preservation. Were the jury sympathetic? They may well have acted exactly the same. In fact, it is more than likely that they would have. Still, there is always a stark contrast between the hypothetical and the actual. Many of those on the jury would have acted the same, but they did not act.

“We have no further use for your memories General.”

They could not destroy him, but instead they did the closest they could to banishment – they suppressed the General’s consciousness deep in the the murky sub conscious of Anders’ mind.

Direction – The road to Istanbul

Working Chapter 11 of my Is it for us alone? novel in progress

Anders stood by the shore staring out to sea. It was as close to home as he could possibly get. To some part of him this was in fact home, but that wasn’t the part of him that was stirring at this moment. The Anders who left his home back in Marstrand, the home that he had not left until his fateful experiment proved catastrophically successful, was the part of him that was stirring. It was a rare occurrence on his long journey to put his kin to a right and peaceful rest. Anders had taken a back seat in his own body as he let others that swam in his consciousness and guided his body, like pilots taking over at each new harbour that they visited. This was too striking though and too similar to home for Anders to take a back seat to.

He wandered along the shore of this foreign place. For once he suppressed those other consciousnesses, a difficult feat even with all this time to have practiced, and allowed himself to walk the shore in his own mind and experience it singularly. The shore here wasn’t rocky as he was used to, but the water called to him. There had been plenty of sea throughout his journey, sure. Some of it was probably more like his home than this, but this was the first time that he drew himself out. He pondered that perhaps it was because he was in such a remote location now, an in between part of the world, that no one was clambering to the front of his mind and he was able to enjoy it for himself. For himself was perhaps the wrong term as his mind continued to swim with thoughts and feelings of others, even as he had control. He enjoyed it for as long as it lasted.

So far the journey had been a heavy one on his heart. His body, fit and young, had been able to absorb most of the physical strain and when he was tired he was quick to use his vast knowledge to find ways of making his movement from spot to spot more efficient. It was[ Where I stopped writing on 30/11

Tried to figure out how long it takes a human body to decompose, but couldn’t find an answer.

Realise there may be a fundamental flaw int he travelling around the world to bury bodies. As such, trying to reconcile that.s] not as if he could truly bury every person in the world, he knew this. Even with an eternity to spend on the task, the bodies would completely decompose before he made it all around the world. So it was that his journey was more one of memoriam rather than action. He was deep in thought throughout the journey, though clearly those thoughts were not always his own.

There were far too many evil thoughts swimming around in his head along with those that remembered the great and the good. There was haphazard evil such as Anders, along with the darkest dregs of humanity. Inevitably the voices of evil and their victims were suppressed – too hard to confront those horrors even after there is nothing to be done about them. It would have been some justice if the combined memories of humanity could have pulled together to understand this evil, but even a peak into it was too maddening for the group to consider a full excursion and do they were suppressed. It had weigh laid Anders and rendered him unconscious somewhere in Northern Italy close to lake Como. There were worse places to fall unconscious in the summer, but it was far from ideal losing control.

(He wakes up on the banks groggy but pulls himself together. He decides he must continue east rather than heading south through the rest of Italy even though his hearts pull him there)

Was it water that was lapping up against him? It could have been that he was floating in it, buoyed by the memories of a race now past and the water just reaching over the threshold to splash his face. Anders was struggling with the concept of reality on his trip. With all the voices swimming in his head it was hard the determine what was real – so many points of view that it was impossible to grasp what reality actually was. Though he was now certain that he was not in the water and he was not getting wet. All he bed do was open his eyes and the truth would be revealed to him.

The ground was dry beneath his body, but he was in earshot of the lake and could clearly hear the water’s slow and rhythmic sounds. This must have been the origin of his dream of lying in water. It didn’t matter now, the dream would be pushed into the ether. He sat up and looked around him. Mountains shot up in the background, snowy peaks that he had a great longing for. Many a time he could remember swimming in the lake and skiing down those slopes – joyous memories that revitalised him. This was all a relief from the pit he had stared into a short time ago. This was why those memories had to be suppressed.

His subconscious had brought him to this spot, because he recalled quite clearly being a couple kilometres away before falling out of touch with the world. It wasn’t for a distinct travel purpose so it must have been to calm the raucous within. The majority was with him on this journey and they were happy to ignore those that were most unlike them.

Clearly his situation was far more complex than he at originally imagined. Each moment that passed something new emerged. Now on the bluff overlooking the water, somewhere on the road to Istanbul, it was if the memories and consciousness within him were forming groups and voting amongst themselves to try and determine his course. “Their Course,” is what they thought, but there was only one body left. It was vastly unhelpful getting anything done when your body had turned into a purely democratic force without any framework.

These, his own thoughts on the new workings of his mind, lead to a violent groundswell of emotion from the others and a vying for attention in the consciousness. It was a physically unpleasant experience that he had on a reoccurring basis – everyone thought they could be as strong as Lina, but no one else ever succeeded with that level of control. That episode was a one off. It’s just hard to get people to believe it. “SILENCE!” Anders shouted out loud and he regained full control from the squabbling masses that made his stomach churn and head throb. He filtered out and suppressed what he could and the his own consciousness drifted back to thoughts of a time before he had become the ark housing the entire human consciousness.

Immortality had been his goal. It was not necessarily that he wanted to live forever. That’s not to say he hadn’t originally considered it – imagine what he could do with all that time. The problem was that those pesky statesmen had forced him into it. Without their careless actions to take the path of least resistance towards their survival rather than making difficult sacrifices, Anders would not have contemplated immortality and he wouldn’t have started down the path towards ultimate knowledge. They were down buried deep in his mind. There was no doubt that they were there – they hadn’t committed suicide or died before the wave swept over him like that baby in Gothenburg. No, they were in there, but they were quiet. They must have known that this was at least partially their fault.

The sky was a clear and the ocean a deep blue. It was a perfect day on the road to Istanbul along the coast. Anders pondered his two thoughts further – why did he find this place so familiar within his own mind and where were the memories of those statesmen who had doomed them all? To answer the first was an impossibility. Though, it was a nice thought to consider how two regions can feel so similar and yet be so far apart and so different. Something about the ocean pulled him in and gave him comfort. Sure, the ocean was different, but that same salty smell permeated the air and light wind whipped up against his face. There was more common ground here than not. It was peaceful and he felt as such.

Then he snapped back and considered his other question. He had stopped walking now and sat on a bluff before the beach so that he could look out on to the ocean. There was a fully tanked SUV down the road that he was going to walk towards shortly to give his journey a bit of pace, but he wanted to rest his legs for a bit first. He considered the names of the statesmen in question. What they were doesn’t matter, but he used their names to focus his thoughts. It was as if the rest of his consciousness allowed him to work at this question and somehow even tried to aid him – everyone had a stake in remembering these thoughts.