Short Story: A Lost Cause?

The Paris Incident… what more can be said that hasn’t been already? Everyone knows how it started, everyone knows why it went to shit, and everyone knows how the Americans– the biggest bulls of them all– were silently and willingly castrated. Jesus Christ, we were so stupid.

To understand why Lemaire’s death had such little effect on us, you have to understand where we’d come from. Then, once knowing that, you’d have to understand why we did what we did.

When Lemaire died, and Paris went up in flames, we watched with the rest of the world, petrified just like them. The difference was, we could mount no revolution of our own. Funny thing about being the one with the biggest stick– when its turned on you, you’re pretty well fucked. Blue-collar, white collar; didn’t matter your shirt-color, if you’d found a place to bitch about things, you were jailed before the broader ‘net heard your complaints.

But like I said, you have to understand where we came from. It started decades ago with the first, foreign terrorist attack this country had seen. It wasn’t just a tragic occurrence for us. Other places in the world were used to that sort of thing. Not us. Between the IRA, the middle eastern sects, and the average, everyday nut-jobs Europe was rife with those attacks. Paris, London, Berlin, hell even Belgium and Sweden had felt their fair share of the dirt being kicked up by those fucking jihadists to the south.

Us though? We weren’t like them. We had security, sanctity, sovereignty, and in them, peace of mind.

So when that first attack hit, it was more than just a pin-prick in our overblown ego, it was a god damn gaping hole in the balloon. Unfortunately, that balloon was also our heads and what we did after, even if for the best of reasons, made sure of it. When the time finally came for us to face our demons, we realized we’d left ourselves powerless.

For decades we’d heard from ultra-leftists about the “erosion of freedoms,” while the right pitched its agenda as the “protection of rights.” It was all just rhetoric meant to hide what people were really afraid to say; we were becoming slaves– either to our government, or the corps that eventually took over. We were all chained to 9-to-5s, rising taxes, and crippling debt. Not even the best and brightest of us could escape after college tuition went through the roof. For the first time in history, we started seeing cities– literal cities– go belly up from outrageous debt and unyielding corruption.

So we did what any first world nation would, printed more money and gave it out by the bucketfuls to people whom promised to protect our economy. Ha, yeah, bullshit. What most did was take the money and run. Turns out ol’ Steve Miller was right after all, but our Billy-Joe and Bobby-Sue were Wall Street and the Financial industry. The difference? They didn’t so much shoot a man after robbing his castle as knock us down and trample our faces in mud as they ran roughshod over our country and economy.

So what we eventually had was a whole country of people terrified from a blow to their ego, scraping to get by after a near-totally collapsed economy. Understanding that makes it easier to understand what came next, and led us to our… current, predicament.

It became obvious about a decade after the first attack– the only attack, really– that our freedoms were eroding. Even as the politicians called for increased security, safety, and freedom, they forced laws past that tightened their grip around our throats and our own belts. They bludgeoned rights and freedoms with repeated attempts to pass harsher and more ambiguous laws, gave total power to acronym and police agencies. The shit storm that hit the fan when we later found out– shockingly– that power was used for all the most malicious purposes, was too little too late.

Whod’ve thought, right?

All kidding aside, what we had was a country of pissed off, desperate people too poor, hungry, and terrified to lift themselves up. More importantly, they clutched for anything and everything that even remotely resembled security– you know, that bygone illusory thing we’d always thought we’d had. So when the corps came in to downsize the police force, clean-up the borders, and take-over the already-corrupt justice system, who’d have thought it could get any worse?

No-one. Why? Because we’d never seen such atrocities committed by our own people, let alone against our own people. We were simply naive; a country too young and juvenile in mind to realize we should be careful of the silver spoon fed to us, lest it contain arsenic and cyanide. Instead, we swallowed it whole, gorged ourselves on lies, empty promises, and rhetoric and propaganda that would have shamed the Nazis. All of that, in the hopes that everything would “get better soon.”

The eternal why is simple really, we are naïve, both as a country and as a culture. The English empire has spanned millennia. Even most, legal orders of European countries were hundreds of years older before they fell. Comparatively, we were short-lived. It made us that much easier to conquer. Hearts and minds were a hell of a lot more effective than guns and bombs, and most of corp execs knew that. We didn’t. So they promised everything our hearts desired, and the return of peace of mind through it, and we didn’t hesitate.

In a matter of months, the US police forces were eliminated by various sects of corporate security. The Military went with them. Soldiers were given a choice to stay on with one of various corporations or leave without a second consideration. The Navy was outright eliminated, air superiority a given from the Warhound-Raptors patrolling the skies and coasts in flocks. More to the point, we relinquished any hopes of self-defense in a bid to keep foreign execs happy.

The State and Federal Governments stuck around a little while longer than most civil services to “ease the transition.” More bullshit. What they did was pass a whole slew of laws all that pretty much eliminated the bill of rights and nullified the constitution. Why? They were all bought and paid for. Every last one of them held positions in corps, received weekly checks from their payroll. We learned that the hard way when the last of the governments dissolved– and we clapped and hooted and hollared about it.

And then there was silence.

Fucking deafening silence.

Media outlets went off the air, the ‘net went down, and all but a few vehicles were banned from the streets and skies. Conventional vehicles were outlawed to fatten the corps’ bottom lines through public transport and electric vehicles. The only thing we really owned anymore was our debt– hell from what I hear, even our sperm and eggs aren’t really ours anymore. It belongs to the corps now. Everything. All of it’s just waiting for some reason to be cut off and sold off to lower our life-debts.

I can’t even really be angry. Not really. I’m just disappointed. Our country had so much potential, such an unbelievable beauty and spirit. It seemed nothing could crush it except us. Then we did. Our streets turned into mostly dilapidated, abandoned memories outside inner-cities. Homes are gone too, everyone stuck in corp-owned buildings, prisons, or risking the elements hiding on the cities’ outskirts. None of those is a viable option to me, not really, but I take what I can get.

So, just like yesterday, I’ll slip into my boots, strap on my armor, grab my rifle and go to work. Maybe today someone will stand against us. Maybe I’ll be forced to gun them down. Then again, maybe not. Maybe we’ll be faced with another person standing beside them. Then another, and another until the whole damned country’s ready to die to take back what’s been stolen.

If not, I’ll just go lick the hand that feeds me again. I’d rather bite it, but I’m not gonna’ let it beat me into submission like the other inmates and homeless unless I’ve got a damned good reason. I may have a gun, but really, I’m just another wage-slave with armor in place of a suit.

I don’t know if it matters, or if it really could– you know, to be one who stands up. All I know’s the older I get, the more I start to wonder; are we really a lost cause?

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3 thoughts on “Short Story: A Lost Cause?

  1. Really good read.
    It soon dawned on me this was both a prediction and also a societal suicide note from the future.
    You got right into the nitty gritty and painted a hell of a picture of what thing may become, of corps running the world and likely it would be akin to slavery. Some would say we are already there in essence.
    Cheers for the trip to the future ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Glad you liked it. This is actually one of a series. Eternal Optimists, Modern Day Trojan Horse, and The Waltz are all connected to it. There are a few others that are tangentially related too, but those four are different viewpoints from the same “universe” where corporations rule. There are a couple more coming in the future, as well a novel based around what sparked the “Paris Incident” but that’s quite a ways out.

      And yes, in someways that world is terrifyingly real…

      Liked by 1 person

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