Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chapter Six: The New Beginning

It was two weeks ago now that Allyson had finally ventured out of her room into the halls of the hospital. Seeing other patients for the first time changed things. Her perceptions of reality had, for the first time, been forced to include the effects the actions in her memories had on others.

"If the Returners had come, why do none of these people seem to be aware of it?" Allyson thought.

That conversation had been so real. They spoke of her involvement in the Returners' efforts to overthrow the government from within. A government that was so corrupt, members of the regime loyal to the dominant party betrayed each other through public humiliation and untrue rumors in order to gain more power.

They told her she was not just a soldier for the Returners... she was one of the original members of the guerilla organization. A band of four exiled citizens of Gladefall who were banished and sent to the outer reaches of the land, where the soil was still somewhat contaminated from the nuclear wars of a century and a half ago. The four quickly multiplied to several thousand tightly knit and extremely upset citizens who were interested only in change.

Archer and Dorian explained to her that Gladefall had been a new nation established in 2078...70 years after the nuclear age climaxed, annhilating civilization as the human world knew it. It took only another 75 years for humanity to plunge itself back into war, corruption and depravity, all motivated by greed and desire for power over one's fellow man.

In 2008, war in what was then called the Middle East, no longer in existence, erupted and spread into the nuclear nations in southern Asia: Pakistan and India, whose feud reignited and pulled China and Southeast Asia with it.

The United States became a global empire just six month before that when it merged with the European Union, whose president was assassinated by covert US operatives just a month later.

They owned three continents: both Americas, Europe and were close to taking Africa, though they made a new enemy with every nation they claimed. The first bomb actually dropped on a place called the District of Columbia, which turned out to be an entire decoy of a city.

Some of these place names - mostly the continents - were familiar to Allyson. At least, they registered in her mind and she did not initially question their true existence. But she did not recognize all of the countries or cities.

London, which the nurses told her was where the hospital was located, sounded familiar, and so did the District of Columbia, but the Middle East sounded strange and frankly, like a vague direction more than a country or region.

Archer said she was not ready to know where Gladefall actually was, or from what country she would have been from, but that the new nation was founded by a people who lived where the United States began... a people nealry completely obliterated, or so it seemed, from their home in North America, who became known as the Founders.

Most of the foundations of Gladefall's Declaration of Harmony (its constitution) came from that people's belief in the denouncement of the concept of land ownership, common property and connection to the planet Earth.

However, when the United States (which later changed its name to Earth United -EU to appease the newly annezed Europe) and its enemies had nearly destroyed the planet and the remaining peoples convened on the last bit of healthy Earth, it was not long before the Founders were destroyed again by the greed of other factions that formed in Gladefall. Sectors were formed - some allied with others - and corruption flowed through the government. The capitalist economy failed and democracy meant simply a capitalist approach of buying a seat of power.

Supposedly, "here" in the 2150s, Allyson was part of a group set on resurrecting the harmonious Gladefall set forth in the New Beginning. A small faction of Founders and its allies who called themselves the Returners. For the past 20-25 years, the Returners had plotted an overthrow of the government, but it had drastically failed.

"That's when... well, we'll explain what happened when you need to know it. For now, you need to get healthy again," Archer had said.

"She needs to know now!" Dorian shouted.

"Don't yell in here, she's been through enough," Archer urged. "Allyson, we'll be back in a moment, and we'll talk about this napkin issue you've had. Dorian, step into the hall with me. We've got to get on the same page about how to approach this situation."

Allyson slipped back out of conscious as the lock on her door clicked back into place behind Archer and Dorian.

"The newspaper! The man in the shadows!" Allyson screamed into her empty room. "I never told Archer, what was I thinking? How did Archer know about the napkins the nurses kept leaving in her room, stacks of them? Were they lying to him, trying to cover up the newspaper? Did they even know about it?

She had become so engrossed in the story of the New Beginning and the origins of "Gladefall" that she forgot to tell him about the man who gave her the newspaper to show her what was real. She hadn't even glanced at the paper in a day and a half before Archer and Dorian stepped into the room. The nurses had kept her very preoccupied with tests and what they called therapy.

"Do I still have it?" Allyson asked herself. Her thoughts refocused to trying to remember what happened to her a year ago. Her mind seemed to graze the edge of those memories when she shuddered at the thought of the fear and pain she experienced. That's when she finally notice the wad of napkins clutched in her left hand.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Here is the link to the CityThreads hypertext:

Also, here is a link from a webpage at Duke that lists multiple hypertexts: