Sunday, September 4, 2011

Liberty's Cry, Part 4

“We’re the founders of America,” one of the voices said, though Nathan couldn’t see him, because the entire room was shrouded in pitch black, “Our America.”
Nathan looked around, “Where am I? This place... The wormhole--”

“We are America,” the voice said, “My six friends and I. We come from your world, Nathan. A world where corruption runs rampant, the economy is always volatile, and people seemed to have forgotten what it means to be an American.”

“But if you’re from my world, how did you--

“It was simpler than you’d expect,” the voice said, “Six of us are psychics, but one of my friends here has the ability to open wormholes. Well, we’d hoped we could go back in time and fix our own reality. But we found something better. Don’t you see? Here we found a primitive reality and we built it up to be just like America, at the peek of its success!”

“And what of the other countries? Where do they fit into your plan?”
“They don’t,” the voice admitted, “America is the only country in this reality.”

“Then where did the Tories come from? Rousseau? Gil?”
“I’ve had enough of these questions,” a darker, grimmer voice declared, “Gimme the go-ahead and I can kill him, real quick.”
Nathan felt the tension run through his body, until the calmer voice prevailed, “Now, now, Tom. That wouldn’t be democratic of us, would it? What we have on our hands is a national hero, here. Sure, he was disgraced, but don’t we still owe him--”
“A bullet, like he was gonna give to--”
“Tom, if you want to create a barbaric America, you can go off to your own reality and do that, but that’s not what we agreed to for this reality, is it, fellows? Now, Nathan asked about the rebels and the French. You see, we brought in ideas from other countries, but implanted them into America. And unfortunately, some of the primitive inhabitants of this country have resisted our mind control and are therefore rebelling against us. Most of them live in the West, where Rousseau has actually fermented a bit of a resistance himself.”
Nathan, afraid to ask any more questions, sat there, shivering, “Mind control. That’s not democracy. That’s not America. That’s madness!”
“More mad than puttin’ a bullet in the president?” the darker voice, Nathan felt pretty confident the voice belong to Tom, said.

“I did what I had to. The man was ruining--”
“You’re right, Nathan,” the voice said, “Nixon was ruining our country. Just like our leaders today are. Just like they’ve been ruining the country for the past century. But don’t you see? We’ve saved our America by transplanting it. And isn’t it a beautiful place? Isn’t everyone happy here?”

“But at the cost of truth!” Nathan yelled, “You are all living a lie. You can’t force people to be American. That’s not what America’s about!”
“And you would know, you has-been piece of--”
“Now, now, Tom. Is that any way to treat our guest?”

Tom sighed.

“We’re giving you two options, Nathan,” the voice said, “Because we respect your views on America and your experience with it, we’re going to allow you to become one of our group. The eight of us will lead this reality to the beauteous glory it was meant for.”
“Or?” Nathan asked, with tense excitement.

“Or, we can send you home. We’ll implant you with fake memories, and you’ll tell your superiors this was actually Philadelphia, during the time of the Philadelphia Convention. The wormhole will be closed up and our realities will never again have contact.”

Nathan sat there, panting. He hadn’t realized it before, but he was quite tired. He’d fought a lot and fallen quite a distance, even if the fall was cushioned by telekinesis. His lungs and throat were burning. His insides felt like they’d been mixed up.

He stopped himself. He had to think about his decision, the decision that would impact him for the rest of his life. Before entering the wormhole, Nathan knew for a fact that it was the lies that had ruined his beautiful America. But had it been the lies? Or had it just been their exposure to the public? Was it lies that killed his America, or was it the truth?

His mind was a pendulum, swinging back between the two options. Were the lies okay, if they comforted the people? Was the truth so important, it needed to be revealed?
Finally, though he didn’t have an answer, he at least had something to say, “What happened to Firecracker?”
The pause reverberated throughout the room, until the voice finally spoke up again, “He’s dead. Patriot Star killed him.”
Allowing Nathan time to process the young lad’s death, no one spoke. Nathan backed up until he found a wooden table to lean on. It comforted him, to have something physical to hold onto, something physical to let him know that all of this was real.

“So what will it be, Nathan? Our America, or yours?”
Nathan wiped the sweat off his brow. He realized this was the most difficult decision he’d ever made in his entire life. But he knew it was one that would make him smile.

“I choose freedom.” With that, he flung the table across the room and heard Tom’s pain as it whacked the menacing man in the face. Nathan leaped towards the other voice he had heard. His head was telekinetically twisted 180 degrees.

It was the snap heard ‘round the world.

“Close the wormhole,” was all the once-friendly voice had to say.

Julia sighed as she looked through all her assorted paperwork. The mission had failed miserably. They’d lost Nathan, one of her most famous prisoners, and the wormhole had been closed. The media would be in an uproar.

If she revealed that the prisoner was still running around, out of the reach of the American government, funding for Project Redemption would be in peril, along with her job. However, if he was killed in action, as the program had made allowances for, she might be able to salvage the situation. Rubbing her temples, she wondered what would be the right thing to do.

Then she decided what she would do. Though Julia would never know what happened to Nathan, she put him on record as having died during his mission.

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