Kingdom of Darkness

July 8, 2013 in Leviathan Universe, Nelly by nelly

The Nowhere and Unknown collection is going to centre in a particular universe. I’m going to begin at various different places, perhaps in different times (perhaps not), and with different characters. And as we go along, maybe they’ll meet up and this will go from a bunch of unrelated stories (in the same world) into a single story stream. Or perhaps not. I want to grow this story as we go along, so make sure you always let me know what you think!

I’ll spare you the nerd rant this time around, so if you want to know why I titled this shot Kingdom of Darkness, look up Part IV of Hobbes’ Leviathan.

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The message appeared on Sunny’s screen in the middle of the night, that first night the world changed.

She had stayed up late to watch the live election results. During a commercial break in the feed, she absentmindedly sifted through the comments she’d received on a scalding article she’d published, which detailed her views on the Commonwealth party’s disturbing platform and unnaturally rapid rise in popularity. After the Commonwealth’s initial debut on the political scene about 5 years ago, they’d gone from a quiet underground following to a major mainstream presence. On the surface they had stayed true to their name and curried favour with the commons: crackdowns on murder and violence, strict laws to protect private property. But when Sunny had done some digging into the party’s platform, she had discovered the evident undertones of autocracy in the power over free press, the appointment of political officials.

Back then, Sunny had never imagined the undertones as anything other than undertones. She had certainly never imagined that the democratic political party, with hints at big government, was a tyranny in the making. Perhaps if she had, she would have wrote more and with greater urgency. Or maybe she wouldn’t have written at all.

Still. Sunny hadn’t imagined it then, and so she had written her scalding criticism of the Commonwealth party with an honest voice and a detailed argument. She’d cautioned the public about the dangers of censorship and the importance of the balance of power. The article had been published roughly three weeks ahead of the elections and she had been interviewed on numerous broadcasts about her stance. Each time she’d been critical of the Commonwealth. Sunny had hoped that her popularity as a political journalist would have enough reach to bring her warning to the common voter. It had seemed to be working; she’d been receiving plenty of support through the airwaves and on the feedback from her articles. She’d even begun to sway some major political figures to her side.

So when the message had popped up, she’d thought it was a prank. But then the feed had come back online, and there was the reporter on Sunny’s monitor, announcing that the results were finalized and the Commonwealth had suddenly shot up in the count and edged out their opposition to become the majority government. She’d pulled the message back up with shaky hands to reread the contents.

From the desk of the Commonwealth, to be set to first reading tomorrow morning:

Sunny’s eyes skipped down to the highlighted section in the middle of the document.

Amendment 6.4

Criminal offences will henceforth be separated into the following categories. A crown judge, unless otherwise indicated, will assign the punishment in response to severity of the crime.

Tier 1 – Crimes that threaten a return to the state of nature: activities that threaten the life, safety, or personal property of a citizen, or activities that threaten the sovereignty of the government. Punishment for petty crimes are subject to the crown’s discretion. Punishment for major crimes, against the lives of citizens or the authority of the sovereign, is death.

You don’t have a lot of time. I got a guy that says they’ve already begun sending officers to detain public opponents of the Commonwealth. My guess is that they’ll hold them until the bill has passed so that they can make an example out of them.

Out of me, Sunny thought. Her hands were sweating against the tablet screen.

You need to leave, Sunny, and now. I’ve got a car coming for you, it’ll be at your door in 10 minutes. Use it wisely. Good luck. And don’t say I never did anything for you, she was always my favourite.

Sunny knew that her friend was sending her an escape route. The Commonwealth was probably already watching her, so the car coming to her was surely being tailed. When it left her place it would be followed and detained at one of the check stops the Commonwealth had undoubtedly already set up on the main routes out of the city, and if Sunny was found inside she would be arrested as a wanted criminal attempting to escape justice.

She packed her things and waited until she heard a car park outside her front door. Then she slipped out the back door and down the adjacent alley under cover of dark. Six blocks away was her friend’s repair shop. The latch to the garage door was open and Sunny pushed the steel door all the way up. Waiting for her inside was an old Charger, her friend’s prized pet. The exterior looked like an antique car from the cover of a collector’s magazine, but when Sunny got into the driver’s seat and turned the keys that were already in the ignition, the dash lit up with a touch screen display and a panel with a dozen customized glowing buttons and levers. Her friend’s voice came over the sound system.

“Who’s the sexiest person in the entire world?”

Despite the urgency, Sunny felt herself laugh, “Not you, that’s for sure.”

The voice chuckled back, “Good, I’m glad it’s you. For a second I was afraid that you wouldn’t make it. Now listen carefully, because I’m going to cut this connection and wipe any trace of me from this car after we’re done talking. I don’t have enough time to tell you about everything, you can ask the AI I installed in the car about it later. But you see the glowing yellow button on the dash?” Sunny saw it. “That’ll put the car into stealth; cloak the car’s heat signal and junk. It won’t help if they’ve got men out watching for cars, but it’ll hide you from the sweepers. Take the back road down 130th, there’s no check stop there.”

Sunny pushed the yellow button and watched the mirrors dim and listened to the engine go from a dull engine rumble to a nonexistent whisper.

“Thanks. I’d probably be in the back of a police car by now, headed straight for jail, if not for you.”
“Yeah, and don’t forget the death part.”
“Oh right, I almost forgot the death part. Good thing you reminded me.”
“No problem, that’s what friends are for.”

A pause.

“Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it. Just make sure you take care of yourself.”
“You too.”

The line disconnected with a click. After a moment it was replaced with the AI’s voice. “Stealth mode has been fully engaged. Ready for departure.”

Sunny pulled out of the garage and drove down the street until she’d reached city limits. As she turned onto the highway, she caught the lights of the city through her rear-view mirror. So this is how democracy falls. Not with a bang or a scream, but in silence under cover of night.

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As always, love to know what you think!