Summum Malum

July 6, 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!

Nerd rant:

Summum malum is a latin expression meaning ‘greatest evil’.

In his book “Leviathan”, Hobbes argues that because every individual has different desires, there is no such thing as a ‘greatest good’ or summum bonum. A community that tries to provide the ‘greatest good’ to all of its people would inevitably end up in chaos, since there could be no agreement on what desire or pursuit was the ‘greatest good’. Instead, Hobbes believes that a successful community can only be centred around the goal to avoid summum malum, the ‘greatest evil’, which he believes is violent death.

In other words, we as a community may not be able to decide whether we want to build a new power plant or a new baseball stadium. But we can all agree that we don’t want to be savagely killed. Hobbes believes that it is only this fear of summum malum that can unite humans together to live in a community.

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“Good morning, Jessica Jung. The time is 9:05am. You are now signed in to station 14.” When the computer had finished clocking her in, Jessica leaned back from the retina scanner and clipped on the headset sitting on the desk table in front of her.

The headset was a clear earpiece about the size and shape of a ring that clipped on just above the earlobe. Once put on, it automatically activated the bank of monitors at the workstation as well as signed her on to the communication network. A voice spoke up in her ear, “Station 14? This is Ground Unit 14 checking in.”

“This is Station 14, GU. I hear you loud and clear.” Jessica responded as she swiped from perspective to perspective on the monitors, doing her morning check of all her areas. Some were stationary cameras attached to buildings or installed inside advertisement boards. She checked those first, moving from camera to camera down the streets and avenues she was assigned to watch. Once she was satisfied that there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, she flipped a few screens to display the live feed from the cameras that her ground unit wore embedded in their helmets.

“Everything looks good on the streets, GU. Everything okay where you are?” She leaned back in her chair, reaching her arms over her head as she stretched.

“Everything looks hunky dory, Sica. But let’s get to the important issue here…late to work again this morning, huh?” The gruff voice on the other side laughed and she heard a couple of the other soldiers chuckle. She smiled too and laughed along. “Oh you poor boys, didn’t know what to do without me, did you?”

The Station and GU worked as a team to patrol the streets. Each Station oversaw a section of the city and directed their GU to respond to situations they spotted. There were over 500 different teams in the city: each had a Station, and each Station sometimes had up to 3 Ground Units depending on the population and demographic of the area. Area 14 was mostly residences though, so only one unit was required for patrol.

She continued exchanging jibes with her unit as she panned through her street cams. Occasionally she’d flip back to one of their feeds and walk the streets with them. All in all it was a dull morning. They only had one minor incident that day; in the early afternoon Jessica’s headset beeped and another Station worker’s voice came through the earpiece. “Station 14, we’ve got a tier 3. Male, mid 20s. He just came out of my area and he’s headed your way down 83rd street.”

Jessica pulled up the street and spotted the man as he came into the view of her street cam. “I’ve got visual, thanks for the heads up. Deploying GU now.” There was a click as the line disconnected and Jessica tapped the side of the earpiece once to reconnect with her unit. “Hey boys, we’ve got a tier 3 male coming down 83rd.”

There was a bored sigh on the other end of the line. “Only tier 3? Man, Sica, we never get any good action. What’d he do?” Jessica laughed. A tier 3 offence was usually petty crime, nothing that infringed on personal property or endangered life. Nothing they couldn’t take care of before their coffee break. She pulled up the report on the screen, “Selling marijuana to minors.” She zoomed out to an aerial view to watch the GU approach 83rd street and prepare to intersect the man when a sudden bolt of inspiration hit her. “Actually, turn here and come back out behind him. Let’s do a little bit of future crime prevention, shall we?”

The men on the other end laughed and turned like she directed. “Since when have you been a model worker, miss always-late-to-work?”

She scoffed, flipping to one of their feeds so she could watch the chase. They were behind the man now, he was about a block ahead.

“So what’s your idea, model worker?”

“There’s a school up ahead, about 10 blocks away. Get him to the intersection outside before you take him down. That way the kids will see what happens to citizens that break the law.” The soldiers eased down to a quick jog, enough to keep the man panting but still ahead of them. About 5 minutes later the man began to slow, so one of the soldiers picked up a jagged rock and pelted him in the back with it. The man fell and the blood from the gash on his back and the dirt from the road mixed together on his shirt as he fumbled to his feet. But when he started to run again, he didn’t slow down. Jessica complimented the soldier on his good improvisation.

Finally they neared the school. The man fell again, and this time he didn’t get back up. Confident that her GU had the guy handled, Jessica flipped her monitors back to her street cams. When she heard one of the soldiers over her earpiece speak up, she assumed he was speaking to the man. “Regards from our dear Sica, buddy. Thanks to you, we’re all model workers today!” A round of laughs. Jessica rolled her eyes as she continued to pan through the other cameras, “Oh please, I’m always a model worker. You’re all just jealous that I’m going to get promoted and leave you with another Station monitor.” The soldiers laughed as they called in a transport.

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What’d you think? Let me know! 🙂