Author Archives: Saúl

Constitution of the Alban Commonwealth

The Alban Commonwealth traces its origins to the final days of the Third World War and the exodus of wealth from the belligerent states. A lucrative partnership between the wealth of trillionaire Robert Murdoch and the celebrity of broadcaster Sir Peter Weyland helped ensure the success of the venture by attracting the attention of such wealthy investors as the Bezos Group and the Musk Foundation. Although he passed away before seeing his project come to fruition, it was the unique dream of Robert Murdoch to see the creation of a new free state, one without the history and baggage of similar past endeavors. It was supposed by Murdoch that only those capable of paying their way would be eligible to join the new state, with minimum wealth requirements for those seeking to migrate and the right of the government to assess the status of such individuals and their eligibility to remain citizens. Through the many permutations of the project, particularly under the leadership of Sir Peter Weyland with the support of the Murdoch estate, although the tone was softened, this vision of a plutocratic republic remained throughout.

The present-day Alban Commonwealth came into being with the federation of the first sixty settlements under the Articles of Union, whose ratification as the Alban constitution is marked by the Founding Day holiday every June 11. Based on the classical model of presidential republic, the authors of the Articles of Union were careful to learn from the mistakes of the past by attempting to preempt them in the present.

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Stanleyville

Prologue to Act II of 2100 CE

It was another night of protests on the streets of Clearwater as opposition to the arrival of the Alban Self-Defense Forces continues to intensify, what opponents have termed a ‘military occupation.’  Standing this morning amid razor-wire barricades and armored personnel carriers, it is difficult to argue with that description.

            There was a pause in the narration, into which the sound editor added the distinct sound of an armored turret swiveling, followed by the shouting of soldiers and finally the inevitable chatter of small arms fire.  As she moved from room to room, the sound of the newscast followed her via speakers hidden in the ceiling and walls, giving the impression of being directly in the midst of the action.  This particular client was convinced that leaving the livestream on all day would help her pet better deal with the stress of being left alone while she was at work.

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Enemies of Democracy Come From Within

Do not forget their complicity.
Do not forget their supporters.
Do not forget their patrons.
Never let me them forget the shame they brought down upon us.
In my personal opinion, these people constitute enemies of the American people and state. They are responsible for all of this.

Senate
Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Kelly Loeffler (R-GA)
James Lankford (R-OK)
David Perdue (R-GA)
Steve Daines (R-MT)
John Kennedy (R-LA)
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Mike Braun (R-IN)
Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Roger Marshall (R-KS)
Bill Hagerty (R-TN)
Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)



See also:
https://www.npr.org/sections/congress-electoral-college-tally-live-updates/2021/01/07/954380156/here-are-the-republicans-who-objected-to-the-electoral-college-count

Ad Bestias

Act I, Scene 16 of 2100 CE.

Zahn squinted at the image he was being shown, bringing his face closer to the screen for a better view.  He felt ridiculous, like trying to make out one of those old-fashioned 3D photos.  “This is the best magnification?”

            “Actually, it’s not line-of-sight,” the technician said.  “The camera that caught this is on a surveyor drone—it’s not really intended to take these sort of long distances images.  What we’re seeing is a computer approximation.”

            It looks like a piece of modern art, Zahn thought, squinting again at the image.  There was something out there, that was for sure; successive images showed the same patch of space mottled by moving masses and occasionally lit by flashes of what looked like red lightning.  “I don’t get it,” he said after a long while, “these drones must have navigation cameras for remote control.  Those should be sufficient.  These weren’t taken with the surveyor camera, you said?”

            “They do, and they are,” the technician replied only a little defensively, “but we’re getting a lot—and I mean a lot of interference.”

            One of the other communication technicians was nodding.  “Hell, we can barely capture the drone’s controls from here.  We have most of them on standby until we can figure out what’s wrong.”

            “Interference?”  A slight motion at the corner of his eye drew his gaze to Santiago.

            The old man shrugged.  “Signal could be out of sync?”

            “No, no, no,” the three techs instantly protested.

            “Hold on, let’s get something clear,” the lead technician said, “this ain’t our fault.  We checked our equipment, and we checked the signal.”

            “We tested it,” another said, as though that settled the matter entirely.

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Battle Cry of Freedom (2020 version)

Oh we’ll rally round the flag, oh, we’ll rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we’ll rally from the hillside, we’ll gather from the plain,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

The Union forever, hurrah! Friends, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star!
While we rally round the flag, friends, we rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Oh we’re springing to the call for the lives of our friends, (#BLM)
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we’ll fill our vacant ranks with a million voters more, (#RegisterToVote)
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

The Union forever, hurrah! Friends, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star!
While we rally round the flag, friends, we rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

We will welcome to our numbers the loyal, true, and brave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And although we may be poor, we shall never be his slaves,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

The Union forever, hurrah! Friends, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star!
While we rally round the flag, friends, we rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

So we’re springing to the call from the East and from the West,
Shouting the battle cry of Freedom!
And we’ll hurl the bigot scum from the land we love best,
Shouting the battle cry of Freedom!

The Union forever, hurrah! Friends, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star!
While we rally round the flag, friends, we rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

THE UNION FOREVER! Hurrah, friends, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, and up with the star!
While we rally round the flag, friends, we rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Venatio

Part of 2100 CE.

“Anything more on that squadron tailing us?”

            On the bridge of the carrier Leopard, the unexpected voice of Captain Braddox brought heads swiveling in time to see the captain settling into the command chair.  That there had been no call to attention was rare, but given their current circumstances…

            “No change, sir,” the duty officer responded, hesitating before continuing, “They’re still gaining on us.”

            “Same number as before?”

            “Yes, sir,” the lieutenant said.  He tapped at his station and the screens above the forward view changed to show images of a warship and relevant information in a column alongside.  “We have confirmed them as four Polemarch-class destroyers.  Entanglement made it difficult to confirm, but their IFF signatures display Europan colors.”

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Ashland

Part of 2100 CE.

The e-bike had been a gift from his older brother, more literally a pass-me-down when Jaimie bought a hatchback and left for college.  Jaimie had ridden that bike all through high school, usually down to the beach and back across town to the Waterfront District.  The bike had a lot of miles on it, but the little Honda electric motor—no larger than a wireless router—kept going strong.  And so, Emile used it all through his last years of high school and into his first years of college, right up to the moment Laika struck California.  He had been riding along Independence Boulevard when the brightest light he had ever seen—brighter than the sun or the moon or any star in the night’s sky—lit the entirety of the western horizon.  Lacking the electronic shielding of most major electronics, the EMP which followed fizzled the bike, leaving Emile stranded in the middle of the city amid the ensuing panic.

            I was going to pick up Julia.

            Emile sat bolt upright.  The concrete walls surrounding him dimmed Titan’s perpetual twilight to total darkness.  The room’s lone window, barren but for a lone column of rebar bisecting its opening, provided the room’s sole source of light: Saturn.

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Oceanfront

Part of 2100 CE.

Even with supplemental personnel from the Civil Service, the hospital was never adequately staffed.  Hospital management routinely offered bonuses in pay, extra paid leave, paid meals, and commuter subsidies—anything to motivate staff to volunteer for additional shifts beyond their weekly fifty hours.  There was no technical obligation to volunteer; those with children most frequently declined the offers, placing more pressure on those without families to commit.  More than once a member of hospital management had made it known that an additional one or two days every pay period was not just encouraged, it was expected.

            She had herself initially volunteered for an additional ten hours every month, but ten quickly became thirty, and Julia found herself working three seven-day weeks back-to-back, followed by a six-day week, and only one day off.  Every day a patient would vomit on her, a concerned mother would scream at her, a surgeon would make an inappropriate comment, and some junior member of staff would interrupt her lunch or dinner or breakfast—or whatever a meal at midnight was called.  At home she would have spent that same time staring at her phone, mindlessly checking social media for the nonsense other people in her friendwork posted for the world to see—and, of course, drinking.  She had got into the habit of ingesting until she would pass out and then come to work the next morning in a hungover fog.

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Nelson

Act I, Scene 12 of 2100 CE.

Nine months ago, this campaign began from the very spot where we now stand.  Nothing less than the preservation of our Union—indeed the very existence of our entire Confederation, hung in the balance, the dreams of generations, and the vision at last realized in our own time.

            The last word echoed against the hewn red stone of the Elysian Assembly Building into the piazza onto which it faced.  The words Justice and Peace were carved into the architrave in bold, neoclassical letters which stood out in a darker red than the stone surrounding them.  Large fluted columns rose to support the portico and its roof, surmounted by elaborate Corinthian capitals in a motif representative of their local production.  Corn, soybean, and carrots sprang forth from the red marble as though cultivated from the same plant.  Each capital was a work of art unto itself, each representing in their own particular way the same motif of Martian industrial agriculture.  Teardrop-like carrots might dangle down to one side, to be met by pealed ears of corn and the concentric pattern of individual niblets on another—the very image of modern pastoral serenity.

            Standing before these columns was a line of silent Peacekeepers, each standing at parade-rest with their hands clasped at the small of their back.  Lined, wary eyes stared out toward a horizon of ash and smoke.  The cityscape which they had left behind nine months prior was largely gone, a ruined city where columns of smoke as thick as redwoods still rose where napalm had been used to flush out stalwart fighters.  Some of them had witnessed those infernos and the screaming, burning figures which emerged—and who were promptly gunned down.  Their uniforms showed the signs of fighting, worn in places and stained in others, though no other signs stood out more than the bullpup carbines pressed to their chests with gleaming fixed bayonets and the black eye patch one of them wore, the product of a piece of red hot shrapnel striking her eye.

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The Ecology of Martian Trees (unfinished)

Trees adapted to the red soil brimmed with fresh purple needles of the sort that would disintegrate rather than fall.  As quickly as they were gone, so were they replaced by fresh buds.  Outside the windows of the gondola, the needles danced like waves on water and put her in mind of the artificial beaches of Loma Bay.  She had tickets to visit again in two months and was counting the days.  It would be two weeks this time—she had finally negotiated those extra two days of paid leave—and she would spend every hour of it on the sand.

            She rubbed her hands together, a subtle reminder of the balmy conditions of Loma Bay.  It was cold at these altitudes, and no manner of heater could keep the gondola above freezing.  This was, ironically, an improvement on the situation.  Ten years ago she would have been required to wear an environmental suit, but now she could wear regular cold-weather attire.  The atmosphere was absolutely warming up—it was happening faster than anyone had expected…

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