Friday, July 24, 2020

Microstory 1415: The Last Ditch

There were two major factions that came to be when Springfield started trying to form a new society on Durus. They were completely cut off from Earth, and now the responsibility fell on them, and them alone, to survive. Some people followed Smith and his despotocracy, while others were loyal to Councilwoman Hardt. People on both sides at least liked her, so an all out war would have spelled trouble for everyone. Still, she was never able to maintain enough power to take control of the situation, and Smith ruled over everyone for years. He was the one who figured out how to protect everyone using the Baby Barrier, and that won him too many points to overcome, because even those on Hardt’s side knew they had to protect themselves from the monsters. Even within these two factions, there were those who were more peaceful, and those who were more violent. The latter wanted a war, believing that the winner would decide how things played out for the next several years. There seemed to be no doubt that the special children would grow up and lead them one day, but that wouldn’t be for a long time, so there was a lot of work to do until then. One subgroup decided after about three years of Smith’s rule that it was time for an official change in leadership. They started planning a coup, which they felt had to include Smith’s assasination. Now, there weren’t a lot of people with experience with this sort of thing. There were a few law enforcement officers, but they had all chosen Smith. Some in town were part of the military, but nearly all of them had died, because they were always first to place themselves in danger for the greater good. Only one veteran was still alive at this point, and he was pretty old, so while he could teach the would-be assassins how to carry out their mission, he wouldn’t be able to handle it himself. Either way, they needed to convince him to help the cause. He was quite reluctant, since he had left all that violence behind him, and he was never gung-ho about it in the first place. In the end, he agreed that a transfer of power was the only way to turn this town from a place of inequality, to a thriving community founded upon fairness.

Smith had too many people in his pocket, so instead of trying to get them all out, perhaps their only choice was to simply destroy the pocket. They had just spent this whole time trying to use reason, and it had gotten them nowhere. Violence was not ideal, but they had always considered it the last resort, and now they believed this was the moment to descend to it. They chose their best marksman, which wasn’t saying much with this lot, but it wasn’t like it would have been on Earth. There was no federal government to come down on them, or significant public outcry. The primary obstacle was going through with the act itself; not getting away with it afterwards. That wasn’t to say there wouldn’t be any fallout, but they felt prepared to deal with the aftermath, because justice was on their side. Unfortunately, conviction was not enough to make this work. Their assassin was caught, and sentenced to death by exile. She held strong, though, and did not give up any of her compatriots. Only she was ultimately punished for treason. Smith and his loyalists were twisted, but they were also cowards. No one was willing to execute her themselves, but if they forced her outside the protected perimeter, there was a chance she would survive, and that cleared their respective consciences, and gave them comfort, so they could sleep at night. Of course, intellectually, they knew there was no way she would last the week, because they were ignorant about how this world worked. Time monsters were drawn to people, but more than that, they were drawn to crowds. It was much easier for a single individual to move about the lands undetected. That didn’t mean the exile was completely safe, but she did survive, and their lack of follow through would prove to be Smith’s people’s downfall.

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