01 June, 2016

On the New Frontier...Sweeping Streets

(Sometimes ideas for stories come from songs.  For this story, Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" was the inspiration.  As I have said many times in this Life, it is good to have a plan.  Better yet, Colonel Hannibal Smith's great saying:  I love it when a plan comes together.  It has been a while since I have written anything new, so this may be a bit rough.)

     Walking down the street, Perry Wilson stopped before a block of buildings.  He surveyed the debris and damage to them, noting that only the storefront seemed to have suffered.  He opened the door to the storefront and entered, emerging with a broom, shovel and large waste bin.  He waved to the troops and people passing by, as he set to work cleaning up.  Recent events, he mused, had rather made a mess of things.
     Stopping a moment, Perry looked about and spotted the shattered remains of a large holoscreen.  Once the voice piece of the Consolidated Government, it lay destroyed as a sign of the people's rebellion.  He smiled as he looked at it, counting himself lucky as he thought of some of the damage he had seen on his way into the city.  His block of buildings had escaped serious damage, as had some of the others on the street.  Smiling at the slight irony of this fact, he resumed working on cleaning up.
     In the background he could hear a broadcast from the portable voice receiver he placed in a shattered window.  Most of the events the newscaster read were familiar, but a few new details straggled through.  Tossing debris into the waste bin, Perry pictured a pair of relics of his great-grandfather's time:  an ink pen and a sheet of note paper.  Continuing his work, he took notes in his mind of the details of what was known.  After a few minutes, his mental paper held a list of captured officials from the former regime.  One name he noted with interest stood out by its absence from the list:
     Supreme Chancellor Anderson Waverlis, leader of the Consolidated Government, Supreme Commander of the Military Command and a multitude of other titles.
     Arguably as well, the most hated and feared man in the entirety of the solar system. 
      Perry waved to a passing group of troops from the Citizen's Parliament.  It had taken 12 years, but the people had finally managed to overthrow the oppressive rule of Waverlis and his government.  The list of crimes, Perry reflected, committed by the Consolidated Government was almost unspeakable.  Despite all the other captures of members of the government, Waverlis had managed to avoid capture in the ten days since the rebellion had secured victory.  The popular rumor Perry heard is that Waverlis had committed suicide, and his inner circle had tossed the body in a vat of acid.  Perry smiled at that one, knowing that the real answer would be different.     
     Perry looked up as a man shouted a hello, intruding on his musings. Meeting him a little away from his building entrance, he stopped to tell Perry, “Good day. Have you heard any news on Waverlis?”
      Perry simply shook his head. “Latest capture is Grand Marshall Stelie. Found him trying to get off Earth to the colony on Triton.”
      The man nodded, pleased at this news. After Waverlis, Grand Marshall La'el Stelie was the most hated man in the Consolidated Government. His list of crimes was unspeakable, with conservative estimates of millions of deaths on his hands. As the Minister of Medicine and Public Health, many horrible experiments were conducted under his order, mostly on rebels and dissidents. The man before Perry echoed his thoughts, saying, “He'll burn soon enough for his evil alright. Sad it took so long to get to this.”
     Perry nodded as the man took his leave.  He watched more troops and people, some of them cleaning the streets and buildings as he was.  Turning to the task at hand, he managed to get the sidewalk before his block of buildings cleared.  Satisfied for the moment, Perry stepped into the street in order to assess the front of the block of buildings.  Taking a mental note of the number of windows and burn marks, he crossed back to the storefront.
     A family of five passed Perry, and he smiled at them.  They passed him a flag of the recently proclaimed Solar Federation, and he handed them a few credits in return.  Deciding to hang it over the lone intact window, he managed to get it straight in a couple of minutes.  Satisfied with this addition, he spotted a message.  Noting the source, he replied in bemusement.  Grabbing a chair, Perry decided to take a break from cleaning and sit.
     Perry sat outside, relaxing and using a tablet to construct an order for repairs with a contractor.  He found it amusing that despite the chaos of the rebellion, some things continued to work.  Time passed, as he finally got the order in, expecting a reply date sometime in the weeks range.  Doubtless, Perry considered, that everyone and anyone who could work in construction was bombarded with requests.
     Trumpet fanfare intruded on Perry's thoughts, coming from the portable voice receiver.  He walked to it, turning up the volume as the excited voice spoke.
     "Special Bulletin:  Roughly one hour ago, near the town of Sigel, Pennsylvania, North American Zone,  Andrew Waverlis, the head of the deposed Consolidated Government was captured.  Parliamentary forces received information as to the location of Waverlis from an anonymous source.  DNA and record verification confirm the identity of the person as that of Waverlis.  The detachment commander reported that Waverlis tried his utmost to convince them that he was just a stand in for the dictator-"
     Perry smiled, hearing the roaring cheers and shouts from all over the city.  He waved at people nearby who danced in the streets, around the rubble.  He walked back in the store front and dusted off a bottle of ale, opening it as he returned outside.  The newscast was still streaming, but he paid little mind of it.  He watched the people and listened, thinking of the intense planning that had gotten Waverlis away from immediate capture.  He breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that life would settle down to a quiet normal from this point.
     Perry smiled in his thoughts, as he picked up the broom and looked at the street.  Life was certainly going to be different, especially since he was sweeping the streets he used to own.

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