This is the author speaking. I'd like to address those that read the story. I apologize for letting this sit so long, and doubly sorry for the sporadic changes in quality, style, and mannerisms my writing style was undergone. Following Ukchana's advice, amazingly enough, I graduated from a writing class Friday, March 11th, 2005, with a disappointing B, but I was admittedly coasting through it. I became a clown at the end, messing things up, like I usually do.
I wanted to conclude this at the end of 2004, then shifted my schedule to the end of that month, then the end of the next, then the end of this month. None of those dates have panned out. I had to experiment with a few weird and twisted works in the meantime, and wrestle with the consequences of going into those strange directions, and I've convinced so many that my mind is beyond hope.
As it turns out, I'm going to make you question some more, because in this chapter, I'm taking a segue from the story as you've seen it, and instead deliver some commentary on what in Helen's kitchen I've been doing from the beginning to the end.
Chapter one: Tying The Gordian Knot
Starting this journey was a lot of fun, any writer wired my way would know. I wrote the introduction into Roger Gordian's world much the same way as the Power Plays series began, in a mindset molded by mythology. It was still prose, but I wrote it for a certain amount of beauty. It tells the story of the second half of the XX century, from the viewpoint of a beatnik reporter, one could say. I should have kept notes about what I was thinking at the time, but I wasn't doing that just yet.
I "bard's" viewpoint is that my nation's peak was around 1958, when the country was united in the space race, when for the first time, the American household averaged one car, when Ike was finishing his second term with the country at peace, and it looked like the Europeans would peacefully relinquish their empires.
"...When a wealth of families made good on saving enough capital to leave the urban traps they loathed so much, and uprooted into a more idyllic setting."
The suburban lifestyle was taking in everyone. In the suburbs, Joe Everyman reviewed his surroundings, and declared that they were good.
But America is a land of emigrants, or more accurately, refugees. Most, of course, were of European stock, people who prefer settling to a nomadic lifestyle. These people left their homes under the worst conditions, settled, choked on urban decay, moved from the Eastern shore to the West, and settled again. These people then moved further from their latest heritage, not just from a physical location, but from a lifestyle, to take residence on big plots of land with big white houses in loose neighborhoods sprawled in a link adjacent to major concrete arteries.
Many people of that era considered it a "trap" to live the American dream, which is basically what I described. You own a house with three bedrooms, and a few acres (hectares) of freshly cut grass, a family car, and for the husband, a forty-hour job that brings in enough money to keep the wife home to take care of things. In 1958, most Americans had just this. The country was on a gold standard, social security looked... secure, and most whites didn't feel guilty about the black man's plight, because it looked like the courts had fixed that wrong-doing.
In the first half of the century, America, our citizens perceived, had saved the world from German fascists twice, and the split between East and West insured that the Germans wouldn't rise again. Americans had been the backbone of the UN mission to save the free half of Korea, and while Russia had procured a bomb, MAD would prevent them from using it.
"They looked far and wide for injustices, but their parents were benevolent toward them, and made these evils disappear as soon as they were pointed out. Travel became safer, food became more plentiful, and generally, men lived more equally for a time. So the newly self-exiled band searched beyond the protective seas guarding over their own land, and overlooked how their countrymen could improve things in distant lands. They found people with many core similarities, but their lives were not prosperous and just. The exiles found that their fellow countrymen lent assistance to these people, but treated them differently, too. The parchment that granted the countrymen freedoms in their own lands didn't apply to people living elsewhere, so when the conventional countrymen lent distant people help against others, they didn't necessarily bless these needy people with the rights given in the parchment."
You've all seen the photo of the Vietnamese cop carrying out the execution of the suspected VC sapper, right? The parchment equals the law, and the law guarantees due process. That VC (we're pretty sure he was guilty these days) certainly didn't get that, and that moment is a strong part of what I was talking about. Nevermind that the NVA executed some 5-to-15,000 citizens of the city of Hue at that time, the hippies found their demon in Saigon.
Due process didn't have a long tradition in Vietnam, their not being a western civilization. Please recall that when the French arrived, they weren't exactly a liberal democracy, so that's not what they spread.
"Most did this while the formerly culture-less outcasts reintegrated into society not quite as victors, but with a measure of power strong enough to preempt their countrymen from effectively outreaching across the seas again."
Simply put, the hippies became influential enough to put us on an isolationist path, or failing that, institute the Powell Doctrine. Don't make me explain; just search "Powell Doctrine," please.
Then I reach the point where it ties into Roger Gordian, and real-life people of this mold, like Oliver North:
"This new status quo saddened many of the returning conventional countrymen..." et cetera. The years after the 1973 were demoralizing to those that cared about the military institution. Saigon fell, Pol Pot slaughtered nearly a million, Soviet hardware all of a sudden seemed better than our. (The MiG 25 turned out to be just a steel rocket, and those superior Russian tanks weren't reliable, especially the automatic loaders.)
Iran fell, Afghanistan fell. We were henpecked by OPEC. The Warsaw Pact outnumbered us in Europe, and the draft eroded military talent.
To counter all this, many people took matters in their own hands. Ross Perot contracted his own rescue team to evacuate his employees from Iran, find POWs in Vietnam, and sabotage equipment the radicals in Iran could have used against us.
Roger Gordian evolved these stop-gap measures, and developed everything the Power Plays series attributes to him.
All he needed were some great personnel on his side.
Enter Paul Evens. His introduction is pretty straightforward. Because his background is interesting, I didn't feel guilty in exposition writing. Paul's mind prefers processing math , science, and applied subjects, rather than the humanities. In that way, he's like a lot of men. Coupled with that is a dislike of the arguments presented in colleges.
Example: You have a scholar giving a lecture on Harry Truman and his thought processes that led to his decision to use the atomic bomb. You nod your head, finding reason with his points. Truman had indeed written a letter that stated he believed whites were superior to blacks and Asians- way back in 1911. The lecturer points out that Truman was short; this scholar believes that gave Truman an inferiority complex. Your mind is making a connection, when the professor says Truman's motto was "the buck stops here." From these fragments of evidence, the professor concludes that
Truman didn't see Japanese as humans because he though whites were better.
Short people are evil.
He had to take responsibility.
Therefore, The short insecure racist had to make certain no one considered him weak,
and this insecurity (short people are evil!) trumped the little concern he had for Asian lives. After stating this from several tangents, the audience believes the professor.
But Paul Evens interrupts the concluding statement, shouting "that racist integrated the armed forces, you S!"
Evens walks out, tossing campus security aside on the way out. Such is his measure of contempt for the academic culture. (Note: that lecture actually took place at the University of Idaho, at least when I saw it. No one cared.)
I designed the character to abhor fuzzy logic. He hates debates, but if someone expresses an opinion asinine enough, he'll lose his typical cool.
Same lecturer: "The Japanese internment camps were a racist policy!"
Evens screams "Pingfan!" The Pingfan facility was a Japanese biological weapons complex that manufactured anthrax and other plagues. As many as 200,000 Chinese died under attack from Japanese biological weapons. By Paul's reasoning, their best chance of infecting the American civilian population was through acts of terrorism. From there, he could lay out a proof that the internment was justified, and no one could convince him otherwise.
From there I just added details I know about the Heartland, and brought them into what I know about Roger Gordian. On the way, Evens and another original character, Robin Molina, establish a brotherly bond, kind of.
Of course, there is much more to Tying The Gordian Knot, including a very thick and intriguing plot, and lots of assistance from many interesting people. In the following chapter, I'll sketch an outline of exactly what the plot is, list the soundtrack, and explain the weapon systems used in the story.