Destitute

A short story by Alexander Nazaruk

The best thing about resources is that they are endless. It is as if they never end; it is as if the supreme beings of the heavens liked the way man used them, so they just kept supplying man with more, and more, and more resources. Meanwhile, resources are used in every way possible; from the large and powerful chromium plates covering the Chieftain's automatic car to the glass coffee tables that have the ability to generate a hologram of a user's desired board game AND the game's required materials on top of the table, completely regardless of the board game's characteristics. The resources, according to many residents of this technologically advanced world, were basically the entire economy of this world and generated the only two countries governing it a large amount of money, helping the countries, named Perdiva and Imbella, grow so much that each country now shares about a half of the world's total area.

Not only were the resources endless, but the politeness of people was also endless. The country of Perdiva was doing very well at being filled with people of all kind and still managing to create, what its government promisingly proclaims on every form of advertising, "A dreamland where anything is possible."

What the government promised, however, was not true to every of 24 billion people living on the planet.

"And why is that?" Markus Simon remembered asking his family's automaton servant, John 2.0, that question when he was just 8 years young in the year 2329. He didn't quite understand, at this young age, the flaws behind Perdiva's seemingly powerful government, even though he was living in Imbella at the time.

"I'm afraid I can't answer that," John 2.0 replied calmly in its usual, monotone robotic voice as it was cleaning the dishes. John 2.0 was the brainchild and the robotic, yet almost human-like, copy of Dr. Johnaton Simon, Markus's biological father (The robot acted as a replacement for Dr. Simon in case the latter was gone), an inventor who was tragically killed in a brawl when his son was two; Markus had since learned to treat John 2.0 just as he would have treated his father, had he been alive.

"Why not?" Markus asked, filled with curiosity.

Then, John 2.0 set the dishes on a floating glass platform just next to the white sofa Markus was lying down on. The automaton then proceeded to meander around the sofa, looking up and crossing its arms in thought while doing so. It then let out a distorted robotic sigh and looked at Markus.

"Remember this for as long as you live." John 2.0 stated. "Even though we live in a peaceful country to the east of what is the global economic force, and the two countries are seemingly united like brothers in arms, that's not the case."

Markus gulped in a mix of fear and anticipation.

"In reality," John 2.0 continued, "The two countries have had EXTREMELY tense relations ever since the whole world has been declared fully peaceful. At one certain point, Perdiva was WAY smaller than Imbella, and there were 74 other smaller countries. Then, Perdivian forces started to conquer, and conquer, and conquer the smaller countries until they were under Perdivian control, thus violating a resolution made by an old counterpart to the current IU2N in 1974 which stated that conquest was to be banned forever."

Markus did not know what the IU2N was. He did not know the names of any of the 74 smaller countries taken by force under Perdivian control. But he knew that the Perdivians were evil. He knew that they were, although claiming that they were not bad, doing evil things. But why were they doing this? Why?

"Why didn't they capture Imbella? Why didn't they capture us?" The 8 year old asked the automaton.

"Because, even though they had more land, we had more people." John 2.0 replied, keeping the reputation of being the first robot to answer any question in less than 5 seconds. "And- The automaton raised an index finger up- "We were peaceful at the time, and they had no right to attack us."

The automaton then went back to do the dishes. "I'm sorry to make you feel estranged," it stated as it started to scrub a large black plate, "But that's just about all I can tell you."

"What?" Markus questioned nervously. "But… but-

"You'll learn more about this topic later." John 2.0 stated without turning its head from the dishes. "All you need to learn now is that Perdiva is not as good as everybody says. Now go sleep. I'm going to come in a while to sing you a lullaby."

Markus did not go to sleep that night, no matter how much lullabies John 2.0 sang to him.

"Are you sure we can't report these matters to the IU2N, My Chieftain?"

"No. I highly doubt that the International Union of Two Nations would actually need this information. As far as I know, the 'Union' is just a group of baboons from Imbella ordered to steal our classified information. We probably won't report this to them. This is CLASSIFIED."

"My Chieftain, are you dumb? You can't lead a whole nation and keep even one document kept from both your society and the society of the other country. The IU2N doesn't enforce that."

"Alright, fine." This said "Chieftain" let out a sigh. "But we must only release it to the IU2N. We don't want the Imbellan government and society to know what we're about to do to them. And would you stop calling me 'My Chieftain?' You are my younger brother. That's the reason why I made you my second-in-command."

"Okay then, if you say so." The younger brother nodded his head as he agreed to his sibling's quite pointless command.

Finally, the two were done walking from the Chieftain's Office of their large palace (Currently the largest and most luxury building in all of Perdiva, it was built just two years ago in 2345 and is quite notable for its most important building, an icosahedron) to the garage of the same palace. The duo hated living in the VERY large palace, but they admired its extreme luxuries and were more than happy to move out of their original homes into the Chieftain's Palace. The two climbed into the Gopher, the brown-colored, slug-shaped automatic car created solely for the Chieftain. Inside the car (which had a lot of space in it compared to a citizens' car) were furnishings more elegant than the bedroom of any Czar, and there were even windows that showcased the large capital city of Clark, where the Chieftain's Palace was located.

The two sat down in armchairs in front of a small table, ready to talk business. After a minute of silence (the car was initiating voice, body, eye, and DNA recognition for the pilot of the car, which always had to be the Chieftain), the car's speaker stated "Where to, My Chieftain?"

"Union Square," the Chieftain answered before looking at his brother and rolling his eyes, obviously showing the constant pain and strife it was for him to be constantly called "My Chieftain."

Slowly, the slug car started to move by itself towards Union Square. The sight of this car on the streets could make any citizen be in awe, as the technology this car enables by moving by itself towards its destination is more than just advanced compared to that of any normal car. The people knew that all the Chieftain did was that he would be sitting in the car while talking business as the car moved to its destination.

Markus was verifying the report issued by the Chieftain, which was, for some reason, labeled as "classified." He didn't want to be sitting here verifying classified reports all day and all night, let alone doing this on the slowest neuron computer in the world. It's the year 2347, he thought. Why does the government of Perdiva not update the technology of its workers? He sighed. "Maybe I shouldn't have joined IU2N," he muttered to himself.

Of course, he was just as curious as he was when he was 8, and his curiosity landed him not only a job as a lawyer, but also as a member of the IU2N. Although a large majority of IU2N members were from Perdiva (because Union Square, the headquarters of the Union, was located in Perdiva), there were Imbellan members, including Markus (they were told not to spill government information about Perdiva to their own governments and vice versa).

But this report, unlike other reports labeled under the status of classified, made his eyes widen in awe.

"Proposition Omega," he read the text labeled "Subject" by the said report very quietly, as he did not want the Receptors in his closed, windowless, and dull work area to sense that he was doing something wrong. As the neuron computer was a brain implant received by every member of the IU2N, Markus had nothing in front of him and, to someone outside his office, looked like he was doing absolutely nothing when in actuality he was processing complicated data.

AUTHORIZED BY THE PD7

3 July 2347

Type of Report: Classified

Report Index: #201312

Classified Report Index: #4102

Subject: Proposition OMEGA

Under the political ideals of Our 7th Chieftain, we have succeeded as the supposed "perfect world," having been recognized and respected by almost every other country before Our 2nd Chieftain sadly murdered billions and took over their lands for our country.

Despite all these benefits, however, we still have a problem standing in our way.

That would be the housing of the working class living in Perdiva.

The working class of Perdiva is, despite our country's "rich and spoiled" nature, a valued treasure to us. Their lives depend on our generous hands, and we must support them in their growing strife of their cruel and hard lives in a world where it is hard for the non-rich to live.

To accomplish this task, we will raze (via explosions that are guaranteed by the government to not be harmful to the public in any way, shape, or form) the buildings of Perdiva that have been said to not only be classified as dangerous places to live in, but are also last-resort habitats of the poor and the destitute. We will reuse any possible thing that is left in the explosions, as we might not know what item's trade can help our economy, strength, government, and wealth grow to gigantic proportions. With a part of the money we earn from new-found trade systems, we can buy the poor nice living quarters which are to be protected with the strongest security possible.

The starting date of this proposition is scheduled to be 17 July 2347.

All in all, the purpose of this proposition is not to hurt the working class in any way, shape or form, but in the complete opposite.

Our purpose is to help them thrive and live like any other resident of Perdiva, so that they can truly experience this "perfect world," which was conceived by the honorable ideas of Our 7th Chieftain.

SIGNED AND APPROVED BY THE 10th Chieftain of Perdiva

Markus could not believe it. For once, Perdiva was trying to look like a perfect world for every person in the world, not just through their residents' own eyes. Perdiva was not only taking a step towards what it intended to be at the time of its formation 173 years ago, but it was also making that said step visible to the masses coming from every corner of the world. Perdiva was the perfect world with equal opportunities for every person, regardless of a person's race, creed, wealth, appearance, political beliefs, etc.

But if the document was this supportive about perfection, why was it classified in the first place? Another part of Markus's brain thought that as Markus himself sat back in his large black work chair. Why did they classify such an optimistic document; a document one could look at and say, "Maybe Perdiva's not so snobbish after all, huh?" Why wasn't the public allowed to contemplate what kind of results this report would conceive had the report been carried out?

Then, Markus's eyes shrunk to normal size and Markus himself looked up and started looking for an idea as to why this would have happened. Minutes went by like seconds as he was trying to think of the idea that would open a mental padlock of deception; he was getting angrier and angrier as he couldn't find one. But if he knew that this report was deception, then why couldn't he figure out what was behind the mask just as fast as he could solve any logical problem?

1 minute.

The Perdivian government really coated the idea well, hadn't they? Like a needle in a haystack.

4 minutes.

Is it that they are trying to hurt the people in a way? Probably not, but it could happen.

8 minutes.

Maybe I should just give up on this. It's probably not worth trying to figure out what the idea behind this deception was. I really don't want trouble with the government, do I?

9 minutes.

No. I was born to do this. I was born to figure out the flaws, mistakes, and wrongdoings of the Perdivian government and I will not give up on a document like this, which can perfectly summarize Perdiva's extreme deception. No one ever told me the flaws of Perdiva when I was young, so I will figure them out on my own.

14 minutes.

I have gone through at least 4 archived documents labeled as "classified" and yet I still haven't come to my conclusion. Maybe I should give up.

15 minutes.

Yeah, I should just give up and go home. My shift's ending pretty soon, anyway.

Then, on the 16th minute, Markus finally figured it out. After scanning the reports for three other Propositions (documents that were as optimistic and pushing towards change as Proposition Omega), he realized that some sort of disaster occurred after those three Propositions were released to the IU2N, one for every Proposition. For instance, Proposition Tau promoted the idea that workers who have worked longer will be paid more and, if they are too old, be taken to luxury and simple-to-live-in homes for their retirement. Markus remembered, however, the day after that Proposition was released; the Perdivian government had announced the dismissal of exactly 250,000 workers from their services (these workers were mainly working class and worked in sweatshops and factories).

Proposition Stigma announced that crime was to be abolished in order to spread the Perdivian idea of a perfect world. Instead, crime only kept growing and growing every year, and the physical attacks and damage done to people were mainly done to people of the working class.

Finally, Proposition Libertas announced that everybody had their equal rights and that everyone was to be equal to one another, but it didn't do that in so much of a left-wing form. What Perdiva really did was that it just went the opposite direction into right-wing politics, as the rich are now treated well and the middle and the working classes (if there is ANY middle class) struggle to survive with such harsh conditions, with the latter being the group of people that would do anything just to survive.

Immediately, Markus realized what these documents had in common. Not only did they have eventual results that contrasted their intentions for the future, but the results were taken on primarily the working class. And Proposition Omega, albeit being more direct to the middle class than the other three, was mentioning that the Perdivian was going to raze the harmful buildings that the working class had lived in. The document did mention that the explosions were going to be "non-harmful," but did it ever mention that the explosions would be done with people still in the buildings or not?

Markus gasped as he immediately realized what piece of information he was looking for his whole life.

Perdiva hated its working class. The government thought that the working class was merely draining up their wealth and prosperity, and thus the government wanted to exterminate the working class.

And that's why this document was classified in the first place.

Markus's neuron computer notified him that his shift had ended. Immediately he stood up and ran out of the room, knowing that the lights in the room would turn off if he hadn't been in there.

It was 20:00. Markus felt like going home.

But on the other side of the brain, he realized that he should notify the Imbellan government about the Perdivian plan to obliterate the Perdivian working class (even though spilling information to government agencies was not allowed, as stated in IU2N employee code). He wanted to tell them the realization he found out and was looking for his whole life. He wanted to tell them the answer to this mystery that isolated him from the crowd and only made him look like a workaholic.

So after he crossed the heavily secured border between Perdiva and Imbella, he sat on a train cab and went to Pax, the capital city of Imbella, more than far from where he lived in Imbella to his desired destination: The Imbellan Square of Departments, which was the ultimate decision-making area of the entire (albeit democratic) Imbellan society.

"Do you have any evidence to support your claim of fraud by the Perdivian government?" Premier Thomas Walsh was interrogating Markus; not the side of Markus we have seen so far, the curious one, but the urgent side of Markus which was desperate to prove why Markus's decisions were legitimate. After making 17 government officials in the train to Pax interested in his story about how he found the report and how he found out that the report was nothing but pure deception, Markus was greeted by Walsh himself, the 15th Premier of Imbella. He was then taken to the Premier's Grand Office in the Royal Residence of the Premier, a rectangular-prismatic building overlooking the city and its much taller neighbors, the buildings in the Square of Departments. Its exterior was dull in comparison to the collection of the seven glass buildings in the Square that extended into the sky as much as even a half of a mile; the seven buildings were literally in the forms of vertical glass serpents as they stood proud and unharmed. It seemed that the whole city was happy and glittering with lights, candles, and a peaceful canopy that extended just as far as the borders of the country of Imbella itself; it was as if this city was the reason why Imbella earned its reputation of being the more peaceful of the two countries of the world, and it was as if the sky in Pax was filled with happiness as people enjoyed being polite and well.

Walsh, however, wasn't as happy as the people he'd governed.

Before Walsh could lash out at Markus (Walsh did that on certain occasions; he was around 70 years old, according to state reports), the latter then turned on his neuron computer. Going to the location of the document in its cleanest form, Markus then sat his palm down onto the edge of the glass table in which he sat across from Walsh. "Here," he commanded his neuron computer to detect his hand and print out a hologram of the document where his hand was. Analyzing the location of the user's hand, the neuron computer then programmed a code into the (fortunately, as glass tables work better than other tables in this situation) glass table, making the glass table load a hologram of the report on top of the actual table; the report can later be viewed, dragged, and even edited on the table all with just one person's hand.

Markus sat back as the Premier reviewed his findings. What would he say? Is the Perdivian government wrong? Is it correct? Should we try to exterminate the Imbellan working class as well?

After quite a long time of reviewing, Premier Walsh copied the documents to the "important" section of his own neuron computer's virtual mailbox. He then looked out the window to glance at the nighttime skyline of Pax, the peaceful city inhabited by 50 million people; he eventually looked back at Markus after 10 seconds.

The Premier folded his arms and leaned forward towards Markus. There was no expression of the previous sternness on his aging, creased face; the said expression was replaced by an expression that symbolized his newfound belief for Markus's hypothesis.

"When I was a boy," he started to explain, what eventually became to Markus, a life story like no typical story, "I lived in Reine, a city in Perdiva solely intended for the rich about 50 miles away from Clark, the current capital of Perdiva. Right next to us was a small, small town that used to be a part of Reine. I don't remember really what it was called… Freeville? Yeah, something along the lines of that. You see- The Premier stopped as he took a sip from the glass of water to his right- "Freeville was a community for the poor. It was originally a sector of abandoned and/or incomplete buildings that just stood out and thus basically ruined the "wealthy" image of the actual city of Reine. The people didn't like the community, but I didn't know why everyone in Reine, even my parents, hated the community. I mean, come on; they were just a group of poor people! Why be bothered by them and Freeville at all?

"I wanted to know this community, so I traveled to Freeville when I was 13. At this time, the city didn't like Freeville at all and basically just left the residents in Freeville to live and thrive on their own, thus separating Freeville from Reine permanently. So I visited Freeville, and I saw people experiencing the harshest conditions anybody could experience in their lifetime. The town was blocked by numerous concrete walls that isolated it from the rest of Reine's suburbs. I saw supplies being left out to rot on the street and men living in the poorest buildings, which, to them, looked nice; to anybody else those buildings would just seem even more rotten than what they were before their 'restorations,' which were basically the town's attempt to brighten the city up (which, of course, failed). However, the idea that bothered me the most, out of all of the newfound ideas going through my head when I visited Freeville for the first time, was 'why were they so segregated?'

"The residents of this town were the poor, so I had to ask them, as the fact that they were poor was the sole reason why they were segregated from the others. An old man in ragged and torn clothing who looked like he hadn't consumed anything for a couple of days responded to me that the city just felt like the poor were taking up a lot of space and were draining all the rich had for themselves; hogging for themselves everything that the rich had, though this was ABSOLUTELY not the case. 'The poor,' the man explained to me, 'could be anyone. It could be the former richest man alive; it could be a philosopher; it could be a sweatshop worker; it could even be an accountant or anyone dealing with money, like I used to be before I got fired and forced to live here.' That's when I realized that Perdiva was a cruel place to live. Their commercialization of their country was beyond incorrect. It was not a dreamland; it was indeed a cruel place to live if you didn't have the money or the luck.

"Eventually, I went to Freeville so much that I not only became friends with a large president of its residents, but I also provided them with things that they didn't have, like clean water and even some stolen school textbooks for the children. In Freeville I was regarded a hero. In Reine's suburbs, I was pretty neutral with the crowd. But in Reine, it was a different story. The mayor personally told me that I would get sentenced to 25 years in prison if I didn't deport to Imbella. I chose to move to Imbella, as I wouldn't really care if I left or not, as I hated Reine in the first place and everyone in Reine hated me. I moved to Pax, where I was praised for my actions and eventually made the 15th Premier of Imbella at the young age of 27, right after getting my Juris Doctorate in Law."

Premier Walsh, seeming unfazed by the long summary of an even longer life story, leaned in closer to Markus; their noses were only about 2 feet apart now.

"I never thought Perdiva would go so far as to declaring conflict on their poor right after their extreme segregation," Walsh commented. "In fact, I never thought we needed to stop them with force at all. But it looks like we need to now. Now is the time to finally put Perdiva in front of a legitimate mirror and show it what it really is; it's gotten too used to funhouse mirrors that show it a much more different appearance than normal."

The night before the planned bombings, Markus had gained access (via hacking into the Chieftain's personal collection of documents) to the names of the five hundred buildings across Perdiva which were planned for demolition by the Perdivian government, simply because "they didn't provide the safety and protection for the working class a normal abode would." After he pinpointed the geographical locations of every possible building, he reported them to the Commander of the Imbellan Air Force, who in turn sent out two thousand carrier aircraft to rescue every possible member of the working class living in those five hundred buildings, as the plan for the Imbellan government was to carry out every person living in the buildings before they would meet their deaths. The mission, initially perceived by the Imbellan public as a would-be failure, was later proven to be a success, as 4,384 working class persons were safely evacuated to Imbella. When they finally sat foot on Imbellan soil, most of the Perdivian working class was transported to their (temporarily) new suburban homes and were taught how to live a normal lifestyle in the homes that, for some, were much more than just fancier than any house they had every lived in. The thing that united every working class member in Imbella, however, was that they were treated peacefully and not with the tyrannical ignorance and abuse they had received in Perdiva; this was because anyone was free in Imbella, as long as they did not impose a threat to the Imbellan government or society.

The next day, however, Perdivian forces located an old man of the working class before the bombing of a building listed as #402 on the list of five hundred buildings that were to be blown up. The man was on the second floor, making his presence noticeable by the Perdivian soldiers on the ground.

"Get out, you crippled bum!" The man heard the Perdivian forces yell at him offensively to get down onto the ground; he'd have to be blown up with Building #402 if he didn't get out of the building. Obediently (though hesitantly) he exited the building and stood five feet away from the nearest Perdivian soldier. Facing the group, he patiently anticipated what their leader would tell him.

"Tell us why you're the only one in the building, Mr. Broke. Tell us why you're the only person of the working class we've found in ANY of the buildings we were going to bomb so far." The leader, previously standing 10 feet away from the man, was now walking towards him whilst dictating these words, getting louder and visibly angrier with every word he said.

"The Imbellan forces came and took everyone but me." The man replied, unfazed by the leader's fury, with a visible honesty in his dictations of his words.

"What?! What kind of lies are you making up on the spot?"

"I'm not lying, sir. I was a former soldier; I was taught not to lie to any-

"I don't care at all who you used to be! The only thing that matters now is trying to solve this case as to why all the buildings we have bombed have been vacant!" The leader was now barking at the old man, who was still unfazed by the leader's growing ferocity.

The leader now stood 5 inches away from the old man, who was visibly less built and shorter than the much stronger man who was 2 meters in height. Then, the leader stepped back and punched the old man in the stomach, triggering the old man's fall onto the ground while whining in extreme and inevitable pain.

As if on command, the lesser men in the group ganged up and started to hurt the man in any way possible; kicking, punching, wrestling, and even throwing the man were only a taste test of what the group had done to the man. The man, previously not caring at all what the leader of the group would do to him, was now weeping and screaming in agony.

The leader then ordered his men to stop, something they obeyed like dogs, and stood in front of the man who was experiencing the most agonizing torture anybody could ever experience just now.

"You idiot; can't you realize that you're more than just unreliable in a situation like this?" The leader, instead of having any sympathy for the dying man, merely chuckled. "You're broke. You don't have any information we'll ever need. All you ever needed to be was dead."

The leader kneeled and leaned into the man's face, and their eyes were directed towards each other; one pair of eyes was healthy but crude. The other pair of eyes belonged to a dying man who was, at present, in dire straits.

"The only thing you ever were was scum. Every one of your kind was scum. The Imbellan people are scum. Your life was nothing but scum." The leader smiled bellicosely. "And I'm happy to be putting an end to the little thing you call your life, because you were just another 'soul' our government wasted its wealth and prosperity on."

And with that, he punched the man's face like he was trying to break through a block of stone; ultimately, a cruel army leader put an end to the life of the only person who knew that it was the Imbellan government who took most of the Perdivian working class for themselves. This was simply because the man who was murdered was destitute.

Ha, this is actually my first original story on !

You see, the assignment this project was completed for involved taking social issues in the 1990s to the 2010s and portraying them in the form of either an art piece, a video, a short story, or a song. The things I took in mind when writing "Destitute" was what a futuristic government with extreme amounts of commercialization as well as capitalism would look like- I portrayed Perdiva as a supposed "dreamland" which was really a place that despised its working class.

Thanks for any support/constructive criticism! You guys are great.