For those having served and currently employed in the military, Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance. For the rest, it serves as a reminder of those very people who have come before us, laying the patchwork ground of our nation’s founding and continued existence with their shed blood and lives lost and shattered. The utilization of force should carry with it the fullest attempt at matching projected action with internal value. If the action ceases to reflect or even begins to tarnish the value it seeks to support, then force and violence become less a tool of last resort and more a hammer seeking nails wherever they may be found. This connection is why it is incumbent upon the population and their representatives to do the utmost diligence in deciding when to use force. We have tasked our soldiers not merely with the protection of our national interests, but to do so at the cost of their lives and pieces of their humanity.
There was a time when a volunteer army was a ludicrous notion and for the vast majority of the American populace, it still is.
“Less than 0.5 percent of the population serves in the armed forces, compared with more than 12 percent during World War II. Even fewer of the privileged and powerful shoulder arms. In 1975, 70 percent of members of Congress had some military service; today, just 20 percent do, and only a handful of their children are in uniform.” (N.Y. Times)
Back into the shadows – the soft, caressing darkness. Using the angry shriek of pursuing sirens as a guide and their flashing lights as a reverse beacon, a wraith once more, he traverses the rust stained slums with ease. Emaciated streets drift by his peripheral, left behind by negligence stemming from unrestrained capitalism and special interests, the landscape blends together as the motion blur directs his eyes to the rapidly approaching destination. Throughout the concrete kingdom that is the metropolis, signs of a lost time are strewn about, a time of blind faith, xenophobia, decadence, and life in overwhelming vanity. Faded billboards litter the skyline with partially destroyed images of happiness and wealth. Manufactured faces from upon high divinely cast subliminal ideals in promise of a false happiness personified. From the level of the proletariat, plastic eyes look on from the storefronts, mannequins stripped of their coverings, their blank soiled faces looking into eternity asking for a dignified end. Few windows show light from within, a quiet defiance of the emptiness that seems to have conquered this place.
The sounds of destruction die down as safety draws nigh, a safe house within a provincial prison, but more importantly – his home. Hypnotic, the double heel click of mile ridden boots echo within familiar passages, but something breaks this regular sense of ease, perverting a rare and short sense of comfort.
Deep in the absence of light, the air seems to bleed moisture as the night sky releases heat through the endless, cracked asphalt. Trash litters the alley, a space well within the wingspan of an average person. Paper scraps tumble and blow like synthetic leaves, hugging the walls, lost within the journey towards pure entropy. Skyward, chemical mists summoned just above the high rise homes of the bourgeoisie flow aimlessly in the turbulent artificial winds of the metropolitan cityscape.
Familiar sounds echo off the brick and masonry of the alley: the footsteps of a shadow, seemingly lost within the perpetual tension of a class-segregated society. Profaning the simplicity the sounds of age, decay, and time pollute the immediate area, forcing its material existence to seem rough and disorganized. Thoughtfully, the ghost fades through the darkness, lit only by ambient city light, a light with no source, that never sleeps. Harshly making turn after turn with a familiarity displaying deep knowledge of the slums a hand is placed upon the crumbling brick. This contact momentarily combining the many singular droplets of water into a shining surface that for an instant reflected the face of a man, weary yet alert, alone in the night.
Lost in concentration, eerily machine-like, and locked in an unwavering pace, the lone traveler continues on… Crushing his consistent stride with a sharp discordant halt, he fuses to the wall, his gaze fixed on the single red light, an Eye, perched above the next corner. One of the red city sensors: surveillance nodes, scanning, calculating, and penetrating the last threads of privacy. The Eyes are just one of the constant reminders that every single aspect of life is being watched; a twisted perversion of Locke’s state of nature culminating in a conflicted existence under complete dominance. No further could he use the safety of the alley; the street, with its many dangers even this late would be his only possible route free from the eyes of Elite soldiers. A deep intake of breath, straining his lungs to maximum capacity, a pause, then explosions ripping though every muscle send him hurtling into the open street out of reach of digital eyes. Continue reading “Émigré 1 – 1674 Checkpoint”