It is the year 2310...

By Hekate - Spellchecked by Wkyshadow

If anyone born a couple of centuries were still alive to look upon it, he would barely recognize the planet Earth. Indeed, even when looking at it from outer space, the Earth appeared vastly different, or, perhaps, it seemed the most different when viewed from outer space, for from this viewpoint the great planet encircling transport system was easy to spot. It looked like the earth itself was caught, like a butterfly in a net. Only some of the high mountain ranges, like the Himalayas, had managed to push their peaks through the mazes of the net-like transport system. Even the great Pacific and Atlantic oceans looked like they were caught. But as different as the earth might look now, some things will never change — human behavior and emotions for example. Both now and in centuries to come humans will experience happiness and love, sadness and grief, hate, greed, pity, and all other emotions which have been ruling human minds for a long, long time. Thus the following scene would not be so very strange, not even to someone from a couple of centuries earlier.


How grandpapa met the love god Kama

"Tell us a story, grandpa. Please tell us a story." The 2 grandchildren pleaded with their grandfather. "Oh, don’t even think about it, grandpa, you know full well that it’s time for bed for these two” said their grandmother. "Aww, come on, grandma, it’s not all that late, please let us stay up a little longer and listen to a story." "Yes, come on, grandma, don’t worry so much about them, we only have them around for a few days every couple of sets. Besides, isn’t it our job to spoil them a bit?" "Hmpf, well, one story then, but no more!" "Now kids, hurry up and brush your teeth and then get your pajamas on before grandma has to change her mind about it. I’ll come up in a couple of minutes and if you both make sure you’re ready for bed by then, I’ll tell you a story."

A couple of minutes later, grandpa walked into the guestroom which his two grandchildren shared. Both of them were already sitting in their pajamas with a blanket pulled across their legs.

"So, what story do you want me to tell to you children? The story of the frog prince? Or the one about Snow White and the seven dwarves?" "Grandpa, we’re six and eight already; we’re not babies anymore. We don’t want to hear fairy tales." "Yeah grandpa, tell us something exciting. Tell us something real." " Well then," said grandpa. "I suppose I could tell you the story of the third world war and the birth of our great empire Terra." "But grandpa, we know that one already!" "You do?" "Yes grandpa, everyone knows that story." Everyone knows that the world wasn’t always an empire. People used to divide it into silly little parts they named countries. Some of those countries used to be nice to each other and help each other, while others used to fight. Some of those countries used to be rich; there, people would have everything you could dream of, while, in other countries, people were so poor that they could not even buy bread. What was even sillier was that a lot of people could not even talk to each other then. Good thing we all speak one language now; it would be ever so confusing otherwise. Then the third world war started. The first part of it was fought with economic means. All the countries of Asia worked together against the much richer countries in the west. They had in their countries a lot of industries and through those industries they held a lot of power. Eventually Asia managed to become a world power. After that, the second part of the war began. While the coalition of all the Asian countries was very strong together, some of those Asian countries wanted to have even more power. And amongst them the fighting started. A very big battle was fought; though it only took a day, many, many people died, and far more than in the either of the other world wars. Eventually by making very smart use of a missile technology, the armies of the first emperor won. He chose not to take revenge upon the conquered armies of his foes, but, instead, he let them join him. He used this great force to declare war on the rest of the world. They were already weakened by the previous economic troubles. Their morale was low, and they had little money and resources left, so they were no match against the combined armies of Asia’s emperor. Thus the empire Terra was formed.

"That was very well told," said grandpa to his eldest grandchild. I see you do know the story of the third world war. Who’d have ever thought, way back then, that the world would all come together under the rule of India? But, back then, most people didn’t think world peace would be possible either you know? Still, that first emperor, Floortje, brought everyone together, and that’s how it stayed. After him his eldest child, a daughter, took over. She kept the empire nice and strong. She only had one child, also a daughter, and she would have made a fine empress, had she not died in labor. Thus, her newborn son grew up under the tutelage of his grandmother. I met him once, you know? Back, when he and I both were young. "Did you really meet the father of our emperor grandpa? The love god himself?" "Did you meet the great emperor Kama?" Grandpa laughed,"Back then he wasn’t nicknamed the love god. He only earned himself that name after reigning for years. But I did meet him once. I’ll tell you about it." The children eagerly sat up more straight and propped their pillows behind their backs, so they wouldn’t fall asleep during the story. Grandpa began his story. "It was a long time ago, I was only 28 years old then, and the emperor could not have been much older. I had finished my studies in engineering and had managed to get a job too. And not just any job. The great transport system, which allows us to go anywhere on the planet in the blink of an eye, was just being constructed. And my job was to help build it. It was during my job there, that I got the opportunity to meet the emperor Kama. This is how it went..." Grandpa then told them all about it as he remembered it.


The Omnipresent Emperor

At the same time, perhaps even in the same city, in a mostly dark room in a skyscraper, a whole different kind of conversation takes place.

"You do know that we risk our necks by being here, don’t you?" whispered an obviously nervous young man.
"Ah, don’t exaggerate; the death penalty has not existed in centuries." replied a cocky sounding young man.
"But that doesn’t stop Him from using it, does it?" stated the nervous man.
"To say that, can be seen as treason." responded the cocky young man.
"—But none of us will tell him. Nor are we in danger of being overheard, for the moment." interrupted an elderly woman.
"Let’s get to business then." The speaker this time was an old man in whose voice could be heard great authority. "The clock is ticking and our room is only safeguarded for a turn . Once again, let me remind you all that all information that passes here is too dangerous to commit to an electronic memory device. To have one of them accidentally lost and read could be our downfall. I will start by introducing to you our newest member: the quiet lady in the spotlight there. This is Miss Gates, welcome. It is a rare thing for so many of us to meet at once; most of the time the risk is too great. For the same reason, all of us use codenames. Next meeting we will expect you to have chosen one for yourself. We all have our reasons to dislike the emperor. For you, Miss Gates, that reason is the confiscation of your inherited family fortune. This came as a huge blow to Miss Gates, however she is but one case among many. It appears that the crown has begun a tendency of, how shall I put this… reducing the influence of individuals throughout the empire. Our group consists of those who feel most wronged by this. We are trying to find a way to not only put a stop to this, but also allow us to regain our losses and even more, perhaps. For you, we will evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and try to find the job best suited to you."

The spotlight which until now had illuminated the young and slightly trembling Miss Gates was now dimmed. The entire room was now shrouded in shadows. By this light, none of the occupants would be able to recognize each other.

The speaker continued. "Queen, it is good of you to have made it to this meeting. We were starting to fear for you. Will you update us about the situation in the palace towers please?"

Another person took over speaking, this time a young woman. Her voice was deep and sensual. "It is getting harder for me to attend meetings. All of the girls are being tightly monitored and security measures are ever being increased. For the time being, I am in the favor of his imperial majesty, but that hardly makes a difference for my information gathering. Our empire is being run by a maniac. His favor changes faster than the weather, and his trust is impossible to earn. It seems like he is incapable of trust. He has now even started to make us wear chastity belts in his absence. His wishes and demands are ever increasing, and so is the amount of girls he keeps around. On his good days, he can appear as wonderful and regal as his father. Any female, and I would wager some males as well, would fall for his charms, wit, and intelligence, not to mention the incredible attraction which comes with power such as he wields in his position. His mind is brilliant, but clouded by paranoia. My guess is that he fears all those, other then himself, who hold some form of power. His actions seem to confirm this. There is no one who comes close to him. Should his current line of action not work to make him feel secure in his power, he will certainly not stop at these, relatively kind, measures. He is completely and utterly ruthless. I do not know if and when I will next be able to attend a meeting. I wish you all the best my friends. I hope a plan will be found soon, for I shudder when I think about what might happen to me should he ever tire of my presence."

Once again the elder man with the voice of authority spoke. "Thank you for confirming our suspicions Queen. And I wish you all the best as well. Take care not to give yourself away, as always, and hang in there. I wonder... Perhaps this great paranoia which seems to guide the actions of our emperor is not only that which makes his position so impossible to challenge, but perhaps it could cause his downfall as well. Our planners will have to contemplate the possibilities this offers."

Barely had he finished his last phrase when an insistent beeping sound could be heard. This sound was cause for the whole room to erupt in a shuffling noise, as everyone began quickly and orderly making his or her way to the exit. For this sound could mean nothing but trouble. The last thing that was said in this room was. "Look out for The Protector, he will arrange our next meeting."

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A few sets later, all hell broke loose. The emperor, together with three of his concubines had disappeared on a trip meant strictly for relaxation. How this came to pass, no one seemed to know. But the effects were terrible. When word of the disappearance of the crown spread, those people smart and cunning enough to see opportunity started acting. Huge industries only interested in profit were once again being stamped out of the ground. Weapons were being fabricated in mass quantities again. The price of bread was rising until only those that were part of one of the organizations fighting for the throne would be able to afford it. And those who had the opportunity to come by steel and prefab building components were taking them to use the giant transport system to bring armies right in front of the gates of their competitors, taking over factories and land wherever possible. With the disappearance of one man, the world peace which had reigned for nearly 200 years had come to a bloody end. And it was far from over. For all those competing for the throne had been either poor to begin with or victims of the paranoia of the emperor, and thus they were remarkably close in their chances. So it was only just beginning.

One thing should never be forgotten though by those who are brave enough to try and take the crown for themselves. Should the emperor ever return, he will try to retake that which was his. His anger will be terrible, his revenge will be swift, and he will be merciless.

The earth is profitable. Do you have the courage to take it?

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