Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Age of Imago - June - Pt. 1

The next phase of the Imago's plan for Earth's betterment started slow, but quickly built up steam and speed.

Not long after the last sitting President of the United States of America fell to Earth, small groups of Imago visited every country in the so-called Third World. They floated down into their capitols like metal angels, with little or no notice, and asked to see their leaders as soon as possible. And while their ever-smiling faces may have been as pleasant-seeming when they asked, it was fairly clear that they meant business.

There was a steel behind their words: one not seen since the day they'd revealed themselves, and told those leaders exactly what to say to their people in the wake of what had happened.

Once the leaders were roused and made ready, the Imago began to ask them all sorts of questions, and gently -- but firmly -- made it clear that they needed exact answers. The topics they discussed seemed simple: various populations, their education levels, natural resources, infrastructure (or the sad lack thereof). They were also asked about certain social mores and customs, especially pertaining to their children.

What the Imago may have been planning was not made clear at that time. When they were satisfied, they looked at one another, smiled, and thanked the leaders for their coopperation. They promised to be in touch, shortly, as a new and exciting step would soon be taken to prepare the Earth for the danger to come.

One small thing, though: they were reworking the globe's communications networks, in preparation for the next step. They should tell their people that they could expect to experience small delays and connectivity issues on the internet. Nothing serious, of course -- it would soon be fixed, and all would be well, again. 

And then they were gone -- floating back up the way they'd came, or else teleporting away.

Within three days, after exasperatingly long interruptions in internet connectivity, the Imago returned, this time in droves. The skies over some countries seemed filled with metal-suited, smiling people, and when they descended to the ground the world seemed to shake with the weight of their presence.

The leaders were again given speeches. This time they were not telling their people to stay at home with their loved ones, and be calm. They were telling them to leave their things behind, assemble in their town squares and city centers, and meet with the Imago that were gathering there. They would be given further instructions, and they should comply with them, just as though they were hearing it directly from their leaders.

But not to worry! This was not a bad thing, and they were in no danger. The Imago had promised humanity a chance to work together to stave off the evil that was approaching the planet. Now, after a long period of preparations, that time had come, and while the new ways of living and doing might take some getting used to, in the end they would all be worth the occasional confusion and concern.

The great new world was about to be built, and humanity would build it together. The light the Imago had known for ages would soon be shared with the entire planet.

Soon we would all learn to soar.

Most leaders, understanding exactly what was happening, here, still did what they were told in the hopes of escaping what had happened to the American Presidents. A few resisted, but after what happened to them and their entire families -- right then and there, in front of everyone -- their assistants, advisers, and stand-ins were more than happy to get in front of the camera and read the scripts.

In return for their compliance, they were kept in their capitols and houses of government. They would, after all, be needed to give more pep talks and instructions as time went on.

But they would not be leaving, nor having any serious, unchaperoned conversations with any other leaders around the world. Those who had cooperated were told that they were under the protection of the Imago, in case the forward armies of the coming evil decided to harm them.

Those who had stepped in to take the places of those who had not cooperated didn't need to be lied to, but were instructed to relate that fiction to anyone who asked. The sorry fate of the deceased would be blamed on agents of those armies, as would all inconvenient and unfortunate demises from here on out.

And that was simply the way it would be. The future of the Planet Earth was at stake, and nothing less than cheerful and total obedience would be tolerated from here on out.

Humanity would soar, or be put to sleep.

* * *

And so the leaders -- old, new, and just-installed -- watched as the Imago quickly tore down and reassembled their countries.

They watched their people be led from their homes and their communities, and taken to high-tech, stark-white tent cities that had seemingly sprung up overnight. They observed as they were given time to acclimate themselves, and enjoy the luxuries and conveniences that these ultra-modern encampments had to offer. They witnessed them luxuriating in levels of comfort they'd only ever seen on someone else's television, and wonder how they'd ever not lived like this, before.

And then, over the next week, they gave pep talk after pep talk as the Imago showed those people the work they would be doing, and took all but the youngest of their children away.

Again, they were not to worry. They would be seeing their children soon, and be able to speak with them on a regular basis, over the internet. But the Imago were concerned that, with the darkness approaching, its forward armies would be targeting their means of production. As such, they may seek to harm Humanity's young ones in order to make their parents obey them, instead.

At the schools, the children would be nearby, and protected. They would be fed and cared for, and given a level of education that would stagger the imagination. They would come out of the ordeal stronger, smarter, and more intelligent than they would have otherwise.

And in the new world to come, they would be poised to take full advantage of the many wonderful things that their parents would be helping to build.

Anyone looking in from the outside would have wondered how any parent would have agreed to such a thing. But after a week in the new cities, almost all of them were willing to acknowledge that this was a good idea. It not only solved a serious problem, but would be good for their young ones. Who could say no?

(Those few who did not agree received special, private visits from the Imago, and their friends and neighbors were told that they'd not only agreed to the plan, but had gone to help oversee it.)

Before long, the work camps were assembled and put into full production, and the children were at their special schools, and communicating with their parents via once-a-week teleconferences. Their parents were happy to be working for such noble endeavors, and their children -- while seeming a little off in their responses, at times -- were happy and learning.

And if anyone cared to say otherwise, they didn't say it too loudly, or at least for too long.

One strange thing had been noticed, though: while internet speeds had gone back up to normal within the countries, any attempt to deal with sites whose servers were outside their borders had been slowed down quite a bit. And while they might have continued to email people outside their countries, and maintain friendships through social networking sites, the responses of people seemed a little odd at times -- somewhat stilted, or not quite what they'd been before.

But there was work to do, and shows to watch, and a newer, much better standard of living to enjoy. So they buckled down, worked on improving themselves, and learned to soar, instead.

* * *

Thus was the so-called Third World transformed, but over the rest of the planet nothing had really changed -- at least not that drastically. 

They went to work, earned and spent money, and watched their television on the internet. Their children went to school, studied, did homework, and also watched their television on the internet. The poor were cared for, the homeless housed, the mentally incompetent looked after, and all watched their television on the internet.

And their leaders got on their news sites -- or made quick commercials on their online shows -- and told them that everything was fine, and nothing was wrong, and soon they'd be seeing the great dividends that the Imago would be sharing with them. Everything was great, and anything that was not great would soon be looked into.

And, as always, their patience and cooperation was greatly appreciated.

In America, they had no such leaders to tell them anything. Instead, an Imago that some had come to call Green and Yellow would be one who spoke to them, and tailored her speech and idioms in such a way that she seemed to be addressing the entire nation as a friendly, older sister. She had fan clubs and admirers, and her posters were everywhere, and when she appeared in public people just couldn't get enough of her presence.

(People even wrote online erotica about her, usually with Hollywood stars or recalcitrant, young people who needed to be taken "in hand" with the new world. And so the phrase "let us soar" took on a whole new meaning, indeed.)

There had been some changes, of course. As their economies had been stabilized and corrected for post-3/15 deficiencies and variations, some things were now slightly cheaper or more expensive than they'd been before. But, since electric power was now free -- thanks to the Imago's strange technology -- and their vehicles gas-burning engines were eligible for free swap-out with ones that only needed refueling with tap water, the little inconsistencies were hardly worth worrying about.

The really odd thing was that the news coming from the non-industrialized spheres of the world seemed kind of samey and odd. Specific news about any of the countries in the Third World wasn't as rich and full as it had been, before, and internet conversations seemed off, and full of lag time. Certain products made overseas weren't as forthcoming as they used to be, and the only explanation anyone could give was "economic restructuring in the name of economic equity," which wasn't really the best answer, but couldn't really be argued with, either.

Besides, who really cared what went on in Bangladesh or Eritrea? The future of the world hadn't been in their hands before 3/15, and it sure as !@#$ wasn't going to change now.

* * *

There was also what had been going on in the schools.

Not long after the Imago had made themselves known, they'd moved into the schools, and started to "help" with the curriculum. Math and science requirements were made much more important, with social sciences -- especially history -- eased way back, and more emphasis placed on communications over literature. The pl;an seemed to be that, by the time one was in the last few grades of primary education, the day would be almost all mathematics, science and technology, and mass communications.

Every day, in every school, there was a pep talk given by an Imago. They would speak of the new world to come, and how the children would be helping to build it. They would lecture on the importance of keeping a positive attitude, a useful mind, and a desire to help themselves by helping others first. And they would exhort everyone to enjoy these years, and remember them, for in the ages to come -- once the threat to Earth had been repelled -- they would be able to tell their children, and grandchildren, that they had been the ones who'd made it possible. 

They would be the first ones to soar, and lead future generations by example. 

It sounded great, though some might have asked why history and humanities had taken a backseat. The answer was that, in the days ahead, it made more sense to prepare the young for science careers than anything else. Once Earth had been defended, and Humanity began to put together the exciting new world to come, there would be time for old deeds and great works. But for now, other things were more important.

Again, their patience and cooperation was greatly appreciated.

Not everyone agreed, of course. Some parents -- mostly American homeschoolers, who'd had their kids yanked away and put into schools against their will -- began to protest this state of events, and even went so far as to refuse to send their kids back unless certain guarantees were made. As was their wont, the Imago listened to what they had to say, and then told them no in such a way that, by the end of the conversation, there was no question that the parents had been wrong, and the Imago right, all along.

Still, anyone who remained reluctant to trust them was given special dispensation, in the end. They could keep their children home if they wanted, and teach them whatever they liked, so long as they completely divested themselves from all other services and advantages that the Imago had brought with them. Such as engines that ran on tap water, free health care and medicine, the new internet (which also included phone service, now), and, in some cases, the jobs one or both parents worked at.

Faced with such a choice, most parents relented. But a few remained adamant, packed their things, and went "off the grid." Some were already there, and were happy to return to it, and as they drove away, there was a sense that the Imago were somehow happy to see them go.

But why, no one wanted to speculate.

(SPYGOD is listening to Cathedral Oceans (John Foxx) and having an Almanac Extra Pale Ale)

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