Devin Moore broke ‘The Law’ in this dystopia set in the not-too-distant future. For his crime, he is exiled from the last free colony of Goldstein, Alaska. Devin’s journey into fascist Amerika is an odyssey of chaos, delusion, and violence as he experiences the ravages of hyperinflation, the mind-numbing holovision, omnipresent surveillance and the imperious nanny-state.
‘The Land of the Free’ had become a serfdom where you have nothing to worry about if you do what you’re told. But Devin could not embrace the role of ‘gelded rebel’ and his exile becomes a mission of self-discovery.
Pursued by the ‘leathery-faced’ Director Morgenthau and his vicious minions seeking to ‘hotwire’ his brain, Devin contemplates making a mysterious ‘Delivery’ that will exonerate him and allow him to return home…home to GOLDSTEIN.
‘Goldstein’ describes an America where all liberty is exchanged for security (or at least the illusion of it). From the busy-body-nannyism of sin taxes on hot dogs and drinking licenses, to the neutering of automobiles and freedom of mobility, to the everpresent, Orwellian surveillance and police intimidation, and down to the indoctrination of school children through playground games where winning is punished with public humiliation.
This is not a romanticised depiction of future America. It is Amerika as dystopia.
But the totalitarian regime is crumbling. Mass inflation has annihilated the middle class. Defiant thugs terrorize the disarmed civilians. Even the President must check in with the Chinese creditors before calling any shots. There are uprisings and insurrections- Mormons revolting in Idaho, teenage suicide bombers in highschool gyms and an independance movement brewing in the last free colony of Goldstein, AK.
Devin Moore, the exile, is the protagonist. His journey is one of personal transformation as he evolves from defiant thief to confused alien, to…unlikely hero?
There are no tyrannical attributes of Goldstein’s Amerika that are not already in place in some form today- expanding surveillance, police brutality, endless, vaguely defined wars, a banking cabal with access to infinite bailouts, corruption, authoritarianism, violence, apathy, and government by unprincipled scoundrels.
Goldstein is a grim warning, but it contains hope with a climactic conclusion that serves as a reminder of where Americans came from as a people.
Chapters 1 &2
Chapters 1 &2
© Troy J. Grice All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the author.
To the Fascists
Rocketing across the stratosphere at twice the speed of sound, a titanium eagle, a gem of Chinese technological superiority, laced the heavens with a silvery contrail. On board this aircraft, owned by the Numenor Corporation which was one of the twelve corporate cartels that controlled ninety percent of everything, rode a very dangerous passenger.
Safely insulated from friction-induced temperatures exceeding four hundred degrees Celsius and comfortably snuggled into a luxurious, taxpayer-funded, leather captain’s chair, rode the President of the United States Angela Forsythe. Riding along inside this two-hundred thousand kilogram bullet were her aide-de-camp Maxwell Conrad, whom she affectionately referred to as ‘Maxie’, a battalion of servants, staff, and assorted government and media sycophants...and her husband Judge. They were returning to Washington from a fundraiser in the new state of South California where Madam President had made it clear that there were about to be some big changes.
“Are you really going to do it?” asked Maxie.
The President raised up her wine glass as if to toast while she gazed out into the ethereal blue framed within her portal. They were far, far above the boiling storm clouds below. Soon, she thought, they would be descending directly into the maelstrom.
“I’m taking them down, all of them.”
“All of them, Maxie. From the cartel bosses all the way down to the fucking mailroom clerks,” she answered.
Maxie rubbed the back of his neck and rolled his eyes as the President continued.
“I’m turning it all over...the surveillance, audit trails, the minutes of the society meetings…”
“Angela, I think you…”
“…and all the names, especially the names, big names, the media loves the names.”
“That could topple the government. Have you thought about that?" Maxie warned.
"What if it just gets buried?"
"The evidence is incontrovertible. The media won’t be able to bury it.”
“Freemerica IS the media. They’re complicit in all of it. And when they’re not complicit, they’re bought off. We can’t trust them.”
“They’ll be unable to quash it.”
Maxie could not understand why he couldn’t get through to her. She had never been this stubborn with him before. He sighed one of his dramatic, effeminate sighs.
“What makes you think you’ll get away with it, Angela? What makes you think you can take on the cartels like this? Or the bankers or that matter? If you out them they’ll use their minions in Congress to marginalize you. You’ll be a lame duck, Angela, or worse. And if that fails, they’ll just unleash Freemerica on you! The media always finds something. You can’t make it this far in politics without some kind of skeleton in your closet. You’ve got re-election campaign to worry about.”
“You must not think much of me, Maxie, if you think they’ll find skeletons.”
“It’s not that I don’t think much of you, it’s that they have vested interests and will align against you. You’re putting them in a corner with no means of escape. These people will resort to anything to hold power.”
“I’ve lived an honest life, Maxie. You know that. You’ve been with me for twelve years. You know they won’t find anything that’ll stick.”
“Then they’ll make up something! You know how they operate. What about anti-patriotism? Freemerica can stick that on anyone. It's nebulous. They can pin that on you with nothing more than a reporter’s sneering lip or a flash of a subliminal message whenever your picture’s on. They can make you into an anti-pat without any evidence at all. And the serfs will fall for it. They always fall for it.”
“Oh, let them try it, then.”
“…Plus we’re at war, too,” Maxie continued, undeterred. “This is not the best time to be stirring things up.”
“There’s never a ‘best time’, Maxie. Besides, we’re always at war with something. We’ll never not be at war…at least not until things change.”
The President gazed out the tiny portal again. The clouds far below were like a thick shroud blanketing the nation in a storm of lies and here she was, insulated in her supersonic, titanium tube, far, far above it, rocketing through a blazing azure of truthiness. Or so she thought. She drank her merlot. Her mind was focused. She was without doubt.
“Maxie,” she waxed, “the war of all wars is the one we wage against ourselves.”
Maxie sighed again. Presidents were not supposed to be philosophical and Maxie found her occasional bouts of idealism frustrating. He had a PhD in political game-theory. Idealism, he thought, was for stoned freshmen from commuter colleges.
“Ask yourself, Maxie, why is there so much resistance and violence across the country? Where does it all come from? Why does it seem to get worse whenever we increase government efforts to restore law and order?”
“Uh…because the serfs are like petulant children?” Maxie offered with pragmatic bluntness. “Because serfs in the flyover country lack self-control? Because they need authority and direction in their lives or they turn into cannibals.”
"Or…?" Maxie begged.
"Or perhaps it’s because the serfs have lost respect for us. Maxie, I really think we've lost the...what do they call it?...the ‘consent of the governed’."
Maxie threw his hands up in frustration and stormed off to the back of the superjet in search of the Presidential masseuse.
Angela turned to her husband Judge and clasped his hand. Judge was fast asleep, or more aptly comatose— electrically de-stimulated by the SkyDoze brand electrodes affixed to his temples. She looked at him lovingly. They had been married for thirty years. He was once a rising star in the cartel uber-world but he gave it up in order to support her political aspirations. She knew it was difficult for his executive-sized ego to be a supporting figure, but he did believe in her and he stood by her with unwavering loyalty.
“I have to do this, Judge,” she whispered to him as he snored. “It’s my whole reason for being here. You’ll be so proud of me.”
Many kilometers below, beneath the clouds, a torrent of rain was soaking a large swath of the Homeland and more specifically a particular golf course located on the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa. There were only three men on that course that day, not counting the far off snipers. One was the Director of the National Police, one was a milquetoast caddy, and the third was The Vice President of the United States.
The three of them stood on the rain-matted fairway with lightning illuminating the gray skies behind them. The deluge had formed numerous puddles in the grass that cratered the fairway all the way up to the fringe of the green.
“It is accomplished,” explained the Director who had just tucked his multi-unit into his dripping jacket pocket. He had a leathery, ruddy face and his rain-soaked, thinning gray hair fell in wet clumps across his forehead.
“Excellent,” replied the Vice President with a sinister grin. Vice President Theodore “Teddy” Mellon was a bombastic fellow whose mane of black hair looked several orders of magnitude better than the Director's. His flowing waves remained perfectly coiffed even soaking wet.
Teddy had clawed, glad-handed, fornicated and bribed his way to the second spot in the Unity Party at the green age of thirty eight. Although young, his demeanor and maturity ACTUALLY revealed a man of no less than thirty-two; which was, coincidentally, the age of George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of The Little Bighorn. 32 year old generals have a poor track record.
Teddy, who was ‘attached’ to President Forsythe’s ticket as Veep by the party bosses as a means of solidifying her electoral base east of the Hudson and west of the Sierra Nevada, disliked the woman immensely. She was a fly-over western Governor with an unflattering populist streak—an outsider with broad serf appeal and little patience for technocracy. He was an Ivy League elitist, ritually, pornographically initiated into secret orders; one who felt that it was the birthright, nay, the Divine Right of all Ivy Leaguers to run the world on behalf of the innumerable hoard of Neanderthals residing west of the Hudson River. Teddy never referred to President Forsythe by her name, referring to her only as ‘The Madam’ in public and ‘that bitch’ in private.
“These are desperate times, Axel,” Teddy continued as thunder rumbled from the west as if choreographed to punctuate his remark.
“Indeed, Sir,” affirmed Director Morgenthau. “We are at war.”
“It’s important that you remember that this had to be done. It was for the greater good.”
“I fully understand, sir.”
“We can’t have anti-patriots running around undermining the establishment order. These are desperate, desperate times.”
“Indeed,” replied Morgenthau, wiping the swoops of his wet, thinning, gray hair out of his eyes while trying to sound convinced so that Teddy would just move on to his shot and they could finish the round.
“The normal rules do not apply in this situation,” Teddy continued.
“Right, Sir. Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
President Mellon rudely yanked his sand wedge from his milquetoast caddy’s soggy hand, wiped the water off it with a towel, and took three splashing practice swings.
“Never speak of this to anyone, ever,” the Vice President continued after his third swing, shaking the end of his wedge in Morgenthau’s face. “You never know who might be listening. There are eyes and ears everywhere.”
“I certainly doubt anyone would be surveilling us here in Iowa, Sir. Not in this weather.”
“Just remember,” the Vice President repeated, “eyes and ears are everywhere.”
The Vice President dried his club, again, then dropped it back into a puddle while he addressed the ball. He swung, lofting his ball high into the air. The three of them watched it hang in space and time, barely visible in the streaks of rain, hypnotized by its defiance of gravity. Then they gazed as it started to fall, accelerating downward according to Newtonian physics, ultimately descending with a plunk into a water hazard some seventy yards off.
“Wedge, huh?” The Vice President asked as he gestured for a new ball from his caddy. “You are definitely a fuckwit of a caddy. Why can’t the President of the United States of America get a better god damn caddy than this?”
Far above the deluge, President Forsythe’s supersonic jet knifed through the tranquil azure sky. A tiny viral script, beamed from a hand-held device somewhere below, switched off the jet’s life support systems. The great black bird roared eastward, guided only by its computers which did not require oxygen nor heat in order to function.
No communication with the crew was re-established. Jet fighters were scrambled but they were helpless to do anything but escort the titanium zombie on its long, gentle descent.
Freemerica Media satellite cameras were already in position to capture the drama for public consumption and Amerikans watched their holovisions in semi-lucid stupor as the President’s jet burned up the last of its fuel and dissolved into the Atlantic Ocean.
Theodore “Teddy” Mellon was sworn in as President of the United States in the clubhouse locker room. After the ceremony, Teddy sent the bible off to have it bronzed.
It was a perfect day for an execution, sunny and clear with a cool whisper of wind coming from the north. An accused man, shackled in leg irons and handcuffs, stood before a council of twelve robed jurists. He maintained a defiant posture despite the burden of his chains and he wore an indignant expression despite the fatefulness of his situation. His name was Devin Moore.
The rectangular hall was completely still, frozen in anticipation. One jurist arose.
“We’ve reached a verdict,” proclaimed the white-haired man who had thick black glasses and a pipe that hung from the corner of his mouth.
A din arose amongst the hundred or so gathered in the hall’s gallery. The standing jurist held the stem of his glasses with one hand and impatiently hammered his gavel three times with the other. Puffs of smoke leaked out from the corner of his mouth with each violent hammering. The murmur began to subside.
“We’ve reached a verdict!” he shouted again, taking a long draw on his pipe.
The eleven other black-robed jurists remained seated and expressionless. These twelve adjudicators, selected annually by lottery, were known as The Council and they were the ‘deciders’ for the Goldstein colony. Their position was unpaid, unheralded, and generally undesired as it required them to pass judgment upon and to arbitrate the disputes between their neighbors which was often damaging to their business relationships. They looked unanimously uncomfortable slouching in their flowing, priestly robes.
The walls behind The Council were adorned with holovision fields which projected three-dimensional images of court exhibits and witness’ testimonies. Their floating avatars were all muted, frozen in space time.
The standing jurist, who was still waiting for the din to fully subside, was Lysander Brooks or Mr. Brooks for short. Blinded by the arc of a laser-fusion accident, his physiological disability was revealed by the complete opacity of his lenses. But although his physiological eyes might have been useless he was not without sight. Built into his lenses were optical sensors which converted stereoscopic images into brainwaves and transmitted them into his visual cortex by way of tiny arrays buried in the stems of the frames. One could have eye or brain surgery to correct nearly all forms of blindness, but the glasses were a far less invasive and far less expensive alternative. Seeing eye frames were cheaply available at either of Goldstein’s convenience stores and could be calibrated by virtual instruction manual. No visit to a government sanctioned, optometrist’s-guild was required in Goldstein.
The accused man, Mr. Moore, had no issues with visual acuity or any other physical handicaps of any significance. He was young, lean, and strong. He stood alone, facing The Council, chained up like some medieval felon.
“Are these chains absolutely necessary?” he asked holding them up as he spoke. The throng began to murmur again.
“Quiet, please!” ordered Brooks, his baritone voice echoing through the hall. Devin wasn’t entirely sure if Brooks was ordering him or the gallery or both. The noise finally subsided. “Thank you,” Brooks continued. He puffed out a ring of smoke. “After much deliberation, The Council has come to the conclusion that Mr. Devin Moore, standing before you now, is GUILTY of breaking The Law.”
Devin shook his head. “Bullshit!” he shouted.
“Mr. Moore, the surveillance video was particularly damning evidence in this case,” Brooks explained.
“You call that evidence?” Devin protested. “It was doctored!”
Brooks pounded his gavel. “Quiet! The Council has rendered its verdict. You are guilty of breaking The Law.”
“The Law…” Devin mocked.
“Thou Shalt Not Steal, Devin Moore,” preached another jurist.
“You know The Law, Devin,” Brooks continued, trying to sound patient. “It is the only law. Now, do you wish to make a statement?”
“I do.” Devin turned towards the gallery, his chains jingling. He scanned their faces but they averted their eyes. He turned back to The Council and took a deep breath. “This trial’s a sham. You can’t sentence me. I’m an Amerikan and I have rights.”
“Boo! Thief! Liar!” called the crowd.
Brooks pounded the gavel.
“I have a right to a trial in a real court—not this kangaroo court. You have no authority.”
“Boo! Traitor! Execute the Traitor!”
“Quiet, please!” shouted Brooks, pounding his gavel again. “Do you have anything to say that is relevant before we sentence you?”
Devin stared into Brooks’ dead black lenses. Then he scanned the rest of The Council. Their eyes remained fixed on him. They knew he was guilty. He knew he was guilty. He had always wondered if he would be able to delude himself into thinking that he was somehow the victim in all of this mess but he couldn’t bend his mind that way. His luck, which had enabled him to get out of past jams, had run out; he would not be able to get out of this one.
Once the Council rules it is finished.
Devin’s only hope was for a spectacular, fantastical, perfectly-timed, miracle rescue by the National Police. He prayed for the appearance of the black-clad, NaPol tactical troops, repelling from hovering dragonfly airships, smashing through the hall’s sensor-glass windows and wildly firing their heat-seeking, laser-guided assault rifles into the throng. The ‘nats’ would rescue him and take him back to Amerika where he would be released on his own recognizance awaiting a larceny trial that would be delayed ten years. That was a much more preferable outcome to being stoned to death by a bunch of Bohemian Alaskans.
“I demand you turn me over to NaPol. This is not a real court,” Devin ordered.
Goldstein was certainly outside the bounds of the Amerikan justice bureaucracy, but its court was indeed real. The Colony had its share of thieves, swindlers and bandits, lured into it from the Lower Fifty Three. Its insulation from the omnipresent eyes and omnipotent pulse-emitters of National Police made the Colony a prime destination for those lacking in moral inhibition. But the skeptical nature of the colonists quickly flushed the criminal element into the open. A life of crime rarely paid well in Goldstein.
The Council was notoriously ruthless at sentencing. They had very few resources by which to enforce The Law so justice had to be swift and decisive. It was a Draconian system but very efficient.
After mumbling to each other, Brooks spoke again. “The Council has taken your position into consideration. Mr. Moore,” he continued while holding a stem of his glasses, “in light of your numerous declarations during this trial about the invalidity of this court and your desire to be turned over to the National Police, we think you’ll find the sentence for your crimes to be to your liking.”
“What is it? Hard labor?”
“That might be one aspect of it.”
“That is very likely.”
“That is possible.”
“So you’re going to put me in a labor camp and then execute me?”
Signaled by a vibration in his multi, a burly man of six and a half feet sidled up to Devin’s side. The man rolled up his sleeves revealing his tattooed forearms, covered in a sprawling Gadsden snake. He was the Sheriff—the sole, elected law enforcement of the Colony.
Devin began to come to the realization of what his sentence was going to be. His head dropped as he was overtaken with the dread of it. He didn’t seriously expect to be executed but this might actually be worse.
“Have you named a custodian for your property?”
“What?” asked Devin, distracted by his grim thoughts. “I uh...I don’t have anything worth worrying about.” His mind began to race. He needed a plan. He had to figure out how to escape since it was increasingly unlikely that the NaPol gods were going to save him.
“I believe we have nothing more to do here except carry out the sentence,” concluded Brooks. “Sheriff, will you take Mr. Moore to the river?”
Ryland put his massive paw on Devin’s shoulder.
“Get your damn hands off me, pig!” Devin barked. “I’ll go peacefully.”
“Fair enough,” replied the sheriff.
Devin, weighed down by his jingling chains, turned towards the gallery facing their condescending glare as he lumbered out of the hall. He was followed by the sheriff, Mr. Brooks, and a dozen or so gawking colonists.
The procession made their way to a utility truck where Devin was helped into the back. The sheriff got in next to him. The gasoline engine roared to life and they motored slowly out of the cobblestone plaza and onto a paved thoroughfare. The road was flanked by stone and log row houses which were capped with whirling wind turbines and smokeless chimneys. Ice still coated the narrow alleyways and shaded surfaces between the buildings. The snow had receded into the cooler places but the road itself was dark and wet from the thaw.
As they drove out of the plaza, the tightly packed storefronts and houses of the village gave way to small industrial and agricultural kwanset huts tucked into the dense spruce and budding birch trees. Inside their arched plastic skins, articulated robot arms were knitting textiles, sowing seeds and scribing millions upon millions of nano-processors.
The road took them by several construction sites. Construction was an ever-present phenomenon in Goldstein. Cranes and scaffolds and robotics were the predominant feature of the colonial village skyline.
An excavation near the road had made a deep scar in the tundra and an elegant spider web of steel lattice rose up from the pebbly mud. Steel was an unusual and fantastically expensive commodity in Goldstein. ‘BROOKS’ was emblazoned in black on every beam.
The site was alive with a mixed crew of brown, smooth-faced Natives and pale, red-bearded Anglos buzzing around the hive-like foundation, hoisting and hanging and welding and riveting. They were building a laser fusion reactor. It was rumored that some venture capitalists from Hong Kong were bankrolling the project.
The road wound on, down into a gauntlet of birch trees. Down for two miles past a scrap yard and a quarry, dropping a hundred meters in altitude along the way. Down through the pulse-emitting field array that fenced the inner colony from human and animal intruders with an invisible beam of coma-inducing microwaves.
Brooks keyed some digits into his multi unit and a segment of the field turned off. They drove through the invisible fence to the banks of a meandering gray river where the truck stopped and the driver turned the engine off.
“Get out!” The sheriff rudely barked. Devin held his chains up with an expression of helplessness etched in his face. The sheriff huffed and summoned the driver to help Devin out. The three of them along with Brooks walked down to the stony banks of the river.
“So you’re really going to do this to me?” Devin asked.
“You did it to yourself, thief,” the sheriff replied.
“Isn’t there another way, Brooks? I can make things right. You know me. Give me a chance.”
They gathered around a dilapidated wooden rowboat pulled up onto the shore. Devin felt even more dread. “You know this is a death sentence,” he exclaimed.
“A slow death by starvation,” added the sheriff, mockingly, as he unlocked Devin’s shackles. “You shouldn’t have broken The Law. Now get in.”
He palmed his 9mm as Devin slowly climbed into the tiny boat. But Brooks stayed the sheriff’s hand. Devin took a seat in the boat and pretended to row. The sheriff tossed him a thermal which hit Devin in the face as he pulled on the oars. Devin scowled back while he rolled it up and tucked it under his seat. He had given up. There was no getting out of it. He wondered how long he would last. Would the animals get him first? The cold? Hunger?
“Well, what the hell are you waiting for? Shove me in, you bastards,” Devin ordered.
“Hold on,” Brooks intervened. “You know, this need not be a death sentence…”
“Right…” Devin replied without enthusiasm.
“You can still be pardoned. The Council has signed off on it.”
“I’ll be dead before I get to McGrath.”
“Probably,” Brooks continued, “Certainly if you give up. But things aren’t as hopeless as you insist. Just make The Delivery and you’ll be pardoned.”
“Here, catch…” Brooks tossed Devin a leather satchel which landed with a thud at Devin’s feet but before Devin could open it and look inside, the sheriff grabbed hold of the splintery boat with his massive hands and shoved it off into the gray, swirling water.
“...And I better not see you back here unless you deliver it!” the sheriff shouted.
“Deliver what?” Devin asked again. “To who?”
“It’s all there, in the satchel. Don’t worry. Just read the instructions,” Brooks shouted. “They’ll find you. Make The Delivery and you’ll be pardoned. Then we’ll come get you.”
Devin began to row. “Maybe I’ll come back and make a delivery to you,” he blustered at the sheriff as he rowed the bobbing boat through the icy gray water.
“I’ll be waiting for you,” replied the sheriff as he fastened the snap on his holster. “Watch out for those moose, they kill more people then bears, you know!”
The three stayed behind on the shoreline until the current swept the frantically, haplessly rowing Devin around a bend and out of sight. He was an exile, now. If he was to return, the mandatory colonial response would be to shoot him dead on sight which was not a problem because most people carried guns at all times. But that had never happened in the thirty plus years of Goldstein history. Several dozen exiles had tried to return either overtly by groveling on their hands and knees, or covertly by slipping into the perimeter when the field was down but the vast majority of colonials lacked sufficient ruthlessness to shoot them. They were, however, always disciplined enough to maintain the total boycott of exiles. And with no possibilities to exchange with the colonials for food, shelter, or clothing, the exiles would soon give up in frustration and drag their starving, emaciated, carcasses back into the wilderness. Sometimes, usually not more than two miles from the perimeter, their half-gnawed skulls would be discovered by hunting parties.
Brooks took a moment to ponder Devin’s fate. “Would he make it?” he asked himself. There was something in Devin’s persona that gave Brook’s hope. Devin was a loner and mentally tough. That gave him a better chance than most. Brooks imagined him washing up on shore somewhere fifty kilometers downstream, hungry and shivering. Would someone find him? Would someone help him? We’ve got to give him a chance, Brooks thought.
“Do you think the son-of-a-bitch’ll make it?” asked the sheriff.
“You mean make it or make The Delivery?” asked Brooks.
Brooks didn’t answer. He placed a call on his multi.
Goldstein Republic can be purchased here at Amazon
Chapters 3 & 4 will be available next weekend at SilverDoctors