Short Story: Middle-Class Do-Gooders

Time and again the question’s come up, yet no satisfying answer’s ever given:

After the Paris Incident, where were the governments? Where were those elderly systems of altruism and virtue-true; justice, law and order?

Everyone has theories, but no-one quite yet comprehends their reality on a grand scale. The few that do offer only that, “it’s a long story.” In the end though, something must go on the record. Otherwise, the posthumous sigh of countless, government-workers’ fates might form a singularity. With the last collective breath before Humanity is collectively molded and compressed into one strand of spaghetti, we would all know the irony of being lost to poor record-keeping as they were.

So, for the record, where were the governments? Those gracefully aged systems of redundant, bureaucratic interconnectivity, flowing data, and utter nonsense?

They were on life-support and fading fast.

They’d held on for years; stubborn-vegetables that just wouldn’t go. The only time they were of any use was when the really-SOL-but-not-quite-criminally-so folks needed financial assistance. Usually, it was the last of the well-meaning middle-class kids that wanted to grow up, go to college, and fight the system from the inside, man.

What a crock of shit.

That’s the shit-ended stick those poor kids never knew they were grabbing. They grew up, training to fight for what was right, the way that was right. Then, just ended up chewed up and spit out anyway.

Not because you couldn’t fight the system from the inside, mind you. On the contrary, in fact. The system was meant to be fought from the inside. Or rather, manipulated. And really, only from a level of control such as afforded to those highest within that system.

And the middle-kids weren’t getting in. The system was hard-coded against them a millennium before their birth. While they’d played the game well, it wasn’t their game and they didn’t know how not to be cheated at every turn. After all, how could they? Government education made them and the game.

No-one ever said that, but they needn’t either.

Governments and corporations did the same thing. One merely did it better. Nothing about governments was ever created with “customer service” in mind. Nothing could match the corps’ “quality” hand sticking it to you. It wasn’t possible. Government wasn’t formed with quality in mind. It was patch-worked into a scrap-hull to keep the whole ship of humanity from sinking.

Governments had been built to function. Nothing more. At that, only inside the parameters of a specific set of tasks. Usually, ones revolving around maintaining order and occasionally defense or public safety.

It was all very theoretical in nature… until it wasn’t.

That “wasn’t” ended up hellish. A constant battle for ground against bureaucratic bullshit red-tape that as much strangle one as made one want to strangle themselves. The cause was that very say scrap-work. Its constant scattering of debris into ancient gears formed of things like Aristotle’s Constitution and popular assembly. Things ancient even before modern government.

Intent aside, governments were ramshackle systems thrown together from need and desperation. Often, in times of unconscionable chaos. They were astronomically-distant from the well-planned, well-executed, multi-tiered and multi-leveled corporate platform.

It was the difference between a home and a skyscraper; both housed humans but one went beyond the simple ideas of shelter to incorporate the reality of human society. Both had their place.

But in an age where even government complexity, was far below the simplicity of one’s own alarm clock, it was a wonder they held on at all. People were surrounded by state-of-the-art, egghead-designed greatness, but were letting ancient peoples unaware of toilets dictate their reality?

Give ‘em a break.

In retrospect, it is more amazing governments existed and held on so long. By the time they fizzled to nothing, they were laboriousbrutes. Their own, monstrous size would’ve killed them were they not gracious enough to die-off themselves.

Their timing sucked though.

The last “official” government organization dissolved a mere 72 hours before Paris was retaken. The explanation was simple, they’d finally run out of money. Governments were presented a choice; close up shop by night-fall or start cutting into everyone’s pay-outs with every moment longer they ran.

Rather than soil what remained of their legacy, the governments closed up shop and paid off their people.

Flooding the streets with their unemployed, hopeless, and disenfranchised world-wide.

In other words, the exact kind of folk gearing up to purge the corps from Parisian and French borders. Without realizing it, the last slight between government and corp caused The Fall. That once-fruitfully perverted relationship, now reduced to an old wound. One each former-employee now felt a right to in some, thirsting way.

The resulting chaos, at any other moment in history, might’ve been tamable. The recovery possible, if painful.

Oops.

Resistance numbers tripled. New-recruits became fueled with hints of righteous fury. The newly-terrified-and-unemployed saw the corps (rightfully) to blame for the dissolution. Their shifting, tumultuous worlds. That this truth went unrecognized to the general public for decades is hindsight-admission to then-present knowledge of the damage being done.

The evidence of it was clear enough in the generation of soldiers eventually forming corp-sec. They hadn’t cared for their country’s sovereignty. Otherwise, they’d never have left. They cared for action. Adrenaline. They’d been trained that way over generations of stewed and stoked violence. Mostly, so they’d compromise into working for a system older than time rather than fight for something better to begin with.

Remember; their game, their rules. Play by ‘em or fuck off.

Once more it was the remnant middle-class do-gooders that had gotten involved. The same generation of kids watching their peers get cut down around the board, in one way or another– figurative or literal, depending on creed, orientation, color, geography or belief. The middle-kids knew they weren’t doing any good at all, were actively hurting themselves and their people.

So, their aim shifted. Though their priority remained the same; Need. Real need, and the offering of aid.

Do-gooding and all they joined the fight. The landscape of concrete parasites now flattened to dust is evidence enough; they joined the fight with fresh motivation and turned the tables. Were it not for the governmental dissolution, corps would’ve won. Or, they’d have had an easier fight for a while; better recover from the sudden landslide that eventually buried them.

If the Paris Incident taught anyone anything, rash action more seriously upset the game’s balance than just letting shit blow over. Then again, were corps not inundated by resistance fighters from the dissolution, it’s possible they’d have rallied. Even allowing Paris its reign while denying further territory might have eventually worked out– the powers that be might have lulled LeMaire’s people into complacency, before launching a sweeping offensive eliminating problem once and for all.

Short of something catastrophic though, their actual plan never would’ve worked.

In that case, the corps would already be something they weren’t, dictators rather than systems. Their reign would have gone from one of subtlety to one of utter flagrance. In that roundabout way, perhaps then, they were always doomed.

Whatever the answer, those middle-class do-gooders actually did what they meant; they changed the world. If only after being forced out into it, their very presence the change it needed when it needed it.

A valid victory nonetheless. And in the spirit of Humanity, that same sort of back-assward, self-fulfilling prophecy that gave everyone exactly what they wanted in the end no matter how absurd.

No matter the case, it made for one helluva story for the record-books.

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