The screams came right after the earth rumbled. Hundreds of people looked up as the skyscrapers trembled. Then they ran. The windows of the shaking buildings shattered and fell off. Seconds later, a huge explosion rocked the modern Nairobi Metropolitan State. The whole east side of the gated State, from Konza City unto We’hun, the African Silicon Valley, ceased to exist and dust filled up the huge expanse that had changed the world.
A hundred and eight seven kilometers away, lying naked on a five by five traditional bed next to a humanoid, Madison Ita, watched the drama unfold on the 4 D Inter-TV. The naked humanoid blond lying on his shoulder covered one of its breasts with a bed sheet and looked at the screen for a while then returned its gaze at Madison.
“Is this what you were telling me about?” It asked with a bored expression in Swahili.
“Yes. This is it. A quarter of the State has undergone what the dinosaur underwent ages ago,” he smiled.
It looked at him blankly.
“That part of the New Africa is now as dead as a dodo!”
“A gigantic bird that lived on earth in the age of dinosaurs!”
It continued staring at him. He wondered why he still kept the thing. “Well, never mind,” he said with a yawn and got out of bed. The idiotic thing needs an upgrade, he thought. But he knew those upgrades came with tracking devices.
“The leaders would be furious with you,” it said, switching to Cantonese, one of the three official New World Language.
“That’s the whole idea,” he responded in Swahili putting on a pair of shorts and walking out of the room. He understood all the official languages but only spoke Swahili as a sign of contempt or rebellion.
Madison made his way through the corridor of the depilated walls, the stuffiness engulfing him. The dining room, with one side half crumbled still stood majestic, in defiance of the years of neglect and civil wars. It reminded him of his ideals. He pushed in through a white curtain that separated the hall from the corridor and found three men in their early forties, seated, all looking at the screen worriedly. A pretty anchor with a worried expression was interviewing the head of security over the incident on the huge screen at the most intact wall of the room. The huge head of the security officer at the corner of the screen looked as if it was fighting to get out; he had a huge droid eye that looked as if it could see right through the screen. A scroll at the bottom of the screen indicated the number of dead. It was at one hundred and forty five thousand and it increased with every blink of an eye. The three men turned and nodded when Madison walked in. Smiling, he nodded back and sat down.
“It effing works,” he spoke in Swahili.
None of them responded. He could tell that they were scared. They had been eager to carry out the deed and now that it was done, they couldn’t comprehend what they had done. He didn’t feel any urge to convince them that the deed was the only way. He had been down that road too many times and was tired of it.
“In less than five minutes, they will call and…”
A piercing cry filled the air, cutting short his sentence. They all looked at the screen which had changed from the news station and showed a green symbol of an incoming call.
“Aren’t you going to pick it up?” asked Twisa, the skinniest of the men.
“In a second.”
The men looked at each other with worry.
Madison let it ring twice and received the call. Immediately the screen filled with the image of Dang Spwa, the spokesperson of the leader of the new State. Dang had a round face with cheeks that stood out as if the sculptor of his face felt a need to highlight his cheeks. His mouth was a thin line, the upper lip half hidden by a curving ugly moustache that was often the joke of many of the citizens. Of course they spoke of it in the comforts of their homes as it was treason to speak ill of anyone in the ruling class. Madison often wondered if the state could not find a better looking person or even a droid to take the man’s place. Probably they could but they just didn’t care anymore.
“Greetings,” the thin lips opened up
“What do you want?” Madison bellowed.
“I see you want us to go straight to the point. Your new weapon has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians!”
“All within the gated walls”
“Yes but innocent never the less and citizens under the protection of the royal empire.”
“Yes they are innocent but so are the hundreds of the civilians that dwell outside the gates dying daily from malnutrition and illnesses.”
“We have not killed them.”
“You have, by denying them access into the State where they would get medication and food.”
“Denied them? The class act was passed by the old parliament long before I was born and there are ways one can work to get into the State. Every year, about a hundred people graduate into the position”
“And hundred thousand more are born into slavery!”
“That’s besides the issue now. You have committed a capital punishment, whose punishment is …”
Madison rose up from his seat and disconnected the call.
“Are you insane?” Twisa’s thick voice filled the air.
“One more second and they would have been able to track where the signal is coming from.” Madison explained. “Do any of you want to talk to him at his headquarters?”
They all shook their heads. “Plus I wanna talk to the owner of the house, not the dog.”
They sat in silence as they once had a decade ago when they had first gone with him to see the diviner.
They had just joined forces with Madison, with less than thirty men under them with the hope of shooting down a food carrying vessel. Their main purpose was to feed their families but Madison had promised them equality with the elite and they had half believed the young man. Why and what could he have done for them, they had no idea?
The first afternoon after they had agreed to join forces, he took them to visit his grandfather at the furthest end of the forbidden zone. The croaking shuttle flew them over the free zones where they saw thousands who tried farming and hunting in a land where pollution had hardened the soils and chemicals had changed the few remaining animals; most which had to undergo de-toxicity before consumption.
They had flown over table top mountains and landed at the very edge of the land. Then they had to endure a one day walk through rough volcanic terrain where the air smell of sulphur and zinc. At the end of their day, they approached a hut, the first the men had seen all their lives and outside sat an older version of Madison who was so skinny they could have counted the ribs on his body with a single glance. He was dressed in shorts only and had the longest beard that they had ever laid eyes on. Madison did not even say hello but sat down next to the older version of himself and they followed suit. A smoking pipe was passed along and they all took turns puffing it. Then the world blurred before their eyes. And for a time, which could have been an hour or days, they sat down in a trance, each seeing things in the future; their future and the future of their State. In all their trances, they saw Madison becoming the emperor. And when they left the old man, they had already committed to following Madison without uttering a single word. They walked back to their shuttle in deep disturbing silence.
Silence also reigned in the Emergency room at the National Assembly House in the State Capital. The room, built for emergencies, had never been used for emergencies. It had, over the decades been turned to some meeting room with most of the safety devices switched off but not on this day. All the security features were on. And the heads of security of the region sat there freezing as the temperature was 15 degrees centigrade and no one had the guts to change it. They were waiting for the government spokesperson. They were even rumors that the emperor might be present but none of the fellows there had ever laid eyes on him after the last humanoid upgrade he got. There were rumors in the high circles that he was the first successful humanoid upgraded with alien technology. Some even claimed that he could read minds but that was not the worry of the men and woman here. They knew someone was going to go down for the explosion that happened and each was trying to figure out how they could talk their way out of it.
There had been no intelligence on it. Nothing. And that meant someone wasn’t doing their job or the perpetrators had inside help. But who? Rumors on the streets were that the leader of the rebels, Madison, was a reincarnation of all the great rulers’ liberators of Africa during the colonization age. Some called him Lumumba, others Kimathi and there were some who even said he was of the Mandela linage. There were too many rumors in these days and no one knew what to believe anymore but those outside the gates would have died for the man. They believed him as a savior and the State propaganda machinery had failed to turn that round. Those inside the gates hated and feared him in equal measures.
Since the ruling class combined forces with the elite class and moved into the gated communities, acts of terrorism were frequent but badly managed. The poor and middle class wanted a piece of the pie, by hook or crook, and so part of the new security was to try to ensure that people like Madison did not force their way into the gated community. Especially now that most of the world could not grow crops due to pollution and that most of the food produced was genetically modified in green houses inside the gated community. But Madison had become an inspiration ever since he opened the closed internet and started online campaigns for equal rights. The security team was put at an edge, a place where they were most uncomfortable.
The doors of the emergency room opened and everyone stood up. The emperor, Jule San Paul walked into the room, followed by his assistants and the State’s spokesperson. San Paul was taller than before, his steps agile like those of a young antelope, and his face shone as if it had been polished. He had a small oval face, like that of a woman, with small slit shaped eyes that one only looked at once before turning away. You could tell his pupils were computerized; they rotated softly like an application loading on one of those one century old computer. His attire clung onto him like human skin and all his body parts showed. There was not a muscle that was out of place. Before the upgrade, he was known as Jule Hu but after the upgrade, he took on a Christian last name to unite the two main remaining religions; hence bring the peoples of his empire together. Now, he sat at the end of the room, facing all of them. They comfortably waited a few seconds before they also sat. Three of his body guards stood behind him although rumors were that one would rather face all three of them on a hand to hand combat than the emperor.
San Paul cleared his throat and with a wave of his hand, signaled one of his guards to switch on the screen. It showed the morning events. They all watched in absolute silence. They had seen it a hundred times over hoping to find some clue as to who from the state was part of it.
“This is a satellite clip of the morning explosion,” he started with a huge deep voice that sounded as if it vibrated. “What happened here is…”
His voice was cut short by bleeping sounds on the screen as the images changed. An officer in uniform appeared and automatically one of the body guards increased the volume.
“Your emperor. We have heard of numerous confirmed sighting of Madison in different parts of the New Africa. Our agents have arrested three of them and their DNA reveals that they all are the real Madison. However, as we speak, there seems to be a Madison in every media house and each is being interviewed.”
“What!” the emperor bellowed.
“Yes your honor. Our fear is that the view of this rebel in the public’s eye could be changed and that could sway the elites in the gates to sympathize with him. I have just received news that the interviews are currently being aired on all channels”
“Check the stations!” the emperor screamed and the screen suddenly spilt into several pieces all showing different channels. In each screen, Madison was seen being interviewed.
The emperor looked as if he had aged in a few seconds. He turned to his security team.
“Are they clones?”
“No sir,” the only lady in the room responded. “Modern technology kills all forms of clones that make their way into the city.”
“I want him stopped now!” He stood up and stormed out. The security team looked at each other surprised.
Kilometers away, the phone call Madison waited for came in. “Yes!” he answered the call whose visual which showed a blurred image. “The revolution is on.” A female voice said and the line went out. He turned and smiled at his crew.