JUST ONE MAN

by John Dodd

Staring out from the main window of Head Office, you can get a feel for the awesome, from here you can see the stormclouds gathering over the Cannibal Sectors, and you can see the glow from the Morituri Stadium as the latest victim steps up to the plate.

“This is Third Eye reporting on Salvation Day, and on this day, we’ve been given a unique opportunity to speak to the man who’s been behind it since day one.”

We pan the camera across to Mr Slayer, sitting at his desk overlooking the empire. I’ve been reporting for over thirty years, and I’ve never encountered a being like this, it’s not his appearance, lord knows, I’ve seen scarier looking things than him, it’s the eyes. He doesn’t look at you, he looks through you, you know that to him, you might as well be a figment of his imagination.

My train of thought gets derailed suddenly, he is looking at me…

Must get a thought, must start the interview, how to start...can’t go with “So, how about that nose?”

Good afternoon.” he intones, the sound deep and majestic, like the rolling oceans far to the north, and for a second, it seems that that’s all that needs to be said. This lasts for a half second before he shifts his field of vision to the camera.

“You’re all wondering why I’ve decided to speak out on this occasion.”

Again, it seems like all he’s doing is writing down laws for the world to live by.

He smiles, a more horrific visage can I not imagine, It’s not like what you see on the TV, you have to be there for the real effect, he looks back at me, then out of the window, rising up from his seat. I scramble to get out of the way as the camera tracks him across the room.

I stand behind the camera and look at the image, there’s a clear shot of his head, framed by the lightning from the storm above, and he turns back to the camera.

“I had a dream, that one day, there would be no fear, no pain, nothing but order in the world, and that all those who came to this world would know that there was a place in the world for them.”

He pauses for a second, and when he speaks again, there is almost a tangible sadness in his voice, a terrible, painful emptiness where once hearts had sung.

“Of course, there was always the problem that other people did not share the dream, that they would try and ruin all the good things that I had prepared.”

He turns his back to the camera and raises one hand casually pointing at the remains of Salvation Tower.

“I named it Salvation because that was what it was to be, I put all my skill and knowledge into it, and I believed that it would be all those things to those who lived there.”

He turns back, and for a heartbeat, I thought I saw a faint glistening at the corner of his eye.

“But there were those who wanted to ruin it all.”

His voice deepens, covering the slight catch in his speech.

“All the secrets that I kept secure, my enemies hunted them down and gave them to others who were my enemies, and before I could stop it, all those who would do me wrong had the means to do so.”

He pauses again, and a sense of grandeur emanates from him like a beacon, faintly in the background is the sound of a chorus, like angels looking down on us. I look around for the source of it, and though I can’t see it, I know that I’m not imagining things. He spreads his arms wide, under his left arm is the ruin of Salvation Tower, under his right is the gleaming Morituri Stadium.

“What was undone,” he intones, closing his left fist, “can be remade.” His right hand flourishes, taking in all the glory of UpTown.

“And though my enemies still stand against me, I have those who are loyal to me, I have those who will stand at my side, and I know that those who stand against me cannot say the same.”

He lowers his hands to his side, lowering his head as he does so, standing like that for a moment, and for a moment, the weight of time can be felt in the room, theirs is nothing like eternity, this man knows, he’s been there.

He looks up from beneath his eyebrows, the force of will makes me step back with its intensity.

“And so I say to you, my people, do not give up hope in the future, never doubt what my plans are, for there are plans, and plans within plans, and even if none of you ever understand where it’s going, be assured, that it is going somewhere.”

He turns his back to the camera and spreads his arms again, his hands outstretched like claws .

“I made this world from the ashes of a thousand worlds, I gave people all they needed, all the things that you see every day, I built those, and never once have I asked for anything in return.”

He lowers his arms, pointing out at Salvation Tower “Until now…”

“This was the past, and I understand now, that history will repeat itself if I do not ask for help.”

He switches hands, pointing over at Central.

“This is the future, but it will only be so if you all help me, I will build a new tower, a new world, where all creatures may shelter under my protection, and no one will want for anything.”

He turns back and smiles again.

“And all I ask in return is that all of you place one block in my new world.”

He dips his head, almost bowing to the camera, and I know that the interview is terminated.

On the way down, I reflect on what he said, he mentioned the people helping, and thinking about that, I think I understand, he’s just one man, no matter how powerful, no matter how strong, he’s just one man. He built all of this by himself, he kept it alive, he defended it against all comers, and now he asks for just one block from each of us.

How can we refuse?