As an outspoken senator's radical ideologies start to gain influence, someone decides that equally radical actions must be taken to prevent these ideas from spreading like a disease. Unfortunately, controversy and scandal are often the easiest ways to place an idea in the public eye.
James sank to the couch of his eighth-floor apartment. A flick of a button and the TV leapt into life, as if it had been waiting eagerly to tell him the day’s news.
At that moment, the news was a political rally a little under a mile from the city.
On the television screen, thousands of faceless, mindless drones of people cheered and screamed and waved banners at the rectangular podium in front of them, laden with red and blue – dutifully patriotic. An ironic statement, James thought, given what the podium’s owner was preaching.
Atop the podium, Senator Samuel Taylor strode back and forth, fist raised, notes sitting, forgotten, on the lectern in front of him. His speech was unbridled passion. Completely spontaneous, but still everything the crowd wanted to hear.
Because all they wanted to hear was Change.
The current president was well-liked, but no matter how popular the leader, there were always people that wanted Change. Thought it was needed, regardless of how things were, or would be if they were just left alone. Taylor represented these people. Represented the people that would follow any leader as long as he wasn’t the leader they already had.
James allowed himself a wry smile as the camera panned around and his apartment building came into view in the background. He moved to the window and looked out, careful not to upset the delicate equipment resting on the windowsill. Leaning down, his hands shaking slightly, James focused on the cluster of people gathered around the podium some nine hundred metres away. Taylor’s figure stood out plainly against the red and blue of the podium.
Arms held high, feet wide apart, Taylor bellowed the end of his half-improvised speech into the crowd of blind followers. He towered over them and rejoiced in the silent moment – the millisecond before their cheers erupted anew – when their awestruck faces stared up at him, blankly, not knowing how to respond to his accusations and promises.
In that brief instant, Taylor knew they were his to be shaped and sculpted. Knew that they would carry him as far as he needed to go. Knew that they would be the ones to speak out when his manipulation became apparent.
But what did that matter? He didn’t need to be a popular ruler; he just needed to be a ruler.
Everything would change when he reached power. But that was exactly what they wanted, wasn’t it? Change.
As his advisors moved in, crowding around him to protect him from the adoring masses swarming below them, the tiniest flash of light exploded at the top of a building far behind them. The senator did not hear the sound that accompanied it, or feel the impact. He merely watched in mild confusion and horror as his followers so far below seemed to suddenly soar upwards to crash against him.
On the screen of James’ television, Samuel Taylor was thrown forward, a trail of blood following his flight through the air. The cheering finished abruptly and chaos broke out among the people.
But why would he watch the TV if he could see it live from his window?