13. The Political Games

13. The Political Games

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



Kim, smiling and clad in a minuscule sky-blue garment that fluttered enticingly round her thighs came up to our table during the wonderfully named ‘elevenses’ break and actually sat down with us. I was used to people in Paradise Hell smelling almost dull and dirty, but she exuded a fresh, wonderful addictive aroma.

Much of what has happened since your forefathers left for a world underground, away from the threatened war, must seem odd to you,” she said with a huge sigh, “but it would be sensible if you tried to remember some of the things Philip’s got to say next.”

Even this lovely hot drink is odd to us,” I told her, “all we had to drink was cold water!”

Well, there is a great deal more to come, and not just food and drink,” she smiled, “in your absence there was a huge international movement that had momentous consequences for the ordinary man and woman in every corner of the world. Wait until you see the video clips of some of the nightmares people of the past had to live through…”

What are video clips? So I put the question into audible words, and she smiled her ravishing smile at me.

I forget that you have spent your entire lives in what amounts to the stone age,” she murmured, “but you will see and, I hope, understand.”

Elevenses was over then. She stood up and returned to the man she said was her personal friend, and he took her affectionately by the hand, confirming that relationship. Then a huge white thing like a sheet under tension was slowly lowered until it dominated the front of the room where we were sitting. There was a rumble of conversation as we all wondered what on Earth it was.

This might at first seem a little strange to you, but I assure you there’s no magic involved,” Kim said. “Philip will explain as he goes along.”

That I will,” he acknowledged. “Just please accept that images from the past were captured at the time, there is no hocus pocus involved in replaying them. Just a light source and a projector.”

That almost lost me. What’s a projector? But he continued.

You have heard references to wars, so I intend to demonstrate the effects of war on ordinary people by showing, on this screen, images of real events in the past. Some, the early ones, were filmed in black and white, whilst more recent images are in colour. But all of them tell a true story that hasn’t been altered in any way.

His language was simple enough, but I (and, I assume, everyone else) was struggling to understand it. I mean, what is a screen?

Ah. It was the white object that was still suspended from the ceiliing. That must be called a screen.

Then the main lights were dimmed after a word from Philip and images started flickering on that screen.

There were, as he said, a few grey images devoid of colour, a bit like the colours of life in Paradise Hell.

When I came to terms with the images I could quite clearly make out what they were, and I didn’t like what I was looking at. Rows of men, dressed in dirty uniforms and with what looked like some kind of metallic hat on their heads, were struggling along a narrow trench that had been dug out of the earth itself. Other men were pointing implements at them, and small missiles struck them one after another, and as they were hit they fell flat into what looked like mud. Then the movement stopped and the image became a single face, contorted in agony until I could tell that it died.

That,” said Philip, his voice sad and subdued, “was the reality of war a couple of hundred years ago. The men you see falling were, there on orders. They had no means of escape escape, they had been ordered to go to that bleak landscape and either kill or be killed. Millions were killed, and if afterwards you asked them why they would tell you, if they could, something bland like I was fighting for my king and country, or they were the enemy…

And if asked why they were the enemy very few would have any idea at all. They had been fed half-truths and even downright lies, and that is why they were there, dying like that poor man on the screen.”

It was horrifying. I had never known that anything so dreadful had ever happened.

There had been wars before then, but it wasn’t until the pictures you’ve just seen that moving images of the bloodshed could be made. Now let’s move forward almost half a century and some colour images.”

This time the picture was in colour and lines of soldiers were forcing their way between what I assumed was vegetation, though it was a great deal more luxurious than the fungal farms in Paradise Hell.

And then something roared into focus actually in the air high above them, streams of small objects moving at unbelievable speed washed over the men, and all but two or three fell to the ground when they were struck, and remained there, several twitching before they were still. They, too, were dead.

Vietnam,” murmured Philip, “a country far away from where the men originated. But they were killed like that, fodder for the greedy Masters of War to consign to death before they moved on to more bloodshed. Maybe some of your own ancestors were caught up in it, maybe some even lay in the mud and faded from history as they sunk out of sight and out of mind.”

There was an angry murmur from us troglodytes. Even I turned o Jimmy and expressed my own disgust.

Then a third series of images lit up the screen. This time there was an awe-inspiring explosion high in the sky over rows of buildings, and when the light and fire had faded the buildings were little more than piles of smoking rubble.

Hiroshima,” said Philip in sombre tones, “the total destruction of a city with one bomb and the shape of wars to come, we were told. That was a nuclear explosion in which the very forces that have shone in stars since time immemorial were weaponised and used as weapons.

Every sane man and woman knew this race to total destruction had to end and we also knew that responsibility for most wars lay in the hands of very few people, mostly men. And it is those few, the powerful leaders who abused their power for personal gain no matter what the cost to others, had to be searched out and stopped dead in their tracks.

So the Political Games were established, and those same masters of war had no say whatsoever in what the games would be, just that they were obliged to make a choice: make a choice, or die.”

© Peter Rogerson 26.02.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on February 26, 2021
Last Updated on February 26, 2021
Tags: wars, death, destruction, politics


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..