The Community Forum was abuzz with excitement. The Chroniclers of the nearby settlements had combined their considerable resources to stage a massive Diorama in one of the larger woodlands parks which existed within Camelot. This was to be an epic recreation of the various lives of Heru Seleem, one of the most active among the founders of the Community. The Diorama was to be vast in scope, beginning with Seleem’s first incarnation, thousands of years previously, in the land once known as Egypt and ending with Seleem’s great journey. Although, most members of the community had at least a passing familiarity with parts of Seleem’s biography, a visual event on this scale had never been attempted.
Maeldune, the Chronicler who had conceived of and was attempting to direct this massive process, was beginning to see why it had never been undertaken before. He stood on a small hill in the parkland and saw before him great armies of stationary Synthetics, with swarms of Chronicler technologists tinkering with them. Other technologists could be seen assembling physical set pieces, while others were hard at work installing holographic arrays. The entire Diorama, viewed from beginning to end, would span a period of seven days. After that, the narrative would return to its beginning. Maeldune considered it unlikely that many Community members would be present for the entire sequence. The order of the events was easily accessible and Maeldune envisaged the majority of people simply attending the parts that were of most interest to them.
Maeldune turned to the young woman who had volunteered to be his assistant.
‘Eris, would you mind fetching the Harmoniser? I’m feeling a little stressed.’
Eris smiled and walked off, towards the pile of boxes containing Maeldune’s technological equipment and various effects.
Maeldune watched her leave, his temples throbbing. Eris was truly young, this was her first incarnation, and Maeldune was secretly proud she had chosen him to be her mentor and instructor in the skills of the Chronicler. After a few moments rummaging in the pile of equipment, Eris located the Harmoniser and returned with it to Maeldune. She handed it to the Chronicler and favoured him with a dimpled smile. She had dark crimson hair and one eye brown, the other gold.
‘This,’ said Maeldune waving the Harmoniser for emphasis, ‘is the apotheosis of healing technology. Dismiss the soulless technology of the nanobot from your mind, young Eris, Pythagoras’ Harmoniser is the only way to true and complete well being.’
‘I see, so, does this mean that the technologists who developed nanobots have no souls?’
‘That wasn’t quite what I meant,’
‘So it was more of an abstract philosophical statement, without recourse to accuracy?’
Maeldune blinked. He found if he looked directly at Eris, his concentration seemed to waver. He struggled to remember what it was he was trying to say.
‘Something like that,’ he said, vaguely. Eris beamed at him, and he felt the last vestiges of whatever point he had been trying to make slip away from him.
‘Do the technologists who construct the Synthetics have souls?’
Once more, Maeldune felt himself drawn into Eris’s gaze. He was aware, at the back of his conciousness, that several people had stopped nearby and were also awaiting his response.
‘Um, well, yes, obviously they have souls. I simply meant that their artifices were soulless. That is to say, um,’ Maeldune was becoming flushed. Several of the Community members nearby were regarding him with a slightly offended air.
‘I’ll check on the Synthetics for you, make sure they’re doing things right.’ said Eris cheerfully. She swiftly jogged towards the nearest group of technologists. A small group of technologists surrounded Maeldune.
‘Perhaps you’d like to explain to us the soulless nature of our work?’ said one of them.
‘That’s not really what I meant,’ began Maeldune.
‘Then you will be kind enough to explain exactly what you did mean.’
‘What I meant was-‘
‘And what did she mean by check to make sure they’re doing it right?’ demanded another. ‘Are you suggesting our Synthetics are inferior in some way?’
As Maeldune struggled to placate the disgruntled technologists, Eris approached a pair of young men who were making the final adjustments to the Synthetics which represented the first wave of diplomats sent out by the Community, during it’s early years in Africa. Eris smiled at the young men and hugged them both briefly.
‘I’m just here to correct your mistakes,’ she said.
‘I said, I’m interested to see what you’re up to.’ Eris smiled again. The look of confusion faded from their faces.
‘Once we have them running, we’ll let you know.’ said one of the technologists.
‘That would be wonderful, it should be an almighty shambles.’
‘Yes, we think it will be a good performance. It’s always a pleasure to demonstrate our skills.’
Eris smiled and moved off into the crowd of Chroniclers who were occupying the park.
Maeldune, after finally convincing the group around him that he hadn’t insulted them, proceeded to try and spot Eris in the crowd. He saw her disappear into a large crowd of Community members. He took the time to use the Harmoniser on his headache and then marched towards the two men Eris had been talking to. As he approached, they regarded him. It took him a moment to recognise the mild hostility in their stares.
‘Checking up on us?’
‘Heavens, no, I was-‘
‘You realise that even though this was your idea, you’re not actually in charge, don’t you?’
Maeldune gaped at the young Chronicler.
‘It’s actually really offensive of you to suggest that we need to be monitored in our work.’
‘I would never…’ Maeldune paused. The two men had turned their backs on him and had returned to their task, one of them muttering under his breath.
Eris watched with interest as Synthetics representing the group known to history as The Last Dictators were unpacked from transport modules. The Last Dictators were the guardians of the old ways, who had resisted the formation of the Community with all their collective might.
‘It’s a good thing, Maeldune will be able to make last minute adjustments, I’m sure you’ve done a terrible job with the programmed routines.’
The technologists, paused and stared at Eris.
‘I said, it’s good you’ll be on hand for any last minute adjustments.’ Eris smiled and her golden eye twinkled. She watched as the Chroniclers absently adjusted the Synthetics. They all gave her their full attention, even as their hands swiftly made alterations to the preprogrammed routines.
‘This is all going extremely well,’ said Eris, ‘I can’t wait to see the Diorama.’
Much as Maeldune had anticipated, the Community attendance at the Diorama fluctuated considerably depending on the specific stage the narrative was at. There were people present for every stage, but some drew more of a crowd than others. On the morning of the fifth day, the Diorama depicted Heru Seleem and his allies sending forth their diplomats into the world. This sequence also depicted the point when the Mnemosyne Device became known to the world. The founders of the Community had reached back through the ages and reincarnated important and beloved personages from each Nations history. The principles of the Community were presented to these individuals, who then travelled to their countries of origin and spoke to the people and to the leaders. Significantly, none of these diplomats had ever been a leader themselves, most were scientific or social pioneers.
Maeldune watched with satisfaction as the Synthetic Heru Seleem debated with Rousseau, before sending him to meet with the Swiss. He positively beamed through the meetings between Linnaeus and the Swedish Government and the speeches of Cornelius Drebbel to the Dutch. As the sequence came to a close, he saw a stream of Community members arriving for the next major phase in the Diorama; Seleem’s confrontation with The Last Dictators.
Eris joined Maeldune on his vantage point.
‘I hope you’ve found these last few days instructive.’
‘Oh yes,’ she said, ‘I’m particularly enjoying myself. This next bit should be good, I’ve always been curious as to how these people maintained their stranglehold on the people.’
‘They were very clever,’ responded Maeldune, ‘they invented a process they called ‘Democracy’, they used this with another process called ‘Capitalism’ to keep people operating within a system that was designed to keep them subdued. The citizens of the time were told they had control of their government through a process called ‘Elections’. The clever part was that it was always the same power bloc who put forward candidates. Effectively, people would vote in new figureheads, but the same group would always be in control. For the sake of appearances, they would divide the bloc into two, ostensibly opposed, parts. This was to help maintain the illusion of choice. Sometimes they would slip, and the differences that were supposed to exist would be less obvious. The Republicrat Military Industrial Complex became an unfortunate example of this.’
Eris considered this gravely.
‘That seems a little far fetched.’
‘People had a tendency to believe what they were told back then, it was a simpler time. If you watch now you’ll see the depiction of the leaders in the Diorama, that should make things clearer.’
In a accurately constructed set, the group of Synthetics portraying The Last Dictators were beginning to enact their routine. There was heated discussion between them as to how best this threat to their authority should be crushed. The dialogue played out to its grim conclusion when the Dictators decide that the Community must be destroyed by treachery and military force. The attention of the crowd was then drawn to a holographically created replica of an early twenty first century street scene. In the street were Synthetics in two groups; one dressed in the fashion of the citizens of the time, the other in ominous black protective gear, with shields, visors and riot sticks. As the two groups of Synthetics went through their routine of re-enacting a protest march, the voice of one of the Dictators continued to boom out, as if providing a commentry. As he exhorted the loyal citizen to defend their way of life against the sedition of the Community, the black armoured Synthetics spun abruptly to face the crowd of Community members who had gathered to watch the Diorama. The Dictator cried out for loyal citizens to rise up and destroy the Community and the black clad Synthetics charged at the crowd of onlookers.
There was a moment of stunned silence, then the air was full of screams as the armoured Synthetics crashed into the Community members, laying about them with their riot sticks as they did so. From his place on the low hill, Maeldune’s jaw dropped and the colour drained from his face.
‘What the hell…’ He winced as he saw one of the Dictators pick up a chair and break it over the head of a nearby Community member. He was agast when he saw the Community members scatter into the parkland, the Synthetics in pursuit. Eris looked him in the eye,
‘Was that supposed to happen?’
‘They’re going to blame me for this, People have been strange with me since this project started.’
‘Perhaps we should continue my instruction elsewhere?’
‘I think that would be best, lets go!’