Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Friday, October 31, 2014

Lucius Martialis

This is the first entry for National Novel writing month 2014. The Roman empire never fell, and it is the year 1999 A.D.

Lucius never wanted to be an amber man, but with a name like Lucius, he felt compelled to walk the talk. Now, in his third year as a jouneyman amber worker, he was strongly considering joining the legion and leaving behind the wires, fuses, plugs, and all of their trappings behind. It wasn't so much the work, but rather what the work was leading up to: Lucius Martialis was never one to celebrate a new year. Unfortunately, this year seemed to make such a notion impossible.

At any rate, his home city Districtum was piggybacking the end of the second Christian millennium with the kick-off of a two-year celebration of the founding of the city by the Gauls in 1701. This meant lots of amber work. Lots and lots of amber work. This was a blessing and a curse for Lucius.

Work was its own reward, and his salary certainly did not suffer, either. Still, Lucius was helping to waste a great deal of Cyprus metal to light up a great deal of unnecessary lights to facilitate an unnecessary celebration of a city whose biggest accomplishment was bringing rock oil chariots to the common man. The haze that made the sun rise that much more beautiful punctuated that fact.

All in all, Lucius did not have a lot of joy in his life. He is good at his job that he never wanted to do. He is paid well doing something for his job that he found pointless. His home seemed to revel in the fact that it was helping to ruin the environment. His attitude towards other people suffered for it.

Of course, all of Lucius' troubles were "primary world problems", as the song on the radio called them. Unfortunately for Lucius, he listened to Empire Public Radio and left the top fifty to be listened to his neighbors. The striking chords of All Things Conquered awoke Lucius to the first day of Nine. Hrodbehrt Siegel started the day off with news of a plane crash. All 217 people were presumed dead.

This news seemed to start the day off just the way Lucius wanted it to. For a man with no real worries, hearing terrible news seemed to distract him from the misery that was his good fortune. Lucius had a hard time making friends.

Of course, that fact was confounded with the gentle feminine moan that arose next to Lucius. Indeed, he was quite startled by it. With a great deal of self control, he managed to spurt out "Good morning." Lucius, in spite of his throbbing head, decided that "what the hell are you doing here?!" was probably not the best way to greet the young woman to the new day.

For her part, she seemed to appreciate the effort. "God Morning, Lucius. Tell me, do you have any Arab's water in the house?" This was a problem. Lucius was never one for the bitter, dark drink. In fact, he did not even own an Arab's water maker.

Still, while Lucius may not have been the most friendly person on the surface, he knew how to be a good host. "I will be right back. The Water Tower at the end of the block has plenty." The Water Tower had just celebrated its 28th year since its founding in 1971 in Seattlium. It seemed to be opening new stores in the same way that kudzu spread.

Lucius got out of bed, threw on his cloak, and walked out the door.

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