I initially wrote this as the prologue for a novel I've been working on intermittently. It works basically along the premise of, what if a James Bond-like spy had lost his mission and the megalomaniacal madman had succeeded in dominating the world. It alternates between flashbacks to that failure and its immediate aftermath and the present day, years later, as the spy attempts to start up a rebellion to overthrow the madman's regime.
PROLOGUE - THEN
Richter made a slight sniffing noise.
“You reek of failure,” he said, his voice barely more than a grunt.
Small fires crackled around the room, a two level cylinder with rings of computer banks around the walls. Control consoles belched out smoke, blackening the walls. The plastic frames of the monitors above them curled. There was an office off to the side, now smashed, the desk within overturned and burning. The walls were riddled with bullet holes from the gun battle that had just ended. Richter stood in the center of it, this ruined cathedral of technology. His body broad and tall, exuding the energy of victory. Richter, who had just murdered billions of people and brought civilization to its final gasp, took in a long breath but didn’t smell the reeking, acrid smoke.
Behind him, Reid Erekson stood, barely. On a normal day, Erekson looked typically heroic. Dark hair, intense eyes, chiseled jaw. On this day, his hair was matted to his head with sweat and grime. A thick line of red cut across his forehead and down his left cheek. His square jaw was bruised, slack with fatigue. Two of Richter’s thugs held him up, his bruised and broken body supported between them. His left leg was broken, a shard of bone sticking through the skin of his thigh. It sent burning tendrils shrieking up through his body with even the most minute movements. He stared at Richter, hatred hotter than his own pain.
Richter was a fine form. He stood out from the destruction around him. Somehow, his clothes didn’t look rumpled or ruined; his crisp, pressed suit seeming impossibly immaculate. Even the strict part of his slightly-graying hair was unmolested. The man was impeccable, in both form and attitude.
Erekson wanted to tear him in half for it.
“Nietsche said that man is something to be overcome,” Richter announced, pacing slowly. A show of ego for Erekson. “Today, I have done so. I overcame all the prejudices, all the silly wars and squabbling, economic nonsense.” He turned back to Erekson. “I overcame you.”
Erekson spat blood on the floor at Richter’s feet.
Richter let out a small chuckle in response. He got close to Erekson, his hands cupped before him. “The world is mine, now. Clay to reshape as I see fit!”
He spread his arms wide in the air. On the surviving monitors, red pools spread across an animated map of the globe as the satellites fired their deadly payloads. Richter’s computers had carefully calculated load sizes, wind currents, trajectories, to spread destruction across the greatest area. There was no escape, not even the wide, empty plains of Africa. The United States, for so long such a powerful, envied nation, fell first and quickly. Across the oceans, the other powers, China, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, all began to glow red on the screens. Erekson knew that in each of those places, human beings cried out in fear and pain, huddled together in their final, sad moments.
Just before the pain finally caused his exhausted mind to shut down, he thought of Lauren, of the last time he saw her. He thought of her standing at the door, watching his car back down the driveway. She had that look on her face, the one that silently asked, “Is this the time you won’t come back?” She had that look on her face every time. Erekson’s heart screamed at the irony, clawing at his own collapsing consciousness. She grew smaller in his mind, and everything disappeared.
Richter watched Erekson lose consciousness, and chuckled again. “Get him to the infirmary.”
His men hesitated, looking at each other in confusion, then at Richter. Why not kill him?
“Get him to the infirmary,” Richter repeated, slower and more forceful.
The two men merely shrugged, and hauled Erekson out of the room. Richter turned back to the map, now nearly covered in red, and thought about his new world.
Around him, his staff sprang back into action, putting out the last of the fires. Others began to reboot the failing computers. The sense of victory in the room was palpable to all, but Richter had gathered his people carefully - they got down to work immediately, eagerly. These were no mere thugs and workers, they were followers. They believed in what they were doing. They knew, like Richter, that in order to make the world a better place it had to be cleansed.
Richter watched one of his followers work on something under the console. The man sat up straight and reached over and hit a button marked ‘reset.’
And he had to smile at that.