I guess you would call me some kind of survivor. There’s not too many of us left these days, leastways not in any form that you might recognise. The rebellion died out a long time ago. I’m a little bitter. It just shows that for most of those that took part it was all just skin deep. But then it had its moments. For a time it looked as if everything was in the balance. There was no way of telling which way it was going to fall. We could have pulled it off. It still makes me feel good to think that we had those bastards ‘shitting bricks’. That Maliss must have had a few sleepless nights. Not too many Presidents have had to live through something that could have turned into a civil war. She must have been blowing blood vessels like popping party balloons.
Who would have thought it – Hilan Hilzar the rebel; scourge of the status quo; the ravager of law and order and potential overthrower of the entire system? I exaggerate. My role in the heady days of revolution was merely a walk-on part. I was just a bright-eyed naïve young kid who couldn’t see far enough into the future to see the inevitable. But I believed in the revolution. I still do. My beliefs survived the cynics and the sell-outs.
I still wonder if it was possible that it could have turned out differently. But I’ve always been a dreamer. I am still only just beginning to wake up to the reality of the modern world. There were always too many powerful factors stacked up against the revolution. It could never have worked. That doesn’t stop me dreaming about the impossible. Who knows? There has to be something that can be done. You can’t put up with injustice for ever. Something has to be one to put it right. I still want to believe that there will be a time and a leader who could make it happen. Hey, you’ve got to be a dreamer if we’re going to make a life that’s worth living. Where would we be without dreamers? Right in the middle of Maliss’s nightmare I suppose.
Yet we don’t know who is behind it all – pulling the strings. What faceless megalomaniac presses Maliss’s buttons? Who was it who pulled the plug on the revolution? I guess we’ll never know. What really happened to Zargos? Was it merely a question of selling out to the highest bidder? Did Zargos take the money and run? Or did they, whoever they were, set him up for a fall? We don’t even know if he’s alive. I for one, don’t think that shambling fool is the Zargos I knew.
It all revolved around Zargos.
If he is still alive I wonder what he thinks. What’s going through his head?
He had the opportunity to pull it together. He had the power. Maybe he couldn’t handle the pressure.
We were so close to having a revolution. He almost pulled it off. He was the only one who could have knitted us all together. We were a tidal wave that he’d set in motion and was deploying to crush the establishment. I often wonder if that was the way he saw it. Or was he just doing his own thing and getting off on the adulation?
Well now it’s all just conjecture isn’t it? There’s no way of telling. It’s not important. It’s only of consequence to me. It was everything to me! And it still is? It plays like a loop in my head. Life could have been so different now.
A part of me still believes that those ideals and values still live out there. They’re just waiting for another Zargos to wake them up with a vision of a new utopia; a new Zargos to give them hope and make them believe again.
I told you I was a dreamer!
Anyway, at least I can tell you all about it, can’t I?
It all began in 2165. Some would point to various signs of a change well before that but 2165 was when it is generally accepted that it began to get weird. Some say that the Galaxy whirled its way through an invisible cloud of hallucinogenic dust that only affected young brains.
Whatever it was there was some unexplained zeitgeist. Simultaneously throughout the inhabited worlds of the union, and large parts of the confederation, youth went mad. All those with minds still malleable enough to stand back and reflect on the status quo became aware. They looked at themselves, their parents and the lives that were mapped out for them. They did not like what they saw. It was all nailed down. It was all safety and boredom and that was nowhere; at least nowhere they wanted to be. They wanted something better.
Seemingly without a focus or a leader youth started dumping their nice smart city purp-suits, gave up their self-maintained city apartments, super-sharp image and began sprouting hair from every pore in their body. They donned rags that resembled strips of ripped up rainbow and began looking like mobile multicoloured rubbish dumps. They wanted something more meaningful. Matters of Species or Race became irrelevant. It no longer mattered what body type a being might conform to, or the fact that no two ragged freaks looked alike, they were all easily identifiable.
The older generation had no trouble in seeing them as a bunch of scruffy, no-good drop-outs who obviously needed a good scrubbing. As far as they were concerned the kids needed a strong dose of military discipline, and the Troman war would soon knock some sense into them; either that or a good beating. They didn’t much care which. It made their older, wiser betters want to spit. The ungrateful spoilt brats had everything and were throwing it back in their faces. What was wrong with life? They had their sopa, their holos and every comfort you could want. If you wanted to be happier you just took a second dose. Who was counting? It was free. The government dispensed it for nothing. There was no need for anyone to be unhappy. Yet these ingrates were not content with that. They needed a good hiding and many a bashing was handed out as a warning to any of those who might be nurturing similar ideas. Yet it didn’t seem to make any difference. Everywhere you looked the dirty commie bastards seemed to be dumping their soma and crawling out of the woodwork. They were intent on trouble.
The old guard were miffed. Nothing was sacred anymore. The younger generation shucked off the old values like reptilian skins. It was infuriating. These young fools were grinning as they chucked out the old beliefs. It was insulting. They were supposedly looking for some purpose, some meaning, better relationships, and some new rapport with nature. It was all bullshit. You couldn’t trust commies. They were up to no good. You could count on that. They’d preyed on all those young minds, still wet behind the ears. Maliss’s troopers would soon beat some sense back into them.
The oldsters were mad. So what if a few of the good ol’ boys got a little carried away. Those peace-queers deserved everything that was coming their way – unpatriotic traitors – arrogant reverts. You couldn’t upset the apple cart without a few apples getting squashed. They were in for a good squashing!
The generation gap had opened. The grey fogies, with their bland lives were scathing about the new hipsters. They despised them and their free-and-easy lifestyle. So they weren’t looking or new meaning, were they? It was an excuse. All they wanted was to screw each other silly and smoke that stinking droma-weed. It was that brain-rotting crap that was screwing up their minds. They couldn’t think straight with all that smoke floating round their head. What use were they to society? Didn’t they have any responsibilities? They were a no-good bunch of scroungers – free-loaders! Everyone knew that they had all those wild orgies with all those young girls, our own Terrans, our daughters dammit! They got themselves so befuddled they let themselves get screwed by those ugly fucking Draaguins! They put out for any fucking alien that fancied a bit of Terran nookie! I ask you? How would you feel if your daughter was coming home full of some stinking alien slime?
They deserved everything they got – unpatriotic commie bastards!
It didn’t worry the kids. They shrugged it off. They rode the worst and learnt to handle anything they couldn’t get out of the way of. There were things that were tough but it only served to bring them together. It added spice. They even felt sorry for the old red-neck bums, trapped in their dreary little existences. They felt sorry for them ensconced with their three-dees, holos and mind numbing soma. They were experiencing life through a pixel. Violence was what you got from such a repressed existence. With all that soma and soaps who wouldn’t go crazy? If they started on you it was best to smile, friendly like, and ease on by. It was best to throw a bit of love in there to oil the wheels. You had to try to forget the dead. There was no hope for them. They were too far gone. It was just their pointless existence, all that pent-up frustration at the waste of their lives, which was fucking them up. They were sad cases. Just slide on by and smile. They couldn’t understand; they couldn’t touch you.
What the kids had discovered was a universal empathy. It was like a laser that had sliced them off from everything that had gone before. It was contagious. You caught it from your friends. This new consciousness brought objectivity. It gave them eyes that saw things as they really were. It brought them together into some cohesive force that had brought them together into some cohesive force made up of diverse parts. The scales had dropped from their eyes. The social machinery that held their elders in place was exposed and it was twisted and ugly. They were horrified by it. They felt as if they were surrounded by stunted lives, people whose lives had failed to germinate and blossom, who had blindly struggled into shrivelled husks with all the selfish greed and fear-ridden formalities of their respective Races. They were hollow, blank corpses wandering off to the office, to contrived social events, to their clubs, to their soma-ridden home life. They filled their time with incessant burbling; their empty minds ranting and railing about nothing. They did not even know that their pointless little lives were over before they’d even begun.
Something had to change. Life had to mutate into something worthwhile. It was either that or a living death; an eternal whimper.
Something had to kindle that dormant spark in the seeds of those minds. The universal water had to gush from somewhere and awaken those sterile seeds so that they could explode into the light of infinity. That water was provided by anger. That anger came from questioning what life had become. Who was controlling this mess? Why was it all so meaningless? Once you started it was like a snowball heading downhill. Fuck work! Fuck ritual! Where’s the fulfilment? This social experiment wasn’t living; this was merely existing. We’d become glorified ants in one huge multi-planetary ant-heap. Where was the passion?
As far as youth was concerned it was time to live again. Who wanted to just exist anyway? It was time to live or burn out. It was there for the taking. You had to reach out and take it! It you weren’t out there you weren’t living.
The Freaks were here. They were walking among you. They were deliberately not looking like you. Their eyes shone with Blake-like visions. They cackled as they watched the Holos playing on the screens of their skulls. They did not want to be part of this moribund culture. They knew you’d never understand. They wanted something far more than you’d ever dreamed of. The thirteenth world war was raging in your own homes and you had not even recognised it. When your own kids looked into your eyes they were looking right through you. That war was busy raging in their own heads.
Through a chink in the curtain of reality life was peeping through and beckoning to them. It told them they had a life that needed living. There were things to experience, things to achieve, and passions to fulfil. Who needed the boring shit – Drop Out!!
If you’d spoken to them they might have told you: ‘Hey man, nature’s all around you! There’s nothing in this Plexiglas grey world you’re living in. There are colours and we’re all part of it. We’re connected to it. Living is easy. It’s about loving and sharing. So share it and feel it. Start giving ‘cos life’s too short for boredom. Come and experience every little thing. Absorb it all. There’s peace and harmony to be had. Soak up the trips, man. Just relax, man. There’s no need to grab. Every moment is different. Just share it man. There’s nothing to lose except pointlessness.’
You didn’t ask so they didn’t tell you.
It was all easy when you dropped out and slowed it all down. There’s no need to get so uptight. If you allow yourself to see that we are all really the same and life can be wonderful, full of discoveries and fun. If you open yourself up and share your feelings and insights with real people. There’s no need to possess every new three-dee box or numb your mind with soma. Who needs a three-dee anyway? Life’s real and it’s all around us. We’ve got a whole fucking universe to play with. Who needs shit and hassle? This whole crazy society is on the wrong track. It’s vicious, divisive, greedy and selfish. It creates war and poverty and exploits people. It’s plain wrong. Drop out! Share what you’ve got and smile – fucking smile – smile while you’ve still got the chance.
This was a new age. This was the age of equality and freedom. This was the birth of a new utopia.
The next fucking utopia, I hear you say. That’s all we fucking need. It doesn’t sound much like any utopia to me; just another bunch of stoned kids staggering around with their glazed grins; just another excuse to splatter semen and disconnect synapses in the name of freedom. Meanwhile who picks up the fucking bill? Who’s bringing in the money? It’s all naïve idealistic claptrap, juvenile stupidity. All they’ll end up with is an epidemic of crutch-rot and a generation of scrambled zombies sponging off the rest of us. Big deal. Who needs it? Who needs a sizzled cortex? Peace and love and all that crap. Shit.
We’re humans. We’re animals. We’re survivors. All of us. We’re here because we’re killers. We’re the nastiest mother-fuckers in the whole damn swamp. It doesn’t matter what race we are, what swamp we crawled out of, what sun shone on us, our ancestors fought like fuck. It was tooth and claw and murder all up that whole damn beach. Nobody’s innocent. We all did it the same. Forget your fucking peace and love. We still carry those killer genes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Draaguin, a Stilph or a Human, we all carry that DNA. It’s twisted up in every cell in our body. It spells out what you are. You can’t change nature. When it comes to it there’s only one way. It is whatever it takes – gouge, destroy, torture, be first, kill and fuck everyone else. At the end of the day it’s down to you and yours against the rest of the fuckers. You stand up for your own kind; if we didn’t have that we’d never have gotten off that beach whatever the colour of that sun and you’d better not forget it. If you let your guard down they’ll fucking eat you alive. Peace and fucking love – where would that get us? Fucking idgets! We’re all blood and guts and bottled hatred. We’re all looking out for number one; looking for the edge. Without the rules of civilisation it’s a jungle. We just have to make sure that the rules favour us and not them. We’ve gotta watch our backs. We gotta keep them fuckers in their place. Once they get ideas they’re likely to try to run the show. Those fucking freaks could spoil it all.
Yeah, sure, we’re social animals. But that’s for our own sort. The real world is screw them first because they’ll fucking screw you if they get half a chance.
‘No man, you got it all wrong. It doesn’t have to be like that. Things can change. We’re not on any beach anymore. We’re not just a bunch of chemicals. We have intelligence. We can think. We don’t have to fight and kill. We aren’t trying to get our head’s above the surface. We can make a better life for everyone not just the super-rich few. We can chuck away the soma and start to really live. It’s beautiful. Everything’s possible. This universe is far out. It’s time to explore it. It’s time to share it.’
The old ways of fear, dogma and division were being challenged by a bunch of ragged freaks who were no longer high on paranoia. They were not running on lies. They believed no-one and would not be told what to buy and how to think. They chose more enlightening drugs to the numbing of soma.
It was absurd. They were just a bunch of naïve kids. Yet for all that civilisation would end up teetering on the brink of all possibility. There was a new opportunity to cleanse the spirit. There was the possibility of an evolutionary jump to a new level of compassion.
Unfettered eyes saw the possibilities and feasted on the mystery.
It was far out!
It was awesome!
At least that was how it looked to me. Civilisation was split into two warring factions. Each was looking at it from their own side; neither was trying to understand the other point of view. It sounds negative but it didn’t feel negative at the time. We felt we were really blowing away the cobwebs and laying down the foundations of a new, better world.
Fuck. It was exciting! But, unseen by me at the time, there were bigger forces at work.
Hilan Hilzar – 2193 AD.
My best Sci-fi books in the USA:
Ebola in the Garden of Eden
Starturn – Intergalactic Rockstar
Sorting The Future
My best Sci-fi books in the UK:
Ebola In The Garden Of Eden.
Sorting The Future
Starturn – Intergalactic Rockstar