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In the Name of Humanity
He is the most famous man in the world, yet no one knows his name. He stands as the quite literal ruler of the world. I remember he always despised being called that. He used to say, "A ruler takes his power from others. I am given my power by all mankind." He had a lot of sayings, and for every occasion came it's own anecdote. People never wondered what he thought or why he did what he did.
Never before in the history of the world was one man in control of the entire planet. In fact never before had their been a leader who lead even a tenth as much and was so beloved by all. There is no denying that under him Earth prospered. The poor were cared for and the hungry were fed. There was no questioning of his leadership because no one could conceive a better leader than him.
It's funny really, people have to say "him," since no one knows his name. You see, he is not a very public figure. He is a mysterious man and appears only rarely, his speeches surpass the eloquence of all before him, yet they never show his face. He addressed the world from a dark room with heavy shadows. You would think people might grow to resent a faceless leader, but not him. He answered this question once saying.
"I am really quite a simple man, so simple that to the whole world I am faceless, nameless. Just as everyone in the world is to most everyone else in the world. We are all faceless, nameless, to everyone but the very small percentage of humanity that we meet in our short lives. So why should I be any different than the rest of you? I have been given a job, not a godship, I am a human being, just as all of you are. As long as I remain anonymous, I may walk among you, live among you. In every street and in every house. I could be any one of you, so look to your neighbors with kindness, lift up the low with your hands of plenty. Give what you receive. And we can all make this world great, so that we might all be nameless heroes."
A great man don't you think? He was the most wise, humble, heroic, intelligent, and truly great man this world has ever seen. I never knew him to do anything evil, anything cruel. He acted with justice, prudence, and tact. Everyone was equal in his eyes and when people disagreed with him, he went to great lengths to explain his reasons until they too saw the light. He owed allegiance to only two. First were the people with who's support he continued his Pax Terra. The second and greatest was the God in which he firmly believe gave him the mandate and the grace to lead as he did.
I tell you all of this so that you might understand, as I understand, that he is the second greatest thing that touched this world. But, even with all that, he was still a man. He made no claim to god hood even when cults rose up to worship him. Once, when a following of thousands began to call him the "new messiah" he addressed them thus,
"God does not work in deceptions, he does not lie or tell untruths by saying he is man when he is not. Therefore, I can not be God, since I say I am man. Yet, I could not be here as I am without God, neither could you. So give your prayers to one who can answer them. For I am a tool not the architect."
So yes he was a man, yet man is most easily defined by his faults. The things in which he fails. For God alone is perfect on this mortal plane, and if he be not God, then he must make mistakes. In all the years I knew him, I could only ever find one mistake, me.
You see now is the time of the historian, with the death of that great man comes a questioning of his final act. To put me, a random, completely unknown orphan from a small town in Massachusetts, in charge of the whole world. I found myself in control of the entire planet at a little over thirty years old. With the station came exactly two things; one was a simple brass ring and the second was a holo tape.
I was holding them both then. I was flown to the citadel and a little over an hour later I was shown to a spacious, but some what uninspiring room. The walls were a simple brown and the furniture was of a quality that seemed almost scientifically average. Yet this was apparently the room of the great leader of the world. The only remarkable thing about it was the massive bay window that stretched from floor upwards to form a domed ceiling. From the chair in which I sat I could see down into a magnified portion of the bottom section of the window which offered a view of a rather dirty city block. Then as one looked further up the window the whole city could be seen in its entirety. If one leaned back, the horizon was quite clear as the eyes focused on the distant mountains. And if I crane my head way back and gaze straight up, a perfectly unobstructed view of the stars could be seen.
I took this all in with slow consideration before turning my attention back to the gifts. They were both quite standard and might be found anywhere in the world, but I knew that they had come directly from the hands of the greatest man that ever lived. I plugged in the holo tape with a kind of reserved panic, not knowing what to expect.
A man appeared in front of me. His face was strangely familiar. I wore a simple gray cloak and no shoes. His cloak was tied with a piece of blue cloth in the way common of farmers I grew up with. I wish I could describe his face to you, but I have never been good at such things and I think it's better if I don't anyway. I will say that he had a thin beard and short hair without any obvious style. His face was full of round edges that seemed to encourage conversation and his eyes had an inviting glint to them. He stood in front of me with a soft grin.
"Issac, ironic isn't it, although you don't know why. You have been given a great gift, and perhaps an even greater curse. Now you know the face of the faceless, and it is a mantle you must pick up as well. For you are no longer Issac, you are nameless, faceless. However, you must accept this responsibility. This is not something to be undertaken lightly and there are some things you must know before you make your decision."
The hologram turned away from me and looked out the huge window, his head was turned down as he gazed through the magnified portion of the window to the street block that below.
"You may think me perfect, many do. I have done many great things and I can say that I believe I have helped the world in a profound way. But there is one thing weighing on my conscience. One thing that I am not sure of..." He turned to face me now.
"You... I have defeated the greatest problems of our race. I have repaired the economy, healed racism, restored that which pollution ravaged, but there is one thing I could not over come. My own mortality.
"After many years of peace and prosperity I realized that it could not last. I knew of no one else who could lead as I lead, who knew what I knew. I tried to train several of my advisors, I took apprentices and searched the world for a worthy successor. All of this, was fruitless. I even sought out ways to extend my own life, to become immortal, if only to keep the world in the gold age I so carefully created." He turned to the window once again, examining the city with a slow calculating gaze.
"Nothing worked, so I tried something else. I did something, that perhaps I shouldn't have. I suppose that it is up to you to decide whether I did good or evil, and ultimately it will decide if you choose to become the next of the nameless or not.
"Thirty years ago I made a desperate decision. I hunted down a child who was close a genetic make up to myself as possible. There were five children brought to me. Only one was an orphan, and since I was an orphan I chose him, I chose you. I found you parents, I coached them both very carefully as to how you were to be raised and planted your siblings each very careful. I set you to live in my home town and set the whole place up like an elaborate theater. I made a puppet show around you, I lied to you..." His voice dropped a little and I thought I saw a tear sparkled on his holographic cheek. I could feel my heart lifting into my throat and my fists clenching as I slowly understood his meaning.
"I even intervened on several occasions. I was your third grade teacher and your history tutor. I was your first boss and the beggar who lived just outside your high school. I played a game with you and you never knew it. I manipulated every event in your life. Every death and every person you ever knew. I did it all so that you could end up, just like me. Issac, I want you to know that your parents are not dead. At least not the people who played them. Neither is your girlfriend Sarah, I know her suicide weighed heavily upon you. Yet, you must realize these deceptions were necessary. I pity you, I know your pain as no one else can." The hologram's eyes moved to the horizon now and his words came slowly.
"I know this hard for you, I know that you probably hate me for stealing your life as I did. Believe me, I know this life we share isn't a pleasant one, but it makes us who we are, and we are great. The world needs us, more than you might realize. I just want you to know that everything I did, I did in the name of humanity." He took off the brass ring from his finger and placed it on the table in front of me, on the opposite side of the table than the all to tangible ring in front of me. Then he craned his head back to examine the stars.
"I do not know if I made the right choice. I have always maintained that the ends do not justify the means, yet that's what I said when I planned you. But what was I to do? I perpetuated an evil on a child, I stole the life that may have had so that I could save the rest of the world. Maybe it was right and just, maybe it was wrong and evil. I suppose it is up to you to decide, after all you know all I know, you learned the lessons of life just as I did. So, you must make a choice now. To accept what has been done to you, to become nameless, or to resent what I have done and refuse what is truly a terrible curse. I would not blame you for refusing, but I do ask you to remember." With this he turned and looked me dead in the eyes. "Remember that we are no one, we are only servants, and every man, woman, and child under the sun our masters. So I ask you, please, remember that everything I did, I did in the name of humanity."
With those final words he disappeared and I was left alone once again, just that brass ring and me. I took it in my hands and gazed into it. It wasn't a lie, it was real, perhaps the first real thing I ever knew. I can't tell you how I felt then, I can't tell you what stirred within me. I think it was the color of the ring. It was the color of kings, but in reality it was the metal made for simple people. For farmers and miners, for the making of pipes and tools. It was not the inheritance of kings, but a possession of the everyday. It was a simple inheritance from the greatest of men.
I took that ring, I wore it for half a century. My skin turned green as it marked me with the curse it bestows. But after all, I was a sacrifice. Issac I was, but no more, I am nameless now, or at least I was. Now I offer you the choice I was given so long ago. For the world needs the nameless, they can be lead only by those who are faceless. Perhaps we are created in a cruel way, but we wield a great good. So now you too must choose. What will you do, in the name of humanity?"