I own a book store. Well, I used to anyway. That was before. Now I own a rare book store. It was a miracle that I, myself, haven’t been seized and burned like so many of my books. That might still be coming someday. I remember a time, when one could easily walk into a store and purchase a book or the library, where, miracle of miracles, one could just borrow a book for free. Not anymore. Today books were bad unless, of course, they were approved by the Master. It was a sad day for the human race when the Master came.
We are an arrogant species. Oh we are so clever with our computers and our learning and our global view. Oh so intelligent of a species! We rule over this earth, making decisions about our weather and the other inhabitants on this planet. We play Lord and Master over the insects, the plants, the animals. We are responsible for most of their deaths or their continuity, taking up the cause of species extinction, that same being caused by none other than us. Yes, the human race, the ultimate in species. Or so we thought.
The Aliens, who brought the Master, arrived in three ships that landed on the White house lawns. The ships looked nothing like the movies. The ships were not huge. No cloaking devices, no multiple lights flashing mathematical or musical languages, none of that happened. Our electronics didn’t quit working, our weapons were fine, and nothing changed really. Well, not at first. The aliens never even got out of their ships. They had no communication with anyone . All they did was drop off the Master.
We had no idea that the black box left behind when they left was the Master. It was a 12 inches on all sides. If one touched it, you could feel a little tingling, but no harmed came to you. The box was impervious to that was done to it. Nothing could get it open, not even lasers or radiation. Nor could we move it. Once we figured out that was not going to harm us, us Americans got all proud that the aliens had left us their technology here in America. The politicians ignored the fact that we were too stupid to use it and claimed it was a sign that the aliens would come back. The black box was a friendly gesture on their part, a gift if you will. Some gift.
Soon after the Master was left, the world’s politicians began to bicker. The UN Assembly was a constant argument. It seemed other countries thought that the Master was a gift to the world and it was unfair for the USA to keep all to themselves. Unwilling to divulge our failure in doing anything with or to the box, the US President argued that the Aliens picked America. It meant we were the best of the best. In a mean little twist, the president offered any country to come take it without military or diplomatic reprisals. Of course they couldn’t, which bolstered the Presidents claim that it was for America only. Great Britain, Russia, China and any country who thought they were important did not like it and declared America a hostile power The Vatican declared it a demon from hell . I declared shenanigans.
It was on the horrible day when Russia, China and the Middle East all declared war and was threatening to nuke the USA that the black box moved. Well moved isn’t the right word. It more like disappeared from the White House lawn and showed up over Moscow in Russia instants later. Then disappeared and showed up over Parliament. Again it disappeared and then appeared seconds later over every seat of government, before returning to the White House. Oh those other countries were livid, sure that the US had done something to them with the new “weapon”. Tensions built until Pakistan pushed the Button, intending on sending nuclear weapons to Israel, Americas only ally. Nothing happened. No nukes were sent flying. Pakistan accused China and Russia of sending them defective bombs. Russia pushed their Button hoping to wipe out the bothersome Middle East, nothing happened then either.
It took some time, but eventually the countries settled down and quit talking crap to each other. Unless they wanted to fight a war with sticks and stones, literally, there was nothing they could do. All weapons of any kind were disabled by the Master. I mean all of them. Rifles, hand guns, tactical missiles, tanks, even tactical knives were dulled and wouldn’t cut butter. Speaking of butter, all animals were released from factory farms and were allowed to wander all over. I saw them every day, but anytime the “owners” of the animals would go looking they would not find them.
The Master was very busy in the early days. It would disappear and show up over a nuclear power plant. Soon that plant was nonfunctioning and the uranium complete gone. Not depleted, but gone. Factories, manufacturing plants, refineries all were gone. Animals from the zoo disappeared and reappeared in their natural habitats. Our waters were cleaned, our air was cleaned, deforested areas were reforested, and it was like earth was being returned to its former glory. People had no jobs to go to, so they went home. There they began to get to know neighbors they had never talked to. Seems the whole world was getting nicer.
Except it wasn’t. Suddenly all our electronics were rendered useless. No phones, computers, no TV radio, no way of knowing what was going on. Of course it was the Master. In fact, our TV comes on when It wants to talk to us or show us a program it finds of value. That is how we found out that this black box was our Master. It told us. After all our electronics were nothing but paperweights, our TVs came on. There was no picture, but a metallic sounding voice emanated from the set.
“I am your Master. This planet is now under my control. I was programmed to fix this planet for habitation by my Creators. You will be allowed to remain until the Programmer returns. Then only the finest of you will be chosen for display.”
And that was that. The Master was not cruel, but was not nice either. It would kill those who tried to stop whatever it was doing at the moment. One minute someone would be standing in its way, the next they were gone. It was able to get into the heads of the, well, let’s say the lesser educated. He used them to purge the books, newspapers and magazines. They would come in like Zombies, but instead of brains it was books, they scour the shelves to find the books that were “unfit” and then burn them in a bonfire. Once it was done the poor folks would “come back to earth”. Many of them would come back to me and apologize. It’s ok. I understood.
I did try to refill my shelves. The “Zombies” would only look at shelves not the storage unit, the attic or the basement. The Master was not aware of these things, so it did not look. The Master was in fact, very limited. It was alien so it did not understand all of humanity. One cannot program for something one doesn’t know about. It had destroyed all the liquor, so we made more. Speakeasies popped up everywhere. Those who like to smoke marijuana had lush plants growing, because the Master automatically augmented any plant. With its limitations, I was able to put aside books that were on the banned list, only available if asked for. So my book shelves remain full, mostly of approved books. I have plenty of bibles, children’s story books and gardening books. Want a philosophy book, perhaps a medical digest? You have to ask. Need math books, English books and science of any kind, well those are banned. Perhaps, if you ask, someone might have some. Maybe physics? How about one of these books that tell you how to make EMP proof weapons out of undetectable, everyday materials. That one is free.