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My Revolution: The Rise and Fall of Fascism

My Revolution: Part 1

On a perfect spring morning with flat seas and clear blue skies, Captain Eli P. Cooke made a terrible mistake. When the story of that day was told later, the captain’s actions were not labeled a mistake nor was he seen as the fool he actually was. The part about the malfunctioned guidance system was left out. The warnings from his subordinates were also forgotten. In the final investigation Captain Cooke was a hero who stopped a terror plot meant to destroy a harbor. The commander of the oil tanker, RSS Harvest, was wrong in the end. He stepped into greatness with his lucky lies; that sunny April day he commanded the RSS Harvest into history.

I first learned about the Harvest and its brave Captain, like many of my age, when I was in elementary school. The teachers were talking about a ship that had been struck by a bomb. My parents were watching the news on television when I got home that evening, and I remember being amazed by the fireball and the black smoke that covered the area. The image of the black cloud continuing to billow for ten days after the incident was captured by satellite. The orange glow and fat, black cloud smoldered inside my memory. It was just one of the things in my life that seeded a will to understand. I saw fantastical events around me and I wanted to know the how and why of them all.

As I grew, I encountered stories and images of the heroic captain who put the lives of his men in danger to stop a terrorist plot. The new history textbooks showed it as the moment when people started to think corporations had the power to use their own means to help secure our nation. The story of the selfless Captain Cooke who stumbled upon a terrorist plot was used to create one of the shining heroes we were meant to admire. The ship was previously named Yellow Ardion. To help get the name out and establish the global Reclamation Party brand, the ship was renamed in tribute to the alliance between them and one of its supporter corporations, Ardion Shipping. There were many Reclamation Sponsored Ships that sailed the seas by the time I was in university.

I discovered what really happened on the doomed voyage of the Harvest while working on a thesis at a Reclamation sponsored university. Both the ship and the university I attended were sponsored by the groups and corporations beholden to the fairly young political movement called the Reclamation Party. Their philosophy was to reclaim government to support the groups that provided the most services to everyone. Corporations were the perfect channel to provide services and would do the heavy lifting for society. I grew up with the idea that the Reclamation Party had our best interests at heart. For me, that was the search for truth. That is why I attended a Reclamation University.

The climate crisis from the twentieth century had been settled as fact, and because drastic steps had already been taken to manage the environment and the changes that occurred, I was urged into meteorology instead of studying the climate like I wanted. I still had a passion for the environment, so I decided to continue looking at climatic events as part of my degree. Even though we scientists knew where the climate was going and how to stop it from getting worse, I discovered through anecdotal evidence, and my own research, that the balance we struck with the environment could be thrown off by seemingly minor events. One incident, I knew, had to be when the RSS Harvest sank.

The toxic cloud that wafted into the air for ten days after the bombing had altered local weather patterns. The following hurricane season was substantially lessened compared to the neighboring years. While I was researching the incident at the city library I found the original documentation from the investigation. The government bans on certain information being stored in digital format required me to dig through old cabinets and dusty files.

The documents revealed to me something the rest of the country wasn’t told about that day. The story issued from the Reclamation Party said Captain Cooke saw a small fishing boat loaded with bomb materials. He realized the unmanned boat was headed for the bay bridge and decided to sacrifice his ship to stop its terrible plan. The records, dusty and smelling of mold, showed the path of the ship. I found a modern layout of the harbor’s channels and noticed discrepancies.

The events that actually transpired that day started with a captain who was unfamiliar with the area he was sailing through. The captain had set aside the malfunctioned guidance system and relied on his own eyes to sail the ship. He expected to find his way without key knowledge of the channels.

He sailed the tanker into one of the side channels. It was a shallow channel tankers weren’t supposed to use. When he was told by his subordinates they were in the wrong place he forced them to continue. He expected the ship to emerge on the other side of his mistake without incident. It did not, and after the ship exploded, sank and burned for days, the story that emerged was not on course with the truth.

The ship sailed on, the investigation documents revealed. Halfway into the wrong side-channel the captain noticed a fishing boat that was on a line to intercept his ship. He expected the small boat to give way to the larger, less maneuverable tanker he commanded. When it did not, the captain tried to contact the quick moving boat, but got no response. As it got closer the captain and his officers noticed the boat was hauling something, but they could not tell what exactly. The captain ordered the engines to stop their tanker and hopefully the little boat would continue on its straight line and pass in front of them. The boat slammed into the side of the huge tanker with a thrusting explosion. The vapors in the forward tank immediately exploded. The ship came to a sudden halt causing the entire crew to fall forward. Water began to rush into the primary hull of the ship. It sank in minutes. Although with the relatively shallow channel it didn’t sink to a significant depth. As the fire consumed the ship, the Harvest’s crew was able to flee in lifeboats.

The captain knew it had to be a bomb aboard the fishing boat. What he didn’t know was why the small boat was in the channel in the first place or its intended target. When he and his crew were picked up, he strung together a story about how he saw the boat with binoculars and knew he should find a way to intervene. The investigation revealed his story to be false, but the Reclamation Party, whose name was on the ship, and who controlled the investigation, changed the information that was released. After all, it was a terrorist plot that was foiled; it didn’t matter to them that it was just by mistake.

The investigation into the people who planted the bomb and sent it on its way, revealed they wanted their remote-controlled fishing boat to steer toward and destroy the bay bridge, shutting down the harbor traffic for days or weeks. When the actual smoke and dust settled, the people had more evidence of terrorist plots within the country and a new hero in Captain Cooke. He is one of the many lauded and surprising heroes to be constructed into my society’s history.

To have a Captain sacrifice a Reclamation sponsored ship for the greater good, and the continued commerce of the harbor, showed the voters that the Reclamation Party had our safety in mind and deserved our support. The revelation and the sense that the Reclamation Party and their supports stopped terrorists in their tracks, without the government, propelled their political movement into power. The event changed the way the world worked, by showing a corporation as the hero and defender of the people, not some government controlled agency. The Reclamation Party was able to speed its work because their influence had grown. More people and corporations backed their movement. The corporations that funded them increased in profits and political will. As their power grew so did their wealth of stories. With them the party took over the government and changed it completely along with society as a whole.

When I found the lies born from this event I started to question the others we were fed from the new Reclamation Government. I continued my life realizing what I began as a child, the search for truth, was all I had to rely on. The search and commitment to truth would hold me over until it was time to act against the lies. So I held their secret.

 This four part story was a submission to The First Line journal. They provided a line for each of the four issues they would print in 2013. Authors are to use the line as is to develop a story. For submissions like this one all four parts had to be done at the beginning of the year. I produced these, however they did not select them for printing, so I'm sharing them with you here.