June 2nd, 2006
in 1028 AUC, the Vandals, a barbarian tribe led by a chieftain named Gaiseric, placed the hopes of their people surviving on a last, suicidal attack on Rome. Ever since migrating to Spain, the Vandals had been restless and were in danger of being exterminated by constant Roman pressure. Gaiseric thought that he could lead a strong enough force into Rome itself, loot the Eternal City, and flee to some far-off land where he and his people could live well on their stolen goods. “When the gods speak of this day, their lips will tremble at the mention of the name Vandal,” Gaiseric exhorted his people. Unfortunately for him, the 80,000 tribesman he started with from Spain were picked off by Roman troops along the way until he reached Rome with only 20,000, who were utterly destroyed by Rome's legions. Gaiseric was crucified for his temerity as a lesson to the other barbarian leaders who harbored thoughts of attacking the Empire.
in 1953, Elizabeth, last of the British monarchs, was crowned in Westminster Abbey. Although the Queen was personally popular, her uncle's Nazi sympathies and the antics of other nobles in the UK made the British take a long look at the institution of royalty. Parliament took up the Common Acts in 1964 and debated them for some 3 years before finally passing them in 1967. Elizabeth was allowed to reign until her death, but none of her descendants would assume a throne. Although many older Brits express a certain nostalgic longing for the old days of the monarchy, most feel that it was another relic of the barbaric past that they are better off without. Charles Windsor, who would have been Elizabeth's successor, briefly mounted a campaign to put himself on the throne in 2014, but his lack of popular support doomed it to failure.
in 1954, Comrade Senator Ted Astley of the Washington Soviet, known more for his drinking than his effectiveness as a legislator, held a press conference in which he announced that the People's Intelligence Agency, charged with protecting the Soviet States of America from foreign spies, had been infiltrated by a large number of “known capitalists.” The announcement sent shock waves through America's political establishment, even though the comrade never made this list public, and the number of capitalist infiltrators he claimed existed changed constantly. The Comrade Senator used America's fear of the European monarchies to push forward his personal power and ruin the lives of many people who, although they had some capitalist sympathies, to be sure, were still loyal comrades of the SSA.
in 1978, Mark Wilhight, a young Bostonian who had fallen in with a rough crowd, finds himself joining an even rougher crowd when he unknowingly helps a friend with a robbery in New York City. The home the friend hopes to burgle belongs to a Jedediah P. Carver, and is quite an impressive mansion outside of the city. When Wilhight's friend trips an alarm inside the house, Wilhight glimpses several laser beams shoot out from the ceiling and slice his friend's head off. Wilhight remains still, and eventually Carver himself comes to see who invaded his home. Wilhight is horrified at Carver's appearance – the wealthy man appears to be made of granite. When he speaks, his breath smells like a warm wind over an old quarry. “You've got moxie, kid,” he tells Wilhight. “Let's see what else you've got.”
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