THE FOUR KNIGHTS'
The darkness appeared eternal as the great metal hulk
continued its orbit around the earth. The doctors slowly pushed the cart away;
the giant crowd staring blankly after them. Many of the women were crying; the
men trying to console them and themselves of the loss of their leader. T. G.
Taft the II was alone in one corner, thinking about the past few minutes:
Those minutes that he had seen his father's dead body. He would never forget
the twisted and mutilated corpse of his daddy just lying there in the middle
of the room....
***l P--K4 P--K4***
The Committee Head arose, and addressed the crowd that
had collected there. The makeshift podium inside the Taft Towers did not seem
to her to be exactly the greatest place to make the Decision, nonetheless the
Towers were the center of the Government of Taft's Domain. This Decision, she
knew, would be the most important one ever made by the Committee: The
appointing of Administrator of the Domain.
"We have eliminated," she started, "the
leading contenders down to a choice of four. We will now ask each of the
remaining to give to us, the Committee and the people gathered here, a speech
on why he believes that he should run the Domain. I..."
"Just a moment." Cried one of the people in the
audience. "Some of us don't know even who was or is competing. Before
they make the speeches, tell us who they are and why you've accepted them this
"I was getting to that." She cleared her
throat, and started again.
***2 N-KB3 N-QB3***
"The first of the four is our beloved T. G. Taft's
only son, T. G. Taft II. He has been accepted thus far primarily because
he is Taft's heir, and because he is very intelligent. There is some question,
though, about a matter of treason about a year ago...
"The second is a man which has impressed us with his
charisma, his intellectual capability, and his fluent and dynamic personality.
He is much like Taft was," she cleared her throat again, "and has a
good sense of leadership. His name is John Jemason.
"The third is a man well-known to most common
people: Mij Slochin, the Head of Project Exodus. He is a scientific genius,
and served as a secret agent many times under Taft. He would make a fine
"The last, but not least, of the contestants is a
man whose origins are speculative, however he has led the province of Alifor
into new-found allegiance, and transformed it, in relatively two short months,
into economic prosperity. Known only as 'Archie,' he is respected by many
people." She pointed to a rather well-built man in the corner of the room
with wavy brown hair and sapphire blue eyes. He smiled at her, and then to the
"Now that you know who the people are, we will have
them each make a short speech so as to finalize our decision."
*'**3 N-B3 N-B3***
The auditorium deep within the Second of the twin Taft
Towers was not big enough to hold all the people that wanted to attend this
meeting, but it was the only place the meeting could be held. All other,
bigger places were either located too far from Taftville, where the lesser
Domain officials had to stay, or else were deficient of all the equipment that
was needed at a complex decision like this. But perhaps this was good; the
selected people that were asked to attend represented every part of Taft's
Domain; and the group was more orderly than the groups that would have formed
had there not been any specific selection.
T. G. Taft II approached the podium and looked around the
audience. He had never expected this. He had just naturally assumed that he
would become Administrator after his father died. But he was wrong.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Domain; my father, the
late great T. G. Taft wrote in his will that all of his possessions, save a
few paltry items, would be willed to me. Was not the Domain one of his
possessions? Yes! Also, consider this." He reached into a sack that he
carried, took out the Tiara of Phumos, and held it high over his head.
"Do you not want an Administrator with one of the Keys?" The crowd
beheld the famed Tiara, and gave many ooohs and aaahs.
"Now I know that my age has brought about many
questions. Yes, people, I should be eight years old right now. And explaining
my speedy growth is not easy. But you see, I was involved in a... an..."
He cleared his throat. "An experiment. It was a secret experiment by the
Taft Lab to better help science. Now I was never supposed to say anything, so
I will deny I said anything from now on. And the Taft scientists will too: So
if they deny anything, it's because it's still a secret. Thank you." Taft
left the stage and sat on a sofa bench to the right of the podium. The crowd
cheered and cheered and cheered: But Taft could tell that they were not
cheering for him, but for his dead father.
***4 B-N5 B-N5***
The next speaker, John Jemason, approached the podium
from the audience, where he had been shaking hands with a couple of thousand
people. He cleared his throat and began. "I wish to comment on a couple
of things my opponent, T. G. Taft II said. First of all, the late great T. G.
Taft did not say that he willed all of his possessions to his son, but merely
all of his material possessions. Now although the Domain may seem to be a
material possession, the power to rule it is not. Also, I would like to show
you this." He held up a huge metal keyring with a single thin key on it.
"This is the very key that he locked up his father with, precisely one
year from next Tuesday, and proceeded to take over the Domain. Is this the
type of man you want in office? The type that, after failing at a revolution
against his own father, tries to take over the country legit? No Way! Come on
"As for my other two opponents, what do we really
know about them? Look at that guy in the corner." He pointed to Archie.
"What do we know about him besides his nickname? Ask his background. Ask
his education. Ask about his childhood. He will answer with nothing. Can you
trust a man like that? And how about Mij, who was a school bully, do you want
him as Administrator? I know many adults, perhaps some that are here, that
were personally swindled out of lunch money for his 'protection.' 'Oh, but
he's changed.' You say. Into what? He hardly ever has time to talk. He
probably won't even be here today, sticking his nose into some scientific
equation. All be it, this may be good for a scientist, but not for the
Administrator of Taft's Domain.
"In conclusion, I can only hope that you have come
up with the only true person eligible for this job. Jemason for Administrator.
You won't regret it." A great cheer, greater than Taft's, resounded
throughout the Auditorium.
***5 0-0 O-O***
After Jemason took his place next to a sulking Taft II on
the couch, there was a long lull before the Committee Head arose and talked.
"Apparently Mr. Slochin is still involved in studying the mysterious
death of our beloved ex-Administrator. He said that if he found a lead he
might not be able to make it. Let's just go on with Archie and if Mij makes
it, great, if not, well, he's a great guy...."
Archie, for the first time that afternoon, removed
himself from the corner of the auditorium and proceeded up to the podium. He
addressed the audience. "Fellow people of Taft's Domain. I've got some
bad news for us. You probably think that we're number one in the space race,
right now, right?" A great cheer rang throughout the hall. "Wrong.
The country of Alarius already has an established colony on Saturn's moon
Titan complete with a space fleet. And guess what. I have inside news that
they're going to attack the Susan Smith. People, look at that
flag." He pointed to the north corner of the building, to the Flag of
Taft's Domain. "Do we owe allegiance to that? Do we owe allegiance to the
man who stood beside us and that? We must attack Titan before they attack us!
If I am not appointed, I promise you, none of these other appointees will give
a spit to strengthening our arms! The Domain will be attacked, destroyed, and
become a subjugate of Alarius. The name of Taft will be wiped from the history
books, and we will become just another of the conquered tribes of Suralio
Iffley, leader of Alarius! Don't let this happen, please! I don't want to be a
slave to that tyrant! Convince this Committee to appoint me. For him." He
pointed to a picture of Taft, and started the Taft National Anthem. The crowd
stood up, continued the hymn, and, after a great finale, Archie took his seat
next to Jemason. The crowd yelled and screamed and frantically chanted:
"We want Arch! We want Arch!"
***6 P-Q3 BxN***
The crowd still had not settled down by the time the
Committee reached its decision, almost two hours later. The Committee Head
reached the podium and turned with a gloomy look to the cheering audience. The
Committee Head, by the way, was none other then Susan Smith IV.
"The results have been counted. The Committee of the
Domain of Taft has reached a decision about the new Administrator. Of the
twenty one votes on the Committee, one from each of the twenty one provinces
in the Domain, only one went for the rightful heir, T. G. Taft II. There were
five votes for John Jemason, and zero for the great Dr. Mij Slochin. Archie,
therefore, received fifteen votes. I now announce to you that the new
Administrator of the Domain of Taft, as declared by the Committee of the
Domain of Taft, is--Archie." She sighed, and sat down.
"No, wait!" The cry came above all the
cheering; above all the celebration. In through the west entrance came Mij
Slochin, carrying a sheet of paper. "I..." He saw Archie and
stopped. By now the crowd had turned their attention to him, and had gotten
quiet. "People, that man is..."
Archie stared at the man who had interrupted his
celebration. He noticed him as a man from the past: The only man in the entire
Domain that could tell about his own true background. This man, he noticed,
was none other than the doctor that he had fired almost a year ago.
"Seize him!" Cried Archie. "He's a spy from Alarius!" The
crowd rushed him.
"No!" Cried Mij, but it was too late. He saw
that he had little time remaining to prove anything, so he handed his sheet of
paper to a young boy that was standing by the entrance. "Run! Now!"
He cried, just as he was seized.
***7 PxB P-Q5***
Archie sat way back in his big custom-made chair, talking
with his new secretary, a centurian-looking man named Richard. "I want
all the defeated politicians thrown in jail, along with the Susan Smiths, the
Bobs, and the Slosh Gorshkins. Prepare Mij Slochin for a trial. We'll get him
on treason. Any reports?"
"The seven new Susan Smith class starships
are under full development; along with the five new Pacemakers. We
should be able to attack Titan within the next six months."
"Concentrate on making it three months, you hear
"You may leave. Oh, wait. How about that boy. Did
"No, sir. But we'll keep looking..."
"Very well. Dismissed."
As Richard left, Archie slowly got up and looked out the
window. "Well, Adena. Just a little longer. And then we'll be together
THE DEATH OF T. G. TAFT
G. Taft Senior passed from this life on December 15, 476 AP; the cause of
death a stroke. This report centers on the reasons that such a healthy man as
Taft would pass away in such an unhealthy condition, apparently going through
hyperventilation and a form of internal mutation, as well as stroke. Let me
start by stating the basis of this information; recently in a highly secret
excavation site in Furanose a small book was found with the word
"Diary" printed upon it. It was written by none other then the
Wizardress Wisdym herself.
book finally settles the questions of the origins of such things as the
Plague, the Shard, the Power, and most importantly, the Wizards. The book is
written in a foreign tounge unknown to us; only through much study have I and
I alone been able to read it. The Diary is hidden and its whereabouts are
known only by me.
this report is only about the death of Taft, I will skip most of the book and
write about the other history later. What I wish to center on now is merely
the history of the Wizards.
of the Wizards, exceptions being Aven and Wisdym, were born in a country
known, before the Plague, as the United States of America. Wisdym was born in
a small city by the name of Cambridge Bay, Canada, and Aven was born in a tiny
town known as Uruapan, Mexico. They were brought together by a selective
mission made by what was then the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, the United States' program of space development. After the
mission, which took them to Mars, they came back to a Plague-filled world.
Only a small part of the world, a small area in what was then East-Central
Brazil, survived, and the group decided to land there. They knew not why this
single place had survived, but when they landed they detected a huge amount of
radiation. It was harmless radiation, yes, but very, very powerful. The group
together took a room at the Victoria Inn in Curvelo, Brazil, and proceeded to
find the source of this strange radiation. After weeks of searching, they came
to an open area and found that the radiation was coming from underneath the
ground. They began to dig: Apparently it was this radiation keeping the Plague
away, and they had to know its source. After they had dug deep enough, they
found the Crystal.
Crystal contained the Power; and once the Crystal was released from the
earth's pressure it shattered, there in their midst, throwing its Shards
allover the earth and, more importantly, throwing the Power onto them. Thus
they became the Wizards; created the Keys, and stopped the Plague.
was during the week of digging, however, that the Act happened. Wisdym,
betraying her husband Ozino, fell in love with Aven. In Wisdym's last entry in
her diary she says:
hate to betray Ozino, but my love for Aven is just too overwhelming. We must
be together, forever. I will not let him depart. I will destroy all that gets
in our way."
what does all this have to do with Taft's death? I believe that Taft did try
to get in the way of Wisdym and Aven. When his body was found he was holding
the Tiara; perhaps he used it to try and stop the Act. I know not. But one
other piece of evidence remains. Unknown to most, Taft's autopsy showed that
there was a tiny bit of scratching just above his heart. It was burnt into the
skin, and it read simply "Av+Wi & Bl+Ad."
| ||© 1984, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|