The day after the installation at Versailles World Union police swarmed everywhere, distinctive in green uniforms and carrying thought-weapons. People began disappearing, a sign for those who could see it, that world-wide surveillance systems were also operating. With all the details worked out in advance, the changeover was completed in a matter of weeks. Sovereign power shifted from each country to Dr. Chillingsworth’s super government. He assumed responsibility for providing the world’s unified army, air force, tax collection, World Union mint and coinage, official seal and logo, all other features of government, to the point provincial authorities were left with very little to do. It was so fast and absolute nothing was said in opposition, though he could not have been a mere “world premier” as officially stated while exercising absolute power.
Technology seemed to benefit most from the changeover, both on the planet and off. Massive pubic works of all kinds were announced. The world premier appeared almost nightly on world video, explaining the improvements in a series of informal, American-style “fireside chats.” With all the world’s combined scientific and industrial resources harnessed to achieve certain projects, he soon had one astounding break-through after another to report. In just a few years the world was transformed with utterly new modes of transportation for intercontinental, continental, and urban travel. Then, aiming to provide Earth with unlimited energy and chemicals, he inaugurated a series of gas-solidification planets to utilize the boundless resources of planets like Jupiter and Uranus. It truly seemed that Chillingsworth had saved the world from decline due to the ever-worsening world climate, and one “province” after another rose to load him with honors for his achievements.
The greatest honor of all, of course, was still the Nobel Awards, five in number. It was inevitable that they be given Dr. Chillingsworth for what he accomplished during his first term as world premier. With his colossal first synchronous gas plant set in place over Jupiter, the awards could may be withheld without creating a tremendous scandal Nilsson and the still-autonomous World Court could not have survived.
Ansgar Nilsson had moved fairly fast into an influential senior position on the Norwegian Nobel Committee as well, due to some mishaps that removed the senior members either by death or disabling injury. Even though he had postponed Chillingsworth’s candidacy, he could not stop the inevitable. Yet he was determined at least to make the Nobel ceremony as uncomfortable as possible for the Nobel laureate.
The world's president moved down the wide, red carpet toward the welcoming officials in his red and white cape and white miter. The chief greeter moved forward, bowing elaborately in an Oriental fashion. “Greetings, First Citizen! The king sends his warmest regards, and the Nobel Committee of Norway is most pleased to be your host at the coming events,” said Nilsson, flashing a brilliant, mocking smile.
Chillingsworth nodded, said a few words of greeting from the World Union, then passed on, still without a flicker of recognition. He reached the speaker’s platform through solid walls of security guards. Dr. Chillingsworth climbed up to the podium, his bland face slightly flushed. Cheering broke out, immediately disrupted by some scuffling and disorder behind the security cor don's ranks. Mostly working-class women and their children from outside Oslo, they held up placards questioning the world premier’s policies. "TYRANT," "BUTCHER," and "WHERE ARE OUR SONS, HUSBANDS, FATHERS?" referring, of course, to the slave labor camps, brought a vigorous response. They were never even able to display "FIRST CITIZEN ENSLAVES THE WORLD! and "STAND UP AGAINST THE WORLD VAMPIRE CHILLINGSWORTH!"
The Nobel laureate accepted several bouquets from Laplander boys and girls in red, embroidered blue tunics and red hats. An aide seized the possibly dangerous roses and they vanished.
Chillingsworth addressed the crowd. "I wish to thank the people of Oslo, for this signal honor of welcoming me to their fair city and province on the grand occasion of the Nobel awards. But as loyal and obedient citizens, may I remind you we are doing homage today and in the following days, not to an individual, worthy as he is, but to the World Cooperative Spirit. Unfortunately, as you know, a few, ignorant and misinformed individuals, a tiny fraction of the world population, still think to resist and hinder this holy movement of the ages toward full and complete union. But today, fellow world citizens, the banquet table spread with world peace and unshakable community, we stand firmly and humbly united, hand in hand--"
“--hand in hand...” he repeated, then stopped abruptly. Air thickened in the port shed. Everything seemed to be lifted several inches before being let down. A muffled roar passed over the assembly, which quickly became deafening, like claps of thunder. A cyclonic wind next struck and blew the Nobel laureate completely off the platform. His miter sailed as far as the port shed wall far to the rear. There fell a silence, a hush more dreadful than the last events.
“We’ll all be atomized!” a woman screamed, breaking the spell. Her cry was echoed by hundreds. Many ran over the platform. Others jammed the nearest exits. Amazingly, order was restored. Security forces, wielding electric prods, pushed the crowd back into position.
The guest was recovered from where he was blown and restored to the platform. Aides smoothed his badly rumpled hair and clothes and a search was made for his miter. Yet he proved too rattled to start over. A further distraction was taking place. Detachments of security ran toward a domecraft. They formed a ring around the one Dr. Chillingsworth had used. When nothing more happened, Chillingsworth thought he might take up his speech where he left off.
“--as we exact hate for hate, blood for blood, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, limb for limb, life for life!” A glance at the domecraft gave the speaker pause. It suddenly rocked with some sort of internal disturbance. Smoke then poured out its main hatch and rolled and writhed down the red carpeted gangplank like a great black snake.
Chillingsworth's mouth fell slightly open at this sight. Port fire alarms began to wail. The second domecraft also rocked in its berth. Seats and instrument panels flew through the windows along the sides. Black clouds, bolts of flame forking out like lightning, engulfed both white spheroids and the nearest guards and police. The Nobel laureate was seized by his security aides and taken away. Almost everyone fled at the point where they had left off a few minutes before. Automatic sprinklers poured on the domecraft, but the flames grew worse.
Later after the crowd and the police had cleared out, only a white-haired man was left in view, pacing back and forth. A young man dressed in Laplander costume crept out from under the platform and was about to sneak away when Nilsson blocked his path.
“Why are you running?” said Nilsson to the Laplander in a low voice. “He’s not going to get away. If all goes as planned, Oslo will be so hot for him he’ll want a vacation--then we can pounce.”
“But how? He always seems to get away!” the unguarded youth burst out. “And we never know which one is really him!”
“I know, but he is still only human. He is bound to make a misstep. When he does, we strike and strike hard! I’m still counting on our operation here to force him to run for it. Now we must leave at once or we’ll be caught in our own trap!” Nilsson said.
Together they escaped the port shed before it burst into flames together with the domecraft.
A firestorm developed from the exploding domecraft. Oslo’s dome collapsed, sealing the city’s doom, for exposed to the weather the population alternately fried in ultraviolet rays and froze to death. Whisked out of harm’s way by a secret service shuttle tunnel, Dr. Chillingsworth escaped to a third domecraft and unofficially left for London. From there he connected with a more heavily armed domecraft and flew to London.
“Yes, First Citizen, you displayed the most remarkable sang-froid,” observed someone in security with the rank of a colonel.
“Thank you. But lately I have been thinking of retirement--perhaps to a little job that demands a lesser degree of visibility? Everything now is set up as I wish--even my Contingency Plan, for any world emergency that might possibly develop, is finished. I will leave it to able, younger men to carry on my work--which is largely routine and administrative.”
“Yes, First Citizen, whatever you think is best for world security. A double is on his way to Stockholm and he will be immediately briefed on what to say.”
Chillingsworth gave a sigh as his white caped shoulders slumped. “If only, until then, I could just slip away to a nice, quiet little place to allow my nerves--”
“Oh, I know just the place, Your Excellency!”
Twelve hours or not, clearly, First Citizen badly needed a change of scene and tempo. Despite Chillingsworth’s remarks, the X-P8000 was a domecraft fitted for interplanetary travel. Its nuclear engines were twice the size of the terrestrial versions. Speed, half that of light, was not quite up to star travel, but it was not designed for that anyway. Until double-safe security arrangements for the new quarkships were flying, the much slower domecraft would have to do. It went without saying that a quarkship fallen into the wrong hands would be an unmitigated catastrophe.
“...Nearly a thousand miles long when the electromagnetic shields are included, shaped like the clustered nodes of the DNA double helix, JGRTC1-SF is, for all its awe-inspiring size, a mere speck compared to the king of planets, as it hangs tethered 25,000 miles above a fixed coordinate in the Southern Hemisphere...”
Finally, with a pitiful groan Chillingsworth slumped and Nilsson let go. The moment he did Chillingsworth bashed Nilsson’s face with his knee, which broke Nilsson’s jaw. Nilsson rolled away on the floor and lay still--looking not so much now like a tiger but a broken rag doll of a man.
“I warn you not to come closer!”
He continued. “It can’t possibly hurt me!” he taunted.