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1 Head #41

Saving the world from a perceived enemy is not the kind of affair most people are avid to join. Sinking boats, as everyone from ANNO 1912 onwards knew, are quite comfortable up to the moment the stern upends.

April, International Court of Justice, s’ Gravenhage, Holland.

Two robed judges sat back down at a conference table after the others had retired. After a minute, there was a break in the conversation. Nilsson could not believe he heard right, and his face showed it as the muscles worked violently beneath the skin. “You are saying, Baron, that Dr. Chillingsworth’s policies are correct, not only for your country of Holland but for all?”

The Honorable Went S. Werver, Baron van de Zoom, a classically elegant, Jesuitical figure in his dark judge’s robe, smiled and tapped the gold stylus of a secretary’s electronic notetaker.

“Why, yes! It is a grand idea whose time has come. National entities are a thing of the past, a movement that peaked in the 19th and 20th Centuries and which never produced anything of lasting worth. The United Nations is an anachronism from those times and is no longer useful. Surely, we must change along with the more progressive developments in world society.”

“You mean change along with Dr. Chillingsworth’s pet ideas?”

Baron van de Zoom frowned. “I think you’re putting that a little too indelicately, aren’t you? You seem to have a personal bias against the man, Nils, so that you cannot appreciate the great good he is attempting to do.”

Nilsson walked toward his chambers but stopped on the way. He stood, considering the fact none of his peers would even consider the world had another option than to “change along with developments in world society.” He was standing in the visitors’ section, the Great Hall of Petitioners, an ornate 18th Century Salon in the French style, heavy with gilt and mirrors, whose chief reason for being preserved into the 22nd Century was an historic incident. Forty leading Dutch burghers knelt down on the spot and were beheaded by a Spanish viceroy come to put down their rebellion. Naturally, it was more popularly called “Hall of Forty Heads.” Past business and visiting hours, with no one present, he eyed the ranks of priceless French Second Empire chairs set along both walls, none of which had ever been sat in that he knew.

Suddenly, he rushed at the row on the left and seized the first chair and swung it with all his force against the parquet floor. As if it had exploded, chunks and splinters flew every direction and slid across the floor where thickly-bearded Dutch heads had once tumbled and rolled. He did the same with the second, and the third, and so on down the line. While he was about to do the same with the twelfth, the double doors opened at the entrance to his chambers.

“Dr. Nilsson!” his secretary, Mrs. van Geroot, cried, staring at him as if she saw a heathen Viking raider with a gory, red blood-ax in his hand. “Have you gone mad, sir?”

“No! It isn’t that easy to explain!” He set the chair down, intact.

His fearless secretary went directly to him, looking about to see if they were alone. “Then what is it, Dr. Nilsson? What is it?”

He shrugged and sank down on the twelfth chair. “My God! You would think you Dutch, with your long history of fighting the Spanish and other tyrants, would oppose world government, not support it!”

Mrs. van Geroot shook her head. “So that’s it. No Dutch will go along with you on that. But you must know, you never asked me what I might think about the matter.”

Nilsson looked up surprised.

“Meinheer, I’m Friesian born and bred, not mainland Dutch! We had a large family and not enough land on Tershelling, so we came here and let the dairy and bulb sheds go to our sons. I took the training, passed all the tests, and here I am! As for these eastern flatlanders, they’re not the same as us. Oh, there’s a lot more of them, and we’re close neighbors, but Friesians, God be praised, have always been free as the birds, free as the frogs, free as the--”

“Cows?” Nilsson offered.

“No, sir, the wind! The wind is free!”

Nilsson was silent for a long moment. He knew she was right. Romans had ruled the Dutch, and many other powerful peoples including the Spanish and French had done the same after them. But her windy little principality had always been free of foreign domination--or much moreso than their Dutch neighbors. Why? Perhaps Frisia had just too much blowing sand and sea spray to suit oppressors from the mainland. It got in their food and eyes and noses! Imagine, a Julius Caesar trying to say something suitably imperious and memorable for future ages to ponder over--when he started to speak all he got for his effort was a mouthful of wind-blown sand! No, Frisia would never do for imperial purposes and for that reason the islands were left out of the Roman imperium. But would the World Union overlook the freedom-loving islets?

Nilsson rose and ran hands through his blond hair as he looked at her. “Well, then, let’s get to work. I need to contact anyone beyond this court who possibly wants to turn history back to the right road.” He began striding swiftly toward his office, discussing the details as Mrs. van Geroot bustled after him on much shorter but stouter Frisian legs.

Months after the chair smashing incident, Nilsson’s head jerked up off his desk where he had slumped after working late as usual on some legal rulings. He glanced at his office’s baroque ornate clock--a beautiful but archaic contraption that had to be wound every week by a specially uniformed member of a clockworkers’ guild dating to the 13th Century. It was 4:00 a.m. With a yawn and stretch, he got up and went to the windows. Soon, he knew, light would steal softly across the darkened water in the Court Pond and illuminate the time-mellowed, old stonework of the World Court building. He saw something strange.

Men in a small boat heading to the tiny decorative islet in the center. They oared past the jetting water of the single fountain and, as he watched, unloaded a crate onto the island. They wore klompen for the marshy site. A flare was set up on a stand to give them light enough to work. At first Nilsson thought it was men come to inspect the heating system that kept the pond ice-free, but they didn’t have the look of the usual men sent out, and he grew suspicious.

He went back to his desk and called up the calendar of events for the International Court of Justice, and there it was: July 12, Erection of Holographic Memorial, TRUMPHANT UNION ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD, by the Citizens’ Committee for World Union at the Hague. He could not believe it, so he got out an old printout of the year’s calendar, and there was no mention of the thing.

For the next hour he watched as the statue flickered from newly installed terminals, a sixty-foot high goddess holding up a globe of the world in her two hands above a crowd of lesser figures--men, women, and children, their upturned faces lit with awed and joyful expressions.

Finally, he drew the curtain though the pond was now flooded with morning sun and reflected through his chamber windows. He went and sat down, not at his desk, but on one of the reproductions of the chairs he had destroyed in the petitioners’ Salon. He was still there, when his private secretary, Mrs. Wolfreda van Geroot, entered.

She nearly dropped the briefcase she used for carrying both her lunch and any work she did at home. “Why, Herr Honorable Doctor Nilsson!”

Nilsson rose wearily. “It’s all right, Wolfreda.” He smiled. “I suppose I worked so late I didn’t see much sense in returning home. We have that nasty Uranus icebreaker-supertanker explosion brief to get out, you know. Personally, I don’t care who did it. Let the insurance companies decide. They seem to know how to make money, regardless of disasters. Even if the world should end today, they’d capitalize on it somehow.”

Missing the humor completely, the woman looked at him closely with concern despite his explanation, then went to her desk, busying herself with setting her desk to rights for the day’s work. She rose, her look a degree sharper. “Would you like some coffee, Sir? I have to admit you surprised me, sitting there by the door. Always, as you know, I’ve got it made up before you come in.”

Nilsson ran hands through hair that, unaccountably, was darkening and thinning at the same time. He shook his head, then started to pace back and forth. “No! No! We might as well face things here, in the cold hard light of a new day. Are you sure you can? Anyone can drop out at this point without retaliation, so if you want you needn’t hear me out.”

Mrs. van Geroot’s plump, matronly face grew even more sober and she sat back down, somehow giving the impression it was an expression of not only her philosophical support but the fact of her being ultra independent Friesian and not some sophisticated, city-bred mainlander Dutch, Walloon, or Fleming.

Nilsson went up to her and put his hands on her desk, facing her. “Before I act and do something I might regret, I need to know something. My wife is no use--she always plays the devil’s advocate. I need something more. I need--”

Mrs. van de Geroot waited.

“Tell me!” he exploded. “Am I stark mad? How can I be right and the whole world wrong? I have the only dissenting opinion on this 'wonderful' movement of Dr. Chillingsworth’s, apparently!”

Mrs. Geroot did not respond right away. She shifted her big feet, which would have been more comfortable in wooden clogs than the more stylish nurse-style brogans she had to wear for her job. Slowly, she wagged her head. “How do you know if you are right if you won’t see it through, Meinheer? If we must fight the sea for our homes and farms, then we must fight!”

Nilsson stared at the woman--so domestic and ordinary, yet so beautiful in all her plainness and simplicity. Of course! he thought. She is right. This movement is like the sea, the mighty ocean breaking in on the land everywhere. Like the sea it is unstoppable, beyond the power of man to push back with all his engineering genius. Yet, like the Frisians and Dutch, the sea of Chillingsworth’s megalomania can be pushed back, a polder at a time, until a whole land is reclaimed and restored to fertility.

“Reschedule my appointments,” he ordered. “I don’t want to see anybody! Tell them the truth, even though they won’t like hearing it. And give the draft for the brief to some other department secretary. Then have the others come in at 10:00 sharp. I know it’s unscheduled, but we’re having an organizational meeting. NOW! We’ve got to get moving on the project. There’s no time to lose. I was a fool to wait this long. An entire year’s been lost!”

He glanced toward the windows and the Court Pond where the new statue now stood resplendent in the morning light. Just as Dutch vision had led to Benelux and the Common Market in the 20th Century, it now stubbornly and cunningly forged ahead at the vanguard of world unionism in the 22nd.

The secretary nodded, and Nilsson went back in his office, and left his curtains drawn, permanently.

Meanwhile, the secretary called the men on Nilssons’ list who could be trusted not to leak any of the proceedings to that guiding mad genius of world unionism--Dr. Chillingsworth.

September 12, International Court of Justice. Another holographic sculpture, this time in the Hall of Forty Heads, was being erected by the same citizens that had put up one on the island in the Pond. “APPROACH OF WORLD UNION,” it was titled. But another event was taking place, a discreet little meeting of like minds, just off the hall in the offices of Honorable Judge Dr. Nilsson. Four men, all World Court, World Bank, and United Nations consultants, sat down to discuss the world situation with him. French, Belgian, Dutch, and German, they were purposely chosen to represent their respective countries, not just because they had ties to the entire international scene.

The secretary was also seated and took hand-transcribed notes because her superior distrusted the building’s computer network. Automatic note-takers for conference work, even with individualized office password security, only evoked the suspicion he was being monitored and watched. After an hour, the four looked at each other and began shaking their heads, which made Nilsson jump up and start pacing the floor.

“You mean,” he said, turning back to them, “after all I’ve told you you’re still wanting to talk. No! We’ve lost critical momentum in just talking about the problem. We must act most decisively!”

The men suddenly burst out talking all at once in response, all disagreeing. “But you don’t know for sure it will happen as you say,” objected one. “Dr. Chillingsworth, even with his immense prestige and most ingenious thought-weapon, may not be able to pull it off. The United Nations, after two centuries in existence, isn’t about to lie down, whimper and expire! I simply don’t believe it, even if he has made some remarkable progress in political circles of late!”

Nilsson’s face was full of enormous scorn and pity as he faced them. “You’ve all stuck your heads in the sand! Everyone but you knows it is a dead certainty. Why should his local committee go to the trouble and expense to stick that monstrosity on the island in the pond if they didn’t mean to follow up? I distinctly recall that I voted against this hideous ‘memorial’, and the vote had to be unanimous for the thing to go through. This is an outrage. Who overruled my vote? Who?” He whirled around as if to draw the curtains, but there was no need.

The men rose, their sullen anger evident as they glanced at his back and then at the door. “There’s no use arguing the point any further,” muttered one consultant to the others. “Really, I’ve never wanted to be a part of a sneaking little clandestine group. Why, it’s all so loaded with connotations of espionage and the secret service--a sort of ‘Gang of Four’!”

“‘Espionage’? ‘The secret service’ A ‘Gang of Four’?” Nilsson cried, every atom of his fair-playing democratic being recoiling at the thought. Equally disgusted, Nilsson shouted them all out the door, as the secretary stood looking at him.

“Sir, I would never say this, but you ought to know something.”

“What, you too?” he snapped, turning on her. She squared her shoulders beneath the bulky hand-knit shawl and lifted her formidable jaw. “No, not me too. Just as I told you a while back, as long as I am a Friesian, it will never come to that, I can assure you. What I want you to know is that you’re doing the right thing. Tershelling my island is solidly behind you. I know because they’re writing all these letters to me. ” She held out a carefully tied packet.

“People still write letters on cellulose paper?” Nilsson wondered stupidly, forgetting the highly insular, conservative society which she represented. Reading some of the letters, Nilsson, moved, nearly shed unViking tears over his secretary’s and her island’s vote of confidence , but he quickly recovered and motioned her back to her work station. The same day he was on a flight to Oslo. He needed more than one Wolfreda and the Isle of Tershelling with its gas-heated sheds of big-uddered cows, however lion-hearted and loyal. “Yet, though rare these days, thank heaven for such loyal, utterly trustworthy souls as the Wolfredas of this world!” he thought, his eyes moist. “We’d all be lost, lost, without them!”

Wolfreda was a rock in a storm-swept sea--a veritable Gilbraltar of of Dutch strength and dependability. He knew he could always count on her.

Six weeks later after Nilsson’s ill-fated organizational meeting in his private chambers at the Hague’s World Court, he made his first organized move against the World Union.

Unlike the Continental and worldly-minded Dutch, French, and German, his fellow, more insular-minded Norwegians, he found, were not so inclined to cooperate with what the world’s elite might think was best for humanity. There would always be some who had the courage and freedom-loving spirit to resist, since Norwegians had a long memory when it came to tyranny.

They could not forget how they lost their freedom in the 20th Century to a particularly bloody invader, Nazism. These--acquaintances in government and the law courts, as well as some students--joined his lobbying group.

From the first, he saw that students furnished the most firepower wherever the group brought pressure to bear on various world bodies. They demonstrated a zeal and ability for total commitment lacking in older lobbyists, however well-intentioned and sincere. It was to students then he principally turned to work for the destruction of Dr. Chillingsworth’s agenda.

They were instructed to communicate with him, using the old method of paper and pen--to save themselves being tracked by electronics. When he read the messages, he went into a closet, where there was nothing else but a desk, a pen and a ink pot.

That way he could tell if anything had been changed or altered by a single glance around the room. Here, with the curtainless, blinded window, he felt as secure as a man of the time might be from being monitored by any spy agency or government.

Next Site

It was none too soon his own little counter-movement took wing. Unopposed, Dr. Chillingsworth’s ideas had spread far and wide by that time in the world community.

He had the support of the military and scientific establishments as well as the equally crucial political and diplomatic sectors. A motion by the world union-minded Netherlands put the very existence of the United Nations on the docket, and when the vote was taken it was unanimous that the U.N. be terminated in 2155 and Dr. Chillingsworth’s World Government Model form the new world state.

As the news of Dr. Chillingsworth’s victory flashed around the globe, Nilsson--already apprised of the event--was walking in Frogmer Park in Oslo, conferring with a couple students in a thickly wooded section.

He had met the young man in a cocktail lounge espousing dangerous views for the time. And the girl? Well, a slip of paper with her name and address dropped out of his pocket when he reached for another item.

To him it was fortuitous--and he looked her up because of the possible university connection. Both had shown tremendous esprit in the work of the lobby. But now things had changed, fundamentally.

Something radically different was required. But what? That was why Nilsson had them meet, to discuss what they could possibly do to stop the juggernaut of world government since the lobby group was obviously not able to do it.

“The scoundrels! Treacherous, double-dealing old fools!” Lars Larson, geosynch-engineering major cried. “They’ve all sold us out to tyranny without a single abstaining vote! I swear, I shall make them regret their part in this!”

That was the way he had spoken in the bar too.

Nilsson cringed, knowing he had a job on his hand toning down the young firebrand so that he might last a while.

Yet, just as crushed and enraged as Lars by his homeland’s support of Dr. Chillingsworth, Nilsson said nothing and kept walking.

Then after a few minutes he stopped and turned to Larson and a red-haired, brilliant biomath research major, the young woman who would not answer to “Sonya” and only give the epithet--”Red Bladed” as her name.

“I’m not King Harald and this isn’t the Dark Ages with Viking longships and lightning raids on monasteries and castles,” he advised her. “People may think you silly for adopting such an archaic epithet.”

Hearing his disclaimer, "Red-Bladed" threw her magnificent mane back and faced him like a female Viking of the past.

“Oh, I know that. Now what is it you want us to do?”

“All right, Red Bladed, and Lars, get names and addresses of those who will work for a free Norway until they catch you--for our security is rudimentary at this point and you will be caught. Turn the information overto me to begin with. But know they won’t stop what you have begun! Know that when they are torturing you--as they surely will! Of course, they won’t dare touch me--but I can’t help that. I would rather die than live a slave under a world state! But as long as I live I will fight--we will fight--this bloody incubus of Dr. Chillingsworth’s!”

The two “spotters,” being so young, were absolutely thrilled by his words as if they had waited all their young lives for this very mission. They were going underground! Their commander had just ordered it! Red Bladed was so overcome, in fact, she did a strange thing before Nilsson could stop her. She slashed her arm and held it up dripping. “Our ancestors were noble, brave, free Vikings! Why not do as they did? As long as my blood flows red, and there is one drop left, I shall not be unworthy of your trust in me!” she vowed.

Nilsson thought for a moment she had gone mad. The blood-letting was appalling and unnecessary, an act of fealty she might have imagined her savage forebears performed on sea-girt crags before their commanders. Yet there was such spirit in her eyes Nilsson had second thoughts. Despite his revulsion at the sight of blood, he decided he was not the one to break such a spirit and was touched to the quick of being though he strenuously cautioned her against further immolation. “I absolutely forbid such demonstrations, do you hear? You will need all your blood, all your strength, for the task ahead.”

Larson and the Red Bladed were the sort his movement attracted from first to last.

It spread rapidly, and before the year had ended enrolled the bravest and most fiery youth not only in Norway but all around the world. The pair, of course, were to be among the first apprehended by secret service agents employed by Dr. Chillingsworth’s interim world government.

But, as their commander said, the movement they helped birth grew and, like its mortal enemy, could not be stopped.

And helping with each unpleasant shock of bad news while chastening him when rare bits of good news came his way, the thought stood by him: one polder at a time!

That much he had learned from the Dutch and brave, steadfast, simple hearts like dear, dear Wolfreda. It was enough to sustain him in many dark days to come, only he was left with one difficulty: how do you go underground? A man, after all, wasn’t born a mole. It was something he had to learn. Nilsson knew there was nothing in his university training that could help.

A little lobby group, political discussions, the “spotting,” were things any aroused patriot could do. But going underground? Spying internationally? Committing effective, will-coordinated acts of terrorism against a brutal central authority?

Since he did not move in the right circles for such work, he went to the computer library at the Court. Nilsson laughed. Search engines turned up hundreds of pages of listed works of all the authoritative experts on the subject, but he knew they were “cookied,” set with tracers to follow their readership’s identities and report them to the intelligence services.

Deciding he wanted privacy on this sensitive subject, he was left with a single old book listed “Removed,” but which was still on the shelves somewhere or in the Discards bin waiting to be shredded and pulped. That one out-of -date, out-of-circulation book had been judged no security risk--just what he was wanting! Despite all the cases of international terrorism constantly coming to his desk, the Court seemed just as removed from reality as he was regarding the matter, perhaps because it dealt with the results, not how to cause them.

But the title seemed to be right, even though rather long.

He set aside some time and went looking for the book, and after searching high and low in the Discards section, he found it hiding beneath the collected works of Alexander Humboldt.

Sweating from the job of excavating it, he had blown off the dust, turned the cover and found out it was really old--a 20th Century production!

Later, his wife picked it up later and laughed. “How to Spy, Set up, Organize, Commit Acts of Derring-Do, and Live to Tell About It by Major Harry P. Wicklow?” She started browsing in it, forgetting they were having breakfast together and he would be leaving for work in a few minutes.

Frowning, he watched her read and chuckle, then burst into hysterics--causing her to drop the book on the table she was so helpless. Moisture in her eyes she turned to him. “Darling, where did you get this? It can’t be serious, can it? I haven’t read anything so funny in my life.”

Nilsson, stung, rose and swept the book off the table and held it behind him. “I don’t see anything so amusing about it!”

“You don’t? Haven’t you read the thing?”

Nilsson gave her a peck on the cheek. “Must be going. No, as a matter of fact, I haven’t. I was going to. Someone recommended it to me--thought I needed a laugh.”

Ditti jumped up, caught him, and held on as if for dear life. “Whoever it was knew you well then,” she said, gazing into his eyes with a shy friendliness he used to like but now found irritating.

“I’ll be late!” he said briskly and pulled away.

She stood, still in chemise, looking after him. Beyond, in the kitchen, the cook stood looking too, fragrant steam rising from a plate of her famous rolls fresh out of the oven for the honorable judge.

Nilsson couldn’t get at the book fast enough when he reached his offices. Shutting Wolfreda and her daily litany of business out before she could get started, he took his cup of coffee and sat down in a visitor’s chair with the book. “No wonder!” he burst out, reading from the preface entitled “Do You Have the Guts for This Dirty Business?”

“ ....one of the things I used to do after retiring from the old MI-6 was break Gurkha tribesmen in for the Crown and from that and other lines of special employment for Their Majesties I know novices thinking of entering this racket should think twice, maybe twice. Crybabies just don’t wear well in this kinda groove. So, RULE 1: Read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. If after that you still wanna put your oar in, then at least you’ll know what to expect and what will be happening to you sooner or later. This book is written to make that later more possible than the sooner--’cuz you see I just hate seeing bumbling, half-hearted greenhorns getting chewed up all the time, when a few simple procedures and principles would have made a real difference. Now if you’re still with me, Sucker, start by doing RULE 1!”

Nilsson had started to laugh at the beginning, but he was sweating cold at the end of the paragraph. Somehow, deep in his gut, he knew the man was dead serious. Ditti, not knowing his situation as it was, could not help but laugh. To her Chillingsworth was something you endured and lived through, and somehow things would come out okay if you did that. She thought with a peasant’s mentality--no action at all was better than doing some rash and foolish you might regret later. Endure the king, the prince, the estate bailiff, the beadle, and someday they would up and fade away, leaving the savvy, do-nothing peasant to plow under their old bones and plant a crop of good corn!”

Nilsson heard Wolfreda at the door but ignored her and went to the computer library listing on his console. A few minutes later he was holding Foxe’s book. An hour later he was still reading, with Wolfreda going crazy, he knew, wondering what had happened to him. Hours latter he walked unsteadily through the doors and found Wolfreda gazing at him with alarmed eyes.

“I was wondering if you were ill, so I called your wife. She’s coming. I’m sorry, but I was so concerned when you wouldn’t come out all day.”

Nilsson brushed her aside with a gesture. “Never mind. I was just reading a good book. Try it sometime.” He dropped it on her desk as he went out. Harry Wicklow’s book, however, was firmly gripped in his hand. Strolling through the elegant room where forty heads had rolled bloodily, then down to the Pond, he went and stood by the edge. In his peculiar state of mind, he saw not clear water but blood, not stately-drifting swans but a thousand mutilations, axings, beheadings, quarterings, burnings, and worse tortures when his wife came slowly toward him. He was in a absolute daze, so that when she tugged his sleeve he didn’t know her at first when their eyes met.

“I wonder if I know you any more,” she said gently. “What’s wrong? We had such a good laugh this morning together. Then Wolfreda calls and says you’ve refused to see her or anyone all day and wouldn’t answer her when she tried to speak to you. Tell me.”

Gradually, Nilsson’s eyes cleared of the unspeakable miseries that human beings can and do inflict on other human beings, all for the sake of religion. He knew very well that old Harry Wicklow was right: they would be doing the same thing to him and his people in the name of politics, for the sake of a world state. The gentle tugging brought him closer to Ditti.

But something balked. At that moment she had never looked more beautiful, more the soft, gentle, elfin creature he had courted in his university days before the wife and mother aspects took hold. He was strongly tempted.

He sensed it wasn’t all primitive peasant stoicism in her either, but a touch of--faith--faith? He was 22nd Century Man, faith did not enter in to public affairs. He caught a glimpse of Chillingsworth’s holographic sculpture on the Pond island. TRIUMPHANT UNION ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD. The moment definitely passed.

She caught his glance in turn and laughed. “Oh, it’s that what is bothering you. Don’t look at it then! Remember, you have me and the children--though it may not be always.”

Nilsson then looked at her closely--the vision of loveliness began to show crowsfeet around the eyes and matronly padding on the figure. He slowly shook his head. He couldn’t find it in himself to go her route. “I had to read a book for research purposes, that’s all. Can’t you silly women let a man do his work?” He strode off, Wicklow clenched in his hand as she watched him go.


“RULE 2, Sell off your cemetery plot. It can only give you a false sense of security, as though you're going to die a peaceful death in your old age...”

“You’re so right, Major,” Nilsson thought grimly, recalling Foxe’s catalogue of atrocities. “Why have one? There won’t be anything found that’s worth burying--even if we ‘live to tell about it.’”

He strode to the windows and wrenched aside the curtains, forcing himself to look at what he most feared and hated. Then he went back to his office and turned his wife’s photo face down. When that was done, he sat and devoured Wicklow in one sitting--determined to make Chillingsworth’s the forty-first head to roll the course.

2 Plots and Counterplots

While Nilsson--instructed by the able Harry Wicklow--made every effort to push back the cruel, remorseless “Sea of Chillingsworth” polder by polder, Chillingsworth himself could not be charged with idleness. To keep it from falling apart in the initial stages, as ideal polities always tend to do, he was obliged to move with swiftness and determination. Now a vital part of his Model for World Government Implementation (MFWGI) depended upon the rapid deployment of a world-wide secret service. All incipient resistance movements had to be nipped in the bud, he realized.

Fortunately, Arab fundamentalists were no problem at all. The World Union was to be a secular commonwealth, they were told, but they were free to promote their religion anywhere they pleased.

Then report of an “Ibsen Revival Army” newly hatched out in Norway came to him. Norway was not a particularly important country in his estimation, but he acted promptly and decisively. All suspected members were rounded up, interrogated for any useful information, then terminated in secluded sites.

At the same time he had Gunnar Utsond’s sculpture outside the Merchant Marine Academy replaced with a 300 ft. high holographic diorama, “Approach of the World Union.” It depicted a Vigelandish champion on horseback driving a group of lizard-like creatures before him.

The printout of Thought Deviant Lars Larson was particularly interesting to Chillingsworth. Larson had been a spotter, recruiter, and then cell organizer of a small but rapidly spreading organization, and a particularly effective one. Thanks to him a hundred cells had got going in Norwegian schools, which in turn spawned a thousand others in the general society in short order.

It was due to his success that the secret service dealt carefully with him, extracting every bit of information they could while he was still breathing.

Dr. Chillingsworth was so interested in reading the young TD’s printout that he called in the chief of the Norwegian bureau concerned with the case and got right to the point. “Did he give any clue as to his superior’s identity?”

“No, sir, he had been pre-programmed not to reveal that, even on pain of termination.”

“I see. And I suppose the other TD, that Valkyrie with the strange name, was programmed in the same manner.”

“Yes, you are quite right.”

Dr. Chillingsworth signed for the man to go, then sat at his desk in his London offices, pondering the matter.

It must have been a particularly sharp thorn in his flesh, for he gave it a full hour of his time--time he needed to finish putting his World Government Model before several committees of delegates waiting for his instructions.

At last he was ready. He gave the call sign for the committees to appear on his desk screen. “I am sorry but I was detained by unforeseen circumstances, which required my immediate attention. Now that I am free to speak with you, I first wish to greet you all in the name and spirit of world citizenship...” The moment the committee work was completed, Dr. Chillingsworth got up and went to the windows, to look out on Herne Hill Park.

Badly-decayed Edwardian semi-detached housing had all been cleared away and a park created, which was a much needed breathing space for the ever growing population.

He saw the nannies of the more affluent households in the area pushing the traditional prams with their employers’ infants, and then he turned sharply from the window and got back to work.--for the view had given him a valuable insight into the solution of his problem.

“This is war!” he thought. “I cannot allow them to spread and infiltrate my organization at all levels, as I know they are attempting to do. I will catch them in the crib! I will nip them in the bud! They won’t have a chance to grow up and do any harm to my world state!” Placing thought-deviancy scanners in the hospitals, his secret service bureaus around the world were able to detect thousands of possible thought-deviants, or terrorists. Once detected, they were terminated, of course.

It wasn’t longer than a few weeks after his program was on-line that he received a communiqué direct from the secret head of the Ibsen Revival Army. “‘O beast and enemy of mankind!’ it addressed Dr. Chillingsworth. ‘Whatever fiendish weapon you turn against us, we will not surrender. From now on walk carefully!”

It was a warning Dr. Chillingsworth took seriously. Even with extra precautions, he lost dozens of bodyguards in the succeeding weeks. It became more difficult to get volunteers. If ordered to the post, the men too often collapsed with nervous breakdowns, so he had to have volunteers.

Finally, he was virtually confined to his offices and home, and dared not go about London or any other city without elaborate security precautions that could fail at any one point because they were so temporary. Angered by the restraint on his physical movements, Dr. Chillingsworth used an unclassified channel to send out a challenge to his adversary.

“The inconvenience you are presently causing the formation of the world government is acknowledged, but it is a slight matter, since the project is going forward according to the timetable. If you continue to hamper my movements, I will exact a severe penalty.”

A top secret channel came up on Dr. Chillingsworth’s screen and an electronic voice answered. “Don’t bother trying to trace this transmission. You cannot, since the program will not permit tracking of any kind. Tyrant! Knave! What can you inflict on us that we have not already suffered at your hands? Your threats, therefore, are meaningless.”

The sender, as it turned out, was mistaken, for by then implementation of the Model for World Government had created the first of his “re-education camps” for thought-deviants. Millions were rounded up. The sweep was so successful that over 90 percent of the world-wide network of terrorist cells connected with the Ibsen Revival Army was wiped out. Dr. Chillingsworth had a special party for those who had taken chief roles in the purge. He had not yet appeared at Albert Hall when he met a roadblock in front of his vintage limousine, a Rolls Royce Phantom from his collection of antique cars.

“There’s been an unfortunate incident at Prince Albert Hall,” his security aide informed him. “Compromise to security has been significant.”

“What do you mean?”

“A crude explosive device has been identified as the probable cause of the building’s collapse. We’re presently trying to get in to see if there are any survivors. We believe terrorists--”

Later, when Dr. Chillingsworth returned to his office, he was met by a glowing message on his personal monitor. “Congratulations! You have dealt us a severe but not a terminal blow, and in turn we’ve taken out your Albert Hall venue. Wherever you go, know that we will be there waiting for you. And whoever supports you will have to fight for his very life from now on and will too busy saving his own neck to defend yours!”

Dr. Chillingsworth, shaken a bit at the neck, let the message stand for several minutes before he replied. “I shall hunt you in return for this latest bit of insolence. You do not frighten me. Unbeatable world forces are behind me that cannot be swayed by any losses you dare inflict in foolishly trying to stop the inevitable. Your resources are limited. Mine are not. We shall see if your David is equal to my Goliath. Why waste your efforts, Nils? You showed such brilliant promise, with your clever brains!”

Nilsson’s face appeared instantly on the screen. He smiled grimly and his features showed noticeably paler than usual, though his hair was noticeably darker and thinner these days. “So you tracked me down. It doesn’t matter. The organization I have been working with can go on without me, since the segments are all self-replicating, without need of a head.”

Dr. Chillingsworth smiled in return, though not so grimly. “I suppose it can, for you seemed to have learned from all your mistakes in the past. But we will continue to reduce its effectiveness. And identifying you will undoubtedly damage morale to some extent.”

Nilsson shook his head. “You’re mistaken. The cells don’t even know me. This movement is born of free men and women and quite a few boys and girls who require nobody but their own local leaders to perform their tasks. Of course, they all receive some information in order to coordinate the network’s efforts toward various chosen objectives. Naturally, you must know this since you have found me out.”

“Oh, I suspected you from the first, particularly because of that ridiculous little lobby group of yours. You were at the top of the list. I only waited for you to hang yourself by furnishing data of your involvement with as much of your organization as we needed to do a thorough job on it. We watched every movement of yours by comsat. Would you like a printout of your last week’s activities, for instance?”

“No, thank you. It’s not necessary. Where do I report? Or are your thugs coming for me here.”

“Oh, you can stay where you are. But you are a dead man. You cannot do anything without our knowing. If we arrested you, it would be an embarrassment for us, since you are too well-known.”

“Coward! Take me and do what you will! I refuse to live in limbo! I will die a free man! Arrest me!”

Dr. Chillingsworth chuckled. “Arrest a World Court judge? What a foolish proposal! I wouldn’t dream of committing such an indelicate act. Everyone would be asking questions--asking them in public places too. No, you can stay right where you are and watch your movement die right before your eyes, while you are powerless to do anything!”

Nilssons’ eyes narrowed. “Powerless, you say? You eliminated a considerable portion of my main force of expendables. They can and will be replaced. Meanwhile, my elite tiger teams have gained access to all your intelligence networks. We are able to track every move of yours and launch a counter-offensive before you strike.”

For the first time, Dr. Chillingsworth seemed at a loss for words.

Nilsson continued. “You assumed we couldn’t access your secret passwords. But I have every single one of them and they’ve been distributed to all the units. Would you also like a printout?”

Dr. Chillingsworth gritted his teeth, then his eyes shut as if he were in intense pain. When he opened them, his quarry was gone from the screen. Losing his top secret passwords, Dr. Chillingsworth’s timetable was severely compromised. He had to postpone many important ceremonies and highest level diplomatic and political consultations. It happened that during this difficult time his path crossed with that of Ansgar Nilsson, who because of his work moved in the same high circles. Nilsson would always smile and Dr. Chillingsworth would act as if he hadn’t seen him. When it was necessary for them to speak to each other at certain international functions, Dr. Chillingsworth always used an aide, complaining of a sore throat condition. Nilsson, not so easy with excuses, laughed openly at Dr. Chillingsworth.

It was so obvious that Dr. Chillingsworth had to call him up on screen about it. “How dare you insult me in public, Nils! I can’t avoid you, but you might show some decency as a gentleman, a fellow Etonian, even if you are a terrorist!”

Nilsson shook his head. “You no doubt wish I’d fade away like an old soldier or an old Norse god. Well, I can’t denounce you before the world community, perhaps, but at least I can laugh. It does my own morale considerable good, and I will continue laughing as long as you won’t arrest me.”

Dr. Chillingsworth looked like he had swallowed a snake. “We’ll see how long you are in any condition to find humor in your situation!”

The next time they appeared together at a world function, Nilsson’s once blond, then darkening hair, had turned white as cotton overnight and he limped. He had just come out in public, survivor of an explosion which took the lives of some of his best people at a cell meeting. As Dr. Chillingsworth had threatened, the laughing Nilsson (not to mention his old collegiate charm) was a thing of the past.

The judge came in his office one day and found an anonymous message on his monitor: “I hope that taught you a lesson, Henrik. We can play fifth column as well as you. As for your miserable life, you can keep your head for the time being.” “Well, don’t bet on keeping yours,” muttered Nilsson, consciously using an American idiom.

Yet there was another message--a request from the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Did he wish to join? His appointment already had been ratified by the king. Nilsson, his color coming back, joined immediately.

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