Vol. 1 No. 01 : Quorum

Vol. 1 No. 02 : Prine's Metropolitan

Vol. 1 No. 03 : US3R Of The Darknet

Vol. 1 No. 04 : The Whispers On Carrier X

Vol. 1 No. 05 : Weaving Spiders

Vol. 1 No. 06 : Heng

Vol. 1 No. 07 : Like Love Hate Hate

Vol. 1 No. 09 : Rishek

Vol. 1 No. 10 : The Zura Contract

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2038 - Kuwait City. Eugene Mencker of the MI is undercover as Creuffman, the financier of the Clear Blue Organisation, operating out of the Lausanne Capital Credit Bank in Switzerland. He is meeting with Georgiou Vassilis, a Greco-Russian oligarch.

“Wars are planned, fomented, funded and lobbied for... by the banks.”

His eyes looked up at Mencker.

“It cancels their debts and creates new profits by looting other peoples' wealth. They then create new loans for rebuilding. Rise and fall. Destroy and create. Only this time, it wasn't a single country - a rogue state - or even the journalistic fabrication of an 'axis of evil'. They played for the whole world.”

Mencker wasn't about to disagree. He could feel the antagonism through the heat. He could see Vassilis' therapeutic gentleness with the oblivious cat as it sprawled on the table and he stroked its fur. He spoke through the rim of his glass.

“Then it's a natural consequence of every empire's Ponzi scheme. They all collapse in time. Perhaps they'd claim that they had the inevitability of history on their side.”

“Or Nature. Were you ever a fisherman, Mister Creuffman?”

“Er, no... not even when it was legal.”

Vassilis grunted with an ironic laugh and then tipped the brim of his hat back to look out to sea.

“The irony of the debt Ponzi was that it collapsed at a time when there were more people in the world than ever before. So, you'd think more people would mean more customers. But, if you'd ever been a fisherman and understood populations of fish in a lake, you might have seen the bigger picture. You see, if you have a population of fish in a certain environment, they keep reproducing until the available space can no longer support the resources needed for their survival. The fish stop breeding and the population drops drastically while the environment recovers. The population then rises and falls at an increasingly smaller rate until equilibrium is reached. A sustainable population. A kick in the right direction of evolution, if you like.”

He glanced across at Mencker.

“Those fish who are better suited to survival, manage to adapt to different conditions, adopting new behaviours and over time creating new variations of the species. The opportunities of their expanded environment enable them to become the superior animal, and able to prey on the less evolved population. They can control the resources, and therefore the amount of fish in the lake.”

“And that's your vision of the banks?”

“I have seen it, first hand. With the collapse of Western economies in the financial crash, I prepared to move my operations out of Europe. In France, the banks made representations to me on behalf of the government's financial advisers, with schemes to reinvigorate the economy. The Attali Commission and others were formulating a way forward for France with an investment plan that was somewhat... controversial for the public. They reasoned that to remain competitive in a globalised economy, there was a requirement for a substantial drop in Western standards of living. The workers, it seems, were too used to a higher wage structure with access to the better things in life, with employment protections and the benefits of a state pension system. The plan was to flood the country with poor immigrants, used to a low standard of living. They would have no union representation and little expectation from life other than breeding new generations of low status workers. With the removal of the indigenous population from the influence of the labour market, the government would be able to reduce their outlay on all those expensive services, such as health and pensions. Thus, a recovered population of lesser fish dominated by a superior species.”

Mencker pretended to understand.

“But you chose a moral high ground?”

“Purely practical, I can assure you. I understood the difference between a skilled and motivated workforce... and a continuous, self-replicating flood of low value bodies. Why do you think the professional classes are exceptional and yet few? The private military contractors are the minority elite of the armed forces. The technocratic leaders are force grown from childhood to surpass previous generations. Why? Because if bodies are to be used at all, they must be refashioned into efficient and productive units that recognise only the absolute authority of their masters.”

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Random Skies: Year Zero is the eighth episode in a series of speculative fiction set in a parallel world where the surely unthinkable has already started to happen.