We are nothing if not the change we bring to the world; our memory, our legacy, our dent upon the universe. So it goes. Our greatest dreams demand the greatest upheaval. As to forge the future, we must break the past.
All in pursuit of perfection.
Every once in a while, an entire generation is thrown into the fire to grasp it. Some of our dreams, the worst ones and the most powerful, demand a new beginning. We hurl our ever greater resources at the hideous task: be it scorched earth or the final solution. (Aren’t they always meant to be so?) The previous century will be remembered, as long as there are people to know, for its decades long adventure into hell on earth. It was the worst of us. What different worlds could we have seen if the fire was not lit, ninety-nine summers ago. If indeed you or I would have ever been born at all.
History is written by the winner. But push it hard enough, and you’ll leave your mark in either case. Just don’t count on liking it.
Fortunately for the lot of us, beyond two cities in Japan, everything changed in 1945. Our newfound nuclear prowess put the kibosh on the once very appealing notion of a winnable war between great powers. As unfashionable as it is to say, I really do think that our remaining ability to demolish one another in a furtive hour or so is what remains our principal peacemaker to this day. The nations of the world are led by no brighter minds or more enlightened souls than before. As if. And our interconnectedness, though ever stronger, is not the sort of thing the past could never know. Rather, we went our way safe in the knowledge that future tyrants had better think small. So far, they have.
But what about when we must no longer share the same lonely little world?
In my story, Aria is the first to stir this fate. A confrontation between our first and second Earth results in something so atrocious that it is still, in Alpha’s time centuries later, known as just the “Aria incident.” It is the nightmare of shining apocalypse that I imagined everyone must have had during the Cold War; whose end alone I saw. It is an orgy of space borne violence, triggered in confusion but executed meticulously. And I have a song set aside for it, to be explored in time.
This memory of a lost world is the setting for the people of Earth come the story proper. As above them threatens not Aria’s forgotten army, but a single man. The one who could, and would, end it all for us. That we might finally repay our debt, and meet Elysium as one.
A neon genesis, as it were. Many minds think alike for good reason. Before and after discovering the fact.
Ode to Joy is the poem and the song for this set piece. What else could suffice? Schiller’s appeal to our gloried future when put to Beethoven’s most enduring symphony’s very climax is perfection in itself. The ultimate soundtrack to the battle at the end of the world. All quarter of an hour of it!
I have an orchestra in mind, playing a concert while it happens quite beyond them and old Europe’s evening horizon. The Ode is the centrepiece of their performance, played to mark the centennial of the world government whose leaders are attending. It is, of course, still the anthem. Though seldom quite as long as this.
As great an indulgence as this all surely is, I’ll note that I’ve worked out what events come when, in the music. One highpoint is when Yolanda, the president, is finally handed a screen onto the live events above. She went in to the hall knowing that a standoff was now likely, but her underlings acted alone to unleash all this. Echoes of Aria, which foreshadows everything.
But not quite.