Interpretation of the news of Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods resulted in several articles in The Wall Street Journal print edition of June 17-18, 2017. As a frequent customer of both retail companies, I read these articles with much interest, especially as I have been predicting for years that Amazon’s goal is to rule the world. The last paragraph of the front-page analysis “Tech Companies Spread Their Tentacles” by Christopher Mims had a telling punchline (quoted below) that reminded me of how close to reality my sci fi novel THE MOTHER SIEGE — starting in 2049 — and the prequel story THE UPHEAVAL — starting in 2029 — are becoming.
Here’s the prescient paragraph — boldface is mine:
Imagine a future in which Amazon, which already employs north of 340,000 people world-wide, is America’s biggest employer. Imagine we’re all spending money at what’s essentially the company store, and when we get home we’re streaming Amazon’s media. The latest update from the Amazon News Network features a smiling Jeff Bezos, president of the newly formed North American Union. I’m joking, of course—but only a little.
Below is the first chapter of THE UPHEAVAL in which a single corporation in an instant takes over all the U.S. land mass west of the Mississippi River. When I first wrote this supposed sci fi story, it seemed somewhat far-fetched. Then I found an article that described the existing technology that would enable my scenario. And now the news of Amazon’s latest acquisition makes my sci fi scenario even more plausible:
CHAPTER 1 OF THE UPHEAVAL — DAY 1 — SUNDAY:
2029 West of the Mississippi River
Natalie Klein stood examining her 16th birthday party outfit in a full-length mirror when the soft beep of the personal comm unit on her left wrist preceded the holograph projection of her mother’s face.
“Are you dressed?” the holograph of her mother said.
“Yes, and I’m ready to celebrate!” Natalie spoke to her comm unit.
“Your dad is sorry he had to be in New York today. He said to record everything on the Videobook and he’ll watch the party later.”
“Hope our music doesn’t blast him out of his hotel room.”
Her mother’s holograph face laughed.
When Natalie entered the kitchen minutes later, her mother handed her a small box.
“My Twitterverse earpiece!” Natalie said. “How did you get it already?”
Her mother gestured to her own comm unit and spoke to it. “Natalie’s birth certificate.”
The requested birth certificate beamed out from the comm unit.
“I convinced a bureaucrat it would be lovely to surprise you on your 16th birthday,” her mother said. “That way you don’t have to go get it yourself.”
Natalie plugged the earpiece into her ear, then wrapped her arms around her mother.
Thirty minutes later Natalie smiled as several teen boys and girls danced to the music broadcasted from the Videobook screen on the living room wall. At the top of the screen a holograph banner proclaimed HAPPY SWEET SIXTEEN and in window in the corner of the screen showed the in-progress recording of the party.
As Natalie danced with her classmate Mark Schwartz, she tapped her ear with the Twitterpiece. He tapped his own ear to show agreement.
At that moment her mother appeared from the kitchen holding a large cake with lit candles on it. The music from the Videobook switched to the “Happy Birthday” song.
As her friends sang “Happy birthday to Natalie,” all lights and electronic gadgets unexpectedly snapped off, leaving the candles as the only light source.
William Colker smiled at the man on his left – Arnold Meister sat at the head of a marble conference table around which ranged several men and women. William knew that, at the age of 75, Arnold had realistic expectations of how much longer he could as CEO control the reins of Global Corp. Wiliam, a year away from his 30th birthday, would sooner or later get to rule this empire.
“You know the end game,” Arnold said to him.
William smiled again and swept his hand over the table, where several holographs projected different real-time scenes. Then he turned to the Videobook on the wall where the face of an Army general appeared.
“I can now report,” the general said, “that the majority of military troops stationed west of the Mississippi are on board for the leadership change.”
“And the holdouts?” Arnold said.
“They have been ‘taken care of.'”
William watched Arnold wave his hand; the Videbook screen turned dark and the holograph scenes projected on the table faded away. Arnold nodded at the people seated around him.
“Thank you for your part in this transition,” Arnold said.
He waved his hand again and the Videobook screen flickered back on, displaying a blank screen, to which Arnold spoke.
“Begin recording broadcast message now.”
In the living room Natalie and her friends stood frozen. Then the lights and the Videobook screen came back on, showing the face of an older man.
“I am Arnold Meister of Global Corp and I am announcing that an Upheaval has just taken place. From this moment the continental land mass of the U.S. west of the Mississippi River is under the protection of the Provisional Government, which I am leading.”
Natalie saw the cake plate slip from her mother’s fingers, the candles still burning. Natalie and Mark rushed over to stomp on the candles as they hit the hardwood floor.
“All communication within the land mass will continue as before but there will be no communication into or out of the Provisional Government’s land mass,” the man said. “There will also be no air flights or train, movicle, or bus routes into or out of the land mass. This is for your own protection.”
The Videobook screen in the living room blacked out again although the lights now stayed on.
Natalie watched her guests run out of the house, the cake still smashed on the floor and the gifts still piled on an end table. Mark remained standing with her as her mother spoke into her comm unit.
“Larry, are you there? Larry, please answer.”
Natalie knew Mark’s mother was an Army officer stationed at a nearby base.
“Mark, comm your mother,” Natalie said. “See if your unit works locally.”
“She may be on duty,” he said.
Mark spoke into his comm unit. “Mom, are you there?”
“Yes, Mark,” came from the holograph of his mother. “Are you okay?”
Natalie sank onto the couch next to her mother. “What is going on?”
Mark had reached Major Diane Schwartz just as she left the Army parade grounds, where all military personnel had been assembled for a loudspeaker announcement that the government of the United States had been replaced by the Provisional Government and that all military personnel were now bound to support the Provisional Government.
Major Schwartz had caught the eye of several other officers she trusted, motioning to them with two fingers then one finger that they were to assemble in her BOQ at 2100 hours.
Now 14 male and female officers, all dressed in civvies as was she, slipped into her room. They stood around her as she nodded.
“I cannot agree to our orders to support the Provisional Government. I will inform the general tonight of this. And I expect to be immediately relieved of duty and imprisoned.”
She held up her hand before anyone could interrupt. “Each of you must make up your own mind what to do.”
She turned to 2nd Lt. Jeremy Davis, the youngest officer. “But Lt. Davis, I’m ordering you to submit to the new orders. You haven’t even been on active duty 30 days – there is no need for you to risk your life because of my decision.”
The young lieutenant looked her in the eyes. “I refuse to obey your direct order as well as the direct order to support the Provisional Government. What you do, I will do.”
In his Global living quarters William stood facing the bed, the woman already lying there with the sheets pulled up to cover her breasts. He kept his eyes on her while he unbuttoned his shirt.
“Do you have protection?” the woman said.
What an annoyance – he hated this part.
“When I’m in charge I’ll get rid of this irksome necessity,” he said.
“How are you planning to do that?”
He grinned at her as he dropped his pants.
Read more chapters of sci fi story THE UPHEAVAL for free on Wattpad at http://budurl.com/Upheaval and check out THE MOTHER SIEGE for free on Wattpad at http://budurl.com/MSonWattpad
And if you’re really into sci fi, you can read my pilot TV sci fi script of THE UPHEAVAL on Amazon Studios at https://studios.amazon.com/projects/108599 and my feature film screenplay (the first of a planned trilogy) of THE MOTHER SIEGE on Amazon Studios at https://studios.amazon.com/projects/71264 (Yes, I realize I’ve put these scripts onto the site of AMAZON!)
© 2017 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Phyllis is available by skype for book group discussions and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Her Kindle fiction ebooks may be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller — and her Kindle nonfiction ebooks may also be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller