This was a difficult scene to write. I’ve never woken up from a trauma like the one Will suffered, and I had to place this moment of deep pain into the context of a satirical fantasy. I hope it turned out ok. Let’s unpack.
Bug and Sindy were both secretly relieved when Will didn’t remember what had happened. What they didn’t tell him is he actually was awake for a few moments after the blast. So he had seen the aftermath of the detonation. Immediately after he redirected the mass injunction, Will collapsed onto his knees with sobs. He was awake just long enough to shout, “Why?” up to the sky before falling unconscious. I’m not certain Will will ever remember this, but the horror of it was etched on his soul. It’s what led to his tears.
The teen’s friends haven’t been left unscarred, either. Bug hasn’t been able to sleep for more than twenty minutes without waking up screaming, and Sindy’s ornamental beard has been soaking wet from her sobs since the day of the blast. Even Sills can’t bring herself to look upon the ruins of the Board Building.
Professor Nobody invented salty tears potato chips.
The “Big Empty Chair”
The Empty Throne itself was not affected by the detonation. It remains on its dais in the ruins of the Board Chamber. Empty as ever.
Will’s actions in the Board Chamber, even if he doesn’t remember them, saved The Realm from defeat. A good portion of the Governors are, indeed, faded and gone. But a number survived, and some of them are even doing their jobs. It was an emergency meeting of the Governors which elevated General Isme to the post of “Supreme Commander,” a post they’ve previously refused to fill for fears a successful general might get ideas. As Nobody likes to say, however, “Necessity is the mother of reckless behavior.”
Thankfully, in this case it will work out 1. Isme has no intentions of becoming a politician, even one with dictatorial powers. What his elevation means, however, is all The Realm’s armed forces are functioning under one military command structure for the first time during the war, and it’s given someone an executive voice to make important calls. Suddenly, The Realm can be nimble.
Look At Me!
Will’s actions didn’t go unnoticed. Whereas there were whispers of a prophet being in town prior to the blast, they are now screaming their way through the population. The vigil around the hospital has become so large the police had to push it back two blocks, just to keep the hospital from being overwhelmed.
Like it or not, Will has become a public symbol for The Realm
- If The Realm survives, that is. ↩