Hindsight: Autobiography of the regretful 33rd
by President Thomas James Sheppard
My grandfather never had a chance to finish this book, it was one of the many projects he abandoned in the final years of his life as he chose to dedicate his remaining time to a cause he knew he would never see succeed. When he left the US I remained to run the company and fight from the inside. I never told my grandfather that I was fighting against what he had created, and he never told me I guess he always thought of me as another industrialist who had fully bought into the madness. And as I prepare to take what will possibly be my last actions for the same cause I hope that someday, someone, somewhere will publish my family’s story
And as I prepare to take what will possibly be my last actions for the same cause I hope that someday, someone, somewhere will publish my family’s story. I cannot imagine a better way to finish my grandfather’s story that with his own words. – David Sheppard (1997)
I never intended to become the president who reinstated slavery, the man who condemned thousands of my citizens to a life of sanction and loss of freedoms. But what choice did I have?
By time I took power the world had changed, this network of men more powerful than we could ever imagine was fully formed and it was clear that they were a terrible force we could never hope defeat, even with all the power of our nation. I was faced with a reality that everything that we had built, the hope and ideals of this great nation, the prosperity and very survival of my people was hinged on this one decision. If I chose to allow them the freedoms of Humans, then it would take one mad man to end us all. If I eradicated them then I became no better than the monster we had just defeated in war. So, the only choice left was to control them, limit them and hope to avoid disaster. The rest of the world’s leaders chose a different path to me but I believed they would soon discover the error of their choice. I was wrong and within years that became so very clear. And yet it worked, of course, there were protests and those who with no knowledge of power argued that I had made a grave error, but it was a success. In its own fashion, my fear of a mutant uprising was what would save us from the post-war crash.
With the mutant problem dealt with I had only to avoid economic crisis to be a more successful than other post-war presidents. We knew that small companies were failing and that by tying our economic survival into the failing post-war Europe we were doomed to fall with them. It seemed wise, in that moment, to step back from the world stage. To look in rather than out. To build our nation for what our nation needed.
Communism, and the ideals of the more extreme socialists, would destroy what was left of our constitution. Yet the core ideals of those political theories seemed to fit. Somehow the solution to both problems fell into my lap with one whispered suggestion. I had already declared limits on city population and the larger companies were grumbling about the loss of their workforce as the urban centres were cleared.
I proposed to congress that we fund the more successful and economically necessary companies to relocate, one company per major area seemed fair. I avoided pushing unpopular housing schemes, needed due to our urban restructure, by encouraging the companies to build their own towns or buy up blocks as landlords tried to unload their now empty buildings in our existing cities. As always, the others in government were happy to pour money into business to avoid so called ’social schemes’.
And even after I had left office I watched as these changes I had put in place grew and took on a life of their own.
I had never imagined that the companies would begin to create entire communities, building medical centres, farms and schools, setting up apprenticeships and funding degrees. But then, with no competition it make sense to invest in your future employees, very few would want to work their way through the process of moving to somewhere new. A success beyond my wildest dreams, while other countries flailed in economic disaster we grew.
I had no regrets of my initial actions on the Mutant problem. We… I, in truth it was I not we, had no doubt in my heart that Mutants left unchecked would cause our downfall. I put in place actions to curtail them, to stop them from spreading and infecting the entire nation and with each president that followed me I watched those sanctions become harsher. As what I had imagined as a short term response, while we waited for them to die out, became a terrible horror at the heart of our nation’s values. An education program for mutants became a training ground for soldiers. A buddy system became a collar and leash. Registering or reporting a mutation for tracking became a trigger for a judgment on fitness to live.
I watched one initiative with pride, until I realised the monstrosity of what I had done, and the one I had initially doubted became the legacy I wished to be remembered for.
I began to protest, to use the remains of my power to push for a reversal of this path we had meandered down. Last year I mutinied, I left the US and now my actions will mean I can never go home. I went to the UN and called myself a war criminal. I told them all that I had done, I told them the secret that America hid from them and I begged them to act. I fear that they ignored me. I fear that they will not act, that this cycle of fear and state sanctioned murder will continue on until we force someone we cannot control to take action to end it. Change must come from within, we must rise up and I can only hope that my family helps to reverse what I did.
My part in the American tale is done and I have accepted that I will forever be written in history as the man who stole the American Dream.
14th June 1996