Dr. Harrison had, somehow, acquired an orbital weapons platform, and he was using it to blackmail the United Nations security council. If his demands weren’t met, he’d destroy one city every day until the collected global governments bent to his will.
Nobody doubted he’d do it, the man was a lunatic with a God complex. He’d demonstrated that fact on more than one occasion.
I couldn’t let it stand, something had to be done to protect the innocent from a fate worse than death. And it had to be done quickly, lest the worst happen.
Using my security clearance and some good old-fashioned detective work, I quickly located his secret headquarters. Then, I gathered the identity and location of every field agent operating in the vicinity, compiled the Intel into one master file, and contacted Dr. Harrison.
My price was steep, but he agreed that the information I was offering to provide was more than worth the expense.
Later, on the yacht I’d purchased to sail around the Caribbean, I read in a local paper that, after the destruction of Paris, San Diego and Beijing, the U.N. had finally paid Harrison his blood money.
` It was sad that so many had to perish, but I knew in my heart that their sacrifice would not be in vain. Because I had saved the world.
I’d saved it from the parasitism of learned dependence. From the unreasonable expectation of suave secret agents and governments that swoop in to “rescue” them every time an ambitious, productive member of the supervillain community attempted to use his intellect and resourcefulness in an enlightened, self-interested way. From the idea that anyone would help them, that anyone could help them.
From the idea that they deserved help.
Yes, millions had died, and millions more would suffer enormously. Men, women and children who’d done nothing to deserve their fate had been snuffed out in the blink of an eye, and I couldn’t help but feel empathy for them. But empathy is weakness, and as quickly as it raised it’s demon head I pushed it back down and did my best to ignore it.
Because in the wake of this horrific tragedy the survivors would learn, would be forced to learn, to fend for themselves, and to discover free-market solutions to madmen with superweapons blackmailing the United Nations. And perhaps some of the parasite class would even be roused from their stupor and pull themselves up by their now-radioactive bootstraps, becoming productive citizens truly worthy of the lives they’d been given.
And if even a few of them did, then truly my work would be meaningful. Because with each new genuinely productive, individualistic person in the world working solely for his or her own personal gain, mankind as a whole would become that much better prepared to advance.
And if I, by allowing Dr. Harrison to destroy a few cities and blackmail a few governments, contributed to that, then truly my work was worthwhile.
And though the world might curse me now, as the parasites will always curse the productive, I suspect that someday they will understand the higher moral imperative I laboured under. And when that day finally comes, the world will sing praises to my name.
The name of agent 001.
Rand, James Rand.