Tales of a Liberated Earth: For want of an apple.
Updated: Nov 6, 2022
James Norman Mattis grew up in the unincorporated Washington Territory of the Pacific Northwest. During his many weeks as a young man spent outdoors, Jim Mattis would look up the night sky and see a shining beacon, beckoning him. Of course, in between him and that, shiny beacon was an occupying fleet that circled the planet. A fleet that only got stronger after the Great Uprising in Hawaii from before he was born. News of human armies, human soldiers revolting against the alien occupying masters of the Earth stuck with the young Jim Mattis, as he bartered for ammunition and oil staring at the ruins of Seattle.
Jim learned of the Rough Riders at the dinner table through the excited imagination of his father, a man who grew up in the old world, understanding the promise of America. Jim saw his father meet with other men and speak of revolution. Unfortunately for his father, when the time came to march on the town square, Jim father found himself very alone, standing tall next to a broken monument of George Washington. After watching his father dragged away into the reeducation camps, Jim knew in his heart where the Rough Riders stood in the grand scheme of things.
On his 18th birthday, he found himself at the basic training camp for the human soldiers of Earth. Because he knew that a uniform gave him status and security. He would have food. But Jim knew the tradeoff was a grateful life spent in service to an ungrateful empire, an empire that had enough money for opulence and parades and banquets, but never quite enough money to rebuild a Liberated Earth. The Empire didn't give him too much time to ponder the fairness of its policies.
After Basic Combat training, he was sent back home. Well, close enough. There was a colony in California where the locals were attracting a rough riding attention. Lieutenant Mattis had a reputation for being quite the woodsman, so he was selected to infiltrate the camp, learn which way the revolution was blowing.
On paper, it all sounded genuinely nice. A certain poetic nobility to human lead success. It also reminded him of the stories his father would proclaim to be the way, the truth, and the light at the dinner table before the Empire showed him just what human resistance looked like. So, at that camp of insurgents on called Berkeley, they spoke of long, dead philosophers. Of equality of outcome. Of seizing the means of production. A life of shared work and shared result. For such an egalitarian utopia, they sure didn't like Jim asking questions.
Why did he have to give so much of his food to the group?
Why did some people look thinner than others?
Why did some people have a fourth meal? Or a fifth?
Why did some people live in better homes than others?
Why were some people more equal than others?
Jim Mattis mentioned this during a struggle session, wondering why he couldn't have a second apple with breakfast. Yes, the limit was one apple per worker, but why couldn't it be two? The Comrade leader told him that his questions were “anti-revolutionary.” Jim couldn’t make sense of the response. This was California. There's nothing but apples.
This made others ask why they couldn't have a second apple? Why did the leader always have an extra apple in his pocket? Why does the leader get a house to himself? Why do we sleep in tents? If we are equal, why isn't the leader in a tent with us? The leader did not like this line of questioning, nor the mob that chased him to his home. He especially didn't enjoy the fire and a locked door. Jim Mattis enjoyed it. For want of an apple, he crushed a revolution.