A Box Of Broken Promises

“What’s that in the box grandpa?” young Ciaran asked his grandfather Gregor years ago. The old man’s eyes seemed distant for a few long moments as he collected his thoughts and considered an answer to his grandson’s inquiry.

“I suppose, you could call it a box of broken promises, lad.” He finally answers.

“Broken promises? They don’t look like much to me. Some old paper with pictures and numbers on them.”

It had been two generations by now that Gregor and the rest of the refugees who escaped on stolen ships from the Terran Cyberocracy in an elaborate plan to colonize a little known, but habitable planet in the fabled Rétglainn Occulti sector, where even the Cyberocracy’s patrols never bothered to venture due to the multitude of lost vessels and instrumentation failures experienced over the years by far too many vessels to count. This was an area that had long been considered off limits to merchant ships, civilian operations and even military craft. If you got lost out there then don’t expect anyone to come looking for you, people always said of this region on the star maps. So, their plan to go there was both daring and, some would say, foolhardy. But for these self proclaimed “Celts”, who professed a love of the “old ways” and “old gods” which had long been forgotten by humankind for the most part, this was a chance to live their own lives, in their own ways, without the tyranny of the Cyberocracy and it’s laws against spirituality, creativity and most anything considered “non-productive” by the council of the intelligence. The plan was, that they would get to the planet, which some questioned even the existence of, and form a representative democracy as a governing body. Currency would be printed on a durable paper like material, backed by valuable ores held in a central vault as civilizations had done in ancient times on earth many generations ago. But, not 20 years later scandal rocked the small community when it was discovered that the central vault was in fact empty and the little notes of paper people had been toiling for, paying their bills with and even paying their taxes to the government with, were in fact, backed by nothing. They had no value at all save except that the governing body said that they were “legal tender”.

These were a people who had no concept of fiat currencies and economic policies of the late twentieth and twenty first centuries on earth. This was not a part of history which the vast majority of them considered worthwhile to study. So, the whole scandal reeked of treachery to most of them. Confidence in the government collapsed and not long after the government itself collapsed as well. Chaos ensued and factions battled one another for control for several years following. During this time a war chieftain arose whose deftness in battle as well as his skills in diplomacy brought him to the forefront of power among the “Celts of New Caledonia”. He founded the stronghold of Nova Falias and offered protection to the nearby village and it’s people. He ordered a complete banishment of technology and machinery from the island and encouraged the people to truly embrace the “old ways” of their ancestors. Working the land, living an honest life in which one’s own labor provided prosperity for themselves, their families and ultimately the community as a whole. His name was Angus Mac Óg and he was the chieftain for whom, Gregor MacInnes had been the chief folklorist and scholar for many years. Rather than a representative form of government, Angus Mac Óg was the final say on what would be the law of the land, like it or not. Some did indeed like it for Angus, although he was a tough, battle hardened warrior, he was also fair and benevolent. He truly wanted what was best for the people as a whole. But, some, also did not like it or the way he came to power nor the fact that he gave no indication that he ever intended to turn that power over to a democratically elected leader. In an effort to appease his detractors he did, very often, put many decisions up for vote in which all able bodied members of the community of a certain age could come and cast their ballot for or against a resolution. He also took council from an elected group of advisors who were experts in their various fields. Hence, Gregor, Chief Folklorist to the High Chieftain was elected as he knew, better than anyone, the old texts and histories of old earth. Most anyone who had a desire to learn the history and stories of the past would seek him out for counsel.

But, back to the box. Yes, the first government of New Caledonia printed money that many people worked for, fought for and even died for which ended up, in the end, to be totally worthless pieces of paper. Or, as Gregor put it, a box of broken promises. His counsel would be to always pay attention to what truly has value and what is just a ruse to separate you from that which is truly valuable. Whether you agree or disagree, this is how Gregor feels on the subject.


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