On a nationally televised broadcast, you announce that you are convening a constitutional convention to hammer out a path to democracy.

You state your intention to remain in power during a transitional period, but to transfer power and retire from public life once full and free elections can be held, in exactly two years. You say you hope the people will elect wise and just leaders, but that the choice is theirs, not yours.


The clipboard makes this alien look really official.

Just as you say “thank you, and good night,” the world around you vanishes without warning, and you find yourself standing in a strange, featureless white room. A woman stands before you.

She introduces herself as an emissary from a distant and powerful extraterrestrial race that, every 500 years, abducts a human baby and raises them in an artificial reality simulation designed to test what they will do when given the power to do great good or great evil. The alien tells you that just like every previous subject, you have passed the test, and so humanity will be permitted to survive for another 500 years.

The next thing you know, you awake on a sandy beach, the water lapping at your toes. The sun is rising over the water. You stand, naked, brush the sand off you, and wonder what the future holds.


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