Nearly a year has passed since anyone saw the Overseer. To the surprise and disdain of many, he did not give his annual statement to the world. Every year, on the second day of the thirteenth month, the Overseer appears on every media outlet throughout the world and addresses the important matters – political, environmental, social – telling the people his plans for handling world-wide problems, and promoting his ideas for a better future. The Overseer’s eagerness to convince the world his ideas are correct has made people feel like they have a right to challenge those ideas.
This year, on 6/13/2658, the Overseer released data and statistics to the world, a cold and distant gesture. In the face of calls for change and limiting the Overseer’s authority, people in leadership viewed this action as dismissive, and took offense. The Overseer does not have a physical body, but his chosen avatar and voice have meaning. People need to see their leader or they will grow restless.
Worldwide protests erupt. Prominent leaders call for the Overseer to show himself or delegate authority to leaders who are visible to the public. In Tierra del Fuego, tensions rise as locals blame the Overseer for moving Antarcticans to their island. They suggest sending all Antarcticans to the Overseer’s own island in Antarctica and let him deal with the problem personally.
Businesses object to this plan. They already expended resources relocating workers to Tierra and building manufacturing facilities. Although corporate executives are not compensated with money, a complex algorithm assesses the value of their businesses’ contributions to society. The executives are assigned status in society based on their contribution. Relocating is wasted effort. It will only hurt their standing in the algorithm, because it will cause undue stress to their workforce.
Samar is getting sick of the racial and regional tensions. It is not as bad as fearing for his life in Antarctica, but it hurts him on a deeper level. He works as hard as he can to gain skilled labor status so he can relocate to a distant city, one with less prejudice.
The day before he is scheduled to be reviewed for an upgrade to skilled labor status, riots break out in his production facility. Production shuts down. Military robots flood in to restore order. All residents of nearby housing units, including Samar, are ordered to remain indoors.
The riots last days. Regaining order and repairing the production facilities takes much longer. Three months later Samar returns to work. His review for skilled labor status is delayed indefinitely. It does not matter to Samar, though, because immigrants are not allowed to leave restricted areas of the city. They are not allowed to leave those areas for any reason.
Samar’s quality of work suffers. He loses motivation. He sees no hope of a better life. His soul is crushed by the anger and animosity that surrounds him. It is irrational. These production companies are helping immigrants. Why did the Antarcticans damage their facilities? They are only hurting themselves. Samar can see why Tierrans are wary of immigrants. However, it is unfair to be prejudiced against all immigrants because of the actions of some of them. Besides, prejudice itself seems to inflame tensions rather than helping Antarcticans assimilate.
Turmoil in Tierra del Fuego is a microcosm of what will soon overtake the whole world. In many parts of the world, people are angry over some issue – allocation of resources, social values, and political ideologies – and they blame it on the Overseer. Many areas move toward anarchy or toward forming autonomous governments.
The robots who carry out the will of the Overseer and maintain order do not stop these revolutionaries. Conspiracy theories spread in to explain the Overseer’s disappearance. Is he dead? Did he never exist in the first place? Was he simply a puppet controlled by hidden powers?
Samar thinks everyone is being too hard on the Overseer. True, there are problems he could solve, but chooses not to do so. However, Samar is bewildered how quickly they forgot that the Overseer built the world as it exists today. Humanity was on the brink of destruction when he created a new life for them and brought them hope.
Samar feels a kinship, a connection, with the Overseer. Few people are allowed onto the Overseer’s island. Fewer are allowed into his underground chambers. They are the ones tested in his simulated world. They are talented, promising individuals. Those who succeed are placed into prominent positions in the world. None of them have seen the Overseer. Three of the scientists involved in the original project are still living. They are the only people in the world who have physically seen him. Yet Samar fantasizes that he could be able to meet the Overseer.
As tensions rise worldwide and in Tierra, Samar’s dream of meeting the Overseer gets stronger. It becomes a drive that consumes his thoughts much of the day. At his boring job he thinks about it while sewing clothes. If the Tierrans actually ship Antarcticans to the Overseer’s island, this is a realistic way of him getting there. However, this action is illegal, against the will of the Overseer and hurts powerful business interests; making it unlikely to happen and, thus, little more than a fantasy.