I have reviewed the archive thoroughly and am pleased to report that I have uncovered some previously unknown information that illuminates the context of events in the relevant time period. This is a remarkable text, the authenticity of which has been verified. I am ascribing its authorship, for the sake of ethnographic integrity, to the character we have been identifying as “Dante” and welcome your insights on how best to present this artifact in the context of our overall preliminary findings about that era in prehistory. Here then, is the text of the original document in full, as we have unearthed it.
Lemastar, 1 May 4891
I’m writing this in the hope that someday the story will be known, and that I will be remembered differently than people see me now. I didn’t ask for this role, nor do I relish the judgments that come with it; I’m not even interested in the perquisites and privileges that it brings. I know that my public reputation suggests otherwise, and for those whom I have necessarily offended or even persecuted in the process, I am truly and deeply sorry.
I was propped up for this position from my earliest memories, under the thumb of a domineering father who wielded his wealth and power like a billy club both in public and at home. He essentially sold me to The Cabal before I was old enough to understand, and by the time I did it was too late in any event. Yes, in my youth I accepted uncritically all the gifts bestowed upon me — wine, women, and song, so to speak — but honestly, who among us wouldn’t have done so? I was young, and it was fun.
By the time I matured enough to recognize the implications, the die had been cast. I would forever be compelled to remain in character, to play the rich man’s son with no conscience, the thoughtless lout with dollar signs in his eyes, the egomaniac without any redeeming personal characteristics. The strategy was simple yet brilliant in its capacity to anticipate the pedestrian tastes and ultimate gullibility of the public, manufactured as they have been to be titillated by scandal and palliated by empty promises. I was even provided an outlet to refine the persona as a media celebrity.
My pedigree allowed me to posture as an elite populist, which was a brilliant campaign strategy by The Cabal’s marketing mavens. Throw in a little electoral chicanery — nothing too obvious, just enough to adjust the margins a bit — and I was able to waltz in with a mandate for change. The only conditions were the same as they had always been: never show weakness, never compromise, never back down, never ask questions, never show my true capabilities, never seem sophisticated, never be kind, and most importantly never let on about the ruse and the overall operation.
This may seem outrageous, but I assure you it is all true. How could people ever have believed that he — that I — is a real person? Who could possibly behave that way, outside of a fictional setting? I keep expecting someone to notice that the whole thing is an act, an elaborate sham, but no one ever does; in fact it’s the opposite, as they all take it so seriously, hanging on every phrase I utter and each inane post I make. What has frightened me the most, however, is not the public’s absurd capacity to treat falsity as fact, but rather my own escalating inability to tell the difference anymore.
Thus, in this lucid moment, I want to share all of this for posterity’s sake, and also for the sake of my own sanity. This is a handwritten note in a locked desk drawer in the most secure room in the world, and there it shall remain — along with the tattered remnants of my damnable soul. No, I never asked for this, but I also never rejected it either. I was bred to do The Cabal’s bidding as the ultimate Manchurian candidate, ready to be dialed up at just the right moment when the fabric of the world was about to be permanently frayed and the consolidation of their power finally completed. They own me in every way, financially and psychologically alike.
This is my destiny. May history forgive my transgressions, and may the future pardon my sins — should anyone be left to do so. For now, the charade continues, and I can only hope that it leads to something good. This is what The Cabal has always said, that they operate in the interests of humanity as no one else possibly could. That means that sometimes difficult choices have to be made, and that there will be many sacrifices. My friends, I too am one of those sacrifices, and if it turns out that my rise unites a mass revolt for a better future, then perhaps it was all worth it…
Lemar Starland, receiving this ‘postage due’