The Dictatorship did not establish a worldwide government. They left the existing ones in place, but under control. When the Dictatorship took over a country, the original government still remained in place, but it had no power to do anything the Dictatorship was opposed to. All governmental choices had to go through the Dictatorship before they went into effect. Countries under Dictatorship control were not permitted to keep a standing army, although the Dictatorship kept armies of their own in conquered areas.
Civilians were not permitted to own or use weapons of any sort. There were strict limits on where and how civilians could meet. The police forces were replaced by Dictatorship military police, who watched the citizens constantly, through cameras, and in person. There were also occasional inexplicable disappearances. These were never proved to be the work of the Dictatorship, but it was widely accepted that they were.
Columbia, being a relatively small city, did not suffer as much from the Dictatorship’s iron fist as larger cities did. There were still unpleasant regulations, and a worryingly large police presence, but life went on, albeit somewhat changed. Kelvin kept his job, Dominica continued studying, Charles and Claire still taught. They tried to keep their heads down, and avoid trouble.
Then Charles received a letter.