Chapter Five: Doute est l'origine... Edit
It has been three weeks since the day Pierre came in his apartment. Kelly had read the book, yes. And he had to admit that it was pretty...convincing? The book talked about how almost every thing that happened in the commonwealth lately has been just a ruse after another by the party to control its citizens.
The many wars were being used to distract people from economic problems and the lack of freedom. The "terrorist scare", as the book called the way the government operated, was being used to create a sense of paranoia and xenophobia so that the people would not object to the ever-increasing amounts of surveillance, which in turn was almost without exception used to find dissidents, which could then be easily arrested without protest from the people (who thought that they were indeed terrorists), thanks to the paranoia.
The book also detailed how there was never a "revolution":
The People's Freedom Party had made a "coup d'état" somewhere in the fifties and created this revolution story to instigate fear from a possible new revolution. Even the Great Guv'nor! He held no power at all and was merely a leadership figure, controlled by the party. The last one had tried to gain some power and thus had been "sent away". The book didn't specify to where the last Great Guv'nor had been sent away to, but the mere thought made Kelly uncomfortable. The other parties were mere puppets of the People's Freedom Party, existing to maintain a semblance of a democratic system. It isn't hard to figure that they never won an election.
But what made Kelly angrier than everything else was one chapter in particular, entitled: "Disappearing". According to it, people that didn't accept the party's teachings disappeared without any traces, and could never be found again. Most of the disappearances took place during the seventies...
The reason that this chapter, more than any other in the book, made Kelly angrier, was that Kelly's father had disappeared in the seventies.
This couldn't be true! he thought. It certainly was revolutionary propaganda. He should show this to Grant and be done with it...but still...if it was true...then it explained some things. Some things Kelly usually asked himself in a regular basis. He opened his drawer. The picture was still there. He had smuggled it out of that office the day after his first time in the Department of Truth. It was the picture of the American Soldiers in front of the Eiffel Tower.
This was the Truth. Even though it didn't make anyone feel better, it was the Truth. Grant would probably brush it off saying that it is better this way. But Grant wasn't here now and so Kelly was seriously thinking it wasn't better this way. "The people need to know!" he decided. He would find wherever Pierre lived, he would make him tell where Ivana was hiding and he would do whatever he could to help them bring the party down.
After performing a quick CheckPosition check, then emptying the CheckPosition query's log using his access to the program as the Chairman of the Department of Truth, Kelly found out that Pierre lived in a old light-blue building in the suburbs. Kelly took the elevator upstairs, thinking this was his last chance to stop this madness and go back. He realized that that chance had already passed. He walked towards the white door and knocked once. After several seconds, he hesitantly knocked once more, a little harder this time. He heard a woman's voice from the inside: "He's coming!" and then she laughed.
Some seconds later Pierre opened the door. "My wife. She's the reason I live here in London.", Kelly entered the cozy apartment with wood-paneled floor. The most striking feature of the living room was an immense home theater system that Kelly was impressed that fit in there. A redheaded woman was sitting on a water couch, laughing. She yelled to him (Or more probably to Pierre, since he had no idea what she meant): "The Irish guy said 'udders' again!". Pierre laughed softly, and seeing Kelly's puzzled expression he explained:
"Big Brother. She loves that thing. This Irish guy has this horrible accent (even for an Irishman, you know) and every time he means 'Others', he say 'udders'. She...enjoys it." But she obviously did more than enjoy it, as she demonstrated by laughing out loud again.
"Ahnn... I'm here to see that pipe in your bathroom. The one with a clog. I can fix it better than any repairman, you know?" began Kelly.
Pierre feigned, as if this were exactly what he had been waiting for. "Oh, I see. I was wondering if you came for that. It's through here," he replied. Kelly followed him through a narrow corridor into a green door, which Pierre closed tight.
"It's sound proof. Don't worry. I suppose you thought about my offer?" asked Pierre.
Kelly nodded. "I want to help you."
Pierre frowned. "To topple the government?"
"You understand that it would make you a revolutionary and that you could be arrested for that?".
Kelly hesitated, and then said "Yes."
"And you still want to do this?"
Kelly was getting angry "Yes, for crissake!"
"Well then...", suddenly Pierre whipped something from his right jacket pocket, pressed a button on it. It expanded and a blue light started to glow on the tip. He thrusted that into Kelly's stomach. "You're under arrest."
The last thing Kelly thought before passing out was that Pierre had spoken that with no accent at all.
Chapter Six - No good action goes unpunishedEdit
When he woke up, he was in a cell, and several guards bearing the insignias of the Party walked outside, beyond his reach but within sight and sound. When one of them noticed him stirring, he signaled to the others. "It's time," he said. The guards opened the prison door and held out a hand to pull Kelly up.
"So," began Kelly. "Am I under arrest for attempting to join the revolution?"
"We are glad that you understand your position, and the cause of it. Now follow me as we bring you to the inquisitorial room."
Kelly followed silently, and the guards escorted him to an office where another man was sitting comfortably in a swiveling chair.
"Ah, you must be that Jennings," Kelly acknowledged the man's presence.
But the man wasn't very happy about it. "Lieutenant Jennings, to you," he replied.
"Jennings is Jennings. That is the Truth. If I remember correctly, you have once been found to have committed adultery, and requested a CheckPerson--CheckPerson Andrew, if I am correct--that you wanted the record removed from the log? And that you did this, knowing full well that this was illegitimate?"
The man's face turned red. "What?" he asked, feigning not to know, but failing miserably.
"And also that if exposed, this fact could result in your imprisonment for ten years? How about another fact--that as Chairman of the Truth Department, I control access to this information, and I can release it as I wish to the public? How about another bit of truth: That I have set a counter, which restarts every time I access the Net as the Chairman of the Truth Department, which would otherwise automatically release all this devastating information if I don't touch that account for three days?"
"And have I any reason to assume that you aren't bluffing?"
"Because I know that as Chairman of the Truth Department, I am very likely to be captured in this way by mavericks, so that by insuring myself against everyone in society--which I can do, being in charge of the Truth Department--that I thereby ensure myself from any negative actions that you or anyone else may plan to perform on me. Tell me, with this truth revealed to you now: why wouldn't I have established such a counter?"
The man was growing faint. "You don't have such a counter..."
"Oh? Test me, why don't you. Your freedom won't survive a day after this Truth has been revealed. I'm sorry, but if you don't set me free and grant me access to a computer, you are absolutely doomed to ten years' time in jail."
"I don't believe it."
"Well your skin doesn't, but your mind does."
The man had nothing to say, so he started laughing, rather ironically, at himself, shaking his head at the same time. "All right, I'll set you free, but will you remove at least that bit from what you're going to reveal if you don't touch your account for three days?"
"Why do you ask? You have no way of knowing the truth about whether I follow up on my promise. But your fate is locked if you don't let me go, and you know it."
The man sighed, and drooped his head. "Very well, I guess I can't hold my own against you." Then he typed a string of characters into his computer, and the guards waiting outside responded by letting Kelly out.
Back at his workplace in the Department of Truth, he typed in several things on his computer:
open User/Flag:Kelly as #0 LOGIN REQUIRED FOR FLAG:KELLY >>kelly ************************* YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY LOGGED IN as #0. renew Ticking Time Bomb COUNTER "TICKING TIME BOMB" HAS BEEN RENEWED. open User/Salary:Tativel Jennings as #1 YOUR USER FLAG "CHAIRMAN" ALLOWS ACCESS TO FILE; FILE OPENED. FILE CONTENTS: "$44000 per annum" put "$46000 per annum" > #1 as addend close #1 EDIT SUMMARY? #0 found that #1's salary has been incorrectly marked as $2000 per annum below true value YOUR USER FLAG "CHAIRMAN" ALLOWS EDITING TO FILE. FILE AS BEEN CLOSED. open User/History:Kelly as #2 YOUR USER FLAG "CHAIRMAN" ALLOWS ACCESS TO FILE; FILE OPENED. FILE CONTENTS ARE EXTENDED. VIEW WHICH RANGE? 1354524+ 1354524: 18:54, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 LEFT HOME 1354525: 19:13, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 ENTERED 45234-3422-34 (RESIDENTIAL) 1343426: 19:14, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 HIT UNCONSCIOUS BY USER:PIERRE LAMARCK (REASON: AGREED TO JOIN REVOLUTION) 1343427: 19:18, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 BROUGHT TO ALVIN PRISON 1343428: 23:33, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 ESCORTED TO INQUISITORIAL OFFICE 1343429: 23:35, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 FREED FROM ALVIN PRISON 1343430: 23:39, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 LEFT ALVIN PRISON 1343431: 00:04, 11 JANUARY 2084: #0 ENTERED 45234-3423-692 (DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH) 1343432: 00:04, 11 JANUARY 2084: #0 LOGGED IN delete 1343427-1343431 YOUR USER FLAG "CHAIRMAN" ALLOWS YOU TO PERFORM ACTION WITHOUT LEAVING A LOG. LEAVE A LOG? no YOUR USER FLAG "CHAIRMAN" ALLOWS DELETION OF PART OF FILE. put "#0 revived by user:pierre lamarck (reason: #0 agreed to join revolution only as a test of pierre lamarck's own inclinations)" > #2 as specific (1343427, 19:18, 10 JANUARY 2084) YOUR USER FLAG "CHAIRMAN" ALLOWS EDITING TO FILE. refresh 1354524: 18:54, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 LEFT HOME 1354525: 19:13, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 ENTERED 45234-3422-34 (RESIDENTIAL) 1343426: 19:14, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 HIT UNCONSCIOUS BY USER:PIERRE LAMARCK (REASON: AGREED TO JOIN REVOLUTION) 1343427: 19:18, 10 JANUARY 2084: #0 REVIVED BY USER:PIERRE LAMARCK (REASON: #0 AGREED TO JOIN REVOLUTION ONLY AS A TEST OF PIERRE LAMARCK'S OWN INCLINATIONS) 1343431: 00:04, 11 JANUARY 2084: #0 ENTERED 45234-3423-692 (DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH) 1343432: 00:04, 11 JANUARY 2084: #0 LOGGED IN close #0 YOU ARE NOW SUCCESSFULLY LOGGED OFF.
(For a layman, this transcript shows that Kelly gave a $2000 per year raise to Lieutenant Jennings, with the excuse that it had been a bit below what it should have been and is now corrected; that he deleted accounts of his being in prison; and that he added an account stating that he had been subsequently revived because he had only "agreed to join the revolution only as a test of Pierre Lamarck's own inclinations".)
Kelly then turned to the door and opened it. Grant was there, along with three men carrying submachineguns.
Grant spoke first. "Hey chap! You didn't really think you would come here unseen, didja? Thanks fer showing us where the file was. Your changes are already being unmade by a lucky observer that'll get a raise. Yeah, helping arresting 'dangerous terrorists' can have its rewards. We won't change the pay raise to Jennings, of course. We wouldn't know about your little scheme without him. Now..." he took a electrostick from his pocket and pressed the button. "Will ya come with me the easy way, or the harder, but more satisfying way?"
Kelly glanced at the three bodyguards and gave up. There was no way he could hold his own against them.
Grant widened his smile and told him: "I will take care of you personally."
Chapter seven - Truth to be told Edit
Kelly was tied to a chair now. They obviously weren't taking any chances. Grant was pacing around the badly lit room. There was only one lamp. It was very bright but the fact it was so close to Kelly's eyes didn't make it a good thing. Grant sighed and spoke, with a frown:
"I gave you every chance. You can't say I wasn't fair. I tried to show you just how much better we were making the world. But you...just...wouldn't...understand."
Kelly was indignant. "Helping the people? The party lied to the people. The party killed people. So that people like you could remain in power!"
"Heavens no! We don't kill people. If we did, do you think you would still be breathing?"
"And the disappearances?"
Grant smiled. It made Kelly remember when he first entered the Department of Truth.
"There were none. We made that up to test your loyalty. And you failed. Miserably."
"But then...how did my father..."
Grant interrupted him before he could finish, "You father fled. He discovered that much more was happening than it seemed. He told you all he could and fled. Presumably to Russia or Germany. The party leaders hoped you were too young to remember. And it seemed they were right. But you didn't forget everything. You are different than most. They just do as they are told, you think about what we tell you. I had hoped a job as Chairman of Truth would make it easier for you to understand the...necessity of lies."
"They aren't necessary.", Kelly replied coldly, "You and the other members of the party only want to stay in power."
Grant shook his head, "So you prefer us to tell the truth? And which use would that have? Why is the truth more valuable than well constructed lies? What is the truth anyway? Do you know it?"
"The book...", Grant's smile widened yet again.
"Didn't you notice it yet? We wrote that book. Ivana worked for us. We gave you just the little bit of truth you needed to believe it. But mostly, it is a fake. Or maybe it isn't. It's not like you'll ever know." He paused for a second, and then said: "Now, on to the festivities."
During three days Kelly was subjected to torture. The strong light on his face impeded him of sleeping, a constant putrid smell made it horrible to breath and loud Hip-Hop music banged his ears until he was nearly deaf. Three days later Grant entered the room again.
Then, Kelly heard heavy steps entering the room. "Now, chap, this fellow here is mister H. He'll be your torturer today. Mister H here will make your life an even greater miserable hell."
Kelly heard a sound of metal being dragged on metal.
"Mister H will use a big mallet to pound your legs a little, so don't worry. It will hurt. A lot." Kelly suddenly got wide eyed. But the light was too bright, he couldn't see "mister H".
"No please, no!", Grant cackled softly and said: "You remember that old cartoon with wolf and the shepherd dog? The one they beat the hell off each other but when their shift ends they immediately stop and go to a drink? Well, it's like this, I like you Kelly, but it's nothing personal. It's my job."
Kelly then heard a grunt (as if someone was making a great effort to lift a heavy weight) and screamed: "NO! Please no! Do it to Julia!" and passed out.
Grant stopped smiling and commented with "mister H" (a frail man with one meter and half that worked as his secretary): "Julia? Who's that?"
"Dunno boss. Guess we overdid it.", Grant looked at Kelly and smiled... "I guess. Well, send him to the reeducation department."
Chapter eight - Ignorance is Strength Edit
One month later...
Kelly came back from work, he just got a raise. He worked hard for it tough. Doing everything he was ordered to efficiently was not as easy as it sounded. But at least he gets a big paycheck at the end of each month.
He sat on the couch and turned the TV on. Soon he would have enough money to buy that home theater he had his eyes on for some time. For a second he remembered when he entered Pierre's home for the first time. He shrugged it off.
Yes. It was easier this way. Not worrying about the Truth, not worrying about the party, nothing to worry about. Only his big paycheck and buying the home theater.
He laughed. Not because of what he was thinking tough. It's just that the irish guy said udders again.
And he loved Big Brother.
Credits and disclaimer - Thank you, and goodnight Edit
Thanks to everyone that contributed to this story, either by writing, giving ideas or correcting grammar and spelling mistakes. Special thanks goes to:
- Yunzhong Hou for writing many parts of the story, thinking of different ways to tackle the same problems and for rewriting some parts to give a more futuristic feel. This story would not be the same without him.
- A good hearted anonymous person, whom used his magical powers of french understanding to give me the assurance I'm not completely devoid of them myself. You have a special place in my heart.
- George Orwell and Ray Bradbury, for their inspirational works. This story would not exist without you guys.
Now that you read the story, what about giving feedback?
This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to actual people, places and stuff like that, is a mere coincidence. Really!