2 Bad Pages a Day
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2 Bad Pages a Day

Against The Tide

#2badpagesaday (9)

Photo by Taylor Vick on Unsplash

The Reports were worrying.

On their own, each one was relatively insignificant. Aggregated — and that was his job — it was clear that patterns were forming.

Patterns.

Disruptive patterns.

The Committee did not tolerate disruption.

Reports of missed targets in the Zone 5 production facilities.

Damaged crops in Zone 6.

Missing tools in the Mining Sector way out in 7. {Bloody Zone 7 … always stacking up the Reports}

Illness in Food Production in Sector 1.

Attempted movement between Zones 7 and 6 … 4 and 3 … and, here’s the weird pattern, from the interior zones outwards. {outwards, what are they thinking?}

Unserviceability on the Autotube. Knock-on effects. Lateness. Reduced productivity. Insufficient data.

He’s pulling a late one. Compiling the Report. He’s not looking forward to handing it in. The Supervisor will not be happy. She absolutely hates disruption. Always looking for a quiet life. {aren’t we all, Boss}

But there’s no denying it.

The data, you see.

Notes taken. Incidents filed. Reports compiled.

Reports sent.

Reports read.

Consequences.

The atmosphere in the armoured vehicle bristled with menace.

Enforcement Unit Alpha was not used to being anywhere other than top of the league tables. Most arrests. Most convictions. Highest number of Deportations. Most accurate use of disabling weapons. Highest shoot-to-kill success rate.

Unit Alpha was proud of its record.

Winner of ‘Most Feared Enforcement Unit’ since the league tables were inaugurated in Year 3.

Now those upstarts at Sigma are starting to grab the headlines. The Committee’s new favourites. Up there in the Central Zone mopping up who-knows-what in the dark alleys. Easy pickings. Not like out here in 5, 6 and 7.

No problem. They want competition, they can have competition.

Bristling.

Pumped up by the Team Leader’s briefing. New Orders.

Turn up the pressure.

Too many incidents.

Come down hard.

Send out a message.

Batons slapped against palms. Palms clad in black leather gloves; the sound echoed in the metal chamber, a rhythm catching, building. Cold eyes hidden behind mirrored visors. The low rumble of the engine in idle. But the Troopers are not idling. They are silently revving themselves up.

Reports.

Reports of unrest. {unrest, for fuck’s sake}

Workers protesting about safety. Protesting. Protesting was outlawed way before the Reckoning. Year 0. The Rules.

Protests Will Not Be Tolerated

This is the second one this year. The last one was 6 guys complaining about having to work two shifts of 7 hours in a day. Lazy bastards. They get fed, accommodated, free entertainment, and a day off for Founding Day. Lazy.

Reports.

Protests. The second one in a year.

Orders.

Stamp down on it. The boys in Alpha have been together long enough to know what that means. Most of them are veterans of the Repressions. Most of them have done the hard miles. Local Vigilante groups. Repelling migrant invasions. Suppressing those radical industrial workers … what were they even called back in the day … Unions?

Stamp down on it.

Literally.

Stamp.

The rhythm of the batons in strong hands.

Ratcheting up the tension. And tension needs an outlet. Just give the order; release the Dog Soldiers of Enforcement Unit Alpha. There are heads to crack.

They stood in line.

Lined up against the concrete wall of the delivery area.

Wreathed in smoke from the fire someone had lit in an old oil drum. It felt familiar somehow.

They knew it wouldn’t end well.

These things never end well.

But … but …

These things have to be done.

Steeling themselves.

Through the smoke, and their frosted breath, the armoured vehicles sit. Two vehicles. Eight Troopers in each. They’ve all seen the Awards Ceremonies. The staged reenactments of Repressions. Heavily armoured Troopers spilling out of heavily armoured vehicles. Actors laid low with heavy clubs — good actors, the blood and the groans are realistic. Made up as Migrants. Actors? Maybe.

They know what is coming.

Thirteen brave souls. Strong, proud men. Workers who remember when they had Rights. Hard workers who are used to tough conditions.

Thirteen brave men. Willing to put themselves in the firing line. Drawing ire and eyes.

Thirteen men.

Committed to the need for distraction. Seven minutes. That’s all they need.

A lot can happen in seven minutes.

Tools can be stolen. Data can be hacked. Borders can be crossed. Doors unlocked. Messages exchanged. Ideas shared. Memories evoked.

For seven short minutes, Resistance is no longer futile.

Seven minutes … thirteen brave souls. Selfless men.

Seven long minutes. Bone-crushing minutes. Painful moments. Long-lasting scars. A price to pay. The ultimate price, perhaps.

Seven. Minutes.

Resistance is NOT futile.

The Klaxon sounds.

The heavy armoured doors swing open.

The 13 brave men finger the metal tools hidden behind their backs.

And so it begins.

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A dystopian imagining of a time in the near future; a time when Citizens are slaves to shadow’y figures who control the resources, the levers of power, and the narrative. Slowly, the seeds of dissension are sown as people are called to change. It is in their Nature.

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feastsandfables

feastsandfables

A life well-lived; celebrating people, places and purpose; an encouragement to stay curious, optimistic and adventurous. Newsletter, every Sunday, 6pm sharp.