Printed from WriteWords -

swaps pt 3

by  scarborough

Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Word Count: 1425
Summary: our two heroes settle in. and some exposition. gotta have that exposition...
Related Works: Swaps • Swaps pt 2 • 

Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

And that was that; we'd found our new resistance movement to join. Considering we now knew the alternative to joining was summary execution, it seemed like a good idea to try and settle in. We all know how good I am at keeping my head down, don't we? Whilst that persistent voice in my head kept telling me that we were in over our heads with this group of slick professionals, I did my best to ignore it, and to fit in.

That was quite a job in itself; to call this bunch of revolutionaries odd didn't quite cover it. For a bunch of idealists, rebelling against the grand fucked nature of society, and building something new, they were worse than everybody else. No-one seemed to talk to anybody else, unless it was some matter of the grand purpose. It was a workplace, not a home. What made things worse was the sheer size of the place. Safe house was huge, sprawling, and capable of holding far more people than they actually had. And the decor! All white walls and impersonal functionality. Going down to the kitchen from the dorm rooms felt like wandering through a maze. It was oddly isolating, too; even if you did bump into someone in those lonely corridors, they'd just grunt at you, before rushing on, always in more of a hurry than you. Everyone was working to a schedule. It was like being back at work in the outside, the way the Copyrights wanted.
The thing that started to get to me was the number of meetings they had, and how little was actually said or done. Every one of them had their specific areas of expertise, and spent pretty much all of their time telling everybody else that things were very promising. At least, that's what I think the meetings were about. Being new and as yet unknown quantities, Me and Sarah didn't get invited to many. No-one knew what we were good at. There was probably a regular brainstorming session held to discuss what should be done with us. They did lay one on for us, though. Thought that was kind of nice.

It was chaired by the grey-haired woman that had driven me part of the way. That was when I learned her name was Natasha.
"The purpose of this comittee," she began, "is twofold. First off, it is an opportunity for formal induction, for newcomers such as Simon and Sarah here. It is also intended to provide an open forum for general discourse as to the overall aims of this resistance movement, and our progress towards this objective. As most of you are aware, we are making steady progress, and have grown significantly over the last six months, with numerous electronic infiltrations, and two sabotage operations going successfully in the lower Thames Valley, which as of yet have not been traced back to ourselves. We have also begun pro-active recruitment; Simon and Sarah, you are the latest to join us, but prior to our mission to rescue you, we have also liberated seven people held in Copyright facilities, and marked as potential threats. They sit around this table with you."

At this, the grizzled-looking man with the cropped hair next to me nodded in response, and smiled at me, as did several others. He frightened me, I have to admit. He seemed more like hired muscle than one of those slick technicians who had rescued me. I wondered where they were finding these people, what their criteria was. Being a mouthy type, I couldn't help but stick my hand up.
"Yes, Simon?" she said with a hint of impatience.

"Where are you getting us from? How do you know where to find your recruits?"

She smiled, thinly. "Good question. At the moment, we are recruiting from other resistance movements, as and when they become significant enough to come to the Copyrights' notice. The main difficulty faced by any opposition to the Copyright scheme, as identified by Matthew, has been the sheer impossibility of finding potential allies, when human interaction is so closely monitored. Our primary advantage, however, is our knowledge of the Social Index technology. It allows us to monitor potential Revolutionaries, as they monitor the population for utility. We are using their technology against them."

I have to admit, I was impressed.

"So you pick us on our capabilities? What are we here for?" It was a genuine enough question; I was wondering what the hell I could contribute to this slick, professional operation.

"At the moment, we don't know what you are good for," came the reply. The grizzled man sniggered. I'm sure I saw that Natasha. Sarah seemed a little taken aback, too.

"But you must have some idea how we can help?" she asked, in a small voice.

"No, not yet." came the answer. "But initially, the primary quality we are looking for is the fact that you do not fit in. The methods we use are complex, as you will learn, but our guiding principles- well, they're hardly rocket science. We are simply looking for those people who for whatever reason, reject the status quo. Take Darius here," she said, gesturing towards my overly cheerful neighbour. "He's here because the Social Index doesn't understand him."
Darius grinned. "I'm a genuine freak."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"It means, that my behaviour, my motivational patterns, do not make sense when subjected to statistical analysis." he said, his face impassive. "They kept moving me around, taking me from place to place, identity to identity. Never did much good. They just didn't know If I was doing good or not."
Natasha smiled. "He's a genuine one-off. The only individual that the Social Index couldn't compute. It was causing the Copyright group that owned him all kinds of headaches."
"Maybe you should have left him where he was," I snorted.
He smiled at me. A big, wide smile that seemed full of warmth. Made my skin crawl.
"Of course, this lot don't know what to make of me either" he said. "It isn't easy being complicated." he leaned in towards me, a little closer than I like. Well, no way I was having some freak get under my skin.
"Maybe you're just simple," I replied. "nothing for their algorithms to assess? You put junk in, you get junk out, I always heard."

Now, normally when I'm blatantly rude to someone's face, I can tell how they're going to react. Take Sarah; if I'd just called her an idiot, her smile would have vanished, then she'd have tried hard to show she wasn't bothered, and scowled at me for being an ass. Maybe she'd punch me. Natasha, well, she was seeming like more of an icy stare type of girl. Darius, however, he just- didn't respond. There was no expression on his face, it was like it froze solid. He sat back in his chair, out of my personal space again. Was he angry, amused, what? Guess Natasha was right. I found myself edging away from him.

"If you've quite finished," she continued, "We anticipate an increasing number of these missions as and when the opportunity arises. Information will come from the Networking committee. For the benefit of newcomers, again, the networking committee has responsibility for hacking into the Copyright database, and monitoring trends in the Social Index, looking for anything we can exploit. They are also our primary form of cover. They can erase records, cause localised problems in the Copyrights' monitoring equipment, even use the Electronics they use for crowd control on Copyright agents, or the public if needs be. In time, we expect to expand this area of our operations. We will continue to piggy-back along within the Social Index, and through our interventions, subvert the Copyrights' network to such an extent that its efficacy is entirely compromised. We can then make our move, overtly, against the individuals who control the copyrights, and destroy the heads of that organisation. At that point, our operation will wither away, and society will revert to its previous, free-form state."
"that's your plan?" I said.
"yes, Simon. That is the plan."
I had to admit, this was a bit more than the petty bombing campaigns, pointless symbolic gestures of defiance like Natasha had tried. I had this ominous feeling, however; something was going to lead to trouble. The life I've led, and the things I've done, you need to trust that feeling for trouble.
"It's glorious!" said Sarah.
Once again, I held back a sigh.