Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

2084 Chapter 1 – The Commune

James awoke to the sound of drums. The gentle rhythm summoned him to breakfast each morning just as the light of dawn began to pour in through the canopy of the evergreen forest. There he would eat with his family each day. Not a small family by any means, James had many brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, parents, and grandparents. Together they all lived a very peaceful co-existence in what they knew to be a normal life.
James stepped out of his tent and breathed the fresh morning air. A slight chill had begun to creep into his day to day, indicating he’d soon be stockpiling wood for the winter. Though he loved the feel of the axe and the chopping motion, he didn’t like the bitter cold up here in the mountain village of Zendu. He approached the thanking table where he picked up his plate and began to receive morning breakfast from the village elders.
“Thank you, Elder Somsan”
“You’re most welcome, James! Good morning to you.”
“Good morning! Thank you, Elder Hallis.”
“You’re welcome, James, and a good morning too.”
“Good morning!”
James walked over to his normal table, though often he would sit at a new table as meeting new people was part of the every day ritual of his friends and family. In that way, everyone became friends eventually. Though by now, James knew everyone quite well and would only change tables if there was a newcomer or a new birth. Either of which would mix up the tables and break the routine. As the elders often said:
“Routine is the enemy of new friendships.”
James sat down with his favorite brother, Tim. James had just learned how to fix an old mobile smart phone with a radio connection, making it usable in the village. They often would harvest old technology from the city dumps and repurpose them for their own use. In this case, the village had its own intranet with an archive of the classic internet before the government usurpation in 2035. James had just been learning the history of that as well, though he couldn’t remember all the details.
“Tim, I found a couple of screenphones to replace the one you broke. I already wired them for direct radio on our channel. Want one?”
“Hell yeah I want one. When did you have time for that?”
“I snuck out after evening songs. There’s a hole in the playground fence.”
“Ooh, what are you doing? Won’t you get in trouble if they find out?”
“I don’t think so, they haven’t punished anyone in years. I figured it was kind of okay to explore now.”
“I don’t know, but thank you. I just don’t want you to get in trouble if it’s against the rules.”
“Well they took down the rules last year, that’s sort of an invitation to try new stuff?”
Elder Hallis had stepped behind James at some point during their conversation, having finished her breakfast duties. The rustle of grass and a quiet *ahem* alerted James that their conversation had been overheard.
“Shit… am I in trouble?” James asked with a slight tremble in his voice.
“No, no James, you are not ‘in trouble.’” Elder Hallis sat down next to James with her own breakfast in hand, then lay a comforting hand on James’ shoulder.
“You’re absolutely correct that we took down the rules to encourage exploration, and while there is some danger in going outside the fences, it is up to the individual to make the choice of whether to explore the outer boundaries or stay locked inside. Otherwise we would be no better than the Autarch Government who enforces their binding rules upon the populace.”
James gave a sigh of relief and Tim relaxed, his eyes refocusing on Elder Hallis after having been closed in anticipation of utter doom. The easing of tension after that revelation was palpable and James felt a growing love for Elder Hallis and the entire community of Zendu.
“I heard you’ve become quite adept with old technology, young James. Perhaps you could take a look at my computer where I do my writing. It’s been acting up again. I might have caught some ancient malware.”
“Yeah of course, right my morning chores I’ll come by.”
“Thank you, James, now I’ll go see Penelope over there about her evening excursion.” With that Elder Hallis picked up what remained of his breakfast and began to sidle over to another table. James tried hard not to stare at the grotesque scar behind Elder Hallis’ ear, leading to the back of her neck, from where she had surgically removed the Emissary implant. How someone could endure that level of pain and such a delicate operation at the same time baffled him. When he first learned about the procedure in school, he had the utmost respect for Elder Hallis, and was very happy that he would never have to go through such a process.
James looked up from his thoughts and saw that Tim was blushing.
“You’ve still got a crush on Penelope?” James asked. Tim nodded slowly and pulled his shirt up to cover his face, realizing he had been staring at her so long that she had looked back. She stuck out her tongue at Tim, causing Elder Hallis to also glance over at which point Tim completely pulled his head into his shirt like a snapping turtle.
“You know you can just talk to her, right Tim?”
“Shut up, James.” Tim sighed wistfully as he turned and got up from the table to recycle what was left of his meal for pig slop and return the plates to the washing area. James chuckled to himself as he finished breakfast with his parents.
“Heard you went out the walls last night,” father Freggo said in his stern but happy voice. The hint of mirth was difficult to hide and James knew he was not in trouble.
“I just wanted to get more parts for some projects.”
“Yeah, it’s okay, it’s okay. The Elders already said they were lifting the night travel ban anyways, so it’s good that you went first. I heard you were named mostly likely to be the next explorer if you keep that kind of behavior up.” Freggo couldn’t hide his smile, as becoming the next explorer in the family would both be a great honor for their family and it would continue the family tradition his own grandfather had established.
“Wow, explorer? So I could go to the city?” James asked hopefully.
“No.” Freggo immediately went cold, as he tended to whenever the topic of the city came up. Freggo preferred to avoid talking about the city so much that he got up from breakfast and left James with his mother, Anna. She sighed as she looked over James.
“You know the city is too dangerous for any form of exploration. The moment you go there you’ll be implanted.”
“What? That’s not true, there’s no law requiring implantation.” James remembered quite well from his history study that no such law existed in the Autarch government. Anna opened her screen phone to show James a picture of a mind slide. A mind slide was a photographic image that people with the Emissary Implant could take in their mind. James looked at the picture in horror as he realized what it stated. It was a rewrite of a law. The Emissary Implant was indeed mandatory for all people. Previously it had been installed at the age of 16, the same age as James was now.
Over time the age in which it was considered safe to install had been lowered, and though there was no requirement forcing people to install it, its removal was almost impossible. Primarily because no doctor wanted to be associated with Emissary removal surgery. It was both extremely dangerous, thus resulting in many deaths, and highly frowned upon by the populace as the Autarch Government had been spreading propaganda that those without the implant were ruthless beasts who could not tell right from wrong. James of course knew better.
“You see James, that’s why you can’t go to the city. They’ll implant you as soon as they find out you’re pure.” James shuddered at the thought.

posted by CommanderHate at 1:14 am  

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