More specifically 10,000 words lighter. I had two assignments due in today, both 5000 words, but I think it is the most calm I have ever been when submitting an essay! I felt organised and that my planning for them was very detailed and precise – unlike me to be honest. Not that I am a dis-organised person, but I usually just sit and write; which then ends up resembling something like verbal diarrhea. I was determined to feel happy with the pieces I submitted, rather than questioning myself and I really don’t think I could have done more….only time will tell.
Something I struggle with in my writing is using dialogue. Now I realise most good pieces have this but for some reason I am scared of using it – I seem to make it wooden. Hopefully it has worked well in the pieces and I haven’t used too much of it. I also wrote a science fiction piece for one of my modules – mega scary territory! But through trawling through different books, articles and journals I discovered that science fiction writing is actually pretty hard to define. FYI it’s not all Star Wars and Star Trek (which I was thrilled to
discover). In a previous blog post I mentioned that I was writing about utopia’s and dystopia’s in reaction to Trump becoming President. Well I think (for the first time) I’m going to share my story with you….I’m hoping it gets a good reception as it is my first time of experimenting within this genre. Hope you enjoy and if you don’t just stop reading 🙂
The Daily General
The world is now controlled by the only iPad in existence ‘The Domesday Tablet’. All other previous models and other tablets, laptops and PC’s were destroyed when The General was voted into power. “Why do you need them? You have me now. I am knowledge and power”. The General delivered this message via one of the last news broadcasts to be shown. After this The General invited his soldiers to have their own ‘bonfire’ – by burning every single piece of technology we owned. Including the television and portable radios, just in case we had access to information or other channels around the galaxy. His soldiers said he didn’t want us to travel anywhere different and telling others about our world.
A few stupid, naïve people protested and tried to stop the soldiers entering their homes. I’m not sure what happened to these people – but their screams were so loud they could have caused an avalanche. We never saw them again. Their houses were burned down and not rebuilt as a reminder to not try and fight The General – you would never win.
The trouble was, The General could literally do everything from the Domesday Tablet and I mean everything. It was a virtual world. But only one in which The General can use. Whenever he wanted to eat or drink, he could order off a virtual menu. When he ordered whatever he wanted, it would appear in front of him. However, what people soon began to realise is that whatever he ordered, it would kill the animal or go straight off the shelf to The General. This became problematic as he did this numerous times a day and so many animals were dying out and it wasn’t a sustainable way to live. Farmers were losing a lot of livestock, disease and infection were spreading through all the farms caused by all the dead animals lying about.
People began to get restless, angry and despondent with this. There were a few whispers of revolting against it and taking back our city and country. At first, there was a lot of talk about the soldiers turning on The General because they didn’t feel comfortable torturing people, blowing up other cities or countries and taking away knowledge. The General soon changed this though. I don’t know how he did it but soon they had no qualms in hurting anyone and doing as they were told. He had done quite a job on them and they were his performing monkeys.
I hated this world now. The General and the rich decided what happened. They were forming their own perfect world. Everyone else was fucked. We had to comply or end up dead. We had no choices left. Just after The General was elected into power, many people protested outside his empire as they disagreed on his policies and wanted to keep our world sacred and fair. The General had them executed publicly as an example to others not to make a nuisance of themselves and to adhere to the new society. Terror ran through everyone as they feared for their lives and families. Can’t say I blame them really; the working class and ethnic minorities were fucked under the new regime.
Through the power of the Domesday Tablet, there were no limits. From the press of a button any race, any gender or any world could now be exterminated. The only religion allowed to be followed was Jediism. All other holy books were burned and churches and mosques were now obsolete.
After all our technical devices, had been destroyed we were only allowed to read The General’s newspaper. It wasn’t very interesting. Just about his life really, almost like a diary and what his next plan was to be. We had to read it through thoroughly. If we went out in public, any public-sector employee could ask us questions about the contents of The Daily General, and if we got more than one answer wrong, we were subjected to 100 public lashes or 1000 days’ imprisonment. I often thought ending it all – but I never had the bottle.
Days turned into weeks and nothing had changed. It was getting worse. Ordinary people had lost their voices. Their passions. Their individuality. After work hours, the streets were empty. The bars and restaurants were only occupied by the rich. The ones who could pay their way out of the test. I lived in an apartment overlooking one of the city’s main streets. Every day was the same. I felt like an alien. Watching the world, I used to know turn into a distant planet. We had become robots. Adhering to rules we never agreed to.
That night, as I sat down to study The Daily General, there was a knock at the door. I knew it would be the soldiers. I never had visitors. Particularly now. Everyone wanted to avoid being questioned. “Open up” shouted the sergeant. They barged in as soon as I unlocked the door; without saying a word they ransacked the apartment. All the books and magazines I owned were put into bags and chucked out onto the street. Once they were satisfied there were no books left, they walked out of the apartment. As I looked out of the window, they had done the same to everyone. When all the houses and apartments had been searched, they set fire to the pile.
I knew this was the next stage, but of what I didn’t know. There was no point in worrying about it. I went to bed knowing that all would be clear in the morning. Saturdays used to be my favourite day of the week. A day of shopping, having brunch and afternoon drinks with friends. Now they were empty. I went shopping to get all the food and drink I would need for the week and then sit inside thinking of ways to entertain myself. I discovered a passion for writing in this time. Mainly because there was nothing else to do. I wrote about how things used to be. How it had felt to laugh. To be carefree. To be happy. To be free.
The paper came dead on 7.00. Shocked didn’t quite cover it. The General had decided now that the working class had too much knowledge. To stop that he no longer wanted us reading anything other than his paper, which had been modified for us and he wanted us to stop thinking when we were out in public. The only things we were permitted to think about were; our jobs, families and household tasks, including money management. I had to read that twice. Stop thinking? What the actual fuck?! You can’t control what goes through your head. Thoughts are sub-conscious. He knew that by taking away books, he had taken away any sort of stimulus we had at home anyway. We probably wouldn’t think now. What did we have to think about?
I read on to say that a new app had been developed by The General’s IT manager and she would be visiting each resident personally in the next week to give us all a micro-chip via the app and then our thoughts could be monitored via the Domesday tablet. Anyone caught thinking about things excluded from the permitted categories would at first get a warning – apparently even The General recognised we would need time to get used to it (how kind) – then a $1000 fine, another offence would be a 100-day prison sentence, the next one would lead to 100 lashes and the last one would result in death.
I read on to say that a new app had been developed by The General’s IT manager and she would be visiting each resident personally in the next week to give us all a micro-chip via the app and then our thoughts could be monitored via the Domesday tablet. Anyone caught thinking about things excluded from the permitted categories would at first get a warning – apparently even The General recognised we would need time to get used to it (how kind) – then a $1000 fine, another offence would be a 100-day prison sentence, the next one would lead to 100 lashes and the last one would result in death. I couldn’t believe it was happening. How would it even work? I knew I couldn’t fight it, I sighed heavily in defeat. I just had to wait for my turn.
I didn’t have to wait long. Monday evening they were pounding on my door once more. “Open up! Your turn to get chipped” one of them shouted. Chipped like a dog. I didn’t say a word as one of them held a shotgun to my head, another held my arm while one with the most rancid breath inserted the chip in me, it was just like an injection. “Now it will take around 24 hours for the chemicals to properly get into your blood stream, connect with your brain and to The General’s tablet” the ‘nurse’ told me. I had no idea how I was going to cope with this dismal situation.
The first week went by in a blur. I managed to survive unscathed up until the Saturday when I went on my usual shopping trip. The shop was empty but for guards and soldiers, anger soared through me and before I knew it I was surrounded. A soldier had a transcript of my thoughts, the tirade of abuse towards The General, how I disagreed, hated even the society in which I was being forced to live and how different it would be if there was someone normal in charge. Instead of getting the warning, I was taken into some back room of the shop. Two of the soldiers from the shop were waiting for me in there. Before I knew what was happening, I was on the floor, curled up in a ball. They were raining down blows and kicks to every part of my body. I just wanted them to put a bullet between my eyes.
When they had finished, they chucked me back out onto the streets like a common criminal. I managed to get home before allowing myself to give into the river of tears inside me. After I had finished, tended to my wounds and settled down with a cup of tea (cure all-brew my mum called it), I thought about my options. I could either adhere to The General, become a slave to his society, or I could fight. In some way. I had always been tenacious, stubborn and strong. Therefore, it was always going to be option two. But how?
I had always been intelligent. But what most people didn’t know is I had a photographic memory. Making out I studied the paper hard every night was just a disguise. I couldn’t let anyone know about my gift. I would be executed. Well probably tortured first to find out what I knew and if any of it could be used to The General’s advantage. Or even worse he would force me to work for him. I would genuinely rather die than let that happen.
In my apartment, locked away in a concealed box in the wall, was an iPad 900. I hadn’t switched it on since The General had come into power. Any internet connection would have been detected. His is the only one that can be used and as far as I was aware only a handful of people were connected to that source. And that’s only because they had to work on new apps all the time. However, in my university days I used to hack into systems for fun. Never to cause any damage, but just to prove that I could do it. It was actually easier to do than most people think it is. So many people were so lax with security back then. It was their own fault really. Anyway, now I knew I had to beat the system. There must be a way of making the micro-chip malfunction.
I knew I had to be calm and collected to do this. Nerves of steel. To access The General’s internet connection, I had block any outgoing information from my iPad to gain control to his. I grabbed some leads from the box in the wall and connected them to a power box I also had in there. Now I had to wonder, as it had been so long since anyone had connected to the internet other than The General’s tech team, would anyone notice? I had blocked the signal from my apartment long ago and prayed the protection was still in place. The iPad was slow to start. I waited tersely.
Connecting was easy – there was only one possible option. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to access it. The network security was the slackest I had ever come across. I could probably get into any top-secret document I wanted. But there was only one thing I wanted to do – crash and burn the Domesday tablet. Without it, The General would crumble.
From my iPad, I could see everything that was on his. Without making any rash decisions, I spent my time going through everything that was on The General’s. I feared accessing something dangerous or potentially causing more harm or damage. By Thursday I was convinced I had seen everything there was to see. Obviously looking through emails didn’t take long as no one could send any. Must have been quite a lonely life really. The General had profiles for all his employees – including all 3 million soldiers. I found that The General only had three average tech assistants and then his manager (who, shockingly, was female). To eradicate the chance of this happening again I knew it was time to crash the Domesday tablet, stop The General and his dictatorship of this world.
A few days passed before things started to change. People felt more alert and in control. The General couldn’t get the virtual menu to work but just assumed there had been a glitch with the internet connection and had his ‘best’ technicians onto the case. The soldiers began to suspect there had been foul play, they were whispering about a possible breach and how they hoped someone had hacked the system so their families could be safe again. As the days passed, the technicians realised what had happened. They had been hacked. And they couldn’t discover who had done it. Whenever they tried to trace the origin, a new virus went onto the Domesday tablet and crashed even more of the programmes.
I decided I should reveal myself to one of the soldiers. With their help, I knew we could pull off an assassination. It just had to be done. The ordinary people hadn’t realised their micro-chips had been manipulated. They were so brainwashed that they were just used to someone else thinking for them and their lives being dictated. There were a few people who I used to go out with who were now soldiers. I knew if they were all side, The General would have no leverage. No power. And most importantly no fear factor. Before when the tablet was working, he could destroy lives at the click of a button. I had destroyed that now though. But while he remained in power, he could always have new things invented.
It took some planning, but everything was finally in place. We were going to storm the Black palace and end this once and for all. It was a Saturday. We knew The General would be on his own then, we couldn’t afford to have anyone around us who may protect him and potentially cause us harm. We found him in his study. “And what do you want?” he didn’t even look at me as he spoke. “Your life and our world back” I replied, gesturing to the soldiers accompanying me around the room.
The General started laughing hysterically. He didn’t look me in the eye as he spoke – he clearly thought I was far beneath him – “In around 10 seconds an army of trained executioners will be here ready to shoot you on the spot so I can make a fine example out of you. I may even have you hanged for all to see. What makes you think a stupid, worthless girl is going to stop that happening?”.
Now it was my turn to laugh. “There won’t be any killers on their way. You see, while you’ve sitting on your fat arse, I’ve hacked your system. The Domesday Tablet is dead. It’s got so many viruses on it, it’s now beyond repair. No one is brainwashed anymore. They’ve got their brains back. The soldiers are united against you; your threats mean nothing now. It’s not us who’s going to die – it’s you!”.
As he turned to face us, he could see we were deadly serious. He started ranting about how he was going to change, he would be nicer, he would stop being racist; “Please give me a chance to put it right” he begged. When he looked at me I saw no remorse. He didn’t care about all the evil he had spread. He wouldn’t change.
Raising my arm, I revealed the gun. Before he could waste any more oxygen I pulled the trigger. The soldiers fired at him too – just to make sure. The General had a look of shock etched upon his face as he fell, his eyes white and wide open. The soldiers carried him out to the streets so everyone knew we finally had our world back