I started this serial several years ago, and as yet it is not completed. I did lose interest in it for years, as when I first put it online, after four months I was posting more pages than I was getting readers.
THE INDIE WARS
The elders remember a time when people were able to go to libraries to read the Word. Whether for information or pleasure the Word was available. Now, those once magnificent buildings stand desolate and unused; their innards got strewn to the far corners on the winds of our barren land; where we once had peace now there is noise and flashing lights; where we had books, papers, and learning materials; all which remains is a pile of ash. Each day the firemen bring out the books and burn them in the square of the Game Lord and each day more is lost and can never be found. Many of the great writers of our time have fled the cities for fear of being hunted or ridiculed.
The wars came about because the Game Lords feared their control of the minds of the young would never be total while books and the Word was available. So they sent machines from the skies with the ability to burn all things to cinders, what survived the war became ruthlessly hunted down by firemen, these men came equipped with flamethrowers to burn any remain books and papers. Some of us escaped to the empty lands and tried to start again, to lead a revolt to combat this evil which had spread out of control.
Anybody who sought the Word was hunted and publicly decried as heretics to the new masters of the touchscreen games. Years have passed since the purges began, at first, we thought this phase was not going to last, but as the Word got less, the power of the game grew faster. People with inquisitive minds need to do things to be creative, and these games began to choke our thoughts.
We at the Towers of Enlightenment remember how the terror started. One person saw a Game and started to play, as others nearby watched the enjoyment and ease with which pleasure had been achieved with little trouble; the craze grew. We thought at first “Just a craze which will pass,” sadly the phase did not pass but grew and the more the stage grew, the more the Game Lords controlled the minds of the young.
This new craze grabbed its addicts and spread like a fire, fuelled by the lack of the need for learning. The faster the games spread their destructive ways, the quicker the Word shrank and the faster our need lessened until now we were not allowed to be seen in public. We cowered in the shadows for fear those of us who wished to use the power of the Word, maybe be betrayed and our books burned in the square of the Game Lords; this is further proof of the power which their terror grips the cities.
Even though the Game Lords continued to try and crush our hopes, some of the writers fled to the empty lands and wrote about the terror in the cities. Out in the desolate and barren wastelands, where nobody dares to travel without protection against ravaging hordes of gangs. The Word thrives as we send the Word across the airwaves and on to radio signals. In the hope, more will receive the Word and turn away from the Game.
Our hope is for these few desperate words to have the ability to reach the minds of the young; some of the young may not yet to be corrupted by the Game and wish to know the pleasure of the Word. To these young and very active minds, we aim to destroy the grip of the Game. The time of the return of the Word is our wish. We hope there will be many who wish to follow in our steps as they find our ways on the waves of the radio beacons. Those long since forgotten senders of news and entertainment, ancient records tell us these beacons are located, these had been the only means of contact and communication before the Word became available, people would gather near their receiver to listen to anything they may be able to hear. There are still a few who may be able to use these beacons, but they fear being found, so contact is brief.
Last night we picked up a brief and hardly audible signal sent from another city; the message was short and said, “Word seekers amass, our time is approaching. Meet at your designated areas.” This message gave new hopes to our cause. They were talking as though groups gathered in set zones. We realized they could not be seen in public, so we needed to send coded messages to the games.
The Game Masters who controlled the airwaves keep trying to block the signals, but we can switch channels before they can track us. Always a step ahead of the Game, it is the only way. We are using old technology and long forgotten talents our message gets sent to the growing crowd; eager to learn of the Word. We realized they dare not be seen, yet we hoped their numbers grew.
Our leader Kabel sat in her chair listening to the short messages coming over the air; she turned to James, the radio technician and said: “Where do you think they are meeting?”
Listening to the broadcast for outward signs of the location he replied, “The only meeting places where they can listen safely would be the disused radio buildings on the outskirts of town. These buildings have alleyways which led to safe areas which are well hidden, from the days when the Game was young, and violence became the creed. In those dark times, the alleyways gave us protection.”
Lost in her thoughts of the years gone and struggles fought Kabel commented, “We needed to keep guards out and have a signal to warn the readers. We were hunted like vermin until the only way remaining was to go underground. We had secret meeting Places-designated Areas- mostly in the houses of trusted friends and families.”
James continued her thoughts as he said, “Soon though; it got too dangerous to even for those close to hide us. Always watching what we said in case somebody leaked our locations and Designated Areas to the Game; their reward for the information; a choice of a top game.”
Alanov Mexim, one of the top Russian thinkers, until he got hounded across the Republic and became a non-person living outside authority. No right to anything and left to fend for himself continued with the conversation, “I didn’t know what to do. The Word had been banned, and my mind needed an outlet; never having had much contact with the Game I sought out others like me.”
From the far corner of the room, the tall and elegant Stevenarc Joyley commented, “Things didn’t get quite that bad here; we had been forced to accept the Game, and we were forced to hide in corners and alleys as we sought the Word. The fight must continue, we have to win back the minds of those too young to realize the joys of the Word.”
James walked around the table; we could see he had something on his mind as he scratched his chin and ran his fingers through his hair in puzzlement, then said, “Those towers are still active, and the technology can be used. We need the people to activate them, after that we can achieve widespread coverage.”
“Do you think those people are still around and if so how can we contact them, James?” Alanov asked.
James kept walking and thinking, but replied to Alanov, “I have some of my contacts from the early days; we use the old systems as we find it’s the best way to beat the Game. They use high technology to track us, but our older methods can pick up the frequency flutter with a few seconds.”
Kabel got up from her seat and went to join James, who was watching the sands move across the deserts from a vantage point at the large window on top of the tower. “We can use the old systems to contact them, and they can take it to those who can’t get to the masts.”
Alanov paced the room like a lion awaiting its next kill, his mind troubled by recent events in his former homeland, “I would like to add a word of caution before we get too excited. How do we know this message is real and not a trap by the Game?”
James replied, “We didn’t want to build our hopes up; Kabel asked me to track the signals for weeks. They’re always on old frequencies, lower than those used by the Game and never more than a quick burst and never from the same position twice in a row.”
Alanov said, “I’m still not so sure the message isn’t a trap.”
Before anybody had a chance to talk, Kabel said, “We understand your trepidation; you were hounded from your homelands. Believe me, and I want to believe we have found allies as much as anybody, but I am still airing on the side of caution.”
Stevenarc rose from her chair and said, “We are reasonably certain that they are genuine, Alanov. We listened to sounds of the sirens of the firemen in the distance in each call, and I tracked their messages to remote beacons, which are long since disused, most of the beacons are in desolate areas and cannot be reached easily.”
“That is my point, Stevenarc, if you can track them; perhaps the Game located their signal too,” Alanov said as he nervously paced the floor.
James sensed an argument might be building, so he cut in to calm the situation, “With our keen antennae and listening posts, we are staying ahead of the Game, most of the time. Their problem is arrogance leads them to believe their ways are the only ways and they became lax in their searches for beacons, believing only the ones they are registering are working, whereas there is a small number which specialized operators were able to bring to life again.”
Alanov remained unconvinced the message was not a trap “Even so, we can’t take the risk of getting caught; only a few of us need to go. The rest will stay in case the group gets compromised.”
James gave a wink to Kabel as he replied, “Spoken like a true resistant!”
Alanov turned on James and snarled, “This may be the case, James, but I have seen men fall for the Game in front of me as we tried to escape such traps, brave men whose loss I mourn and will never forget.”
“WHOA!” James called out, “I tried to compliment you; there is no need to bite my face off.”