Monday 23rd February
Another excerpt I am afraid. Read and discover just what our poor journal writer was thinking and writing back in 2066. If he only knew what was in store for him…
“Some people even think that the whole concept of rebs is invented, made up to keep us all shit-scared. But of course, no-one ever says that out loud. Even on the political fora, it’s only spoken of in a jokey way. “I wouldn’t be surprised if…” sort of comment. You are sort of safe if you make it jokey, as if you don’t even believe it yourself. But apparently they’ve done it throughout history. Kept us scared I mean. There were ‘commie’ threats a hundred years ago, and then all that ‘Al-Quaeda’ stuff in the noughties. It’s a good way to control everyone; to have a constant external threat stops you thinking about the internal one (which might just be them of course). Mind you, it is simply impossible to believe that they have invented those sab-explosions they show all the time on Disnews, with the bodies being ripped apart and the blood and the screaming and all of that. That must be real, they couldn’t fake all of that; it can’t all be made up to keep us quiet. Can it? And if that is real then the whole reb movement and the subnet must exist too. Otherwise why would the con-gloms throw so much cred at it? And the whole superspy network they use, the fact that we are all watched, what is it all for, if there isn’t a real threat, if the rebs don’t exist at all? If it didn’t matter, if it weren’t real, then why would anyone bother?
Anyway this is just me, my plea for help, for a bit of understanding in this shitty world we are stuck in. I am not looking to change anything, I could never be that optimistic. I just need a way of putting down my thoughts in a private, an unguarded way so that I can try to understand just how we got here; so that maybe I can euthenase one day in some sort of tranquillity, at peace with myself, rather than being scared and angry and confused, all at the same time. I just want to write it down to prove that I even exist at all.”
-[And that was the first entry Janek Smith ever made. A bit melodramatic, don’t you think? More than slightly over the top, wouldn’t you say? Looking back, he was always a bit of a strange one I suppose. You know the sort of kid, the one who doesn’t really ever get into any trouble, an average score-card at crammer, reasonable but not remarkable attainment levels, he sits quietly at his terminal and hardly contributes to anything, apparently working hard and his grades are just above average so the teachers don’t really bother to notice him. He keeps his head down and keeps himself to himself, the sort of kid who teachers tend to forget because they never really noticed them in the first place. There must be hundreds like him in every crammer, but maybe just one in ten thousand is a potential reb. And of those, very few ever actually become one.
All in all he has led a pretty ordinary life, nothing to arouse any suspicion anyway. He indulged in the usual youthful peccadilloes; caught smoking cigarettes at fifteen, even though they were practically illegal by that point, and certainly pretty hard to come by. He visited a few ‘prozzies’ in his mid-teens, all legal of course by then, so no danger of disease – a pretty safe option really. And after crammer he was one of the luckier ones and was selected for Uni – a minor one, CovCentral. He didn’t excel, he was never top of his class, or bottom either. He just did okay, reasonable grades, nothing remarkable. He majored in computer engineering, which should maybe have given the authorities a clue, have flagged him up in some way. But, surprising as it might seem, statistically those studying the computer sciences are much better at adapting to change than most other groups. He smoked a little cannabis, mostly at parties and hardly ever on his own but at that time it was still tolerated so long as it wasn’t contaminated with tobacco. He even tried illicit alcohol one time, but was sick as a dog on unfiltered hooch so never did it again. Joining the NewLab party in his early twenties was the height of his disaffection, but he never actually went to any meetings or spoke out on anything, just a comment here and there on his constituency website. His membership lapsing by the time he was twenty-six, he never renewed it or has since shown any real interest in politics or protest movements, clicking one or two on-line petitions in his thirties, but nothing since then at all. So far, so normal. Boring? Yes, but most lives are boring, if you bother to analyse these things.
He married a girl he met at Covcentral; Cathy Whitstable. They co-habbed for a couple of years then split up. They both had a few new partners and Cathy certainly had a high percentage of one-time casuals in that time. They kept in touch however by old-fashioned and almost history-by-then e-mail, and used to compare and chat and laugh about their different sexual encounters, no doubt getting quite a kick out of confiding with the only person they felt that they really knew, or more importantly the only person they thought they might trust with this knowledge. Maybe talking about sex afterwards with an old partner was more exciting than actually doing it. Who knows? People have always been mixed-up about sex.
In their late twenties they started meeting up and going out for drinks together, ‘just for old-time’s sake’. Inevitably they slept together, but now it was so much better. This time they weren’t simple ingénues, sexual beginners, tentative lovers; now they knew, really knew what turned each other on. They had learnt from the Porn-Ed channels and even without artificial stimulants managed to achieve mind-blowing orgasms every time. And it was so wonderful that they decided to start living together again, and that inevitably led to marriage and the standard two children. Both grown up and fledged by now, they see each other only two or three times a year, but Cathy keeps in regular touch with both of them on VisU.
But that was thirty years ago; thirty seemingly unremarkable years; steady progress up the strata; a nice apartment; a real garden in the air (small, but a garden after all); good crammers and Uni for the kids and no major health problems – everyone’s perfect dream; surely. So what started ticking in Janek’s brain to turn him from decent law-abiding citizen into a potential (or a possible at least) reb? And let no-one be under any illusion what he has described in his opening diary entry is not only dangerous, but highly subversive. If we, the authorities, ever discovered it Janek would find himself in a whole lot more trouble than he has imagined. There is a war going on and Janek is in danger of giving encouragement to the enemy. If he hasn’t actually started to become the enemy anyway of course.