Mr. Favors looked at Tito with a pleased, almost perverted stare. He began tapping on the glass table that illuminated like a dozen crooked light bulbs all focused at one point. He waved his hand in the air and a diaphanous screen appeared, with a large keyboard and a thin monitor running a thousand numbers per second. Typing in a code, the screen went blank for two, three seconds, before a woman’s face appeared in the screen. Mr. Favors then waved his hand again, rerouting the whole diaphragm before the screen went blank, and a vile green hologram figure of the woman appeared between the two men.
“Mr. Lorenzo, very, very pleased to meet you. Mr. Favors has told me that you are the right man for this particular job that we have. Let me introduce myself: I am Cassandra Blanc, Vice President of Internal Affairs. What we deal with is none of your immediate concern, but do know that we hold the best interests of the North American Alliance.
You have heard of a movement called The Rise. Not a very imaginative name, granted many other names have already been in use. They are led by a woman named Janet Williams, 5’6, hazel eyes, who has an alluring voice and a genuine sentiment for the poor. The movement prides itself in having people love one another, help one another, especially those that are poor and neglected by society.”
Tito kept nodding his head, making sure his posture was upright and that his face appeared to be completely absorbed by what the woman was saying. He had a million questions surfacing to his head — why a simple Government clerk like himself, why has he never heard of Internal Affairs before, how did they know who the leader of The Rise was when they were purported to be a movement without a singular leader — but he knew such questions were not only unwarranted, but dangerous. Any question that his examiners (and he had every right to believe they were examiners, despite the fact that they wanted to enlist him for a special mission) deemed as a breach of conduct could land him in jail; worse, any statement that was considered seditious would cost him his life.
“This does not bode well for our way of life. Such way of thinking interferes with what the Government wants out of its citizens: peace, harmony, complete obedience. Do you understand?”
Tito again nodded his head profusely, wanting with all his heart to please his superiors.
“Very well Mr. Lorenzo. Our data shows that Janet was once married to a man named Alexander Ortiz. A fair-skinned man, with olive eyes, approximately six feet tall. Not built, but not husky either. He appeared to be a shy man, but could be forceful when necessary. He was killed a year ago, in a rally near Central Park. The police was trying to escort the protesters out of the park; mayhem ensued. There was a fight that broke out, laser-guns were used, fifteen people, including Mr. Ortiz, were killed. It was a huge tragedy and the bureau of Domestic Affairs went through a huge clean-up: reneged park licenses indefinitely for all protestors, shifted the blame back to The Rise, who was shown to be in the park without a permit. No grounds for lawsuits were found, several other key members arrested or otherwise detained, but Ms. Williams was not detained. After having her husband killed, we believed the movement would end.
But it grew stronger. He became a symbol for the movement and Ms. Williams is their new leader. She has assumed a role our data-people did not believe she was capable of. Given her mild history, her average intelligence, her mild-tempered personality, we did not think she was capable of successfully assuming a leadership role. The calculations are so out of her favor, it is preposterous that she has actually advanced this far!”
At this Tito jumped; high officials don’t normally yell, are usually stern, reserved, always making the appropriate statement. The only person ever afforded such behavior on a regular basis was the President, an old, round man who has been in office for the last three decades. He nodded again, trying to hide his exasperation and utter surprise at this unsightly revolt.
“You will be of use Mr. Lorenzo. You have always wanted to be of use, correct? You have always wanted to serve your country to the best of your abilities, correct Mr. Lorenzo?”
“Yes Ms. Blanc, I would like nothing more than to fully serve the state. However, I am confused as to why I have been summoned. As a simple clerk, I have heard about The Rise, have been privy to accidently walk by one of their demonstrations on my way to work, and have…” Tito stopped. He was sure he had said too much. He nodded again, not sure how to fix that which has been unsettled.
Ms. Blanc and Mr. Favors began to speak to one another; somehow Tito’s ears were muffled. It was strange to see two people talking — the hologram woman, who was as stern and vociferous as the President, talking with a man whose stare could unsettle you, that demanded more respect than any other official he had ever met without saying a word. Both were dangerous; he could sense he was in a different league of officials, walking steadfast towards a downward spiral that would lead to something new in his life, something exciting, albeit something that could cost him his life in more ways than one.
“Mr. Timothy Lorenzo, we are going to ask you to infiltrate the rabidly growing movement called The Rise for one purpose: to kill Janet Williams.”