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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1) - The Secret Cell

Submitted: February 14, 2019

Reads: 27

Comments: 1

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Submitted: February 14, 2019



We meet for coffee at an intimate café across from Notre Dame. I choose a deeply shadowed alcove right at the back.

“They always laughed at us,” I say, “Our comrades on the left. The way we always insisted on party names, no getting married or family life, how hard we made it to join. Always we were preparing to go underground, to operate secretly.”

Céline is not interested in politics, but she does like a good story.

“So Lutte Ouvrière had the last laugh?” she asks with a smile.

“I'm still here, for sure, in a highly clandestine organisation - unlike the rest of the left. But we can barely operate.”

I point across the tables to a lamp post visible on the bridge.

“See that small grey box near the top, way above eye-line? Most people never notice it. For those who do, the story is that it's just part of the city Wi-Fi network.”

She nods, vaguely paying attention.

“They don't mention the miniaturised CCTV, the microphones, the laser which bounces off windows monitoring conversations. There's an AI inside that box which captures number plates, recognises people, listens to street talk for trigger phrases.”

All this tech talk is beginning to bore her.

“You want another coffee?” she says brightly.

“Listen, I'm getting there. Used to be we could meet in rooms above bars and clubs. Not any more. The systems track the streets. Anomalies highlight meetings, then they listen in. Sure, we're careful, we haven't been arrested yet, but we're paralysed. But perhaps, with your help, there's a way?”


We take to meeting in the Vorwärts building at Rue Sainte-Anne in the 1st arrondissement. The room is booked as an artists workshop. Céline had set this up weeks ago, as a passe-temps for her and her friends.

Our cadre group, now signed-up members of the Macron vehicle, conducts its less artistic business in an adjoining - windowless - room, one we've carefully swept for bugs. We develop our party line, plan our brave little flash-manifs, upload articles to our Swiss-hosted Internet site .. .

For a while, everything goes swimmingly.

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