The Quiet City

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is my science fiction story about the future of our world. It has a lot of political satire. It is unfinished. I would like some feedback here and maybe input on how to continue.

Submitted: January 29, 2008

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Submitted: January 29, 2008

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This story is about a quiet city. It’s a story about a decaying world, one that reflects a civilization in which an evil Empire had been created, a monster that is our fault alone. It is a story beginning in a time wet with conspiracies and ripe with foul agendas, protected secrets, and a project that no one yet could understand. For nearly 200 years has the memory of a once-powerful city remained solely in our minds, while its broken walls, ruined towers, and highways lay buried deep within its filth.
 
I live in The Quiet City. It is a peaceful city with no crime and no poverty. It is also decently protected and has enough imported goods for us to live comfortably. Although it is considered one of our country's "best" cities, The Quiet City does not come with a happy story. This city was once the sole Capitol of our country. It was once called The White City. It was called this until the attacks that led to the falling of the Empire, by a biological terrorist attack that had practically wiped out everyone.
 
 
*******************************************************************
 
 
At first no one knew where the virus had come from. All knew that most of its people would die. Diseases wiped out many if not thousands of lives. No matter how terrible it was, our country could not do anything to stop it. It spread...and could have threatened other cities as well if it had not finally been gotten under control. People discovered the source of the Virus.
The virus was found to be spread throughout the city water.
 
 The water had been unclean and unsafe, but that still didn't explain how the virus had gotten to the White City's water supplies. Days went by and nothing could be done about it. Day by day the death toll climbed the charts. The virus was unstoppable and nothing could be done to cure it. It was fatal to all who got infected. Finally, after days of silence and emptiness, our country got the germs under control, when this City was finally repopulated, it had been renamed The Quiet City.
 
 
Despite that The Quiet City is so polluted, it thrives. Despite its mechanical fumes and hazardous chemical waste reservoirs, it is the most free of corruption and it’s still a completely safe place to live. Only the very wealthy live here, in this almost surreal city, where decapitated remains of our machines perform their daily tasks, machines we’ve created for only us. We are asked to participate, cooperate, doing what is necessary to survive. The Quiet City could be compared to an elephant graveyard with bones made of steel, and from the stench of toxic gas we can smell its rotting corpses.
 
 
There was a time once when we had more opportunities to change the world we lived in...When the beast had not taken over our land and put us to work for it, had we not surrendered our hopes as we had yet trembled before its all seeing eyes. There was once a time of Peace, of disobedience, of chaos. If you think about it, it is truly beautiful compared to the quietude of passive acceptance.
There was a time when humans were free. They were individuals with choices. They had their own minds, and they didn't have to slave away just to live and they didn't live for this beast that inhabits our homeland today. But that was a time when things were still good.
There is yet to be a standing history of a long-ago Nation, here, in our Capitol, where the words that have survived all wars in all but their meager and fragmentary form are analyzed and reorganized. There are the secrets mingled with accumulated myths and legends of the coming beast. There are the conspiracies, they always seem to pull me in and capture my interest.
 
 
 
Only now through electronic records can we decipher all that once had been of a great Nation. In These remnants of our ancestry contain all that can be derived from references in the Old Order and the compilations of classical myths of human acts of justice.
And still there's nothing left of our future, only the past remains in a form we are forced to dissect.
 
As we march on towards the New World Order, centuries of human progress are being fed in through these mindless machines…only with these bitter recollections that we gather, through our willpower and constant speculations, do we have the chance to ever unveil the real truth. What was Project Zero? As my friends and I gather more and more memory sticks we are drawing ever closer to the ultimate truth about Project Zero.
 
Will it ever be passed under the scrutiny of our future scholars? This is something that we all have hoped for. As all and all history still remains the same, only through changing the past can we change a world blinded by our own human folly. We learn to recognize patterns that influence this new world we live in now.
 
 
 
There were intervals of silence that our cultural influence seemed to perpetuate. Our City was hot with anger and protestors lined the streets with signs screaming for answers. And although their voices were not strong enough to shake the walls of the Empire, they were loud enough to be heard across the world.
 
Who were the responsible terrorists? Who was related to them? Who were the ones responsible for the constant stream of attacks on our City? These were questions that had been asked for so long. And always there was, the why? What justifies your rights over ours? There is a bombardment of thoughts that keep screaming: They're our Hostile Enemies! They need to be punished. WE need to be safe.
As propaganda traveled far and wide through vast cities of the coast reaching the Intersecting streets of the rich and spread across the world more and more questions were raised. The consequences to the migrations of truth transformed peoples all over the world.
 
People wanted to know and it could not be kept a secret for any longer. A sudden surge of rebellion threatened our leaders agendas. All eyes were upon them now. They became our leader's criminals. Somehow, the questions diminished like faded false reflections, all surrendered silently. Silence is all that we seem to remember now.
 
 
It was a seemingly over proportioned conspiracy, the agenda against terrorism. When the intelligence of the attacks was bruited abroad, who was concerned in it? Who had our interests in mind? It seemed our leader had had dreams of re-establishing a democracy. Yet our only Democracy had failed long ago.
Now all our secret information is gathered through trade.
 
We collect memory sticks from friends with common interests through the underground network. My name is Iris; I once worked for the bad guys. Yet, my mission as a historian had not always been to erase the truth. I was once a part of a system that was specifically brought about to educate the people about their past.
Things have changed since then.
 
 
 
 
~*~
 
 
In the Airport, Tuesday September 12
 
Iris walks into the airport and goes directly to the changing room. A large policewoman checks her pockets. Then she removes her jacket. The woman checks the pockets of the jacket, sniffs it, and then commands her to move along.
 
Iris always hated the changing rooms. Everyone did. This was the only way that they could be sure no intruders or terrorists, or black market traders could come aboard the plane.
 
 
The plane takes off and Iris looks down at the palm trees, streets, and city lights as the sandy shore disappears.
“Goodbye…” She whispers to the Quiet City as it gradually fades from sight.
 
 
 
 
-Star City-
Iris reaches the motel, gazes up at the statue in front of the door and smiles to herself. She is feeling rather well today. As Iris hands the guard her pass to inspect it, she looks about her. She’s far away from her home. She is far away from anything that she recognizes as safe.
 
Once Inside her room, she takes off her shoes and leans back slowly getting onto the bed. The lights go out and Iris falls asleep. In her sleep come the soft echoes that have haunted her all her childhood. "Will you help us?" a boy cries out.
Iris wakes up at seven and quickly puts on her blue jeans and t-shirt, throwing a purse over her shoulder as she enters the lobby.
Iris walks up to the breakfast table and dishes out breakfast. She eats quietly, deep in her thoughts. Then she grabs a quick cup of coffee and carries it with her as she leaves through the narrow passage out into the busy street. She's heading for the subway. The subway will take her to downtown where she will take a bus in through the museum entrance.
 
 
 
 
-12:00-
 
The subway takes her in through the inner city and into the city's main downtown area. Here, Iris catches a bus that should take her in through the gate to the museum. Once inside Iris should find her friends who are also scheduled to be meeting her there. There she will discuss with them the plan.
After three stops and two miscalculations Iris finally gets off the bus and rushes towards her destination by foot. As she passes through the busy sidewalk she can suddenly hear the faint sound of a whisper.
 
“Hush” it says as she looks around.
“Hush, turn around sweetheart.”
Iris turns around and around until finally she looks up where she can see the Camera. She hadn’t realized they still had them in this section of the City. After all, crime was completely non-existent.
 
“Look this way!”
 
Iris doesn't respond, instead she hurries along the street. She knows that she is being monitored and her every move is still being recorded, even where she goes. The government had cameras installed everywhere throughout their country, even outside of The Quiet City. This had to be a security camera.
 
There was rumor that Star City was the only place where the Virus hadn’t yet manifested. Although it wasn’t true, the leaders of The Quiet City had complained that the virus had been brought in through a foreign immigration. Therefore, the immigration had been heavily restricted. Immigrants were once highly valued to our society before the virus threatened to wipe everyone out completely.
 
Iris enters the entrance to the big museum; on her way through she can hear the soft music of a guitar. The music is beautiful and it captures her attention for a few minutes, it's as if she's been pulled into another dimension. There is a man playing classical guitar music by the Museum's entrance, as she tosses him a few coins she can't help but wonder, why is this man who plays the most lovely music forced to wait here by the entrance all day just for a few spare coins. But she can't stop herself, not when she's "back to business."
 
 
Iris had been working to erase the truth for some time, in a boring office she worked day and sometimes late shifts, there in The Quiet City, but the silence overwhelmed her. She hated stuffy offices, hated working for a boss, and even though she didn't know it yet, she truly hated what she was doing and who she was serving behind the desk.
 
She loved it when she could skip work and often went to the beautiful buildings, strolling through the tunnels over paths into more tunnels, all encased in thick glass. She loved especially going to the library where she would "Do my job" as she put it "...only with pure professionalism"
 
 
 
She loved history since she was young. And that is what got her involved with The League of Dreams, an underground organization that became a movement right in the 3070's...it came about in defense of the very thing she didn't know she was a part of. It was a movement against the current and she was working for a non-specific stream of it.
 
It was nothing in particular that she did for her boss. She simply worked on her computer all day like most people did, editing non-specific details...covering basic information: she thought essentially she was restoring peace to the world, by keeping a record of all that had gone on in her City's and even her world's history.
 
 
She had become passionately involved with her work, in meetings she was decisive and interrogative. Her studies were not inconclusive but her findings were immense. After all, history had survived and with the hope that "What happened in the past won't happen again" maybe someday, not sure how or when, but someday somehow there would be world peace. Because everyone wanted peace...or so she thought.
 
 
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"Jason!" Iris calls out to him, he's in the back of the room hiding behind another boy.
"It's alright! I'm only here to help you."
"It'll hurt! He cries."
"I'm just going to give you a shot of fluid. It will help you. You won't be...you'll be in very much less pain."
 
"Please..." He whispers...Iris's heart is beating quickly, when he whispers like that, is so desperately pleading with her to let him suffer just because he is afraid. They aren't supposed to tell it to them, they don't want the children to be scared, but his disease is fatal. It's better this way.
 
 
"Honey/.." she lowers her voice. "You're sick..."
"Tell me..."
"You've got a bad...You've got to get this or you'll be in pain."
 
"But i don't want to!" The nurses come in to assist.
They take him away to another room. The other boy steps forward towards the doctor who is now standing next to the young iris.
The doctor bends down, taking his arm in his hand. "It's alright; this is going to hurt just for a moment."
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No one knew how the virus had gotten there. Like the one that had wiped out their city so long ago, it was mysterious and it was brutal. But this one required a vaccine every twenty four hours. If they didn't get their vaccines they would go into terrible bouts with pneumonia and cough up blood, "the last choke" was a terrible word they used for these last moments of the death from the Virus.
 
"Please. Help us!"
 
 
Iris, from the moment she set foot inside the hospital, had known that she wanted to help someone. She knew it before she got her job but she had always had this deep feeling...I want to help people. Now, she was doing just that, just like she had done four years ago working and caring for the children. Children who would only see their parents rarely, who had barely the chance to get an education because the schools didn't want them...they wanted the future supposedly..."Children! Are the future.." She had stammered. "Not Child. I mean all of them. Every last one of them!"
 
 
Now everything, everyone, all circumstances had pointed her in this direction. She was helping someone, someone specifically, and even if she knew who he was... she still didn't know his name.
She didn't know his name, didn't even know exactly where he was but she did know he was here in Star City. She knew that much.
Why her friends didn't tell her his name, she was unsure of.
 
She knew he had been a part of The League Of Dreams once and that he had been somehow taken hostage somewhere. The whereabouts they believed to be was somewhere within the massive detention camps that Star City was known for. This is where they held people for crimes against cities from all over the country. Most likely, he would have to be somewhere in this massive city, one larger than The Quiet City.
 
 
-The Meeting-
 
"Tom, Bella, Iris, I'm glad you three could make it."
 
"Yes, Finch, we are very excited to be a part of this." Bella smiled as she spoke softly in the corner of the museum's largest libraries.
 
Three cameras watched ominously from the entrance to the library but here, in between the shelves of books, no one would be able to see nor would be suspicious of their meeting.
 
"Tom, shall we begin?" Finch continues.
 
"Sure we will." Tom replies.
 
"As you all know now, hopefully, you three were specifically called to be a part of this mission... although without prior knowledge as to the full details of it. And your willingness to cooperate has been greatly appreciated by all members across and throughout. Thank you very much for being here, for this is going to be quite an adventure."
 
"And we'll be in safe hands?" Bella asks Finch.
 
"Bella, I'm going to ask you a question. You, as a member of the LOD do know that any mission such as this is completely unrestricted. Do you understand that this mission we are about to embark on will have horrendous consequences upon us all if we are to fail."
 
"Yes. I understand."
 
Eager to be a part of the mission Bella sacrifices her own fearful concerns. It's her curiosity that is pulling Bella beyond this potential conflict of interests with Finch. Quietly nodding along she continues,
 
"I think...we should be a little more careful, as in, a little less."
 
"Loud? No can be too loud in here...and I assure you that we are not on an audio recording. Don't worry Bella, I've had this place checked out."
 
Finch was rather pompous for working with such an elitist gathering. But he was tolerated even among the higher members of the organization for his skillful leadership.
 
 
"So when are we going to get to the mission?"
Iris has begun to feel uneasy and impatient.
 
"I'm afraid, Iris, although you are quite a valuable member to this community you'll have to wait your turn."
 
"The Mission, my friends, is not just any mission. It is a special mission. Yes. It will reveal itself to you as we progress."
 
"But, if we are to be a part of this something than how are we to ever be sure we aren't going to fail if we don't even know what we are working to achieve?" Bella speaks to Finch and to the others in a harsher voice.
 
"Our mission is to rescue a friend. That's all I can reveal." As finch is speaking Iris notices a slight quivering in his voice.
 
"There will be others." Finch says and then smiles softly.
 
"Others?" Bella asks with a worried sideways glance.
 
"Yes. You know we can't do this alone. Did you expect to be the president of this campaign or were you just coming along for the joy ride? Bella, we don't need someone who is unwilling, we need someone is going to cooperate."
Bella scowls.
 
All four are silent for awhile.
 
"What is his name?" Iris breaks the silence.
 
"I can't reveal it to you...or anyone else yet. And with that the meeting is adjourned. Stay comfortable. Rest well."
 
They all walk off in separate directions save Iris who remains in the library for a short time, then follows Finch outside. "Finch!" Iris calls out after him.
"Please. At least his name. I'm lost."
Iris catches up to him as he waits for the bus to take them back to the main station.
"His name is Fred, or more precisely Edrich."
"I know more than you think I do." Iris tells Finch, mockingly.
"Yes. And that's what we need to be careful of."
 
With that they both say goodbye and Iris heads for the motel.
Iris slept uncomfortably that night. Her mind was racing with visions of the past, visions of things she didn't understand.
She knew something dangerous lay ahead for her and especially for Bella.
 
 
When she awoke she remembered that they hadn't scheduled the next meeting until the day after, so she had some free time to explore the city. After all, she'd lived in the Quiet City for three years.
She rarely had time to visit the other cities surrounding hers in the country.
She caught a tour bus and traveled around Star City passing by the "attractions" or the largest man-made prisons in the country. They were vile looking, despicable and crude...one could only imagine what went on inside.
 
Their next meeting was to be in a park outside of the downtown area. Bella, Tom, Finch, and Iris were to meet under a large willow tree to discuss matters without worrying about being caught.
"Welcome! Friends!" Finch spoke while standing next to a completely unfamiliar man.
"I apologize to you for being so vague, how shall I put this, meeting has been rearranged. Things will be different now. Meet Paul."
"Paul is going to be our new guide for the mission."
Iris began to feel a little like she was losing her cool. She wasn't sure if she was ready for this mission. Something bad was definitely going to happen...who was this man? She'd never heard of him from the League.
 
Paul began to speak, "My friends. I am going to tell you a story. It is a story about a compromise...this is Star City, where we are. Although on the outside it is a beautiful tourist attraction secretly it is nothing but a prison city. This place is nothing but a trashy low-down holding cell for the weak and the poor, the criminals, and the unfit. We gather here today for special reasons, and that is- we seek to change. This change we have sought since this group was created the League of Dreams."
 
Finch spoke then, "The man we are on a mission to save, goes by the name of Edrich. He has been captured by the government of The Cities and is currently being held in Shell...now some of you may be scratching your heads wondering where this so called place I'm speaking of exists. Well. It doesn't. At least not to the naked eye. In fact, this place is completely invisible."
 
By that time Bella had been growing impatient.
"Now you tell us! We're rescuing a demon from the underworld aren't we?"
 
"More like a hero from the underworld; Edrich has been a part of the league of dreams for a long time. He was the most influential and outspoken members of the group. How he got captured? It is a complete mystery."
"I don't believe you." Bella said.
 
"You think they're lying to us?" Tom finally spoke out since the first meeting.
"No. I think they're hiding something from us."
"Exactly! No you're completely right. We are hiding something from you."
Finch had a look of outright disgust on his face.
 
"Or more precisely, we're protecting you from something that could put you in potential danger. None of wants to get caught." Paul spoke, then continued "Finch."
Finch spoke, "Edrich was a member of the LOD, he was a sole advocate and supporter. He was captured because he knew something. And that is what we are here to discuss.”
"What did he even do?" Bella asked a rather annoyed Finch.
"Well. He was framed. He was framed by the very man Iris once worked for."
"No!" Iris exclaimed suddenly.
 
"You simply do not understand. Iris, WE are STILL the criminals. We are the ones responsible for the virus that wiped out The White City. They're blaming all of us...one by one we'll be silenced."
 
"What do you mean, Finch?"
 
"He means that we're in danger of our government, our organization has been found out. There's nothing we can do about it. We're goners." Paul said slowly.
 
"But back to the mission. Edrich is being held in Shell, a secret underground military campsite where god knows what is happening to him and the others."
 
"Our plan is to somehow find a passage into the underground site, that's under this city and rescue Edrich. After that...we can only assume for the best."
 
 
To be continued…


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