| EXTRACTED FROM SÅVJE SINGKŪ / THE RESTRICTED SECTION /
DOOR 022 OF EDŪCATION LOT 0497 OF 81SUB / 2.3.2450 / 5:03āam |
I hover at the entrance with my colleagues behind meē, all of our eyes on Knijä. Everything has gone to plan perfectly and I can only hope that the rest of our journey will run as smoothly.
“Now, I understand that you are not a doctor,” I say to her as I step into the Restricted Section, “but you do not necessarily need to be one to qualify. Especially not you.”
“Your voice,” she says, her tone sounding sceptical but her posture whispering trust, “it’s familiar.”
“You are very clever, Knijä,” I praise her, smiling warmly down at the girl who is going to change everything. “I am Dr. Såvje Singkū. I am the one who fused you.”
“The one who falsely fused meē,” she corrects. I can clearly hear the humanity in her voice. Confusion, anxiety, hurt. Light and shade and all sorts of colours.
I instantly navigate the conversation to suit her. “Your reaction is warranted, Knijä.” I bend down beside her. “Trust meē, I have had my fair share of injustice due to Peār too.”
She shuts the encyclopaedia firmly, holding the book tightly between her palms. “Well, if you were kept in the dark for 16 years, wouldn’t you feel the way I do?”
I glance back at my colleagues and then nod. “I would, and we apologise for that.” My voice is soft; my intentions are pure.
“I don’t need you to apologise.” Knijä stands. “I just need answers.” She looks meē directly in the eyes. “Why has it taken so long for you to tell meē the truth?”
“A fair question,” I nod cautiously. “It has taken this long,” I say slowly, in my most reassuring voice, “because, as we all know too well, Peār monitors every square inch of Metravā.” I want to put a hand on her shoulder. I want to take the pain out of her eyes that I see so clearly behind her contacts. “If we had moved any quicker, you would have ceased. We would have ceased and all this would have been for nothing.”
“How long have you been in the building?” Knijä’s eyes narrow. “You could have come earlier. I have been waiting for you for 16 years.”
“We have been here since the beginning of reflect period,” I explain. “The moment you entered the edū space we silenced your U-chip and any Receivers in the building so you could learn about us in private. We just wanted to give you a chance to absorb at least some of our information before we met. How have you found our work?”
“Enlightening,” she rationalises.
“Ah, a word I have not heard uttered from a single U-man,” I tell her. “But you are not U-man, are you, Knijä?”
“No. But then, you already knew that,” she stares blankly up at meē.
“I hope you know you can trust meē.” I put my hand out to her. “We are here to make a difference. We are here to give you answers. So let us go.”
“Where?” she rightly questions.
“Well, to your home lot first and then on to much more exciting things.”
She stares at my simple palm, so unlike her real one. I can see the question in her eyes: am I U-man or human? Her head turns to the side. Perhaps she sees meē as both. I can see so much wonder behind the adjustments that we have provided her with. I can see so many possibilities in what she can bring to our world. Not a moment later, she takes my hand.
| EXTRACTED FROM SÅVJE SINGKŪ /
MINOR TRANSIT LANE 0035991 OF 81SUB / 2.3.3450 / 5:33āam |
I sit opposite Knijä in our private Navīgator as it speeds along independently. She looks over at meē and projects so much curiosity that it practically beams off her in waves. My other colleagues sit in rows behind us as the blur of 81Sub speeds past us.
“TAODAP began hundreds of years ago, as you discovered in your time reading.”
“The U-files are touchable,” she comments.
“Yes, they are made out of paper which, when collated, form a book, or in our case an encyclopaedia.”
“I like it,” she affirms. “I prefer it to the pixels in the air that can change with one little swipe.”
“I prefer it too,” I say smoothly, feeling a bond between us already. “Humans used to have many other things on paper and in books, long, long before our time.” Sky textures have begun the brightening process. I admire each square patch of pre-encoded Synthetī as they brighten one after the other.
“Who began TAODAP?” Knijä asks meē.
“If I am honest,” I lean forward, “I am not entirely sure. We receive all of our information from Agent 00, a completely anonymous but faithful trustee. As you can imagine, it is very much an ‘off the grid’ alliance with Peār monitoring watching our every move.”
At that exact multīsecond, as if to mock us, a large Peār billboard sign flashes past. I see Knijä’s face darken and I take her hand and squeeze it. A daring move, but I feel it’s necessary.
“No one understands.” Her forehead creases and her lips thin. So unU-man. “To live amongst this perfection, to be a part of something that I don’t understand.” Putting her hands to her face, she asks loudly, “Why have you done this to meē?” She almost laughs in a fit of anger and frustration. “Just tell meē, why meē?”
I am taken aback by her forwardness, but I do not fear her. She is natural and organic; she is free and unfiltered. She is everything they fear. “You were selected at random,” I say delicately and I see the disbelief in her eyes. “There was no other way to do this.”
I am uncertain how Knijä feels about this. Her expressions are varied and so complex that they are hard to decipher.
“I know you want answers, but there is only so much I can tell you. I will do my best, however, to answer what I can.”
She sniffs back what I can only assume is Waterlite from her eyes and nods.
“For as long as I can remember I have wanted to help people. It is ingrained in meē, I suppose. I began my career as a doctor back in my birth sub, 27Sub. As I am sure you know,” I say, a little unsettled, “everyone is assigned their mandatory at the age of 25. Being mandated to be a doctor is of the highest privilege but also requires a great deal of sacrifice. Thirteen long years of edūcation and then another five years of interning. Forty-eight sometimes 72-hour mandatories, thousands and thousands of hours of gruelling study and then the life-sealing pledge.”
“I’ve heard of the pledge,” she comments. “We’ve learnt a great deal about it in edūcation.”
“I would imagine so. The pledge is a contract that must only be entered into wholeheaārtedly. It begins before interning, but after all our studies. It was the thing that changed my life as I knew it.”
I can already see her half-expecting what I am about to tell her. “As a doctor in Metravā, we are given the responsibility of fusing, and with that comes many questions that we are not allowed to ask. These include questions about injustices, that are out of curiosity or that are about any unusual thoughts. So many things spawned in my head as a young intern once I witnessed my first fusing and I could not verbalise any of them.
“My mentor was a part of TAODAP, an allegiance for doctors who were opposed to the injustices that we had to witness due to our profession, and she referred meē to the allegiance just before she was mandated for the End Station. I did not take her up on her invitation until some years later, however. TAODAP is the one and only organisation that is against Peār and we are here to begin the revolution.”
I already know what she is going to say before the words leave her lips.
“I’m a part of it,” she blankly states. “I’m a part of the revolution.”
“Yes,” I say, reassuring her. “It began when I fused you, Knijä, and it all ends now.”
- The Cure will be published in full on Monday the 15th of August.
- The Cure is written by J. R Knight, illustrated by Paul Ikin and edited by Kayla Marie Murphy.
- The first 15 instalments of The Cure will be published week by week on The Knight Life. The next instalment will continue this coming Monday.
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