Knox hated the uniform, not only because it was ill fitting, but because it held such an oppressive air about itself. The uniform in its entirety was black and grey, the Agarta flag which was two black stipes with a thin red line running between them was pinned to his left lapel and the silver embroidery of an unblinking eye was stitched to his right lapel. It meant that Knox was an Overseer, a person who controlled the behaviour of the slaves, and it was one of the highest military rankings that a newly recruited soldier could receive. It also meant that he was now an official member of Lt. Ryker’s team, Knox could feel the weight of responsibility hang from his shoulders and he swore he could already hear the slaves pleading with him not to take their families away from them.
Knox had vomited two times that day out of fear and guilt, he had also cried both times because he was scared of his own rebellious thoughts and the uncertainty of the knowledge of where his loyalties lied. Knox had grown up believing that society was the way it should be, that the soldiers of Agarta protected the values of which all the people of the city, even the slaves, upheld in their own beliefs and he believed that everything the soldiers were doing was for the greater good.
But that one single event, where a baby had been executed right before his eyes had changed him completely and the more he saw Haven the greater his sympathy towards the slaves had become.
However, amongst the terrifying mixture of fear and guilt Knox felt a strange sense of clarity in his mind as if a fog had been finally lifted. Ever since he was born Knox was told to how to think, “Highborns are the decedents of a higher being,” “those that tried to destroy the Agarta way of life were punished and therefore became slaves,” and the famous mantra “Strength through Unity; Peace through War,” were always drilled into his head at school.
Even at the dinner with his parents and Lt. Ryker, Knox could feel how oppressive and violent most of the high ranking Highborn soldiers were. Lt. Ryker was a prime example, during the dinner he often talked about his exploits and he made sure that Knox and his parents remembered that it was Lt. Ryker who killed more than a hundred slave rioters more than ten years ago.
But now he questioned the integrity of those words, he questioned the integrity of the Highbron soldiers and he questioned the meaning behind “Strength through Unity; Peace through War,” as something other than what it meant at face value. For the first time in his life Knox was thinking for himself, his thoughts were produced on his own with no outside influences clouding his judgement, it was freeing, but also very terrifying.
He couldn’t let those thoughts manifest themselves physically; he knew that if anyone found out the Alteration Bureau were going arrest him and perform their ‘behavioural reassigning.’ Knox wasn’t going to take away the only thoughts that he actually owned.
The knock on his front door startled him and already paranoid after thinking about the Alteration Bureau, Knox was slow to open the door. But instead of seeing two men dressed in black, Knox sighed in relief, and instead Knox found himself standing in front of Haven.
“The clothes, sir,” she spoke quietly, but not timidly as she handed a white box over to him, “no need for fitting as you requested.”
Knox looked down at the white box, which had the suit in it, then up at Haven and he realised with absolute clarity that she was pretty. Haven was pretty in the sense that she didn’t need to paint her face with make-up to look presentable, and she had the sort of quality that would make men pass her as nothing special. But for some reason Knox found this attractive, and suddenly realising that he had been staring at her he stepped aside and mumbled something that resembled “please come in.”
Not knowing how she could understand that, Haven timidly walked inside as Knox shut the door behind her and lazily threw the white box on to the couch. Looking at her, however, he could tell that she was clearly disappointed that he hadn’t of bothered to look at the suit and sighing in frustration – more to himself than at Haven – he grabbed the white box and opened it.
Knox didn’t care for suits or fashion, but as he looked at the suit he was much more aware of the stitching, knowing that Haven had done it. The last suit she made for him was poorly made, a rush job, during the dinner he had to keep making sure that none of the threads came loose because two buttons on his jacket fell off and the stitching on one of the sleeves was coming undone. But he figured that he should have expected this from a suit being made on the day of the event.
So, when Knox looked at the new suit he was more aware of the stitching on the sleeves and the buttons on the jacket and when he figured that everything was made better than he hoped and let the suit fall back into the white box.
“Do you like it, sir?” She asked, Haven stood near the entryway with arms out in front and hands clasped tightly around each other. Knox closed his eyes in frustration as Haven added ‘sir’ to the end of the sentence, he had already told her his name and she was till calling him ‘sir.’ He hated that word, it made him feel…old.
“The suits fine...” he answered awkwardly, “I hope you know that you can call me Knox, instead of sir all the time,” Knox reminded her gently before smiling, in which her eyebrows slightly knotted together in a frown. But it was only slightly, one could mistake it for a twitch, but Knox was already feeling quite self-conscious about what he must look like to her, a pompous asshole or an eccentric Highborn, to see it and blow it out of proportion.
So in dead spirits Knox instantly dropped the smile just as silence began to creep into the room and slowly suffocate any thought of sound. Knox hated silence with a passion, he hated it and so in a desperate attempt for something to do and to drown out the silence he went to the record player that sat collecting dust in the corner of the room and put on Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. It was old, very old, back during the time when people were still walking above the earth’s surface, when they could feel the warmth of the sun on their face and the breeze in their hair. It was also one of the only pieces of music that wasn’t blacklisted into censorship.
“Have you heard this song before?” He asked as the high notes of the celesta started the famous ballet composed piece.
Haven shook her head in reply, and with a sad smile looked up at him “the only music we’re allowed to listen to is Agarta’s anthem.”