An excerpt from a piece of dystopian fiction that I have been working on.
**Please read the Author's notes to the right, they put everything into a bit more context**
Feeling nervous, Cyrus returned to his cubicle, he flinched every time someone around him moved or made a noise and he'd suddenly never been more grateful for the ‘no interacting with co-workers’ rule. If anyone had tried to confront him about what had just happened in the bathroom, then they would have been dragged immediately away and it was unlikely that they’d be seen again.
The Administrative floor was not a place for rule-breakers. The PA system crackled to life overhead and Cyrus had to stop himself from diving under the nearest desk.
“Administrative Assistant, 48972 is to report to the Allocations Department immediately,” an automated female voice said calmly. ‘48972’ That was Cyrus’ number. A cold sweat broke out on his forehead and it seemed that all of his blood was suddenly roaring in his ears as his legs became weak beneath him. “I repeat, Administrative Assistant 48972 is to report to the Allocations Department immediately.”
“Allocations?” Cyrus murmured to himself, registering fully what the PA had said. If his covert bathroom meeting had been discovered then the Disciplinarians would have already stormed into the room or he would have at least been called to the Disciplinary Department. The Allocations Department was where people were sent to be reallocated to a different department, profession or, Cyrus swallowed as he thought about the third option, the Allocations Department was where people were fired. If they did not acquire a new job within five days then they were sent to the labour camps on the coasts and it was a very rare occurrence for someone to return from them. There was no room for the unemployed in the ‘New Order’. Those who physically or mentally were incapable of work had long since been removed from society. It had been a slow process but after five years in power only those who could contribute to society in a way that was deemed acceptable were allowed to be a part of it. Personality, charitable actions and kind gestures were not seen as useful aspects of a person’s character. The ‘New Order’ was a place for compliance, modesty and working towards a not entirely defined goal that was supposed to benefit everyone whilst still only looking out for one’s self.
“Cyrus!” the low but sharp hiss pulled Cyrus from his reverie. “Go, man.” The balding man sitting in the cubicle beside which Cyrus stood had his back turned, not daring to look at him. Cyrus jumped to attention, he realised that he was currently failing to comply with a direct order, something that made him liable for demotion or dismissal. He didn’t have time to take a last glance around the Administrative floor as he walked briskly toward the elevator. The last time he’d been in the elevator had been when he was promoted from the Main Floor where all of the Data entry and Media release editing happened. Stepping into the elevator meant that you would not return to the floor you’d left unless you were promoted or demoted back to the position, another rare occurrence. He stepped into the metal box and the door slid shut with a clang that gave Cyrus a sense of finality.
“Floor Forty-Two, Allocations Department,” the automated female voice said as the door slid open. Cyrus stepped out of the elevator on unsteady legs. He had no idea what was going to happen now, he wasn't eligible for promotion as far as he knew and unless his meeting with the man in the bathroom had been discovered he hadn't done anything that would nominate him for demotion. Cyrus stopped dead as he stared at the room in front of him. The last time he'd been to the Allocations Department was when he had been assigned to the Administrative Floor, four years ago. It had changed dramatically since then. After the New Order had taken over the building it had been furbished from the top downwards, in order of importance, The building had still not been entirely finished, the Administrative floor had only been completed two years earlier and Cyrus guessed that the Allocations Department had been finished not long before that as it was of only slightly higher priority. The last time Cyrus had been here it had been nothing but rows and rows of desks and towering stacks of paper. Now it was a sea of hundreds cubicles and one large desk, like that of a receptionist, directly in front of the elevator and acting as the dividing point between the cubicles. To the right of the desk the cubicles were all made of cold grey metal and the noise coming from them was loud, there were people shouting and wailing. To the left were the green wooden cubicles from which there was nothing but the low drone of voices conversing quietly. In front of the desk were three people in a line, Cyrus promptly stepped forward to join them as the tall man at the front of the line made his way to the right
“Name?” The grey-haired woman sat behind the desk said to the small blonde woman in the pinstriped suit who had moved to the front of the queue.
“Secondary Assistant, 98267, Candace Bure,” The blonde woman said. When asked your name it was customary to reply with your occupation and identification number before your actual name. This was so that anyone who wished to speak with you could determine whether you were of high enough status to deserve their time.
“Demotion sector, cubicle N26,” The grey-haired woman said blankly. She didn't even flinch when Candace Bure let out a strangled cry. Cyrus couldn't feel too bad for her, a secondary assistant wouldn't be demoted any lower than the Administrative Floor, no-one had ever been demoted any further than five career stages.
“Name?” The grey-haired woman asked the next person, a short balding man wearing the white apron of the Catering Department, as Candace Bure made her way to the left.
“Name?” The grey-haired woman said as the young man in the grey overalls worn by the custodial staff stepped forward. Someone stepped out of the elevator and moved to stand behind Cyrus but he didn't dare to turn around.
“Custodial Service Manager, 96241, Harry Jones,” The man in overalls answered.
“96241, Harry Jones, your employment at this institution has been terminated. You are now required to leave the building and seek further employment elsewhere. Should you not acquire a new career within five days you will be deployed to a Manufacturing Camp until such a time as you are deemed able to return,” The grey-haired woman said. At this Harry Jones broke down, crying and begging the woman to please let him stay. “I must request that you cease your current behaviour and leave the premises, else I shall have to call upon the Disciplinarians to remove you,” Harry Jones continued to cry but still made his way back to the elevator., Cyrus watched him go, feeling bad for this young man. He'd not even made it far enough up the career chain to see outside of the subterranean floors.
“Ahem,” The woman behind Cyrus cleared their throat in an attempt to get him to move forward. Cyrus jumped and hurriedly stepped forward.
“Name?” The grey-haired woman asked. She didn't appear to be bothered by the scene that had just occurred.
“Administrative Assistant, 48972, Cyrus Garrett,” Cyrus said quickly.
“Promotion Sector, cubicle P5,” The grey-haired woman said and Cyrus found himself suppressing the urge to cry out in celebration. If he had it probably would have earned him instant demotion for public displays of emotion were not something that was encouraged. Promotion. Cyrus sighed in relief and headed to the right. He walked along the front of the cubicles until he came to the sixteenth row, the outermost cubicle was emblazoned with a black letter 'P' in one corner, and then hurried up the row, looking ahead he noticed that the row appeared to not have an end to it. The fifth cubicle had a small nameplate attached to it. It read 'Allocations Assistant, 34786, Frederick Punto'. Turning into the cubicle and seeing the person sat behind the desk inside it made Cyrus nearly turn back around and run away.
Frederick Punto, sat behind the desk, absent-mindedly typing details into a computer, the picture of ease which was bad news in itself but worse was the fact that Cyrus knew this man. He was the same man who had cornered him in the Floor 97 bathrooms not even half an hour ago. He was the same man who had admitted to Cyrus that he was the leader of a rebel religious group who had managed to salvage pages from the Book of Isaiah. All religious texts were banned and had been burned when the New Order first came to power because everyone had to hail to Him, the leader of the New Order. He was the same man that thought that Cyrus Garrett was the Cyrus from the text incarnate and that like the man in the text, Cyrus was going to be the one to overthrow those in power thus freeing everyone else. He was the same man who now slid a piece of paper across the desk so that Cyrus could read it.
Don't panic and don't react. This is all part of your plan.
Cyrus swallowed and reluctantly sat down opposite Frederick Punto. Nothing good was going to come out of complying with Frederick but Cyrus knew that he had no other option now. To turn Frederick in was to incriminate himself as a co-conspirator. There was no turning back now.