When the Bills had been passed, he'd removed himself from the site, or at least, had removed his identity and his photo. He'd left other sites in the lurch as well, such as rpol.net. He'd read of the arrests, and cringed whenever a recognized moniker was shouted. The Narrator had called him a traitor, saying that to deny history would doom them all to repeat it. But he had kids, kids and a job, and he couldn't let them end up in the furnace. How Cahle had cried when Litpol came in and took the box full of books from his room. He'd tried to protect his favourite by hiding it in his pants, the poor little bugger. But the one about the nut brown hare was gone for good. As was Where the Wild Things Are, and many others.
He'd broken down at work that day, but luckily had managed to shut himself into the bathroom first. The company was a technology company, and having servers on your premises made it a high risk facility. LitPol had to scour your machines, and eliminate all traces of creativity, almost to the point of eliminating corporate logos. That bill had been vetoed by a very slim margin, with corporate lobbyists just barely carrying the day, by threatening to withhold financial support for the military and the police. As always, if you had money, you had autonomy. Indeed the President probably still watched reruns of Friends, and cried at the death of Old Yeller. The same rules didn't apply. Sports Franchises, soft drinks, even toothpastes, these were all that were left for the masses to safely profess their 'individuality'. Unfortunately, if a billion people used Pepsi as their identified drink of choice, it was hard to call that individual choice wasn't it?
The worst part of this supposed freedom to enjoy corporate logos or franchises, was that the same polarizations occurred. The people unable to express themselves in other ways, were drawn to a particular drink or sports team, and would not deviate from that preference. A Flames fan who would cheer for the Canucks when the Flames fell in the playoffs? Didn't happen anymore. In fact if you showed up to the Flames stadium wearing blue, you weren't walking out.
The only safe discussions then were surrounding the latest sports statistics, or the new flavour of Pepsi, and how they had better not mess around with the logo.
So Kaiser123 was no more...he cheered for the wrong team, he wrote stories and poems, and he drew pictures. He had to go. What was left was a grey sweater-vest, black slacks, and a blue workshirt, empty of all but skin and bone that didn't really want to be there. He'd lost weight, and while he had been getting on the chubby side before the Bill, it was becoming obvious that the weight-loss was not a good thing. He spent his time showing companies how they to could ensure compliancy with all the government regulations by adopting SecureApp, the new security and performance management software. It could even manage employee performance by training a camera on them at random intervals. At one time he would have marvelled at what they could do these days with technology...but the uses to which any new breakthroughs were going had rendered it all stagnant.
The new fellow made more money than the old had. He had nothing else to distract him from work. His wife was only still with him because she had nowhere to go, and the kids...he couldn't look them in the eye, knowing that he couldn't read to them, or play make-believe. So he worked long hours, and stared at his food at dinner time, snapping occasionally at his children to behave at the dinner table.
Then it happened. Trinity, his oldest...he heard her putting the little ones to sleep with a sing song rhyme he had never heard, but that somehow seemed familiar.
"The sun will come out
and dawn will dust away
the dreary day,
the sadness and the gray
For the storm cannot last
it'll blow out quite fast
and someone, someone will find a way...."
He rushed in, face white, and yelled. "STOP! This minute, Trinity. I never want to hear any of that from you again! Do you even REALIZE..." his voice trailed off, seeing the frightened look on Trinity's face, and the way that Cahle and Tashum clung to her. It dawned on him then...this wasn't going to end. Not if even he was helping it. Even his children's names, being somewhat outside the norm, would prove harmful to their futures. He'd taken to using his middle name, William, for that reason. It helped at work.
"Trinity...tell them the poem. Just...don't let anyone else hear, except your mother...and if you write them down...show them to me, and then have mom burn them, you understand? I'll keep them safe. I'll keep it all safe. From now on. I promise...from now on, our house will have stories. And poems."
Trinity leapt and hugged him, and his heart soared. It had been so long. "Welcome back, Daddy..." she croaked, as her tears soaked his sweatervest. God, he hated that he'd have to wear that tomorrow. But tonight...tonight, he had a story to tell. And he knew this one by heart.
"Little Nutbrown Hare, who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare's very long ears.
He wanted to be sure Big Nutbrown Hare was listening.
'Guess how much I love you,' he said..."
It had started from there. Such a small step. But it was the step that had meant the most to him, and one he would never regret taking. It was time to fight back. With his help, Protagonize.com would go back online for the first time in 4 long years.
He had a plan....but how to get in touch with the Protagonists after so long? And would they trust him? This declaration across what was left of free cyberspace would have to do...
Kaiser123 has entered the fray.
have no doubt he can save the day.
with a few brave souls to take a few risks
Protagonize.com can be revived from disks
I have the means,
if you have transportation
LET'S SPREAD THIS MESSAGE ACROSS THE NATIONS