No matter what anyone told you, rebellion does not come naturally. It takes a strength of conviction that most find they don't possess until pushed to the very brink. It takes a threat that seems overwhelming, and yet at the same time entirely personal. For Kaiser123, aka Kai Poynting, this was indeed the case. In his case, he had avoided rebellion at all costs, because of one great love, his family. But by losing himself, he had been on a sure course towards losing them too. There had been nothing left for him down the one road, and it was a very real risk that there was little left down this one. But at least he was committed to the attempt, and without that conviction, there was no chance for success.
It was amazing how rising from the "None" category to the "Slim" category could exhilarate you. No...he had to be honest with himself...so far, he had only managed to reach "Very Slim" in terms of his chances. He had to go to work as usual, talk to his co-workers, as usual, and pretend to a depression he no longer quite felt. He could not let a change in behaviour give him away. But for the first ten minutes of the day, alone in an empty house, he could let loose.
He grabbed a USB key he'd left hidden at the back of his desk, and put it in his computer. He had searched high and low, and had found not a single listening device. His depressed adherence to duty had, so far as he could tell, successfully put him under the radar.
His head bobbed as heavy guitar began to stream from his speakers. The geek with the glasses and the sweater vest began to rock out, and as the world faded away, he began to sing.
" I see you comin' up the drive....
That's when I know that I'm alive...
Don't worry 'bout the things we leave behind
We finally found what we can find...
THE REST OF MY LIFE...IS FALLING TO PIECES
WHILE WE GET LOST...INSIDE THE MOMENT...."
He didn't care for the moment who saw, or about anything else that happened. He did just as the song suggested and was lost in the moment. He lived more in those few minutes of poor singing than he had for much of the past few years. He was singing to his wife, his kids, and his regained sense of place in the world. He was no longer going to live in silence. He could pretend to it, and would have to. But oh man, the concert going on in his skull would be deafening.
He went to the mirror, and set about shaving for his day of work. He schooled his face into a blank expression, and thought hard about the many nights he had missed, and now would miss again, of telling his children tales, of kissing them goodnight... There...that would do it. That haunted look right there. It was pathetic really, but he knew that he'd had that look on his face the past three years. At least he didn't have to fake the lack of sleep. His wife had made sure of that. No...he couldn't think of that, it would undo all the hard work he'd just accomplished. Down boy, down.
He grabbed his laptop, his jacket and was on his way. He lived but a few minutes walk from work, and he was usually there fairly early. Today would be no exception. However, he was not going to lose himself in technical manuals or in sales calls this morning. No... he had more important things to do. He logged onto the portal, and booked a classroom for two weeks later. He filled out an invoice. He signed Terry's name to it, and ensured it was assigned to one of Terry's regular clients. Terry would call him later today and ask him if he had started on this project, never realizing he had never taken a single call about the subject. There would be some confusion when noone showed, and more when it was realized the Pelican case of laptops was not shipped with Fedex as expected, and more confusion when Kai did not show up for work the rest of the week.
Protagonize.com was going to become a road show. Kai, aka Kaiser123, only hoped that somehow, somewhere, someone had heard his call. And he hoped desperately that a Protagonist that had known him would figure out the breadcrumb he had left...embedded in one letter of his message, a link to a ticket receipt for his true team, one he had not dared cheer for in ages. For the first time in 4 years, Kaiser123 was headed to a home game. And no matter what corporate bull went into sports mania these days, the ability to cheer safely for the blue and green alone was enough to nearly break the mask he put on himself for work...
He could hear it now.