Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chapter #1 (Read the prologue first! Keep scrolling!)

“I am in awe at what has been happening over the past six months. I never thought a day like this would come. Joshua truly did give me something that could save the people of this city. At first I thought he was simply giving me some failed set of theories in written form. However, within the first few pages of these instructions, there is indeed a cure for those that this city has been slowly killing. Within these first few months, many have been rescued.

The project is now far larger than I could have anticipated. There are now hundreds dedicated to seeing it through. We are now in the process of finishing the headquarters where we will base the continued effort. We have years of work ahead of us, but we must press on, just as Joshua did. His story has been an inspiration to us all as we've begun this work.

As we've made progress in following the instructions, we've slowly begun to see the genius behind them. They must have taken much of the founder's life to construct and plan. As disappointed as we all are that the city itself will not be saved, none of us could have asked for a better system by which to rescue as many as possible from its inevitable end.”

~Peter's Journal, Six months after the death of Joshua

***

It had been twenty years since the death of Joshua. Peter was now approaching his fiftieth birthday. He was proud to have dedicated his life to rescuing as many as possible from the dying city. In fact, he had gone so far as to volunteer five extra years to the effort, even though he was entitled to hand it down to his successor and move on to the new settlement after only fifteen years of work.

That was the way it had been outlined in the instructions. Those who are cured, unless they have passed the age of fifty five, must dedicate fifteen years to the rescue effort before moving on from the quarantined city. Thousands had now been rescued, and other than a select few who had volunteered extra time, much of the first generation of those who had been cured had now moved on.

The headquarters had now been well developed. They had been split into different offices that had made it capable of running more efficiently. The main building as well as the buildings which housed those who had been cured were made to be completely sealed off from the rest of the city. There were specially designed drugs that the residents were required to take before they would leave so that they could go and join the rescue effort without risk to themselves.

Today was to be a difficult day for Peter. As successful as the rescue effort had been over the past twenty years, there were many difficulties throughout its history that Peter never could have foreseen. Many attempts to save the city had been made before Joshua showed up. All had failed. Some even brought about an even earlier death to those that bought into their lies. Conspirators would often simply put their followers out of their misery rather than allow them to meet their fate in peace. Events like these had created a great deal of skepticism within the city that even Peter had a great deal of trouble overcoming in himself.

Even after hundreds of people had been cured, there was great resistance to all that they were trying to do. This kind of resistance lasted even into the present day. Obviously no one was able to see the new settlement until their fifteen year tenure was over. This had the unfortunate effect of bringing about doubt within the community of Peter's colleagues that even surprised him at times.

Peter had just finished a one month time of rest and he was about to rejoin the effort. He was never one to be lazy about his work and it took the encouragement of many of his friends to bring him to take any time for himself. He was practically the founder of the entire community and he never had any need to prove anything to anyone except himself. It was when he passed out from exhaustion in the middle of the city during a time of recruiting that he finally agreed to take some time off.

His time away from the headquarters was now at an end, and not a day too soon. He had begun to hear reports that there were disagreements within the offices. He had even heard that changes had been made to the way things had been organized. Some reports said that certain branches of the effort had taken to locking themselves in their offices and changing their methods of work without approval. There were many he left in charge that he felt would maintain order within the community, but no one carried quite the same authority that he did when it came to keeping things as they were meant to be.

He finished getting dressed and began to walk down the tunnel to the main building. “What on earth could have caused all of these things to go wrong since I left?” He though to himself. “Surely the people I left in charge are fully capable. There's no way this is all meant to rest on my shoulders. I only have a short time left before I move on. I need to make sure these people are ready to go on without me.”

He approached the door to the main lobby and he began to feel nervous about the day to come. Just what kind of problems would he have to deal with today? He pulled out his keys and unlocked the door. He open it and entered. He was pleased to find that there weren't any people running frantically around the building, but there was a certain tension in the air. He wasn't sure quite what to make of it.

“Hello sir!” said a voice from behind the main desk. “Hello Silvia! I sure have missed coming in to see you every morning. How have you been?” “Oh, things have been good... well considering” “Considering what?” He replied. “Well, I'm sure you've received some word of all that's been happening around here.” “Yes, “some” would be a tame way of putting it. What on earth has been happening since I left.” “Well, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Perhaps you should start in the administrative office. I'm sure Ted DeYoung would be happy to tell you all about it. You'll have to knock though, his office has almost always been locked for the past few weeks.” “Thanks Silvia.” He said as he began to walk away. He tried to smile, but there was obviously far too much reason to be nervous.

As he approached the administrative office, he not only noticed a “do not disturb” sign, but he also noticed that the small window on the door was covered up. He shook his head and gave a firm knock. “Come back later!” Said Ted's voice in a thoroughly agitated tone. “I'm way too busy for your complaints at this time of the morning!” “Ted, it's me!” Shouted Peter. “Since when are you one to lock your door?” The sound of papers rustling suddenly echoed through the door. Peter heard Ted jump up from his desk and run over to the door. He quickly unlocked and opened it. “Peter! I forgot you were coming back today! Sorry about that, I thought you were one of the endless recruiters coming to the door with some new idea. They've been going crazy lately.”

“Can I come in? Said Peter. “Sure! My office is a little messy at the moment, but we'll manage.” Peter entered the office and was surprised to find that all the windows were bolted shut that the shades were drawn. The outside light was so thoroughly blocked that Ted had resorted to keeping the lights on even in the time of morning when an open window would do just fine.

“So what's the deal Ted? I've been hearing all kinds of reports about things going haywire around here. Can you give me some idea as to what's going on?” “Well, I'm not even sure you're ready for all this.” “Trust me, I'm ready. A month is more than enough rest.” “Okay, Where to begin? Well, I would say it all really started when someone brought one of the city residence into the building through the back door.” “What!? Shouted Peter. Who would be that stupid?” “I don't know, but it took us about a week to sanitize the area. The city resident was quickly brought around to the other side where he was cured and given an ID badge so that he could get to work, and we made sure we drilled that recruiter one how he careful he needs to be.”

“Well, good work Ted, but is that it? I mean, what's up with all the tension around here. It sounds like the problem was taken care of.” “Well, we took care of the problem, but I have a feeling it was a symptom of something a lot worse.” “What are you talking about?” “Well, you know me, Peter. I've dedicated my life to making sure this place runs smoothly. In fact I was just going over the instructions when you knocked on the door.” “You've always been great about that Ted, I've never doubted it. What's your point?” “Well, I'm starting to get concerned about one of the offices upstairs.” “Which one?”

“Well, you know that the city development office has always been a little bit of a strange idea to me. I'm really starting to worry about the recruiters in that department, I feel like there's been some strange attitudes developing around there. I guess there's some reference to the importance of that department in the instructions, but these recruiters are really starting to make me doubt the merit of their entire office. People from that department really don't seem to care about keeping these headquarters in order. They seem to get so excited about the people they meet in the city that they give almost no thought to protocol. There were a lot of close calls before the back door indecent after you left. I actually feel that it wasn't just careless, it was inevitable.”

“I see what you mean.” Said Peter. He could see that Ted was a little tense, so he was trying to give him some reassurance. However, he felt that there was something here that went deeper with Ted. “Well, I'll see what I can do to straighten things out upstairs. How is everything else going with you around here?” “I don't know Peter, it's just frustrating to me. I don't see how people can get so caught up in rescue efforts that they miss the point of rescue in the first place.” “Yeah, that has worried me at times, but don't worry, this kind of stuff happened about eight years ago. We'll sort it out. Peter started making for the door, then turned back. “By the way Ted, why is your window closed?”

Ted looked at Peter, somewhat annoyed. “Well, I don't know Peter, I've just gotten tired of looking out at this city. I'm glad that recruitment is running as well as it has been, but really I'm just looking forward to my tenure being over.” Peter wasn't convinced. “There was almost an attitude of disdain in Ted's voice when he referred to the city. It was as if he had grown repulsed by it. “Ted, why in the world do you think we built these windows in the first place? We have them for a reason.” “Yeah, what reason is that?” “You know why Ted, you've read the instructions more than most people in this building! You need to remember where you've come from, or you're going to get tired of our work here before you even know what hit you! I can already see it in you're eyes Ted. I recommend you open these blinds. Your invaluable to this rescue effort, but I'd hate to see you think your office is all there is to it.” “Yeah, I understand. I'll try to work on that.”

“Well, I'm headed upstairs. I'll talk to you later. By the way, do you have a copy of the instructions I could borrow?” “Sure, take a look in the closet” Peter walked over and began to open the door. “Oh no, wait!” Shouted Ted. It was too late. Peter finished opening the door and several rolled up blueprints fell out of the closet. “What's this?” “It's nothing.” Said Ted. “Forget about it, it's really nothing important. Peter picked up one of the blueprints and unrolled it. As he examined it, he saw that Ted had been doing some planning of his own. Peter held in his hands the plans to a completely new security system. It contained many ideas, not the least of which was a massive wall that would surround the main headquarters.

“Well the “nothing” that I'm holding has nothing to do with the instructions you seem to talk about all the time!” What's the point of this Ted? Do you really think this kind of project would improve our effort in the least!? You really think the walls to this building aren't enough? You think one careless recruiter is reason enough to plan something this drastic?” “But it's not just one recruiter, Peter! They've stopped caring about what this building is for! It happened once, it will happen again!”

“I'll deal with them when I'm done with you Ted. I'm demoting you to full time recruiter until you sort your attitude out, and I'll be taking these blueprints with me... thank you very much!” Peter picked up the rolled up papers and left the office. He was shocked by the state of things, and he had only visited one office. Ted might have gone overboard, but he had some good reason to be nervous... the ordeal eight years ago might have been dealt with, but it was no small matter. “Hey Silvia!” Shouted Peter. “Yes?” Get Tim down here to cover for Ted. He's moving out for a while. “Peter headed for the elevator... he dreaded what the state of things might be upstairs...

To be continued...

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