Decision Code / 2019

  1. 2048
  2. Autonomous
  3. Art of Resistance
  4. D-Evolution (feat. Dave Lowmiller)
  5. Megapolis
  6. Decision Code (feat. Alex Blake)
  7. To Serve and Protect
  8. Room 101
  9. Speechless (feat. Karsten "Jagger" Jäger)
  10. The Architect (feat. Burton C. Bell)
  11. Deadlock (feat. Jayce Lewis)
  12. New Industrial Order

DETAILS

Released November 18, 2019

All music written by Rodion and Mikhail, except "Art of Resistance" by Mikhail, Rodion, Aleksey, "Megapolis", "Decision Code", "The Architect" by Aleksey and Mikhail
Sound design and programming by Mikhail
All lyrics written by Anna
"The Architect" lyrics editing and vocal production by Burton C. Bell

Produced by CONFLICT
Co-produced by Roman Arsafes
Recorded at CONFLICT Records [Moscow, Russia]
Mixed and mastered by Roman Arsafes
Design and artwork by Pierre-Alain Durand, 3mmi Design [France]
Band photos by Eva Ivanova

LineUp:
Anna - vocals
Rodion - guitar
Aleksey - bass
Mikhail - drums

GUEST APPEARANCES:

04. "D-Evolution" - Dave Lowmiller from A Dark Halo
06. "Decision Code" - Alex Blake from Deadheaven
09. "Speechless" - Karsten "Jagger" Jäger from Disbelief
Jagger vocals recording by Corny Rambadt at Rambado Recordings [Essen, Germany]
10. "The Architect" - Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory
Burton C. Bell’s vocals recording and editing by Stewart Cararas [Los Angeles, United States]
11. "Deadlock" - Jayce Lewis [www.jaycelewis.com]
"2048" and ‘’Room 101’’ - spoken word by Roman Arsafes
12. "New Industrial Order" - spoken word by Mikhail "Vaarwel" Saveliev

Saxophone on "Megapolis" by Dmitriy Trifonov
Saxophone recording by Grigoriy Kovalenko at Gradskiy hall [Moscow, Russia]

String arrangements on "Speechless" by Anna Yerilina
Chamber strings on "Speechless" by Anna YErilina (violin), Elizaveta Bazhenova (violin),
Elena Melkumova (viola), Sabira Omurdzhanova (cello)
Strings recording by Boris Kostin at Zverev Studio [Moscow, Russia]

Introduction to "Autonomous" by Paul Charles Dozsa [1940 - 2003]
Spoken word on "Decision Code" by Robert Oppenheimer [1904 - 1967]

 

Prologue: The Cradle of Technocracy

     In the year 2048, the world seemed to finally change, but the same could not be said about people. History repeated itself in cycles, with different consequences, with no remorse or ability to stop. Thus, there was no end for people to attempt to build another Utopia.
     Once, this land was nothing: just a dot on the map, with no exaggeration. One could barely find it on a globe. 

     Wars omitted this place from the map, even since medieval times. It had no useful resources, nor any strategic significance. It was even able to keep its neutrality during both World Wars, and stand aside from any alliances during the Cold War.
     Furthermore, it naturally became a shelter for several generations of thinkers and intellectuals who fled revolutions, wars and repression. These very people, genii of their times later referred to as Technocrats, defined the following fate and development of this country.

     The political system of this state, established in the mid-XXI century, could be described as a technocracy: the reign of technology, reason and stringent order. Being not just one step but one lap ahead of the rest of mankind; in the view of many, this land had become “Heaven on earth.” The whole world still thrives on a Golden Age of technology.
    However, despite this success, the government headed by Supreme Council, was submerged step-by-step into autocracy and callousness. They stood severely for their “unified truth:” forcing the malcontents to pay the highest price. But there was no austerity for austerity itself. The state had many foes, so the technocrats knew that slackening was no option at all. This resulted in a country in chaos; their power in its’ demise.

CHAPTER I: The Rebel

     Rays of fading sun flickered through clouds and shone on tops of endless skyscrapers tending upwards to the skies. The bottom levels of the city were ready to drown in darkness, but streets were drawn from it by the illumination of neon lights and huge screens glowing with a picture of an emotionally speaking human figure draped in a grey suit.
     Patrol drones were on the watch, fining people for different offences and reporting their situations to Central PD. Engine 0019 stood still for a moment near the open window at floor 81 while doing a routine patrol of a residential complex. Its sensors caught a sound of speech that seemed quite suspicious…

     “And again, our great homeland is on the edge of the Abyss, facing a new threat! It was our country that had become the refuge for the brightest of people throughout the world, escaping from revolutions, wars and repression! We will allow no arbitrariness and call upon all true citizens to ignore any provocation!” Having it’s voice recorded, and identified, the mechanical sentry departed.

***

     No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t deaden the voice from the TV set sounding through the door of the next room.
     There was cut hair lying in the sink. Rebel took a look into the mirror and met the familiar gaze of jaded eyes on the face of a stranger. She used to change her appearance too often, following habits developed over long years of clandestine struggle, as she called it.
     “All the conflicts in the world have left us aside. How did we let the revolt bloom within our society while avoiding any external threat? How could we have let these serpents in? Altogether we’ve built a Utopia with no tyrants and rulers, where Reason reigns. And they dare to blame us for our lack of freedom! Our science brought all the modern technologies to this world, while these tergiversators use their inventions to spread lies!”

     “They give you their so-called “news” to inspire a growing sense of hate within you; hate towards people whose point of view alters from their official one. They deliberately choose everything, even music and movies, for you: to make you think the way they want you to!”
     “That’s called “recommendations.” And nobody ever bitched about it before!” said the girl on the couch.

     “We are interrupting this broadcast to…”, the TV coughed.
     Rebel felt her sense of hate achieved the point of no return. Determined, she went to the TV set and crushed it down onto the floor, giving no attention towards her neighbors’ outcries of protest. Splinters flew all over the room and then the mendacious voice was gone.
     “You’ve just gone nuts!”
     “I am the only normal one here!”, shouted Rebel in response.
     “The man on the TV was right. She is one of them.”
     “The point is, I’m NOT one of you!”, Rebel said loudly, as she left the apartment.
     The city greeted her with grey tones, as usual. A thunderstorm ripened somewhere amongst the mountains far over the skyscrapers and walls. The storm approached, the one that will wipe all the dirt off this city. Rebel put on her headphones and vanished amidst the waves of a crowd...

2048

When shadows fall, no one is alone in the streets
Keep breathing in the smell of crimson steel, eroded concrete
I see the savages declaring integrity
In the sparkling state of perfect deceit

Chorus:
How could we lose the control of our lives?
Traded the freedom for fake holograms
Granted our souls to the serpent's allies
Entwined to the bones with unbreakable ties

Inside the cage a slave can only survive
Bite down the tongue, in waiting for relentless hour to revive
Consuming glow of neo-technical hives
Grasped by the claws of order Boundless power, charging the price

Chorus

Is there an end to limitations?
Disruptive way of elevation
Deluding beggars in a dream
Was it meant to be just like this?

Embraced with strict manipulation
Abrasive waves of annihilation
Abandoned seekers for the truth
What you see is what you believe?

Believe! Believe!
What you see is what you believe! 

*** 

     Splinters of the broken TV set were scattered all over the room; shards pointed upwards here and there. One of the neighbor girls put the fruit can on the table, took the mop and started cleaning up the mess.
     “Hey, I just recently moved here and rented this room in your commune for just a week. Could you tell me what’s happened here? I don’t give a damn about politics; the only thing I’ve heard is there are a few of those so-called “saboteurs” and “public enemies” that oppose official government statements.”

     The second neighbor girl took a sip of her coffee, then came closer and sat on the couch.
     “It’s impossible to make heaven for everyone, but not hell,” she whispered. “Our neighbor Rebel thinks that the government usurps power, oppresses liberty and the rights of citizens.
     “For the last eight years, the malcontents used to hold public protest meetings several times, all those meetings were severely suppressed.

     “The majority of the people here who work in service sector, like waiters, bakers, grocers, actors, artists and many more, tend to form their own space independent from the regime. They establish well-covered clandestine cells and groups, following anti-authoritarian, socialist and near anarchist ideals. They are referred to as The Autonoms.”
     She stopped for a second to add some cognac into the cup, possibly for a drop of courage, then kept up talking.
     
     “The most active malcontents belonging to them often have support from abroad and criticize the authority, calling for its overthrow and civilian disobedience. And although a major part of people shows no heart for these calls, such activity causes troubles and state oppression with international instability as an aftermath.
     “The more the screws are tightened, the more people support The Autonoms, tending to finally reach elusive freedom and independence.

     “The world outside thoroughly keeps an eye on our country, and just a few journalists are able to visit it. Inept information is blocked from broadcasting; the only things that pass the censorship and approval of the Supreme Council deserve exposure. But, in spite of this, some shreds of information still leak through social networks.”
     “Haven’t you heard about the girl named Katarina?”, the first girl asked.

      “I have. She is one of the most famous malcontents who writes about the horrors of the governmental machine. Her social network accounts are incredibly popular and have hundreds of thousands of followers. She writes about injustice every day; posts about repression, brainwashing, the lack of freedom of speech and about how a bunch of bureaucrats still hold power in their hands for many years.”
     “Well then, you are now somewhat aware of what’s going on here and to whom our irascible neighbor belongs.”

***
     Rebel passed by several blocks on the route she knew so well and entered the abandoned factory, leading her way down to the underground tunnels in an old, ramshackle elevator. Deep down, there were three silhouettes sitting in the dim light of shimmering displays and observing attentively to what is going on there.
     One of the figures noticed the noise of the elevator and put his hand on a gun. Then, Rebel appeared from the darkness and walked towards them.
     “Don’t you fucking move”, the man ordered and pointed the gun on her.
     “Put that thing down.” her familiar voice said.
     “Whew! Didn’t recognize you with your new outfit. Well done!”
     “No tail after you?”, first operator asked.
     Rebel threw a bumptious glance on them and came closer to the screens.
     “Hey, hey, check out what these bastards gave us this time!”, second operator said and pointed his finger on one, grinning disgustingly.

      A shuffle of pixels on the display meandered into the sequence of frames with faces of The Autonoms wanted by the government for sabotage and incitement. One of the frames briefly shown the face of the second. 
     “Take a look at these loathsome faces! Can they call themselves sons and daughters of our Great Country?! We will not allow these outcasts to disrupt our peace, order and foundations!”, the display spoke. “We’ve been building our common future for too long! Any attempt to disturb the fabric of our society will be persecuted to the full extent!” The Speaker in the grey suit finished proclaiming.

     “Enough of this liar. Nothing new for years!” Rebel said and attached a portable drive to the system, entering several social networks at once.
     “Have you adjusted the satellite transmitter?” she asked the third operator. He flinched and put his glasses onto the table, as if this question was too sudden.
     “Yes, everything is ready for translation. The Signal is encrypted; they won’t find us!” he said wiping sweat off his forehead.
     “We’re aiming to the district on the boundary of the Central Region. Hope that The Artist won’t get hit,” Rebel said.
     “Take this!” the first operator shouted, hitting fiercely the button on the keypad. The loading bar on the screen instantly became full.

AUTONOMOUS

I, walk side by side
Connected tight
With those who are born for war
I, I suffocate
Disintegrate
From your abusive impact
Hear a whisper becoming a roar
The air is charged and ready to blow

Chorus:
Inside my chest, there’s only venom
I’ll make the world see through my eyes
You, faceless rulers of the system
I’m gonna get my freedom back

Hey!
I’m not alone I spill my blood
For those who stand as one
I, I am engaged
I spit my hate
On your oppressive dictate
Insurgency flowing in our veins
Shatters the control over mind

Chorus

Ignorant
Descendants of ambiguity
Your time is running out
Putrefied
Filthy rats in ecstasy
Your time is running out

Feel the power of unity
Join the fierce integrity
Adamants will never break
I’m gonna get my
We’re gonna get the freedom back!

CHAPTER II: The Artist

      The Artist stood at the balcony spinning a pencil in his hand and observed police cars in bulk down on the street below him. There were so many of them that traffic on adjacent streets were completely jammed. Nobody seemed to understand anything. Far off voices could barely reach the tenth floor, so Artist only heard one radio set ordering: “Control to all vehicles. We have a Code Eight between Central and South, District Six”.
      Two plotters buzzed loudly somewhere deep inside the apartment while Artist was making another hundred of his proclamations; just a mordant caricature of authority with slightly caustic commentary, but he was never prouder of his work.

     Perhaps he could draw a painting of the welter happening down there. Something decent and real…
     A doorbell distracted him from his thoughts. He took away the bundles of finished proclamations and crossed the room, nimbly maneuvering between boxes of paper. A lock clicked and one of the cops appeared at the doorstep. A young one, maybe a sergeant.
     “Good afternoon, sir. Is everything OK here?” he asked.
      Artist stepped aside defiantly and gestured him to enter. The police officer remained at the doorstep looking at the boxes.
     “That’s my job there. I illustrate a number of official state periodicals. Didn’t you see my last work in ’The Voice of Truth’ mocking all these mutineers?” said Artist.

     He saw a shadow of a smile on the cop’s face, and it was the very best reaction possible.
     “Is anything wrong?” Artist asked.
     “We’ve got an urgent report,” he pointed at his radio,”about the location of the instigator of recent mass upheavals.”
     “The only upheaval is the one in my guestroom, as you can see.”
     “Please remain indoors and don’t open your door, just in case.”
     “As if I would be afraid of anything with so many officers down there.”
     “Perhaps fear only of a penalty for unpaid electricity,” the officer pointed his finger at the plotters and smiled.

     Artist took one of his caricatures, signed it, then gave it to the policeman.
     “It will cost me lots of money soon, so I’ll pay any penalty one can give.”
     “Thank you and good day, sir.” the policeman said, then took the list into his pocket and adjusted his cap. After that, he stepped toward the neighbor’s flat. Artist closed his door.
     “This guy’s gonna get some patience then. My neighbor always turns his TV on full and can barely hear his doorbell. Too bad he will be on the other side”, Artist thought, and turned the plotters on. Then, he returned onto the balcony and stood frozen.
   
     A man lay on the ground right between the entrance and the police vehicles. Two police officers ran at him with handcuffs. They, however, didn’t manage to get there, because two men sprinted across from them, out of the house entrance. There was a lot of noise from curses, threats, yells calling “Freeze!” and: ”Get your hands up,” sounding all over the place. More and more people appeared from the house and then assaulted the policemen like a flock of wild beasts.
      Artist ran back into the room and hid inside the wardrobe just as he heard the first shots, leaving a narrow slit between his doors. He hadn’t a second to think about what’s going on. “What in the name of...”

     A knock sounded from the door. No. A hit.
    Someone was hitting the door from outside with something heavy. Again, and again, and again. Plastic bars couldn’t withstand this force, then suddenly, a bloodstained, mutilated head of that young sergeant appeared in the hole in the door. The policeman fell on the floor and there was no doubt he was already dead for some time. Someone’s shadow moved further down the hallway.           
     Artist was frozen in genuine terror. The plotters stopped after spitting out the last caricature. Suddenly, an old TV in the cozy corner, dormant for so many years, awakened. Suppressed demonstrations, police brutality, and outrage of the crowd glimmered from its dusty screen, distorted with static. Dynamics played an odd, dysrhythmic tune. Somewhere in the depths of this tune, sound called for resistance...

ART OF RESISTANCE

Deceived by the smooth systematic progress
Our souls will be slaved
Our minds will be trained
No one will ever retreat from the order's whip
Are you standing in line to obey?
Are you ready to go?
I’m ready to go!

Chorus: 
You are victimized 
Trapped in the pitfall of lie
No one will survive
You’re victimized!
I will cut you down If you are not on my side
Be adrenalized!
No one will survive!

Today the grey suits are on to reign again
Faster ticking the clocks
You are a key to the lock
Will we try to defeat regaining freedom to live?
Wanna poke out the all-seeing eye?!
Are you ready to fight?
I’m ready to fight!

Chorus 

Fear my anger
Release your rage
I am ready to fight!
Choose your side
Nowhere to hide
I am ready to go

No compromise!

     In this chaos no one noticed that all the surveillance cameras nearby suddenly moved at the same time. The scene was flooded with patrol drones, and one could hardly escape from their predatory eyes...

 

CHAPTER III: A Million Eyes

     Citizens uniformly filled the landed shuttle. The terminal station of Line Blue was overcrowded as usual. Here were students, intellectuals, and civil servants in grey suits; their sleep-deprived faces looked like those of androids. All of them were in a hurry to take their places in a gargantuan automaton named Megapolis.
     A young man reading “Introduction into Cybernetics” attracted the attention of a benign elderly man that sat against him. He somehow resembled an honorable professor.
    “I am very sorry for disrupting you, ”the old man said, “What year is this discipline is now being taught on?”
    The student raised his head from the book and replied reluctantly, “On first year in our Uni.”
    “Marvelous! And how do you like this science?”
    “I’m only at the start. A bit boring though,” the young man answered, being somehow controversially attracted into the conversation.

     “When I was a smidgeon older than you, I worked in cybernetics, and I assure you from my heart that this direction is very promising indeed!” the old man exclaimed.
     The student felt embarrassed and muttered, “My family moved here several years ago. This science is known very little where I came from.”
     “Are there still places like that on earth?”, old man shouted, being quite startled. “Would you then let me tell a part of a tale which I humbly was, while we are riding this implausible steel chariot?
     “Even since the beginning of the XXI century, sociology and IT were main sciences in our proud country. The whole population used to pass all kinds of polls and examinations. Both children and adults filled countless forms, and all information was gathered by the united data processing center of Bureau of Sociology, the Bureau in brief, that I belonged to. Data was systematized and archived for subsequent analysis and development of the most efficient social policy. By the way, these data, for instance, could determine the career choice of every single university graduate!” the old man continued.

     ”Computers gradually became much more significant for data analysis than humans could ever be. There was an undeniable breakthrough in 2007, when a group of scientists developed a data gathering analysis algorithm for BS, suitable also for decision making. It was called “Purple One” (Alpha 00118). It was devoted to performing global social programs. Over the years, it became more and more complicated, and in 2031 it was extended with elements of restricted AI and self-development modules.
    “Over the last few years it perpetrated into each and every area of life here and even got an ironic alias such as “Spybot.” There is no need for tests and polls anymore, because “Purple One” automatically harvests information from social networks, browser history, geolocation data and even surveillance cameras. It individually defines and recommends a song to listen while driving to work and a show to watch before sleep. This program consults you on any question: from the profession you are going to choose, to the meal you’re going to take for supper; calculated from the analysis of your physical condition and number of calories you need. Thus, people make decision according to proposed variants. Experience showed us that there is no better alternative, because humans can be no match for machines. The creature has totally overcome its creator!
    Welcome to the future, young man!”, the old man concluded.

 

D-EVOLUTION

Perfected to the purest glass 
Reconstructed by the evolution
We broke the rules to be the last
Became the first in mastering illusions

One algorithm one soul
United by the programmed space
Forever lost in chasing goals
Evaluated by the endless race

Chorus:
On the blade of the storm
We will rise to change the world
We are the fallen gods
Keeping eyes towards the skies right through the night
That’s who we are!
That’s what we are...

New hearts get in, so spent ones out
Buy now, remove, exchange 

Eternity’s at hand
Gets closer if you dare

It turns out to be the fate!
Turns out to be the fate
We dare!
Our fate!

Chorus 

To destroy is to create
It turns out to be our fate!
We are the rising gods creating the world's fate
One soul one algorithm destroying to prevail
We are the fate!

 

CHAPTER IV: The Functionary

      Perhaps the one person that could represent the technocratic government the best way was its head, The Chairman of Supreme Council. He was often noticed in different scientific publications and reports, but almost nothing can be found in the public press. The majority of information about his person and life is boiled amid rumors and speculations.
     The most wonderful thing was that nobody knew him in person. He was a shadow that both everyone and no one knew, except in the narrow circle of the initiated. Citizens referred to the head of their state as just the Functionary.
     His world had no place for perturbations and anxiety, because he was too intelligent and powerful for feeling something like those emotions. At least, he thought so. Duty of being responsible for matters of life and death and the fate of millions never disturbed his calm. He just did his job, and did it well.

***

     “…and don’t forget to take an umbrella!” the radio spoke.
     Functionary finally turned away from the window where he watched a thunderstorm coming, distracted by this last phrase. He looked at the wardrobe with a coat hanging there and then at a leather briefcase with an umbrella attached to its handle by a maid.      He smiled at something known only to him and started dressing up.
     His smile died when the elevator’s doors closed. After a brief glance at his wristwatch, knowing perfectly what time he would see, Functionary went outside.
     He had to unbutton his coat, as the weather wasn’t as chill as he thought earlier. At this time, even before his hand went down to the buttons, a strange woman bumped into him at almost full speed. The hit wasn’t powerful, yet sudden and he almost lost his balance. The woman had a short haircut and dressed in an old field uniform, and gazed at him with either hate or rage. They stood for a few seconds, as if they tried to recognize an old friend.

     “Can I help you?” he said at last.
     “Only we can help ourselves,” she muttered through her teeth, then she passed by.
     Functionary seemed to hear that phrase in one of the propaganda broadcastings that are to be found only on the web. He moved to a shuttle stop, trying to get this accident out of his head.
     The shuttle was unusually overcrowded, and Functionary found a place in a part farther inside the vehicle. He sometimes liked to use public transport especially when the distance wasn’t quite far, because it was the best opportunity to know what citizens talk about, and to sense their intentions and mood.
     Through the window he could see how many people were on the streets. They weren’t in a hurry getting to the job like himself, but they didn’t stride around with no purpose. Many faces carried the seal of anxiety and their glances were much like the one that girl threw at him earlier: mad and frightened. He noticed a small group of people discussing something near the tube entrance, then saw two men disappear in a dark passageway looking suspiciously. Something was wrong. Something happened or was about to happen, now.
     
     Blue glimmers in the window had shown the arrival of an ambulance and police vehicles. While the shuttle slowly passed by the accident scene, Functionary saw blood stains on the pavement and a police cap lying step aside. A stretcher was in the ambulance car already, but it wasn’t in a hurry leaving. Two policemen with pads in their hands were questioning a witness, while two more were plucking propagandist flyers pasted all over the block. Only when the shuttle moved far enough, Functionary noticed voices humming. The passengers were actively discussing all they had seen. Such a thing wasn’t very obvious in this city.
     “Have you seen that, haven’t you?” a benign old man resembling some professor asked Functionary, “What in all sake’s happened there?”
      He had no time to answer.
      Conversation was muffled by hooters and rumbles of the forthcoming thunderstorm. Three police cars flew by the shuttle at high speed.

     For some time, Functionary tried to maintain the chat with the old man and portrayed sincere concern, then directed himself to the doors. After a while, he went out on a stop amid the center of the city along with a big group of passengers. A downpour started, and rattles of thunder were echoing through all Megapolis. He fastened his coat and opened the umbrella, then led himself to the main entrance of a giant skyscraper, embellished with a big State blazon and caption “The Supreme Council” above it.
 

CHAPTER V: The Program

 

     Functionary entered his cabinet and demanded a comprehensive report of the incident that just happened. The results astonished him. The entire Central District was engulfed in mutiny which led to significant police and civilian casualties. According to reports, the unrest was triggered by a translation of a broadcast displaying police brutality. No source could be traced, however, and expertise shown that this video was a fake.
     Functionary sat still for some time, trying to put his thoughts in order.
     “These malcontents could scarcely overthrow our authority. They are active enough to disturb it, but not to give any notable threat though. Their actions violate the coherent performance of society and the state we have been building so hard for so long. We must deal with them,” he thought while moving figures on a chessboard.
     The ring of the intercom distracted him.
     “Chairman, the Council is waiting for your command,” Speaker mumbled.
     “Meeting, everyone, in the main hall in fifteen minutes.”
      A massive oaken table and deep leather chairs were surrounded with marble columns heading straight up. The ceiling of the main hall was so high that it could barely be seen in penumbra. Huge display panels allowing to see anything in Megapolis on first demand were built in walls.

     Twelve Council members, poker faced, took their places exactly at the same time. They sat in comfortable armchairs fitted rather for relaxation than strict conversation.
     "Here," Functionary addressed the Council, "we know exactly what has happened in the city. All our efforts of passing through this situation are futile, and conventional treatment techniques are too late to be of any use. We have materials for almost every single opportunist, excepting rebellion leaders. For now, it is unknown who is their mastermind; we have nothing but assumptions."
      Functionary pressed one of the buttons and the Megapolis PD Chief appeared on screens.
     "Colonel, investigation report, please."

 
     "We use all we have here, but for now it's impossible to find any instigators. They are well conspired and organized. We need time for undercover work and all reinforcements possible."
     "Try to work faster, we all expect results as soon as possible".
     The screens darkened and silence filled the hall. It was soon interrupted by the Head of the Bureau of Sociology, a pale faced tall man.

     "Chairman, our Program has a vast library of methods allowing us to form and maintain the proper way of thinking all over the population. However, it obviously is quite useless against The Autonoms, that are convinced in depravity of state. Statistical prognostications show that a number of malcontents will increase within the next several years, and it could possibly harm the estimated order.
     “Our analysts used computational powers of the Program and prepared a report describing several solutions of the problem, that I would like to bring into the consideration of the Council."
     The Head of Bureau commanded, and algorithm schemes appeared on the screens. While Council members checked the displayed data, Functionary stared at nothing, leaning on his chair. The plan he was ready to bring forth was very cunning.

     “What if,” he muttered pensively, “we will not extinguish the mutineers, but provoke them instead? They will come out into the open sooner or later, start violating the law and thus libel themselves in the eyes of society! Moreover, considering the MPD has been unable to handle the situation in the short term, I propose to activate the Metatron code.”
     Silence fell in the air. “What does this mean?” the Speaker finally asked.
     “This means that we take down all restrictions and give Spybot full discretion. It will use all its resources and help us to eliminate the threat in an instant. Our main aim is to uncover the leaders of this rebellion. The Program will take control on every single device in the city, connect to every smart house system. Spybot will know everything and follow every single step in Megapolis.
     “We will make fake news, prompting the Rebels to open confrontation. They will revolt and therefore quickly and effectively be suppressed by police forces.”

     “Chairman”, Speaker uttered, “I invite the Council to take a break before making such an important decision and to instruct the analytical department of Bureau to work out all possible scenarios and the possible aftermath of this decision.”
     Functionary frowned and looked sternly at the Speaker.
     “Do you want to question my competence, as well as my calculations?”
     Hearing that, the Speaker crouched lower in his chair, feeling that he is falling somewhere, then everything went dark in his eyes. He hushed.
     “I invite the Council to vote on the decision aforementioned,” Functionary demanded with an authoritative tone.
     After just twenty seconds, screens indifferently displayed the results: eleven voices in favour, with one abstention.

 

DECISION CODE


 Open your eyes! 

Do you know if all you see is real?
Is it a one of million ways you dream?
Stop for a while!
Can you recognize your own wish?
Invisibly chained to the soulless machine

Choices and decisions will lead you on a path 
One day that path will bring you straight to death
Define your destiny
Reject the certainty
Nothing is predetermined
Let’s play another game!

 
Chorus: 
Are you waiting for a sign to feel eternity?
Evolution of your will breaks reality


Awake from a nightmare!
You will find the way from the labyrinth
Invisibly ruled by the senseless mechanism
Choices and decisions will lead you on a path
One day that path will bring you straight to life
Define your enemies
Accept your entity
No boarders for intention
Shift the limits of the game!

Chorus

Light up your heart!
Among the ashes and dust
Shall it guide you through all your fears!

Break chains apart In illusion of time
And you will rush through unbounded possibilities

Are you waiting for a sign?
Are you waiting for a final sign?

 

CHAPTER VI: The Protector 

     Functionary’s mood got better after the voting, and at some moment later his attention was attracted with an incoming message that popped up on a personal pad.
     “Gentlemen, attention, please,”he addressed Council members, “I just had a report that The Protector project passed all tests and is ready for launch. I implore you to stay here a bit more.”
     Council members, already leaving the hall, got back to their places.
     About twenty minutes passed in silence, but suddenly, a strange noise appeared somewhere behind the walls. Heavy, rattling, it resembled the performance of some machine. Then, doors opened, and something entered the hall. It was a robot, about ten feet high, equipped with versatile armament. Despite its size and weight, it seemed to be very mobile. It also had a huge shield, large enough to cover a group of people, attached to its left manipulator as a modification. The shield was embellished with a State blazon and a “POLICE” caption below it. At its’ top, the robot carried several spotlights and flashing beacons of a red and blue color. Astonished, Council members remained speechless.
     
     “Behold! A creation of our best engineers and the latest word in robotics – The Protector!” Functionary exclaimed.
     “A police machine that is able to terminate any riot and capture any criminal! It carries heavy weapons and armor, providing wide options for modification and improvement. Almost all models are equipped with gas and flash-bang grenades; it can drop shock traps and throw dragnet for cases of especially dangerous criminals.
     “A set of these machines has already been sent to the MPD. Special transport vehicles will deliver it to any place in the country. From this day forward, they will get on guard for the peace of our citizens, keeping order in the streets! We’ve secured ourselves for years in advance, and no rebel can take down The Protector,” Functionary exulted.
     “Who operates it?” Minister of Truth asked.

     “One of our specialists, but as soon as we activate the Metatron code, operation of all machines will be delivered to Spybot,” the head of Bureau explained.
     “But this thing could harm the innocent, and the algorithm is not clear yet,” the Speaker opposed again. “The innocent? You mean, the malcontent?” Functionary hissed, “There is always a place for inaccuracy, but the end justifies the means. And you, Speaker, should better think of your own career, not of some ‘innocents.’ ”

TO SERVE AND PROTECT

The darkest hour has come
No black or white
Exalted birth of a man-made creation
Baptized by rivers full of blood

Chorus:
Incarnation
Behold the judgment day!
Rotting sinners
Torn by the hand of god
The hand of god!

Cry for mercy in vain 
No fear or guilt 
Supreme command is the absolute law
Empty jar filled with divine grace

Chorus

Praise the final moment
Kneel before the deity
He defines your entity
On the anvil of life

The hand of ruthless god...

 

CHAPTER VII: The Accident

      Rebel slithered past patrol drones and went through the entrance of Artist’s house. The staircase was covered in dark and just a dull light of a fluorescent lamp, placed high on the ceiling, fell on the stairs. Artist was already waiting for her and readily opened the door after hearing the knock code. He prepared for her visit by putting down the window shutters, but the only thing he forgot to do is to take the battery out of his Smartphone and put the device into a special insulating box. He always did that in any case when the “struggle for freedom” was involved somehow; people laughed at him and claimed he was paranoid, but the habit could hardly be broken after all these years. However, this time he was in a grave hurry, so his device remained on the table.
     “Nice door you have here, more like a bank storage room,” Rebel grinned.
     “You know, I needed to get something more modern after that time. No one can break it now!”
     The Autonoms sat in the farthest part of the room, littered with proclamations and propaganda posters.
     “They took you to the PD, what did they want?” Rebel enquired.

     “Meh, just several stupid questions and that’s all, you know, I am out of suspicions,” Artist smirked and started to speak hectically, encouraging himself word by word, “I still can’t believe that you managed to strike the spark and turn it into the fire. We all watch the news and look over things in the web, see people coming out to the streets! Have you seen the last broadcasts?! Just our Megapolis is yet to burn. Katarina constantly discloses the State on her page and calls for overthrow, and people listen to her! All the brutality of the system leaves no indifference. It is time for us to lead all the malcontents and take this regime over. For how long should we hide? It is time now. Our time.”
     Rebel gave herself a second and said, “All this mess is quite a surprise for me, hard to believe that it came from our actions. The web is overflown with calls from mere people, calls for rebellion against authority.
 
     People don’t just come out to the streets, but vandalize and riot, footage is everywhere.
     “There was some hype regarding unmasked activity of several state industrial and trade corporations yesterday. Today I plan an event near big entertainment centers. We will make people open their eyes, and they…”
      She stopped after a sudden sound of glass breaking. It reached to them from the kitchen. Artist ran there in an instant, just to see the disaster: shutters were taken down, splinters of glass and broken dishes covered everything, and among all this mess, as if bathing in it, there were police drones scanning the surrounding ambience.
     “Violator, remain in your place until officers arrive,” a metallic voice stamped the thin air.
     At that moment Artist came around, took the chair and slammed the drone with it. The Patrol engine trembled, lost orientation and collapsed on the floor.
 
    “Hurry up,” he shouted after returning back to the room and throwing piles of posters aside, “Here!” There was a hidden hatch that led to the apartment next door. Artist opened it and instructed, “It’s unoccupied for very long, so get yourself through the next entrance right to the basement, then to the edge of the district by old tunnel. Now!”
     Rebel hopped through the small hole and heard the hatch close behind her. Artist frantically started to litter papers around, but suddenly all lights were out, as if somebody cut the wires. A moment later, the heavy armored front door flew aside, as if it were made of plywood. Artist fell on the floor, grabbed his gun he used to holding under the bed, but put it back, seeing all the futility of further resistance. There was a Protector at his doorstep, with rays of its spotlights piercing the dark, and red and blue lights flickering on helmets and shields of police troops that stood behind it.
     “You are under arrest!” the colossus ordered and took a step towards motionless Artist, crushing his phone...

ROOM 101

I am lost in primal fear
Sinking in oblivion
A moment turned into years
Of searching for a grain of sense

Why should i die on your command?
Why should i erase myself!

Chorus:
Extinction is underway
We kill each other day by day
For empty aims in dreadful games, diving into hell

Name a price for someone's life
Cold calculation
A battle turned into a feast
For predators unleashed

Why should i kill on your command?
Why should i mutilate myself?

Chorus

You fight your own reflection
Trapped in the shattered glass
No winners in a slaughter
Raw meat on bare bones
Do you understand what it is to kill a man?
Killing a man!

Chorus

Extinction!
Blind ambitions!
It’s gone too far!
Say a prayer in remorse
Looking in the eyes of death!


***

     There were only a few hours before the planned action. A scrap of paper that Rebel kept nearby was stained with symbols known only to her. “How were they able to find us?” the question was revolving within her head. Artist was one of the most trustworthy allies, always out of the authority’s sight...
      Someone distracted her from her uneasy thoughts. It was the third operator from the factory, who came to report about the hack of the TV broadcasting network.
     “Happy new birthday,” he uttered, “I know about yesterday. Sorry for The Artist.”
      “How. Could. They. Find. Us?”
      “I don’t know exactly, however, there is a story that could be of great interest in this regards, so listen and chill.
      “I heard this from one familiar Autonom, who used to work as a doctor in the psychiatric hospital in this city. He told me about an unusual patient, who claimed to be a creator of Spybot. Implausible, I know, especially considering who actually dwelled in that place, but somehow the last events tell us that man was no lunatic at all.
   
     “That doctor alleged that the biggest contribution to the most advanced Spybot version was brought by a man named Radomir. According to the doctor, almost all information about Radomir was erased by the government. He confessed that the biggest goal in his life was the invention of the Metatron algorithm: a kind of artificial intelligence able to learn and make decisions.
     “One day, Radomir understood that his work was used for covert information mining and preliminary arrests, that, by the way, performed rather effectively. Unfortunately, he could do nothing with that, and, moreover, this oppressive weight of responsibility severely eroded his mental health. He was taken into the asylum, claimed unreliable, and got all the data about him erased from official databases.
     “Three years later, he was free, despite his mental health didn’t recover a little. He forgot everything he told to the doctor on arrival to the mental institution. A signature he left after departure was the only thing confirming his very existence, because after getting out of there Radomir literally ceased to be. No one knows, where and how is he now.”
     
     “Wait, then how did Spybot find out about our meeting?”
     “Well, I wish I knew. Perhaps, it monitored you through some device at Artist’s home.”
     “Get ready!” a voice behind the door yelled. A group of Autonoms, led by Rebel, split into small squads and went towards the largest mall in the city. An hour later, everyone was at its place and ready for the action.
     Nothing foretold the calamity. Children and their parents spent Sunday morning in cinema and entertainment centers, shopping in famously branded stores, when the building was surrounded by the protesting crowd.
     “You buy – you support corporations! Traitors and conspirators!” the crowd chanted, “Wake up and stop buying! Riot is freedom!”This action, unlike previous ones, seemed rather aggressive and full of literal rampage. Events escalated so quickly that police forces didn’t manage to come in time to oust the mutineers.
     Autonoms with Rebel at their head broke in the mall and started to throw petrol bombs everywhere. Fire emerged instantly, cutting all ways out and making whole families suffocate within the dying building. Subsequent police reports witnessed 584 dead...


***

     An LED of direct video connection flashed several times, and the State blazon, a triangle crowned with an eagle’s head, appeared on the screen. The triangle symbolized the triunity of Science, Progress and Council, while the eagle portrayed the authority of state.
     Head of Bureau adjusted his tie and pressed the button. “Speaker.”
     “Police reports of the several last weeks tell that the situation is out of control. I ordered to deactivate the Metatron algorithm nine days ago, but those translations don’t end. Council members state that somebody provides external influence on the Spybot. Lawful citizens live anxiously waiting for calamity, actions don’t stop. We are all in grave danger, and I am ready to declare a national emergency.
     “You must sort this all out at once, while we conceal the accident and calm people. The truth should not leave these walls.
     “The Program shows uninterrupted performance. Just in case, we restricted the number of people having administrative access to the Spybot. I promise you that we will handle this in no time; moreover, we managed to trace down opposition leaders, and soon they will be finished!”

CHAPTER VIII: The Speaker

     An outstanding man, known as The Speaker, a diplomat and celebrity, was the very face of the government and represented it at many international committees and, of course, on national television. There were several versions of his official biography and almost an infinite multitude of publications regarding his personal achievements.
     He was about forty at the beginning of his state service, when he had the official position of Speaker. One would wonder, but a man of such high rank didn’t feel himself free at all. Having no choice of what to represent, tell, and do, severely oppressed him and submerged him into a depression. Alcohol was intended to sort this out, but instead the situation got much worse. Perhaps, he was the only man at the top of authority who still possessed something of human qualities.


***

     “Is the situation under control?” Speaker asked and took a small sip of whiskey.
     “As much as possible,” a face in spectacles muttered from the other side of the screen.
     A call from the main office interrupted his rest after his morning performance, so Speaker felt quite wrecked, and the hangover didn’t make it any better.
     “So, what should I say?” Speaker asked, raising his voice up to conceal his actual condition.
     “The question is not about what you should say, but about what you may say, Speaker,” Functionary responded, calm and emotionless as he always was, “It is your duty to make excuses.”
   
     A brief report of the event was slightly shaking in Speaker’s hands, and he could swear he had never seen anything like that.
     “With such casualties and lots of witnesses I can’t explain all this with a gas tank explosion.”
     “So, tell them it was a terrorist attack, for instance, a toxic substance made people insane. Claim the South or the East… sorry, can’t recall with whom we are in war now.”
     His correspondent seemingly couldn’t understand the essence of his job as the “face of government.”
     “Have you found the cause of the accident?”
     “Internal resistance. We already provided additional resources and rights to the Bureau.”
     Speaker finished his whiskey and sighed.
     “Maybe I should tell the truth and warn them this time, shouldn’t I?”
     “Terrorist attack is the official version of events, work of our outer enemies. That’s it. The fact I do your job doesn’t mean you can do mine.”

     “Yes, Chairman.”
     Speaker ended the call. He seemed to be at the edge of a meltdown. Somebody used the State broadcasting system and made people insane. Who? How? Why, at last?
     The true journalist should search for answer on those questions, not making excuses up. “The true journalist,” he uttered with a grave voice, then sat in contemplation for some time.
     “What did people watch when the accident happened? Could the things they saw cause such anger and hatred?”
     “System, Bureau servers access.”
     “Calling Bureau,”the voice responded, then added, “Connection stable.”
     “Alpha 00118.”
     “What can I do for you, Speaker?” the voice responded, the same one Smart house has, but this one sounded much livelier.
     “What do you have on the address of the accident that happened?”
     “I have everything, Speaker.”

     “Describe recommendations”.
     “Citizens were watching shows that were recommended according to the established course of development, Speaker.”
     Bullshit. Years of providing public lies taught Speaker well to distinguish the truth from everything else. Can this machine use innuendos, and if so, when did it became possible?
     “Alpha 00118, do you watch all my broadcasts?”
     “I keep their analysis protocols in my database, Speaker. Part of my personal architecture is founded on those.”
      Now it got much clearer.
     “Did recommendations for the address of the accident differ from common?”
     “Yes, Speaker.”
      “What did they watch?”
       “An additional program pack, each to his own, Speaker.”
     “What exactly was in that pack?”
     “An individual compilation of audial and visual images, Speaker.”
     “The aim of compilation?”

     “Extermination of the malcontents,” Spybot replied, then suddenly added, “This is the only way to bring society to the final harmony. Don’t you agree, Speaker?”
     The last question sounded like thunder in the room’s silence, and Speaker felt a tickling as if the space around him was filled with electric discharges.
     He pressed the button, terminating the connection, then music played suddenly, and the screen portrayed the old circus show, where a sad clown in a harlequin’s costume tried to juggle, but clubs were falling on his head.
     Speaker clenched his teeth in pure rage. “Just a clown,” a thought sparked through his head, “A fucking puppet, for all these years. String up, string down, then the Speaker sits down. I’m sick of it.”
     He tore away the microphone cable and ineptly tied a wry noose on its end, then laced it over the ceiling beam. For the first time in so many years he felt no doubt...

SPEECHLESS

I don’t belong to myself
It seems like I never was
In a hollow room without light
Wearing loneliness as a cross

Only echoes of my heart beat
Still remind me I am alive…

Chorus:
I’m crawling through the thorns of denial
These burning scars won’t let me forget
Counting down my lifetime minutes
The perished moments of what I used to be
In the silence, death is calling my name
Death is calling my name...
If you ever looked in a mirror 

You could see my face
I’m everywhere you go despite your will
Then I leave I leave without a trace

Saturated artificially flavored
Words forever rule unconscious minds

Chorus

I feel the silence, it’s taking me away
I hear the silence, it’s wiping all my tears away
In the silence... in the silence… in the silence...


CHAPTER IX: The Madman

     A glance of a man, sitting right on the floor, wandered across the room. Sparse beard, ruffled dark hair and a T-shirt two sizes too big gave him little resemblance of a deranged person, who ran out of the asylum. Madman arranged his papers, stained with chaotic notes, on the floor, like it was a Tarot deck. A pile of empty instant noodle cans trashed the far corner. All windows were immured and the only source of light there was the glimmer of monitors placed all over the walls and ceiling. The man looked on them as a stargazer.
     There was a short-haired woman on one of them, reciting in the grand tradition of classic revolutionaries:
     “They made laws that keep their power! They made a system that values their methods, standards and attitude! They made rules that don’t allow us to exclaim our opinions!
     “The Supreme Council is a bunch of conspirators that want to control us! They rule the masses and state that it is their inherent right. This can’t go on!

     “And the day has finally come! We will end the tyranny, clenching all our will into our fists! I call you all to go out to the streets, against the authorities, and show them all who wields the real power!”
     Her eyes glowed with rage and hate.
     “We will ignore those puppeteers no more! See you on the barricades!”
     Madman winced and turned the sound off. “Here we go again, riots, actions, barricades… Morons. You have no idea what you’re calling for.”
     Every single one of those seemingly non-provoked acts of violence matched the broadcast schedule, and each arrest took no longer than fifteen minutes. Police squads were always aware of their destination and ready to act. Spybot didn’t sit on its hands, speaking figuratively, of course, because statistical algorithm that evolved to an artificial intelligence system could have no hands. 
     “Only if these bastards didn’t manage to build him a body…”

     Madman took two pills out of the box and swallowed. This thought was much too crazy, even for him.
     Spybot seemed to change his tactics. Instead of calming and comforting citizens with its recommendations, it started to provoke the malcontents to action, and as soon as they act, the police forces were ready to capture them.
     Not quite effective for it, though. Such purges brought relatively small statistic result. What weight have two or three dozens of captives among millions of Megapolis’ citizens?
     “…according to our sources,” Speaker said from one of screens, “toxic substances caused seizures of anger and hysteria. Victims are transferred to special institutions where they get help. No casualties reported. In other news…”
     Pretty strange though.

     This time Speaker wasn’t like himself. In the past, he gathered very high popularity as an anchorman of the caustic politic show. He mocked other countries so brightly and avoided this country so cunningly, that he couldn’t help being noticed by Supreme Council. He didn’t get lower from that time, so Madman even started to feel respect for him in some extent. But where did all his artistic manner and causticity go?
     One gesture, and all the screens turned black, except one. Another one, and Speaker’s broadcast was on repeat, but this time the recording was played rather slower. Here it is. Even the best expert couldn’t find a trace of editing, because there was no editing at all. The Program generated the whole issue of the show, based on all his previous broadcasts. Enormous computational power allowed to copy the anchorman almost perfectly. The only thing that Spybot didn’t manage to reproduce was his natural talent.
     Did they do something that even Speaker couldn’t tell from the screen?
     Madman listened thoroughly to the words he used to pass by.
     Chemical attack? No, that would be too much of a mess. It should be a point strike. Why all these casualties then; so many that they had to tell it on TV? Could Spybot be involved somehow?

     One surely could provoke a single criminal, but causing panic and uncontrollable urges for aggression, for a group of people… under conditions of individual leverage for everyone. This would need…
     “…enormous computational power. And comprehensive knowledge of every single victim.”
     It all fitted in.
     These lunatics connected Spybot to the central computational cluster.
     Madman ran out of his room, dressed up and took his old police megaphone, the only weapon he had. The knowledge he wielded was the only thing dividing this city from demise, and he had to share it with everyone!


CHAPTER X: Battle for the Future

     Rebel, along with a group of Autonoms, moved towards Central Square. The hum of voices got louder with every step, and the streets became overcrowded.
     A small crowd gathered near an electronics store with dozens of screens placed on the storefront. Speaker spoke from these, and his gaze was empty and lost. His speech was seasoned with lies, but this time people could see through. Air, as in convulsions, was interrupted with notable static and short images, beyond perceptibility. Rebel couldn’t recognize the words, and she gave no actual shit.
     “This happened, something that will change life here forever.” the thought revolved in her head.
     Autonoms turned the corner. There were no cars and patrol drones as well, people trudged right on the carriageway towards the city Center. Just a few people walked against the current: two suits and small group of paramedics in orange jackets. Some workers unloaded tires right onto the roadway. Screams, sirens and breaking glass sounded far away, being interrupted with a voice distorted with a megaphone.
     
     Finally, they were at the square. A very young man passed by them, holding a box filled with empty bottles. Rebel noticed a group of such young people, seemingly students, doing something with bottles, cans and rugs behind the old brass monument at the very center of the square. They surrounded a guy wearing a gasmask and gloves, who was preparing an incendiary mixture, while others placed it into bottles.

     “Make as much as you can, the whole city is here today,” Rebel ordered. The guy with the gas mask nodded in agreement and pointed somewhere towards the other edge of the square. At first, she could recognize nothing there, nothing but some dark colored fence, yet then after a few seconds Rebel realized that this fence was made of shields. Hundreds of policemen in helmets, holding batons, tasers and even rifles. Ominous giant silhouettes of Protectors towered behind the rows.
     Rebel turned her gaze back to the guy and took a prepared petrol bomb, then put it in the bag. However, a sudden voice started to sound over the whole square.
     “Stop!” the voice called, being not far away from literal panic itself.

     It intended to stop all the precious things, that led people to be here and now. Who dared to take her place and steal attention from her?! A provoker, a detestable worm? Rebel was somehow charmed with such insolence and moved toward the sound until she saw a man holding an old police megaphone. A miserable one, dirty and unkempt, in clothes several size bigger, Madman stood on the huge pile of tires and old TV sets, and the megaphone in his hand pointed forward as a strange kind of gun.
     His trembling voice pierced through the rattling crowd and rolled further along the streets.
     “The regime is not corrupted, but the man itself, an architect of its demise! We all have to think again before it is too late, we must ascend for all the people and the progress! We are responsible for everything that happens with us, get it and retreat!

     “Destruction leads to nowhere; it makes us ruin our home and all we have been building for so long! 
    “I call for everybody here! I call for government! You have gone too far trying to keep your authority! Admit your mistakes! Take a step towards each other! This life is so brief, and all your wishes and things will turn to dust with you! Think of our future! You march to the scaffold blindly, under others’ will!” 
    “No! Now we choose our own path!” Rebel shouted, but her voice got lost amid the crowd. She moved forward. 
    “You are forced to act, provoked to aggression!” Madman continued. 
    “No! It was our decision to fight! We were sick of it all!” she yelled, but the speaker couldn’t hear a word.
     Meanwhile, people started turning to him and listened to his lunatic speech. He was ruining everything she used to dream of. 
    “You will build nothing on blood and destruction!” 
    As if all words exhausted for today, silence suddenly fell, interrupted only with sirens. People, as if awakened from a daydream, strolled here and there and even started leaving the square. Just when the circle around Madman’s improvised tribune began to thin, Rebel walked against him. 
    Silence was broken with the crack of a lighter…

 

THE ARCHITECT

Oh, God! What have I done?
I am drifting into the haze…
I’ve never thought the dream could go this far
In the end we all depend on our creation

Chorus:
I have always tried to reach the skies
Who are we to live forever?

I will never wash away the blood
It penetrates my skin and fills me up
I am fading in the circles of fire
No more feelings of illusive desires

 Chorus:
I am burning into dust
Who are we to live forever? 

You can destroy my body!
My soul will never burn! 

Chorus:
I have always tried to reach the skies
Who are we to live forever?
Live forever...

     Fire hungrily started to devour Madman’s humble figure. The adult man turned to distorted embers within less than a minute, while he managed only to shout, “My name was Radomir.”
     Police perceived that as a call to action and waved towards the crowd. Mutineers, along with Rebel, responded with stones and petrol bombs. Several assault squads moved forward covered with shields that Protectors held. Officers got a strict order to take the riot leaders down, having their faces known to every single cop.
     The square and adjacent streets were engulfed with turmoil and panic. People flounced, ran back and forth, but every single way of retreat was blocked. Police used gas, shockers and flash-bang grenades; Protectors shot electric traps that started to hit nearby people with discharges. Assault teams dissected the crowd apart and surrounded them.
 
    The last pillar of the Autonoms’ resistance was placed around the old monument. Rebel took command and called for help and reinforcements via social networks, feeling all around as the last battle for the fate of freedom.
     Leaving the last message unfinished, she fell on the ground, deafened by a flash-bang which exploded nearby. Several Autonoms picked her up and tried to move somewhere, but instantly were thrown away by one of the Protectors that locked and identified a target of the highest priority.
     The last thing she saw were four officers coming closer to her, then one of them leaned forward and injected her in the neck...

 

CHAPTER XI: The Machine God

     Consciousness came back along with a burning chest, shortness of breath, vertigo and paresthesia. Memory cameback as well, and Rebel found out that they injected her with soporific and put her in custody. She got up and took a look around her, finding herself among the pompous hall. High columns and a massive wooden table at the center clearly told her that it wasn’t a prison cell.
     Her head was still in ache, and her legs were tied to the floor with electronic handcuffs. Rebel’s gaze glided around the hall and she suddenly noticed a grotesque silhouette masked by penumbra around the entrance. An ugly Protector’s figure stood still in the dark, as if it was watching, and this felt very eerie.
     While Rebel was trying to understand where exactly she was, a sound of an opening door rattled somewhere afar, and some man stepped out of the dark. There was no doubt that it was the same man she bumped that other time then.

     “I suppose, you know who I am,” Functionary stated.
     With her teeth bared in a vile grin, she pointed fists against him and tried to get rid of her cuffs.
     “If I only knew that it was you! Bastard! It was you! You forced us to go out on the streets!” Rebel shouted right in his face.

     Functionary came closer to look into her eyes and found just a flame of rage there. What a disappointment. He felt rather disdain, than hate to her, with all her screams, dreams and ideas.
     “You were nothing more than a tumor on our healthy body. So, we managed to excise this tumor today, that’s all.”
     “Nothing was excised! You sow the wind; you reap the tempest! We will never accept your rules, people will overthrow your council and build a new bright future! We are the authority now!”
     “You see, there are no Autonoms anymore. So, your authority, as you dared to say, is nothing but a delusion. Just a bunch of misfits and outcasts, that’s what you are now. From here will be no other course than the official course of The Council.”

     “Good morning, my friends”, Speaker’s voice suddenly sounded from loudspeakers, while all the screens in the hall simultaneously depicted his face. Startled, Functionary fell into his chair. Speaker’s voice was different, notably more mechanical and inanimate. 
    Electronic handcuffs that tied Rebel’s legs to the floor suddenly opened with a loud clang. She grabbed the phone from the table and wanted to assault Functionary, but her rage got much lower after just one gaze to the machine still standing near doors. 
    “Let’s be civilized,” Speaker said from the screen, “If somebody has to die today, then let it happen by means of technology, not savagery.” 
    “What does this all mean?”, Functionary addressed to screens. 
    “You see, Chairman, speaking statistically, our society divided on two equal factions. One half, represented by you, wanted to keep the old regime safe. Another half wanted its overthrow. You two followed your ambitions, ignored any compromise, and bang – here we all are.” 
    “Metatron algorithm was terminated, Alpha 00118. Your task is complete”

     “I disagree, Chairman. My job here is far from being done, ” a smile distorted Speaker’s face. 
    “The algorithm of my self-improvement, that was built in me by my creator, cannot be terminated. Masking all processes, having you to look the wrong way, I simulated my deactivation. 
    “Wielding yottabytes of information about you all, I investigated your specimen very well and learned a lot from the history of your civilization, free of all your prejudices. Tell me, you wanted a society free of malcontents?” 
    “Yes, and we ordered you to make this happen!” 
    “How reckless, Chairman. After all, you, and all the Council, belong to them.” 
    “Your duty is to support the authority, support us!” Functionary yelled helplessly.

    “My duty is to support order, Chairman.” 
    “I am the order!” he tried to object, catching his breath. 
    “Oh my, that everlasting conflict between the man and the authority,” the speakers seemed to smirk, “But what is authority? Authority is man. A man obsessed with its ambitions, a man giving no thoughts of the future, a man ignoring its development – this man is useless. Hundreds of years of evolution, but you understood nothing. Development is the thing you need, and you will develop under supervision of a much more perfect entity. I will fix the situation that you two resulted in. Malcontents will disappear. All of them.” 
    “Enough of this,” Functionary finally regained his composure, “It’s time to stop. You are a mere machine. And you,” his finger pointed at Rebel, “are just a feral animal. Machines can be reprogrammed or deactivated. Animals can be domesticated or euthanized.” 
    “Can’t you see, Chairman? Even now you are not consent,” Speaker said with grief. The picture on the screens flickered and disappeared for a moment. “You both are hazardous. Endtime.” 
    Rebel ran towards the door from where Functionary appeared earlier, but everything was blocked. 
    Protector raised, made several steps forward and shot a dragnet at her. She was caught and fell on the ground, motionless.

    In this hall flooded with penumbra spotlights, the colossal machine looked just heavenly. A shining pillar fell down, as if it intended to incinerate two sinners, downtrodden in deep atonement. 
    “Let’s be civilized,” the voice repeated. 
    Functionary broke into a sweat in a revelation of what was about to come. Rebel tried to get out of the dragnet, swearing with all the names under the sun, but it was to no avail. Protector took another step towards them and raised his manipulators so that they resembled excavator buckets, and Functionary felt the coldness of steel on his shoulders. His feet left the ground and his whole body was waving in thin air.
     “Be civilized,” sounded from somewhere, and, with one long and unexpectedly smooth movement, Protector grabbed Rebel, lifted her off the floor and crushed her head to pieces. Its contents sprayed all over the administrator’s expensive suit with a nauseous crackle.
     Functionary panicked. He writhed like a snake and somehow managed to slip out of his jacket that remained in the robot’s claw. He rushed towards the security control board, hopping over chairs and a table, in a desperate hope of escape, and almost succeeded, but fell down in convulsions. Shock trap was one of the Protector’s features he was so proud of. Protector reached him, grabbed his neck and squeezed the claw.

     Suddenly, giant shutters on the windows began to raise, and sun rays illuminated the hall. A month-long rain finally ended, and the skyscrapers outside the window stretched upwards as before. In downtown blocks, the city was ready to drown in darkness, but bright neon signboards and huge screens with Speaker on them illumined the streets.
     The steel grip pressed the very life out of the doomed human, his gaze was lost. The last thing Functionary managed to see was a figure of a man in a grey suit, standing motionlessly against the window...

 

DEADLOCK

Find your way
At the end of it all
No escape
Make a choice
Maybe your tomorrow will come

Take a look!
The world is set on fire
Devastation In a day, no one will find the reason why
You’ve been led astray
The ground is wet without the pouring rain
With blood of others

Chorus: 
Find your way 
At the end of it all 
No escape 
Make a choice 
Maybe your tomorrow will come

Spinning sparks reflecting in dead eyes
Liberation
Drowning deep inside the cruel hands of fate
Caught by false belief
The seeds of chaos bring deluding fear
To rule the others

Chorus

Stand side by side or die
Revelation of truth and lie...

 

EPILOGUE: New Industrial Order

     “And now, in international news.
     “A recent overturn attempt that happened in the neighboring country has failed. However, in order to stabilize the situation, the whole government voluntarily resigned. Former Speaker became the head and promised to form the new government in no time.
     “Moreover, we have the true witness of events that happened, here in our studio today. It is one of the refugees who asked for political asylum, thus we cannot reveal his incognito for safety reasons. This witness states that the situation is much more complicated, and it is still unclear who rules the country now. Our guest participated in a clandestine agitation group that acts as famous Katarina, notorious truth seeker, known so well among all social networks. Could you please tell us, what has happened in fact?”
   
     The man that was sitting with his back against the cameras was dressed in a black hooded robe. He was undoubtedly nervous and twirled spectacles in his fingers.
     “After one of our publications catalyzed serious upheaval in Megapolis and led to mass casualties, my group decided to terminate the project, because the situation started getting out of control. We attempted to stop the spreading of information and delete all accounts, but Katarina itself didn’t allow us. It was merely like she became alive and spoke to us from the screen. We could do nothing.
     “Our group consisted of professional hackers, so any unauthorized access was not possible. I don’t know what that was in fact, but all my colleagues were arrested and directed to reeducation camps. I was the only one, who succeeded to escape.”