This is the first part of the return of the popular serial "The Word."
The elders remember a time when people were able to go to libraries to read the Word. Whether for information or pleasure the Word was available. Now, those once noble buildings stand desolate and unused; their innards strewn to the far corners on the winds of our barren land; where we once had peace now there is noise and flashing lights; where we had books, papers and learning materials; all which remains is a pile of ash. Each day the firemen bring out the books and burn them in the square of the Game Lord and each day more is lost and can never be found. Many of the great writers of our time have fled the cities in fear of being hunted or ridiculed.
The wars came about because the Game Lords feared their control of the minds of the young would never be total while books and the Word was available; so the sent machines from the skies with the ability to burn all things to cinders, what survived the war became ruthlessly hunted down by firemen, these men came equipped with flame throwers to burn any remain books and papers. Some of us escaped to the deserted lands and tried to start again, to lead a revolt to combat this evil which had spread out of control.
Any who sought the Word were hunted and publicly decried as heretics to the new masters of the touch screen games. Years have passed since the purges began, at first we thought this phase was not going to last but as the Word got less, the power of the game grew faster. People with inquisitive minds need to do things to be creative and these games began to choke our thoughts.
We at the Towers of Enlightenment remember how the terror started. One person saw a Game and started to play, as others nearby watched the enjoyment and ease with which pleasure had been achieved with little trouble; the craze grew. We thought at first “Just a craze which will pass,” sadly the phase did not pass but grew and the more the phase grew, the more the Game Lords controlled the minds of the young.
This new craze grabbed its addicts and spread like a fire, fuelled by the lack of the need for learning. The faster the games spread their poisonous ways, the faster the Word shrank and the faster our need lessened until now we were not allowed to be seen in public. We cowered in the shadows for fear those of us who wished to use the power of the Word, maybe be betrayed and our books burned in the square of the Game Lords; this is further proof of the power which their terror grips the cities.
Even though the Game Lords continued to try and crush our hopes, some of the writers fled to the deserted lands and wrote about the terror in the cities. Out in the desolate and barren wastelands, where nobody dares to travel without protection against ravaging hordes of gangs. The Word thrives as we send the Word across the airwaves and on to radio signals. In the hope more will receive the Word and turn away from the Game.
Our hope is for these few desperate words to have the ability to reach the minds of the young; some of the young may not yet been corrupted by the Game and wish to know the pleasure of the Word. To these young and very active minds our true aim is to destroy the grip of the Game. The time of the return of the Word is our wish. We hope there are many who wish to follow in our steps as they find our ways on the waves of the radio beacons, long since forgotten senders of news and entertainment, ancient records tell us these beacons are located, these had been the only means of contact and news before the Word became available, people would gather near their receiver to listen to anything they may be able to hear. There are still a few who may be able to use these beacons, but they fear being found so contact is brief.
Last night we picked up a brief and hardly audible signal sent from another city; the message was short and said, “Word seekers amass, our time is approaching. Meet at your designated areas.” This message gave new hopes to our cause. They were talking as though groups gathered in set zones. We realised they could not be seen in public, so we needed to send coded messages within the games.
The Game Masters who controlled the airwaves keep trying to block the signals but we can switch channels before they can track us. Always a step ahead of the Game, it is the only way. We are using old technology and long forgotten talents our message gets sent to the growing throng; eager to learn of the Word. We realised they dare not be seen, yet we hoped their numbers grew.
Our leader Kabel sat in her chair listening to the short messages coming over the air; she turned to James, the radio technician and said “Where do you think they are meeting?”
Listening to the broadcast for outward signs of the location he replied, “The only meeting places where they can listen safely would be the disused radio buildings on the outskirts of town; the buildings have alleyways which led to safe areas which are well hidden, from the days when the Game was young and violence became the creed. In those dark times, the alleyways gave us protection.”
Lost in her thoughts of the years gone and struggles fought Kabel commented, “We needed to keep guards out and have a signal to warn the readers. We were hunted like vermin until the only way remaining was to go underground. We had secret meeting places-Designated Areas- mostly in the houses of trusted friends and families.”
James continued her thoughts as he said, “Soon though; it got too dangerous even for those close to hide us. Always watching what we said in case somebody leaked our locations and Designated Areas to the Game; their reward for the information; a choice of a top game.”
Alanov Mexim, one of the top Russian thinkers, until he too got hounded across the Republic and became a non-person living outside authority. No right to anything and left to fend for himself continued on with the conversation, “I didn’t know what to do. The Word had been banned and my mind needed an outlet; never having had much contact with the Game I sought out others like me.”
From the far corner of the room, the tall and elegant Stevenarc Joyley commented, “Things didn’t get quite that bad here; we had been forced to accept the Game and we were forced to hide in corners and alleys as we sought the Word. The fight must continue, we have to win back the minds of those too young to realise the joys of the Word.”
James walked around the table, we could see he had something on his mind as he scratched his chin and ran his fingers through his hair in puzzlement, then said, “Those towers are still active and the technology is able to be used. We need the people to activate them, after that we can achieve widespread coverage.”
“Do you think those people are still around and if so how can we contact them, James?” Alanov asked.
James kept walking and thinking, but replied to Alanov, “I have some of my contacts from the early days; we use the old systems as we find it’s the best way to beat the Game. They use high technology to track us but our older methods can pick up the frequency flutter with a few seconds.”
Kabel got up from her seat and went to join James, who was watching the sands move across the deserts from a vantage point at the large window on top of the tower, “We can use the old systems to contact them and they can take it to those who can’t get to the masts.”