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Damien Moore

"I'm just looking out for my people."

0 · 158 views · located in Scarmouth

a character in “Blinding Lights”, as played by leisurelyatwar

Description

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Wait a Minute - Willow || Erase Me - Kid Cudi || Blue Lights - Jorja Smith || This is America - Childish Gambino || Lazy Eye - Smashing Pumpkins

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NAMEXX Damien MooreGENDERXX cis-male
NICKNAMESXXFather DamienNATIONALITYXXBlack American
AGEXX 28HEX XX #4737AE
SEXUALITYXXPansexual Demiromantic



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ImageA P P E A R A N C E

H E I G H TXANDXB U I L D: 5’10”, fit

Damien never owned clothes that hadn’t been worn by another first. He’d mostly wear layers so that the patches of one garment would be covered by the layer underneath. Because he worked labor jobs for so long, he was often covered in grime or soot - whatever residue the job of the day would leave behind. It wasn’t that he didn’t shower - he did so frequently in fact, one of the only luxuries he was always allowed. He just went from one job to the other, always giving 110% leaving in a sweat. Though he didn’t work out, a scarce diet and hard work sculpted what muscles he did have making him much stronger than he appeared at first glance. He never put much look into his appearance. His mom would cut his hair for him once every six weeks, always the same length all over because they didn’t have time or luxury to worry about styling their hair. During the revolution when they sometimes had to defend their settlements from government raids, he’d acquired a collection of scars. Those on his face have mostly faded but some deeper wounds from bullets or blades still marr his torso. Since the revolution ended his Congregation have been granted some funding but he hasn’t changed his lifestyle much, making sure every cent is spent on his people. He’s still seen wearing clothes with holes in them, though he has made investment into a proper pair of boots during the revolution that he still wears to this day. The leather may be worn but they kept him grounded during the most desperate times, he considers them his good luck charm.

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P E R S O N A L I T Y
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For most people, Damien is more of an idea than a person. It’s not something he cultivated, rather what circumstances generated. When he denounced the church after they turned their backs on the people during the revolution, many saw him as a prophet. All he wanted was; to preach ideas and actions, to empower people to no longer accept what they felt they could not change, to put their faith in themselves. His rhetoric took on a life of his own, many associating him with a god-like image.

Damien at first was angered by this turn of events, he felt that it contradicted everything that he meant to accomplish. However when he saw what it meant to people he realized that just because it began as his ideas did not mean that it belonged to him. If he wanted to share them he had to accept that they now belonged to the world. Humbled by this realization, he decided he would serve his Congregation as he wished his church had treated theirs. Instead of telling them how they had to believe, he allowed them to guide him in how to lead.

In reality, he made it very clear he didn’t have the answers. In fact, the more he admitted he did not know the more wisdom they applied to him. It was self defeating to try to convince them otherwise. He stopped trying to speak and interpret - which was liberating all in itself. He spoke very deliberately, often laconic in his word choice. If someone chose to misinterpret him, he didn’t see the need in explaining twice.

Powered by beliefs and values, Damien surrounds himself with like-minded people who place value in community. He genuinely cares for every member in his Congregation, and while he can be wary of outsiders intentions he does believe that most people are good if they are given the chance and humility. His communities are very close knit. He alternates between the clusters throughout the week, calling each one his home. While there are constantly new arrivals he still made it a point to learn everyone’s name and having a personal hand in their transition to the Congregation.

Because his role has changed the dynamics of all his relationships, he has a hard time connecting to anyone as a peer. He knows that the perception around him can make his relationships inherently predatory if he’s not careful. Damien establishes firm boundaries, which can leave him feeling isolated but it’s a small price to pay to assure no lines are crossed. Outsiders mistake this as a technique to keep his followers believing he is some sort of guru, many still questioning his intentions even with his strict perimeters.

Truth was that people were drawn to Damien. He had a passion and a way with words that made people listen. When he spoke to the people he became larger than life. He considered himself just to be a mirror, reflecting the very same things they’d all thought one time or another. There was an undeniable charisma that made people feel like he was someone they wanted to look to. He wasn’t just some snake oil salesman, he wanted to help and protect them. Not for their glory, not for their donations but because they deserved it.

Q U I R K S
Often running between settlements, he keeps track of his schedule in a small notebook. He doesn’t trust a lot of tech so he prefers to do things old school. He’s often seen scribbling in his notebook, though if you were to flip through all pages are already written in, he’s begun rewriting on pages in the margins and between lines.

F E A R S
Damien’s biggest fear is that his people were to be targeted. While Scarmouth has begun to re-integrate since the end of the revolution, many of his people still remain within their compounds wishing to maintain sovereignty. This radical thinking is for a great reason but he knows could ruffle feathers. He does his best to subdue conflict but still worries.


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H I S T O R Y

Damien had been the first born in his family. His parents were never perfect but they did try for the first couple kids. After the third it just got too hard. His parents worked 80 hour weeks, and struggled to pay the babysitter to watch them while they worked. Eventually it just became Damien’s job. Then in an accident at the steel mill his dad was mutilated, dying on the operating table after 16 hours of surgery. The steel mill offered to pay the medical bills but offered no support beyond that.

After that it just went downhill. His mom had four children, no partner and no support. Damien began working, passing down the role of babysitter to the next-oldest. He was able to work harder labor jobs than his mother for longer hours so he became the main breadwinner of the house. His mother turned to the church, they’d always gone but after his father died she needed the faith. Sunday nights they always had a potluck in the basement of the church, everyone bringing dishes from home for a glorious feast. It was the biggest meal they ate all week. Then they’d be sent home with a sack of flour, a sack of potatoes and some tinned veggies. It seemed to be a great set up, until Damien realized how much of his mother’s money was going to the church.

The church was encouraging those who already had so little to donate so that they could receive crumbs in return. Damien had explained that they could just use that money to buy even more food but his mother would say it wasn’t just about the food - it was about the community. He didn’t understand how it could be about community when they lived in a mold infested flat and the church remained gilded in gold.

Damien began writing down his ideas, hand making books to hand out in his community. He began exchanging ideas with others, hosting parlors for people to come together and discuss ideas. The church did not appreciate his rhetoric, reporting him to the government as a revolutionary. When the government came for people, he was among the first. Luckily he’d been able to get away but after that he became a Wanted man.

People began to talk about the man who had challenged the church to do more and had the government sent to kidnap him. It made them all the more wary of the church. People opened his doors to Damien. He’d hop around couch to couch, never staying in one place too long in case it garnered heat.

While moving around he would speak with people. People enjoyed talking to Damien. He did so free of judgement, his eyes intent as you spoke clinging to every word. He made people feel seen. His reputation preceded him and his demeanor would not disappoint. Many would spend a night with him just discussing things and be left with revelations that would leave them in awe.

The more people he meant, the more that wanted to help him. His first community was just in an apartment complex where a collection of his followers happened to live. As things outside became worse they fortified the complex, those within all looking to each other for help. Damien being a natural leader he just seemed to default to the role. Word sort of traveled on it’s own, more people arriving every day. Eventually they had to fortify the complex nextdoor thus creating their first compound.

He wasn’t one to stand still while people were in danger so when he’d learn about problem areas, Damien and some of the soldiers among his followers would set out to help establish a new settlement. Soon they were all over the city with hundreds of families he was helping. Because of his identity, his communities were often targeted by the government. They lost some lives defending their Congregation, but their communities never fell.

After the fall of the government, many of the Congregation wished to claim sovereignty. Damien has promised he would pursue it, but has warned that for the intention of peace may not be possible and that compromise requires sacrifice. He continues to maintain the Congregation, still establishing new communities across the city.

So begins...

Damien Moore's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Danika Orlov Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Hatch Williams Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi Character Portrait: Scott Feltikk Character Portrait: Blake Langston Character Portrait: Damien Moore Character Portrait: Ashleigh Barnes
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4.00 INK

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noah lawson
the medic - #879788 - outfit

i hear the voices when I'm dreaming
i can hear them say
carry on my wayward son
there'll be peace when you are done

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The last thing Noah wanted to do after yet another long shift was go to some awards ceremony for “significant figures in the revolution.” He’d seen enough of the revolution in person and he didn’t particularly want to be reminded of it. But Gabriel had said that they’d invited representatives from the Emergency Department after their role in things, and so Noah had agreed to go. Apparently there was going to be free alcohol and free canapes, which was at least something.

It had been six months since the revolution ended, and things were being rebuilt. They had a new government that was already implementing sweeping changes. It wasn’t official yet, but word around the hospital was that in the next few weeks, the healthcare system was going to move over to publicly funded. Public housing had already been implemented and the number of homeless people on the streets was dropping rapidly by the day. The damage caused in the rioting and fighting was long gone, just a memory.

But it was a memory that was sticking in Noah’s head. The nightmares weren’t as intense as they had been in the initial aftermath, but they were still very much there. The scar on his stomach was healed, but there were mornings he awoke and for a few seconds, the pain was still there. When he walked down the street, he was waiting for an ambush, for an explosion, for anything. The entire group of emergency med residents had stopped going to bars after work because every time a glass shattered, they all flinched and almost launched back into action.

Thankfully, the awards ceremony didn’t seem to dwell on the actual fighting too much. It seemed to be more government focused, awarding and recognising those who had protected their communities throughout the fighting. Someone who had helped smuggle people out of the fighting, someone who had created safe spaces for their community... They were in what appeared to be the last few awards when they began describing a scenario that was uncomfortably familiar.

“The next award we’d like to present is to someone who was selfless and brave on the front lines. We are deeply grateful to all of the staff of Scarmouth’s Emergency Departments who put themselves in harm’s way to save lives and minimise loss of life. But this man drew attention for his actions after he was photographed treating the wounded, even as a government soldier had a gun pointed at his head. Stories from those who served on the front lines tell us this was not the first or only such of these incidents, and that this doctor fearlessly and selflessly treated the wounded indiscriminately. Tonight, we would like to recognise Dr. Noah Lawson of SUH for his bravery and thank him for his service with the Medic’s Hero award.”

Noah glanced over at Gabriel, and the man’s small smile gave away where all this had come from. All around him, people were applauding, some even getting to their feet. Noah just wanted to climb under the table and wait until the moment passed, but he couldn’t. He managed a smile as he stood up and made his way up to the stage, taking the statuette and shaking the presenter’s hand. And then one of them smiled and said, “Would you like to say a few words, Doctor?”

Noah could feel the blood drain from his face. He instinctively looked back towards Gabriel, whose smile had slipped slightly but who nodded, somewhat encouragingly. Noah swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry as he felt what had to be hundreds of eyes on him. He wanted to shake his head and run back to his seat or possibly just straight out of the room, but everyone was watching, waiting, waiting to see if he lived up to what they expected. He knew he wouldn’t, but he cleared his throat.

“Thank you all for this aw- w- w- for this recognition.” He started. He tried remembering every single bit of advice he’d been given on how to minimise it, but his head was blank. And anyway, the rising discomfort and anxiety in his chest as he saw people glance at each other at his stammering was going to completely counteract anything he tried. He kept it as brief, knowing it was probably too short, but he couldn’t get off the stage quickly enough. And then they moved on to some other award, and eyes were finally off him.

“Noah, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise there would be a speech-” Gabriel said as Noah made it back to the table.
“It’s f-fine,” Noah said, sitting back down. The statuette was clutched so tightly in his hand it was starting to dig in, and he released it, stretching his hand a few times. He could feel Gabriel watching him for a few seconds, but his attention eventually turned back to the stage. As they announced the final few awards, Noah was restless, unable to concentrate or focus on anything around them. As the awards wrapped up, the hosts invited everyone to mingle and have a few drinks and canapes in the adjoining bar. As everyone moved, rushing to the bar at the promise of free food and alcohol, Noah slipped away, saying something about the bathroom to Gabriel. The bathroom was quiet and calm, exactly what Noah wanted and needed. He wet his hands and ran them down his face. For the half a moment his eyes were closed, he saw the barrel of the gun pointed at his face, saw his hands coated in blood- was it his own or someone else’s? He shook himself out of it, almost physically. He dug in his pockets, fishing out the pills he knew he had. There was one almost heart-stopping moment where he couldn’t feel them- and then his hand closed around the bottle. He tipped two out and swallowed them dry, taking a deep breath. And then he stashed them back in his pocket and headed back out towards the bar.


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hatch williams
the mechanic- #400026 - outfit

i wasn't born yesterday
a bloodsport but I'm a saint
it's time to consider
there are no winners

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Hatch hadn’t specifically received an invite to the awards ceremony, but an open invitation had been publicly issued for people to celebrate those who had been nominated and recognised. And the promise of free booze had been enough to lure Hatch into attending. And besides, she was curious to see the types of people who were getting recognised.

Choosing an outfit had taken her a while. She didn’t tend to get dressed up all that much and finding something she could actually stand wearing for a while was difficult. She’d contemplated a dress for a while, but nothing seemed right. And then she found the suit and everything fell into place. Roger looked confused for just a second as she stepped out of her room in heels and makeup. And then he jumped off the couch and ran towards the door.

“Not this evening, buddy.” He whined a little. “Trust me, buddy, I’d love to bring you, but don’t want to draw attention to myself. Not this evening. You look after the house for me, okay?”

By the time Hatch reached the hotel, she was fashionably late. She thought that she might have been out of luck with regards to getting a seat, but apparently the organisers had anticipated the demand as she was shown to a seat at the very back of the room. Her view of the stage was somewhat obscured, but that didn’t overly trouble her. She sat, her legs crossed, and watched the awards with some level of scepticism and interest.

They had an interesting range of awards for sure, and one thing that she noted was that the range of people that were being recognised was significantly broader than the old government would have recognised. There were people of all ages, all areas of the revolution, from all areas of the city. The focus seemed to be on bravery and loyalty, and things took a turn into the overly patriotic for Hatch. The speeches were at least kept brief and non-preachy. There were a few figures that she had heard mention of somewhere along the way, but none of them seemed to match what she imagined. One thing that struck her was the fact that none of them stood out. She'd walk past half of them in the street.

Eventually, the awards wrapped up, and Hatch followed the surge of people towards the bar. Her first priority was to get her hands on a glass of champagne, and then she turned to scan the room, seeing if there was anyone of interest to talk to. She new there had to be plenty, but scanning the room, nobody particularly stood out to her. She took a long sip of her champagne and stayed watching the room.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Danika Orlov Character Portrait: Damien Moore
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2.50 INK

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song x xx outfit x xx hex #4737AE
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Damien had never worn such fine clothes. He could tell they hadn’t been worn much by how little give the fabric had when he moved. When they called his name to present the award he’d gone on stage just to say he wished to refuse the award, certain he was eliciting several inward groans from the crowd. He understood that people wanted to be celebrated, but he did not want applause for himself for doing the bare minimum - caring for others.

He’d planned to leave promptly after but then decided he’d hang around until after the event to see if they’d donate the leftovers to his Congregation. Not that they ever went hungry but it was rare for them to have a feast such as this event. Unable to refuse from a lifetime of food scarcity, every time a platter was offered with another tasty finger food he’d pop another into his mouth until he felt he might burst. Self-moderation had never been his strong suit no matter how hard he tried.
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song x xx outfit x xx hex #F08080

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Magnolia stared into her champagne flute, echoes of memories reflecting back at her. How many boxes of champagne had been spent to fuel frivolity while others hungered and here she was still engaging with frivolity. Of course she knew these people deserved celebration, hence her largely funding the awards. She had wanted to stay home, but of course the visual of one of the board members behind the awards being absent was unfavorable.

It had felt strange to sort through her closet. She hadn’t touched anything on the hangers in months, still zipped away in a joint garment bag stuffed out of sight. Everything she had seemed too extravagant, yet it didn’t seem appropriate to buy something new for the event. The heather silk lines of the bodice elongated her figure, dazzling golden embroidered flowers twinkling under the light. Once upon a time she would have scheduled an entire day at the salon before an event, complete with a bit self-pampering. After several failed attempts to style her hair, she’d thrown it all into a hair tie clipping a weave around the hair gathered atop her head and called it a day.

Since she’d arrived she’d hardly said a word, doing her best to be seen yet unnoticed. The others at her table had gone to mingle by the bar, Magnolia lingering behind nursing the shame glass of champagne she had been for the last half hour. It had always been a favorite of hers, but all she could remember was how the last time she’d had champagne she’d been toasting her father.

“Fuck this,” She finally mumbled under her breath, sliding the glass back onto the table and walking over to the bartender. “Do you have bourbon? Double, neat please.”

“Hard night?” Damien looked over at the slender woman beside him, eyebrow quirked.

“Aren’t they all?” Magnolia said more to herself than Damien. She hadn’t realized it was him until she looked over, though she supposed should have recognized his voice given he was on stage less than an hour ago. “Ahh, Father Damien...don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of making your acquaintance before.”

“We all know each other at this point,” Damien teased, taking Magnolia’s hand as she offered it. He knew who she was, had seen her in the news more than once. Why pretend to be strangers when the world has already made an introduction for them?

“I suppose so,” Magnolia offered a weak smile in return.

“Have a great night.” He didn’t have a drink, instead tipping his bottled water her way and giving a knowing grin. Damien knew when he made people uncomfortable. There were people who were drawn to him, and people who were skeptic. He could tell by the way the corner of her lips twitched downward that she was ill at ease around him. There was no sense in sticking around where you weren’t welcomed wholly.

“You too,” Magnolia said to the back of his head, watching as he walked out onto the balcony. She wasn’t surprised when Damien had denied his award. She hadn’t expected it but she wasn’t surprised. He was a radical guy by nature, she’d read his literature before. People like that had a hard time leaving the revolution behind, she could relate.

Damien found Danika looking out over the ruins of the city. Many buildings were still destroyed, some streets still blocked by rubble or barricades. Still when the sun set over it, the sky was painted in every shade imaginable.

“Never thought I’d end up in a place like this,” Damien said as he stepped beside her. He knew Danika had grown up going to events such as this. Damien wouldn’t have been able to even score a job serving drinks. He looked over to her, searching her expression to try to place where her mind was.

“Wanted to ask you if you like my speech?” Damien gave Danika a familiar smirk. She had always been the one to call him out when he transcended to a new level of pretentiousness, something he’d grown to appreciate. He had a feeling she’d have a few choice words about it.

The bartender still hadn’t come with Magnolia’s drink. She looked over to see them polishing glasses without a care in the world. Sighing heavily, she leaned over the bar trying to stop herself from rolling her eyes. Admittedly she’d grown used to people ignoring her, their own punishment in this strange world. After an incident at a cafe where a barista spat in her coffee before sliding it across the counter, Magnolia has mostly given up on ordering for things in person. Of course it was always in a moment of weakness she’d try again - always left in the same position.

“Magnolia Wrenley?” Said a voice from behind her. Enough people knew her at this event that she didn’t think twice when she turned around. Before she could even see the person, the contents of their drink splashing in her face. Bits of ice hit her skin with an cold slap, the sweet alcohol getting into her eyes before falling down onto the front of her dress.

She stood there in shock for a moment, security descending on the drink-thrower and dragging them off before Magnolia had a chance to wipe her eyes. Droplets were still clinging to her lashes but she didn’t need to see to know people were staring. Her mouth opened to speak, catching her words before they passed her lips, her tongue pushing along the corner of her lips. She could taste the makings of a cosmo, they didn’t even have the decency to throw a good drink at her.

“Here,” The bartender offered a towel, reaching across the bar to hand it to her. She took the towel, nodding with appreciation. Before they walked away they poured her bourbon, sliding it across the bar with a sheepish expression. Magnolia detested pity but in that moment was just thankful for a drink.

“Thanks.” Magnolia took a long drink, patting herself down with the towel. Thankfully she had no idea how to do make up like they used to do in the salon, and what make up she did wear had been waterproof. She supposed she should have gone to the bathroom to wash herself off but right now she just wanted to finish her bourbon.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Danika Orlov Character Portrait: Blake Langston Character Portrait: Damien Moore
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2.25 INK

#, as written by Caille
ImageBlake had absolutely zero care for social events and even more so when they were getting something. The revolution had been bad enough, but now they wanted to remind everyone of it by having a big party where people could get a piece of paper or metal to boast around in their house, but all it would be would be the sad reminder that people had lost their lives, people were suffering mentally and yet people like them still had no home.

Despite Blake’s obvious hostility towards the event they figured they would go. It was best to present yourself in a social situation and at least play nice, but that wasn’t a skill set that they had, Blake was incredibly blunt and to a point.

Yet they had still managed to get a dress that was just above the knees. It was black and sleek while it hugged their body a little, but also left a comfortable room. Buttons went down the entire thing, similar buttons to what you’d find on a suit jacket. Blake would dress up, but they were not changing out their black Balenciaga sneakers for any other kind of shoe.

They had been seated with a glass of champagne in hand as the awards were being handed out. There were a lot of them and various people were getting them. Blake couldn’t help, but notice that Magnolia was among the people here tonight, which was a bit of a piss off.

ImageDanika sat next to Blake Langston and noticed they seemed mildly perturbed. “Penny for your thoughts?" She inquired as Blake Langston had been quite intriguing and a big name in the revolution.

“I am over it. Don’t want to be here.” Blake said as they began to swish around the liquid in their tall glass as the stem sat nestled between their fingers.

“You are welcome here, but if you really hate it return home?" She suggested to the short haired individual.

“Perhaps, but not much to return home to. Might as well dress up like Barbie and accept my stupid award.” With that the contents of champagne went down their throat smoothly.

“You do not have to accept it. It is your choice on what you do.” With that Danika got up from her seat as they began bringing out the other awards.

Danika did not particularly care to sit and watch people be tormented with awards. That poor doctor that ended up stuttering. Instead she sipped on her scotch as she made it out to the balcony for fresh air. She could hear more awards being announced, but the end did not seem in sight for some time.

She did keep the door open so she could continue listening at the least. She heard a few people give actual speeches, but she wasn’t prepared for the one she heard from Blake.

“I would like to say thank you for this award tonight, but to be perfectly honest I don’t even want this stupid thing. Is this supposed to mend things after everything that happened? Is this an ‘I’m sorry I spent money that should have gone to you on these flashy awards instead.’ It is utter bullshit. This will not magically make my night terrors go away, this will not make those lives lost be found again. Maybe instead of a fancy awards show you guys should be doing more work to better this shit hole. “ With that Blake chucked the award into the audience somewhere, not really caring for much else as they walked off the stage and headed towards the bar.

As Blake was ordering an Irish coffee, they noticed Damien makin his way over to the balcony where Danika was

“And here you are.” Danika said to Damien as he stepped next to her. Her entire life was filled with events like these and it sucked, but it taught her to be social with people. “These things are not usually so outrageous and dramatic, but the aftermath of a revolution I would presume.”

Danika was comfortable in Damien’s presence. She knew any opinions she had she didn’t have to keep them so under lock and key.

“Your speech? It was simply divine.” She said with a bit of a chuckle as she pressed her lips to the rim of her glass and tilted it back so the contents could hit her taste buds. “It would appear that many people were not a fan of the awards this evening, but I am not surprised.” She said, shaking her head slightly.

“What are your plans for the rest of the night? I cannot imagine you would actually want to stay.” Danika said with a bit of a laugh.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Danika Orlov Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Hatch Williams Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi Character Portrait: Scott Feltikk Character Portrait: Blake Langston Character Portrait: Damien Moore
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hatch williams.
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hex: #400026. outfit: here.
xxxi wasn't born yesterday
xxxa bloodsport but I'm a saint
xxxit's time to consider
xxxthere are no winners
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Hatch drove Cam home. Cam had insisted that she didn’t want to go to the hospital, that she didn’t need to go, and Hatch got the impression that it was probably best not to argue. Hatch left Cam be, but not before telling her to call her if she needed anything. She wasn’t sure if she was disappointed or relieved when her phone didn’t ring all night.

The following two weeks had been quiet. Boring, almost. Work was picking back up, but plenty still regarded her with suspicion, so it wasn’t what it once was. But it got her through. Cam brought her car in for a “service”, as she’d promised, but Hatch hadn’t seen as much of her as she usually did. She told herself she didn’t care, and she almost believed it.

Usually, she never would have bothered with these carnival type events. But she had nothing better to do with her evening, and besides, it seemed like everyone she knew was going. So she found herself wandering between obnoxiously coloured stalls and the smells of popcorn and cotton candy. It was more enjoyable than she expected, if she was being honest to herself. She heard chattering from a nearby square, and headed in that direction, cotton candy in hand. A screen had been set up, with a countdown ticking down. It was down to single digits as Hatch hovered by the edge of the square.

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2.

1.

The screen flickered, and then a video feed came up. The audio was crackly and uneven, but you could make out what they were saying just fine. One of the council members was talking about ambushing unarmed citizens during the revolution. Then the feed cut out, and cut to another. And another. A woman shooting a man. “Heroes” of the new state working with those who had been declared criminals in the aftermath. The clips kept coming, getting worse and worse as they went on. The crowd got more and more restless.

Eventually, the screen went black, with white text appearing in a simple, but bold font. “THESE ARE YOUR HEROES. THESE IS YOUR GOVERNMENT. THEY WILL BETRAY YOU. MORE EVIDENCE TO FOLLOW.”

The screen went black. And then, everyone’s phone beeped in sync. Hatch pulled up her PCU, opening her email. Somebody had sent a folder, containing a video file, presumably the video evidence that they had just shown, and a document. Curiosity got the better of Hatch, and she opened the file. Around her, everyone was doing the same, and there was gasps of horror and disgust as they read the contents. Everything from government officials accepting bribes, details of experiments they had allowed, to reports about those they had honoured at the awards ceremony. Hatch shut her PCU down and decided that she needed to get out of town before things turned nasty. She wasn’t the only one with that idea, and she was jostled as she headed back into the city to head back home. People were already beginning to shout at each other, the party atmosphere of the carnival gone.

Hatch wasn’t sure what happened first; if she heard the explosion or if it flung her from her feet to land a few feet away. Her ears were ringing as she turned to look behind her. Everything seemed muffled, as if through water, but she could still make out the screaming. She staggered to her feet, picking glass from her hands, as she just stared at the blaze a few yards away from her.