Friday, September 18, 2020

Microstory 1455: Institutional

For a few years, The Thicket rebel force didn’t do anything. They were there, and defying the Republic, but they weren’t attacking the city, or rescuing women, or even protesting. They were hiding, and they were training. This was getting on the nerves of some of the members, though. They wanted to make real change in society, and better the lives of everyone in it, even their enemies. Well, that was the problem. There was little they could do, because the easiest course of action was to rise up and fight against the establishment violently. They didn’t really have any rights. They weren’t allowed to walk down the street alone, so they certainly weren’t going to be able to march on the Capitol. After half a century under this form of government, things were pretty well defined, good or bad. A lot of people had been alive during the Interstitial Chaos, and the Mage Protectorate, but the majority of Aljabaran citizens these days had only ever known the Republic. So getting the public on their side was not going to be easy. No one in the Thicket wanted to go to war, and no one wanted to make a big public demonstration. They wanted their voices heard, but maybe kind of in secret. Maybe they didn’t even want anyone to know that they were involved in whatever it was they ended up doing. What could that be, though? Statues. The government had erected statues, glorifying the worst criminals and leaders Durus had ever seen. They couldn’t even argue that the statues themselves were an important part of history. The one they built last year made Smith look like Superman. There were so many statues of that man that you would think he invented air. But no, Keanu ‘Ōpūnui was the one who did that, but he only had one statue, and it wasn’t even in the city; it was at his gravesite.

Earth had enjoyed a long history of protestors tearing down statues, so that sounded like the most reasonable next step for the Thicket. It was something they could do in secret, under cover of darkness, while most people were asleep. If they procured the right tools, and had enough womanpower, they could get it done quickly, and get out before anyone saw them. If anything went wrong, they could bolt and scatter as needed. They started with the latest Smith statue, then worked their way down the line, but they stopped at four. By then, the government had figured out the pattern, so in order to avoid being caught, they started randomizing their vandalism, not always going after statues, but other buildings. But they were only able to destroy a handful of things before it became impractical. The government was tired of trying to guess which statue or building would come next, so they just positioned guards at every single one of them. Aljabara wasn’t exactly the largest city in the galaxy; just the largest on the planet. It wasn’t that hard to protect all of them simultaneously. It wasn’t a piece of cake either, though. Seeing this, the Thicket switched gears, and developed their own version of the underground railroad. With personnel stretched thin, the Republicans were unable to cover all of their bases. They were so obsessed with only letting men perform the important jobs, and only promoting the best of the best for the most important jobs, they ended up with too little manpower. Of course they realized their problem, and corrected it by filling up their ranks. They obviously still didn’t allow women, but they didn’t worry too much about skill or experience. It was too late, though. The escape network was by then entrenched, and primed to rescue a lot more lives for the next two decades.

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