‹ Prequel: Martyr's Run

Storms in Utopia

The Revolution Council


Arjan tactfully avoided me for the rest of the day and the following morning. It wasn’t so much because he was angry though, but rather because he was a defeated man. I hadn’t wanted to even highlight the possibility that I may have had feelings for him—something which, of course, was a complete lie—but it had worked nonetheless.

In a way, it was good that he was minding his own business for a while. It gave me time to sit, hunched over a computer well into the night, pretending that I actually had an idea about what our revolution-planning meeting was going to consist of. I had proudly told Simeon and Jake that I was going to be in charge, and now that claim was going to haunt me.

What did we do? How did one go about taking over the world with six people?

The answer was that it simply wasn’t done.

After getting up before seven and heading back to the computer room as soon as I had showered and got dressed, still half asleep, I sat working until almost lunchtime. At one point, Carl walked in and insisted that I had to take a break, but I sent him away with a large dose of profanities, most of which were probably unnecessary. He was busy, anyway. He needed a computer to work on. But I didn’t want him working in the same room as me. He would just be a distraction.

‘Wait! Carl!’ I cried suddenly when he was halfway out the door.

Understandably, he looked puzzled. ‘What?’

‘Do you want to help me start a revolution?’

There was a long silence in which he just stood, staring at me, blinking gormlessly. Slowly, a chuckle cracked across his face, and it was moments from becoming a full-blown laugh when he noticed my glare. Then it faded rapidly.

‘You’re being serious, aren’t you?’

‘Of course I am,’ I said curtly.

‘Is this something to do with Arjan?’

‘Maybe.’ I could lie to anyone, but Carl was probably the hardest. He knew me better than most.


‘Well, do you, or don’t you?’ I prompted insistently.

‘You’re not going to be able to start a revolution—‘

‘—just like that, I know,’ I said, finishing off the sentence for him. ‘I’m not expecting to be ruler of the world by next Saturday. I know it’s not gonna be easy. But tell me: do you want to join or not?’

‘I guess I don’t really have a choice, do I?’ he said, sighing in mock despair. ‘So okay, I’ll join.’

‘Good!’ I said brightly. ‘Bye!’ Maybe it was a bit unfriendly and dismissive, but I didn’t have time to waste sitting here idly chatting. He was on my side and that was all that mattered.

At just after one, I went and printed off my now reasonably extensive pages of research, ideas and plans, and then headed to the boardroom, taking a detour to get some lunch first.

Arjan was the first to arrive, at least ten minutes early. He said ‘hi’ and peered at my pile of papers, taking a seat at the table. This was the smallest of all the so-called ‘boardrooms’ in the base; the table was round, and made for ten people. But even then, not all the chairs would be full.

Simeon and Jake were the next to arrive, coming in together.

‘Hey Hurricane,’ Simeon said, taking a seat on my other side.

‘Hey,’ I replied. Jake gave me a brief smile, though it seemed a little cold, and I returned an equally hostile one.

Amy and Casper also arrived together. In fact, they arrived almost three minutes late; something which I was not impressed by. I may not have been an overly organised person, but I had always been good at timekeeping and getting things done quickly.

They walked in at a leisurely pace and took two available seats at the round table, naturally as far away from me as possible. Amy looked interested; excited almost, but Casper’s expression was dark and unwilling. He looked like he would rather be anywhere but here.

‘Right then,’ I announced, picking up the papers in front of me as though this was an official meeting and I actually knew what I was doing.

‘What?’ Casper exclaimed suddenly, his head darting from side to side and looking back out the door. ‘This is it?’

I gave him a blank stare. ‘What do you mean?’

‘You expect to start a revolution with six people?’ he cried incredulously.


My calmness was clearly infuriating him further, so I kept it up.

‘Then why aren’t there more people coming?’ he demanded. ‘This is a joke! I’m going.’

He was half way out of his chair when he realised that Amy wasn’t following, and that he was making himself look like even more of a fool than he did most of the time. I took the opportunity to speak.

‘We’re not having a revolution with six people,’ I said. Resentfully, Casper fell back into his seat again, glaring at me. ‘That really would be stupid. But for starters, Carl’s in on it. And we need some organisation if we’re actually going to achieve anything, which means that I need a revolution council.’

‘A revolution council?’ Casper repeated, bordering on disbelief. ‘What are you playing at?’

‘Of course we need to recruit more people,’ I said, beginning to show signs of exasperation, ‘but we need to start somewhere. So I’m starting with you five. After all, you all want to start a revolution, don’t you?’

There was a general nodding from Arjan, Simeon and Jake.

‘Every Dreamer wants to start a revolution,’ Casper snapped. ‘But in case you don’t remember, you told me it was impossible last time I asked.’

‘That was before Arjan,’ I said curtly.

‘Oh, so because of some guy’s dreams, you’re gonna start a revolution?’ he said, shaking his head. When had he heard about Arjan’s dreams? Had the Master told him? Damn, I was not happy with that guy!

‘Yes, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do,’ I replied, taking sadistic pleasure from his frustration. ‘And you’re my revolution council. Leave now if you want; I’ll bring Carl in as your replacement. He’ll sure as hell be a lot easier to handle.’

Casper clearly thought about leaving for a moment, but stayed where he was. Most likely, it was simply because he knew that if he stayed, it would annoy me more. Hopefully, though, there was a little piece of him that really did believe I was right, and that we were, indeed, going to start a revolution.

‘So, as I was saying,’ I continued, ‘welcome to—‘

‘Wait,’ Casper interrupted. ‘Who put you in charge?’

‘Uh well, let’s see, whose idea was this?’ I challenged.


I’d sort of forgotten that part.

I looked around the group, refusing to show any signs of losing my temper. ‘Well okay, let’s put this democracy dream into practice. Who wants me to lead the council? And who wants Casper?’

‘I don’t necessarily want to be the leader,’ Casper pointed out. ‘I just don’t want you to be it either.’

‘I repeat: I said, talking over him and drowning out his irritating voice. Who wants me to lead the council?’

Looking rather unsure, Arjan raised his hand, followed slowly by Simeon and then, rather begrudgingly, even Jake. Even though it didn’t really count, I raised my own hand too, holding it high as I leaned back casually on my chair.

‘Well then,’ I said, allowing more than a hint of smugness to enter my tone. ‘And who wants Casper to be in charge?’

Amy half raised her hand off the table but when she saw that no one else, not even Casper himself, was raising their hand, she hurriedly dropped it down again.

‘I think that shows us everything then,’ I said coolly.

‘You’re not a very good listener, are you Sonja?’ Casper said. ‘I told you that I didn’t want to be leader; I just don’t think you’re right either. We need someone with more experience.’

‘Like who?’ I tested.

‘Like the Master, or Nikolas at the very least,’ Casper replied.

‘Nikolas?’ I repeated in a soprano voice. ‘Nik is, what, tenth in command or something? He’s only ever led small groups, and I’ve done that a million times too. In fact, I’ve probably led more resistance missions and Soulless raids than he ever has.’

‘Like what?’ It was Casper’s turn to challenge.

‘Let’s see...’ I said, pretending to think about it. ‘Who led a Soulless raid two years ago which got us over half of the trackers we’re still currently using today? And who led the only resistance mission that was big enough to feature on national television news for over a year?’

‘What was that?’ Simeon cried, intrigued by what I was saying.

‘We painted the Dreamer eye onto the government’s Department of Terrorism building.’ I said it so casually that it took a moment to register in everyone’s brains.

‘Wait,’ Arjan suddenly exclaimed, looking more animated than I’d seen him for days, ‘you did that?’

‘Well, I was in charge of it,’ I said, pretending to be modest. ‘I didn’t do it all by myself.’

‘I saw that on the news about...I dunno, six months ago,’ he said. ‘How the hell did you manage that? I was absolutely terrified of you lot when I heard about it!’

‘Well, it nearly bloody killed Mark getting across the scaffolding,’ I said, remembering back to one of the scariest, yet one of the best nights of my life. ‘And Caro had a very lucky escape. And not to mention that we were quite literally seconds from being caught by the police. I mean, if someone had tripped on the way out, we’d all have been straight in the Institution.’

‘I can’t believe that was you, though,’ said Arjan. I’d never heard him sound so impressed, especially not by me.

‘I didn’t hear anything about it,’ Casper said ostentatiously.

‘No, that’s because I said it was on national news, Casper,’ I said, loving the opportunity I had at patronising him. ‘For you to have heard about it, it would have had to have been on international news.’

‘Whatever,’ he grumbled.

‘So it’s settled,’ I announced, too on fire to care what anyone thought of me. ‘I’m leading the revolution.’

‘And now you’ve decided that, what are your actual plans?’ Casper asked bitterly. I knew he was only trying to trip me up at every hurdle.

‘Well,’ I said, picking up my small pile of paper as though I was far more organised than I actually was. ‘I believe there are three steps to bringing about a revolution. We need to take out the Soulless, bring down the government, and get the public on our side.’

Casper just stared at me. ‘And you needed some guy’s dreams to tell you that?’

I returned a glare. Everyone else was managing to listen politely.

‘Arjan’s dreams went further than that,’ I said curtly. ‘But for now, we need to focus on step three: get the public on our side. I think that, ultimately, a huge broadcast is needed; a broadcast that tells people the truth about their world—‘

‘And what makes you think they’ll listen to that?’ Jake interrupted. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that he was a quiet sort of person, and now he was proving me wrong.

‘What do you mean?’

‘They still watch Martyr’s Run,’ he said, his voice bitter at the mere memory. ‘They get told the rules at the start of every episode: Institution or Demobilisation. And it’s still the most popular gameshow on American TV.’

‘That’s true,’ I said, planning out my answer as I spoke, ‘but think about it: they don’t know what Demobilisation is, do they? And they don’t even really know what being in an Institution consists of. They think it’s just a normal prison—most civilians seem to think that we get a light sentence by only being put in for six months the first time we’re caught. But we all know that’s not true. If you told one person what Demobilisation; the Operation; really is, they would be sickened.’

Jake thought about it for a moment, not looking entirely convinced.

‘It happened to me,’ Arjan announced. I wondered why he was being so helpful after the way I treated him. But he was nice like that. ‘The moment I was told what the Operation really was, was probably the moment that I went from normal person to Dreamer. I mean, I think I was already considering this alternative life, but if I had to pick one defining moment, that would be it.’

‘Exactly,’ I said. ‘I was the same. I didn’t like the Dreamers until I learnt the whole truth. I didn’t exactly come here by choice.’

‘I agree,’ Amy added. ‘I was the same.’ I noticed how Casper couldn’t restrain himself from giving her a dark look. I didn’t like how he always thought he could control her.

‘So anyway,’ I continued, ‘we need to get the public on our side. First of all, we need to do a bit of recruiting. And then, once we have an army, we need to set our sights a little bigger; hijack a TV channel or something.’

‘You say that like it’s easy,’ Jake said accusingly.

‘Well Tim and Rina managed it,’ said Simeon. I didn’t know who Tim and Rina were—perhaps they were the ones who had ended up in the Institution, but Jake seemed to understand what Simeon was saying.

‘I think it’s possible,’ Simeon continued. ‘But it needs a lot of planning.’

‘Well, we have time,’ I said. ‘But first of all, we need to start smaller. Arjan and I spent the last few days locating some of the old rebels from years ago. We’ve given them messages of varying kinds in the hope that some of them will come and find us.’

‘There must be a reason why they left though,’ Casper pointed out. ‘If they wanted to resist, they’d still be here.’

‘Once a rebel, always a rebel,’ I said dramatically, in way of response. ‘It’ll only take a little push to bring them back. Or so I hope.’

‘We could just try bringing in more Dreamers, you know,’ Simeon said. ‘Surely that’s easier.’

‘I was planning on doing that too,’ I told him. ‘But there are only so many Dreamers in Europe—at the moment, we can’t exactly reach the ones in America, can we? And even Asia is a bit difficult. And once you get into Africa and Australia...well, they severed contact with all other continents over two decades ago. I don’t think we’ll be reaching them any time soon.’

‘If they’re still under Realisten control,’ Jake muttered. It was only quiet, but I’d heard him nevertheless, and the words were a spark that started a fire inside my mind.

‘You think...’ I began.

‘You’re saying they might actually be...free?’ Amy hardly dared to even say the last word.

‘It’s only a theory,’ Jake said, a little shy now that the attention was on him. ‘I might not be right.’

‘You’re always right,’ Simeon laughed, ‘you’re a bloody Einstein.’

‘Well, Einstein, have you got any more interesting theories while you’re at it?’ I asked. Jake didn’t seem to relish being in the limelight.

‘I’m probably wrong,’ he insisted, trying to back out. But it was no use. Once the seed of an idea had been planted, it was only ever going to grow.

‘I think we should follow that up,’ Arjan decided. ‘Has anyone ever tried getting to Africa?’

‘The borders are guarded,’ Casper told him. ‘One of the Londoners was once travelling over towards the Middle East, and he tried to get over the border to Egypt. He only narrowly escaped with his life.’

‘Okay, let’s not try that one,’ said Arjan, laughing uneasily.

‘Let’s stick a bit closer to home,’ I decided. ‘The Berlin base is, obviously, our natural starting point. From here, we can spread out and recruit further and further afield.’ I glanced down at my notes, trying to look professional. ‘Once we’ve got Berlin on our side, I reckon we should try the Munich base, the Cologne base, and then perhaps look at Amsterdam. I have a good friend in Amsterdam; he’ll help us. Oh and maybe Warsaw and Prague. I have a few contacts there too.’

Casper was shaking his head in disbelief. ‘You don't get it. As I keep telling you, every Dreamer wants to start a revolution. But they know it’s not going to happen. And we won’t have been the first people to attempt this. What makes us so special?’

Once again, he hoped to trip me up. But I had one idea left up my sleeve that, if successful, could be pivotal to this new resistance movement.

‘In three weeks’ time,’ I explained, ‘the Berlin base is holding the two-yearly election to vote in our new leader. Initially, I planned to vote for the Master—he may be an idiot, but he’s good. But now, I have a better idea: I think I should stand for leader.’

There was silence.

‘What makes you think you’d win?’ Casper asked bitterly.

‘I never said I would,’ I replied, just as bitter. ‘But there’s no harm in trying, is there?’

‘Isn’t it a bit late?’ Jake asked. ‘Back in Mexico, people knew who was standing for election, like, a year before it actually happened.’

‘We do things differently here,’ I told him, the idea growing bigger and bigger as I spoke. ‘Precisely two weeks before election day, every person who wants to be a candidate makes a speech in the meeting room. Generally, the whole base turns up to watch. Anyone can become a candidate up until that day.’

I didn’t like the silence that followed my speech. Surely I wasn’t that bad a leader? I mean, I wasn’t exactly Miss Motivational, but I was good at organising and planning...kind of...and I was determined and forceful and persuasive.

‘If you won,’ Arjan began musing, ‘it would give the rebellion much more credibility.’

‘Exactly,’ I said. ‘We're one of the biggest colonies in Europe. And like I say: there’s no harm in trying. I mean, would any of you guys vote for me?’

‘I would,’ Arjan said. I knew he always would—whether he liked me or not, he knew that I was the person to stick with—but I was surprised he was quite so eager about it.

‘Me too,’ said Simeon.

‘Well, I’m voting for David,’ said Casper bluntly. I didn’t care.

‘Don’t worry, I never expected anything more from you, Casper,’ I said sarcastically.

Amy looked awkward. ‘I was planning on voting for David too,’ she admitted, putting it much more politely than Casper had.

‘That’s fine,’ I said with a shrug. It was a bit inconvenient, but Amy’s vote alone was, hopefully, not going to change things on its own. If the result was that close, we’d probably have a second vote a fortnight later.

I looked round the group. I had been pretty sure of Arjan and Simeon’s allegiances, and I was sure that Casper and Amy weren’t about to do anything for me. There had been no surprises. The only one I wasn’t sure of was Jake. We hadn’t got off to the best of starts, and I could see from his stern expression that he didn’t like me very much, but he wanted a revolution as much as any of us.

Slowly, each face turned towards him. Once again, it made him awkward.

‘Jake?’ Simeon prompted.

‘I’d vote for you,’ he eventually mumbled.

‘You would?’ I was honestly surprised.

‘If anyone’s going to incite a rebellion, it’ll be you; I’ll give you that,’ he said. He made it sound as if he was just making an idle comment, yet that was about the biggest compliment anyone could possibly give me. I was shocked.

So of course I didn’t say anything. Too afraid that my grateful, softer emotions might show through, I kept quiet. Having Arjan was bad enough. I most certainly didn’t need all these friends as well.

‘So is that everything?’ Simeon asked.

‘Yeah,’ I decided on the spot, still a little distracted by the thought that, in a month’s time, I could be in charge of this base, and every one of its two-hundred-and-something permanent inhabitants, plus any visitors that decided to come and stay from other bases.

‘Yeah, that’s everything for today,’ I concluded. ‘Same time tomorrow? And for god’s sake, bring some ideas. We have a world to take over.’

Casper, Amy, Simeon and Jake left pretty quickly. There was no reason for them to hang around, after all. They probably had friends to chat to or food to eat or TV to watch. Only Arjan stayed.

‘That was good, you know,’ he said as I picked up the pile of papers that had been near enough useless during this meeting.

I pulled a face. ‘Could’ve been worse, I guess.’
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I know it's a really long chapter...I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. :P Normally I cut chapters in half (ish) before posting them on Mibba, but there simply wasn't anywhere appropriate to cut this one, so you've got the whole thing! Thanks for reading!