"I don't see what's special about this room," remarked the man as he was restrained to a chair by a guard.

O'Brien chuckled. The man, a Harold Lennox, was the thoughtcriminal he was presently overseeing the rehabilitation of. Lennox had been arrested and sent to the Ministry of Love after the telescreen in his bedroom overheard him repeating the words "Big Brother must die" in his sleep. His rehabilitation was proceeding smoothly, but Lennox was not fully repentant yet. There was a final procedure he needed to undergo before he could be released back into society.

"Everyone knows why Room 101 is so unique, Harold." O'Brien's tone had the patronizing quality of a smug teacher. "You're simply not thinking hard enough."

The room was barren except for a box and the chair Lennox was tied to. Slowly and deliberately, O'Brien opened the box and produced a blowtorch. Pointing the nozzle in the direction of Lennox, he lit the torch.

According to the Thought Police, Lennox's greatest fear was being burned alive. Judging by the look on his face, they were correct. O'Brien was very familiar with his expression. He had seen it many times on the faces of countless different thoughtcriminals. It was a mix of shock and fear: the shock of discovering that the Party knew your deepest phobia, and the fear of facing it. A feeling of security swept over O'Brien whenever he saw that look; it meant that his subject would soon be successfully cured.

O'Brien watched Lennox's eyes grow wider and wider as he moved the flaming torch closer to his face.

"There is only one thing that can save you, Harold. I think you know what it is."

Lennox tried in vain to resist. Beads of sweat dripped down his face as he thrashed about in a futile attempt to break his restraints. He felt the heat of the flame growing more intense and he was overcome with an urge to yell out.

"Please, Big Brother, forgive me! Forgive me for what I've done! I'm sorry, Big Brother, I'm sorry!"

O'Brien extinguished the flame. Lennox let out a deep sigh and lowered his head.

"There's a good chap. Guards, bring Comrade Lennox to the discharge ward. I think it's time for him to return to the outside world."

Another job well done. With a proud smile on his face, O'Brien went back to his office to collect his things before returning home for the night.

Somewhat out of breath, O'Brien arrived at the block of luxury apartments that served as home for members of the Inner Party. He was getting to be quite old, and the commute to and from work often left him winded. He walked into the elevator and pressed the button for his floor, thankful that he lived in a complex where elevators were actually kept in working order; climbing the stairs was no longer an easy task for O'Brien.

His servant, Martin, opened the door for him. Entering his apartment, O'Brien removed his shoes, which were made of high quality leather instead of the worn-out and oft-mended material used by most Oceanic citizens fortunate enough to have footwear, and let the soft carpeting embrace his bare feet. O'Brien went over to sit in his favorite armchair and Martin brought him a bottle of wine and a glass.

Relaxing at home was the perfect way to end an already enjoyable day. O'Brien genuinely loved his work. Not only did he help eliminate the threats posed by thoughtcriminals, he even rehabilitated them. O'Brien couldn't think of a more satisfying job to have. He gave his once-abnormal subjects the chance to productively serve the Party, at least until the time came for them to disappear once and for all.

As he took a sip from his wine glass, O'Brien realized how good life was for him. He took care of the Party, and the Party took care of him. True, he wasn't nearly as young as he used to be, but life was still good.

Feeling content, if a bit exhausted, O'Brien walked to the bathroom and brushed his teeth before climbing into his comfortable bed. He almost always slept well, and tonight was no exception.

O'Brien arrived at his Ministry of Love office the next morning, immediately sitting down in his desk chair to rest and catch his breath. When he opened his eyes a few minutes later, he was surprised to find his inbox empty except for a small note. Normally, there were all manner of forms and documents for him to look over at the start of each day.

Examining the note, O'Brien saw that the Minister of Love himself was requesting his presence. Few people in the Oceanic government held more power than Ministers, and it was extremely rare to directly interact with someone of their prominence. Usually, the only way to communicate with them was through a network of secretaries and assistants.

Knowing the importance of being contacted by the Minister, O'Brien immediately placed the memo into a memory hole and took the Ministry of Love's elevator to the top floor. Two muscle-bound guards stood in front of the Minister's office. They evidently expected O'Brien, opening the doors for him as soon as they saw him approaching.

O'Brien slowly walked into the office, a rare feeling of uneasiness permeating his gut. A brown desk, almost seeming out of place amidst the white walls of the room, sat in front of him. The back of a swivel chair could be seen behind the desk, and a man began to speak from the unseen side.

"Greetings, Comrade O'Brien. This shouldn't take long."

The chair swiveled around, revealing the Minister to be the owner of the voice. It was the first time O'Brien had ever laid his eyes upon him. He was a brown haired man of slight build with a stern face. A pair of harsh eyes glared at O'Brien through iron-rimmed spectacles. The Minister spoke again.

"As you are aware, the Ministry of Love sees and knows everything that happens within Oceania. We have noticed that all Party members, even ones with the utmost devotion to Ingsoc, tend to become less useful as they age. They become weak and lethargic, focusing more time on resting their bodies than carrying out their duty to the government. It has been deemed necessary to replace such individuals with younger Party members who are strong enough to execute their tasks with ease. Simply put, they get more done at a faster rate. They are the future of the Party; you are not."

O'Brien's felt his chest tighten. "You mean…no! You wouldn't!"

"Only one man who can stay in the Party forever: Big Brother. He will always lead us, but aged officials like you cannot. Didn't you realize that this day would come?"

Pausing, the Minister analyzed O'Brien's face. His open-mouthed visage registered a look of astonished horror. O'Brien had become attached to his way of living over the years. Not wanting it to end, his devotion to the Party continued to grow even as his body became weaker. His duties kept him busy enough to avoid reflecting on the fact that all Inner Party members eventually took one of two paths in life: growing corrupt over time and succumbing to thoughtcrime, or, quite simply, becoming inefficient with age. Whatever their reason, Inner Party members were destined to eventually become detrimental to Oceania's wellbeing. It was an inevitability, just like the fate they ultimately shared: disappearance. By continuously purging itself, the security of the Inner Party was guaranteed. And as long as the Inner Party was secure, Ingsoc would be immortal. Even the Minister understood he would someday meet his end at the barrel of a guard's gun. What right did O'Brien have to assume he could escape the fate of his colleagues? How could he think he was above the will of the Party? The Minister realized he was more dangerous than he initially thought; O'Brien was a self-centered deviant in addition to being lethargic. He was a thoughtcriminal, no better than the people he rehabilitated. O'Brien had been revealed for what he truly was. No one could keep thoughtcrime concealed forever.

The Minister pressed a button on his desk. A pang of terror shot through O'Brien as the two guards from the corridor strode inside the office. The Minister watched with a grin. He, too, enjoyed his work. What could be be more satisfying than eliminating the threats posed by thoughtcriminals?

"This is in Oceania's best interest, comrade." The Minister raised his right hand and snapped his fingers. On command, the guards grabbed O'Brien.

"No! You can't do this to me! Not after all I've done for the Party!" shouted O'Brien, flailing his legs wildly as the guards dragged him out of the office by his arms. His terrified yells echoed throughout the corridor, gradually growing fainter and fainter as he was taken away.

The Minister placed his mouth to the speakwrite on his desk and dictated a memo addressed to the Ministry of Truth. All written records of an unperson by the name of O'Brien were to be erased.

-The End-