A/N: I wrote this a while ago, and I just wanted to see what kind of feedback this got. I don't really like this fanfic, and it does get very boring.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Giver.
To The Many People of Los Angeles and Orange County:
Today is the day when Sameness will begin. All who are caught attempting to stick to the old ways will be Released. Any caught attempting to bring any written material into the Community will face serious consequences. To help bring Sameness to our community, everybody except for twenty specially selected people will be asked to take a special pill. This pill will do no harm – rather, it will bring peace and happiness to you and your family. After you have taken your pill, you will receive further instructions.
Thus began the horrid beginning of the future of oblivious happiness. It was a simple notice, sent to every single residence of Los Angeles and Orange County. It was also a half-truth. Yes, everyone who stuck to the old ways or brought written material to the Community would be punished, but how? The notice obviously didn't go into that. What did "Released" mean? Yes, the pill would do no harm, but what would it do? And why would "twenty specially selected people" not take the pill? Did they know what the pill would do?
Many of the residents of LA and OC had these questions running through their minds. Especially the engineers. A certain engineer named Katalina Tell was especially suspicious about the vagueness of the notice. Little did she know that she was one of the "twenty specially selected people" who wouldn't take the pill. And even less did she know that she would see – and remember the effects of the pill.
The doorbell to Mech Ualis's home rang. He answered the door with a very annoyed wrench of the doorknob.
"Hello", Mech said, in a pretty even tone, considering that he had just finished all of the calculations on a construction project only to be told that all of the numbers were wrong and he would have to start over. Don't these people know that it takes a month to do all those stupid numbers? Mech thought. The man at the door was either very logical or very talented at guessing others feelings, because he detected that Mech was fuming after watching his rather expressionless face.
"Hello, sir. My name is Horatin Grace, and I've come to tell you about a certain assignment that our mayor has chosen you for."
"I don't need any more assignments you dim-witted, cheery little (and then Mech called Horatin something that made him start)", Mech snapped. "I already have enough!"
"Well then", said Horatin, "I was only going to tell you that you are one of the lucky twenty people who won't have to take the pill, you know."
"What pill?" asked Mech.
"I haven't heard anything about any pill. And why would everybody have to take a pill except for twenty people?"
" There's a new program, or idea, whichever you like to call it, called Sameness. Basically, what happens is that everybody takes a pill and they become the same and all of their memories get transferred to specially selected people who have taken an injection of some kind."
Meanwhile, Katalina was going through a similar process with a man named Percival Webber. She had finally gotten all of the information that she felt she needed, though she didn't like the idea of the name – Sameness. Somehow, it didn't sound right to her. Why should everybody be the same? Hadn't she been told so many times to be herself? To be proud of her differences? Oh well, she thought, I guess that the only people who can decide whether or not this will happen is the authorities. And I'm definitely not an authority.
Three months later…
Katalina and Mech had found out that they were to be the Keepers of the Memory. This meant that they would have to bear the burden, along with the other 18 people, of pain, of pleasure, of grief, and all the others things in our life. Everyone who wasn't a Keeper had no memories whatsoever of love, or grief, or pain, except for what they might experience in everyday life. And there was no true love, or grief, or pain. Any "love" that existed was only a fondness, any "grief" was very minor – losing a child (which was very rare) was the most, any "pain" could be immediately resolved with the powerful painkillers they had nowadays.
It was a terrible world that Katalina and Mech lived in. They were not allowed to tell or transfer any memories to anybody, even by accident, and as a result, lived in isolation. It was very boring, even though Katalina and Mech did find that they had some interest in the books that were forbidden to everyone else. But there was a catch. They weren't allowed to apply any information that they read in the books, and there would be absolutely no telling to anyone what the contents of the books were, or even that they had access to the books. It was a very restrained life.
Katalina, being raised a Catholic, didn't mind the strict rules, though sometimes she despaired of the boredom of no conversation with anybody of memory except for the annual meeting between the Keepers. Even then, they had but one week to catch up with each other and laugh, and they still had to discuss various problems that they had been presented with over the past year.
Mech, however, hated the strict rules and wished that some romance would be allowed between the Keepers. He understood why he wasn't allowed to spice up some life with the "normal" people, and besides, he found them boring. He had found that he had some affection for the Keeper of the City – her name was Katalina Tell. Mech especially loved her love of practicality, accuracy, and individuality. But of course, any romance was not allowed for fear that the "normal, everyday people" would get ideas and the Sameness concept would be ruined.
Eventually, Katalina and Mech realized that they had no idea what would happen to the memories that they held once they died. The answer to that came one day when all of the Keepers received a message. The message read:
To Our Prized Keepers of the Memory:
We have decided that you are to choose one of the Fives for training as the next Keeper of the Memory. Tomorrow, the Fives in your community will assemble before you, and you shall choose five possible candidates as the next Keeper of the Memory. By the time those candidates are Twelves, we will expect for you to have chosen one of those candidates as the next Keeper of the Memory.
Thank you for your service,
Katalina stared at the message in horror. That meant that in, at most, 12 years, she would be Released. That meant that all of the first Keepers would be dead in 12 years, wasted. And that also meant that she would die practically clueless. That also meant that Mech Ualis would be dead. Katalina had found that she had love for Mech and his deep, masculine laugh that only she could produce.
Mech thought, I'll have to die eventually, even though I do wish that Katalina wouldn't have to die. Mech retired for the night, bitter about having to choose a new Keeper.
The next day, Katalina stood before the assembled Fives. "I wish they weren't arranged by number", she said, "Please have them arranged by height, shortest in front". The monitor hurried away to do her bidding. Katalina scrutinized the five-year-olds, now arranged by height. Katalina spent an hour taking careful notes about each child, then spent another two hours using tests she had devised to see if they had the qualities needed to be a Keeper of the Memory.
Mech, however, had other ideas in mind as to how he would choose his candidates. Since he lived in the Village, he had fewer children to choose from, so he decided that, instead of taking notes, he would just go straight into testing them. Mech's test began with a controlled backwards fall from a chair (obviously in a separate room) to test bravery, then an orally given written test to see how intelligent they were. After scores for that were tabulated, he would take the top five scorers for bravery and the top five for intelligence and humiliate them, to see how they took it. He ended up with five well-chosen candidates within five hours.
The next month, the Keepers held their annual meeting in the Hamlet. Katalina and Mech happened to be sharing a room that year. Both Katalina and Mech were rather shy and distant with each other until the first meeting.
At the meeting, the Keepers discussed their complaints about the strict rules. Mech complained that there was no love, that they should be able to have relationships. Katalina's complaint was that there wasn't enough approved conversation material. The other's complaints included bad food, not enough reading material, too much servility from the "normal people", and the cruelty of Releasing.
After that, they discussed problems that they had faced that year so that the other Keepers would know how to deal with those problems should they ever arise. Then, they dismissed the meeting and everyone went off to catch up with each other.
Katalina and Mech bumped into each other at the School. After going through formalities, Mech started a friendly conversation. Over the week, Katalina and Mech developed a very strong relationship.
At the end of the meeting week, Katalina and Mech were sad to say good-bye. They decided that they would send each other messages – they supposed that no one would ask why so many messages would be sent between Keepers. Katalina was all for the idea, but she thought that this might be considered as taking advantage of the great honor that they held. Mech, however, thought that this wasn't taking advantage of anything – it was using privileges. Mech argued long and hard with Katalina, trying to show her the logic that he had behind the messages. Finally he managed to convince her that sending messages was okay, even though it took some very thorough kissing on Mech's part to convince Katalina.
The next year, the meeting was held in the Community. Authorities decided to put everybody with the same roommates they had had last year. In nine months, Katalina gave birth to a baby boy. The birth was held quietly and without ceremony, with a couple of midwives from the outside world that Katalina and Mech had managed to smuggle into the City. Mech was there too. The baby was named Gotham. He was to be raised in the outside world as an orphan. He would visit Katalina and Mech as much as possible, and once he was aware that Katalina and Mech were his parents, he would be sworn to secrecy about his parents and continue to live as an "orphan".
Seven years later…
Katalina and Mech were now forced to start the training of the new Keepers. As luck would have it, both Katalina and Mech decided on girls named Naphtha – both were nicknamed Atha. Katalina, as practical and logical as ever, started Atha's training with a speech about how heavy the burden she was to carry would be, what her responsibilities as Keeper would be, and what privileges honor brought. Mech, impulsive and spontaneous went right away into talking about what was about to happen to Atha. He told her that she would learn her responsibilities as she went along.
Katalina was reluctant to let go of her memories, but she knew that her own memories could be transferred infinitely and she would still have them. She thought that that was good, because she would still be able to raise Gotham, she would still remember the labor pains, and she would still remember her love for Mech. She and Mech had decided that as soon as their "apprentices" were fully trained, they would escape. Katalina felt that this might be the worst way to break the rules, but she supposed that it was better than being killed without at least a try at her life. Besides, if she and Mech failed to run away successfully, they would be Released anyways.
The two Athas were trained, and Katalina and Mech immediately put to use their plans for escape. They pretended that they had a need to visit each other on emergency business (they were still officially Keepers – both had retained ten memories that weren't their own). At the midway point between the Village and the City, they met and followed the route west to Santa Monica, where Mech had a friend who was willing to provide food and a bed to Katalina and Mech. They also arranged for Gotham to be at the friend's house.
Katalina and Mech escaped without problems. However, they did hit a couple of search parties, but they waved them off with pretended ignorance about the Sameness community. As soon as they reached Mech's friend's house, they saw their beloved son, now six years old and entering first grade.
"Hi Mom! Hi Dad!" said Gotham. "Itth wonderful to thee you again, and at the thame time too!"
So Gotham still has that cute little lisp of his, thought Katalina, I must remember to get him to a speech therapist or he'll be embarrassed out of his mind when he gets older. Katalina had had a lisp when she was a child, and her parents couldn't bear to correct her until she had been humiliated and embarrassed in middle school. Then she decided to correct herself. Katalina sighed. In the world of Sameness, there was no such thing as a cute, babyish lisp. Those sorts of things were immediately corrected with the discipline wand, a thin plastic instrument that was used to lash the very young and the very old that didn't behave.
Mech thought that Gotham's lisp was adorable, and in his letters to Katalina, had been very firm about her not correcting his lisp until they had more time to discuss it thoroughly. Mech hoped that Katalina was pregnant, as her belly seemed larger than the last time he had seen her. It was high time that Gotham got a sibling, as he was old enough to be able to understand and take care of some of the responsibilities a baby required, and yet he was young enough that the age difference would not be so terrible so as when his younger sibling was young, he would be setting a bad example arguing with his parents as a teen or setting a good example but being far off at college.
That night, Mech asked Katalina if she knew whether or not she was pregnant. Katalina replied that she hadn't tested, but she was going to see a doctor soon. Several weeks later, Katalina and Mech found out that she was six months pregnant. They decided to tell Gotham that his mom was pregnant a month before the baby was due. They also decided to leave the gender of the baby unknown until the birth.
On Christmas Eve, Laurel was born. She had her father's blue eyes and her mother's curly black hair, an exact opposite of Gotham, who had hazel eyes like his mother and his father's wavy blond-brown hair. Katalina, Mech, and Gotham thought that Laurel was the best Christmas present ever. In fact, Gotham was so excited about the new baby that he barely paid any attention to his presents.
Katalina and Mech were happy with their family. When Laurel was three and Gotham nine, Brian came along. Both Mom and Dad told stories of their time as Keepers to their children. Long, full lives lay around the bend of the future.