Cybernetic: An Ed Edd and Eddy/ Invader Zim/ Inspector Gadget crossover. Though the extent of V's input in this is various quotes and plot-rape.
Synopsis: When surviving the near-future means surviving wanton genocide and the only things you have to fall back on are journalists that were supposed to have died years ago, extraterrestrial refugees and your van, it helps to have friends as crazy as yourself.
Rating: T, for language and violence in later chapters.
Obligatory Beta Request: For the love of GOD, someone please agree to Beta this story. Please? I have cookies for anyone that does. Apocalypse cookies.
Disclaimer: F You Capslock denies ownership of the aforementioned. Vehemently. The story is mine, despite the aforementioned VfV plot-rape, as well as a couple of OCs that won't show for a chapter or so. All political views are my own, picked up from the very little television I bother to watch anymore and just watching people. You, the reader, are of course welcome to respond to any point addressed, be it story-wise or whatever.
Chapter 1 (Prologue) : The Edge of Sanity
'We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught. He can be killed and forgotten. But four hundred years later an idea can still change the world…', Evey Hammond, V for Vendetta (film)
There really wasn't a definable beginning. Trust me, as a journalist, as a British citizen (as little and as much as that admittedly means anymore), I've made it something of a life goal to find one, the 'truth' that would make any of this make sense. I am starting to think it was just one long stream of consciousness that we all got sucked into, somehow. That there were no conspiracies but the ones we made ourselves.
There were milestones, of course. Events that pop out well after the fact, bash you over the head with what you realise was ignorance (or maybe just 'lack of perception'; 'Lack of giving a shit' is rather in-eloquent, even if it is technically more accurate) because honestly how the hell did you miss that. Then said event more often than not simply fades into thinly-veiled obscurity, until someone comes back days or months or decades later and makes a new connection, a new 'truth'. It's not like any of what happened (what really happened, not that watered-down BCN bullshit) will fill the pages of a legitimate history book, Penny will be so upset to hear it… Professionals, so-called 'experts' in their field, were all paid too much by the government all to say the European Union was going to shit, or that somehow we had managed to stave off economic recession. Come to think of it, seemed like the 'experts' never could decide one way or the other just how far down the rabbit hole we had managed to fall. It was morbidly funny realising the reports blatantly contradicted each other, and with such straight faces...!
The media, the military, even and especially anyone higher-ranking then the Prime Minister's dog... The way the BCN spins it nowadays, you'd think whatever was left of America was poised to invade, screaming like savages at our veritable doorsteps. The image of the lone gunslinger still is the image conjured in the minds of romantic British citizens. As it were, and much to the disappointment of most of anyone who bothered to read between the lines and followed the news for the past few years, that is decidedly not the case.
Today is October fourteenth, year twenty-eighteen. Roughly three years after the previously-United States collapsed, eventually splitting along similar lines of their Civil War some two-hundred years previously; four years after the unpopular, postponed British mass troop withdrawl from the Middle Eastern states; six years after the Larkhill Disaster at St. Mary's. I refuse to watch the telly anymore except in certain circumstances; it must be a form of masochistic nationalism that prompts the network to show snippets and clips from the war. Its been almost a decade, but I vaguely remember it being extremely unpopular that we entered the conflict at all.
Anyway, this evening marks a special occasion for one reason only: that the Voice of the Party is to give a rare, televised national address. Hence why I am freezing my arse off in Old London's notoriously-awful weather, outside a pub. Waiting for someone, for sure. Not loitering in the slightest, never...
I bow my head to the rain that patters overhead, drawing the collar of my coat closer. This part of Metro City, closer to the countryside, has become a ghost town since I was last here, largely in thanks to the curfew enforced by the relatively-new presence of the Party's gray-uniforms. Speaking of curfew… I glance down just as my wristwatch beeps a warning, twenty-hundred. I technically have another hour before curfew goes into effect… Still, the gray uniforms roaming around have a loose interpretation of nine o' clock, and it wouldn't be the first time that eight became 'close enough' for a bored 'peacekeeper'. The last such time this sort of martial law had occurred was reportedly in the forties and the Germans had levelled much of London. All for our protection… Bullocks.
"…So I read that the former United States is so desperate for medical supplies that they have allegedly sent several containers filled with wheat and tobacco. A gesture, they say, of good will. You want to know what I think? Well you're listening to my show so I will assume you do. I think its high time we let the colonies know what we really think of them. I think its payback time for a little tea party they threw for us a few hundred years ago. I say we go down to the docks tonight and dump that crap where everything from the ulcered sphincter of Arse-erica belongs. Who's with me? Who's bloody with me?"
The phrase, Patriotic insanity, comes explicitly to mind, though I say nothing aloud. "...USA; ulcered sphincter of Arse-erica. I mean, what else can you say? Here was a country that had everything, absolutely everything, and now, close to seven years later, is what? The world's biggest leper colony. Why? Godlessness. Let me say that again: Godlessness. It wasn't the war they started. It wasn't the plague they created. It was judgement. No-one escapes their past. No-one escapes judgment. You think he's not up there? You think he's not watching over this country? How else can you explain it? He tested us and we came through. We did what we had to do."
It occurred to me what I had been staring at while half-listening to the telly spew rhetoric. The half-silhouetted face of the High Chancellor, so stylised it could have been pop art in another era, stared at me from everywhere: the television in the pub, the storefronts along the street that advertised their wares alongside a nationalistic doctrine that proclaimed itself salvation-all at the low, low price of individuality, or indeed sanity. I scowled at the poster from where I tried to hide in my coat, leaning against the pub's exterior. Shit, even the walls proclaimed his slogan and the Party symbol, 'Strength through unity, unity through faith.'
"...Islington. Enfield. I was there. I saw it all. Immigrants, extraterrestrials. Muslims. Homosexuals. They had to go. Strength through unity, unity through faith. I'm a God-fearing Englishman and I am goddamn proud of it!"
Journalists not affiliated with the BCN, teachers not in the Party's Union… What had defined us as members of society before the Shift under Norsefire no longer did for our own safety, at least in public. A move that had been absolutely necessary, but still... Popular culture, the so-called mood of public opinion, had shifted to fill the gaps where the Party's fiercely close-bordered-style edicts left rather conspicuous holes. This was particularly evident in towns at the border of Old London, now more often referred to as Metro City, where 'natives' were notoriously paranoid of outsiders.
Whatever. The point is, either way I would not find friends here if I ran into trouble.
Twenty-fourteen. Penny is not one to be late, especially this close to curfew. I shift uneasily, chancing a glance down the narrow street. I really couldn't wait much longer...
"Hell's bells..." I murmur a curse at the rain, at Metro City, at nothing and everything about the situation- but ultimately that's all I can do, at least for now. I pop the dark blue umbrella at my side open, stepping out into the persistently-dreadful weather; it is twenty-thirty-two and I have a destination in mind; standing out in the rain thinking about it won't get me there any sooner...
It's an old, unfortunate habit, but I find myself muttering crossly under my breath.
"Dwicky, you're an idiot..."