the storm, the whirlwind, & the earthquake

"It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake." –Frederick Douglass

(Before the Music Dies Legacy) Because the conspiracy didn't form within Chapter Two. Four leaders, one dream, and the beginning of a revolution. *One-Shot Prequel to The Place of White and Gold*

Licinius didn't think of himself as one for conspiracy. He was straightforward; extroverted; simple; candid. He had no secrets, but the idea compelled him. He thought he might like being a person who wasn't simple.

For all the right reasons, of course. Because Cygnus was an idiot and had no right to have power; how he'd become Mayor back when they were a district starting a war, how he was elected Minister now—about three years ago, actually—Licinius had no idea. Himself, he was far more success-oriented, more given-over to any cause, a better leader, he knew what to do with power, why wasn't he the one who had it?

Just thinking about it made him angry, for land's sake.

Twenty-seven years of life, he'd had, every single one in Fourteen (his family was one of the very first to be settled in what would become the state, he liked to tell people, and it was true). He was twenty-four when the Dark Days ended, all of seven years old when they began. He was born in Fourteen and he would die in Fourteen, but Cygnus—no. He had been born in Six. District Six, that was. He'd betrayed one country; maybe he'd betray Fourteen, too.

Of course, what Licinius had planned would be betraying Fourteen, in a way. But at the same time, it was just the opposite. He was just sticking to what they'd stood for originally, wasn't he? It was Cygnus that was the traitor, not him.

He had denied the idea mentally for quite a while, but he had to give in to it. He was the first.

He would not be the last.

When Licinius first said, Conspiracy, it was Altair who listened, an old friend around his age he'd met at a conference between those high up in One's industry and those high up in Three's. Alone now, with no real security in place everywhere yet, they'd talked. Altair was the first to ask, "How?"

"I don't know. I don't know anything about how to pull off something like this, but someone has to, don't they?"

(Altair might've been able to do it—he was just as bitter and sullen if not more, but he wasn't interested in authority enough, looking to get rid of it altogether. He was anti everyone sometimes, Licinius thought, and sometimes the virtues he valued most were ones he didn't actually pay attention to in others, except when they weren't there. The Sectors with a stereotype as inferior were a prime example. But he could use that kind of hatred easily.)

"Who else were you thinking?"

"Whoever will listen." (He said that without too much hesitation, but in all honesty, how many like-minded people did he know, people who weren't too busy being scared by Headquarters all the time?)

"So there's no one off your list… specifically, that is." Altair had an idea in mind he obviously didn't want to throw out to Licinius, the first to anticipate a power struggle to be.

"No." He paused for a beat, waited, and didn't receive a response, felt somewhat frustrated. "Why?"

"I have one person in mind who might have some ideas."

A knock on the door got them rather conspicuously evaluated before they got the quiet, Can I help you? that they'd been waiting for originally. Licinius had evaluated the door-answerer back in the same way (he had started to become paranoid by now): sane-looking enough, if slightly frazzled, around twenty, he'd say, with reddish dark-blonde hair pulled back sloppily.

"Can we come in?"

Justice let them, and didn't miss how Licinius checked that it was closed and locked several times, and seemed to examine them and their odd natures again. (At least Altair was familiar from more conferences.) They looked around at the ironic architectural oddities of the Sector Four building. "Well?"

"Altair said that you were an idea person," Licinius said, trying to sound casual but the different intent there was too clear, so he added, "Most people from Four are. And we need some help."

She waited; Licinius told her of the conspiracy idea, only elaborating on the fact that his thought process was that he alone should be in charge while Altair wanted no leader at all when asked. (From what Altair had said, Justice was one more for democracy and that potential alliance with the districts.) Then came the mentioning of their thought that she might have more of a clue what to do than they did. "You're in?" He held out his hand.

A pause; then, "Oh, for land's sake, you really don't know what you're doing, do you?" She shook it. (In the next years, she'd lose some of the cockiness but some of the shyness, too.)

(Licinius had started it all and went to Altair for his passion and Justice for a plan, but the last had gone to Felicity merely for support, as a family friend nearly a year younger, in Sector Two.)

"Really?" was the response she'd gotten, after telling her about the group's initial ideas. She'd agreed quickly (and that was why Justice had trusted her with it in the first place, because Felicity was nothing if not agreeable, always the pacifist). She did have questions, ones that didn't really have answers yet, but she was still eager, anyway.

They let the conversation stray a bit after that (well, Justice kept up the straying parts, mostly). "So, how's your sister?" "Should the voltmeter over there be beeping like that?" "Did you ever finish reading that one book?" But they always came back to the topic that she had gone there to discuss.

Eventually she felt that they shouldn't take the risk of talking for that long, even though she was sure no one could actually find out where they were then, and her presence wasn't uncommon in Sector Two, but the paranoia of the group as a whole had still rubbed off on her somewhat.

So Felicity gave her a light kiss on both cheeks (customary for Sector Two greetings and farewells, from one of the old countries), and she left, to eventually tell Licinius and Altair of Felicity's agreement.

(And Felicity herself stayed and couldn't think about anything else for quite a long time.)

More than they needed a larger group, or a real plan, they needed information. So they started listening in on the Representative meetings. (Of course, they were hopeful maybe they'll be there someday, themselves, because Headquarters just does not care, not enough, anyways, lofty and harsh.)

Felicity came up with a device that amplified the noise of the meetings coming through a wall so they could hear; Justice mostly kept watch for any potential threats. (Something that started after it had been Altair's role, and one encounter had ended in him threatening to kill a future Representative by the name of Catalina Ross.)

Some of the information was interesting, but most of it wasn't really useful for anything except causing more anger. There were a few gems, though—names. The ones that Headquarters wanted dead and so the conspirators, of course, wanted to meet.

(Though it was listening to those discussions that first really invoked fear in them.)

Lance Casimir, Hale Derrick. The first was released of the charges due to a "misunderstanding" that wasn't a misunderstanding at all; the second was because of only the most minor of incidents and some charm thrown in during the half-thrown-together trial.

Both of them joined in due time, the first good at keeping his eyes open for anything of interest happening, the second a monitor of new files in the Library of Legislation, and both coming with suggestions of others, real meetings happening with actual goals.

Within four years there were about twenty of them, the first four, the first six, still called the pioneers.

But the one shared dream would lead to so much more.