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The Forests of Switzerland

Mergerberger II

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A young man sits quietly in his chair, biting his right forefinger in thought, and continually glancing up at the giant telescreen in front of him. On it was the picture of a face, the face of Emperor Alexander Murphy himself. He appeared to be watching the young man, his eyes even seemed to be staring into the book. The book's cover was blank, its spine was painted black so that the telescreen could not relay the name back to Ministry of Love Offices in Bern. He had scoured the room for any traces of cameras other than the one situated just above the screen in front of him with Alexander's face on it. There were none, he was sure of it, and so he sat directly in front of the telescreen, reading his book, which was painted Black as are the Official Books of the Order, to disguise itself and prevent him from being revealed to Miniluv officials. He knew the punishment, and he was not very much willing to take it.

His book was not an Official Book, it was one banned immediately by the Order when it was first released fifty years ago. His Imperial Highness had been in power with a Nordic Socialist government for a little over 9 years now, and most of the initial counterrevolutionary activities had died off. Though despite this, most living in Wästerdyskreich believed that their glorious nation had existed for 200 years, and the good Emperor Alexander had ruled them for the last 30, the most glorious of their years, with the conquest of Slavorussia, the unification of Nordland, and everything else. The book he was reading was one that, if he were to be caught reading it, would have him immediately thrown into prison, tortured, and if he could not be properly rehabilitated, sentenced to a most awful death at the hands of the Order. The book was called Die Volken aus Nordland, it was, according to the history he had been taught, written by a man named Marten Goldstein, a cowardly drunkard of the province of North France, a man who, it was said, at one time was on the same plane as the Emperor himself, he worked with the Emperor to develop strategies that existed during their lifetimes. However, the story was that Marten, drawn by the air of the lies of Democracy, Freedom, and Peace, began counterrevolutionary operations, and had attempted to usurp the party. He was tortured for High Treason, and subsequently sentenced to death. That was 75 years ago.

Somehow, Die Volken aus Nordland had circulated around the WNSR, falling into the hands of all of those who desired to read it. The young man, his name was Nicholas, had obtained the book while rummaging through his father's old bin. He had, he remembered it quite well, found a secret compartment that was able to be opened only when Nicholas tapped upon it a knock that his father had taught him when he was very young. The door had opened, and in shimmering gold letters against a white background, there was the book, Der Volken aus Nordland. Nicholas, age of 17 at the time, dropped the book, and, panicking, ran out of his father's apartment in Paris. He quickly got into his car and drove back home, to Bern, worried that at every checkpoint he would be caught for his paranoia and nervous aura that he knew he must have been giving off. He eventually had returned for the book, and, despite several searches of his car for anything of concern, it was never found. Now he sat, reading it, right in front of the Telescreen.

April 4th, 1964

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for mankind to, at some given point, to present forth to his overlords his grievances and his complaints and his follies. A man ought to show his leaders that, while having respect for them, he does have things which ought, no, need to be improved upon, and should that leader not do such a thing, then it is his right, as a citizen, and as a human being, to rise up with his comrades and begin the revolution against his overlord. Never should he become complacent with his overlord's nature, he ought to always be questioning his master, always wondering if his master is showing him the right path to happiness.

We have, over the course of the last God knows how many years been the sufferers of a violent regime, and an oppressive one, no doubt. We have found ourselves under the image that this Martens, that our Emperor Martens, is a divine figure worthy of our utmost loyalty. We have been under the impression that Martens has been leading us, the Nordlanders, the Germans, to a glorious future under his glorious name, where conquest and murder are our doctrines, and blood our currency. He has told us that war is our culture, that violence is our way, and that the Nordland shall know no other way, never again. He has shown us a path of victory, yes, but victory in human flesh. He has given us a taste of flesh and we have risen to his calling for more. When he calls for us, we answer to him, to his every word, and we shall continue to do so until his death on some glorious day in the far off future.

Yet I may recall a time, a time long ago, when the Nordlanders did have peace, and they did flourish. A time when trade was done in boughs of olive trees, not the severed heads of our enemies. A time when Kings did not put their enemies atop long metal sticks as a warning to all who might oppose them, a time where a military death was not the most glorious death, and the only way to serve your country was not by taking up sword against her enemies. I may recall such a time, if such a time had, indeed, occurred.

There exists not a patch of Nordlandic history, not a patch of German history, where we have not existed as a people bred for warfare, as a people focused on the one goal of uniting the world under our banner, under our creed, under our people. We have, for all of time, believed this to be our destiny, the conquest of Europe and of the world. Forever have we hailed our leaders as we hail our Gods, uniting behind them in war, and our swelling sense of Nationalistic pride aglow for all to see, and for all to behold, as we, in one booming voice cry out that we are the Nordland, and we cannot be stopped.

It mustn't always be so. There is a foreseeable future wherein we, the Germans, the Dutch, the Scandinavians, the Slavs, the Russians, the glorious people of the Nordland, have peace once and for all. There will come a time when we have what seems to elude us for so very long, what seems truly unattainable for our people, that thing which we seem to be never able to reach. It mustn't always be so...."

Nicholas was hooked. This man, he somehow knew, despite all of that which he had been taught of Nordic and WNSR history, was speaking of a different time, a time that was, somehow, just the same as the one that he was living in now, yet it seemed that it was a time where people remembered how to stand up for themselves and their nations, for peace, for Germany. Somewhere in the back of his mind, a foggy memory began to take shape, something of a war, something of a rifle, something of a March in a great city in the North, yet he could not quite make out what it was. He did not know, and he feared that he would never know. He dropped the book to the floor, its pages flipped until the title page could be seen, shimmering in golden letters, Der Volken aus Nordland. He did not notice. He was deeply immersed in thought. What if this man was right, what if all that he knew, all the war, all the propaganda, all the worshiping of the Order, was falsified? What if history itself was falsified by his government? What if, by some insane incident, this man, Goldstein, was speaking of a different time, from a different time, yet one that had not existed so very long ago. What if all that he knew, all that the Order had told him, all that he had known, or thought he had known, from birth, was false? What was true? What was wrong? What was moral? What could he do?

A knock came at the door.

Edited by Mergerberger II
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  • 2 weeks later...

The knock at the door was the woman from across the way, and she told him that she had made some lemonade and asked if he wanted any. He replied that he was quite comfortable with his Victory Gin, bid her farewell, and returned to his chair. His heart was racing. He was sure it would have been the thought police knocking at his door, somehow knowing that he was reading this book.

For the next two hours he sat, in his chair in front of the telescreen, reading the book by light of the telescreen. He was fascinated by it, utterly entranced by this idea that had circulated within the mind of Marten Goldstein, the idea that freedom was, in fact, not slavery, and that a people could choose for themselves how they wanted to live and to be governed, that they did not need the government telling them what and how to think and what to do and how to do it. The idea that the Order did not need to oppress its people. These were dangerous ideas, argued so vigorously and backed by an insurmountable amount of philosophical and physical evidence. Nicholas knew that there were different governments in different parts of the world, but he did not know what they were or how they functioned, the only thing that he knew was what the Order told him, that all government systems other than that of the WNSR, and partially that of Germany, were wrong in the way that they handled their people. He had also been told that all other nations of the world besides those of the Nordlandic Confederacy, which consisted of several nations all located very close to one another, were wrong in every word that they stated.

Now he had read the book by Goldstein, and his mind was changed. The things that he had been told by the Order, things that he was told often that were total facts, sometimes things that he knew were completely and totally wrong, because he himself had changed them in service of the Order, seemed to be fading away. These facts seemed to be totally wrong, but what was right he could not remember. He did not know what had actually happened, what he was sure had actually happened, though there was no way he could ever find the evidence to back up his thoughts without becoming the Emperor himself or serving on his High Council. Yet somewhere, deep in his memory, a faded thought came to him, something about a man whose name he could barely remember. He seemed to be the leader of a nation, but what nation it was was not discernible. It was blurry, and it was only there for a second, but it gave him hope.

Nicholas decided then that he would go for a walk in the forest. A long walk, just to think, to try and find out what was going on, what had happened, to see if there was anything that he could recall happening that went against the Order, to try and clear his mind from the demons that had infested it. He grabbed his coat and his hat, opened his door and left. While he knew that he had not technically done anything illegal, he knew that leaving his house at this hour would probably result in him being tortured and imprisoned for something around ten years. He did not care, he had already done so many things that could lead to his death. The possession of Die Volke aus Nordland was a crime often punished, he knew, by 60 years' confinement. Though technically and officially nothing ever happened to these people, he had found some old papers in the Ministry of Truth which gave specific directions on how to torture people guilty of possession of that book. It was odd, he thought, what exactly it was that happened to these people. Those who had broken the official code of the Order simply disappeared, never to be seen again. Their names and the deeds they had done were stricken from every official record, it was as if they had never existed at all.

It was a scary thought, he knew, the notion that people could simply be made to have never existed, and so simply too. He knew, he had done it himself on more than one occasion. He had received a total of 8 names that had to be stricken from a total of 900 documents. He had to rewrite the articles and replace the official record so that these people had never done whatever it was they had been reported on doing. It was ironic that someday someone would likely be doing the same thing with him. Who would they give the credit to? He didn't know, and didn't want to know, mostly because he would only know after he entered torture. One of the things that was listed was that they would tear the name of an enemy from every official record in front of him. They would often take note of the assailant's greatest achievement, and show him as they credited it to one of his most hated rivals. His spirit was broken then.

He thought again about what Goldstein had said in his book. About freedom. The very thought that people could be free to do whatever they like so long as it does not directly harm any other human being was a scary one, he knew what it would entail. Goldstein had argued for things like freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, and even the protest of the government. Nowadays, any protest of the government was immediately punished by a violent death. He had argued that a people who did not say when their government was wrong were wrong, were a failure as a people. People complacent with their government's actions no matter what they were were already defeated. Freedom, he had said, was the most valuable possession of any human being in existence.

He remembered a quote that had hit him like a brick. Once, Nicholas had happened upon a recording of a speech made by Goldstein at a rally against the Order long ago. He had a fiery voice, and the passion in his eyes was unmatched by anyone today. "Today I see here before me, a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyrrany. You've come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do without freedom? Will you fight?" A cowardly voice in the audience shouted something about running and living, "aye, fight and you may die, run, and you'll live, at least a while. But one day, dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day 'til that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take OUR FREEDOM!" It really stuck with him. The speech itself, even if he did not know what it meant, what freedom truly was, it had inspired him. It was the first interest he had ever had in taking action against the Order. And now it would begin, he knew. Soon, it would begin.

He had reached the forest, the asphalt road had turned to dirt, and had narrowed to naught but a footpath. The night grew old, and it was dark enough that he could not see his own hand. The moon hid behind the clouds, and the rumble of thunder sounded in the West. A storm was coming, and soon. To his left, he heard a sound, a rustle in the bushes. Someone was watching him, someone he could not see. To his right, the sound of a broken twig, and then crushed leaves. A shadow moved in front of him, and then there was a grinding of dirt behind him. Then, a roar was heard, and something lunged at him. Everything went black.

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