Liberty: Is she the only one with a name?™

M1004's identification band has the word Liberty stamped into the back of it. Is she the only one with a name?




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1. Flashback - old jewellry store

*Flashback to 40 years ago*

 

The stamp

 

“M12, I’m back.”

M12 shut the drawer quickly but quietly and then pushed something into her pocket, as she did so the glint of metal, escaped from between her fingers and was reflected in the small mirror.

The eleven-year-old girl was doing her two hours required work after the day of Learning.

This would be her workplace for another two months, until she was twelve, when she would progress to a harder job. She liked helping out in the old jewellery store, they were clearing out, for the town needed an identification band factory, it was no longer financially viable to bring them from section 14.

She was tasked with clearing out the other set of drawers but ten minutes previously she had seen Kate, the owner of the store take out the metal stamp, mutter to herself and turn it over in her palm before carefully reaching far into the drawer and placing it right at the back.

M12 was intrigued.

A minute earlier, after rushing through her work at the speed of light she cautiously opened the drawer and studied its contents. Her eyes fell upon the metal stamp in the back of the drawer.

She took it.

She was dragged away from her thoughts as Kate’s voice brought her back to the present time, “Hello M12, can you hear me?”

“Yes,” She replied casually, “loud and clear.”

The bulge in M12’s pocket was quite obvious.

“What have you got there?” Kate asked kindly.

M12 shuffled from foot to foot, doubting her decision of taking the stamp.

She thought she had better own up.

Reluctantly she dragged the metal stamp out of her trouser pocket and held it up in her open palm for Kate to see.

“Ahh, I see you found the stamp,” the old woman said.

“Yes,” M12 admitted in a voice that oozed with guilt.

“Shall I show you how it works?” Kate asked.

M12 was not expecting this.

“Um, yes, if you could, please,” mumbled M12.

They walked over to the table,

“When metal is hot and able to be moulded you push this into it really hard and it will make an imprint of the stamp, the stamp has letters on backwards, right?”

Kate continued, “When people used to have names, like me, rich people would want their name printed on a piece of jewellery, so it would be pointless for anyone to steal it. These stamps are like the ones used to put your number on your identification band, but instead of numbers they have letters on.”

“Why aren’t children given names anymore?” M12 questioned.

“Well, I guess that the Authoritives want people to be easily identified, not to be quite so individual and not to have such a strong bond with their mums, because children were given their names by them and this special bond was and is very powerful.”

“But now we just have identification numbers on our bands, in chronological order. I was the twelfth child to be born in the new system in section 13, the letter for 13 is M and so my number is M12,” M12 said, very matter-of-factly.

Kate responded, “This stamp says Liberty. It also has a meaning -a right or privilege -and was a popular name after the wars and after the southern hemisphere nuclear disaster. You keep this very safe, won’t you, the Authoritives wouldn’t like it if they knew it hadn’t been destroyed with the others, they like a clean slate, no trace of the old life.” Kate closed M12’s hand around the stamp. “Now run along dear, your two hours are over, I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

So M12 ran along home, certainly more knowledgeable than when she had left that morning.

The metal dug groves into her palm as she tightend her grip on the illegal item.

 

*End of flashback*

 

Historical note

Eighty years ago, in 2105 there was a huge nuclear catastrophe in France, it contaminated all of Europe and killed many people in the west, but in Iceland no-one died thanks to the distance and the Polar Easterlies blowing it to the east. It was later found that fertility was adversely affected in Iceland, but for all women that were pregnant before the radiation reached them, their birth was successful and their children’s fertility was not affected. M12’s mother was born almost nine months after what was now known as the European Nuclear Disaster. The new system was implemented across the nation thirty years after the European Nuclear Disaster.

he metal dug groves into her palm as she tightened her grip on the illegal item.

 

 

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