Bhaka was part of the information technology crew at the university. He was under the information protection section. There were a few computer geniuses like him in Province who were trained and hired to censor, edit and restrict the digital information available in Province. It was the first time in his three years of working in information protection that something like this had happened. This was serious, so serious that he and Sari could both be killed.
“We need to get out of here; we may be watched.” Bhaka said. Sari hadn’t said a word since. Bhaka asked Sari to walk a few metres with him and he would explain everything. They walked in the cool night air in silence for a while. After a few minutes Bhaka shoved his hands in the pockets of his jacket and began to speak.
“You were on the computer and you saw some things that you were not supposed to see. I want to know how much you know.”
Sari looked up at him and frowned. “And how do you know this and…?”
“I know because it is my job to know, now please answer the question.” Bhaka replied.
“Why are there so many secrets? What is all of this – there is so much that is not as it seems – what?” Sari became teary and her voice started to shake. “We are being played here in Province aren’t we? We are being made fools of and I know I am right even if you deny it and seeing what I saw tonight has confirmed what I have suspecting all along!”
Bhaka stopped and sighed and the girl stopped too. He turned to face her and said, “Please, just tell me what you know so that you don’t get into trouble. I think I can fix this, I hope I can.”
Sari told him what she had been doing and what she had found out. She told him about the other places and the other people and all of that other literature and art. She told him that she wanted to know more and that she wanted to go to those other places and experience them for herself.
“Wait, you want to travel? Traveling is forbidden in Province especially since you are a female. The only people who travel are….” Bhaka stopped himself before he revealed too much.
“Travel, is that what it’s called? I want to do it. I want to travel.” said Sari. “Why did you pause? You were going to say something and you stopped. Who travels, I want to know? If they can travel why can’t I and how come you know all this, do you work for like Province’s secret association or something?
“I – I am not supposed to be having this conversation with you. I will erase your search history and deal with any way that the system might have been compromised. We might need to update our software and firewalls and…. You will never be able to access the information that you did tonight. This never happened and we never met okay. Bhaka was stern.
Sari laughed scornfully. “Wow. You are okay with knowing that all of this (she gestured with her arms and hands for emphasis) is a lie. All engineered and we are all living like puppets. You are part of it and you support this lie and you are willing to protect it. Can you absolutely tell me that you don’t see anything wrong with the way things operate?”
“Well what the hell do you want me to do? Start a one man revolution! Who am I? I am just minding my own business and doing my job. We never met and you never logged onto the internet, I will make it all go away and nobody will get into trouble.” Bhaka turned and started to walk towards his car near the main student exit.
Sari felt defeated. She stood where Bhaka had left her for a while and then began to walk in the direction of the bus stop. She did not know if there would be a bus at his hour; it was almost 8pm.
Two weeks later Sari was at the university library on a Friday afternoon reading some boring recommended material. She was sitting alone at a desk when someone pulled up a chair and sat right across her, she could feel them staring. She slowly lifted her eyes. “Bhaka, what did he want?” Bhaka smiled uncomfortably and then he flipped through the newspaper in his hand. Moments later he slid a folded piece of paper across the desk towards Sari and then he casually got up and left. How discreet, Sari thought sarcastically.
The note had said that she should meet him at a venue off campus. Somewhere near a train station called Mulocks. There were instructions on how to get there; it would take two bus rides and a 15 minute walk. The note had been signed “Please Trust Me – Bhaka.” This should be interesting.