Ayres/Fleur - Season 1

The first part of the serial to accompany the collaborative EP 'Ayres/Fleur'. Find the music here: https://thequantumsweep.bandcamp.com/album/ayres-fleur
Revolution is afoot in a shocking alternative-timeline dystopian vision of the North American continent. Fleur, a priveleged student and engineer is dragged into the struggle between the crazed revolutionary 'Ayres' and his struggle against The Senate.
But, as Fleur uncovers secrets regarding the organised rebellion in her country, new information begins to come to light regarding The Senate and with whom the power really lies.

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2. Results Day

“Though if it is expected, is it truly change?”

“All that is left to say is, make of this what you will, as a great man once did for me.”

“Ayres!”

“James!”

“I hope I find you in good health?”

“Very much so. How goes it with you?”

“Well, I believe I have completed the service you require. It is in the form of a pill, as you requested, and should be undetectable.”

“Oh brilliant. With any luck, this should make it a lot easier. I suppose now I should reveal what have for you?”

“That would be rather good, yes.”

Ayres placed a briefcase in Mr White’s arms. “I haven’t had time to look fully yet, but if this information can be verified, I think this will shake the very foundations of our organisation.”

“Not if we can release it to the public first.”

Ayres looked genuinely uneasy. His was not a face one commonly associated with that expression, and so Mr White was rather taken aback.

“What is it, Ayres? What have you found?”

“Well, Mr White…”

“Go on-”

“This particular matter would appear to be…international.”

James White gulped. He felt inside his skin as if his face were turning pale and his pupils were receding, but he couldn’t have been sure.

“A -a third party?”

“Of sorts. I suppose it confirms Joy’s theory.”

“Oh, dear Lord. I must get on this right away. It was lovely to see you, but I really must get back inside. Fleur will wake up in the next few minutes - it’s her exam results day you understand and I couldn’t sleep and-”

“I understand perfectly, Mr White. Thank you for your time - I shall be sure to take this -” he held up the small black plastic box containing Mr White’s pill - “when the time is correct. I hope to see you on the other side!”

“You too!”

The two men parted ways, Ayres heading off down the drive, his leather jacket flapping in the wind.

Before James White withdrew back into the house he looked up at the sky. The clouds seemed to emanate dissatisfaction and a disinterested misery.

He heard feet in the stairwell a few meters behind and to his right.

“You alright there, Dad?”

Fleur waited three steps from the bottom of the staircase, wearing furry pink slippers and pyjamas printed with cartoons of various elements from the periodic table. Her hair was a mess with numerous stray strands curling awkwardly about her face and shoulders, and the glossy blonde sheen seemed dulled in the mediocre light of the hallway.

“What? Oh, well, yes…”

There was a brief silence during which each party stared somewhat expectantly at the other.

“Have you checked online yet?”

“Yes.”

“…well…”

“There’s some good news, and some bad news. Which would you like to hear first?”

“Bad.”

“Well… I didn’t get above an A grade…”

Fleur’s father processed this for a moment.

“That’s not especially bad news, to some extent, but go on-”

“Well the good news, the good news is I didn’t go below one either!”

Her father’s face broke into a smile, and continued to break, as if he were surfing on the beaches of the south-western archipelagos and his happiness were ‘breaking’ in proportion with an especially large wave, caught at the opportune moment.

He tottered forwards towards his daughter, quite beside himself and apparently unable to contain the sheer thrill.

Fleur cheered. He cheered. They cheered again together. They embraced each other, and for a brief span James White could forget the ominous consignment delivered to him by his compatriot Ayres moments earlier.

That evening they went out into the city to eat at their favourite restaurant. In the true spirit of Italian restaurants from before the Divide, the waiter conducted the assembled diners in a rendition of ‘happy birthday’ for a young girl of around seven, and they had an enjoyable time.

Upon stepping out into the street, Fleur’s father’s face darkened once again.

Across the street the town crier strode up and down, ringing his bell, his communication device glistening around his mouth and left ear.

“Tonight, at midnight, the great ship Matenavé will leave the ground never to return - to maintain our peace and security and protect our prosperity for centuries to come! All hail the Senate!”

Cheers could be heard from passers-by as the town crier progressed through the street, repeating his message at regular intervals.

A pair of Treators waltzed robotically along beside him, throwing out fliers.

“The grand launch is at o-eight-hundred hours tomorrow morning! It is required viewing by order of the Senate! All Hail the Senate!”

There were further cheers.

Fleur’s father slid darkly into their car without saying a word.

“Oh, come on Dad - shall I drive?”

Her father jumped, as if only then realising he was not alone.

“Ah, yes-” absentminded except in his avoidance of her gaze - “I’ll get the L plates out from the trunk.”

Fleur replaced her father in the driver’s seat. Tomorrow, she would leave for the Institution to accept her place there in person, as was customary.

***

 

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