ADSactly Contest - SteemShort #5 - Post 4: Request for an Illustration and the Title of the Story
UPDATE: The Title and the Illustration of SteemShort #5 have been Chosen (2018-04-13)
The Title of SteemShort #5 is:
Block-Chained: Freedom From Freedom
proposed by @currysonlyson, one of the three authors of the story.
There were only two proposed valid illustrations. The jury chose the one sent by @kcino:
SteemShort #5 - Post 4: Request for an Illustration and the Title of the Story
SteemShort are short stories written collaboratively by three different authors and illustrated by an artist/photographer.
The process to create a SteemShort is described in this post, slightly modified by this post. The rules to select the authors and illustrators have been modified in this post.
The full story can be found below.
This is the request for an illustration and the title of the story.
Each of the three authors may propose a title for the story, in a comment.
If more than one author propose a title, the chosen title will be the one with the largest number of upvotes four days after this post has been published.
Artits and photographers that want to submit an illustration should send 0.001 STEEM or SBD to the @steemshorts account, with the URL of their proposed illustration in a memo starting with the character '#'.
This summary must be between 100 to 200 words. Any proposed summary that is shorter than 100 words or longer than 200 words will not be considered.
It is important that the memo starts with the character '#': that makes this memo readable only by the author and the @steemshorts account. The character '#' should not be preceded by any space.
Example of a valid memo:
Note that it is recommended to send the 0.001 SBD/STEEM with the memo from steemit.com using a web browser, as we have seen several cases of "Invalid memo" when it was sent using an app such as eSteem.
The width should be between 1,000 and 1,500 pixels.
The height should be between 500 and 1,000 pixels.
The image/photograph can be in black and white or in color.
For the chosen illustration, the artist/photographer needs to be the single author and has to agree for a "Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike" (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode).
There can be only one proposed illustration per artist/photographer. The proposed illustrations must be received less than 4 days after this post has been published.
After sending their illustration, artists/photographers should tell in a comment that they have sent their illustration, so that they can receive confirmation that their illustration is valid.
So, artists and photographers, send your proposed illustrations.
And authors, send your proposals for the title of the story.
Here is the full text of the story by @diebitch, @currysonlyson and @uc-phoenix
In cell block number 1022, a mutiny was brewing. The people that had been chained to the block had had enough. Dominique Moreaux started the domino effect. He wanted to see Claude, his partner. They had gotten married on that fateful day when Dominique had been tried for crimes against the blockchain regime. It is hard for a revolutionary to love someone and also love a cause. His cause was the dissolution of the dictatorship that tracked everything and put it on a public ledger-blockchain. The powerful people in the world had resisted it but they found a way to use the system to their advantage.
Dominique remembered the start. It began with bitcoin, whose tumultuous journey had gone from hope to despair. As banks started shutting down and FIAT lost power, the rich were out on the streets. Politicians were exposed, and the world finally seemed to be on the verge of getting it's act together.
However, power can never truly be decentralized. It is the flaw in humanity and not technology.
Nobody could have imagined that the miners and the technology could be controlled to make a dystopian society. A society that lived in fear. Your indiscretions, messages, internet history, everything was on the public ledger. It was a dictatorship at its worst.
Dominique had been part of a blockchain, NUVO. In their own small ways, they resisted the dictatorship. They were a blockchain that did not use technology in the traditional sense. They used mechanical pulses to create a complex system of codes, similar to Morse code. Even he didn't know their full secret. True decentralization also meant not keeping all your eggs in one basket.
As they gained headway people started getting suspicious. Sometimes the greatest things happen at the wrong moment. He met her. Claude Martinet danced into the hearts of the jaded elite. She was a revolutionary. An emerald-eyed brunette with a joyous smile. The kind of girl who wouldn’t look twice at a bespectacled redhead who liked to hide in the crowd.
One of Dom’s nodes for information was near the theatre where Claude worked. He would go to see her to forget the intensity that his cause demanded for ten minutes. For that was all he allowed himself.
She’d walked up to him and pressed a handwritten note into his hand. Anything that was written by hand, that could not be recorded, was banned.
Meet me at the Bar, 5 Maple Street.
That was all that was written on the note. There were no names. This sheer act of rebellion thrilled him no end. He got someone to cover his shift and went there.
She approached, they didn’t say anything to each other. She took his hand and guided him to a room behind the kitchen.
“NUVO?” she said just one word.
He was suddenly on alert, wondering if the enemy had got to him.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” He said coldly.
She took a deep breath.
She showed him the penny that all NUVO carried. It was a remnant of physical currency. A reminder.
“You know the policy, we can’t talk about it. Sometimes it gets very lonely in our world. The pledge of staying single and not trusting a single soul is difficult. I noticed you. For every ten minutes, you were there,” She said in a rush.
Dominique did not know how to reply. Yet, as if compromising to his conscience, he curtly said, “Yes.”
They knew they couldn’t have much. Couldn't be a family but for that moment they weren’t alone.
From then on, they always met in that small and gloomy room. Talking for hours. Somehow, everything seemed more tolerable.
Still, their chain had a weak link. The communication had a pattern. It was difficult but not uncrackable.
Dominique knew they were coming for him, it was on the public ledger. Thankfully, they didn’t know about Claude.
Dom and Claude met in the same dinghy room where Claude’s friend performed a small ceremony. It was their rebellion against everything. The system that dictated to them and the resistance that wouldn’t let them be together.
He hesitated as if to ask what she did for NUVO. What would a dancer contribute to the blockchain?
In the posture of an accomplished Zen master in meditation, Dominique Moreaux sat on the prison bed in cell 1022, his eyes closed and his concentration unbroken. A speck of red light—the only source of illumination in the room—oscillated all around his body. He could not tell where the light came from, only that it skipped here and there like an elusive dream, torturing him. It had driven him crazy at first, during his first weeks in the penitentiary. However, he had gotten used to it. He had tolerated it, then he welcomed it and then he used it. He allowed his mind to follow the skipping lights. He used it as a means to explore his memory, to go back.
He was thinking of the plan, examining all the details in his head, running the simulations. Everything was in place, but it had to be perfect. Everything depended on it; everything depended on him. The movement, the Brotherhood and most importantly Claude, the love of his heart.
With the aid of the skipping lights, acting as an illuminator in his mind, Dominique could see Claude. He could see her as vividly as if he was with her. Her sweet dimples and her emerald eyes. He could feel her dark hair brushing his face as it does when she turns while he holds her hand.
His mind went back, as it did so often, to the day they got married. The same day he got arrested. Early that morning he had stopped by at the theatre where Claude worked. He hid in the shadows and saw her laughing with some weird looking people. He thought she looked so at peace, so at one with her environment even though he knew they both hated it with a passion so grave. It was while he stood there, watching her smile, that he knew he had to do it.
“Marry you?” Claude had asked when they met at the bar on Maple Street, smiling. “Oh, you filthy dreamer. You know that can’t ever happen. Our lives –”
“Are Ours. If we’re ever going to fight for and earn this freedom, we have to start believing we have it. We have to live our lives for us!”
Claude had only laughed. Oh, that laugh. That breathtaking laugh, full of so much innocence. Watching her laugh, Dominique could only wonder what she did for NUVO. Of course, he couldn’t possibly ask. Some things must remain a secret—sadly.
“It's not just the regime Dominique. What about NUVO? What if they find out—”
“I’m tired, Claude. I’m tired of hiding—let’s just—”
He couldn’t tell her. He couldn’t tell her that he had been compromised. That they had found him out and were already coming for him. That he only needed something tangible to hold on to when they take him in. That the cause wasn’t enough anymore. That he needed more.
“I need you, Claude,” he exclaimed.
His voice had a tremulous hint to it, and Claude could tell.
“What the hell?” She said finally. “Let’s do it!”
He scooped her up in his arms. Her hair flew over his face and he carried her into the dingy room. A couple of her innocuous normal looking friends gathered. One of them said he was a prophet and it was all arranged. Just after the prophet said, You may kiss the bride, and they both leaned in for the kiss, they felt it—at the same time!
With NUVO you’re taught to be alert. To sense the Blockchain Regime Officers from miles away. So even before twelve hefty BRO's stormed into the room, Dominique and Claude had felt it. As the officers stepped in spraying automatics, Dominique and Claude exited through the back door.
Once they got outside Dominique signalled for a chopper. All top level NUVO agents had that prerogative. However, the nearest landing deck was on top of a building six blocks away. With the BRO's hot on their heels they ran as ferociously as they could, like preys eluding predators in the jungles of Africa. They arrived just in time.
Claude got in the chopper first, and after she had taken her seat Dominique gave the signal to the driver—he was to fly off without him. Claude could not tell what was going on at first. It was only after the chopper was in mid air that she pieced it together. She screamed his name loudly from the Chopper, considering whether to jump or not. Dominique stood still on the spot, tears proliferating on his face. He had to do it. He was already a marked man and there was no hope for him. Maybe there was hope for Claude yet. He couldn’t risk running with her.
Dominique Moreaux altered his Zen position to wipe off the tear on his face. The red light in cell 1022 skipped on his eyes and he opened them. It was time. The prison buzzer rang endlessly. Dinner was about to be served. The mutiny was about to begin. It was time.
The mutiny started with a handwritten note. On the piece of paper was written—our lives are ours. Dominique knew this was bound to cause panic among the guards. He had chosen those words on purpose. It had become his mantra since he had been separated from Claude by the BROs.
They were halfway through dinner when the prison alarms went off abruptly. The wait was over. Dominique muttered a prayer under his breath before looking up. They were all ready, NUVO agents that had been captured and imprisoned by the BROs. The guards were frantically rounding up the prisoners. Dinner was over. Everyone was being herded back to their cells. A voice was booming over the P.A system, threatening fire and brimstones on whoever they found to be responsible for the handwritten note. Suddenly, one of the prisoners shouted something about being allowed to at least finish dinner and ran back towards his table. Two guards chased after him. Another prisoner took off, then another and soon there was a commotion as the guards struggled to bring the prisoners under control. More guards were being summoned from the prison yard, rushing in to help quell the uprising.
Perfect, Dom thought. It was just as he had imagined. In the midst of the commotion, he was subtly edging towards the rear of the crowd. He knew the other six NUVO agents were doing the same. The kitchen was a few steps away. Dom lingered a little, waiting for the safe signal.
It came soon enough. Someone brushed him ever so slightly from behind.
“5 Maple Street?” It was the tiniest of whispers. If he wasn’t waiting for it, he would’ve missed it. The owner of the voice slipped a penny into his hand. It was safe to go.
Dom made a couple of backward steps and came up alongside the door that led into the kitchen. Flipping the coin in the air as a signal to the others, he nudged the door open and slid inside.
“NUVO?” Dominique whispered. He was face to face with the owner of the voice in the kitchen. The man said nothing only opening his palm to reveal a penny. He was a top-level NUVO agent who had gone undercover, taking up employment as kitchen staff in the prison. He was crucial to the plan and Dominique knew that without this man, who never revealed his name, there wouldn’t have been a plan.
The two men stood in silence, listening to the noise outside while they waited for the others. The remaining six all arrived in under a minute. Giving the man a nod, Dominique and the others followed as he led them through a series of doors and passages. The men moved quickly, knowing that soon the guards would be able to subdue the prisoners and return them back to their cells. That’s when they would be missed and the search would begin.
They soon came to a spacious office that Dom suspected to belong to the chief warden. The man signalled to them to stop. Going over to a bookshelf, he slid it to a side to reveal a secret door. The door opened to a dark staircase that led all the way down into a tunnel.
This was the famed smuggling route Dom had heard about while he was still free. He remembered telling Claude about it. He had told her that it was quite useful information in case any of them was ever caught and imprisoned one day. Claude had said nothing at that moment. She was intent on returning to the theatre before she was missed. Thinking of Claude, he wondered where she would be now and what she would be doing. He knew it would be impossible for her to keep dancing at the theatre now. He wondered if she was thinking of a way to get him out. He prayed she wasn't. He didn’t want her to risk her own safety for him. He would find her eventually if he got out.
A soft clang from above jolted Dom out of his thoughts. They had come to the end of the tunnel. The man leading them gave three short raps on a metal covering with narrow slits just above them. Silence. They waited. Another rap and they soon heard someone cough just above them.
“NUVO?” A brisk raspy voice came from above. One of the men slid a coin through the slit. There was a shuffling of feet and soon the metal covering was taken off to reveal a hole large enough for the men to go through.
They climbed out, one after the other until all eight of them were standing in the opening, right in the middle of the prison yard. Dominique Moreaux was the last man out of the tunnel. Just as he lifted himself up, he knew all had gone wrong. They were surrounded by armed guards, all pointing their rifles at them. The man that had been leading them now stood with the guards, also pointing a gun at them.
Dom heard clapping from behind. The chief warden was making his way to the front, a nasty smirk plastered on his face.
“So what were you thinking, Dom?” He was sneering now.
He laughed mirthlessly as he asked Dominique how he expected to escape with such stupid plan. He reminded Dominique how nobody could ever outsmart the blockchain regime officers. Had he forgotten that everything was on the blockchain? They had discovered the undercover NUVO agent a long time ago and had tortured him into playing along because they wanted to use him to fish out all the mutineers and now here they were.
The warden was still talking and basking in his seemingly perfect counter plan when they heard a chopper not far off in the distance. Before anyone could think, the chopper was right above them. What followed next was something Dom couldn’t make sense of. There were too many bangs and gunfire within a brief period.
He was lying on the ground waiting for the next bullet to take him out when it stopped as suddenly as it began. Dom felt a tap on his shoulder. Looking up, he saw none other than his wife, Claude, bent over him with worry. She was fully outfitted for combat and boldly written across her vest was the word – NUVO. She led him to the chopper where the rescue team was already tending to the others. They were waiting for Claude. She appeared to be their leader.
Sitting next to his wife in the chopper, a smile spread across Dominique’s face. He compared the two images of his wife in his head. A dancer and a special ops agent. He never for one single moment suspected. She had been the perfect undercover agent. Surely, there was hope for the resistance, Dom thought, as they flew away into the sunset.
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