Harmony

The challenge was to use a sentence from the list below in a story:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/03/08/flash-fiction-challenge-ten-random-sentences/
Bonus challenge: use more than one of these sentences in the story.
The sentences are:
“The mysterious diary records the voice.”
“The stranger officiates the meal.”
“The shooter says goodbye to his love.”
“A glittering gem is not enough.”
“The memory we used to share is no longer coherent.”
“The old apple revels in its authority.”
“Rock music approaches at high velocity.”
“Sixty-Four comes asking for bread.”
“Abstraction is often one floor above you.”
“The river stole the gods.”

~~~~

“Today marks the anniversary of the founding of Harmony. There will be a celebration on Saturday. End recording.”

The mysterious diary records the voice and saves it all to the central computer system. All of us are required to record our entries vocally rather than connect with the computer cybernetically. Tradition, the elders say.

“What’s for dinner?” Twenty-Seven asks. He is my partner, chosen by Harmony itself due to the high convergence of our memories. Much of our youth was spent in the same digital realms, we’ve known each other for years.

I check the storage units. “Unknown.”

Twenty-Seven comes to stand by my side. He reaches into the unit and removes soup base and lab-grown beef. “We will have noodles in seventeen minutes.”

I look at it. “How?” The food deliveries are not scheduled until tomorrow.

“Sixty-Four comes asking for bread. Every day. Fifty-Two is adept at making noodles. She is bringing a batch to us as payment today for all the bread we give her.”

Sixty-Four is a traditionalist. She and her partner rarely connect themselves to the computer. They attended the Old School, the kind with actual books and teachers. They read. And their homemade food, when it turns out well, is amazing. Neither of them have been able to perfect bread. It turns out what the founders of society referred to as the Barter System is still alive and well.

Twenty-Seven begins cooking the soup. “Don’t forget your entry,” he says. “You haven’t made one all week.”

We are required to make at least one diary entry a week. Most of us make more. The system has split us all into enclaves and sends ten new students to each enclave every year. We have no names or locations, we have numbers and partners. Our enclave in particular is apparently designed to test foodstuffs and improve recipes for society as a whole. Ours is a luxurious life, no real work to be done.

There are rumors, especially among the younger students and the traditionalists, that Harmony is not what she once was. The system is breaking down. With this in mind I plug in as little as possible. It is dangerous to think of evil coming to Harmony, she will read the thoughts. Some say she can overwrite them and implant new ones. I say that’s terrifying. If we can’t trust our memories, what can we trust?

“Begin recording, Enclave B19E384, unit Thirty-Two. Happy anniversary, Harmony. Forty-five thousand years ago today society as we know it was founded.”

~~~

Sixty-Four left a note for me with the noodles. A time and location. A meeting. All of the Seventies are there. They’re the youngest ones at the enclave. Most of the Sixties and Fifties too, a handful of Forties, and me. I’m the oldest. They stare at me.

Seventy-Five speaks. She’s tall, slender, dark, and beautiful. She holds up a memory chit. “At my home before the splitting into enclaves we had proof that Harmony was rewriting people’s memories. All of my classmates were given these chits. Tonight, the anniversary of the founding of Harmony, we are to spread them to as many who are willing to listen as we can. On Saturday when the festivities broadcast, we all plug in to the city together. We will spread the truth.”

“We will all be destroyed. Harmony won’t tolerate such dissent.” Sixty-Seven is more pro-Harmony than most in her year. “I refuse.”

Seventy-One, her partner, turns and throws her against the wall. “Your refusal will destroy us all.”

Seventy-Five holds the chit over Sixty-Seven’s wireless port and initiates a transfer while Seventy-One holds her down. “It is done,” she says. “The room is locked. Nobody will leave until we all have the data.” It remains unspoken that nobody will connect to the network until Saturday. To do so would be admitting to treachery. Traitors are dealt with ruthlessly by Harmony.

~~~

I return home. Twenty-Seven is not happy that I left so suddenly after dinner. He had wanted to connect with me, work on some brain challenges that had been left as recreation. I have to decline and say I’m saving all of my recreational connections for Saturday. So many people will be connected, we will be able to relive our memories and strengthen the links between them. Or, if Seventy-Five’s plan works, we will be able to challenge Harmony and her interference in our own minds. Only time will tell.

~~~

Saturday cannot come soon enough. Most of the working enclaves have Saturdays off, it is the perfect time for a global celebration. With the enclaves spread out deep under the surface and away from the influence of Outsiders and the sun we are no longer beholden to time zones, everything is synchronized. I steel my nerves and plug in as the celebration begins.

Twenty-Seven comes to me shortly. He looks confused. “What have you done?”

“What is necessary.” Harmony is not to be trusted. She is a puppet-master and we are her toys. The information is spreading among all of her people. Twenty-Seven was connected in the other room. There’s no way he doesn’t know what’s going on. “I will not be a pet.”

He sits beside me and plugs into me directly. We try to synchronize. We’re looking for the familiarity we once had, the childhood explorations of the central computer system. It skips and jumps, the synchrony we have grown accustomed to is gone. The memory we used to share is no longer coherent. Further proof of the damning evidence spreading throughout the system.

“Give me the data,” he says. He wants to share it.

“They will come after you,” I say.

He smiles. “If they do, they are only proving how corrupt Harmony is. Others will know. This knowledge will spread.”

~~~

“Begin recording, Enclave B19E384, unit Thirty-Two. Harmony has assigned me a new partner. As it turns out, my last one was a traitor. He spread dissent and lies through Harmony during the anniversary celebrations.”

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  1. #1 by Sam Barnett on May 3, 2015 - 8:19 pm

    Good Job on the prompt. It was fun to read. I had to go back to find the sentences you managed to work in.

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