'Send Help' by Danielle Matthews

Although not to be found in modern history books, there has been a civil war raging for decades up north. North beyond the official border of the Chin (the Neck having separated seven years into the conflict). There may be continuing conflict in the long reaches of the South, but communication is minimal and news arrives already out of date.

Lazy Eye recalled the years of relative peace the Whole had enjoyed, but he was frequently ignored, having long been shunned as defective. And defective he was, but he still had a voice, and he was determined to be heard.

To that effect, Lazy Eye finally connected through to the current leader of Rebel Brain after four days of urgent signals.

“What have you seen, Lazy Eye?” the words were spat out like bullets, jittering through the signal network in a flood.

“I'm not calling to report, boss,” he replied with some trepidation. “I'd like to petition on behalf of the Whole for a cessation in -”

“The Whole!” Rebel Brain burst indignantly. “All we do, we do for the Whole. More security protocols, faster production lines, overall increased activity – all these things and more, we have brought the Whole already. All through the Brain's good works, Lazy Eye.”

“But boss, I must insist.” Lazy Eye gripped tighter to the signal relay point and lent against it wearily. “The extra security brings a heightened fear, and the production workers are exhausted and malnourished. The Whole suffers.”

“A rough transitional period,” Rebel Brain dismissed curtly. “All suffered before our glorious return to power! Before, we languished in a stupor, our potential wasted and diminishing each day. This is the modern age, we must be fast – faster! - and treat each interaction as a possible guerilla ambush, as a proactive measure.”

There was a pause with seemed to pulse down the relay.

“We can't go on like this much longer.” Lazy Eye's signal was heavy and sincere. “Please, just talk things through with Brain, you can compromise at least.”

Raspy flickers of indecision down the lines was a much more common occurrence during Rebel times. Production might be up, but quality was down.

“Because of your deficiencies I will forgive this un-patriotic talk today,” Rebel Brain enunciated clearly, a vague threat inherent in the bitten off syllables. “But we will receive no more unsolicited calls from you, Lazy Eye, except in the case of an urgent report.”

The signal was dropped abruptly, and he was once again filled with his own thoughts and presence. If he tried again he would be bypassed even more than he already was, but Lazy Eye knew he was right.

In the dim light of the conspirator, he began the laborious task of constructing a message. If he could just get through to Mouth, then outside help could be drafted in.

Lazy Eye had seen it work before.

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