The Stagner Chronicle

Genre: Science Fiction and Political
Word Count: 70,000

Set in the near future, this novel follows a group of three that write a manifesto against the dystopian American Government. Their manifesto accidently sparks a revolution. When the source material is tracked back to them, they must escape capture. This novel is told in the form of an oral history after the conclusion of the revolution.  Below is the first chapter of the novel.

I.

Transcription from “The American Manifesto” by Damion Jones: Most people don’t understand how the world works now.  The media is unified under six corporate logos.  Each is used as a tool of the governments and the banks.  Together, they control the information of the world.  They hide what they need hidden.  They exaggerate and exploit whatever serves their purpose.  By maintaining an image of hope, they know the masses will remain content.

Eric (Logos) Mathewson: If you want to understand the truth, you have to start with The Manifesto.  After years of Depression, most people were angry.  The unemployment was high with no sign of dipping.  And what were our representatives in Washington talking about?  Well, I’ll be damned.  They passed themselves a Constitutional Amendment making it illegal to burn an American Flag.  The Manifesto spoke to a collective anger.

Transcription from “The American Manifesto” by Damion Jones: The events of September 11th—all those years ago—scared those in power for reasons beyond the obvious.  In a flat world—where nearly all of humanity has access to the Internet, English is the universal language, and travel is as quick as it is cheap—a new horizon emerged.  Those in power do not fear terrorists because of the loss of life they inflict.  They fear terrorists because, if they knew where to strike, they could bring the entire system crashing down.

Logos Mathewson: Tell me how burning the damn flag has anything to do with whether or not my nephews have enough food on their plate or if my father can afford his Alzheimer’s medication.  How?  I actually want to ask them.  Shit.  I burned a damn flag that night.  I went to the Wal-Mart to buy one just for the occasion.  I stood on the street corner and burned it during rush hour.

Transcription from “The American Manifesto” by Damion Jones: The key is not to kill.  If you kill, you get labeled an extremist and the general public will not support you.  If, however, you put massive dents in the system without killing, many will see what you are trying to do.  The public will see you as a revolutionary rather than a terrorist.  The media will continue to brand you as a terrorist regardless.  Those who do their own thinking will see through that ploy.  You will start to get some support.  You may even get some converts.

Logos Mathewson: Those words are his, yes.  But don’t think for a second that he meant it to become something.  I knew D.J. since we were kids.  His idea of change was never a coup.  Sure.  We talked about it here and there.  Jokingly.  But when he was serious, that was never the plan.  He knew the real way to change the country.  There always was and always will be two parties in America.  You pick one—it don’t matter which one because they both know shit—and you get elected locally.  You work your way up and change the party from within.  “You must overcome it to defeat it.”  That was his motto.

Transcription from “The American Manifesto” by Damion Jones: Is that enough to spark a revolution?  Absolutely not.  As we have seen with the Shock Party in recent years, moving slow will kill you.  In the Second Arab Spring, the government merely had to keep pressure on the people for an extended amount of time.  Remember Iran and Saudi Arabia?  With the Shock Party back home, it’s just the same.  The media simply had to give months of extremist examples.  Before you knew it, it was a fringe group that no one in their right mind would join.

Logos Mathewson: He didn’t show me The Manifesto.  He didn’t even talk about it.  A lot of people thought that was strange.  If we were so close, why didn’t he tell me?  Those people don’t know the D.J. I know.  If he didn’t tell me, it isn’t that he didn’t trust me.  He didn’t tell me because it wasn’t a big deal.  I know he went and showed Bleach.  That doesn’t mean a thing.  I’m not the kind of guy you go and hand a manuscript to—asking to make it pretty.  D.J. knew that.

Transcription from “The American Manifesto” by Damion Jones: The trick is to move fast and remove the media from the equation.  By removing the media, the only source of control is the government.  When a government tries to squash a movement in a country that expects freedom, the movement gains incredible support.  That’s simple human nature.  If you reach this point, do not be the first to shoot.  It will only hurt your purpose.  When the people see just how far their government will go to maintain power, they will flock to you.  At that point, sheer force is the only means of victory.  If it comes down to a waiting game, the government will always win.

Caroline (Bleach) Sebastian: I was the first the see The Manifesto.  Damion showed me everything he wrote.  It was kind of strange, really.  It’s not that he wasn’t getting published.  It was that he wasn’t trying to get published.  He would show me everything he had written.  I mean everything.  We would go back and forth for hours or days until every line held its purpose.  It became a tradition of ours.  So when Damion was killed, he left me everything he had ever written—ready to be published.  It’s almost like he knew his fate all along.

Transcription from “The American Manifesto” by Damion Jones: Once you are in power, shift gears immediately.  First and foremost: Do not hand over power to the military.  History shows us that this is the best way to ruin a revolution after you have already won.  It may be necessary to get the military on your side to win in the first place—but it must stop there.  Once in power, it is important to minimize the number of drastic changes you implement.  Changing the very fabric of your country will only spark a counter-revolution.  The only major changes you should make are for the sake of the general population.  This transition period is vital.  Each year that passes brings you closer to a reformed society.

Bleach Sebastian: The first time I read The Manifesto, I understood what Damion was trying to do.  For anyone out there who believed Damion wanted to instigate a revolution, you are mistaken.  As I have said many times before, the original copy was written from the perspective of a character he was building.  He had been talking about writing a dystopian novel for some time.  He wanted to put a radical conspiracy theorist in the protagonist’s seat.  The Manifesto was written from that character’s perspective.  I was the one who convinced Damion to turn it into something else entirely.

Transcription from “The American Manifesto” by Damion Jones: I do realize I am being extremely vague on the details.  So here you go.  In order to throw a revolution in modern America, follow the instructions that follow.  A fair warning first.  If you follow these instructions, you will almost certainly land in federal prison or be killed.  Still, to the best of my knowledge, this is the only realistic way to throw a revolution in the United States of America.

Bleach Sebastian: We worked all night.  I convinced Damion to put in the disclaimer of death or federal prison for any potential revolutionary.  He laughed as he added it in.  To us, it was just a good way to spend an evening together.  We honestly believed that anyone who might read The Manifesto would take it as a reason not to throw a revolution.  A true revolutionary would view it as a challenge.  We viewed it as a way to protect our own ass.  If someone actually used The Manifesto to try to throw a revolution, we didn’t want to shoulder any of the blame.

Transcription from “The American Manifesto” by Damion Jones: Step one is to remove the media from the equation.  Remember why those in power fear terrorists?  This is what I am talking about.  The attack must stay quiet until the moment it is unleashed.  Your target is not the media centers themselves.  That would almost certainly guarantee loss of life and end your revolution before it has started.  Your targets are those tall steel towers you see across the countryside.  Media towers.  Take them down without killing a soul.  All syndication will be lost.

Bleach Sebastian: That was all it took.  The next thing you know, we were talking about the possibility of a real revolution.  We both knew the feeling that came with living in a country that didn’t care about us.  We were content, but we saw the massive flaws in the system.  We talked as if it were a real possibility.  It was our own way of keeping ourselves hopeful.  Honestly, it was our own nerdy way of flirting.  That all changed the moment Damion mentioned the Shock Party.

One thought on “The Stagner Chronicle

  1. Pingback: Hold Your Breath | Richard Thomas Reilly

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