“Olatz…?” began Maite.
The woman smiled at her. “Marina. I’m in here.”
“Marina, then. What is this place?”
Marina/Olatz looked out beyond where Maite and Kepa were sitting at the array of people working at their various desks and stations. She sighed. “It’s the resistance.”
“Resistance?” asked Kepa. “Against what? It seems so perfect out there. So clean. So lush. All of the technology is wonderful.”
Marina nodded. “On the surface, it certainly is. And, admittedly, almost everyone lives a health, productive life. But there is an element of control to make all of this happen. The cost of all of this is a loss of autonomy, of privacy.”
“So, you’d all rather throw all of this away to be able to do… what, exactly?” asked Maite.
Marina shrugged. “That’s the thing. It doesn’t matter. We just want the freedom to live our lives without oversight. You saw those drones at the airport. The second anyone steps out of line, there they are. We are always being watched.”
“What do you mean, we, anyways?” asked Kepa. “You aren’t even from this time.”
“No, that’s right,” continued Marina, “but I’ve spent a lot of time here. And de Lancre has been here for a while too.”
“You said that,” said Maite. “Where?”
“He’s part of the government. In fact, all of this surveillance grew when he appeared in the timeline. I believe it’s all because of him and his search for the zatia.”
“Ah,” said Maite, a smile crossing her face. She turned to the group of people behind her. “I think I understand. You don’t care about any resistance. They are your way of finding the zatia, of fighting de Lancre.”
Marina scowled. “Of course I care. This body, Olatz’s body… it is my flesh and blood. I want a future that is better for her.”
“But, you would sacrifice them all in a heartbeat if it meant getting that zatia.”
Marina’s scowl deepened as her face turned red. “What would you have me do? Sacrifice all of reality for them, when the moment we find the zatia it will all reset and they’ll never even know?”
“No, I understand,” said Maite. “Just don’t try to dress your motivations in this noble cause. It’s unbecoming.”
Marina stood, her face scrunched in anger. Some of the resistance fighters closer to where they sat noticed and began murmuring, pointing at Marina, Maite, and Kepa. Marina let out a long breath and sunk back into her chair.
“I’ve been doing this too long,” she said.
“Look,” interrupted Kepa. “We know how it is. Well, at least a little. It’s hard not to view all of the people in these bubbles as something expendable, when we know the bubble will pop when we find the zatia. But they are still real lives. We have to treat them like real people.”
“De Lancre doesn’t,” replied Marina. “And if he wins…” She left her thoughts unsaid.
Maite nodded. “It will suck. But we can’t allow ourselves to sink to his level. We can’t dehumanize ourselves. Or any victory will be for nought.”
“I used to share your optimism, so many lifetimes ago.” Marina stood again, this time her face calm. “I’m glad you are here. I needed to reconnect with reality.”
Maite nodded as she stood. “So, where is de Lancre exactly?”
If you get this post via email, the return-to address goes no where, so please write firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with me.