The Terrible Price of Morality
One-shot fic (one that I actually hope to finish instead of setting it to the wayside like so many others) describing how certain someone pays for having the courage to stand up for what is right.
Disclaimer: I do not own V for Vendetta in any way, shape or form. More's the pity.
Many of the Norsefire's top party members had expected these times to be a difficult time for their new regime. Though Sutler was indeed a very influential politician with a large mass of devoted followers, he was still not in a position to exercise as much power as he wished. It was now necessary to silence outspoken opponents and begin ridding the public of harmful, deceitful and degenerate influences both from the outside world and from within the United Kingdom. However, being too heavy-handed this early in their plans could ruin the whole thing.
A delicate balance was needed. It would take a skilled mix of ruthlessness, cunning and deceit to complete the final phase of their plan for power. Fortunately, Creedy already possessed such skill, and practiced it regularly from within the party, behind their leader's back even. First, it would be necessary to silence and discredit the dissidents and make the public believe that the only way is the Norsefire way. Sutler had already picked out names of those who had to go.
One name in particular stood out from the rest. Grant Johnson of 1643B Winchester Circle. At 28 years old, the man was a member of moderate importance of the Liberal party. His good standing within the party suffered greatly in recent weeks due to his extreme, outspoken views against the opposing Norsefire party. Mr. Johnson clearly lacked the prudence and foresight of his older, more experienced comrades. They at least understood that bad things would happen if they spoke too freely.
The young man was well-known for his controversial and dangerous speeches condemning the policies of the Norsefire. He loved spouting nonsense like how we were living in an "enlightened, accepting age", about the "dangers of paranoia and intolerance" and the "importance of respecting diversity". He even went as far as to cast ridiculous aspersions on Sutler's political party, painting them with the same brush as Nazis. Sutler had personally decided that Mister Grant Johnson had to go.
Creedy looked forward to making the arrest. The black-baggings had just started and the process still held the fascination of the black-baggers. Would the target try to run or would they cower somewhere in the house? How far would they get before being apprehended? Would they try to fight? Would they make it to the detention center alive? Some of them didn't.
It was late at night when a black van pulled up in a quite neighborhood with modest little houses. Armed men, dressed in black from head to toe, rushed stealthily out of the parked vehicle. A quick glance at the house revealed a person silhouetted in a second-storey window. The rest of the windows were dark.
They had surrounded the house within seconds and were awaiting the order to enter. All eyes were turned to the only unmasked man, their leader. His dark, cunning eyes locked onto those of the agent nearest the door. There was a curt nod of the head, then the door was violently kicked down.
The intruders swarmed into the house and headed for where they believed the occupant to be. Jackets rustled and guns banged against the wall as three people stormed up the narrow staircase. The rest stayed behind to search the other rooms, just in case. The unmasked man rushed up the stairs as well, anxious to see the look on their captive's face. He would be confused at first, perhaps surprised, then there would be fear as the peril of the situation became apparent. It would be wonderful to see.
He was sitting in an old-fashioned, high-backed chair. A lamp standing on a round end table provided all the light in the room. Mr. Johnson had to have heard the group breaking into his house and storming up the stairs. The initial shock was gone. The unmasked man walked through the room, facing their prisoner.
"Hello, Mr. Creedy," Grant said evenly. "I knew I should be expecting a visit from you sooner or later."
"So you're not surprised? You actually knew what would happen if you didn't keep quiet?" The questions weren't really necessary. Creedy was fully aware that Johnson would have spoken out, one way or another. It was very foolish of him, really. Seconds ticked by in silence as Johnson stared up at him calmly. Creedy could tell that the man wouldn't cave to this small, wordless battle of wills. No matter. Victory was already his.
"What are you reading here?" he enquired harshly, looking at a thick book on a side table. "Something on the blacklist? Oh, please say it's so." His predatory smile sharpened. He picked up the book to get a better look.
A King James copy of the bible. How disappointing. Creedy stepped back and nodded to one of his men. Johnson stood as the solider stepped forward, making all others in the room tense up and point their guns at him. "I take it you're not going to be content with just bagging me and dragging me away, are you?" Several people snickered at that. Creedy leered as one of his men raised a black lacquered stick.
Grant dodged the first swing, but doubled-up as the guard's knee slammed into his stomach. A swift blow to the head brought the politician to his knees. Grant shoved his attacker hard in the legs and gripped the couch trying to stand.
I'll be damned if I let that bastard walk out. We'll drag his sorry arse out on his knees. Creedy stepped in and swung his own stick. It connected with the Grant's head. Hard. The man was swept off his feet and propelled into the chair. It toppled over, crushing the side table and sending the lamp flying. Pages of the aged bible ripped out of their binding as the book was thrown on the floor. Dazed and weakened, Grant had stopped struggling enough for the soldiers to thrust the black bag over his head and drag him away.
"You have been making illegal publications and you have not been doing this alone," the faceless person repeated. I know this, Grant thought. I knew this before you brought me here, repeating it seven times isn't going to change things. "Give me the names of people who are helping you and we will be lenient."
"No." Grant's voice was calm, even. A newly-formed scab on the corner of his mouth cracked as he spoke, reopening the wound. He could still taste the metallic tang of blood and of raw flesh where some of his teeth had cut into his mouth.
"I trust you understand the severity of what is happening here and the generosity of the offer we are offering you. Your sentence will be reduced, you will eventually go free. All you need do is give us the names of those who helped conceive, contribute to, publish or distribute your little pamphlets against the Norsefire government. Considering that, in your unflattering painting of the legitimate ruling party, you have gone as far as to compare us to the Nazi party of Germany, we are being very generous. This is an unprecedented offer."
"Very well. You will be processed and detained in your cell. We shall have further meetings to ascertain your willingness to cooperate." A guard entered the room and roughly yanked Grant out of his chair. "Why bother protecting these people, Mr. Johnson? Why bother with your libelous campaign against the Norsefire?"
That's one question I can answer. "Because silence is the greatest sin. Morality dictates that someone speak out against tyranny and oppression. My voice may be silenced, but my words will echo in the minds of the people." The looks at the guard and nods curtly. A black stick is removed from the guard's belt.
Minutes stretched as blow after blow landed on the prisoner. Fresh welts marked his arms and back. Breathing was an agony that endured even after the beating ended. Grant lay on the floor bleeding and shivering from the pain and cold.
"Hard to talk if your jaw is broken, isn't it? Don't think that we won't, Mr. Johnson." He was lifted roughly by the arms and half-dragged to the door. "Behold the terrible price of morality, Mr. Johnson."