Chapter 1

London

1985

Miniluv (Ministry of love)

Interrogation report number: 3 846 254

Failed arrest attempt

Subject: former thinkpol member, Harold Lain

Interrogator: William Berks

...

Harold, a slender red headed man in hif forties was blinded by a sharp light from a table lamp in front of him. It was the only light in that room and Harold could barely recognize a silhouette of man who sat on the other side of the table. Harold was chained to the chair and had electrodes on his body. There was no telescreen and no cameras, a rare sight in London. But here, it was because nobody is allowed to know what happened. Failures are not tolerated. There are no failures. Never. Harold knew very well he will never leave this bulding again.

„Tell me again, what happened there" demanded a sharp voice from the darkness. „I... I already told you twice, sir" he heard a low buzzing and a sharp pain ran through his body „You will tell me as many times as I want, now speak". Harold tightened his grip on the chair. Then he wearily started talking. „There were five of us. We got a report on a suspicious person in Proles district. When wo got to the adress, we saw a man in white clothes, nothing too suspicious but he had a cape over his head. He looked at us, then he grinned and... he ripped one of Big Brother's posters from the wall. Then he started running. He was really fast. Then he turned to one of the backstreets so we lost sight of him for maybe three seconds but when we got there, he was gone sir.". Harold cought. „Then we noticed some Prole saw it. We went to him, to take him in custody. The man started going backwards, waving his arms, saying he didn't see anything. Then he fell.

But when we got to him, the one in white was back. I have no idea where did he come from but before we noticed, I heard two bodies hit the ground. When I turned to him, he was just holding Josephs and had some knife from his wrist stuck in his neck. I froze, I couldn't even grab my weapon. Instead, he grabbed me. Pur his wrist on my neck and started... talking. Quietly..." That caught his interrogator's interest. „You didn't mention this last time." „I didn't? I reallry don't reme-". He was cut off by another electric shock. „You will only talk when asked a question". There was not a trace of emotion in his voice. „What did he tell you?" „That Big Brother doesn't even exist. That it's only a name, a face but there is no real man behind it. That everything the Party does, it does to keep absolute control ever people and that it's wrong and they will change that..." „They?" asked interrogator. „Yes, sir. Also, the last thing he said before he knocked me out was „Tell your masters they still haven't won. Tell them the Assassins are back.".". „You were gone wor a whole week. Tell me what happened . Then.". „I swear I don't remember anything, sir!" „I'm... inclined to believe you..."

„So..." Berks started slowly speaking again. „Not only you failed to arrest those two men. You were also influenced with that man's lies...". „No, no you are wrong I-". Another electric shock, stronger than before. Harold lost consciousness. Berks stood up end left the room. Now Berks's tall figure could be seen. He already had some grey hair and cold, steel grey eyes. „Take him to his cell and prepare his execution." he said to a guard by the doors. His assistant, Thomas Gillner, short guy with glasses and black hair with a parting on side. Was already waiting for him. He wanted to say something to his boss but Berks only raised his palm. „Let's go to my office, Thomas, we can talk there.". Gillner nodded and followed Berks. When they got to his office, Gillner closed the doors and turned to his boss, who was already sitting on his armchair. „Is something wrong, Thomas?" „It appears so, sir" said Gillner and corrected position of his glasses. „This... incident wasn't the first of it's kind." . Berks raised an eyebrow but stayed calm. „There are always lonely lunatics who think they-" „Yes, yes I know that, sir but we have reports of several such incidents and sometimes there were up to eight of these... Assassins... involved. It appears to be an organized group. For example, Miniplenty (Ministry of Plenty), sent me the report, according to which they ambushed a lorry carrying food intended for some Inner Party members. The food then reappeared among Proles." Berks frowned. „Why would they steal the food just to give it to Proles?" „I have no idea, sir" „And that murderer and the Prole. Find them both and bring them here." Gillner nodded. Berks sighed and turned the telescreen on and continued his normal work.

Several hours later, two men in black were dragging half unconsciouss Harold through a long corridor without any doors. At the end, he saw a blurry image of some bigger room and something hanging there. As they got closer he recognized the shape. The noose. They dragged him to it, and he saw an empty space about five meters below him. They put it on his neck. Then the small piece of floor under his feet disappeared. He felt himself falling. Then a yank. And then there was darkness. And then fire, black smoke, noise and screaming.

The moment Harold's heart stopped, a small but effective bomb exploded inside his body, destroying several rooms and making a smoking hole in the building of the Ministry .

From distance of almost two kilometres, a hooded figure was watching this from a rooftop, leaning against a chimney. He had a satisfied smile on his face. „Thank you, Mr. Thinkpol. I know it wasn't nice or clean, but you would die anyway. This way, you could at least help us." he whispered while watching the smoke. The plan went exactly as planned. With one exception. The young Prole he saved three days ago, Michael. He couldn't just leave him there, he didn't have any jammer so cameras probably got the boy's face. He didn't do anything, he was just on a wrong place at wrong time. But he couldn't just go back. Assassin continued this trail of thoughts while running across the rooftops.

One of the less monitored places in London. Who would be crazy enough to be up there? So why even check? And even if they saw him, he would like to see a member of Thought police or anything like that crazy enough to chase him here. He got to a straight roof with trapdoor in it an knocked. Three times strong, two weak, pause, two weak. The door slowly opened and pair of green eyes appeard under it. „Let me in, Lisa, I'm alone". Lisa did. „You took your time, James" she reproached. He shrugged and took off his cape, revealing his short, dirty blonde hair and blue eyes. „I was watching the fireworks" „Jerk. People died there, you know?" she frowned and punched him to shoulder. „You're beautiful when you're angry" he teased. She let out a low, annoyed growl. „Better go check on our guest, will you?". He went to the next room. There, on a bed was sitting a skinny black haired boy, probably not older then twenty. „So, are you comfortable?" the boy nodded. Then he quietly asked. „Can I... ask you something?". James nodded. „W-who are you people? Are you... with Goldstein? He asked in even more quiet voice". James chuckled. „No, no, no... as you noticed, we are bit more active than that so called „Brotherhood". At least everyone can be sure that we do exist. No, boy. We are Assassins.". When he saw the questioning look on boy's face he sighed and sat on bed next to Michael. „For several hundreds of years now, there is a secret war between Assassins and Templars. They seek to control people, to control everything. Our goal is to prevent that. I don't think I have to say we are failing miserably right now... Anyway, during the World War II, we had many people on both Hitler and Stalin. They all failed. Our goal was to balance the powers, to kill them both. In the end, our female assassin managed tu lure Hitler into commiting suicide, paying her life for it but she prevented him from becoming a martyr or even worse, living. But unfortunately, our man on Stalin failed. As United Kingdom fell into civil war and became part of Oceania, USSR conquered the mainland Europe, becoming Eurasia. Eastasia was pretty much the same. The Templars won. They became the Party or whatever else. Over the years, even they forgot they origins. They don't even know what Templars were anymore." James had an unhappy smile on his face. Michael listened to this with wide eyes. „And... the Big Brother?". „We are not entirely sure, but most of us think it's not a real person. That it's just a symbol.

„How... how did you survive? I mean Assassins?" James looked thoughtful. Most of the order withdrawn to small, secret camps in woods, mountains, even deserts. And those who stayed in cities... we were always good in disappearing into the crowd, playing along with everyone else, hiding what we really think. But even so, most of us are dead. The Order was never this weak before. „You mean, it's just the two of you?" Michael asked, puzzled. There was a laugh from other room and Lisa answered. „Really, it's not that bad, there are few dozens of us. And no, this isn't the headquarters, just a little hiding place. You will probably see it, we're gonna have to leave soon." James nodded. „I saw black clouds coming. We have to hide your face from cameras and it won't be so suspicious to have a cape in rain. And we can't go on rooftops, I'm not gonna risk your life there. The explosion should get their attention for some time, giving us some space before they begin a search.". James tossed Michael a hooded coat. „Remember one thing. There are no friends out there. Every single one of those people is probably loyal to the Party. And the Party wants you gone.". Michael gulped.

Not even an hour later it begun to rain. The three of them got outside through the trapdoor and climbed down to a backstreet next to the house, catefully looking around for anyone who might ba watching. They were lucky. On the sidewalk, it was Michael in the middle, James by his left and Lisa on his right. Both Assassinsput on a neutral face everyone was supossed to have but they were still scanning the street for any threat. Everyone was rushing to get somewhere inside as soon as they could, nobody gave the trio much attention. Still, they met several people who seemed to know Michal as the greeted him at least with a nod. If they will search for Michael, those people will be the first to go and tell them when and where they saw him thought James. „Here, to the left" he said suddenly. Lisa looked at him but understood after a plit of a second. Now we can't take the direct route, we can't just lead them to the HQ.

About five minutes later they came to a T crossroad of narrow street, just enough for one car. Then he saw three man, one from each direction. Then several others came out. The one from behind must have started to follow them recently. He gave just a second to thinking back. Of course, I was careless. Some cameras are high enough to see the roofs. Then, someone was probably looking from a window. Goddamnit, I'm such an idiot. Some of those men pulled out guns. James raised his hands to shoulders, palms opened. „Alright, you got us. We surrender.