Let's show them something worth dying for.
Please state your name, ma'am.
Do you remember the events of August 23, 2010?
Please describe what happened, in detail.
Yeah, fine. It began innocently enough. We were sitting around, joking, watching a
movie – the Matrix, I think.
Who was with you?
Um, Eddie Beckett, Carol Morgan, Jimmy Wong, Jeff Thorne, Megan Green, and her
brother Mark Green. Anyway, it was probably my idea. I was the outspoken chick in the
group, and loved doing social commentary to any sympathetic listeners. (laughs)
All right. So it was your idea. How did it come up, exactly?
Oh, um… I was spouting off about how in movies, there's always something definite,
something specific and recognizable to fight for or against, and how reality is so much
different. You see, in reality, we are all just fighting against a vague nothingness, a void
in thought and ideals, that has slowly been creeping up on our society since… oh, I don't
Listen, we know all about the ideals of our organization. Please get on with it.
I'm sorry. What was that?
I called you a rat bastard, which is probably too good for you and a helluva lot less that
your poor parents deserve, having to put up with a prick like you… (falls silent)
I'm just trying to keep this inquisition formal, free of bias-
Hell, this whole organization is about bias. Bias of the masses, bias of the lowest
common denominator. All too soon, you people will be overrun by the media moguls,
just like those friggin' capitalists. The TV will find a way to pander to our cause, make
us complacent in our cozy little strongholds, then it'll find a way to eat out our heart, our
self-respect, our very souls…! That's why I wanted to destroy the uplinks, not to screw
up communications – I'm better'n that – but to keep us independent, keep us thinking on
our own, entertaining ourselves with our own minds. I'm not a traitor to my own
revolution. I'm trying to keep its ideals alive.
(Is silent for a long while, as if pondering her words) And yet, a movie started it all? The
media tells us what to think, therefore it's evil, but a product of the media provided a
basis for our revolution's ideals?
Don't sneer at me. I deserve better that that. In 1999, there was a whole series of movies
that exposed the hollowness of suburbia and mindless capitalizing. Fight Club. The
Matrix. American Beauty. All of them struck to the bone and sucked the marrow out.
And suddenly, an entire generation, maybe two, squirmed as we surveyed what we'd
been handed by our parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Thanks Martha Stewart. Thanks,
Uncle Sam… We'd been handed an organization that ran itself, as long as it was
provided enough empty crusades and middle-aged, self-serving politicians. And with
corporate sponsorship, both would flow endlessly unless someone staunched this
wound… (trails off, a forlorn note entering her voice) I never wanted to cause real
wounds, or death, or pain… I just wanted a revolution of spirit, a tidal wave of sheer will
sweeping away all the little empty shells of humanity and rebuilding stronger ideals in
Name one revolution that didn't require force.
This one. (silence) force… force is a thing of the past, another empty little thing that the
human race has clung to simply because it was part of our history… I'm done. I don't
want to talk anymore. Take me back to my cell.
(End of first session)
You know it already.
(More firmly) State your name, please, sir.
Mark Green. (Loud inhale, then exhale. Sound of tapping on a ceramic surface.)
Do you recall the events of August 23, 2010?
August twenty third? That's Ellie's birthday… ohh yeah. She was doing her soapbox
thing, right, and that's how we started this mess?
We need your statements on the beginnings of the Underground. That's all.
Well, despite her little self-involved mental world, this whole thing was not her idea. She
just put simple words to big ideas. And soundbytes catch on, not sweeping declarations.
You think Einstein invented the principle behind E = MC2? No, he just put a nice neat
little tag on it so the rest of the world could file it away a lot easier. (A pause, a slurping
noise) Your coffee tastes like donkey piss.
That's good to know, sir.
Yeah, whatever. We need a Starbucks in this stronghold. (Waits a beat) Hah. Gotcha.
Should have seen your face, man. Oh, wait, you probably did, in that two way mirror on
the wall behind me, or in the one next to us. You keep making eye contact and
communicating nonverbally with your own reflection, is that what you think I'd think?
Sir, there's no need to be rude.
Of course there is. You people, you mindless lackeys of our revolution, you're just trying
to stick a tag on your founders and 'why they went against the principles of the
Underground' and file it all away so you don't have to find the solution yourself. Well,
I'm not as generous as Einstein was – I wouldn't have given the world the solution so
easy, I'd make every single person figure it out themselves. Self-reliance, baby, is the
secret of self-determination! And self-determination is the real revolution. But you have
no idea what I'm talking about – because YOU ALL (shouting seems to be moving
around room, possibly directed at mirrors) aren't Einstein, either, even if you try to rub
your IQ's together to get a spark! You don't GET IT! (pounding on glass)
Sir! (scuffling) Sit DOWN! Or go back to your cell.
(subdued) Huh. Tough room. Tough call. Back to the mines, I suppose.
(end of second session)
Please state your name.
Why? Are we being recorded? We're being recorded, aren't we?
(Sigh) Yes, miss, we're being recorded. Please state your name.
Don't call me miss. I'm twice your age, even if I look like a twelve-year-old elf. I got
used to strangers calling me miss, but I recruited you, back in the day, and you know
better than to call me miss.
(Another sigh) For the record, the subject's name is Mrs. Carol Morgan. Is that correct,
(long pause) Yes, yes it is.
Thank you. Now, could you please describe how you believe our movement began?
What? I don't understand the question.
The Underground. How do you think it started?
Wrong question, boyo. If this movement were what I had hoped it to be, you'd've said it
differently. You would have asked 'how do you think we started?' It's an important
difference; one that I don't think anyone outside of the Founders will ever appreciate.
Please explain it to me anyway. After all, the idea must be central to the movement.
Stop calling it a movement. Don't call it the Underground, either. Anton just called it
that as a joke… (a pause, a shaky indrawn breath) This was not an unknowable force, a
thing separate from the individuals who created and understood it. It's a part of us,
inseparable. It's something we all have in common, but we wouldn't be ourselves
without it within our individual spirits. It isn't so much a revolution, as a revelation.
A revelation? How so?
We weren't trying to be venerable, infallible Founders, we were more like… torch-
bearers, trying to shed light on Truths that were already there, obscured by the darkness
of the herd mindset. But, once we brought the light, you all turned from the writing on
the wall and praised us for bringing you fire. (pause)
(Inhales, as if about to ask another question)
Don't interrupt me.
(Sigh) You missed the point, didn't you? The Greek hero, Prometheus, was never really
punished for giving the humans fire, but for the fact that fire was the first step for humans
to evolve past the original intentions of the gods. Fire was not a tool humans shouldn't
have had but got anyway, it was *the* tool through which other tools were made.
Prometheus was punished because the secret of fire revealed unto man all other secrets.
I don't understand.
We, the so-called Founders, brought you fire, but you're too stupid to realize that we
brought you a tool to illuminate the darkness of today's thought and forge a new era free
from that darkness.
(Pause) Interesting. So what started this… revelation? Was there an event that marked
the beginning of it all?
What starts a war? The first shot fired? The declaration of war by one country or
another? An assassination? Or is war just the result of various lines of conflict that,
sooner or later, find an excuse to come to a head?
I'd appreciate some straight answers, here…
I'm sure you would. But, no matter which one of the 'Founders' you ask, you'll only get
a bit of the wider picture. We all embody one of those 'lines of conflict' that result in
war. When you talk to one of us, you get a single facet of the whole; another brings
another facet. But none of us can tell you what it all adds up to, because it brought us
here. And not one of us could have seen us here, as prisoners of our own misinterpreted
So you won't help this inquiry?
Another bad question. But if I have to answer that question as it stands, then no. I will
be of no help to your inquiry.
(End of third session)
State your name, please.
Please give your full, real name, sir.
Edward Michael Beckett, Jr.
This conference is intended to shed some light on actions you and your companions
recently undertook against our organization. I have a list of questions here… (rustling
paper) … so, whatever answers you can provide would be appreciated.
You offering me a room on Anthrax Island if I help you all?
(sigh) Sorry, before your time. I bet you aren't old enough to remember the NY/DC
Terrorist Bombings, even, huh? Damn. I can't imagine not knowing what the dawn of a
Third World War felt like, and all you know is what CNN mentions once a year to
commemorate the lives lost that day… I was fucking grateful when I found out. Here
was a greater cause to sweep all petty partisan politics to the side, with the very heart of
capitalism turned, literally, to dust. Like a staked vampire. (pause) I'm sorry, you had
Yes, but you and the other Founders seem to provide more information when allowed to
voice their ruminations… go ahead, if you want…
Nah. I got carried away. Happens when I think about stuff like that. I'm not really one
to sermonize… Talk to Ellie or Carol. Jim and Jeff will only talk in riddles… You want
ranting and raving, go to Mark or Megan. The only clear, concise one out of all of us was
Anton. And you pricks let the Feds get to him.
He left the compound. We couldn't do anything to help him.
That's the official story. I know better. Just be glad that Carol doesn't know about your
superiors' hand in all of it. She thinks he's dead, too, shot on sight by the SWAT
stormtroopers. I don't have the heart to tell her the truth. If she did… (short, bitter
laugh) people would die in a straight path between her and Anton, let me tell you. Walls
would flatten, mountains would cringe outta her way, and bars would bend from the heat
of her glare alone.
How poetic and poignant. I can tell that you were the writer of the group.
Yeah, right. I'm a melodramatic sap, that's what I am. Being locked up in a cell only
gives me more time to add syrup to my phrasing. Thinking about love and freedom lost
to one's own ideals gone awry adds its own flair, too, of course. (Pause, then abruptly-)
Ask me a question. One that you, personally, have been dying to ask though the rest of
my buddies probably won't let you get past the name, rank, and serial number shit…
What has been bugging you about all of this, whenever you've interrogated each of us?
What do you, personally, want to know?
(long silence, then, very quietly-) What were you all expecting?
You want the truth?
Yes, of course.
We didn't know. Oh, we can tell you now what went wrong, though we can't imagine
how… We can bitch about unrealized ideals and all the things we were against… But
the truth is, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Hindsight may be
20/20, but foresight? All we wanted to do was make the world a better place. That was
(End of last session)