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The Perfect Dictatorship - 1

Chapter 1 : Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
LIBERTY

 

Scene 1,
Fangosa, capital city of Ocraly,
04/08/1984, 14h10,

An excruciating heat crushes the 31st regiment.

Brigadier Francesco Novola wipes the sweat from his brow. If only the operation could be carried out in the shade! Unfortunately, the orders specify that it must take place in the main square, just opposite the town hall, in order to scare the locals. The heat would be bearable if it wasn't accompanied by the smell of blood. Indeed, the wall chosen for the occasion - the back of a shoe shop - was covered in large, fresh stains. If you looked closely, you could see small pieces of flesh or brain stuck to the stone. On the first day, Francesco had almost thrown up but, on this fourth day of execution, execution in both senses of the word, he was veiling his sensibilities. However, his consumption of liquor had greatly increased.

While a few soldiers dragged the bodies to a lorry, Francesco and the rest of his colleagues opened the back doors of another truck, full of handcuffed revolutionaries. Francesco looks at the prisoners. Just a year and a half ago, these dangerous criminals were just civilians, like Francesco. As the revolutionaries emerged one by one from the lorry, it was interesting to see the reactions of each of them. Some remained calm, stoic, accepting their fate, either out of resignation or the certainty that the people's victory was, as Mark Karl said, inevitable.

Others say a brief prayer: this may seem surprising coming from a socialist but, after all, Ocraly is still a very religious country. Finally, there are those who argue and insult the army and the government. No matter how much the soldiers explain to them that they are only following orders, those of the government. It's not their fault that the government wants to execute the revolutionaries. "It's not our fault", the soldiers simply repeat, as if to convince themselves.

Then, suddenly, a prisoner knocks out the guard accompanying him and tries to escape. Francesco, almost by reflex, raises his rifle and shoots the revolutionary. The brigadier turns the body over and discovers that it is his sister, Aurora Novola. How could he not have recognised her? As he stared in horror at the delicate face covered in gravel and scars, Francesco thought back to the Princess stories he had read her, their long bike rides through the leafy vineyards, the pillow fights... How many pillows had they punctured? Probably too many. These memories, once so joyous, only increase the tragedy of the act tenfold. His throat tightens, the air begins to run out. He's suffocating. Air. He needs air.

"- Novola !"

Sergeant Mattni shouted, interrupting the Brigadier's state of shock. The latter stepped back, away from his dead sister as if she was cursed, while the corpse was lifted by two soldiers and tossed like a sack of potatoes into the trailer of a lorry. The revolutionaries, with their backs to the wall, now face the soldiers.

"- Readyyy ?", shouts the sergeant. Francesco's thoughts are foggy.

"- Aaiiim !", shouts the sergeant. The brigadier holds up his rifle and aims at the revolutionary in front of him, a young man in a leather jacket who is shaking like a leaf.

"- Fire !"

The sergeant's shout is quickly drowned out by the noise of the rifles. The bodies of the revolutionaries lie face down on the ground, except for the young man in the leather jacket. Francesco is still aiming at the young man but has not fired. His hands are tense, clutching the gun.

"- What the hell are you waiting for, Novola ?!"

Francesco doesn't answer.

"- Fire, God damn it !"

Silence.

" - FIIIIII-RRRRE.

- I've f*cking killed my sister !" replies Francesco, his face disfigured by a mixture of grief and hatred, before pointing his gun at himself.

He barely suffered.

 

Scene 2,
Fangosa, capital city of Ocraly,
29/03/2021, 16h54,

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Tower of TVA1

The head office of TVA1, Ocraly's largest television channel, is located in a small skyscraper in the Fangosa CBD. TVA1 used to be state-owned but was privatised in 1990.
The office of Matteo Battistini, producer of the 8 o'clock news, is located on the highest floor of the tower. Battistini, his hands resting in his trouser pockets, gazes out through his bay window. Someone knocks on the door.

"- Come in".

Tommaso Sabbatini, a reporter, enters the office before closing the door behind him.

"- Sit down", Battistini orders, before showing the reporter an article in a small independent newspaper, denouncing the involvement of several members of the government, including the Prime Minister, in stories of bribes paid by several companies to ease restrictions on pesticides.

"- I assume there's some truth to this bribery story ?

- Don't assume too much, you could get into trouble. You know what you have to do."

Sabbatini nods before taking the newspaper and leaving the office. It's the same old routine: find something shocking to report, even if it means exaggerating; hammer home the scandal until people are numb enough to forget the government's blunders. Indeed, the owner of TVA1 is a good friend of the governing party Forza Acralià, and rendering services is what good friends do, right ?

The next day, in the evening...

"- Good evening, I'm Giovani Viteli, and welcome to the 8 o'clock news. The day before yesterday, a young woman from Bellarossa was raped and then killed by a Florentian immigrant."

The screen shows a photograph of a smiling young woman, next to which is displayed a photograph of a threatening young man.

"- The victim, named Andrea Gabrieli, had just left her boyfriend Alexandre Bacher, an immigrant from Florentia. Alexandre had already been arrested for possession of cannabis but had been released on probation. Shortly after their break-up, Alexandre harassed the victim for several days, before finally breaking into her home on 28 September to carry out his crime.
I pass the microphone to my colleague Tommaso Sabbatini, who is with the victim's parents".

The reporter is standing next to a grieving mother and a stoic, grief-stricken father.

"- Yes, Giovani, I'm here with the victim's parents, Antonio and Maria Gabrieli.

- Our daughter didn't deserve this! She was such a nice girl, she wouldn't have hurt anyone", exclaims the mother before breaking down in tears again. The father adds :

"- Those Florentians, they're all the same ! I told her you can't trust these savages. It's not surprising coming from a people who still practise slavery ! I hope he will pay.

- The entire 8 o'clock news team sympathises with your daughter's tragic fate, and we're sure that our viewers sympathise with your grief.

- Yes, Sabbatini, this is a tragic story that I'm sure will upset all Ocralians.", adds Battistini when he's back on screen. "The murdurer has been arrested and is currently waiting to be judged. We can only hope that this innocent girl will find justice after her horrible fate. Justice for Andrea !"

 

Scene 3,
Bellarossa, biggest city of Ocraly,
01/04/2021, 8h23,

Lucien Blanchart is waiting patiently for his school to open. The school is surrounded by high metal fences and the entrance is monitored by surveillance cameras. Since the 1990s, on the pretext of preventing possible communist bombings, the government has greatly increased security measures.

8.25 am : the doors open. The students quietly make their way to their classrooms, including Lucien.

8.30 am : classes start. However, the chemistry teacher, before starting his lesson, takes the opportunity to make a short speech about Andrea Gabrielli. During the speech, some of the students cast accusing glances at Lucien. He doesn't understand why, but acts as if nothing has happened.

11:58am : lunch. Lucien, holding his tray, looks around for his girlfriend Claudia's table. Found it! She's chatting to two of her friends. As Lucien approaches, Claudia looks up. For the first time, Lucien sees fear in Claudia's eyes. One of the other two girls stands up and orders Lucien to go away :

"- Leave Claudia alone : she doesn't trust savages."

Edited by Florentia (see edit history)
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