Marie like many others was enamoured with the City and her new job. The freedom it afforded along with the substantial earnings she was bringing home were two of the main reasons, though she’d be reluctant to confirm the latter.
Life was looking rosier than she could seldom remember and Marie was surprised at her own enthusiasm and need to share it with others. It wasn’t a selfish desire, more the case that Marie wanted to see and hear for herself how others might be finding the City. Perhaps it wasn’t quite so idyllic for her neighbours and co-workers.
So Marie decided to attend the first local community meeting at her local branch to find out.
Time had passed since most citizens had arrived and new routines were now established.
When Marie arrived at her first local community meeting it looked exactly how she imagined it should look. It was an aside from the City's usual slick modern set up. These community meetings had a far more homely and comfortable feel to them.
Tea, cake and neat little sandwiches were the order of the day and each person was passed an agenda before the meeting start. Friendly warm faces greeted all arrivals in the shape of the Community Officers, who were charged with helping citizens settle in and set up the usual social activities for residents to partake in and run themselves in time.
The first meeting Marie attended started at 8 p.m. and nudged gently into 11.30 p.m. at its finish.
It was a truly glowing meeting of positivity, from start to finish.
Firstly, attendees were asked to share their experiences so far.
What followed was an outpouring of appreciation. Attendees gushed and waxed lyrical about their new lives and jobs. It almost became a religious ceremony of hallelujahs and praising the lord. The more people expressed their delight, the more others wanted to join in and share, the feeling spread like wild fire.
The congregation was in raptures and the scene was duplicated across the city in each of its initial community meetings.
The simple spark that set the first community meetings alight was the talk of teleportation. The novelty had not worn off and the miracle they had been a part of was fresh and vibrant in their minds.
How they laughed and cooed about not only the brilliance of the invention but the fact it was they who were the first human beings on the planet to be teleported. The remarkable experiences of teleportation were shared with individual’s giving a different light or perspective. How their minds boggled as they looked down and saw their own bodies shimmer then disappear for a split second only to find themselves re-assembling in front of wide eyed onlookers. Some spoke of absolute fear followed by pure elation, others insisted they experienced the ether and saw space and time stretched out before them in a flashing timeless moment.
They asked the community officer who was behind such a marvel and miracle, but of course the officers remained tight lipped in response, mainly because they didn't know. The community officers gave cryptic knowing smiles and informed attendees, rather proudly, that while they couldn’t be exact about who had created the magnificent teleportation devices, the four heads made everything possible.
This instigated a playful questioning of who the four heads were while the community officers teased those in attendance about the four heads anonymity and mysterious status, backed up by a strong message that the four heads would always provide and care for its citizens. The four heads, they continued, had toiled and worked so hard for many years to make this vision possible. Indeed community officers across the various regions of the city found themselves getting carried away themselves with stories of the infamous four.
Each gave varying and fantastical stories of the men with no names. Tales of hardship and fighting impossible evil corporate foes, of battling with world leaders who did not wish to see a vision of utopia realised. They talked of great selfless acts of bravery and sacrifice, that they even tried teleportation first as guinea pigs and risked their very lives for the citizens now sitting so comfortably here today.
The stories went on and on and weaved their way into the lives residents and Proactive Square folklore.
Marie chatted with attendees at the end, all desperate to talk to one another and share their new found victories and better standing in life. There was an air of smugness about it akin to swimming in one’s own self-satisfaction but Marie through sheer joy, got lost in the waves of euphoria and even admonished herself at one point for not enjoying the moment fully and for holding on to suspicion.
By the time Marie left the meeting to make the short walk home, her head swam.
She sat awake in bed re-telling the stories and shared experiences to Andy, who groaned and grunted his acknowledgements. He became rather more enthusiastic when Marie perched herself on top of Andy and made love to him, while intermittently proclaiming her love of their new life.
Once Andy was spent, which never took long, he fell into a deep sleep and left Marie to muse over her evening.
She smiled to herself in the dark as she relived her own teleportation experience. Of how she squeezed her eyes shut and felt her heart pounding, how she nearly screamed for them to stop as she grasped the insane risk she was putting on Jeanie's life. Andy’s brief glance at Marie and wink was enough to sate her desire to run off with Jeanie, and before she knew it, she and her beloved little family materialised safe and unharmed here in the city.
Marie turned in her bed and put an arm around her deep sleeping husband as her visions of the day ushered her to rest.
It was just as she was about to drop off that she thought again about the community meeting. They hadn’t really talked about anything practical. It had all been exaltations and back slapping, storytelling and miracles. But Marie realised on some level through the fog of oncoming sleep, that she hadn’t put across any questions she’d wanted to ask.
Marie had wanted to find out more about the boundaries that encased the city, about what happened when the time to leave came and when in fact did people leave or when were they allowed to?
Marie eventually surrendered to sleep but those final thoughts followed her making for a murky nights rest.