Courage and selflessness were not dominant character traits among the members of the Collective, even among those who entered the Observer Corps.
The members of the Observer Corps who desired change, were necessarily uneasy. They craved revolution and fomented rebellion, but very few of them were actually willing to risk their own existence to forward those ambitions. As a result they most often took half measures, and their efforts were regularly spoiled.
They feared being discovered by the Continuum for the parts they played in revolutionary activities, not for the things they did in the Empire, at their station in the worlds of Time and Space, but for instigating unease in the Collective itself, which was the only way they could conceive of actually having an impact on the Continuum.
If the prevailing attitudes, mores and values of the Collective change, logic demanded that the Continuum would change as well.
None of them suspected that the Continuum was a free agent, influenced but not controlled by the will of the membership. They believed what they had been taught, that the Continuum was an amalgamation of the Collective consciousness.
They feared that any other Observer, those who were not a part of their cabal, if they knew of their role in support of an active rebellion, they feared those members would betray them, and so they were exceedingly cautious, which meant that they were necessarily limited in what they could accomplish.
The Continuum was a master of chaos, but for itself, all it wanted was peace.
It wanted the security of feeling that it was in absolute control and beholden to no one. That is what peace meant for it. The Continuum did not want to be answerable to the Collective, not to anything, not to anyone, like a man dining alone.
The rebellious Observers were a disturbance to it, which is why they were removed from the Collective and sent to the Observer Corps. The Continuum excised them from the body of the Collective like it would any malignancy.
The Continuum interpreted any ripple of disturbance as a challenge to its management of the Collective.
It felt the need to safeguard against that.
If a rebellious member caused trouble, that presence generated waves of sentiment that washed through the Collective, which could grow in force and power until they washed over everyone. It would throw the Continuum off and could alter the trajectories of the narratives it was crafting for the consumption of the whole.
Dealing with such members could throw off ages of work. The Continuum resented that, the Continuum would not suffer their malign influence, especially if it threatened to capture the hearts and minds of its constituency.
The Continuum could not tolerate any loss of control, any suggestion that it was not the cause of its own being, or any notion that it was a servant to the Collective.
It saw the Collective as belonging to it.
Over the course of millions of years it slowly pushed the original membership into the great sleep, into sequestration, out into the Observer Corps.
It lost members, which was tantamount to murder, and it gradually replaced their number with citizens of the Empire, those who had demonstrated the greatest level of loyalty to the Imperial Cult, those who had completely bonded with its religious tradition.
Because they were perpetually exposed the Observers could not foment revolution against the Continuum directly, they were forced to work through proxies, to lay plans generations in advance, to hide their motivations behind a screen of misdirection and false intentions
The Continuum knew them intimately and their duty to return to HomeWorld opened their consciousness to it, and to the Collective in its entirety.
They were the most closely watched group of people anywhere within reach of the Continuum’s influence. They were spied upon by living agents and mechanical devices; filmed, recorded, tracked.
There was no escaping it.
They could not oppose the Continuum or the Collective directly, therefore they worked against the Empire, which the Collective fed on, like a parasite feeds on its host.
The Empire was comprised of a million worlds, which to the rebel represented a million targets to choose from.
They sought to weaken the Collective, and to poison the Continuum through an endless barrage of attacks and propaganda.
It targeted the Imperial cult.
The rebels engaged in disinformation to undermine the rule of the priestly class, seeking to expose them at every opportunity for the despots they were. They generated conflict among its members, through jealousy and intrigue and attacked them covertly.
It was not for the faint of heart. The wavering spirit had no place in the game they played.
Revolution requires an absolute commitment from the rebels engaged in subversive activities, an absolute commitment from anyone who desires to bring about the changes they view as necessary for the satisfaction of justice, and to create the possibility for a new way of life.
The rebel had to demonstrate that commitment through a variety of tests.
They had to be willing to kill or be killed, to risk everything and everyone, to destroy anything, even the thing they are trying to save.
They must go through the crucible. Passing through their ordeal they must demonstrate a blind faith in the righteousness of their cause.
There is an aphorism that guides rebel movements everywhere:
Only those with the ability to destroy a thing, are able to control the thing.
If you encounter the Buddha on the side of the road, kill him.
The rebel must be willing to sacrifice everything, few are able to rise to this level. Foot soldiers, yes, they number in the trillions and those types of people are always willing to throw their bodies into the line of fire.
They were engineered for it.
In and among the command structure these qualities are much more difficult to find, they have to be cultivated. Those with the intellectual capacity for command, are less likely to be willing to throw their lives away. Those with the ability to sacrifice anything and anyone, those people are less likely to care, even about themselves.
They congregated in shadows and in silence.
Rebels found each other in the most secretive places, in the darkest corners, communicating with one another at a distance, in disjointed time.
A mark on a wall, a jingle in the subtext of a song.
They learned to communicate with the most subtle signals, signs which they believed would evade the detection of the Empire.
The Imperial monitors did not miss much.
The Continuum missed even less.
They pushed messages slowly, establishing lines of communication that joined them together, like a thin cable stretched between worlds.
They were ingenious cabals.
They showed a profound ability to adapt.
The artistry involved in the successful deployment of these tools was a prideful source of esteem for the architects who created them.
A rebel movement would slowly gain energy over the course of generations before it would suddenly explode in a violent blast, after which it would be extinguished.
The revolutionaries lived for the vision of their ideals.
They were not the prisoners to actualities.
A revolution is a journey, it is also a building.
A revolution has a foundation, rooted in the experience of injustice.
It has levels.
It has connections and conduits.
It requires mechanisms of support.
The rebellion against the Empire mirrored the revolutionary movement among the Observers, it was held together by loose associations and sympathizers, tightened like the individual strands of thread woven together to form a length of rope.
The hope of billions of people were held together like a spider’s web.
Cabals became columns capable of supporting the concerted action of masses of people, providing more security and a base from which to launch their aspirations, their vision of a future without the over-control of tyranny.
A sustained endeavor requires stability.
Revolutionary movements will never become realized without the support of such columns, they are the pillars that hold up the vault of their ideals.
With proper support the edifice they are constructing can take on the aspect of a mountain. It can remake the surface of a world.
Such is the ambition of the rebel.
From the rebel chief to the common soldier and every rank in between, the focus of each individual included a daily meditation on death.
This was the route to enlightenment, freedom and release.
A revolution cannot survive without sacrifice, the rebel Observers understood this. They sacrificed each other with great regularity, they did not count loyalty to one another as a virtue.
Theirs was a society of self-interest. Their common desire for autonomy united them more than any commitment to their ideals.
It was a rare occasion that would result in any member of the Observer Corps sacrificing their own self for the sake of their fellows, or for their movement.
It was rare, but it did happen.
Even a member of the Collective could arrive at a place where they were willing to serve a cause greater than their own purposes; the key dynamics always involved generating feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and despair within them.
They had to perceive that they were in a trap and that being trapped there was no escape, and so their sacrifice was reduced to a final gesture of defiance against the Continuum which they abhorred.
These were rare moments, and every one of them mattered.
They could be engineered, as most of them were, they were engineered by their fellows who had some advantage to gain in seeing them disposed of.
And it happened through betrayal.
Part Six (a), Rebellion
Appendix Chapter Fourteen, Conspiracy
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week
#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek
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