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E - Everyone

The Hate Flu.

by FCD


Fleet Street was lit up like a Christmas tree. Simon Hackel stood on the 3rd-floor balcony of the KonXio headquarters and stared down at the bustling thoroughfare that lay before him.

Fleet Street was the most celebrated shopping street in the New Washington area and it was almost permanently swamped with all sorts of wild and wonderful people. Hackel glanced up at the Flyway and the hundreds of mopeds that zoomed through the city. He could hear the faint echo of their engines whirring high in the sky above him. However, the sound of the mopeds was dominated by the orchestra of Fleet Streets regular shoppers.

First, there were the gangs of students from the local academies who seemed to spend more time at the local bars than attending classes.

Then, there were the business people like Hackel who spent every waking hour within the crowded streets of Zone 11, all competing to outspend each other on political campaigns and to construct the latest new technology. None of them could ever think to compare with KonXio, as every single person in the city of New Washington was said to own the KonXio MirrorX, the most advanced device the world had ever seen. And one could not forget the beggars and buskers( In Hackels, eyes there was no distinction between the two) who seemed to delight in assaulting peoples ears with their bland music.

But loudest of all was the protesters.

Hackel felt his face contract with anger. Just thinking about them set him on edge. Every day, more and more seemed to flock to the steps leading up to KonXios headquarters, and with the demonstrations came the press.

Hackel had still not spoken to them and it was beginning to come off as strange. Soon they would be saying that he had something to hide.

They'd be right about that.

He turned to his desk behind him and placed his hand on its smooth, curved, surface. He felt the energy from the machine flow through his body.

He began to carefully assemble a sentence in his mind. The machine proposed different ways of phrasing what he was trying to say. Several minutes later he removed his hand from the desk, now armed with the most dangerous weapon man had ever taken advantage of. Words.

He smiled to himself. He could almost see the headlines. Within the next

3 hours he would convince those protesters outside that KonXio was on there side. Within the next 3 days, he would convince the world that KonXio was on their side.

Then he could get back to work.

1.2

Hackel made his way to the ground floor of the office. The lobby was crawling with employees. He picked his way through the crowd, acknowledging the polite nods he received from his co-workers.

As soon as he stepped foot outside of the building, he was instantly surrounded by the reporters. Questions were hurled at him from every angle. He put on an assertive face and spoke clearly.

"I'll answer questions one at a time, or I won't answer them at all. Is that clear?"

It was as if he hadn't even opened his mouth at all. Hackel raised his voice over the din of the reporters.

"One at a time!"

Their voices began to die down. A small weasel-like man on his right squeaked loudly.

"Mr. Hackel, what is your response to the allegations put forward by Dr. Bernstein?"

Hackel turned to the camera and responded.

"Richard Bernstein, up until 2 months ago, was one my most trusted employees. "I've known him for most of my adult life. "

He paused, allowing the reporters, and undoubtedly millions of New Americans to digest this. The public knew almost nothing about his own relationship with Bernstein so even something as simple as that would be news to many.

"This day 4 weeks ago, Bernstein suggested that I, along with many executives within this corporation, are currently engaged in a conspiracy.

His accusation? That I, along with many others within KonXio, am attempting to spy on the New American people through KonXio's social media platform. Bernstein has also accused me of attempting to use this information that I would gain from spying against the interests of New America.

This is a lie, and it is a lie that is intended, to rip this corporation to pieces.

There was, however, a conspiracy within KonXio. The man behind this was scheme was Bernstein himself."

That was lie number one.

Hackel continued on.

"Bernstein has always been power hungry. There is no euphemism I can use to describe this quality of his. His plan was to leave this corporation for Wiz Electronics, our one true competitor. His next step was to smear me, along with our company, with lies. He would then take his position within Wiz Electronics executives, and watch as our stock plummeted, and the stock of our competitor inevitably rose."

That was lie number two.

To his left, another reporter immediately spoke up.

" Mr. Hackel, how can you prove that these allegations are true?"

"One only needs to examine the history of Dr. Bernstein and to examine his motives. As the CTO of Wiz, he is set to earn 25 million dollars over the course of the next six months." As you already know, Bernstein communicated frequently with Wiz electronics over the past several months. He has said that the purpose of those meetings with Wiz executives was to advise them to be more transparent about their data collection policies and to warn them about his impending decision to accuse KonXio of so-called "espionage on the New American people."

Once again, Bernstein has lied. I shall take no further questions."

Hackel pushed his way through the crowd of jostling reporters to the elevator that led to the speedway high above. As he gazed across the 18 lanes of mopeds speeding past, he reflected that he had plenty of work to do. Within the next few days, he would have to convince thousands of Americans to despise Richard Bernstein. KonXios supercomputers were already combing through an ocean of data, hoping to find something on Bernstein. It would probably be necessary to make something up. But once Bernstein was dealt with, there were more important things that called for his attention. The most vital of which was to sell a lie to the entire country.

And what a lie it would be.

He was going to make the New American people shatter the government.

And you can already guess who would be there to pick up the pieces


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Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:38 pm
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Firestarter wrote a review...



Hi FCD,

I'm here because I read the first bit and thought I'd also review the second bit. Just a note to say it looks like you've posted only half in your first literary work, and the whole thing is here. I think it makes sense to have these together as it seems like a full chapter.

As before I'm going to go through each bit and make general comments. However, I want to draw your attention to the biggest problem this chapter has right now: the fact that Hackel waited four weeks before making a comment, while his company's stocks plummet. That doesn't make sense, as I explain below, and something I think needs to be fixed.

Hackel made his way to the ground floor of the office. The lobby was crawling with employees. He picked his way through the crowd, acknowledging the polite nods he received from his co-workers.


How did Hackel make his way to the ground floor of the office? Be specific. Elevator? Slide? Penny farthing bicycle? Or, if you don't want to describe it, don't; just tell us Hackel is down there.

Why is the lobby crawling with employees? That's quite odd, unless it's the start or end of a working day. If that's the case, say. Or are they gathering because of the protesters, unsure if they can get home? If so, say!

As soon as he stepped foot outside of the building, he was instantly surrounded by the reporters. Questions were hurled at him from every angle. He put on an assertive face and spoke clearly.
"I'll answer questions one at a time, or I won't answer them at all. Is that clear?"


There's a few things you can cut from this sentence. "As soon as" and "instantly" are doing heavy lifting here. In general, try and avoid adverbs like "instantly", "suddenly" or "immediately", they're usually a sign of a poorly written sentence which is not describing what is happening in a good way.

Think of something instead like "Hackel stepped out of the building into a cacophony of reporters. Questions hurled at him from every angle."

"He put on an assertive face" is strange, because, that's now what anyone actually does in real life. When I know I need to be assertive, I don't think "Right, time for my assertive face". Instead, we do these things unsconsciously: we tighten our face, grit our expressions, narrow our eyes. Describe these things: they're richer and more real than "assertive face". Similar with "spoke clearly", people clear their throats, or take a pause, if they want to be clear.

So we end up with something like: "Hackel stepped out of the building into a cacophony of reporters. Questions hurled at him from every angle. He narrowed his eyes and cleared his throat.
"I'll answer questions one at a time, or I won't answer them at all."
I got rid of the "Is that clear?" at the end because I think it sounds more assertive not to ask anything at all.

It was as if he hadn't even opened his mouth at all. Hackel raised his voice over the din of the reporters.
"One at a time!"


Okay so the first sentence is doing all the lifting here; the reader is supposed to abstractly understand that Hackel's efforts have done nothing. But describe this, because it's left unsaid and that weakens the paragraph. Something like "The din of the reporters became frenzied at his appearance. He raised his voice: "One at a time!"

Their voices began to die down. A small weasel-like man on his right squeaked loudly.
"Mr. Hackel, what is your response to the allegations put forward by Dr. Bernstein?"
Hackel turned to the camera and responded.
"Richard Bernstein, up until 2 months ago, was one my most trusted employees. "I've known him for most of my adult life. "
He paused, allowing the reporters, and undoubtedly millions of New Americans to digest this. The public knew almost nothing about his own relationship with Bernstein so even something as simple as that would be news to many.


Can a man look like a weasel? I'm being a little unfair, but this seems like a weak description. You're trying to convey a cowardly, weaselly reporter, but it seems a bit on the nose to say "weasel-like". I think you could come up with something much better. Also, NOBODY can squeak a question, and not LOUDLY. Imagine that actually happening. A reporter, trained at asking questions, SQUEAKS it LOUDLY. It's bordering on the absurd. Keep your dialogue tags simple. Said, or if you want variety, asks.

That isn't what a reporter would ask, by the way. He would say what the allegations were, he would not assume Hackel would know.

Where did the camera come from? Is the weasel man holding a camera? I thought he was just asking a question - does he have a companion with a camera? Explain this better.

"This day 4 weeks ago, Bernstein suggested that I, along with many executives within this corporation, are currently engaged in a conspiracy.
His accusation? That I, along with many others within KonXio, am attempting to spy on the New American people through KonXio's social media platform. Bernstein has also accused me of attempting to use this information that I would gain from spying against the interests of New America.
This is a lie, and it is a lie that is intended, to rip this corporation to pieces.
There was, however, a conspiracy within KonXio. The man behind this was scheme was Bernstein himself."


Wait wait wait. So for four weeks, Hackel has done NOTHING? Can you imagine this in real life? Leaving a story for four weeks without giving your side of the story or responding is impossible. Imagine a scandal playing out in politics, or in business, in which one of the main accused manages to avoid the media for four weeks. It's impossible. A few days, MAYBE, max. But four weeks stretches credulity, especially as Hackel is trying to change the media attention back on Bernstein. Think of movies and books etc where a character is trying to control the media narrative. The advice is always to get our your story first and not sit on it. Sitting on it always makes it worse - the media would be having a field day with this story.

And given this is to do with business, think about the value of the company. If your world still has stocks, the company would be PLUMMETING. It would be awful. There would literally be no way that a publicly traded company could not respond to severe allegations like this. And even if they are not publicly traded, the damage done to the company's reputation would be huge, so they would need to respond somehow.

I also don't think he would be so fair to Bernstein in his response. You would not, if trying to change the narrative, not describe it as an accusation, but rather a lie or a falsehood.

That was lie number one.
Hackel continued on.
"Bernstein has always been power hungry. There is no euphemism I can use to describe this quality of his. His plan was to leave this corporation for Wiz Electronics, our one true competitor. His next step was to smear me, along with our company, with lies. He would then take his position within Wiz Electronics executives, and watch as our stock plummeted, and the stock of our competitor inevitably rose."
That was lie number two.


I like the lines about counting the lies. That's cool.

Again, my point about lack of media comment for four weeks is simply unbelievable, given Hackel has said the company's stocks are plummeting. It's insane, and something you have to change.

I think it's a shame that as he is lying and selling this story to the media, we are not getting their response. What are they doing? People would surely be shocked to hear this, and the noise would increase, shouts, questions, people jostling to get questions in, photos would be snapped, etc. Sell us the scene. Right now it's quite flat.

To his left, another reporter immediately spoke up.
" Mr. Hackel, how can you prove that these allegations are true?"
"One only needs to examine the history of Dr. Bernstein and to examine his motives. As the CTO of Wiz, he is set to earn 25 million dollars over the course of the next six months." As you already know, Bernstein communicated frequently with Wiz electronics over the past several months. He has said that the purpose of those meetings with Wiz executives was to advise them to be more transparent about their data collection policies and to warn them about his impending decision to accuse KonXio of so-called "espionage on the New American people."
Once again, Bernstein has lied. I shall take no further questions."


Remember what I said about immediately. It's not even useful here, given it's clear from the order of the press conference that the reporter is speaking next.

Hackel pushed his way through the crowd of jostling reporters to the elevator that led to the speedway high above. As he gazed across the 18 lanes of mopeds speeding past, he reflected that he had plenty of work to do. Within the next few days, he would have to convince thousands of Americans to despise Richard Bernstein. KonXios supercomputers were already combing through an ocean of data, hoping to find something on Bernstein. It would probably be necessary to make something up. But once Bernstein was dealt with, there were more important things that called for his attention. The most vital of which was to sell a lie to the entire country.
And what a lie it would be.
He was going to make the New American people shatter the government.
And you can already guess who would be there to pick up the pieces


Wait, wasn't it called the FlyWay before? Why is it now the speedway?

I like the ending, it leaves it on an exciting cliff edge and I'm interested to see where it goes next.




FCD says...


Hey Firestarter, thanks for the review,

First of all, Thanks for pointing out the obvious mistake of the 4 week delay in Hackel's response to the media. It was dumb of me to not notice how absurd it was that he would not respond immediately, especially considering the fact that I follow politics. As soon as you pointed it out, I realised how little sense it made. I imagined Trump waiting four weeks before responding to the access Hollywood tapes, and it was enough to make me laugh out loud.

Every single point you made is perfectly valid, with, in my opinion one exception regarding my description of the reporter as weasel-like.
I admit that there are many words I could have used to better describe the reporter, but I would disagree that its impossible for a person to look like a weasel. The use of this word was also to convey Hackels contempt for reporters



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Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:24 pm
OliveDreams wrote a review...



Hi there! Here to review this fine evening.

Things I liked;

Fab opening. I love a short line to start and yours has drawn me in perfectly. It’s not overloaded with fancy description. Its short and snappy and I like it.

He felt the energy from the machine flow through his body.
I like this line. It’s different and much more in depth that surface descriptions. It also immediately raises many questions for the reader.

That was lie number one.
ok. Nicely done. You’ve hooked me in.


Things I think you could improve;

However, the sound of the mopeds was dominated by the orchestra of Fleet Streets regular shoppers.
I feel like this line could be scrapped. I like it better ending with just the description of the engines. You could maybe expand on noise by saying something about the sound being snatched away by the wind to add to the point of the character being up high?

There was no description of the lobby. Or of the building when he went outside. I felt like there was an opportunity missed there.

When he’s telling his lies, you could give us the reaction of the reporters. Do they look like they’re believing him? Are the scribbling furiously into their notebooks? Cameras clicking? Tuts of disbelief?

And you can already guess who would be there to pick up the pieces?
Are you speaking to the reader? Check that you’re sure you want to break that fourth wall.


Overall;

I’m in. You’ve caught my interest. I have lots of questions which is exactly what you want. I feel there could have been more external description especially of the reporters’ reactions. You also want to answer some of those questions pretty quickly in the subsequent chapters so the reader doesn’t get bored waiting to find some more out.

Good luck! Keep Writing! Olive <3





When you cut pieces out of the truth to avoid looking like a fool, you end up looking like a moron instead.
— Robin Hobb