“I know your face.” whispered the tiny woman as Nathan passed her workstation. He glanced at her cube, where she was manipulating objects in her field. He looked at her field and nodded.
“You do good work here.” Please, he thought, take the warning. He flicked a signal with his left hand, asking her to be silent. Then he noticed the mark on the back of her neck and he knew that she was new and hadn’t had enough time to learn all the hand signs, which were taught in secret, slowly passed from prisoner to prisoner. The tattooed mark told Nathan that the woman had only been here for a few weeks, that she had been arrested for civil disobedience and undermining the government. The mark told him that this tiny bronze woman had two children.
“There are those of us that remember, your movement has not died.” she said, taking one hand out of the field, dropping the virtual object she had been manipulating.
“I’m an overseer. We are criminals. We are nothing now.”
“They say it was you, not Elina who lead the campaign. They love you.”
Elina, the voice of the revolution. Nathan shivered hearing her name, and the memories it brought with it. “Stop.” Nathan begged.
Her voice rose, a powerful alto, ringing in the stone hall. “Isra will be free. The so-called union of planets cannot stop us. The people believe in freedom! ”
A loud, deep voice boomed up from the floor, the computer had caught their conversation “Resident 204-3318, you have been noted for unrelated work discussion and you are hereby summoned for recoding.” The floor beneath the woman became suddenly soft and she fell from her stool. Nathan stepped back from the warm flood. The woman cried out and scrabbled for a handhold, but everything she touched melted under her fingers. She called to him as she sank into the floor.
“They write your name on the city walls! They sing, they are singing! Isra! Isra!” The woman was suddenly yanked downwards, her eyes still open as the floor consumed her.
Nathans cheek was bleeding in his mouth. He forced himself to breathe and when the floor cooled and hardened he turned and left, ignoring the hand signals of the workers around him.
“Tend to your duties.” he said, surprised at how cold his voice sounded.