unless footage, images or articles come -endorsed source, the content may as well not exist. These measures might sound extreme but Sarah deems them essential. She has little time for the imaginary as she deals only in reality.
I return to her original turn of phrase: “An infinitely feebler foe than we fooled ourselves into believing is true.” What exactly does she mean by that?
“Let me clarify something, the overwhelming majority of the population are Preservation-abiding citizens and I want to go on record as being thankful for their co-operation because, without them, there is no conversation between us, Mr Wright. I’m not sure where we’d be.
“But, despite our best efforts, there are inevitably some out there who believe that when the Blood Turned it had to have some underlying meaning. As I said when the Purge Act was announced, speculation published unabated will create distortion and could destroy the human race.
“The presence of that Zombie fiction clouded our judgement and our ability to comply with the Commandments. We couldn’t disassociate what we had seen in movies from what was in front of us and that undermined our response. Despite this, there remains a minority out there that wishes to place greater significance on the fiction and the artists involved in its creation. They want to present coincidence as confirmation of a higher power — a Nostradamus who saw this event coming.
“They are not only fundamentally wrong but thinking in such a manner puts the rest of us at risk. We, the Preservation, need to control the message and marginalise such dangerous dogmas.”
The Preservation has only ever hinted at the existence of dissenters before but has never sought to identify any one group. My question is this: with the invention of the PI, can these terrorists, if they can be deemed as such, not be tracked down? Without the power of the Internet to build an anonymous community, surely these individuals lack a platform from which to provoke and antagonise?
“People show ingenuity, Mr Wright, in every situation. As much as we are confident that PI is working effectively for our population, we can’t rule out the possibility we haven’t yet ironed out all of the kinks. However, we will continue to fight the good fight and I urge anyone to contact the Preservation if they are suspicious that members of their community are engaged in peculiar activity.”
She pauses and her voice becomes a touch sterner, clearer as if there’s a message about to arrive that she is determined to get across.
“There’s a very good reason why the Preservers are still highly active on our city streets and that’s because we believe that this same minority, and again I stress one that is under control, is attempting to protect pockets of Neurological Zombosis victims for reasons that remain utterly inexplicable.
“Their actions are condemnable. These people are committing treason against the Preservation and their fellow citizens — and their desire to circumvent our Commandments puts all of us in sustained peril.”
I’m still not entirely sure why anyone would want to protect a sufferer of NZ and disobey the Preservation or the Commandments they bestowed upon us. After all, the Commandments were designed to help us to understand NZ and the advertising campaign to make us aware of them would have put Coca-Cola to shame. It involved permanent billboards in town and city centres. It involved simultaneous pushing to every electronic device they could reach. It involved a relentless media campaign aired during broadcasts of major events for maximum impact. It involved canvassing of streets, residential blocks and business districts. The goal was to reach as many eyes as possible.
The Commandments have never changed and their success can be defined by how many cases of NZ you now see on a daily basis. If the answer is more than zero then you’ve been extremely unfortunate. Why would anyone choose to oppose this?
Sarah apologises but she doesn’t want to give the actions of any splinter groups publicity beyond reassuring us all that the discord is manageable.
“It’s not in the public interest to know why. We simply ask them to be vigilant because some humans are not on the side of humanity.”
Sarah sips an espresso and checks her watch. I bury my head in my laptop and pretend to take notes, concerned that I’ve descended a little too far into dangerous territory. I am aware of the honour I am being given here. In an alternate dimension, it would be the equivalent of a sit-down with the Queen. I am not trying to undermine the cause, more seeking to understand the enemy we face to allow everyone to be more adept at fighting it.
After pursing her lips, she seems to relax a little.
“I’m pleased that we have had the opportunity to explain what the Preservation does and the challenges we face almost daily, Mr Wright. I think we have time for maybe one or two more questions.”