Orpiment gets in trouble trying to find the information needed to complete his newest article.
In honour of the 100th anniversary since the end of the Rebellion, you, along with all other news-publishers must write a short homage of the events that happened during it.
Failure to complete your tasks will end in the permanent confiscation of your license. The deadline is the day of the anniversary.
Ministry of Public Media”
That was 2 weeks ago. Orpiment sighs, reading the letter again, hoping, praying that he may find some loophole in it, anything for him to use to extend the deadline in the slightest… But nothing changes. The Ministry always words their letters precisely and efficiently, without any possible loopholes.
He looked at his desk, covered in papers, ink splatters and cigarette buds, to see that within 2 weeks, he had accomplished nothing. Time was running out, and he still hadn’t the slightest clue where to start writing.
Desperate, he gets up, dawns his coat and hat, and walks to the Homeworld history archive, on the same road he walked on every day for the past few weeks. Once there, he opens the door to be greeted by a hall full of writers and independent journalists suffering the same plight he has: Lack of information.
All the Homeworld records of the rebellion, the writings, the pictures, the documentaries; all were wiped clean or burned. Unless you knew the right people, worked for some big news agency or the Diamonds themselves owed you a favour, you were out of luck when it came to studying the rebellion.
Without quibble with the librarians, who knew him by this point, he walks to one of the tables near the back of the hall, where a tall, orange lady was surrounded by manuscripts, books and newspapers.
“Hey, Hess. Any luck today?” Orpiment asks, sitting next to her.
Hess was Hessonite's nickname. Orpiment gave it to her so that crediting her whenever she gives him information about any case would use less ink. She worked at the archive, and knows the place like the back of her hand. She knew Orpiment from long ago, since he’d always come to ask her for help.
“No. Like always.” Hessonite rolls her eyes, closing a book and putting it back on the table, only to grab and start reading another one.
“Nothing?” Orpiment frowns.
“Nothing.” Hess keeps reading.
“You’re lying!” Orpiment gets up from his chair, looking down at the reading Hess.
“Lying? Why would I be lying?” Hessonite raises an eyebrow.
“I don’t know why you would… You just HAVE to be! How can there be nothing related to the rebellion in this entire archive?!” Orpiment keeps raising his tone.
“There just.. Isn’t! You’d really think the long-coats would have just left any article of the Rebellion that didn’t hilariously romantacise Homeworld’s armies intact?” Hessonite raises her tone back.
At this moment, Orpiment realizes the… Unnecessary attention all their yelling is provoking, so he sits back down next to Hess, to try to comprehend.
“Let’s not.. Talk about the long-coats. The last thing I want is a fine for disrupting public peace.” Orpiment rolls his eyes.
“Same. I suggest you go back to your lodgings. I’ll keep reading, and if I find anything, I’ll write you a letter.” Hess says, putting the book down.
Orpiment silently nods, before getting up from the table and dusting himself off. Right as he’s about to walk away, however, Hess asks him something.
“Why don’t you just write whatever comes to mind?” she asks, looking at him.
“What do you mean?” Orpiment asks.
“Writing about actual facts not only will be difficult, but it will get you arrested. You saw how twitchy the bloody Ministry is? They’ll take you to the Gallows! Why don’t you just make stories up of how Homeworld was the greatest, and the rebels were just miserable sods? That’s what everyone else that came here is doing.” Hessonite asks.
“Excuse me?! Make things up? Dear Hess, I have standards… I have beliefs! In my opinion, there is no room for imagination in news! They all have to be truthful, concrete facts, and if it means that I will get myself broken for it, I do not care!” Orpiment improvises a speech.
“You’re crazy.” Hess rolls her eyes.
Orpiment squints his eyes, losing patience.
“If optimistic is crazy, then yes, I am the craziest you’ll find on Homeworld!” Orpiment’s eyes light up with hopes and romanticised dreams.
“You seriously need to get your head out of your ass, Orpiment. I’m saying this for your own good.” Hess says, looking at him.
Orpiment finally snaps. His face turns red, as he shouts at Hessonite:
“Well… Maybe I’m not the one who needs to get their heads out of their ass, maybe it’s YOU GUYS who need to get their SODDING HEADS OUT OF THE FESTERING CESSPIT THAT IS HOMEWORLD MEDIA!” Orpiment screams at the top of his lungs at Hess, and instantly regretting his moment of rage.
The entire archive goes silent. Everyone stares at Orpiment. By all means, to them, he said the truth.
...But the truth is prohibited.
Suddenly, an alarm whistle is heard. A constable!
He surveys the crowd… He heard the yell, but did not see who the culprit was. He takes out his baton and starts to question nearby gems.
Orpiment uses the moment of confusion to sneak away. Hessonite follows, unlocking him the back-door so he can sneak back to his lodgings through the alleys.
Orpiment nods at Hess, before making a short bow as some form of excuse for his outburst. He then bursts out of the back door, running at full speed.
...Not exactly the most inconspicuous get-away. But it’s good enough for now…
Hastily running through the streets, trying to avoid major intersections or highly-populated locations, Orpiment made his way to his home. By all means, there was no need for him to be so cautious. All he did was a petty crime that most constables would overlook, yet in his overly, probably dangerously romanticised mind, Orpiment has just taken his first step.
For once, without any restraint, he said what he truly believed. That, in his head, was a crucial step in becoming the truth-bringing reporter he hoped to become.
As he makes it to his home, he locks the doors, pulls down the curtains, before he throws his hat on his worktable and collapses into bed. What was supposed to be a quick visit to the archive for a word with Hessonite quickly became an escape from the constables after breaking the law.
Orpiment laughs quietly to himself. If he’s to become what he wishes to, he will have a lot of work to do… Probably at least a two-page list…
...In a best-case scenario.
Staring at the ceiling from his bed, he starts to daydream… What will he do if he would suddenly have a say in Homeworld affairs?
Well, firstly, to save his own skin: Talking about the truth would be no longer considered “anti-government propaganda”.
Secondly, he would dismantle the secret police: Those filthy rats. The long-coats. The constables. The ones who pull the strings. The ones that everyone should be talking about, but nobody does from fear. Fear of either arrest, or even worse.
It’s… 6 PM.
Orpiment spent essentially half his day daydreaming about what he’d do if he were in a position of power.
He goes into his bathroom, looks into his mirror and gives himself a hearty slap.
“What the HELL am I doing?! I wasted my entire day doing nothing! The deadline is just around the corner and I am wasting time running from the constables and sitting on a bed! If I am ever to finish what I thought about… I need to get this Rebellion article finished!” He talks to himself in the mirror.
After his moment of self-loathing ends Orpiment walks into the hallway, where he sees another letter brushed under his door. With hesitation, thinking that it’s from the Ministry, or worse, the constables, he picks it up and reads it.
I think I found the right person for your article. He claims to have fought in the rebellion, which would allow you to get some info off him. Me, him and you are to meet up at the Red Crescent Bar at 8 PM. Don’t forget to be there.
Your dearest friend,
PS: Tear and burn this letter once you’re done. We can’t afford the constables finding out about this guy.”