Thankyou City


Stage: Bush Techno

The once bright lights of a city, now eclipsed in the shadow of an industry tyrant. The heinous boss sits high above the city he controls, fueled by his obsessions of power and greed. He commands his empire to hold the city hostage by force, robbing its people of choice and free thinking. His agents infiltrate the communities of the people, hiding in the shadows among them, keenly observing every move they make. Through their eyes there is nothing that he doesn’t see. His goons eagerly await their commands to carry out his will, stamping out even the most minor threat by any means they feel is necessary. Anyone who dares cross the empire is dealt with harshly, sometimes, they say, perpetrators are never to be seen again. Conformity is the core to his rule. In the beginning, he knew that if he could take away free thinking and the ability to choose from the people he would reign supreme forever more. He drove his team of wicked scientists to find the key, settling for nothing less than the perfect weapon, many were killed by his unwillingness to settle for perfection. But one day they did find the answer, the perfect weapon, carefully constructed sounds that pollute the airwaves, manipulating the minds of the people with subliminal messages that render them helpless to his bidding. Oblivious to the source of his rule, the people carry on in their lives in support of his reign, totally caught in his trance.

His ascendancy over the people, so tight that he commands only music produced by his enterprise is permitted and all else is banned by law. It was a sad day when free thinking and originality burned in the streets. Entrances would fall and sanctuary’s breached as they enforced their rule raiding houses and offices, confiscating all forms of music. Blue flames burned high as history crackled and snapped under the intense flames of evil. All the while he stood at his window, high above the city streets in the lavish comfort of the penthouse in Diablo Tower. Watching. The rhythm of the flames reflected in glassy black eyes, his arms crossed and a disturbing smile as he basked in the illustration of his supremacy.

Scott and Brent were always taught to allow their minds to be free. From an early age their parents encouraged them to explore the questions deep within their hearts and minds. The answers to those questions being fragments of the truth that defines them as unique beings. They constantly exposed the boys to different art forms, exploring creativity, they’d say, was the most important tool to open up their minds. It would come as no surprise that the boy’s parents refused to subscribe to that which was forced upon them nor allow their children to be corrupted by a motive that was not their own. As music was such an important part of the boy’s parents’ lives, they felt a responsibility regardless of the risks to educate their children about the history of music and freedom of choice. They would recount tales of when music was innovative, creative and free. They would articulate how their favorite tracks impacted their lives not only as individuals but as a couple too. They could even play some of the tracks for their boys from the old records they managed to smuggle and hide from the goons the day their house was raided. Even though there were only a few records, the boys would never tire of the sounds that would come from the old turntable nor listening to each story that would go with each song as told by their parents.

The boys shared a great bond, more than that of typical brothers. Where there was one, the other wouldn’t be too far away. When they weren’t at school, the boys would roam the streets together exploring old broken down industrial buildings and junk yards, looking for their next adventure. One day, while Brent was rummaging through some old junk in an old broken-down housing commission, he came across an interesting plastic object that caught his eye. He straight away ran over to show Scott, who had no idea what the object was either. It had 60 min imprinted on the plastic and you could barely make out the words ‘tech’ something, scribbled on the faded white tape on the side. They were both intrigued by what they had found that they rushed off home to see if their father knew what it was. They found him in his garage as per usual, legs dangling out from a under his car, covered in grease. The boys clearly couldn’t wait to tell him what they had found. “Slow down boys”, their father said, as he tried to steady their excitement. He wiped the top of his wrist across his forehead, “So what is it then?” his eyes widened when he saw what Brent was holding in dirt smeared hand. The boys explained their find eager to understand what this intriguing object was that they found. “Brent, shut the door”, he said as he walked over to his work bench. “Scotty, help me with this.” They grabbed either end of the workbench and moved it; just enough so their dad could squeeze in behind it to access what looked like a secret compartment. He reached into the compartment and pulled out a black box that had a handle at one end and a cord wrapped around it. He unwound the cord and hesitantly plugged it into the wall. He stopped for a second and looked at the boys, “You can’t tell anyone about what you found nor what you’re about to hear out of this player. Agreed?” With wide grins they nodded their heads in unison. Their father pressed a black button on the end of the box and all of a sudden, the room was filled with beautiful, ethereal but curious music they had never experienced before. The beat and the melody inspired their hearts and challenged their minds. From that moment in the garage the Mirams boys were changed forever. For days the Mirams boys recounted in their minds what they heard in that garage. They also remembered their fathers warning but they were not going to simply let it all end there in that garage, they had to find more. They tried to speak to their parents about where they could find music like that but were always met with the same deflection followed by a lecture about how that music was long gone and they could get themselves in serious trouble if they started snooping around. Regardless of these warnings, they refused to believe that such music could simply die and made a pact to spend their waking hours in search of the truth, beyond the shadows of darkness.

Every night the boys would wait until their parents were sleeping before sneaking out the window to carry on their quest. They figured if they searched in the daylight there would be more chance of getting caught by the restrictive regime imposed on the people so the alternate world of the night was their chosen grounds. For weeks they wandered around, looking for venues that could be playing the music they heard in the garage. But every night they found nothing but the conformed sounds that seemed to rule not only the airwaves but all the nightspots too. They sat in Scott’s room one night, tired and deflated and thought about ways to alter their plan of attack. Their goal was becoming less and less of a reality and they were starting to think that maybe they had to boldly start asking people regardless of the suspicions they may raise. They both agreed that they had to do what they had to do to find what they were looking for. Fearless in their path they set out once more to broaden their search with clues of what random people could tell them.

The following night the boys left their house with a new strategy in play. Armed with a new confidence, they journeyed down their usual path until they were thrown off by an odd looking man sitting on the side of the road. He had a curious smile which exposed a silver tooth that flickered under the street light as he watched them walk by. It was as if he knew them, their thoughts and what they were setting out to find. For some reason, the boys were not afraid of him. He radiated a peculiar aura of familiarity that both of them were drawn too. Without deliberation, they both walked over to the man. “We know you?” Scott said with Brent’s expression in agreement. The man looked at the ground and took a deep breath before he looked back up at the boys. “Well that depends doesn’t it?” now with a playfulness in his smile. “There are things in this world that inherently link us all. But sometimes, evil finds its way in to choke our instincts and smother the guiding light in our hearts.” The man’s expression became somewhat somber. “You boys probably don’t even know that there is a universal language that is native to all our tongues.” The boys now seemed confused. “What do you mean?” Brent asked after a brief look at his brother. The man paused for a second and looked at each of them in their eyes. “There is music in your hearts boys. It lives in a place that can never be taken from you and the key to which is yours alone. If you seek it and unlock its secrets, you can unite the people. If you feel it and allow it to flourish, their hearts too will once again be free.” The mention of music threw the boys, a coincidence that was hard to let go by. “What music are you talking about old man?”
The old man smiled to once again reveal his silver tooth. He told a story of a time when the artistry of music reigned free and its promise was potent. He explained how its power was so strong regardless of individual taste just a uniting force that attracted us all. “But all that has been taken away”, he said as he pointed to the building that towered high above the city lights. The boys were filled with an innerving energy listening to the old man’s story as it validated the hope that guided their hearts. “How do we find the music?” they asked, eager to hear the answer. But an answer never came, rather he reached into an old grimy bag that looked like a mini potato sack and pulled out something that was wrapped in a black ragged piece of material. He carefully unfolded the cloth which had a circle of white dots in the center that seemed to resemble the shape of an eye. The old man held out the cloth to the boys. What lay on top of the eye was what looked like a set of headphones and a microphone. Brent picked up the headphones and Scott took the cloth and the microphone. The old man stood, put a hand on each of the boy’s shoulders and whispered the words, “If you are to find the truth, you must listen to your soul and speak from your heart.”

The boys were so mesmerized by the objects in their hands that when they looked up, the old man was gone. Chills surged up their spines as they looked around to find him. He was nowhere to be seen. They looked at each other but didn’t say a word. Brent looked down at the headphones in his hand; he looked back at Scott and then eagerly put them on his head to cover his ears. He felt a rush of warmth throughout his body and closed his eyes. Music swirled in his mind. The intensity of the warmth made him clench a fist which then seemed to become the destination of the swirling energy. The intensity became so much that he opened his eyes. Scott looked at him in bewilderment as Brent’s hand emitted a bright red glow. Seeing the look on Scott’s face caused Brent to look down at his hand. He was so startled by the sight that he jumped back opening his hand at the same time. A red pulse hit the ground, and everything around started to shake as a forced groaned under the ground like a murmur from deep beneath the earth’s crust. The impact shot a car from across the street many feet in the air landing it on its roof. Brent ripped the headphones of his head and tried to control his out of control breathing. Scott just smiled. He looked at the flipped car and then down at the microphone in his hands. Holding the microphone tight he closed his eyes. Warm energy surged as haunting music filled his mind. He opened his eyes and looked straight at the hand that was clutching the microphone that was glowing blue. His smile turned crooked as he put the microphone to his lips and spoke a single word. The moment that sound left his mouth it was converted to an ultra-high-pitched frequency. Like a shrill from a banshee the sound tore from the microphone as a blue pulse of light and destroyed a street light at least a hundred meters down the road. The boys looked straight at each other in awe and then burst into laughter. Police sirens roared in the distance which told them it was their cue to vacate the scene. They ran all the way home, laughing and clutching their new-found toys. They climbed through the window to Scott’s room and sat on the floor trying to catch their breath. Still somewhat in disbelief to what had actually just happened they laid out the material on the floor and examined the symbol in the middle. What they were looking for was out there, and they knew that that symbol was the key to finding their way.

Within every waking moment the origin of the symbol wasn’t far from the boy’s minds. Any time they could spare they would search the city they loved for clues to the mystery of the symbol. Little did they know that those clues lay all around them. With eyes open they started to see the city in a different light. The marking of the symbol started to appear all over the city. It flabbergasted them that they hadn’t noticed it before. Everywhere, they’d find them on the sidewalk, up light poles, down alleyways, on bins, walls and doors. Most of the time they were faded white but then one afternoon before the sun set they found one on the base of a sculpture in a old park that looked like it had just been put there. Brent reached down to brush his fingers across it and when he turned his hand over, white paint now stained his fingertips. Excitement brewed in the boys as they looked around to see if anyone was watching. Little did they know, somebody was.
As they met the tree line of the park they were confronted by a strange man. He was a skinny guy, about their age. He wore black jeans and a vest over his t-shirt with a cool black hat and bright orange and red feathers attached to the side. He didn’t seem happy, “What are you two doing here?” he demanded. Scott looked at his brother and smiled. “You know what this means don’t you?” said Brent as he held out the material from his bag. The frown on the man’s face deepened as he looked at the pennant and at each of the boys. “Where did you get that?” the boys knew they’d hit the jackpot, “An old man gave it to us. He told us if we found the origin to this symbol we’d find the answers we were looking for.” The stranger looked anxious, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” as he turned and hurried away. The boys ran after him and stopped him, “Come on, we know you can help us. We’re trying to find the music. We’re trying to find the truth.” The man looked at the ground, closed his eyes then looked back at the boys, “You don’t work for them, do you?” Brent and Scott looked confused. The man paused as he interrogated them with his stare. “Well, maybe you don’t. My name is Zac. If you want answers, you best follow me.”

Scott and Brent followed Zac out of the park and through the twist and turns of the crumbling city. The sun had gone down so it was gloomy dark and the streets were deserted. He led them down a few narrow paths and then an alleyway to the back of an old building. He walked up beside an old dumpster against the wall, looked around to see if anyone was watching and put his weight on it to make it move. Behind the dumpster was a small door which he opened, “Go.” The boys, without hesitation entered the building and Zac followed slamming the door behind him. Complete darkness. Zac lit a lamp that was by the door and pressed on. It was hard to make out where they were, but the boys thought it looked like an old abandoned warehouse. They reached another door which led down some stairs. They could hear a faint beat that got louder the further they descended. They entered a dimply lit room that must have been Zac’s home. Although there was a small kitchen area and a bed across the back wall it looked more like a cool bar than someone’s home. There were busted up old couches surrounding a table filled with beer bottles and an over flowing ashtray. Even though there was old junk everywhere, it looked like a really comfortable space, a haven and it was obvious that particular care had been taken in how the room had been arranged. Red and orange sheets had been attached to the roof and stapled in different spots to give rolling effect like a red sea. The walls were covered in mesmerizing art that could be have been found on the street and event posters that each featured the eye symbol. In the middle of the wall “Killing Time” had been spray painted hastily. The lingering sweetness of incense disarmed the air. “Grab a seat. You want a beer?” The boys didn’t hesitate, “Sure.” They sat on the couch and continued to look around as Zac grabbed three beers from a yellow stained fridge. On the back wall they saw a pair of record players on a high table and beside them, crates and crates of records. “Where’d you get all those?” He passed them the beers and lit up a cigarette, “They’re my pride and joy. The company never found me down here.” Scott took a sip on his beer and cut straight to the chase, “What the hell is that symbol all about man?” Zac took a long drag on his cigarette and sat back in his chair, resting his head to angle the exhaled smoke to the roof.

He spoke of how the symbol was the emblem of a rebel group formed to stand up to the tyranny of “The Company”. “But it is more than just a symbol” he took another drag, “It represents freedom or choice and a person’s will to walk his or her own path in life.” He went on to explain that the rebel group faction was called the Chameleon and their mission was to walk society out of oppression and bring choice and creativity back to the people. They were a force that revolted against The Company, Preserving and retaining music that evoked emotional truth and nurtured individual creativity. But the Company’s strength was too great and slowly, one by one, each member of Chameleon disappeared, until he was the only one left and the cause of Chameleon drifted as a fading memory. The boys sat for hours as Zac told of the days when Chameleon started and everything in between. The parties they’d put on illegally and the fun they had along the way. All night they stayed at Zac’s place listening to his stories as well as playing some of the tunes in the crates. Zac was surprised at how quickly the brothers picked up using the deteriorated equipment. In the morning when Brent and Scott left, they were handed a colored flyer each and told to come along on the condition they had to promise not to tell another soul of the invitation. When they got home the boys were exhausted and struggled to sleep with the excitement that filled their hearts. As they turned off the lights they took one last look at the flyer Zac had given them. The Rainbow Serpent. They had no idea what it was but knew they were on the cusp of unlocking something great. A new world with the promise of a passion and a cause awaited them, a world that would drive their souls from that day forward.

The boys would spend hours in Scott’s room, turned studio, exploring the creative tombs of their soul. For hours and days on end they’d sit in front of their computer arranging the symphonies to their new world. Track after track, they were guided totally by feel and the voice of their instincts. The more they created the more they felt free. They loved playing to the small underground community that defied The Company but there was still something missing. A feeling that lingered, a question of how they could reignite the Chameleon cause and reach out to free the rest of people of the city. It was a dangerous game they planned to play, as Zac had told them of the fate the others tasted when they took the fight to The Company but this in no way swayed their resolve. They thought back to the encounter with the old homeless man and his words, “If you are to find the truth, you must listen to your soul and speak from your heart.” As Brent said the words out aloud they both looked at each other with a similar look in their eyes. Scott reached into the draw that housed the headphones and microphone the old man had given to them long before. They had been cautious of using it again due to the sheer power they held but maybe an answer may lie within them. They each grabbed their piece, took a deep breath and closed their eyes.

The warm swell of energy swirled around their minds but this time the music they heard was their own. Images flashed in their thoughts of scenes unfamiliar to them but at the same time were so vivid it was like they were from their own memories. They saw flashes of people getting dragged from their homes, yelling, screaming, punching and kicking, fire, destruction and then a man, a tall evil looking man. A dark shadow hid the man’s face the whole time, as the prisoners were thrown in cages in what looks like a heavily guarded fortress. As the last prisoner was being dragged into his cell, the scene moved in slow motion and then flashed an image that took Scott and Brent by total surprise. The eye, the Chameleon eye, printed on the shirt of the last prisoner, as he was thrown into his rotting cell. This was it. The brother’s eyes opened at the same time and took deep breaths. The sign was obvious, and they knew what they had to do. They even knew where they had to go. Diablo Tower. The boys wasted no time leaving the house. It was just past 10pm and the streets were relatively empty besides the regular armored vehicle patrols by the company. They had no idea how they were going to approach this, but they just knew in their hearts that this is what they had to do.

When they arrived at the Diablo tower they hid behind scrub about 100m from the guard station to scope out their next move. Two guards sat inside the station, fighting fatigue after a long shift, when they saw the opportunity they ran past them in stealth and approached the building in silence. Rain began to fall. They saw a door that was unmanned but as they got close to it flood lights turned on with a thud and an alarm siren rang, they had hit a trip switch. With no time to escape armed guards came from all directions. They looked at each other with adrenalin pumping through their veins. Scott pulled his microphone from his jacket pocket and Brent put his headphones ready to unleash the fury. Back to back the boys stood as the guards surrounded them. Readying themselves they closed their eyes and took control of the energy that pulsed through their veins. Synchronized in their thoughts, they unleashed their first wave of attack on the unsuspecting guards. A warzone erupted as they disabled each guard one by one, Scott screaming bolts of blue energy while Brent literally shifted the ground the guards walked on. They fought strong and hard until they got a break to get inside Diablo Tower, they took down anyone that got in their way with precision. As they worked their way through the ground level corridors they found a large pale blue metal door that they recognized from the vision. Taking a few steps back, they again closed their eyes and focused on the door. The door buckled on the first blow like it was a soda can and they scrambled through to find a flight of stairs leading down to another level.

They ran down a few flights of stairs and into a warehouse style room with prison cells in the middle. They had no idea who was in them but didn’t have time to ask questions. They blasted open the doors and freed the captives from their shackles. Déjà vu spoke to them as they helped the final prisoner with the Chameleon symbol of his shirt. “Who the fuck are you?” said the disheveled and malnourished prisoner in the Chameleon shirt. “I’m Scott, that’s my brother Brent” Scott said as he pointed to his brother. “We have been waiting for you for a long time, we always knew you would find us, I’m Ward, that there is Jamie, he’s Child.” Motioning to the other bewildered prisoners “Chameleon, right?” said Brent. “That’s us, the last of the resistance” Ward looked somewhat confused. A loud explosion came from the stairs they ran down only moments earlier. Through clouds of smokes came the running guards that halted in an attack formation.

Then he came, the tall evil man with no face, slowly, patient and stopped behind his league of men. The Chameleon boys stood side by side and gestured to Brent and Scott to join the line. Ward looked at them with a wicked grin, “Thank you boys, thankyou city. You ready for this?” Brent and Scott stood side by side their new brothers, poised at the battle ahead. They knew this moment was theirs but rather the end of the story, this was only the beginning.

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