There's a bit of humor in the beginning of this chapter. Rev is just one big bucket full of sass. Hope you all enjoy. Thank you all for the reviews, and thank you VelvetyCheerio for pointing out my typos. I'll be sure to go back and fix those at some point in my life.


Lee stared at the words on the computer screen. He heard the echoes of Ellie's footsteps as she left the room.

- Are you just going to sit there and stare at the computer screen all day, or are you going to write back?

The sassy remark snapped Lee back into reality. "Nice to hear from you again," Lee said out loud.

- You just replied out loud to me, didn't you? I can't hear you through a computer screen.

Lee blushed in embarrassment and typed his response in plain white text.

i didnt say anything out loud i was just trying to figure out how to use this thing

- You forgot how to type?

no

- There isn't much thinking involved here. You just write words, then hit enter. I made it as simple as possible for you.

i know how to use a chat client

- Then why did it take you so long to respond?

Lee glared at the screen, trying to come up with a witty response, but Rev typed so fast it was almost inhuman.

- Are you too embarrassed to say anything now?

shut up i was typing

- You type very slow.

you type too fast!

- Ah, so you do know how to use punctuation! I was getting worried by the severe lack of commas and periods in your posts.

- Are those keys on your keyboard broken?

- I know this place is a little run down, but I try to keep the computers in top condition.

Rev's posts were coming too fast, one after the other in the matter of seconds. Lee could barely read one before the next one showed up.

the comma and period key are fine .,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,. - see? the question mark is fine too

- Is the shift key broken?

No ThE sHiFt KeY iS nOt BrOkEn EiThEr.

AND BEFORE YOU ASK, THE CAPS LOCK IS WORKING FANTASTICALLY.

Lee began smashing his fists against the keyboard in irritation.

`1234567890-=qwertyuiop[AASDSDFGFGHHJKJKLL;'zzxCVVBNM,./ 3erfigylbuinkl=-]['pln

all of the keys are working fine

- In that case, please use proper grammar when you write to me. I don't want to have a conversation with someone who's intellect is rivaled only by toothpicks.

If I do, will you please shut up?

- If that's what you want.

Yes.

Lee sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. He needed a moment to regain his dignity before he continued this conversation. After a few minutes of sitting in silence, Lee realized that Rev had stopped messaging him.

Did you really shut up?

No answer.

Hello?

Fifteen minutes passed, and still no answer.

Rev?

A total of thirty minutes passed without a response.

Are you even there?

Lee began to feel like he had offended Rev in some way.

Look, I'm sorry that I told you to shut up, okay? I didn't mean it. You can talk now if you want to.

You can talk as much as you want.

- I had just gone to get a cup of coffee, but thank you for the apology. It makes me happy to hear that you realized how rude you were being.

Lee slammed his head against the keyboard.

Sxerdtfvyghnubotfcftvgbhngyvfgbhnjhbygvfgbh

- Checking to see if all the keys are still working?

Yes. Now let's get back on topic, please. Why am I here talking to you?

- You're talking? I thought we went over the fact that you were supposed to write, not talk.

Lee groaned and tugged on his hair in frustration.

Can we not start this again? Please?

- As much as I love getting under your skin, I'll dull your headache and agree to cooperate. You're here to ask me questions, and I am here to answer.

Lee was happy to finally be getting somewhere with this conversation. He thought for a moment, then wrote,

What are your objectives?

- To break down the control of the NETWORK.

What's wrong with the NETWORK? Why do you want to destroy it?

- I think you know why. You've seen it firsthand.

Tell me anyway.

- The NETWORK has too much control of the people. The NETWORK connects directly to their minds. This gives them access to every part of the person. They can control both their body and minds.

I get the body thing since I've seen you do it, but their minds?

- The NETWORK sees absolutely everything a person is thinking. It can access all of their memories as well. The idea of someone recording everything I think makes me very uncomfortable. I know it would make you uncomfortable too, with all of the things you think about, you naughty boy.

- I've been on your mind a lot.

Lee stared at the computer screen and frantically typed his response.

No you're not! Why would you be on my mind? That's a completely ridiculous accusation! Why would I even think about you of all people! I don't even know what you look like.

- You've been thinking about revolting against the government with me. I don't think what I look like matters when starting a revolution. Very naughty.

Lee blushed deeply and covered his face with his hands. He decided that the only time he would respond would to be to ask questions.

- Anyway, the NETWORK monitors all thoughts of a person. They can remove the thoughts and ideas that they don't agree with. They regulate things, making everyone believe the same thing. Everyone dresses in the same clothes, listens to the same music, eats the same food, practices the same religion, celebrate the same culture, and they even choose the age at which you die. They delete thoughts that they don't agree with. And when thoughts of revolt becomes too strong, so strong that they can't control them, they kill you.

Kill you?

- Actually, they send you to the Behavior Correctional Facility, but it's basically the same thing.

So you want to stop the NETWORK from turning everyone into mindless sheep?

- Exactly. But that's not the only thing they do. Like I said, they control both a person's mind and body. The NETWORK wants the City to work as efficiently as possible, so it creates slaves. It needs people to work for it. But it works them to death.

To death?

- Yes, that's what I wrote.

Can it really take someone over until they die? Doesn't the brain have a way of knowing that the body is being worked too hard?

- I wouldn't lie to you, Ashlee. The NETWORK has found a way around a person's natural instincts. Good people die every day working in mines and factories. Creativity is nonexistent. The development of life has come to a complete standstill. The NETWORK has taken away everything that it means to be human. We no longer create, or discover, or evolve. We are nothing. Not with a machine controlling us.

- And that's why I'm here. That's why I gathered up a team of the most skilled minds on the face of the planet. Those who wanted to work against the government to destroy the NETWORK. I picked up most of them from the BCF, but some, like you, I managed to get to before they had to go through that hell.

- And now we are all working together in order to break apart the NETWORK piece by piece, until the people in the City can see what's really going on.

- We will take back control of our own lives, rule our own country, create whatever our minds imagine, believe whatever the hell we want, and love whomever we damn well please.

- That is why we hate the NETWORK and those who run it.

- And that is our ultimate goal.

Lee stared at his computer screen in disbelief. Despite these words being only on the screen of a computer, he could feel Rev's passion seeping through them with each word. He couldn't even imagine the person behind the text. This was a person who believed in their cause so intensely that it didn't matter who they were, what they looked like, or even if they were male or female. This was a person who embodied this flame of passion wholly; someone who's faith never wavered. As Lee reread the text again, he felt himself starting to believe in it as well. He felt like this person was the only one in the universe who could bring about change big enough to rock the foundations of the City and bring whoever was running the NETWORK to their knees.

After pausing a moment to take all of this information in, Lee found his fingers back on the keyboard.

Why me?

That was all he could think to type.

- Because, Ashlee Acord, you are so special. So unbelievably special. One in a million.

Stop, you're making me blush.

Which was true. Lee felt his cheeks grow hot at the compliment.

- But it's true. You're like me.

And who are you?

And there it was. The question he was itching to ask from the moment they met. Despite Lee's earlier thoughts of it not mattering who this person was, his curiosity got the better of him. He was only human. There was an oddly long pause from Rev. Lee wondered if he was typing a lot, or if he was debating on what to say. Lee sat on the edge of his seat with anticipation, until finally, just four words of the familiar sea green text popped up on the screen.

- I am the Revolution.