February 13, 2020

Isaiah the Gray – Part 2

Part 1: https://storytogether.com/2020/02/06/isaiah-the-gray-part-1/

For Isaiah, every day is a reminder of his life’s painful not-quite-dead, not-quite-alive drudgery. Like most in the Coruscant lower class, he’s told he should feel fortunate – he has a job! – but ultimately he’s just a droid, toiling away with time at his back.

He sits at his switchboard, making connections to other boards throughout his quadrant of the city. A special occasion for him is making a VIP adjustment if a message needs delivery faster than the standard fare. That’s it – every day.

It’s nearing the end of his shift and his eyes are glazing over. He manipulates a message’s trajectory and moves it into place on the switchboard. Isaiah takes a deep breath, hoping that the bell will somehow just ring a little bit early today.

But, oddly, the lit messages on Isaiah’s switchboard have formed a pattern. And not just the shapes his mind creates to alleviate boredom, but words. It says, “Tomorrow.” The lights all flash red, unmistakably. Isaiah is sure it says “Tomorrow,” but, after he rubs his eyes, the pattern dissolves.

Isaiah sits back in his chair and wonders if he’s finally starting to lose it.

Later that night, as he clocks out, his overlord manager Claudia, shouts at him, “You’ll never get anywhere with that look on your face, Gray!”

On complete auto-pilot, Isaiah ignores her taunts.

“You hear me Gray!” she continues as Isaiah reaches the door, “You’ll always be here!”

Isaiah shakes his head, not caring to answer, and walks outside onto the florescent night streets of Coruscant. Not quite sure how to process things, he zones out as he inserts himself into the throngs of people doing the exact same thing on his way to his one room apartment.

Out of energy and what’s more, out of giving-a-shit, Isaiah prepares his frozen meal, sits down on his chair in front of the holo-set, and turns on the news.

“A plea to the Jedi Council from the Senate has been again rejected,” says the newscaster. “In a statement, the Jedi have reiterated once again that they are not the private defense force of this democracy. Stopping the Outer Rim rebellion must fall to the armed forces.”

Somewhere near hearing the Outer Rim and the last piece of barely edible frozen meat hitting his lips, Isaiah falls fast asleep and begins to dream.

Isaiah has always had an interest in history. But because he never had access to a formal education, he always felt like he was an outsider in the happenings in the world around him. As a teenager though, he was gifted an encyclopedia by one of the few kind caretakers at the orphanage where he was raised. And for whatever reason that book becomes increasingly omnipresent in Isaiah’s dream.

The book keeps getting closer and closer to where it’s directly front in front of Isaiah’s eyes: it opens, and a face is there inside. But, when Isaiah sees it, it’s…blank. As the shock begins to set in, a strange feeling, a powerful feeling Isaiah has only felt previously on the tingling edges of his being takes over. And the face becomes a hundred faces, all staring at Isaiah with serious intent.

Isaiah awakes, but not in his bed; he’s at his switchboard. Confused, he looks to his monitor which does indeed confirm that it’s the next day, right at the beginning of his shift.

“Well that’s not good,” he thinks as he snaps back to reality.

Nothing else being out of the ordinary, Isaiah decides to get to work. Naturally, the hours toil by, just as they do every day.

But during a slow-period in the late afternoon, Isaiah has a moment to stop and reflect. He thinks of the switchboard message. And his dream. The feeling was so unlike anything he’s felt before…

“Am I going crazy?” he says softly out-loud. His heart begins to pound, the anxiety setting in.

But then, a hand is placed on his shoulder.

“It’s time,” Isaiah hears behind him.