NEW YORK CITY: Under a lethargically rising Sun, a young man wandered into the playing field known as #email@example.com, more commonly shortened to #a1. He saw before him a variety of men, surrounded by force fields that denoted their status in #a1. There were regular people, most of them silent by choice, some chattering like monkeys. Then there were the obvious governors of the realm, statuesque upon their golden thrones: those who bore the symbol @ upon their brow. They had the power of God in this small universe, and the will to go along with it.
After a few opening courtesies, the young man realized that the Sun had topped the surrounding landmarks just enough to illuminate a third caste in the playing field, a small group of people with the scarred rank of +v engraved in varying zones on their epidermis. Some seemed to have this mark repeated in more than one place, and some had artificially smooth skin from which the rank had been erased. As he participated in the banter surrounding him, he took advantage of a lull in the conversation to ask what this +v meant.
The immediate reply from all comers was the most obvious: One of +v has the Voice. That made sense to the young man, and he was satisfied for a short while. But after the moments faded away behind him, he once again found his eyes and thoughts resting on that jagged scar of the Voice. Why did they need Voice on this field, when all were free to speak as they wished? Even a newcomer such as the young man could raise his words to the highest of Kings there. Soon enough, a pattern emerged: those with +v nodded and spoke along with the governors, in league with them on more levels than the young man understood. A single mind seemed to control them at times.
He pardoned himself and raised a new question, begging to know about this subtle group. Lower men with neither Voice nor Power quaked and hid their faces in their hands, gnashing their teeth to drown out the inevitable answer: the group he detected was the CLIQUE.
Just then, one of the Voicèd ones released a torrent of offensive laughter. All eyes looked toward him. From the outstretched hand of a CLIQUE Governor came a bolt of fire that struck the most prominent scar of honor in the shape of -v, melting that flesh back together, leaving a gagging odor of cooked meat. The young man winced and withdrew himself from the sight of the CLIQUE.
Suddenly, the CLIQUE addressed him in unison. They told him he had taken a false step; he was the unlucky man whose body would become the scapegoat of the CLIQUE’s anger. YOU WHO ARE WITHOUT VOICE SHALL HAVE THE VOICE RENT FROM YOU, came a mighty wave of thought. No! he screamed, I do not wish that fate, and after all, I have not the Voice to begin with!
YOUR OPPOSITION IS IN VAIN. ACCEPT YOUR PUNISHMENT.
Then there was only pain, and behind his eyes, he saw an image.