"There were some surprises," said Piers when the group had gathered again some weeks later.
"Now there’s an understatement," said Anomie, grinning.
"Then surprise us," challenged Vince.
"The cracking of the cursive code proved easier than I anticipated and daresay that it’s easy enough to learn that any child can do it."
"We foresee a followup project designing an online program that would teach how to read and write the cursive code to anyone who is interested," said Anomie. "Along with any original documents that Denn can retrieve and make accessible, the combination could prove to be the most explosive development since the revolution that spawned the GSDA."
"It could make all our efforts so far pale into insignificance," added Flann.
"That sounds great," enthused Vince to nods all around. "But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You spoke of surprises? They’re not the kind that will interfere with our plans for the Constitution are they?"
"To the contrary," said Piers. "These surprises will only enhance the presentation."
"Then by all means, let’s hear them!"
Piers pointed to the set of parchments that had been carefully laid across the surface of the table. "As you’ll recall, Flann and his teammates were taken by surprise when they rescued the Constitution by the number of pages there were. Until then, we were under the impression that the document comprised only a single sheet. We were wrong. The Constitution itself includes four separate pages as you can see here concluding with a signatory document."
Eagerly, everyone in the room save those that had been on the cursive interpretive team leaned in to more closely observe what was written on that final sheet. There, signatures were plainly listed. Piers read them aloud: "This one belongs to George Washington and this to Alexander Hamilton. Here is James Madison and there Benjamin Franklin."
"The Founders…" whispered Vince, chills running through his body. Placing his hand hesitantly over the list of names, he seemed to absorb the mythic qualities of that pantheon of legendary figures whose existence until that moment had to be taken on faith. But now, preserved in fading ink and on crumbling parchment, they became real. "They really existed. They lived and breathed, just like we do."
"Yes," agreed Piers. "But don’t hagiography them. They were only men just as we are. But they had the good chance of being in the right place and the right time and in the right frames of mind to rise above the thinking of their day and see into the future. And unlike others who may have had the same opportunity in times past or since, chose to take advantage of the fact."
"Granted, but if only our ancestors had heeded their words and intentions more closely, maybe the world would not have turned out as it did," said Vince.
"Who can say?"
"Tell them about the other surprise," reminded Anomie.
"Right. I’m sure you’ve noticed that although I said that the Constitution had four pages, these others are separate and comprise the Bill of Rights."
"What!" cried Vince, immediately focusing his attention on something no one had anticipated. "It exists?"
"That’s correct. For decades it was assumed the Bill of Rights was only a legend. That there was no such thing. No government would ever put in writing something that would deliberately limit its power. But this document proves otherwise and proves conclusively the wisdom and courage of the Founders. Those men, it seems, were even greater than we imagined."
"This means we have the means at last to counter any claim by the GSDA about what rights the people have. They’ll no longer be able to say and do whatever they want pointing to a document that they alone have access to."
"Indeed, here is the right to freedom of religion, speech, and the press, the right to bear arms, freedom against unreasonable searches and seizures, a fair trial, and perhaps the most important, the assurance that all issues not addressed in the Constitution or Bill of Rights are assumed to belong to the states," enumerated Piers.
There was stunned silence in the room for many minutes before someone said something and then there was shouting, and laughter, and back slapping as everyone realized the enormity of the discovery.
Even Anomie broke with protocol to accept a kiss and an embrace by Flann in the enthusiasm of the moment.
Finally, after Vince had restored order, he asked Piers if the translation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights was ready for Denn to take over.
In reply, Piers produced a mem-stick and handed it over to Vince. "Here’s the complete translation as well as a scan of the original documents. Anomie is prepared to work with Denn in producing an instructional program in the cursive code so that those interested can teach themselves how to read it. That way, anyone who knows how, can study the original documents and verify that our translation is correct."
Holding out the mem-stick to Denn, Vince instructed the tech agent to proceed immediately with uploading the documents and to do the same with the instructional program as soon as it was ready.
"What happened?" demanded Vince. "Why has there been no reaction? No upheaval? Where are the crowds in the streets? The demands for freedom and liberty?"
It was some six months after the initial release of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and members of the underground leadership had gathered in emergency session at their hidden headquarters. At the moment, an angry Vince stood at the head of the table.
Vince’s questions were echoed by others gathered around the table.
"To tell you the truth, this eventuality has not been unexpected," admitted Piers. "I suspected that our expectations upon release of the historic documents might have been too rosy."
In the months since their release into the cloud, Denn had verified that the documents had reached every corner of the world, had found themselves posted to every website, overriding every program and protocol so that every person that accessed the cloud could not help but see it. The phenomenon had been noted by the media which quickly dismissed the mass posting as a prank and not to be taken seriously while away from public scrutiny, the authorities had scrambled to find those who had stolen the original documents but with no success. Failing that, the government had concentrated its efforts in denouncing the posting, calling it a sham, and an attempt to undermine its legitimacy by anti-green, colonialist forces who would like nothing better than to regain their former position of dominance over the non-European citizens of the GSDA.
That kind of flack however, had been expected with the indisputable truth as revealed by the scans of the original documents (whose authenticity was supported by a vast number of circumstantial evidence as compiled by the underground and added to the download in the form of hyper-links) easily countering them.
But the expected outrage at the discovery that the government had been lying to the people for decades, claiming that it alone had the ability to interpret the Constitution, and never even revealing the fact that it also had the Bill of Rights in its possession, had not come to pass.
The dreams of counter-revolution, of angry citizens gathering in the streets, marching on Tubman demanding freedom and liberty faded as the months passed with no such activity happening anywhere.
As a result, it was a disappointed group of revolutionaries that gathered around the meeting table somewhere in the Midwest Caliphate, one that Vince had had a very difficult time keeping together. Many were becoming resigned to the fact that it was too late to change anything in the GSDA. That the time of the old USA and its values of freedom and liberty had passed. It was as some had begun to say, that a new dark age had descended the length of which no one could predict. The pessimists were now being heard and they were doubtful of any possibility that when the dark time finally passed, there was no guarantee that the light of the Founders would be re-embraced.
"What do you mean when you say that you expected this result, Piers?" asked Vince. Piers thought a moment before replying.
"There used to be an old saying," he began. "’You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.’ It was not enough to simply present the people with the truth and expect them all to immediately see things our way. They have been the victims of decades of indoctrination. From the cradle to the grave, they have only heard one side of the argument, the government’s side. Their faculties for critical thinking have been dulled, even blocked by years spent in an educational system that values what is politically correct over common sense. We see the evidence of that all around us: the slow decomposition of our technological civilization, the failure to inspire the most creative scientists and thinkers in our society, the embracing of theories that have set aspects of our civilization back to the nineteenth century. But most of all, the people have lost faith both in God and the freedoms that God made inalienable. Today, their faith is in the government and like any faith, it cannot be questioned. All of those factors has made it incredibly difficult to break through the training even with the diamond drill of truth."
"So what you’re saying is that our dreams of freedom are impossible?" asked Flann, holding hands with Anomie beneath the table.
"Not impossible, merely delayed," said Piers. "Unless a seed is thrown onto fertile soil, it will not take root. That soil must first be made ready to receive the seed. A process that can take many years as any farmer knows. But eventually, the soil could be made fertile again. But it will take time, and patience, and hard work."
"What kind of work?" Disda Pondatti asked. "Already, many of our members are giving up the struggle as hopeless. How can we convince them that they must persevere? How can we ask them to continue to make the necessary sacrifices? Take the risks?"
"The work I’m speaking of will not involve the same kinds of risk or physical actions the resistance has taken in the past."
"What then?" asked Vince.
"We must fight smarter. Improve our tech skills. Learn to use the cloud to our advantage and then move our message into the virtual public square and keep it there. We must create programs that people can access to learn about the truth. Create entertainment venues catching the attention of bored trollers that can in turn lure users to news sites where they can be informed. If we do all this, we can slowly build a more educated and aware populace until critical mass can be reached. At that point, some day, our dream of restoring the values of the Founders can come true."
Silence had descended on the room then as everyone contemplated the new course to be followed and the diligence it would demand of each of them.
Then, Disda broke the silence.
"If we do all that you advise, Piers, how long do you think it will be before there are results?"
Piers sighed. "Do not expect it within the lifetimes of anyone gathered here today. Of course, with the pace that technology gives to communication, there is no telling exactly when the tide might begin to turn; but I would hesitate to predict that anything short of a hundred years would be too soon. This is a project for the long term. Not to be embarked on lightly. Anyone who does so, must be prepared to commit themselves without possibility of being rewarded with success in their own lifetimes."
"Then that leaves us with much to think upon," said Vince, looking into the uncertain faces of his colleagues.
Then, one by one, they left the room, each with their own thoughts.
The last to leave was Anomie, who paused first to turn out the lights…