Subterfuge | Uniform

Two days passed before Matthews plan was ready to be executed. It started out fairly simply. Three teams would be sent out to complete targeted attacks on government intelligence buildings. Using the chaos as cover, the 1-stars would overtake the national broadcast and Matthew would be on every screen across the nation. Once that happened Matthew would speak to the people whilst the government tracked him down. After that, the plan depended on what happened to Matthew once they tracked the broadcast.

As the first of the three strike-teams left Matthew made his way to the safe-house med-bay. A tall doctor stood at the entrance, having expected Matthews arrival.

“We finished the weapon this morning as requested sir. You will only have one shot and it must enter his blood stream or the drug will not take. If you want it to have any effect though, it must be done publicly. Nothing will change if this happens in private. Before the news spreads our window will have passed.” Matthew nodded at the doctor’s advice and asked to see the weapon.

The doctor led him to a table with a few rebooted monitors on top of it showing schematics Matthew couldn’t read. The doctor handed Matthew a thin metal pen and showed him how it worked.

The pen was a shell holding a poison. Matthew would have to stab the point into the flesh of his target and press the cap to release the toxin. As Matthew headed towards the door the doctor called out and gave him one last piece of advice.

“It is imperative that you break the skin. If you don’t the poison will be useless and you will be in more danger than if you were simply captured.”

Last Chance | Uniform 30

When it became clear that Alistair would not be able to wring any useful information out of Kiara two guards came in to remove him, leaving Kiara alone. The woman who had overseen Kiara’s torture since her arrival walked in a couple of hours later and sat across from her.

“Kiara, why don’t you help us out? No one here wants to hurt you. You need to understand however, that what you are doing is not in the interest of the public. No one stands to gain if the government falls and our nation is plunged into anarchy.” Kiara smirked, knowing that nothing the woman could say would break her.

“Spoken like a true government lackey. Tell me, did they give you a script before you came in here, or did you come up with that on the spot?” The woman sighed, an expression of forced sympathy on her face. Slowly she stood up, as if giving Kiara time to reconsider, and walked out. A cruel smirk grew on her face as she left the room.

“Start phase two. She needs more incentive to talk.” The two guards outside nodded in response, walked in to grab Kiara, and dragged her back to the dark stone room she had spent most of her captive days in.

So this section was a bit shorter than usual but I felt it was a more natural part to stop at. Otherwise the section would end up being around 700 words long.

Any ideas on what phase two might be? Will Matthew save Kiara or will it be too late?

Preparations | Uniform 29

Matthew’s plan was simple. He would get captured and serve as a distraction whilst a rescue operation for Kiara happened. When he first told his advisors of his plan they called him insane and contemplated his removal as the face of the revolution. He laughed at their worries and cryptically replied that he had no intentions of remaining captured, only of removing the leverage the government held over him.

Over the next couple of days Matthew met with scientists, ballistics experts, doctors, and ex-military. When asked about his meetings he smiled at his advisors and said he was preparing a contingency, just in case he wasn’t able to escape capture by the government.

Less than a day later 1-stars everywhere were working tirelessly. Preparations for Matthews capture and Kiara’s escape were keeping everyone busy. Soldier training intensified, weapons were mass produced, and the medical wings were expanded to account for an influx of injured soldiers. If Matthew’s plans failed it would be the perfect opportunity for the 1-stars to invade. With the government focusing on his capture it would be easier to slip past their defences and take out larger targets.

Matthew knew that his arrest would distract the government enough for 1-stars to target some of the more important government buildings and was organising an assault on the central energy plant. What he didn’t know however, was that some members of his cabinet were more than willing to let him go to jail if it meant that another assault could be mounted, and perhaps one of them could take control in Matthew’s absence.

Hey! So this post has taken a while to get out and honestly, I can’t wait to finish this story! There should only be five more posts from Uniform and I’ve written the next three already so we’re almost there! They should be up over the next couple of days and I’ll also be posting about writers block and my experiences with that throughout the writing of Uniform so keep an eye out for that post!

Dawning Realisations | Uniform 28

Altair sat across from Kiara in the dimly lit room, separated only by an old wooden table. He sat still, held in place by Kiara’s fierce glare. Both of them waited for the other to speak, unwilling to be the first to bend. Eventually Altair spoke, fed up with the prolonged silence.

“Why did you ask to speak with me?” Kiara took a moment to continue staring at him, collecting her thoughts.

“You were once a 1-star were you not? Before your time as a government lackey?” Despite his irritation at her wording he nodded. Kiara hummed in acknowledgement before continuing.

“Why then, if I may ask, would you aid in the capture of the figurehead of a revolution aiming to give rights to the group you were once a part of?” Kiara’s voice was low and dangerous. Both of them knew she could not do anything to Altair without being punished but Altair knew exactly how much danger he would have been in were they not being watched.

“Ms. Westwood, I can assure you that my actions had nothing to do with my allegiances to my fellow 1-stars, or with Matthew. I have never wanted to put him in any danger. The be truthful I owe him a great deal, he helped me out of a tough situation. Had it been up to me his fate would be a more peaceful one. Sadly, the cards were never in my hand and like many around us, I am simply following the rules in a game that others play.” A look of realisation appeared upon Kiara’s face as Altair spoke.

“You were one of the 1-stars Matthew gave a job to, weren’t you?” she could see by the look that he gave her that she was right and continued speaking.

“What then, could have driven you to betray someone who had risked so much to help you?” Altair looked conflicted before sighing and answering Kiara’s question.

“They have my family.”

Hamilton | Review

The phrase ‘written for the stage’ can be said of many productions over the years. However, this has perhaps never been truer than in the case of Hamilton. I confess that the album never captured my attention much on its own. I thought the concept was interesting, the rhythm enticing, and the lyrics incredibly well written. Despite this, I felt something was missing and was therefore never as spellbound by the musical as many around me. When Hamilton came to London’s West End however, I felt I had to see it to better understand the hype.

Though the theatre is under construction it is still clear to anyone walking by that Hamilton is performed here. Its name is proudly displayed on the walls in large bright letters, warding away confusion and inviting theatre lovers far and wide. As people enter the lavish foyer tickets are quickly printed and audience members are guided to their seats where they can marvel at the stage.

The lights go down and the crowd erupts into thunderous applause and cacophonous cheering. The music starts and slowly the cheering dies out as focus is drawn to the singing on stage. Waves of excitement and cheer run through the audience with each new character’s entrance. The excitement could be due to this only being the second night of the performance, however it seems more likely that many in the audience are big fans of the show, evident by how they are mouthing along to each line of the performance.

The cast is made up of a myriad of ethnicities: a welcome respite from the history the show brings to life. Each cast member perfects their role and the audience is enraptured. Lyrics are brought to life through incredible acting and given additional meaning. Words once thought of as throwaways are now crucial to the performance. Lines once thought to be unrelated are now reflections, parallels, or contrasts. The slightest message and image is thought of and claims of the show being genius can now be confirmed by this audience.

The show is enrapturing from start to finish but even so a few numbers shine, even in comparison to the rest of the production. ‘You’ll Be Back’, which introduces us to king George, makes the audience laugh vehemently and each subsequent appearance by the king elicits matching laughter. ‘Satisfied’ is performed so powerfully that the audience sits bewildered and as it ends applause begins, so loud that it is nearly unmatched for the remainder of the show. It is visually stunning as scenes are re-enacted, rewound, and altered, and audibly bewitching as stock melodies are matched and used to transcend the song and tell us a deeper story of anguish, regret, and remorse.  ‘Guns and Ships’, as well as ‘The Room Where It Happens’ are both showstoppers, each is acted so expertly and despite the difference in energy between the songs, the audience is no less enthralled by either. ‘Hurricane’ is probably the most impressive song visually. Set pieces are carried around the revolving stage to create the illusion of a real hurricane as Alexanders life falls apart around him.

The show ends to a standing ovation. After the long applause, the spectacle is over and individual conversations of praise and enchantment emerge throughout the audience. People can’t wait to discuss the show and their favourite moments. The audience rushes to the stands to buy show memorabilia and then to the stage door to meet the cast and congratulate them on an incredible performance. The night soon ends and people are ready to spread word of what proved to be an unforgettable night.

The Lion King | Review

Two wineglasses clink, white wine threatening to spill over. People are taking their seats in the lavish theatre. Spirits are high throughout the crowd. Word of the production has spread and spectators are sure that their expectations will be met and perhaps even exceeded.

Carefree conversation turns to hushed whispers as the lights begin to dim and the excitement grows. The curtain rises and a spectacle of colour begins. The audience leans forwards in their seats to get a better view as their senses work tirelessly, unwilling to miss a single thing. Notes are hit with a seeming effortlessness and the actors don’t seem to tire as they leap across the stage with perfect timing and grace. The opening number is familiar to most people in the theatre but no amount of familiarity with the show or its songs can compare with the scene in front of them now.

The energy in the theatre remains high for the rest of the show, a feat that seemed impossible considering the standard set by the opening number. Joy, sadness, shock and a myriad of other emotions flicker across the faces of audience members in the theatre and each scene elicits a new emotion in the audience.

The actors perform stunning dance sequences, breath-taking vocal displays, and heart-stirring acting. No matter their age, audience members fall in love with the show and its actors. The children inspire sounds of fondness and admiration and their charm makes up for the occasional mistake.

The highlight of the show is not the story, the acting, or even the music. It is the stage. The rising, tilting, and shifting of the stage aides the performance in an unmistakable way. Without the stage rising to create pride rock, tilting to show distance and landscapes, or shifting to allow for new set pieces such as the wildebeest stampede to come out the show would not be as enrapturing. Each set piece is so clearly thought through and meticulously placed to create maximum effect and the effort put into the show shines through the performance and resonates with the audience.

This same effort is evident in costume, choreography, and music. It is evident in each bead sewn onto a lioness costume, each movement or jump made by a character, and each note played by the talented musicians or sung by the actors. Nothing happens in this production by accident and the time and effort put into the piece is clear from start to finish.

Wonder shines on the faces of spectators throughout the theatre at the perfectly crafted production and the praise and applause it receives is well deserved. Smiles remain on the spectators’ faces well after the curtain is lowered for the final time. Murmurs of reverence and affection spread through the theatre as people leave, many with the intention of returning.

Preparations | Uniform 27

Preparations for Matthew’s plan were well underway by the next time the council convened. Weapons were being collected and people were being trained for battle. Matthew knew that when the plan was executed, regardless of the result, there was a chance that the army would react violently and attack the 1-stars and Matthew was making sure that they would not be caught unawares. Contingency plans were being made for every possible scenario and every possible outcome was being calculated. The hope was that if they prepared enough, they would be able to catch the army unawares and survive an assault long enough for the dust to settle after the assassination attempt.

As for the assassination, ideas were flying between the council members. By now they had all accepted that the assassination attempt would become a reality and they were determined to make sure that the best plan was made. Ideas ranged from trying to steal a bomb from the government and planting it by the president’s office, to sending in a spy to infiltrate the president’s council and isolating him from his security team so that someone could kill him.

The plan that they settled on was long and complicated. Each step had to be done exactly on time and according to plan or the assassination would fail. First, groups of 1-stars would be sent around the city where they would simultaneously launch attacks on government buildings around the city. With the army spread out to stop the attacks Matthew and a specialised team would start a prison break to save Kiara and any 1-stars that had been captured throughout the revolution. At this point the plan could take various paths depending on how the president reacted. They needed some way to find out where he was at any time. Matthew knew there was only one way they could get close enough to the president in time.

“I’m going to give myself up.”

So Matthew’s plan is falling into place and Kiara might soon get rescued, but will it happen soon enough? Will Kiara’s meeting with Altair get in the way of Matthew’s plan in any way?