Black Truth is like ice: It, too, can be shaped by a craftsperson. It can even be used as a weapon, because in the right conditions it is so solid. And yet it will melt away under the glare of close inspection if only you know how to look.
And yet people faced with such heat will still wince if you call them liars.
Rex Proctor once earned a living by dealing with the consequences of Black Truth as used by the Mind Brigade. Because some still maintained the courage, or pedantry, or sheer bloody-mindedness, to stand up and protest. Wherever dissent or even simply a discordant view to the government's own Black Truths was seen to gain traction, Rex and his team were sent in to 'intervene' and eliminate the problem. Reality was what you were told it was.
That was when he was human.
Today, Rex Proctor is a one-and-a-half metre tall action figure come to life. He had thought he was a Cloan – a Clone on Loan – implanted with his original mind and sold as a child's novelty toy, but his new friend, Jay Diamond, a toy monkey who came to life several months before him, has told Rex the truth. Toy action-figure cloans are only a few centimetres tall, while Rex has been endowed with an increase in height and an awareness of himself beyond the limited AI range of any bio-merchandise aimed at children. Something is shifting in this universe.
Yes, Rex Proctor has his own mind like a toy, and can discern Black Truth and its subdivisions when he hears or sees it, like the human he was, but he has a new soul.
Take Le Tour De France.
As he seeks an objective to his new life, Rex has stayed inside the house he apparently owns and has begun following the great race through a Smartphone link toothed to a big gram-screen. It is a compilation feed from every spectator standing by the road cheering the riders on and has commentary by a couple of European fans who, in turn, have a huge fan base themselves.
Somehow the energy of the event seeps out onto the screen and he has fallen in love with the whole atmosphere enveloping the competition and with the sport of cycling. Like a lot of people. With fossil fuels mostly rationed to departments of The State, most everyone cycles. Rex has even ordered a specialist small frame bike from his local outlet to cater for his restricted size. He can't wait for his carbon/bellite bike to be assembled once the shop has downloaded the CAD file for its 3D Prontex printer. He intends to don a cycling suit made from the new lycra and go for long spins before his state of strange metamorphism is found out. He's even dreaming of tackling Alpe d'Huez and maybe Mont Ventoux – but only if he is adequately supplied with drink and jells, otherwise it would as seem if he were cheating.
This year was a significant anniversary in Le Tour and last Sunday the winner was presented with a special maillot jaune. It gave the illusion, as he stood on the podium at midnight, of being bathed in golden flames leaping from his body. With the shattered remains of the Arc de Triomphe as a backdrop, the spectacle was captivating.
Yet today, Rex has just heard a sports reporter on a news pod describe how this flamboyant jersey enthralled spectators as the winner rode around the Champs-Elysées on the last few laps of this year's tour. Since Christoff Broom was not presented with the jersey until he had actually crossed the finish line and officially won the race, Rex knows this will become another piece of Black Truth. Those who do not know about the sport will take it as something which really happened, as opposed to the truth: sloppy journalism from someone desperate to impress with their presence and at ease with their lies. And they would dismiss any revelation of their Black Truth as a case of little importance, a misdemeanour. But, as Rex well knows, when you can't trust a person to report the little things in a truthful way, how are you expected to trust their assertions on the bigger questions?
The world is built on Black Truth. Rex is aware that most everything people think they know is either a distortion of reality, or a complete fabrication.
It's just that no-one can be bothered to care.
But at least he doesn't intend to be a party to it any more.