Crowd noise surged through the walls. The chanting grew louder, more urgent. They were clamouring for him.
He flinched, taking a final swig of bourbon. Enough to blunt the edge, not so much as to lose it.
His hand shook as he lifted the cigarette. He lowered it quickly, stubbing it out, but Alex had noticed. “Get out there. They worship you!”
“No! They worship her! We all do.”
Tonight as always. They would never stop worshipping her.
He rose and left the room, the drone of the crowd rising and falling to the rhythm of his heartbeat.
Noise erupted as he turned the corner to the stage. Flashes exploded before his eyes. A sea of hands reached out to him, the shouting now desperate.
A fuzzcopter buzzed above, scanning his ID chip. Beyond the surging crowd he could make out the dark shadows of watchtowers.
For a last moment, he hesitated. Then he raised his hand and brought it down sharp. A crash of cymbals, the screaming guitar, cutting his soul. His voice rising above it all:
“Liberty is dead!“