The Last Post of Leeza of Beaverton
was an unflattering image of Caesar Markus, child emperor of House Facebook
The last post by Leeza of Beaverton was an unflattering image of Caesar Markus, child emperor of House Facebook. More specifically, it was an image, which she clipped and posted to her Book, of a horse’s voluminous hindquarters. There were additional emoglyphs which are known by the millions of users of the Book of F to refer to the Emperor: A baby, a crown, a pile of excrement.
EXCERPT, TERMS OF SERVICE, BOOK OF F
VII. Lèse-majesté Clause
No follower of the Book of F (“Facebook”) shall express, through words, images, or motion paintings, any insulting, deprecating, or dishonoring language or sentiment regarding Emperor Markus Augustus.
Sanctions may include moderation, excommunication, and death by fire.
Leeza’s neighbors would remember a darkening of the sky, and the coming of a great quadcopter, in the black and red of the Moderatorii. The craft’s shrieking rotors blasted the cardboard and cement walls of their hovels.
Leeza was blown from her Amazon chair on to her Amazon rug. She crawled for her Book, for she knew the chill of death when she felt it tickle her face. Perhaps she could tear the page from her book. Perhaps they would be lenient.
Outside, a squad of Moderatorii stepped from their craft, behind a pack of yipping war doodles. The woodles and the officers fanned out and stood before the neighbor houses, daring anyone to show their face.
Inside her house, Leeza palmed a small and very illegal silicon implement and tucked it into her right slipper.
The Moderatorii wore black leather tunics, stiffened with alumine bracing to ward off edge weapons. The bloodred double-F of the Moderatorii Impericus was embroidered on their chests. On their heads they wore black brimmed hats turned up on one side and sporting the red feather of their cadre. They were armed with an assortment of flash slings, multibows, short swords, lassos, and other implements. All carried the Moderatrix, the wooden and iron mace of their office.
Presently, a woman wearing the sash of an Inspectori stepped from the cabin of the quad. Her short, sandy-blond hair could barely be seen beneath her brimmed hat. She was unencumbered by equipment, save the mace, which she held casually in her right hand. The device hummed with math.
The Inspectori strode toward Leeza’s door. The woodles followed her at a respectful distance. She tapped her mace on the door, which promptly splintered. She walked into the darkness. The woodles sat outside: Panting, curly-haired sentinels.
Leeza knelt on the floor, with a scrap of paper in her hand, which she held limply in offering. She averted her eyes from the Inspectori’s cold gaze. There was a long moment of silence.
“I am Inspectori Angie.”
“Praise your merit, Inspectori,” said Leeza, still staring at the floor.
“At Facebook we care deeply about our subjects.” Inspectori Angie holstered her mace, and stared intently at Leeza’s crumpled form. At last she took the offered paper, folded it neatly, and deposited it in a pouch at her waist. “Tell me, Leeza of Beaverton, do you understand that we care deeply about you? That Emperor Markus cares deeply about you?”
Leeza heard the trap and did not speak.
The Inspectori allowed the silence to crackle. She took on a pained expression. “Help me to understand. I wish to understand. How you would mock your Emperor? He who provides you sacred connection with your fellows, who humbly offers the gift of his sainted merit, his ingenuity, his divine inspiration…Free. Of charge.”
Leeza risked a glance at the Inspectori, and immediately regretted it. “If it pleases your merit, I renounce my writings.”
The Inspectori sighed. “Your writings have already been deleted, pursuant of the Terms, which you signed, when you opened the Book of F.”
“Blessings upon your merit, I do not recall signing—“
The Inspectori’s arm exploded like a coiled spring, the mace singing toward the Amazon Basics table, which shattered. Leeza’s right hand twitched toward her slipper, in anticipation of a second blow. It did not come.
Inspectori Angie’s eyes remained impassive, her breathing easeful. “It is your sacred duty to read the Terms of Service, Leeza of Beaverton.”
The Inspectori snapped her fingers and three woodles bound into the house and immediately began shredding furniture, pillows, anything within reach of their massive jaws. Leeza cowered as a woodle loomed over her, pressed its mighty muzzle to her head, huffled dead animal into her face, and licked her from chin to eye.
Heedless of the growling and jabbering of the woodles, Inspectori Angie continued to stand before Leeza, the mace at ease in her right hand. “It is my solemn duty to moderate you,” she intoned.
Leeza hung her head miserably.
“And I have already moderated your words, by scrubbing the obscenities you scrawled on the Book of F. But whither came such foul words? What vileness lays dark upon your heart? On your mind?”
“Inspectori, I beseech thee—“
Inspectori Angie whirled and smashed a set of nesting tables (n$ 49.99), a framed painting of a cat sitting in a box (n$ 13.95), and then began attacking the very walls of Leeza’s cardboard hovel, rending great tears into the sad structure. The woodles joined in tearing at the house.
Leeza cringed as the house creaked and shuddered ominously, but she dared not get up. At last Inspectori Angie, her hat at a slight kilter, turned on the diminished woman once more. When at last she spoke, it was with an air of great disappointment. “It troubles me that you think to speak, when I have made it clear that your words are objectionable to our Emperor.”
Still staring at the woman, she barked a command to the Moderatorii outside: “Adjudanti!”
An officer loomed in the doorway. “Yes, Inspectori.”
“This woman is to be spiritually moderated. Shackle her for transport.” The Inspectori turned to leave, the woodles at attention. “And Adjudanti. She has a contraband weapon in her right shoe.”
Leeza burst from her crouch with a silicon switchblade singing in her hand. The Adjudanti and the woodles pounced on her, pinning her arms to the earthen floor. Wild-eyed and writhing, she screamed at the Inspectori’s retreating back. “May you die without benefits, gigsnake!”
Inspectori Angie did not respond, but turned to another officer. “Moderati, burn this,” she said, gesturing to the house. “And all of this,” she said, gesturing vaguely to the street.”
“The neighborhood, Inspectori?”
“Five houses in every direction. This neighborhood is to be moderated as well.”
The Moderatorii Impericus are the imperial gendarmerie of House Facebook. As the primary law enforcement agency of House Facebook, they are tasked with enforcing the sacred laws of the house, known popularly as the Terms of Service. Each Moderati, as the agents of the service are known, has broad powers to monitor, arrest, and reeducate (“moderate”) Facebook subjects wherever those subjects may be found.
The Moderatorii are also the internal and external intelligence service for House Facebook. They maintain an extensive surveillance apparatus centered around the Book of F. Because most Westlanders carry the Book of F, the Moderatorii are able to surveil most individuals with ease and impunity. Their surveillance apparatus is arguably the most extensive and efficient in the Westlands, with the possible exception of the algorithmic surveillance of the Googlene Order.
The Moderatorii are in frequent conflict and competition with agents of other house intelligence services, including Amazon’s Alexa and the Auditorii of the Googlene Order.
All Moderatorii swear a personal allegiance to Emperor Markus Augustus of House Facebook. While most rank and file members are contractorii, meaning they do not receive benefits or own stock in the house, an elaborate and secretive system of blackmail and indoctrination ensures near perfect loyalty amongst the cadre.
As a gendarmerie, the Moderatorii are nominally members of the imperial military, however they are independent of the chain of command, instead taking their orders directly from an imperial board overseen by Emperor Markus. Their remit also includes policing the Legions of House Facebook, and ensuring the personal security of the Emperor.
The Moderatorii are commanded by the Moderati General, currently Senior Vice Consul Jennifer. The Moderati General is rarely seen in public, befitting the secretive nature of her work, and the frequency of attempts on her life.
The Moderatorii are widely feared both inside and outside of House Facebook. Their distinctive black uniforms with red double-F insignia are a symbol for terror and paranoia in the Westlands.