Written by Old Bluffer 15th Sep 2008
"Preston and Partridge" may sound like a comedy pairing from a weak TV sit-com, but don't be deceived, this crime fighting duo are rock hard Grammaton clerics, trained in the wonderfully ridiculous yet tele-visual "gun kata" (a martial art which teaches balletic moves that make you statistically less likely to get shot in a gun fight).
The criminals they are tasked with locating are "Sense Offenders". This futuristic society you see, has eliminated wars and brought order by drugging every citizen with "Prozium", which dulls emotions and turns people into cold, efficient drones.
Occasionally, the odd person rebels, and stops taking their Prozium, at which point they inevitably start to dabble in the secret delights of art, music and simple human joy - all of which are Sense Crimes in the new regime.
Partridge has been becoming increasingly disillusioned with this state of affairs, and has presumably also stopped taking his Prozium. As a result, each time he has impounded forbidden items, instead of turning them into the Tetragrammaton authorities, he has travelled out into the "nethers" and enjoyed them for himself.
Preston has suspected something like this for quite some time, as he is an "intuitive" and one of the top rated clerics in service. He has one blot on his career though, in that he failed to report that his own wife was a sense offender. When she was summarily executed, he showed no outward emotion and was therefore exonerated from blame. The leader of the society, DuPont was never full convinced of his innocence though, and warns Preston that such a lapse in judgement can never happen again.
It is probably this admonition that prompts Preston to follow his partner out to the nethers, where he finds him in a dusty warehouse reading poetry by William Yeats.
From this point on, both know that Partridge is doomed, but for Preston it is an awkward moment none the less. Despite the prozium, Partridge is the closest thing he has to a friend in all the world, and the loss of his wife to the same crime must also reverberate deep within his psyche.
Partridge, by contrast, is at peace with his fate, and continues to savour the forbidden, long dead words of Yeats:
"'But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under
your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.' I assume you
"I'll do what I can to see they go easy on you." says Preston, the words hollow even to him.
"We both know they never 'go easy'" his friend tells him.
"Then, I'm sorry."
"No, you're not. You don't even know the meaning. Its just a vestigial word for a feeling you've never felt."
Whilst this is going on, Partridge is slowly moving his gun, not with any real intent, but to force what happens next.
"Don't", says Preston, but Partridge just shields his face with the book and continues.
The Grammaton training and prozium kick in, and Preston dispassionately shoots through the heavy tome, blowing Partridge's face away in the process.
Brandt, another highly placed Grammaton Cleric then appears in the doorway, implying that Dupont wanted to see if Preston would do what duty demanded of him. Preston obviously passes this test, but Brandt is assigned to be his new partner and continue to keep an eye on him.
For Preston, this night's events mark the culmination of the turning point of his life, a process heralded by his wife's arrest and execution. Soon, he will stop taking the Prozium himself, and do what he can to take down DuPont and give society their feelings back.