The Third-Rank Hierarch of the Inner Church grinned. He had discovered a clear error of dogma in the annoying Second-Rank Hierarch James of Oxfrd's writings – he was implying that the current Nine Castes were an elaboration of a smaller number which had existed at some time in the past. That was clearly a doubleplus ungood violation of the Principle of Conservatism, under which only the High Council of the two Innermost Castes could recreate Falsepast to bring it in line with Truefuture. A clear case of Thoughtcrime. He wet his quill in the ink and began writing. If he followed Properproc and made sure to put this information in the correct hands, he would rise and James of Oxfrd would sink: at the very least banished from the Inner Castes and be Made Straight, possibly even be declared an Unperson and suffer the Seven Tortures.
All was Plusgood. The Hierarch paused and gazed out the window of the Ministry of Truth. It was a lovely spring day in the year 2484, and the sun was shining: in the summer the high humidity and the 90-degree plus temperatures made things uncomfortable here in the People's Reapublic of South Ayerstreep-wan, but right now things were almost perfect. The huts of the Outer Castes crowded near the river, and the bountiful fields stretched to the horizon, while the brutally massive shape of the Temple of the Colossal Brother, Who Watches us all, squatted on the far horizon. A raft poled by, carrying what looked like a load of rusty metal, perhaps dug from the ruins of Old Lundon, headed for the docks.
The Hierarch's good mood dimmed somewhat. Good metal was increasingly hard to find, and there were few productive mines left in the Reapublic. Relations were currently spotty with the Western and Northern Reapublics: they might be proper followers of the Doubleplus Correct Doctrine, but it had been a long time since there had been a PlusBig Council unifying all of Ayerstreep-wan, and there were clashes over farming land and ruin-digging rights. Indeed, trade was currently more prosperous with the infidels on the continent. The MostBig Council was a faded thing, its effective dominance limited to the far Northeastern parts of the Western Oceanic continents: yearly ships were dispatched from the Islands bearing a largely nominal tribute, but it had been lifetimes since anyone did anything but neatly file away in dusty archives the regular Five Year Plans and list of Objectives and Production Targets that came back to the isles aboard the tribute ships.
One day, thought the Hierarch, Truefuture would be achieved and the Colossal Brother would return to unify the world and establish Total Order. The magic of Plusold Times would return again, men would again fly through the air and build cities that towered to the sky, and the secret skills that allowed steam to not merely drive pumps, but make great metal chariots fly across the land would be relearned. In the meantime, men must do what good was possible, the upper castes governing and fighting and praying and carrying out the Sacred Tortures, while lesser castes grubbed in the mud for the good of their superiors and occasionally provided their bodies as sacrifices for the temple.
And there were signs that the world might be returning to rights: there were far fewer children born dead than had once been the case, even near the old ruins, and the Ungood Non-Plan weather which had, according to the ancient records, had been one of the plagues of the Great Ungoodness, was now so long gone that there were those who argued it had become Falsepast. In fact, it seemed as if the weather were growing cooler of late: the old records indicated that Ayerstreep-wan had once been much colder, so this might be seen as another sign of the Colossal Brother's Return. The Hierarch was not sure this was entirely a good thing: he had once been in the far north in winter on a diplomatic mission, and he hadn't liked it.
A sudden loud boom interrupted his contemplations. This was quickly followed by several other such booming, crashing noises in rapid succession.
"Brother Protect us" muttered the Hierarch. He had heard such noises in the past: the sound of cannon. Could it possibly be an invasion from one of the other Reapublics? A naval invasion, perhaps, coming up the river? He leaned out the window and craned his neck. A powerful fleet would be needed to get past the fortresses at the mouth of the Tems, which indicated something more than mere raiding. But there was no indication of any such actions: all three states very busily spied upon each other, and given his status in the Inner Castes he should have heard any Notgood news from the north or west. Perhaps it was an invasion from the continent: there had not been such a thing for generations, given how badly fragmented and given to ideological warfare west Eurasia was, but it was not beyond…
There. Ships, several, firing upon the town with cannon and some sort of gunpowder rockets. Ships of an unfamiliar design, with sails and…yes, smokestacks! An extreme rarity: coal was too hard to dig nowadays to waste on boats when sails worked almost as well and wind was free. It must be from some distant shore – and then his heart seemed to stop as he saw the pennant flying from the topmost mast.
On a white background, a green cross and crescent. A symbol he had only seen before in texts forbidden outside the inner castes. The symbol of Crislam, the abominable faith of the Un-People, the inhabitants of the Dark Lands, the ancient Triangle of Riches over which the ancients had battled. The lands abandoned after the Great Ungoodness, in ancient tale a land of ever-growing deserts and terrible deluges and plagues and death upon death upon death.
A land largely unknown, since the few travelers who returned had all been very thoroughly punished for Falsespeak and Thoughtcrime and their reports suppressed outside a narrow circle of the Inner Castes. Followers of a mad religion that did not hold to the principles of caste, hierarchy, sacrifice, and changeable truth that all of the three great Root Faiths shared, even in the utmost East. People who allowed all members of their casteless society to write and read as they pleased.  People who spoke of such meaningless things as "freedom" and of "truth" as if it were something that existed outside the will of the Inner Castes and the Brother. People armed and organized who fought like devils against any intrusion from the lands of civilization (which was why so few returned in the first place). None of these things were fit for discussion or even thought.
A land from where in recent decades, rumors said, raiders had begun to prey upon the fringes of the civilized world. He had dismissed this as Falsespeak even before the official pronouncement: how could people with no proper government or religion possibly run a society well enough to be a serious threat? And yet here they were in Ayerstreep-wan, hundreds (or perhaps thousands: geography was not his strong point) of miles from the borders of the Dark Lands.
He was still wondering if he would be engaging in Thoughtcrime if he reported the situation to his superiors, and how he might turn this unfortunate, impossible situation to his benefit, when a stray shell flew through the window and send him to Colossal Brother.
 Well, not always the women…