by Joel Swaby
|The Chronicles of Jai is a dark, semi-autobiographical thriller recording the life and death of the neo-revolutionary, JAI LONG (POV), set in the near future.
Jai is a tortured black teenager from London, overwhelmed by his cold and deadly reality. Made bitter by the transgressions of his fellow man, he’s at odds with everyone in his life; a silent host of a potent hate.
An argument with his college philosophy teacher is the catalyst that sends him in pursuit of the overflowing cornucopia he sees in his dreams. Walking out of his class Jai wanders through central London, where a conversation with an enigmatic scripture-spewing tramp named SAM rewards him with a bible. This bible serves as Jai’s guide, cultivating a lifelong faith.
Indulging his impulsive nature Jai boards a train to Paris, hoping for a new start. He arrives after dark, crawling the suburban streets for lodging within his means. An encounter with a Parisian gang turns out to be a blessing in disguise as Jai is put up by a member who understands his circumstance.
Home is a spacious, virtually rent-free studio converted out of an abandoned factory and co-inhabited by colourful individuals: artists, musicians and social outcasts from around the globe who occupy the vast complex.
Jai forms close friendships with SEBASTIÉN, his benefactor - a quiet and observant practitioner of a unique art-form of movement called Parkour – his sister NATHALIÉ and friend FABIEN. Dividing his time between work, Parkour, martial arts and education, Jai prepares to return to the U.K. and attend university. Living modest but free, he and his companions practise their art and taste liberty as they’d never done before.
Once back home, Jai pursues a clean slate. But things have changed. The political climate has reached crisis point and another terrorist threat looms.
Awaiting the approval of his university application, Jai Long is caught in a bloody confrontation with police as he returns home from work one night. Faced with armed officers on an isolated London street, Jai reacts instinctively after being floored and smothered by the officers. Breaking free, he quickly dispatches the squad and attempts to escape. Having lost too much blood in the melee, he collapses in the middle of the street, comatose.
Jai’s ordeal does the obligatory rounds in the media. Despite the fact that he was initially brutalised and had acted in self-defence, Jai is incarcerated for 9 months. Incensed, he shifts his attention to politics, studying sociology and political science during his time in jail.
Religious and racial tension comes to a head soon after Jai’s release from prison and he participates in a riot considered the bloodiest in British history. His first step on the path to sedition.
Managing to evade capture Jai flees to the U.S where he continues his education, conducting small seminars (a compilation of inspired modules that promote his holistic doctrines of faith, discipline, mental and physical health) designed to excite change and justice, initially aimed at his own black community. Jai quickly joins forces with seminar attendees, among them the misguided computer prodigy named SIMON Cozier, a beautiful civil rights activist for the Cherokee Association of America, RAVEN White, and other people from various walks of life – all of whom he becomes close friends with.
Meanwhile, a coincidental turn of events reunites Jai with the eccentric tramp he’d met a few years before. They soon develop a deep, trusting friendship, with Sam assuming the role of advisor to Jai, much to the suspicious disapproval of those within his close circle.
Over time, Jai’s audience grows, evolving into a fully-fledged social movement. Seeing the positive effects it has on his area of residence, Jai takes his seminars on the road, travelling all over America. The Pursuit of Truth tour is an amazing success. So much so that Raven persuades Jai to extend his formula to the wider society.
With a proven record of social reform, Jai traverses the international community, transforming small developing countries into prosperous and robust nations. It is only after Jai’s activities begin to interfere with the United States’ economy and it’s international political strategies, however, that he and his group become a target. His influence is now considered a threat.
After numerous attempts to end Jai’s efforts fail, his cousin, C.J., is killed during a coup he’d been leading. This U.S-sponsored assassination is intended to scare Jai into dissolution. Learning of his cousin’s murder, Jai spirals into a perpetual freefall of paranoia and depression, blaming himself for spurning Sam’s advice and sending his cousin on the assignment.
Now forced underground and headed temporarily by Jai’s second in command, Raven, the resistance struggles on, discordant in the face of its losses.
The recuperation is agony. Desperately supine and at his lowest point, Jai draws strength through his faith in God. Using the respite to his advantage, he coordinates attacks against the inter-governmental Coalition, developing a queer relationship with Saul Kellen, the director of an NSA black-ops sub-agency charged with taking him down, in the process.
Resuming his command, incessant assaults against the Coalition’s upper echelons commence. Jai also employs his understanding of the power of the individual, winning the minds of the nation and attacking that of all who hold authority and/or uphold law. Additionally, the advantageous capture of seasoned black-op agent DEREK BO-HAGAN proves Jai’s powers of influence, reassigning him with various covert missions.
Coalition support weakens as ‘conscience’ regains its pulse; China and India refuse to intervene, unwilling to compromise the possibility of becoming the new superpowers. Europe follows, recognising the futility of a war against the people and desperate to avoid a similar fate. Debilitated by past treacheries, America awaits Her judgement in torment and realisation…
Karma has come to adjudicate.
Technological attacks cause information crises; freedom of speech is outlawed; governments terminate internet access for fear of mutiny; the signs of the times making manifest in the increasingly abnormal weather – all conspire toward one meticulously orchestrated yet inexorable end: Revolution.
Slowly but surely, the fabric of society is undone, pitting neighbour against neighbour, brother against sister, in a battle of morality and belief. As America and other First World countries plunge into dystopia, struggling against the contractions of change, Jai and his group move to an unknown location, operating from a complex he had secretly built some time earlier. Months pass with no apparent activity. Then, on August 30th 2017, Bo-Hagan is deployed and the Statue of Liberty is blown up. Jai – having already dispatched 144 elite leaders trained in the hiatus months prior, to strategic locations – flies out of hiding to wage war against the United States government and it's allies. War blazes for months, laying waste to the country.
As Raven White gives birth to their son, ZION, Jai Long, having irreversibly exhausted his body, dies peacefully on the battlefield, safe in the knowledge that the fight for change has begun…
© Copyright 2008, Joel Swaby