The two men in suits looked down to their check-lists and in one synchronised movement knocked on the door. An elderly gentleman with a well trimmed beard answered “Hello, how can I help you?” The two men looked past him, inspecting the room inside. The elderly gentleman continued “Ah, yes. You’re from the ministry.”

“We are from the ministry.” The taller suited man said redundantly. “You were expecting us?”

“No you were not expected, but you always come sooner or later. As you can see everything in my home is standard.”

“That is for us to confirm. You will concede to inspection?” An incorrect answer did not run a risk of execution, the ministry only ever dealt in certainty.

“Of course you may come in, you are most welcome.” Many would have sweated when under inspection. But not the old man, he had been chosen for this rare trait.

The ministry men walked in and began searching through draws and pulling furniture from the walls.

“What is it you are looking for?” the old man asked as his room was torn apart.

“Contraband.” Clear. Precise. No unnecessary information.

“I heard that you found something last week, is it true?”

“Yes. Contraband. Room was made for one.” One death. One life. A cause for celebration.

“Oh yes, the Gordon family were thrilled at the news that they were allowed a boy. Rare to be allowed a second child these days.”

“Their gene-pool had a good history of conformity.” Clear. Reasoned. Logical breeding.

“Ah yes. Of course.”

Having thrown half the contents of the room onto the floor the ministry men looked to each other and nodded. “Inspection complete. No contraband was found.”

“As it should be.”

The ministry men turned sharply and walked out of the room shutting the door behind them.

The old man was relieved that the men had gone. He lifted off the top of the kettle and reached inside carefully to unscrew the secret panel. Out of a compartment he lifted the tiny vial for which he risked his life. He held it up to the light in wonder, inside was preserved the DNA from dead non-conformist bloodlines.

Behind the old man the door silently slid open again for the ministry men who had been waiting outside. One shot to the back of the head and the old man fell to the ground, the precious vial smashing on the floor. “Predictable even in rebellion against the conformity.”