Chapter Two: The Flash

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“Alright now when they ask for your full name, what do you say?”
“Tabitha Straits”
“Perfect, my genius sister, you’re going to have a great second day.”
“Ab, why are Mom and Dad making me go? They make us sit at a computer all day?”
“I know, I’m sorry Tabby, it’s just part of the conditioning sequence so that you can sit still for ten hours at a time when you’re my age, okay?”
“Okay, I can go. I love you.”
“Love you to Tabby.”

She’s so young, I remember when I started at the education center. The underprivileged or “pennies” as they call us grow up around computers without ever being able to own them. The Elders tell us that it’s for the “greater good” that we work hard to be productive in society. We have nothing, but the Elders give us everything we need. They program us early but it’s all a part of The Process. The Process is what keeps society moving towards perfection and gratification for every member and all are important, even the pennies. Eventually I’ll get my License to Assist like my parents have when I’m 21 and I’ll be able to speak directly with the Elders and help with the operation of the Work Center and Education Center facilities.

The eye scanner flashes through my eye, directing me towards the right door in the inner chambers of the Work Center. I head to the youth wing where I find my work station. My job is to monitor our town’s message boards to ensure that no one is resisting The Process. If I see anything, I am to report it directly to the Assistants immediately who will work to reprogram the person and remind them of The Process.

I login and open the message board, my avatar is one of the “pennies” so that no one knows I’m an operator. I immediately see a message about prisoners trapped all around the nation, it outlines a governmental plot to hide an entire group of people away. I click on the profile, her name is Dinah and she’s also 16. I ping her location and see that she’s in Wilmington. She’s from the mainland. Who is the government and what does that mean? I don’t understand how her message came into the Ocracoke system either but I want to know what she means. I look around at my peers staring mindlessly into their screens and make the decision to find out.

Hey Dinah, I’m Abaddon but all my friends call me Ab.
Ab, I hacked into your message system. I don’t have much time but you need to know what’s happening.

I pause, What do you mean by governmental plot?
The government is being super secretive about these small islands and things and the other day while my Dad was in another room, I saw a bunch of folders with different names like “Tangier” and “Ocracoke.” If my calculations are correct, you’re in Ocracoke?

My mind is reeling, why would my burrow be one of these folders? Does the rest of society not know we’re here?
Yes Dinah, I live in Ocracoke, I’m a computer operator.
Ab, listen to me. I think the government is planning on decommissioning you all.
What does that mean?
They’re going to kill everyone.