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By: Robert F. Gogan iii
Chaper One: Them – A Description
Them. They always came at night to take the Chosen away for Harvest. Yes, we knew, we all knew. It was always the ones that were deemed, in some way, as a whole, the most problematic at that time. First ones I recall being Chosen were Muhammad Atbar Hussein el-Kasan and his Family. It happened like all the others. It was cold that Late Fall Evening in South Dartmouth, MA, U.S.A. on 01/ 1111.11. The Trailers stretched all along the Old Golf Course and across an Old King's Highway to the Gatehouse, which is also the processing area and once an old institution for higher learning. You didn't get near the parameter, even though you could see Freedom - the everyday hussle-bussle of those that are yet to be of the Chosen - happening not feet away. You could even, if you dare, I suppose, try and meet where the P.A.I.N. boundary lines are, I understand it is but of only Threeand One-Seventh of an inch wide. However, it is said to fluctuate and there are Warnings, taught very young, not to be near the area, and we all generally stay a good twenty feet from it. The Trailors stretched all along the Old Golf Course and across an Old King's Highway to the Gatehouse which is also the processing area and once an old intistution for higher learning. You didn't get near the parameter, even though you could see Freedom, the everyday hussle-bussle of those that are yet to be of the Chosen, happening not feet away. Ypu could even, if you dare, I suppose, try and meet where the P.A.I.N. boundery lines are, I understand it is but of only Three and One-Seventh of an inch wide. However, it is said to fluxuate and there are Warnings, taught very young, not to be near the area and we all generally stay a good twenty feet from it. It was all a very humane process. The Chosen are told one year before their Processing Date. The Army of the Free-Thinkers were able to secure some qualities of Life provisions for the Camps in our Area. The Senior Patrol along with a Free-Thinking Representitive would always be present when they came to the Trailor on the exact time of Processing . Friends and loved ones that have made previous authorised attendence were also allowed to be on hand. Not all Family would be there as other's of that Family that were residing in Camps too far away would not be allowed to be Processed with their loved ones. They are heald in quite High Regard their Final Year before Processing. Until the Revolt it was widely held that they were Chosen and would recieve Special Accomodations, but the Revolt managed to uncover the ghastly truth. Fate wasn't so kind for Mr. el-Kasan and His Chosen Family. For their youngest, a male child, must have been four years old at the time, but a very large boy. It wasn't until recently when I happened upon an old Journal of Medicine that I realized the poor Child must have had Autism. Always rocking, as if trying to rock himself to sleep. And those occasional injuries to his head from him having fits and repeatedly banging his head on the Trailer floor. I only knew the little tike as Abby. He got out of his Mother's Arms during the Appeasement Ceromony that occurs with the Chosen and all in Attendence. He ran straight for the P.A.I.N. boundry and, somehow, managed to get through. This was unheard of. However, it wasn't long before the poor child was apprehended by a Patrol and the Family was stripped of their Chosen Rite's, then taken in to Processing for Euthynization. The only humane ways for dealing with criminals of such a nature. They were suspected of the whole thing being a ploy to defile the Chosen Rituals with an escape attempt to save their own skins. They don't like that, and it is against the Provisions granted us by the hard-faught treaty earned by the blood of the Free-Thinkers. The rows of Trailors that stretched for for quite a distance were not always in such almost solemn times as they were on those Sacred Nights. During the days, the areas were abusstle with all sorts, coming and going. Music rang in Joyous Celebration on the Days of The Chosen. Many came out in their best atire, from family heirlooms of long ago or those given freely unto us by the Beloved Chosen Ones. Bright and colorful dresses, shirts and scarves swirled to the music. The streets were all kept very clean and sanitary, as were most of the Trailors themselves. We respected this Area in an almost Sacred kind of way. For not only was this where The Chosen Ones would spend their last time here with us, but it also offered us some security. Security not only from the yet to be, if ever, Chosem but also from Rogue Free-Thinkers and more-importantly, Them. The Patrol seemed lightest on those Days Most Sacred and heaviest during the Winter months. The cold and merciless snowfall of the New England Weather has been seemingly unending during the Winter Months since the Days of the War. We knew when the Winter neared, almost as extinctively as the Avians flew to Warmer Climates and away from all of the cold and nasty months comming to pass in a seemingly more hurried, frantic pace each year compared to the year before. It was during the beginnings of those Winter Months that the Free-Thinkers organized the Revolt. The long Winter Months that are soon to come now as surely as the bright orange and pale-tan colors leave the trees that are so plentiful to the Free Zone west of this Camp. "The Global Lift Infintry Deployment Aviar or G.L.I.D.A. is one of the most widely used and adored tools We, The Army of the Free-Thinkers have at our desposal. " The Instructor lecturing his Class, the Class of '33 of the Avian Wing Corp. bellowed while pacing in a very stright and uniform line, snapping to a halt and about-facing throughout the entirety of his speech as his class stood at at-ease listening attentively. Behind the Instructer, the G.L.I.D.A. rested, in an all-to-inviting fashion, with her large cargo hold open and the stairs deployed from the bottom of the lustrous portal, also open in wait for the few Cadets who could not stay focused only on the Instructor but occasionally, dreamingly their eyes would drift to her. No doubt. She was a Beaut. Always kept in prestine condition. Cleaned constantly by the Class of the Year. This was as much a part of their every day drill as was Physical Training and Drill Formations. She was the finest the Cadet School in this Zone of Control could wish to have. Everything they could possibly have asked for. Her armor, though very thin and light-weight was nearly inpervious to all forms of small arms ground fire short of an anti-tank weapon. Her sleak, black exterior almost shined but for the anti-glare materiel applied to her daily by the maintnence ground crews. The perfectly sloped arches and the angles of which all of her prestine hull connected were in as perfect an aerospace design as would also accomodate the weight of the crew and passengers but that also of all of their equipment or cargo up to a half of a metric ton but also the weight of her engines. The G.L.I.D.A. not only has the capability of being towed by other fix-wing aircraft, she can operate independently for a very short Fifty Kilometer Range with the help of her pivoting-wing-mounted engines. These Engines not only allow for the carry of the weight but also do so maintaining a fair speed of six hundred m.p.h. but also allow the lift to maximize her design for the best meneuveribility. "Not only has she been in the Service of The Army of the Free Thinkers, Transporting the Men and Woman of this Command longer than any of our other Air-craft to date," the Instructor procalimed to his class as he snapped to attention in the middle of his well-worn path, "she is also your ticket to aid other Free-Thinkers who may be residing in those dreadful Camps!" The Instructor then Commands, 'Attention!' The Cadets all snap to attention with the sound of their boots pounding together in such thunderous echoe throughout the entire hall. The Instructor issued one last order, 'Dismissed!' It wasn't uncommon to be teased in such a way as was done to the Cadets just chomping at the bit for when they are finally able to deploy in their fine bird. They have become so used to it that they all now leave without as much as turning back to view her one last time, except for one. He wasn't the most-gifted of his Class and not a stand-out by any means. He scored in the mid rage for his Intellectual Placement Exams and his stature wasn't too striking either. He stood an average height of near six feet however, due to his rough upbringings and other causes left undetermined by the medical officials during his recruitment exams, was of a thin build. Unlike many armies of times long pass, the Army of the Free Thinkers did not have any hair length or facial hair regulations so long as was kept sanitary as to not expose others to any harms such vile conditions can bring. He brushes his long, golden red locks to one side, peeeing in to the crafts open enterance from the base of the stairs deployed below. 'Johnny!' Exclaims an excited, young voice from within the craft. Yes, his name is 'Johnny' to the few that knew him from his early years. The years where he grew up for most of his childhood in the South End of Boston Proper. 'Southie,' for some reason many of the local residence that have had strong family ties to the area affectinately call it.
Much to First-Cadet John Alibaster Crowley’s dismay, ‘Johnny’ was a name that he just could not shake despite even being long-removed from the ‘Zone.’ but from her, that voice, calling him his name so affectionately called him by his mom and sister, he has grown to not only tolerate it, as he had to upon first entering the Academy, he also now cherishes it. He finds himself missing his name being spoken in a mannor other than official. Especially from her. She too, quite a beauty.
'Allie!' Startled, he stumbles about to pick up his cadet's cap from the ground where it had landed after being fumbled from his hands. Alexis Zayitzokov, whom he has become quite endeared to in the last six weeks of re-aquaintence at the Academy lunges fron the shadows through the portal and leans forward, holding the rail of the stair deployment in one arm and her other positioning her hand over her heart, 'Where art thou?' Kneeling to pick up his hat and looking up at her in continued stunned silence thoughts begin to race through his mind. The most of which how striikingly her dark black hairs curls, long and flowing, full of grace, appear from the shadows. Her silhouette, clad in tightly fitted uniform skirt and light blouse of the same blue color, leaning ever so forward, in wanting, in waiting... All supported by the armored-cast stairs and hand rail. His newest meaning in life. to fly free... Things were not always ain such cheerful and festive moods as were the case during those celebratory times as were found so prevailant in the Camps During the Day's of Appeasement. Although there were Security Patrols on a scheduled, methodilogical schedule, there were those that were quite attuned to those schedules. These were the Chosen who have Sacrificed their Appeasement Rite's to either continue on in their pettiful exsistance, dwelling in hiding places, that unless a Sensorn Sweep of the Area was Scheduled, wouldn't reveal their presence. Dark, cold and shadowy are where we find those some consider The Fallen, Fallen from the Grace's of Them... Yes, it was also in the nights and wee-hours before daybreak The Fallen would have what seemingly was near free-reign over the Camp. Never on the Night's of Appeasement. No, not even the most skilled of The Fallen would come out from their dark, damp dwellings, usually under the Trailors, in the deep recesses of borrowed Earth. Not all of these, I guess you could call them hide-outs, faired as well as the others. Some were quite make-shift at-best. What would basically ammount to a foxhole of wars long passed when The Millions would Battle in wide sweeping formations. Battling each other until the Will of the victor would overpower, encircle and eventually snap the pincer's of the trap shut on the weaker, what one could pevy call their prey. These foxholes, found under the newer Trailors in the Area yet the be set in permenant foundation as those of Old Town are usually discovered quickly, although some, with the aid of other, more embeded Fallen or Free-Thinkers, have found pretty clever ways of not only keeping the burrow free from the detection of the Sensor Array, but also of that of the Up-and-Abouts. You know the ones... Up-and About everyone else's up-and-about while all along should have been up-and-about their own up-and-about - oh, don't get me started on them. Thats what happened to Eddie.
I mean, looking back at it, the kid really didn’t do anything all that wrong. He was just young and was yet to be able to understand the consequences, in the long term, of what one’s actions in the now may bring about.
I really don't think, under any other circumstances, Fast Eddie, or Fastie some called him, would have gunned down that Security Patrol. But, what choice did he have? He was A Fallen, out of Grace for at least Three Years, with the help of his deceased older brothers vast network of friends established within this Area. Come to think of it, he was a lot like you or even me. He wanted to be free, perhaps not a Free-Thinker, as we call the Army of the Free-Thinkers, but, rather, a true free thinker. Do we all not march to the beat of our own drums, in a way? Some would argue it could have been the events that unfolded so rapidly - in such frantic intervals and in such a widespread Area that was the catalyst to the Revolt. I think what Eddie done, he wouldn't have done any differently if given the chance. I mean, would you? Needless to say, since the times of The Aftermath The Fallen have never committed any acts of violence or widespread discord that would delay the Appeasement Ceremonies. No one wanted to Awaken Them. End, Chapter One: Them - A Description.