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September 25, 2011
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The Pyramid’s extensive security system had always seemed excessive to me, but the night before the Transition Ceremony, it saved my life.

Like all the other students in Sector J, I had checked in at the warden’s office fifteen minutes before curfew (twenty-one ‘o clock exactly, as the automated loudspeaker would remind us daily in its computerized drone) and afterwards, had gone promptly to my room for an hour of private reflection. Finally, I had put on the navy blue sleepwear provided by our Warden, brushed my teeth, and slipped into bed just as the LED lights flickered a hazy red, signaling the end of the day and promising severe punishment for stragglers not yet returned.

As I lay there, toes peeking out from my sheets and dipping into exactly 18-degrees-Celsius air, I wondered where I would be assigned at the Ceremony. Would I be placed in Research? Management or Enforcement? Or maybe (and this I considered reluctantly) Instruction?

Unable to sleep, I tiptoed over to the window in the corner of my room. I’ve always been intrigued by its changing holograms—black with small, bright flecks after hours (“burning spheres of gas, millions of miles away, referred to as ‘stars’” our Primary Instructor once explained, and we nodded as if we understood) and, during the day, a light, soft blue screen, with pure white tangles of what I thought to be swan’s down. “Cumulus clouds,” the Instructor added, and we giggled at the funny-sounding words. She sighed, deciding not to pursue the subject.

I padded my cheek with the palm of my hand and gazed into the hologram. We all knew it was entirely an illusion, meant to entertain us and provide an aesthetic quality to our otherwise artistically-sterile rooms, and yet the images were so grand and overwhelming, I felt almost certain they couldn’t have just been imagined.

And then, wondering at the pictures and finally feeling the tug of tiredness, the stars on my window dissolved into their dark canvass, and everything was black.

I stifled a gasp. This had never happened before.

What was going on? Was someone in Management fooling around with us? Had all the power in our sector gone out? Or was it just a problem with the window holograms?

Before I had time to think and collect myself, I heard a noise that nearly stopped my already-racing heart. It was the sound of my door being activated. No one was allowed in or out of any rooms after lights out—the biometrics-based lock and unlock procedures made sure of that. This break in meant only one thing.

Someone had hacked the Pyramid.





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