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Three Hundred Years: Refugee
I wanted to write a story with characters from different societies with different perspectives of the world. I wanted them to meet and change how everyone has perceived certain things in the past. I wanted one of the characters to be in an enclosed space and the other character to come from outside this space.
I hope people might open their eyes a little more and see things in a different perspective. I want people to try and understand that what they know as the truth might be different from what someone else knows. Sometimes neither view is completely correct and only through communication can we understand the truth.
“Refugee A501? Lord Prodigy! Please pay attention sir!” my history teacher said.
“Sorry,” I replied, hoping he wouldn’t notice the boredom that was evident in my voice. I pretended to be listening, though I probably failed miserably.
History class always taught the same thing. The same routines, the same curriculums. What did they expect us to learn? We’re not chosen to be As for no reason. The lesson has been pounded into everyone’s brain so many times. No one could possibly forget it. It’s always about how the disaster three hundred years ago almost wiped humankind off the map, and how there were only fifty people survived.
Unfortunately, none of the fifty Beginners studied history very well, so all history before three hundred years ago has been pretty much lost. In fact, most knowledge was lost. All of the classes that I am being forced to take are repetitive. Very repetitive. We had the great fortune of being left with the stupidest out of billions of people. I guess I should be a little grateful. At least we were left with fifty people, we could've been all wiped out. Still, I don’t get why we are forced to take the classes until we are fifteen. This is the last semester of my last year.
I can’t say much about the lives of everyone else, but my guess would be that it’s the same as the classes, bleak. The world is the facility, and the facility is a simple place. The same routines, the same order, the same lifestyle. Follow the rules or you’ll get yourself killed. In most cases, if you manage to survive after breaking the laws, the higher-ups will order you to be killed.
When I was a kid, my parents went into the world outside of the facility. Humans could only survive inside the facility, leaving the facility would just lead to death. The warning had been repeated, over, and over again. Even after that my parents foolishly believed other survivors from the incident three hundred years ago were alive out there. They never returned.
After getting out of class, the wind felt good whistling by my cramped muscles. I veered away from the other districts as I headed towards district A. Other people would leave me alone as long as I didn’t invade their districts. Unless I had a very good reason to go to any of the other districts, I would stay away from them as much as possible. Still, I had to go to the other districts to run the occasional errand for the higher-ups.
The facility had ranks to avoid mistakes our ancestors had already made. The ranks may prevent some situations, but it can’t erase the greatest human flaw. Jealousy. At birth, every refugee is tested and ranked with a permanent class. The tests determine how much the government needs you. It doesn’t matter what rank your parents were, your rank was your rank and nothing could affect it. Plus, ranks were never wrong about someone’s potential.
This ranking system is used to create balance in the facility and to keep it functioning. Starting at the bottom would be rank D, the servant class. All of the Ds are bound to serve a rank A, B, or C. They have a life of servitude. That was their function, their use. Those who no longer serve the purpose that their rank requires of them, well, let’s just say they’re eliminated. Machines don’t need a non-functioning part.
Next in line is rank C or the working class. Those in the working class are the laborers of the facility. Education is scarce and hard to come by, which is why rank Cs are not given education. I personally think they don’t need the constant repeating lessons. There is nothing that can be wasted here in the facility. Every human alive is inside the facility, and because of that supplies are scarce. Everything has to be bought with credits. Food, clothes, tools, you name it. I bet it will cost you credits.
The next rank would be rank B, also known as the business class. The people in the business class are the brains behind the brawn of all the Cs. They help the economy along. Most Bs have assistants from who are lower grade Bs or Cs. They also have Ds to take care of all their needs. It’s more of a relaxed class, and some refer to it as the in-between class. All my teachers come from this class.
The second highest rank you can get would be rank A. This is the noble class, and also the class which I belong to. Though my parents were both Bs, I was tested as the 501st A. In the history of the facility, there has only been five hundred and one rank As. The noble class is a class full of people with great potential. They are the class that commands the facility. Even though they are in command, they need the approval of the rank Ss before they can do anything major.
So we end up with rank S, the almighty Gods of the facility. There are only five rank Ss at a time, for the sake of tradition. They are the rulers, they make the rules. There is nothing you can do against them, their words are the law itself. Once a rank S dies, or a better word would be expires, a tester runs through every single refugee. The next rank S will be decided by the program. The new rank Ss has alway come from rank A, so it’s not that much of a fair pick. Only As are allowed to serve the rank Ss, and because of this, only a few selected As ever see the face of the five great Ss.
“Welcome back Prodigy! I see you’re as bright as ever!” A467 greeted me. A467 is an old rank A, probably the oldest, and people called him Old A because of that. Even though I was only fifteen, none of the other As could measure up to my scores on the tests. Because of this, most know me as the prodigy or the prodigy kid, and that eventually became my name.
“Hey Old A, I see your scores are still only average,” I replied. Old A laughed and waved me off.
The tests were taken using a mechanical device that strapped itself onto your head. Once you have taken the birth test, which determines your rank, all the other tests don’t matter. They are just there to compare to others. Some people like to use it to figure out the next S rank, but it could just be random. Not once has there been a mistake in the system with judging rank.
I arrived at the front gates of my house and the gates opened. Inside Ds bustled around, cleaning and organizing everything to suit my needs. All As and Bs had a lot of Ds taking care of them, so families always live in the districts they were assigned to, not together. It was harder to grow up as a rank C. By far, the Ds had the harshest fate. The parents of Ds usually abandoned their children, and the children of Ds were sent to their assigned districts. The world can be cruel.
“Lord Prodigy! When would you like to have your meal served, sir?” a servant asked me. I had so many Ds helping me, I never could remember who was who.
“I will be out for the rest of the afternoon. Please just leave something that can be heated for tonight,” I replied. I was going to finally have a break from tutoring, no way I was staying inside the whole time.
“Of course sir,” the servant said as he rushed off.
I dropped off all my things and headed up to my room. My walls were plastered with hand-drawn astronomy charts, roughly-drawn graphs, hand-written reports, printed data, cut-out blobs of information, and sketched out drawings. Test tubes, bottles, and boxes full of random materials lay scattered across the room.
I study all sorts of things that we weren’t taught. It was just our luck that the only surviving humans didn’t know all that much about anything at all, and the curiosity that comes from human nature beckoned me. Even though I wasn't supposed to be doing stuff like this, I did it anyways. Apparently discovering new things are bad, and will always end badly. All of the illegal things I do is the reason no one is allowed in my room. It’s also the reason I don’t have an assistant.
Tonight, I am going to go observe the stars. I grabbed my bag full of journals and ran downstairs. Some of the servants bowed, but I didn’t have time for formalities. There was still a lot of time until night, so I could do some research before then. I decided to go to central park to wait it out.
I did have a garden in the back of my house, but I preferred the community place. All ranks were permitted to come here but the security was tight, with all sort of detectors. Violence against people above you was forbidden, but punishment for those below you was acceptable. That’s just the world for you.
The rest of the afternoon was spent drawing pictures of the artificially created plants, stealing a tiny bit of artificial pollen from the machine to study later, and sketching pictures of people. Most people left me alone, the tattoo that showed on my right arm told everyone I was an A. No one questioned what I was doing, so that’s good.
“Oof!” I was jerked out of my trance as a girl, who I judged to be younger than me, crashed into me. Startled, I dropped my journal.
“I’m so sorry sir!” She shouted as she ran off.
“How rude,” I muttered to myself as I picked up my journal. I guess she didn’t notice my rank.
Before I could recollect myself, a group of rank Cs appeared. I immediately took a step back, for they were tough looking people. Weapons weren’t allowed in the park, but I bet they wouldn’t have a problem with ganging up on me in an unsecured ally.
“Hey you!” One of the rank Cs called. “Did you happen to see a girl a bit younger than you come by?”
I was about to say no, then I remembered the girl that ran into me. She must have been running away from these guys. I didn’t see her rank tattoo, so she could be a D. They would end up finding the girl anyways so I might as well not get on their bad side.
“Actually…” I was about to say when I was cut off.
“Guys! He’s a rank A!” Someone from the group of thugs called out.
“Such a young rank A...He has to be the Prodigy!” A thug realized. “So sorry to bother you with your work sir. Please continue as if we were never here!”
Before I could reply, the group moved on. I shrugged and got back to work. Situations like this happened all the time. As long as no one makes too big a fuss out of it, the higher-ups wouldn’t care.
It was getting late, and rain started pouring down. I took note of the time, the temperature, the sky, and the changes before putting all my stuff away. Luckily for me, I had waterproof covers for everything. I still wanted to wait for the stars to come out, so I hid in one of the storehouses as a weather patrol robot came by.
Those robots made sure everyone was back home when the weather was bad. People tend to not get sick as easily if they don’t come out during bad weather, at least, that’s what we’re told.
I woke up to the sound of the storehouse door opening. I had somehow fallen asleep to the steady beat of the rain. I ducked behind some crates, thinking that a check-up robot had come in. I heard some rustling and some dripping sounds. My whole body tensed and I froze, not daring to let out my breath.