(© William Estes)
The city of the future was built after
years of disasters, plagues, and wars. Itís construction over the ruins of San
Francisco was the first sign the world was returning to normal.
Everyone grew up believing the city was
crime and corruption free, self-sufficient and self-reliant and capable of
surviving any disaster. Called Ettron, it stood alone in the world. Ettron was
protected by its lies.
The earthquake a few months ago shattered
the illusion. Crime rose quickly and briefly. It was revealed that some of the
cityís food came from areas outside of it. A new ruler for the city was chosen
as well. They promised changes. A larger police force was the first order of
Lauren Sanchez graduated from the police
academy.† Like all recruits she expected to spend her days arresting thieves
and vandals. She figured she would graduate to detective one day, but murders
and other violent crimes were few and far between. She was told to take a few
days off before reporting to a precinct. She was told why, but glad she was
given a chance to celebrate and rest.
Her phone rang, at 8:50, ten minutes before
her alarm clock went off. She reached over for, but it slid off the nightstand
onto the floor. Lauren stretched out and grabbed the phone.
She checked the number, but didnít
recognize it. The ringing stopped. Lauren tried to dial them back. The call
didnít go through. She sat up and pulled off her night shirt. Her phone rang
"Hello," she said.
"Miss Sanchez. I was told that you received
high scores in all of your classes," said the woman on the other end.
"My instructors told me that I should
expect a call like this just in case," said Lauren. She started to recognize
"I believe you might be the right person
for the job," said the woman.
"What do I need to do?" asked Lauren.
"Get dressed and go downstairs. Thereís a
car waiting for you," said the woman.
Lauren didnít need to hear anymore. Being
called to work for the industries was a great opportunity. She dressed the best
as she could. She covered her lean muscular body with a white shirt and a blue
jacket and slacks. She wished she had a weapon just incase.
A black sedan sat on her side of the street
as Lauren stepped outside. She was glad she didnít have to walk far. The driver
"You can get in the passenger seat," he
Lauren sat down. The seatbelt adjusted for
her height and weight.
"Itíll be a long ride. About twenty minutes
do you want me to put on some music?" asked the man.
"Sure," she said. She knew not to ask any
questions about her potential employer. She could get sued or end up in jail.
"I like pop," she finally said.
He turned the station to one with happy
sounding music. The car passed a wreck. An ambulance and a couple of police
cars sat on either side of two cars. Lauren stared as she went pass. She
thought she recognized one man outside of a car.
"Things hadnít changed much since it
happened," said the driver. It was another day to him she guessed. He turned
his head revealing tattoos that crept up his neck. Where his neck connected to
his head she recognized it as a mark for the placement of a tracking chip.
"You have one?" she asked.
"A a tracker?" he asked. "It was part of my
"Now you serve her?" asked Lauren. She
"I work for her," he said. He didnít need
to say anything else. The tone of his voice told her what was going on. She
kept quiet as the car drove up to a large mansion.
It sat on a large hill in the middle of the
region of the city called the Estates. Lauren stared at the dozens of mansions
that lined the nearby hills. She wondered how many people still lived in them.
Lauren sat as the driver exited the car. He
talked with a couple of security guards. He walked back and opened the passenger
door so she could get out. She stepped out just as the front door of the
mansion opened. Lauren recognized the woman that walked out.
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