I am still plugging along. This week hasn’t been great, but it hasn’t been awful either. I’ve been given Thanksgiving week off so If I can hit 30,000 or so by then I will be alright. Hope to get some writing in this weekend. Anyway here is the next section – I am trying to post in a logical fashion.
“Today’s the big day isn’t it Donnor”?
Donnor barely glanced up as he passed Mater Jones in the hallway.
“Do well now,” she called after him. “We’re counting on you.”
He raised his hand in half hearted acknowledgement and continued on to his class. He didn’t especially like being the ‘poster-child’ for the deten center’s success, but to deprive them of that brag would mean tossing off his own education, so he just lowered his head and let them take credit for all his hard work. He only had 3 more months in this place and then he’d be free again.
Two years had gone by pretty quickly. There had been nothing to do but study really. He had about as much in common with the petty thieves, thugs and troglodytes he was forced to live with, as a gay man has with a breast feeding mother. To top that off, brain tennas were completely disabled in deten, and nobody but his mother ever visited.
If it wasn’t for the center library he would have degenerated to the level of his cell-mates long ago.
The deten center was nice as far as these things go. He had a fairly private room with a half-wall dividing his sleeping area from his bunk partner. Reclining on the bed gave you a modicum of privacy – if you ignored the 24 hour vid feed that reported your every move to security robots, which then analyzed the behaviors and reported anything suspicious to the Maters.
Unfortunately for the teenaged boys incarcerated here, masturbation was included on the list of ‘suspicious’ activities. More than one boy had been drug before the tribunal to suffer the indignant examination of the Maters and be warned about ‘deviant’ behavior.
Other than the over-zealous guards however, the center, for all intents and purposes would appear as a wealthy university campus. Fine brick buildings, ivy covered walls, cavernous dining hall and spacious grounds, filled with flowers, shrubbery and trees.
Donnor was allowed to walk the pathways through the lawns and gardens as much as he wished, but should he attempt to step over the bright blue barrier line it would trigger the chip they had implanted in his brain and he would be instantly paralyzed. It was like your body turned to
stone. First you would freeze, then you would topple.
When he first came to this place he flirted with temptation almost daily, but after being ‘stoned’ 15 or 20 times the novelty wore off. There was never any change – he would freeze, fall, lie there staring at the ground close up until the orderlies came and carried him back to his room, then lie frozen on his bed until the next auto-sweep when the computer mainframe would re-set his chip which would cause his bowels and bladder to release. In the end run the mess was more bother than it was worth.
So, he had ended up spending most of his sentence in the library accessing information in the most archaic way possible – with actual computer terminals.
Today’s test was his rite of passage. The beastly hard competencies, the endless re-iterating of sociological ramifications and the complex understanding of the degrees of separation required by the 12 hour exam had broken more than one student. If he got a high enough score his future would be set, and he would have the pick of a host of interesting careers. If his score was unimpressive he would be relegated to the trades. Its not that Donnor had anything specifically against plumbing – he had a real talent for mechanical things, and was pretty sure that he would enjoy the actual labor, it’s just that guys in the trades rarely rated a candy girl and he had zero interest in going about his life without a girl on his arm.
He pushed open the door of the invigilation chamber and squared his shoulders against the onslaught of scholarly fustiness. The panel of examiners sat on a raised dais in the far end of the room. Soaring windows, heavily draped offered the promise of light, if not the actuality. The composite floor was patterned in a mosaic effect which made you dizzy if you stared at it too long. At first glance it was simply a wash of color – blue, red – but then you could begin to pick out shapes – a picture hidden in the swirling colors. Supposedly it was a copy of a famous piece of 200 year old art. The cavernous space between the door and the dais echoed with his footsteps as he approached the enquiry box.