OFF THE RESERVATION
Zara looked at herself in the mirror. She pulled a lock of hair out of her face and muttered her name.
“Zara, Zara, Zara”
She had to remember her new name. Back home her name was Ruth, named after the strong woman in the Bible. It was also a name that would mark her instantly as a Faithful. She had worked too hard, and too long to be sent back. Not to mention the hard earned credits to change her ID. Many families went hungry for her to be able to sneak of the Reservation and come to the City. Her name was now Zara and she was born in New Ireland. Her new genetics matched her red hair and green eyes, her loud laugh and her quick wit. It didn’t match her upbringing. That was the hard work part. She watch hours and hours of Vids, both government produced and taken by secret camera to learn the mannerisms, talk and ways of the City. Some of it was shocking. Some of it was exciting. Ruth found herself looking forward to the City, to its culture, its art, its everything.
Children born on the reservation were not ID’d unless they went to the doctor. Ruth had never been. She was the picture of health since the day she was born. That is what made her the perfect candidate and why she was chosen. Her mission was simple. Find the children. For decades, children had gone missing from the reservation. Just disappeared. There were very few predators on the reservation big enough to take a child and though it had happened that a bear or wildcat would take a small child it was rare. Rare and the child had to be small. Most of the missing children were older. 9, 10 11 and sometimes 12. They were healthy and smart. Both sexes went missing.
Some of the Faithful believed it was God calling them home. That Angels had appeared and took them. There was some evidence that it might be true. One of the elders had seen bright lights and a figure in all white near Ruth’s village one night and the next day, Tomas was missing. Others believed it was the others in the reservation. The government did not discriminate based on religion when placing people in the Reservations. If you believed in a God or Higher power of some sort you were Faithful and behind there gates you went, you and yours went forever. Inside, the Reservations things were different. People, unfettered by Government interference, naturally clung to others who were the same. The different religions segregated themselves and each had their own section of the reservations. For that reason each sect or religious denomination blamed the other for the missing children. Tensions sometimes ran high has some Religious thought it was okay to kill others of a different Religion. if it got too out of hand the RRA would step in and squelch the bickering.
Ruth’s Religion did not believe the others were responsible. They felt something else was going on. That it was not God, Angels, animals or any human on the reservation. They believed the children were being taken by the Government. For what purpose? No one could even fathom. Speculations ran wild until the Elders of all Religions got together and decided to send someone to find out. That someone was Ruth.
“No! Not Ruth!” She scolded her image in the mirror. “Zara!”
She finished putting her hair back, put the fashionable gray smock on and grabbing her bag went into the hallway of her apartment building. While riding the elevator to the ground floor she turned her wrist and looked at the display there. It was quite remarkable really and Zara was fascinated. Her display currently indicated that she was full, not tired, perhaps a little stressed and showed her a map to the Work Bureau. The whole story of her life was faked, but her ID said she was a transplant from New Ireland so she needed a new job. Looking at her wrist she followed the directions and was soon in front of the squat stone building that the Work Bureau was housed in.
Zara took a deep breath and went through the automatic doors. She approached the beautiful blonde woman behind the reception desk, but before she could say a word was handed a slip of paper with a number on it. 746. Zara looked around. There was not an empty chair in the place and people three deep against the walls. Most were looking up. Zara turned and followed their gaze to a large Vid screen that displayed several numbers. The current numbers displayed were 689, 690 and 700. She looked at her paper again. 746. Zara sighed and looked for a place to stand out of the way.
It did not take as long as she thought it would. The numbers would show up three at a time and people would go up to a window. They clerk would wave a wand over their wrists , give them a paper and they would leave. When Zara’s number came up, she walked to the window. A very bored looking young man grabbed her hand and waved the wand over her wrist. The wand flashed red and he did it again. It flashed red again. There was a groan from the waiting crowd. He looked up at Zara, his eyes narrowing. Zara looked back at him, trying to look as bored as he did.
“Well” he barked. “Why wont it scan? Do you know?”
“Um no” Zara tried to keep her voice from trembling.
She looked around quickly. She had noticed the exits when she came in, but looked again. In case she had to flee. Fake IDs were death and it was a long way back to the Reservation. The clerk spoke again.
“Well you look guilty. It wont scan because you used lotion on your wrists, didn’t you? Or perfume? Dint you! You people are so ignorant. Your wrists contains a highly sophisticated computer and you put lotion on it. Here.” He threw a wet cloth at Zara. When she stood there holding it, he continued, “Wipe your wrist off dummy. “
“Oh” Zara gingerly wiped her wrist with the cloth.
Her wrists still stung a bit from the insertion of the ID. It had only been two days, but she managed to keep the pain of her face. The crowd in the room was getting louder. The clerk grabbed her wrists again and scanned. This time it beep and went green. The young man looked at the screen in the desk and quickly looked up at Zara, his eyes wide. He quickly handed her a slip of paper.
“I am so sorry Miss,” He stammered “I didn’t know. Please go through door three on the left.”
Surprised by the change in his demeanor Zara nodded her head and turned away. She shrugged apologetically to the crowd who had grown silent again, but stared at her as if she had grown an extra head. Clutching her paper Zara, went through the door 3. Away from the staring eyes of the crowd, she looked at her paper. Genetic Control Division it said. Zara was a bit stunned. She was sure it was going to take years in order to get anywhere near the GCD. That is where the records of all IDs were kept and monitored. The GCD was the division that alerted the GCA and other police agencies to any irregularities. This was definitely a God send.
“Not God, Genetics,” Zara reminded herself. Whoever tweaked her ID did a great job.
She opened the door and stepped into another world. In stark contrast to the utilitarian room she just left, the chairs were cushioned, the floors carpeted. There was artwork on the walls and soft music played. Zara started to feel herself relax. She sat in a chair and flipped through some literature that was left on the lovely wood table next to the her seat. The pamphlet featured very pretty smiling men and women who touted the virtues of DNA matched decisions and baby making. “Wouldn’t you rather have the perfect child?” it asked. “Why not have the perfect job” The smallest man she had ever seen entered the room.
“Zara?” he asked
“Thats me” she replied getting up from her chair.
“Please this way.”
DNA Part 1 http://theblogofteresa.com/dna-2/