Raymond looked at the long queue in front of him. Immigration Day. He could hardly believe it – he was here – but at long last, he had made it! He’d managed to survive through everything. He’d made it through the last year. And finally, finally, he was chosen.
It was worth it.
The group in front of him slowly thinned out, as immigrants filed through a set of double plastic doors at the end of the glass corridor. Raymond looked out and saw the destroyed cityscape beyond. He wouldn’t miss it. He would force himself not to.“Next!” shouted a fierce voice, and Raymond moved forward to the front. A stern-face guard, dressed in complete black, eyed him sternly.
“Raymond,” he replied. “Raymond Verve.”
The guard’s face did not even flicker as he looked down the list he was holding. Raymond fidgeted for a moment, unsure. What if his name wasn’t on the list? What happened to people who got through on Immigration Day, but didn’t make it past the bridge? What happened to all of them?
The two words had never comforted Raymond more. He let out a sigh of relief as the guard pulled open one of the glass doors to let him through. Through it, he could see another two solemn faced men waiting. Not guards. Full soldiers, dressed in dark, olive green. Their weapons hanging from their belts.
He stepped into the cool, conditioned atrium. The air was tough and dry here, filtered through hundreds of different systems to remove it of any impurities. It didn’t have the sharp smell of lavender, like the outside air.
The soldiers gestured him to a waiting lift, its doors open expectedly. There was no glass in it this time – this was a full military grade lift, built to transport people only. Raymond strode into the small steel chamber and the doors slid shut behind him obediently.
Instantly, the lift lurched. Raymond felt himself being pulled away from the surface of the earth impossibly quickly. He hadn’t been in one of these for a pretty long time. Holding onto the metal rail, he savoured the feeling, at least until he started feeling sick.
But it slowed and the force soon stopped. Again, the doors opened, to reveal another room not unlike the one that Raymond had just left. Still two soldiers, with solemn faces. They looked different, slightly younger, but still had that sense of uncaring. And the weapons, too.
“Again?” protested Raymond. Why were they bothering him so?
“Raymond Verve,” said Raymond, sighing.
The solider didn’t bother checking any lists. He simply raised his weapon and pointed the barrel at Raymond.