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2013 - The Tree of Hope: Chapter One has been nominated for the 2013 TEA 3!!!


TreeofHope
The first chapter of the first installment of The Legacies Saga

CHAPTER ONE

CLASS 2, SUBCLASS D

Kanderr Town, 3107

Marrell has always been an anomaly.

Anomaly, centuries ago defined as something that did not fit within a set norm. These days, the meaning had somehow remained unchanged, though referring mainly to those who actually chose to look at the natural world.

Like Marrell.

Ermot had always teased her for her fondness for the old ways. "Who cares about the stars?" her friend would ask. "They're just hydrogen burning up! And the only reason the inake ever cared about trees is because they never had their own devices for creating oxygen."

Marrell could never explain herself. She simply enjoyed the way the ancients - the inake had behaved. They believed in fantastic creatures - minotaurs, hydras, lobsters, cyclopes... They worked with math and logic to figure things out even without the auronel making their major decisions. They planted trees - obsolete and extinct today, but from her textbooks Marrell found them so... beautiful.

Today Marrell and Ermot stood on the bottom floor of the Ekinta, the largest building in the nation of Ofiotia. Always the bottom floor - the upper levels were restricted from any non-auronel citizen. Most of the public never worried about the upper levels... unless they were anomalies.

"Session beginning," the automated but accurate voice of Jinto Hyyshin announced. Marrell never knew why the small town of Kanderr - noted for nothing other than the Ekinta - needed to have the leader of the auronel giving them their instruction. She'd always simply assumed all other cities in Ofiotia did the same.

The room filled with a silky mist, soft, with a scent eerily reminiscent of jasmine. It was pleasant, but the aesthetic applications were superfluous at best. The real need was for the effect.

Marrell felt the mist entering her brain, giving her brain all the individual commands it needed. Her mind absorbed the necessary data... You have not met your vitamin D requirement for today; Consume more Sustenance 801-9B... You have reached the age of sixteen years as of four weeks ago; Your mate selection process ought to have already begun... You are a resident of sub-urban class Kanderr; Remember to rid the area of at least five hundred grams of refuse... You are an anomaly; Stop being one.

The mist scanned every detail of Marrell's mind to find the things that needed to be corrected, listed in order of importance. She was well aware that the last one was not an order, merely a suggestion, as the auronel did not really like anomalies, only tolerated them.

From behind her, Marrell heard the small Bloom of an elevator opening. Something she'd never heard before, as genuine auronel did not come through the Ekinta during mind sessions.

But it was not an auronel member coming through the door, she saw. It was two adolescents, not much older than her. They were holding... what looked like the ballpoint pens the inake would have used.

"Remain calm," Jinto Hyyshin's voice ordered. "These are merely terrorists class 2, subclass D."

Merely? Marrell thought. She'd only heard of past terrorists being class 2, subclass C. She never even knew they went higher than that.

One of them - a male - tossed his pen at a speaker. Somehow, Marrell thought, it seemed as though the speaker shattered before the pen touched it.

"Children and teens," the other - a girl - said. "Remember, James, go to capture, not to kill."

The male, James - what kind of name was that? - nodded. "Loud and clear, Natasha."

They put their pens away and started grabbing people, dragging them to the elevator. Though Marrell knew Hyyshin had ordered calmness, she couldn't let these 2-D terrorists take her.

They didn't.

They took Ermot.

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