A/N: This is the most I've written on a story all in one go since I began Tears of Pearls back before Al. Hope You like it… Excuse the length for now…

Hawthorne

Chapter One

The clear blue-sky overhead was quickly darkening as the clouds in the distance greyed more and more with every passing moment. A wind was blowing in, a storm riding it like a wave to the shore.

A tall, slender boy with silver hair and ghostly pale skin stared into the distance. His icy eyes filled with malcontent as he watched an older male hand over a large sum of money. In return he received a small, clear plastic bag filled with something he obviously was not willing to share with the world. He pocketed it quickly, almost stealthily, hiding it from view and proceeding to shake the delivery boy's hand before turning and making a rushed exit.

I rolled my eyes. Walking in on the proceedings of a drug deal was no longer very uncommon in Hawthorne, everyone did it; lower class to middle and even the higher aristocrats were addicts now days. The police were forever making appearances on the headlines, drawling about putting a stop to the epidemic, bringing down the headers and all the non-existent drug busts. It was difficult to believe when the greater portion of the law was caught up in it themselves, turning a blind eye and some even dealing. The remainder were far too caught up in paper work to make a difference; or simply lacked the energy and care required to pursue any leads. It sickened me.

I kept my head down and continued on through the streets toward home. There were so many problems with the city it would be pointless to begin to explain; so I won't try.
I'm Noah; Noah Elchze', just graduated fresh from Hell Hall; that's what we call it, the few lucky enough to go. Lucky? I suppose that could be one way to look at it.
Making my way back home scuffing my boots along the ground and listening as they ground against the gravel. A Pod cruised past overhead dropping an aluminium can from its window as it continued on. Hmm... Where had those laws on littering gone? But I suppose no one cared enough these days, what with the way technology had become no one needed real air anymore. Scientists made our air for us and our water. Half the meat eaten was factory produced too. Humans, a man made metropolis was what our world had become. Some still kept gardens and live stock, purely for amusement and company though and only in the smaller towns. Wilderness had become an infernal wasteland. Our world, once abundant in trees and wildlife, was now cold and barren. Our cities were our wilderness; our skyscrapers ours trees and roads our rivers and streams. But few recalled the old ways and I, being of the new generation, knew only this life and so didn't question it. I can't miss what I never knew.

Ascending the stairs at the front of my apartment I paused to gaze up at the simulated night sky. Tch, you could still see the smog through the fake glistening of the computer generated stars. When had the world become so dependent on robots?
Shaking my head, I lifted the chain from around my neck and inserted the key into the lock. Old school enough, I opened the door and entered into the Chamber of my building. The grey wall in front of me lit up a blue neon as the door behind closed. A sliver screen emerged and a disc popped from the wall accompanied by a microphone.
Placing my hand on the disc I spoke aloud "Citizen CEP 300-X". Lasers emitted from the screen and scanned my body. Seemingly happy with the frame before them came a seductive feminine voice. I couldn't help myself. Give a guy a break, selectable voice tone? What else was I supposed to do? "Voice code accepted, palm verified. Welcome home, Noah."

The gadgets disappeared and the wall slide aside. As I entered my home I could feel my shields study me for a moment before shifting around me, protecting me. My silver aura mingling with the crystal green defences of my Sanctum.

I trudged into my kitchen and flicked the switch on my espresso machine and grabbing a bag of crisps from the bench I made my way up the spiral stairs and into the single upstairs room; my bedroom. Opening the crisps with one hand and my teeth I flopped onto my crib and aimed the remote with my free hand at the window and pressed '6' before aiming it at my wall and clicking the green button. My shutters changed to a velvet black sky and my wall switched to good old Cartoon Network, the channel that never dies.

Kicking my boots off I lay comfortably with my crisps resting on my stomach amongst my doona and pillows. An afternoon spent walking from work to home was not something I wanted to do. So a night spent watching Adult Swim from my warm bed? Perfect.

I snuggled in nice and warm like. Newbies of my particular kind were tired easily, not having adapted to their hours and amount of Energy expelled yet. So it wasn't long before I fell asleep.