All characters are my own and are not intended to resemble any real people. Places are generally in North America and are real but a lot has changed since this is roughly 40 or so years in the future. This fic contains violence and angst. There will be character death in later chapters. I hope you enjoy reading this!

-Finna

In the capitol of what used to be the United States a man was speaking inside a room that contrasted sharply with the remnants of the destruction in the countryside.

"The work camps in the south are gone." The first man said. He had a mustache and a potbelly. He was dressed in a suit that only accentuated how top-heavy he was. His bald head had a ring of hair around the edges and he had a tattoo running down one side of his face. At one point he would have looked tough and

"Who was it?" This time it was a woman who spoke. She was thin and tall. She would have been pretty 10 years ago. She was wearing a gray dress that hugged her scrawny figure. Her earrings looked like small red Christmas ornaments. Her red bead necklace and bracelet matched the earrings. Her hair was short and spiky.

"It had something to do with the deaths of those drug runners in Santa Tabitha." The potbellied man said.

"Didn't they have a kid or something?" This time it was a younger man who was kind of skinny.

"How did they even disable the work camp without guns?" A man who looked ex-military said. He was dressed simply in the guard uniform of black and grey urban camo.

"They shouldn't have had any tactical knowledge of how to take over because there weren't any books." This time it was the woman who had spoken.

"They did. I don't know how; but now we need to find the instigator, trap the escapees, and get production happening again." The man dressed in camo stated.

"Who are we looking for?" The skinny man asked.

"Find out. We can't be having the dissenter spreading around whatever mind disease he has." This time it was the man in camo.

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in." The woman replied.

A young man with dark skin and hair stepped into the room. He was around 5' 11' and was wearing the uniform of the city guard. Black cargo pants, grey T-shirt with logo, and black and grey long-sleeved shirt also with a logo. The logo was a white snake wrapped around a green sword. It looked ridiculous- whoever had made it thought it looked dignified.

"How did the patrol go?" The man in camo asked.

"There was no danger to the city Sir" The dark haired one answered.

"Did you find anyone outside the walls?" The woman demanded.

"Lady, patrol group 6 found a boy. He looks pretty skinny, around 15 years old, has bruises all over." The young man again.

"What did he look like?" This time it was the skinny man.

"He looked Mexican. Around 5' 6", brown eyes, brown hair. Sir" The young man answered.

"Did he say anything?" The military guy.

"No Sir." The young man responded.

"Where did you put him?" This time it was the over-weight man.

"In the holding cell for uninterrogated prisoners. Sir. We gave him food, water, replaced his clothes and shoes, and gave him a bath." The young man.

"Anything unusual about the clothes?" The skinny man queried.

"The clothes were normal Sir. He had a large number of weapons on him though. He also had a book." The young man.

"Did he tell you his name?" This time the military man.

"No sir. He did not answer any of our questions." The young man.

"Bring the books and weapons to my office for examination without contaminating them. Tell the others to begin questioning the subject. Obtain his name and purpose. Report for guard duty on the walls for tomorrow." The fat man.

"Yes sir. Understood." The young man replied.

The young man walked out of the room with a smile on his face. Once outside his smile melted. Those pompous fools. They obviously didn't quite seem to understand that it was real people that were getting hurt during these stupid interrogations. They were more like forced confession sessions. This boy didn't deserve that; no one deserved that- not even the people who were giving him these orders. So, he plastered the smile back onto his face and started the walk to the holding cell.

The boy in the holding cell was named Paul. His full name was Paul Amadi Garcia-Mora. He was 17 years old. Just over a year ago he had been a normal 15-year-old thinking about his 16-birthday around the corner and discussing history textbooks and politics with his parents over dinner. Well, as normal as anyone living in the ruins of what used to be the proud civilization known as North America could be. He had lived in what had used to be Mexico. He was by no means innocent even if he was young. He had been responsible for the deaths of hundreds. He had also been responsible for the destruction of the slave ('work') camps. Sometimes he wondered if he was becoming as evil as those he fought. Stop thinking those thoughts Paul. Remember. You are not alone. Our love is always with you. Fight. So, to keep his cool and to remember his reasons for this mission; as he now waited for the interrogation that he was sure was coming; he thought back to his last evening of innocence and to the events of the past year.