Hey there! This story is one that I have been working on all year. I have checked it many times over so it should be free of mistakes. I hope to get this book published someday... so if you have any tips, please review and give me some constructive feedback. Even a "nice story!" or even an "I don't like this" would be appreciated! :)

I dragged my finger across the steelglass window, hoping something would come. A fish, a shark, a human, anything. But this time, it was just me and an inky darkness. And it would have to stay that way. I shakily removed my finger, putting my head down in defeat. So it was true. Life was gone. Forever. I don't even remember what a fish looks like anymore. It was hard to believe what the government had told us all- that all living things had gone extinct besides humans. Of course, no one cared at that point. At this point we were so advanced we didn't even need living things to thrive. Of course, there were some people who cared though. I was one of those people.

"Alexa," the program repeated for the millionth time. "Pay attention."

"Sorry." I snapped my head around, which made my pearl-like ponytails swing. I sighed as I recalled my kindergarten teacher, the real teacher, not this robot with no personality. Mr. Hakiman. The human. Then, the electric service age began, giving everyone a choice of whether they wanted to work or not. Guess which option everyone chose. So now we have lifeless robots. The only humans with any jobs are the ones that control our world. The ones who place the robots everywhere, the ones who make the crazy laws, and the ones who have the power control our every move thanks to brain implants all citizens must receive.

They have power over the wind, the sun, and even the trends! But they have more important matters on their hands, specifically population control. Every year, to control the population, people who can't pay off money owed to the government are forced to go on a journey to the surface.

Think of the surface as hell. It's like going into space without a helmet. You feel empty and frightened. Plus, it's ugly up there. There's a blanket of ash covering the sky that I suspect to be carbon dioxide. There isn't any oxygen either. We need that to live, you know. Once you go up there, it's a one-way ticket to death.

I stabbed my iWrite into the eTab (each sold separately) to take notes. The robot malfunctioned, repeating the same lesson on photosynthesis over and over again. But what does it matter? This lesson was useless, and I would never even need it. I already had all my notes. In fact, I had probably already written down what the robot had said word for word.

There weren't any trees anymore, now that the whole world was underwater. The programs at school aren't allowed to educate kids about what happened to our world. For all they know, life was always this messed up. But not me. I'm not that stupid. Earth changed at some point. I researched, taking advantage of all the technology at my fingertips. Most websites containing this information were deleted years ago by the government, which was pretty intriguing if you ask me. I was able to find some hidden blogs, and once or twice, I've hacked into the blocked websites to get classified information that nobody else wants to know. I mean, what kind of creep would want to look at hidden documents from over a thousand years ago? Wait… let me rephrase that.

I don't bother telling anyone else, they wouldn't listen. The boys only care about showing off their robot's dance moves, and I try to avoid the other girls. They're cruel, snobby, and are generally bullies. And lazy, don't forget that. You see, when kids are three years old, they are each given a personal robot to help them with anything they want. That could include cheating on tests, so schools these days don't even have any sort of assessments because they're simply pointless. The robotic program just lectures you for six hours a day. Am I the only one who listens to these lectures? I think so.

My mom told me to be proud of not being stereotypical but that's like saying "Hey, you're weird, but you should be proud of it!"

Sometimes I read old documents, just to see what the world used to be like before Artificial Intelligence. It's very interesting. World War 69 had ended very recently; exactly two years before I was born. I looked back to World War 1, almost 2,000 years ago. What battle strategies! Humans could never pull that off now. One would consider the systems in 2000 A.D genius, compared to the garbage system that we have. People were geniuses back then. They were brave. They made these things called "petitions" when they didn't like something. I looked out the window again, careful not to let the program see. No one would want to do that sort of thing now.

"I could." I bravely volunteered. But no one would listen. My words plunged into the dark abyss to join my other past ideas.

"We are finished with this lesson. You are done for the day." The program announced at last. I jumped out of my chair and peeled the holographic film off of my Smarttech swim goggles handed out by the government. You know, ever since the whole world underwater debacle.

"Goodbye, school." I sighed. I was relieved that the film didn't get stuck on my glasses this time. The last time that happened, I was stuck wandering around watching my brother's free time channels. Trust me, it's not pretty.

I looked to my right and saw Diggy, playing around with the film.

"I'll help you with that," I said, taking the case from him. Diggy was my robot. Don't ask me why I named him Diggy. All robots have weird names. After all, we all got them at three years old, barely knowing how to talk. I've always had a theory that maybe it was because when I would sink into the sand, Diggy would help me to get back up. I can still faintly feel the tiny grains grazing against my waist.

I ran out of the automatic door. It was finally time to go. School days only last an hour, but it usually is much longer than that, since I almost always have detention. I'm a bit of a troublemaker. Usually, it's about me talking too much about the government, and what they make us do. When I get in trouble for that, I don't stop. In fact, it's just another reason to talk about it. Every time I get in trouble is another story. My mind always tells me to stop, or they'll put me in jail someday, but I don't listen to that. My mother told me to keep fighting for what we think is right, and that at this point, protesters are the only ones who can save us. She calls protesters brave, and it makes sense that she wouldn't trash talk them considering she is a protester. Also, you're probably wondering about my dad. My parents got divorced right after Ryan was born, so I faintly remember him. The story is nothing tragic though. Only one in four families nowadays have two parents. Divorces are a lot more common with robots in the way…

But back to my mom. When I was five years old, I joined her. Most of the things she did were really fun at the time, but I found out they were much more serious than I had thought. That's when I became a permanent protester. It was something that was already decided, and it is something that I will stay as for the rest of my life. I read somewhere that the protesters that made a big difference were the ones that were put in jail, or even killed. I don't want any of that, of course- I'm just trying to prove my point here.

On the way out the door, I heard mechanical buzzing, and then I was thrust forward a foot. I turned around to see Kate sneering at me, her robot at her side. Kate was the mayor's daughter, so no one ever messes with her. Well, everyone but me. She can be the daughter of Arlott for all I care, and he's the ruler of the whole globe. She was glaring at me like I had humiliated her again. Her eyes were flaming. The thing is, I had forgotten what made her angry. After all, it seems like everything that I do, she has some kind of issue with.

"Anger issues much? Or do you just need some eye drops?" I sneered. Kate didn't look as fazed as I'd hoped.

"Hah. Why don't you stop that smart talk and go look in the mirror for a good minute? Maybe you'll finally realize that the lack of food is getting to your head."

"At least I actually get things done, without my robot doing it for me. You're so lazy, I bet you wouldn't do anything if you woke up at the surface."

There was a long pause as a shiver ran down my spine (and probably her's as well). Kate didn't want to appear as the weak one, so she ended the silence.

"Oh, really? You're so thin that I bet I could eat you alive."

"Ooh, cannibalism. Rule Number 53, Division C; no living persons should consume another for any reason but for scientific research. Besides, I don't think I can fit in with all the other stuff in that big belly of yours." I tilted my head to the side a bit, with my hand on my hip. I lazily unwrapped a mint-flavored breath pill and started chewing. By then, her face was a brilliant red, and I swear I could almost feel steam blowing out of her ears. Just as I was about to add one more insult to top it off-

"Please report to the reflection room. You are making unnecessary judgments about students." The voice I was very familiar with stated.

"Detention," I grumbled, "Oh, come on! What did I do this time?"

"I have already stated it. You are making unnecessary judgments about students. And please, spit out that substance before you choke on it," the robot droned monotonously.

"But she started it…" I hissed through gritted teeth, crumpling up the slip the robot had given me. The robot kept going and didn't stop to respond. I didn't expect it to anyway. It was programmed to sense trouble, not to talk to it.

Kate was hysterical for the whole ride out the door. I walked into the reflection room and sat down harshly. The robots know that I hate looking at screens, so I had to do that as my punishment. The robots in school know all about you and your habits. They know who to watch out for (me), and who to reward (cough cough- the mayor's daughter- cough). It's kind of creepy. But you get used to it.

A black screen took shape before my eyes, and little red lasers made their way in perfect lines up and down the contours of my face. There was a little ding, and a dopey dancing flower took the lasers' place. It was another video on photosynthesis. I had to explain what I saw to the robot. My eyes began stinging as the video ran on inside my head. I guess they don't know that I am blue-light sensitive. No one does. Just Diggy and I. After the twenty-minute video was over, I explained to the robot what the formula for photosynthesis was. I explained what glucose was made of, as well. I hurried out of the school and flipped on my swim mask. Then I swam to the Hovertrain stop, wondering if it had left without me.

"Why don't we just swim to the house today?" I asked Diggy. He nodded. We went over to the uncolonized area. Nothing there besides metal scraps.

I waved my arms, did backflips, and avoided the large poles in my way. I weaved myself around them. Left, right, left, right. I could barely see three feet ahead, but when something suddenly appeared, I dodged it real fast. Diggy struggled to keep up. Diggy is one sloppy little robot. He is about the size of a basketball, but shorter, and wider. He always has an unsure expression on his face. He's got no mouth, but you can tell if he's smiling or not. I can't exactly explain the reason behind that. In the middle of a somersault, something tugged on my arm. I was quickly unraveled.

"Hey, Alexa!" Ryan, my little brother, greeted excitedly, "I've got a surprise for you!"

I jokingly rolled my eyes. He was wearing a big grin and trying to hide something under his water suit. I narrowed my eyes and tried to figure out what it was.

"Ta-da!" he happily sang, brushing his shaggy, brown hair away from his eyes with a jerk of his head, "It's a census document from ancient times! 2000 something. That's probably far enough back!"

"No way!" I squealed, "How did you get this?"

"I stole it," Ryan admitted, looking at the train path below us. I never had really known why there was a path under the hovertrain in the first place. It just hovers on top of it. Maybe it's to signal people where it's coming. Or just to make it look more futuristic. The light on the skinny path is bright blue, to complement the deep waters that we live in. I concluded that if it wasn't there, people might think it was just floating along with the current. I finally realized I was daydreaming and came back to my senses. After a long pause, I looked up at Ryan and smiled.

"And that's a good thing. If you were to ask them for it, they might get suspicious. We can't let anyone know about the time machine." I reminded him.

"Never. That would give us a lifetime in prison… or worse!" He nodded agreeingly, "And the probability of a relative being on this document in close to impossible anyways. Why are we even doing it this way?"

"Because until we find a more efficient option, this is what we have." I

After some more silence, I started up the conversation again, "So, why is it in that box?" I asked, gesturing to the hard plastic shell.

"It's made of paper," Ryan replied gingerly, his eyes glowing with amazement. My stomach jumped, and I stared at the box for what seemed like forever. It was paper.

"Quick, we need to take it home!" I spoke quickly, already swimming past him.

I was exhausted by the time we got to the mostly uncolonized sea cave. I stopped by the third house on the left. You could say it was a house, but it was more like a shelter, chiseled into the walls of the cave. We tried to make it pizazzy, but nothing could make it look like something better than a tornado shelter. We couldn't really do anything about it. We had just decided that it could be the "theme" of the house.

I pressed the button on the door, and we were immediately teleported inside thanks to modern teleportation devices, Influoras. The feeling of my atoms being pulled apart one by one doesn't actually feel as agonizing as you would think. I was connected again one second later in the living room. I sprinted past mom with a quick greeting and headed towards my room. Ryan was right behind me.

"Did you look at it yet?" I asked him, studying the holographic protection on the box.

"No, but I got it from the profiles of this area called 'Maine' in a place named 'America' which apparently is where our ancestors used to live thousands of years ago! Now let's dig in!" Ryan said excitedly.

"No one says that, by the way. But you're right!" I stopped him.

I tugged at the wrapper, and the holographic layer came off into my hands. Then, the next layer was something extremely strange. It was brown, and coming apart at the edges.

"What a weird substance…" I mumbled. Ryan was looking over my shoulder, just as intrigued. But why would it be brown? It was soft in my hands. It wasn't plastic. I gently felt around it to see where it opened, and I found a flap on the top. What rested in my hands was the first paper I had ever seen.

My eyes widened with amazement. I looked over to Ryan and his eyes were even wider. I scanned the paper over, trying to find some important information.

"So where's our ances-"

Before I finished speaking I found something on the paper that caught my eye. It was a twelve-year-old girl with the same last name as me. Violet Silvers.