Stories

Plugged In, Chapter Five: Procedural Danger

Armin Fisher was quite a topic.  Correction: Armin Fisher, the Drafter was quite a topic.  One of his new sixty-three friends (yes, sixty-three friends in the matter of only a few days), had described him as “devil-may-care”–an appropriate description in Armin’s eyes: 

Just got my e-mail about the Drafter Procedures. I wonder how effective they are.  Perhaps I’ll experiment.

I wonder if the safety suits will make my butt look big?

My first duty as a Drafter: Seeing exactly how fast that tram will go!

Hey, how many worst case scenarios can people think of for Drafters?

That final one had gotten him so many responses that he’d actually been number six on the buzzing boards.  He’d gotten so many comments and @s that he’d spent hours answering all of them.  His favorite had been:

@ArminFisher, the tram flies off the track, the gasoline combusts, reacts with the chemicals, and the tram and the entire street blow up.

His response: Usually when I make bbq, I prefer to be the chef rather than entrée.

     Yes, Armin Fisher had created quite a buzz–a fact that still amazed him.  Never had he been anymore than one of many role-players, one of many Hem-V fans, one of many… everything.  But now, he was the one with the fans, with the followers.  He had always been popular–everyone, everywhere was popular–but now he had achieved an even higher status.

     He was an icon.

     And that had been enough to keep the fear quiet; the interaction, the false bravado, his carefully played part–it was all enough to engineer a lie that even he would believe. 

     Almost.

     The morning when the old Drafters saw him for the last time, with their scathing comments (“See how fast that Tram goes?  I hope it sends you through someone’s window and you have to watch them burn!  This isn’t something to joke about kid!), came with the realization that the whole ordeal was very real. He had created a character alright, but he couldn’t very well send his character outside.  He, heart beating and thoughts whirling, would be the Drafter.

     And now he sat, unable to think of any clever posts or Quips, rereading the procedures e-mail.

Armin Fisher:

     Your duties as Drafter have officially begun!  Please send to this address (draftingoffice@gov.net) your height and clothing size

     (Done.)

so that a safety suit can be selected for you.  Undoubtedly, you are anticipating your first day as a Drafter.  Here is a look at how your first day will go:

  •  At five o’clock in the morning (this may require you to alter your sleeping schedule), be dressed, fed, and waiting at the front door of your home.  The sirens will alert you to the tram’s connection.  Open the door, and a Governance official will give you your suit.
  • This Governance officer will be available for your first day only.  Having a Governance employee at chemical risk is a hazard not only to him/her, but also to the entire running of the government system.  His/her responsibility is not to supply rations to the community; it is yours.

     (Responsibility.  Right.  My totally forced and unwanted responsibility.)   

  • Take notes and ask questions.  This will be your only opportunity.
  • Exchange information with your Drafting partner.  The two of you will be integral to each other.
  • Read the training manual (attachment) and use the program (link) to practice certain duties (e.g. repairing wires, etc.)
  • Review the videos (see links at the bottom of this message), over proper chemical safety.

(The biggest one: Don’t go outside.  So much for that.)

  • Finally, read the following pamphlet (attached) over Twicken procedure.

(The gist of the pamphlet (1) Run or (2) Kill it dead.)

  Following these guidelines will make your year as Drafter not only safe, but enjoyable.  Indeed, the chemicals’ worst danger is stupidity, but that need not be a worry of yours.  The Governance is assured of your intelligence, physicality, and valor.  Otherwise you would not have been Drafted at all!

Inter-Peace to You!

    Tisiphone Jones

 Head Secretary of the Drafter Division

     Armin tried to memorize everything, but his nerves kept getting in the way.  He couldn’t help but wish he was a stupid, sickly coward–apparently those kind of people are safe!  It seemed downright unfair that they got rewarded, and he got punished. (Armin refused to think of Drafting as anything but that, no matter was stupid Tisiphone Jones or his father said).

     There was nothing more to do.  It was early (midnight), but in only five hours, he’d be taking his very first steps outside.  He doubted that sleep would come, but he would at least give it the opportunity: he would lie in bed and wait.

     Opportunity–that’s what his father said this whole ordeal was.  And then he had talked about girls.  No, not girls, women. 

     Women.  What a wonderful word.  It caused a wave of excitement to run through his body, and an odd little smirk to twist his lips.  They were, really, what his world was missing. And what kind of world didn’t have women?

     A lonely one.

     Well, that wouldn’t work.  Armin would fix that (he’d already started to); now it was just a matter of time and waiting… just like waiting for sleep….

     He dreamt of a girl with beautiful blue eyes.  They were eyes that were even prettier than Hem-V’s girlfriend, Lina–and that was saying something!  In his dream, the girl looked just like Lina (dark-skinned and curvy with a seductive smile), except for those eyes….

     His alarm woke him up.  Fifteen minutes until five.  His mind was half in the dream, half in reality.  The part that realized he was about to truly be a Drafter jarred him awake.  His mouth tasted like brass.  His heart was beating faster than it should, and he was clammy.

     Never before had he been scared enough to really feel it. 

     But there was no sense in that.  There was nothing he could do, so indulging his fear was a waste of time.  One deep breath later, he was in the shower.  Two shakes of his head after that, he was getting dressed.  Three slow exhales, then he was eating breakfast.  Fifteen minutes worth of morning activity and fear suppressors led him to his front door, the sirens blaring and the lights flashing.     

Armin opened the door.


Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

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