Harsh rays of sunlight crept its way through the shoddy cast iron shutters, laying its glaring fingers upon the form of an older man. Unkempt brown hair half-disguised a gaunt face riddled with scars and wrinkles. As if a corpse rising from the grave, his form stood, still clad in the clothing from the previous day. His eyes, unblinking, stared at the wall for a few moments before standing and walking to the restroom. It was a filthy place, and nothing short of a miracle considering how devoid of roaches it was. Grabbing a comb, he peered into the mirror and fixed his hair so it looked semi-presentable and grabbed his rusty lunchbox. Opening the rickety metal door, he stepped out into the world.
Immediately, his body took in a lungful of unsanitary air. It was early morning, but there was no sunlight. Just a permanent gray haze that hung below the cloud level, projected by the pollution produced by the factories. Some superstitious folk said that it was not pollution, but a long-term defensive measure set in place by the I.S.A. to weaken the citizens. There was a reason it was called superstition. The I.S.A. didn’t have to go to such elaborate methods to control its citizens. All it took to get someone to surrender nowadays was the slightest hint of a visit from the Enforcers.
As the old man walked, the sound of doors being kicked in echoed throughout the neighborhood, followed by glass shattering and people screaming. MCU (nicknamed ‘Man See You’ by some of the less educated citizens). Nobody on the streets, the old man included, even stopped to look. Such sounds were commonplace. It simply meant that another metahuman birth had popped up on their radar. Thing was, the I.S.A. had figured out how to delete metahuman traits in someone, but they’d yet to figure out how to stop more from being born. So, the Metahuman Containment Unit was created a short while after the fall. They were responsible for ‘neutralizing’ any metahuman newborn threats, as well as detain any discovered metahumans. Those like the old man had been lucky enough to escape their sight thus far.
His form continued onwards, eventually coming upon the same factory he had to appear at every day. Standing still as red beams traveled up his body, his eyes stared forwards. All workers were assigned their jobs. You could not pick if you wished to be a lawyer or a coal miner. The I.S.A decided what you could do best and you either took the job or went up against the firing squad. The old man in particular was a gun manufacturer. One of the better ones in his district.
The scanner finished and he walked on into the abysmal place. It was as if there was a screen that ripped his soul from him when he did, as he felt that familiar hollowness. The defeat that he had grown to accept. Silently, he walked to his supervisor, another older man with hollow cheeks. When he spoke, his voice was raspy from dehydration. “Alright, Robby. What am I doing today?”
“Mornin’, Heller.” Jaime Heller was the name the old man had adopted after the fall, to avoid detection. If he’d stuck with his actual name, it would have been easy for the I.S.A. to find him. “We got you workin’ on three dozen batches of H-18’s. I got the first done for ya. You’d do the normal two, but Howard got sick.” The minute pause in between ‘Howard’ and ‘got sick’ indicated that he’d been executed. And both men knew why. Howard had been sympathetic to the revolution that was being spoken of in hushed tones. Howard had been one of its biggest supporters, and just stupid enough to protest in public. ‘Jaime’ had been staring off into the plant when he began to speak. “Any sign of Ambrose? That girl should have been here by now.” There was a touch of concern to his voice. He’d promised a long time ago to protect that green-haired girl with his life, as he’d owed a debt to her father. Robby’s meaty hand rested on Jaime’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, Jaime. Enforcers found her with Howard. I.. I made sure she got out safe, but I dunno where she went.” Jaime looked down in silence, nodding as he turned to go to work. That girl had been discovered over a dozen times. Her name wasn’t even Ambrose. It was Fleur. She was arguably one of the revolution’s biggest supporters.
When he reached his station, he noticed that one dozen had already been done, just like Robby had said. When he went to work on one, the doors to the factory were burst open. Shouts echoed through the building. I.S.A. Enforcers. Howard must’ve given Jaime up during the interrogation as ‘Ambrose’s’ guardian. Grabbing an H-18, he fitted a clip of ammo into it and took off, just as he heard Robby being arrested. “Sorry Robby..” Four troopers clad in black armor ran out onto the floor. Seeing the old man run, they shouted. “Citizen! Cease your movement and drop your weapon!”
Jaime kept running. His chest was heaving. While he was still in great shape for someone his age, he hadn’t run this fast in several decades. Warning shots wizzed by his head, which he replied to by terminating two of the Enforcers. A bullet grazed his shoulder as he found the window he’d been looking for. Jumping, he tucked his head down into his body and threw his body through the glass. Whether or not he’d survive was a question in and of itself.
Looks like he’d be a revolutionary before sundown.