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  • My name is Tela and I didn't always spend my days in the "tomb." It's true I read more than anyone in my genus sector but that didn't set me apart from the others. It wasn't until Assignment that I became "the one apart." I always felt a difference. I spent a lot of time with the books even back then. I read history. No one reads history, there is no need. History is ancient myth. We look only to the future. We were told that history could teach us nothing. Ours is a new world with a new beginning. Nothing before us exists, even though the books are there. No one reads them. No one wants to go back. No one really believes another world existed. No one but me.

    Many of my sector mates read. Finnis and Dev were always analysing some new information. There was so much information available to us on our wristpads. We could access every book in the "tomb," if we wanted, and there were thousands of them. Every word, every image ever recorded on a brainwave or soundwave-pattern-amplifier had been picked up and recorded by Synapse. We had access to all of it. But I was the only one interested in "the books," and I liked holding them in my hands while I read them. The feel of them. The smell of them. It wasn't the same reading the pages on my wristpad.

    The others read only science and engineering. At Grand Rehearsals the Orators read to us of every imaginable science. I learned of every creature we knew anything about and every technical creation available to us. We were encouraged to make our Source Point list as Assignment day drew nearer.

    I had chosen only three Source Points. "Orator": for my love of the books. Maybe I could get others interested in the Book Museum. In history. "Nano-Magnetics": the source of most of Mono-Globe's power. And "Hydropower": The power of the water that kept us all alive. I really didn't care where I was assigned, I was just happy to finally get here. All of us were excited. At sixteen we would no longer be children. We would be "Assigned." It would be the true beginning of our lives. There was so much to look forward to. No more Grand Rehearsals. This would be the real thing and it was what we had all been working towards since our creation.

    Assignment day finally arrived and we gathered in the Great Tower Room, the highest point in the Globe, as so many had gathered before us. Synapse would record on each of our wristpads what our Source Point would be. Most would be Assigned to one of the Source Points on their list. A few would be allowed a choice of two or three. Rarely, someone would be Assigned a Source Point they had not chosen. This was seen as an honor. To be chosen for a Source Point we didn't know we would excel at in the future. We held our breaths and then all at once everyones wristpads lit up.

    Laughter and dance and happy voices all around. Everyone sharing their Assignments with one another. Dev, my closest sector mate, came up to ask my Assignment and I pushed the button on my wristpad that would project the word up on the wall: "SCANNER".

    Everyone looked up at once and drew a simultaneous breath in, leaving the room devoid of oxygen for one long moment.
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