Author : Sierra Corsetti

“Have your cards out and ready for inspection! Anyone holding up the line will be left behind!”

Renee slipped through the throngs of people, patting a pocket here and there. She couldn’t take anything now of course, not when she was about to board one of the last transports to the new settlement. The guards may have been dimwitted, but even they would know an eight-year old girl shouldn’t be carrying money or other valuables.

Had she a parent or even an older sibling, eyebrows might not be raised. But she was alone now, and she couldn’t afford to make mistakes.

Lots of people were making mistakes these days. Renee smiled to herself every time someone got pushed out of line for having a fake ID card. It was so easy to make fake cards that worked, but adults were too stupid to figure out how.

Everyone around her was coughing, and some pressed a variety of masks to their faces. The human race had to survive, but it couldn’t anymore with the pollution and near unbearable temperatures now. That was why they were leaving.

“Liftoff is in two hours and thirteen minutes! Let’s move, people!”

The lines continued their slow shuffle, unaffected by the bellowing of the station manager. What they should have done, Renee thought to herself, was chip everyone and have them walk through a scanner. Rather than have to go through individually and swipe each card and visually match the person with the photo that came up on their file.

But, adults were too stupid to think of that. And Renee was glad for it. If she had a chip, it would have been much harder to access her file and wipe her parents’ crime records off. It might have even been impossible.

They were only taking people with clean records to the new settlement, and even the children of supposed criminals were being left behind. Renee could understand why. They wouldn’t want her, a pickpocket, on the new earth, but thanks to her cleverness, they wouldn’t know they had her. With luck, they would never find out.

She continued her weaving dance through the lines, until she found a lady with five children near the front of one line. Renee stood near them. The woman didn’t notice. The little family swiped their cards and had their identities verified. Renee handed her card to the officer and smiled sweetly when he looked at her for facial recognition.

He grunted and gave her a dismissive nod.


Renee walked up the ramp into the bulky grey transport. She was good at being lucky.


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