The 4th Commencement of Collective 85 finally arrived. Nix and Lore anticipated this day for eons.
Early in the morning, when they were supposed to be meditating, the two were making plans when they returned home to their families. At mid-day, during their lunch break, they would discuss what they imagined living outside the Sanctuary and amongst the Society.
Lore would loudly express zirs (his/her) lude sexual desires with anyone zie (he/she) could imagine. Feeling slightly bad, Lore would apologize to Nix, claiming zie wasn’t a bad sex partner, but made it clear finding partners by choice and not assignment would be a welcomed changed. Nix would always pretend to agree even though zie loved Lore very much and couldn’t imagine being with anyone else, sexually.
In the evening, just after dinner, during their evening run and sometimes bike ride, they would talk about what type of identity they wanted for themselves.
In the Sanctuary, everything is gender neutral. The clothing, the names, the pronouns, the titles, the décor, and identity is viewed collectively not individually. In the past, children were free to choose gender at the age 4 or 5, and it worked for a while. Or so the society at the time thought… But that generation, the Generation of Theybies, were the most clinically depressed, most suicidal, heavily drug addicted, cruelest generation to walk the earth in the history of all histories.
After the Age of Chaos, and the Era of Peace dawned, the Society was restricted. It is the Society’s philosophy all are free to become who they desire to be, but a system was established to ensure the well-being of everyone.
Society was divided into three levels: Private>>>Public>>>Protected. Private consists of the Society’s leaders, healers, philosophers, policymakers, business owners, and taskmasters, and their offspring. The Public made up every adult (and children up to the age of 3) not in a profession reserved for the Private Level. The Protected are the offspring of the Public, reared from age 3 to age 16 in Sanctuaries.
At age 16, after commencement in the month of their birth, the Protected become Synthesizers, placed in the Private Level or the Public Level based on occupation placement, and undergo ID Synthesis: the Process of Gender and Sexual Orientation Selection.
Research has shown, to live a productive life, each person needs a settled sense of who they are and how they identify. Failing to solidify this identity early on, could lead to a mid-life crisis, failure to succeed professionally and personally increases the risk to be a danger to self and to others due to more mental health issues and destructive behaviors.
Synthesizers are within the age bracket of 16 to 18, unless they have extensions to complete their I.D.S. Every 3 months, they meet with their Evaluator, meeting at the Sanctuary where they were raised, and receive consultation during their journey to become who they choose to be. Not everyone completes ID Synthesis within two years. Every applicant can get up to four extensions, one year each, but if they fail to complete ID Synthesis in year six, it is ruled they must remain gender neutral and stay as a Protected member of the Society. They become caretakers to the next generation of Protected children.
Lore jokes sie would go mad reverting back to the cage of the Sanctuary after tasting the freedom of the Public. Lore most likely would just miss hooking up freely. Protected adults abstain from sexual activity, or get assigned as sex partners when a month has an uneven amount of collective members.
Nix and Lore didn’t explore their sexual feelings together until a few months ago. Up until then they flew solo in that department because Lore would cry every time they tried. That’s when Nix would be the dominate one, but after Caretaker Everett assessed Lore needed to be the dominate one to be comfortable, it’s been easier to be together. Lore still doesn’t enjoy it as much as Nix, which is odd, because Lore talks about sex all the time.
The reason Sanctuaries assign sex partners at age 13 is to reduce the risk of spreading sexually transmitted infections. Having one partner greatly decreases those chances. Also, no one expects kids to practice safe sex when they are overwhelmed by flooding hormones. Videos are provided when sex partners get bored of each other.
Though Nix was glad to walk across this stage on the 30th of April, sie realized unless Lore wanted to, sie will never kiss Lore again. Nix will never snuggle the night away with Lore’s body against hirs. As the Sanctuary Chancellor raises Nix’s right hand high, the Collective of 85, Months 5 thru 12, cheered in the auditorium. A portrait of Nix appeared on the holoscreen behind sie and the Chancellor. Then sie bowed to thank the Chancellor for approval, pivoted smoothly as practiced and walked off the stage.
Next was Lore. Nix stood offstage in Lore’s sight. Shining the biggest smile of encouragement Nix could offer Lore, such a gesture appeared to give Lore some peace as sie graced the platform. A portrait of Lore laughing flashed on the holoscreen as the Chancellor raised hirs hand and the crowd cheered. After Lore bowed to the leader of the Sanctuary gratefully, Lore darted offstage and leaped into Nix’s arms, and unexpectedly kisses Nix with plenty of tongue.
The moment literally stole Nix’s breath, but also captivated hirs heart. Sie thought last night was their last moment of intimacy. Sneaking out of Nix’s embrace, Lore patted Nix on the shoulder and said, “Don’t ever expect that to happen again.”
“One can dream, right?” Nix raised a brow playfully.
Lore pushed Nix to move and barked, “Only in your dreams from now on!”
Then they were directed to the waiting room of the discharge ward. One by one, everyone was called by their date of birth, surname, time of birth, and Sanctuary name. The Sanctuary name for Nix was Blue Nix and Lore was Sage Lore.
Nix rested hirs head on Lore’s shoulder, enjoying the final sands of the hour glass with Lore. Lore rested hirs face upon Nix’s thick, blond hair. They needed no words. They simply enjoyed one another’s company even though they were not alone. Other 4s of Collective 85 anxiously awaited to be evaluated, to determine how they would each begin ID Synthesis.
“Promise me we’ll be in each others lives forever…” Nix stated demanding agreement from Lore.
“Only if you promise to love me for me and not as you see me…” Lore answered honestly.
“I already love you for you.” Nix said not understanding what Lore meant.
Evaluator Dayln, in a pristine white jumper, steps into the archway that leads to the evaluation room. “4/20/2085, Fenix, 7:07 pm, Blue Nix aka Nix.”
Nix jolted to sit up straight and even though time passed slowly, being called upon felt too soon. Sie took Lore by the hand and stared deep into hirs eyes, “Tomorrow night, don’t forget to meet at the steps of town hall.”
“I won’t forget.” Lore promised. “Midnight at town hall,” Lore smiled to reassure Nix.
Evaluator Dayln called for Nix again to hurry hirself along. Nix lets go of Lore’s hand then hurried over to Evaluator Dayln. Nix wonders how Evaluator Dayln would want to ID oneself amongst the Society.
Evaluator Dayln appeared feminine having a noticeably sized bosom Nix found hirself staring at, wondering what they looked like without being covered. When Evaluator Dayln cleared hirs throat, Nix snapped out of the realm of imagination and focused on reality.
Sitting in a white-walled room, with a random large window in it. A long silver table sat in the middle of the room with two silver square chairs. Each positioned across from each other.
Nix got directed to sit across from the window, while Evaluator Dayln sat with hirs back to the glass.
The questioning began slowly and then picked up. Nix sense of time still remained at a snail rate. Sie answered everything honestly though. Then the evaluation shifted when Evaluator Dayln gave an analysis based on Nix’s responses.
“Would it be accurate to say you feel male in gender and heterosexual in sexual orientation?” Evaluator Dayln asked with a stone solid face. Hirs hands clasped together by hirs fingers on top of the table. Nix wanted to ask hirs if sie felt female in gender and heterosexual in sexual orientation, but Nix knew that would be wrong.
Staring into Evaluator Dayln’s wide, brown eyes Nix answered, “Yes, I would say that I feel male and that I’m a heterosexual.”
“What religion do you best identify with?”
“Monotheistic… Or maybe… the Universe and we are one with it…. I’m not sure really.”
“Are you saying you are agnostic?”
“No,” Nix shook hirs head. “I just feel like we couldn’t all be here by accident. Someone or something had to make the big bang happen or put the dust particles in the sea or use the stardust to make us… Or maybe we just come from the earth, the dirt… However we got here I don’t know… I just want to know the One responsible for putting us here. I feel like it will give me meaning to my life.”
“How do you identify religiously?”
“Spiritual…” Nix grunted unsatisfied with hirs own answer.
“What first name have you selected for yourself?”
“My birth name, Jon… J-O-N, Jon.”
“And will you keep your Sanctuary last name to forge your own path or will you keep your Heredity last name?”
“Heredity last name, please… Fenix. I’m Jon Fenix.”
“You will be missed Blue Nix.” Evaluator Dayln cleared hirs throat. “Do you desire to begin your ID Synthesis as Jon Fenix, a caucasian heterosexual male, age 16, who is spiritual?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Then congratulations Jon, you’re officially a Synthesizer.” Evaluator Dayln stood up, holding out hirs dark brown hand, hirs skin almost seemed black, and hirs short black hair appeared to look like wool. Jon wondered if hirs hair felt scratchy like wool, or if it was soft.
Evaluator Dayln escorted him out of the room and down the hall to the Releasing Area divided into three sections: Clothing Selection, Occupation Assignment, and Society Etiquette.
In the Clothing Selection Section, which was just a wall of clothes on a rack, there were loud colors to choose from. Anything and everything to choose from, but gray and black, which was all Jon wanted to wear. He selected a white t-shirt, some blue rough-feeling pants, brown, clunky boots that sort of look orange. He picked four more outfits of the same thing. The clerk told him he could pick out different things, but that was all he wanted to wear. The clerk advised him to pick a jacket or something to wear over his t-shirts for nighttime, when it got cooler. He picked out a checkered jacket with red and black squares the clerk called plaid.
In the Occupation Assignment Section, he stood before a counter with a glass wall between him and the clerk on the other side of the counter. Sie typed away on hirs holokeys, looking up in the system what \Jon tested into for work. Though he couldn’t seen hirs holoscreen, he knew sie wasn’t staring at space as hirs eyes dart side to side.
Without saying anything, the clerk walked away. Jon called out to hirs wanting to know what was going on, but he got no answer back. Before he could grow bored waiting, the clerk was back and sie told him to stick his right hand through the slit. Seconds later, the wall below the counter opened up with space big enough to fit his hand inside. A little weary, he sticks his hand through, and the clerk took a little black gun-like device, pressed against the skin in between his thumb and his pointer finger and a slight pinch inflicted his skin where the gun touched his hand. The clerk told him to remove his hand. As he did, the clerk gave him details about his occupation.
“Your employment is classified. You will find out more details tomorrow. A vehicle will arrive at your parents house to pick you up at 7 am. If anyone asks you what your job is say you are a janitor for the Law House in the Private Sector. Good-day.”
Jon rubbed his hand where the gun pinched him. He was amazed how there was no blood even though he knew he just got chipped. Chips were vital to Society members. All your points got downloaded onto the chip, and you needed points to buy everything. Chips were programmed to houses, giving you access in and out freely. Depending on where you worked, determined which areas you have access to enter. When you went to the doctor, they scanned your chip, and your whole medical history would pop up, along with a diagnostics of what was currently happening in your body.
Years ago, a chip was considered an invasion of someone’s personal space. But after the Age of Chaos, the Society agreed the chip was best. Jon heard that when you’re thinking suicidal thoughts, it alerts emergency services and a team comes to rescue you. This feature can be turned off Public and Private members of the Society, but Synthesizers have no choice. The feature is kept on during the most trying time of their lives.
In the Society Etiquette Section, Jon watched a short video how to be politically correct and non-offensive to fellow members. In the past, Pre-Age-of-Chaos and Post-Digital-Age, first world civilizations used non-offensive gender neutral terms like they, theirs, them, themselves, one, oneself, etc. However, for anyone who identified as female or male, they found it depressing to not be acknowledged as they chose to identify. Therefore, the Society decided using gender specific pronouns was okay, and in fact encouraged. Before you could call anyone by she or he appropriate pronouns, one had to find how they identified by asking upon introduction, “How do you identify?” Until you learn if someone is a he or a she, you still refer to them as a they or a sie. Anyone who identified as non-binary was rare, because non-binary people usually were employed by Sanctuaries. All Sanctuary Employees live on campuses.
Jon was given a black (a color he liked) duffle bag to put his new clothes in. Inside the duffle bag was a clear plastic bag with a stuffed fox animal- a child’s toy. A blue blanket for an infant that had his name “Jon” etched into the fabric in the corner. And a blue and purple sippy cup. His parents must of dropped him off to the Sanctuary with those things.
Next, he was escorted down a long hallway by two guards. Some new Synthesizers get anxiety about leaving the Sanctuary after commencement and try to break back inside. They’re given 72 hours and three more attempts to leave. If they fail the third time, they are forever classified as Protected and undergo training immediately to be employed at a Sanctuary.
Jon didn’t want to go back. He was a little nervous about leaving, but that was mainly because he wasn’t sure if he would ever see Lore again, and everything within him longed to see Lore again.
BEAR, WOLF, & JON
The bright light of the outdoors made Jon squint his eyes until they adjusted. He heard a large crowd cheering. All the parents, and friends and family (of the parents of 4/85), watched the commencement from outside the Sanctuary. Now they wait for their child to be released. The parents were called up to the gate when their child was about to exit, so they could meet face to face.
It’s not like parents never see their children. Parents can visit as often as they want during visiting hours, and Jon’s parents came every week, at least twice, sometimes thrice. He couldn’t call them mom and dad though, and he didn’t like calling them by their names. So he called his mom Bear, because she was protective like a mama bear, and he called his dad Wolf, because he was so loyal to his mom.
Jaya—Bear—Mom held her arms wide open and called out, “Blue!” as Jon stepped through open gate. He rushed to swoop him in her arms as she embraced him. Murphy—Wolf—Dad joined in making it a group hug affair.
Growing up, Jon wished he looked more like his mom and not his dad. She had beautiful caramel skin, jet black hair, and big, black eyes. His dad had pale white skin, narrow blue eyes, and blondish brown hair. Jaya’s great grandparents were both Asian Indian. Her grandfather was Asian Indian, and her father was half-Asian Indian and half-white. Her mother was part black and mostly white.
As they all came out of their hug feeling warm and fuzzy, Jon corrected Jaya about his name, “Please, call me Jon.”
Excited that he chose his birth name. Jaya stretched upward on her tippy toes to kiss him on each cheek while Murphy slapped him on the back.
The rest of the day went great. They showed him where town hall was. They had dinner at Jaya’s and Murphy’s favorite restaurant. Then they went home and showed Jon his room. The walls were dark gray. The bedding was light gray and his furniture was black. He loved it.
They all sat in the living room watching home movies of them as family when Jon was a toddler. Murphy would go into detail narrating each clip. Jaya cried a lot. Any question Jon had, they answered. It felt so great to be home and wonderful to be with them.
Even though he didn’t need it, they both tucked him into bed. Jaya sat at the foot of the bed while his dad leaned against the post of the doorway. Jaya pulled his covers up over his chest to ensure he would stay warm.
“Where do they have you working?” Murphy asked crossing his arms over his chest.
“Um, as a Janitor for the Law House.”
“For Town Hall you mean?” Jaya wondered thinking her son is mistaken.
“No,” Jon said firmly, “A Janitor for the Law House.”
The Town Hall was for every day affairs for the Local Public within the Society for New Haven. The Law House was for the entirety of the Society across the world, located in the Private Sector of New Haven.
Jaya looked at Murphy and they shared a long stare. As if they could talk to each other in the silence through their facial expressions. Jaya broke the stare when she rose up and leaned over to kiss Jon on the forehead.
“This will be the only night I tuck you in.”
“Why?” Jon jokingly whined.
She rustled her pointed nose with Jon’s similar nose and they both laughed under their breath. “Goodnight,” she said standing up all the way.
She got teary-eyed and she held her hands over her heart, “I love to hear you call me that.” She wiped her tears with her pointer finger and then she left the room, patting Murphy on the shoulder as she walked out.
Murphy went over to Jon and kissed him on the forehead. “It is very good to have you home son, I love you.”
“You and mom don’t believe me about my occupation, do you?”
“You say you’re a Janitor at the Law House, that’s what we proudly tell the neighbors. Now goodnight.”
“I love you too, dad. Goodnight.”
Murphy told the lights to turn off and they did making everything go black. Jon laid there in bed staring at the ceiling. At night was when he pondered the most if there was a God.
In the Sanctuary, everyone is taught is that everyone is part of the collective consciousness and that god comes from within. That there are spirit guides that can come and help people. All a person has to do is mediate properly and master yoga. To Jon, none of that information seemed right.
During free time, Jon was allowed to study different religions none of them seemed right. Plus, none of them were the religions practiced in the past. The Philosophers got together and designed religions that would keep peace amongst the Society. There’s either Monotheism, Pantheism, or Collectivism. Monotheism branches out into two belief systems: Universalism, where the Universe is god, and Theism, where some higher power is in control. Pantheism has two branches as well, Gnosticism, where the flesh is bad and the spirit is good, and multiple gods hide their path of truth in symbols, signs, and various literature. And then Paganism, where people can practice dark or light magic to speak to the spirits the roam the earth and communicate to the different gods. And Collectivism was taught in Sanctuaries, in the past it was New Agism or Metaphysical Practices.
The Philosophers took the best out of all the world’s religions and combined new books to help explore and navigate the ideologies and truths of these new religions. There are three options if you choose not to believe in any of the six choices: None (believe in nothing but humanity and science), Agnostic, or Spiritual.
Jon felt like there was another way to believe and he was going to find out what that way of believing was… He fell asleep thinking about what another God out there may be like.
Note from the Author
Some of the content of this story may be disturbing for some of my blog followers. That’s okay, hopefully, you know me well enough to know what I’m up to here. If you’re new to the blog, feel free to check out my other posts to get a sense of who I am. And if you don’t like what you read on those other posts, hopefully, that won’t stop you from reading this story if you find it interesting.
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