What is Free?

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This is a writing challenge from a good friend of mine. We both play a wonderful game known as Dystopia Rising. It is put out by the amazing people at Eschaton Media. She challenged people to write a story about our characters from when they first began. I first began playing Jeanie in July of 2011. Here is the Jeanie of 2011.

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It was evening. A-825 sat alone on the bench of the picnic table looking over towards the fire pit. Doctor Thomas (wait, was that his name?) had said it was a beacon of hope to those coming into town. So, they would light it every night. Since she had arrived, there had not been a night when the fire was not lit and surrounded by everyone laughing and sharing stories and food.

There were quite a few around the fire pit right now. A young Iron woman sat with a crowbar on her lap and a mug in her hand. She also had a designation number upon her cheek, but A-825 could not read it. The Iron was talking with someone else at the fire pit. He wore a lot of white. Everyone called him Medic. His name was easy to remember. Then again, he let A-825 stay in his tent right now.

Off in the distance a young girl was up in the tree with her gun. Everyone called her “you.” This was confusing. The girl was not an Iron Slave. Didn’t she have a name? Why didn’t anyone use it? Even more strange, the girl did not seem to mind. In fact, she joked with the sniper who was standing by the tree as well. His name was… bird? No. But it was a kind of bird. The hard part was that he was not the only one with a bird name. So many bird names. Two retrogrades with bird names. And then some other guys with bird names. It was hard to remember who was who.

“Jeanie, how are you this evening?” an old man called from the side of the building, where he stood and watched the whole group.

A-825 looked around trying to figure out who would answer. Which one of them was Jeanie again?

“Jeanie?”

A-825 looked over to the old man. He was looking right at her. His hat made it hard to see his eyes in the dim light, but there was very clearly a smile on his face. He was talking to her! That was right, she had decided to call herself Jeanie after the story Big Sis had told her. She was Jeanie.

“I am okay,” Jeanie answered quietly.

The old man nodded, adjusted his bow tie, and slipped his hands back into his pockets. “Let me know if you need anything, alright?”

A-825, no, Jeanie… Yes, Jeanie. She nodded her head and looked back over to the fire. The fire was easy to understand. Even if she could not understand why they lit it every single night, she understood the fire itself. Fuel source, ignition source, air. That’s how fire worked. It melted and softened scrap so that engineers and tinkers could work with it and do what Iron Slaves would never understand. A-8… Jeanie knew how to use fire and forge so that the scrap pieces would be just right for a project. It was simple.

It was easier to understand than all the people around her. A lot easier than trying to understand every time they explained how she was free now.

What was free?

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