She is hardly a woman now. Her young eyes gaze upon a screen, focused, unmoving. Her skin illuminated by the bright computer monitor in front of her. The room is dark, and the only noise is her hands clicking on the mouse in desperation.
The screen lights up as she clicks on the testing icon. The first question flashes in black lettering before giving her one minute for an answer.
<< What is your name? >>
She types slowly, << Natalia Peters >>
She had spent a long time picking that name, scrolling through the name list for hours. She ended up picking Natalia on a whim, thinking it sounded pretty. She knew no one of the name, though she didn’t know very many people so far. No one with a name anyway.
The second question is up, << What is your Age? >>
She wants to laugh, it must have been a joke. Or simply a test to make sure the test takers knew exactly what they were doing. Everyone takes the test at the same age.
<< 18 >>
Natalia is eighteen years old and is just being given a name, a name chosen by her which makes it more promising. Before the test she was simply Student 099. She was the 99th person born in her year. Before she was classified as a student at the age of four, she was Child 099. That is how all people are raised here. Everyone’s big day is the test. The system has a way of knowing which are worthy to move on the next stage of the life cycle.
The test and the system were created in the year 0, 146 years ago. It was created by the Association, and the reasons behind this society is success and societal happiness. Natalia never questioned it. As she was raised it was implied that no one should ever, under any circumstance, question the Association.
The third question is up. << What is the highest rated skill on your Student graduation document? >>
<< Problem Solving >> She types, only glancing at the other document.
<< Second highest skill? >>
<< Creativity, Exploration thinking. >>
Natalia remembers yesterday, graduation. 200 students received their document, informing them of all they would need for the Test. It was their personality and knowledge levels listed separately. She knows that it is what the Association uses to determine what Work a person will do and where a person should be placed in the society.
Natalia remembers Teacher 003 as he handed her the results. He was an older man, accustomed to the system and its ways. He gave her the page slowly, as if trying to conserve their last interaction. He looked sad, his lip quivered, and his eyes showed a small sense of fear. He tried to hide it and swallow his guilt. He did something, something so strange for a teacher. He hugged her. It was a sensation Natalia had not felt since she left her early parental units. The warmth of a human embrace was something Natalia never thought she would cherish so much. It brought a smile to her face even though she knew Teacher 003 would receive light punishment for the action. She couldn’t understand why he did that, why he looked that way.
<< Lowest level skill? >>
<< Mathematics >>
<< Do you have a preferred work placement? List only one. >>
She had thought about this a long while too. Her interests seemed to be everywhere but nowhere with pride. She never wanted to be a teacher, or a mathematician, scientist, or doctor. She liked to doodle and learn. She especially enjoyed stories and interacting with others. Alas the work Artist died out long ago and there is only ever three Historians in the society at a time. All three of those positions are currently filled.
She typed the only thing she could think of, << Librarian >>
<< Please list a work assignment that would be displeasing. List only one. >>
This was easy, << Scientist >> sure there are other displeasing work assignments such at peace keeper and waste manager. But she was sure she did not have a chance of receiving those jobs. If she did it would not be the worst.
A set of blue letters flashes across the screen, << This is the last question. Are you prepared? >>
She selected the box what read, yes. She thought that this was another silly question.
The last question appears. She sucks in a nervous breath as she reads, << Should the society undergo changes? If so, please list them. >>
She types shakily, thinking quickly, she only has the minute.
<< We should have more ways to be creative, students should have more free time, we should pick names earlier, we should learn more about the association. >>
The screen goes dark for a couple of seconds. The computer analyses her results. Natalia’s palms go sweaty, all she can hear is the sound of her own hear, pounding rapidly in her ears.
The screen is plain white again. Words appear, words that should not have been possible.
<< Student 099, you have failed. Prepare to be terminated. >>
Her eyes widen and she stands quickly. The chair falls behind her and the lock on the plain steel door clicks shut. Natalia stumbles to the door, pounding her fists down on it. Why did the door lock?
A foggy white mists flows out of the vents, the horrid smell fills her nose.
Natalia can feel her mind fogging, she lets out a cry.
The last thing she hears is a voice over the intercom system. “Termination of Student 099 complete. Goodbye Natalia,”