Act I

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

—Maya Angelou


Enter Jonathan Foster and Mason Grey

Foster              Look over there. Do you see that?

Grey                What is it, Chief?

Foster              Way out there, to the east. Think they could be here already?

Grey                What, the engineers? No, I only see the Mirage. Let me have the binoculars.

Foster              Here.

Grey                Hey, look at that. There is something glinting.

Foster              Do you think it's them?

Grey                Well, it's getting closer. Looks like it's rising right out of the Mirage itself.

Foster              [taking the binoculars] You know, eleven years of my life on this colony, and I still can't tell if there's actually something out there or if this desert is just feeding off my imagination. It's separating into smaller shapes. I think it's the trucks.

Grey                It's too early. I thought they were supposed to get here around dinnertime.

Foster              Well, those shapes won't reach us for hours.

Grey                How many are there, do you say?

Foster              Four or five maybe. Oh, listen, my thumbpad is vibrating. The trucks have sent their registration and license information. Six total. Federal property.

Grey                They're here.

Foster              [raising communicator to lips] They're here.

Grey                What should I do?

Foster              Make sure the water and sewage systems are cleaned properly, and see that the solar panels and backup generators are checked, along with the wind turbines. Have Dave test the voltage in the enclosure—make sure he records it. Oh, and tell the cooks to start on something special for tonight.

Grey                All right, I'll see to it.

Foster              Oh, and Mason?

Grey                Yes Chief?

Foster              Tell your boy not to worry.

Grey                Worry?

Foster              Of course. A Beta Generation has never known a minute of his life without the enclosure running. This'll scare him half to death.

Grey                Thanks, John. I'll see that the kid's okay.


The End

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