Region 29

Jack Taylor is a 19 year old boy, but to Region 29 and the S.R.U. Corporation, he's Employee #7905. Because of a crime his family committed against the S.R.U, he's reassigned to the Department of Correctional Behavior.
As soon as he's reassigned, Jack knows his life will never be the same. He will be a prisoner of the Region. When he learns that there's a worser fate in store for him and all of those condemned to the DCB, how will Jack escape this sentence?
With the help of all those that have also been cast away by society, Jack slowly uncovers the dirty secrets of Region 29 that the S.R.U. Corporation has been hiding. But will finding the truth cost him his life?

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1. Department of Correctional Behavior

     “Employee 7905... Jack Taylor; Age 19. Confirmed,” announced the electronic voice.

     The screen in front of me blinked green in approval and I removed my hand from underneath the scanner. The ring on my finger that held all my information was still warm from the machine analyzing it, but just as everyone else, I was accustomed to the heat. Every time one of the employees of the S.R.U. Corporation entered or exited a building, our rings had to be scanned.

     I looked down at the silver band encircling the third finger on my right hand; the simple markings along the edge represented the number of years we had been faithful to the corporation. One line for every year. I was only at three since I was still fairly young for the system. My first and only job for the corporation consisted of being a worker in the Waste Management buildings.

     Very few working in the trash facilities knew why I had been assigned to work there. Usually, someone so young would never be sentenced to that kind of work but, because of my family, I was an exception. I had to prove my loyalty to the corporation and to Region 29 more than any other nineteen-year-old because of what was in my past.

     Sighing, I stood in front of the screen for a minute or two as it rendered all my recent activity. I watched as the computer compiled a list of every building I had entered and exited since leaving work the day before, at 5 pm. When the schedule was complete, the screen blinked green once more and a video began playing. It was the same video all employees needed to watch every morning before entering their place of employment.

     Before, it had been all citizens of Region 29 but when people began complaining, the Leader declared that only employees of the S.R.U. were required to watch it. Though, since every job in the Region had some connection to the corporation, nothing really changed.

     The S.R.U. controlled everything from trash disposal to lawmaking. It was a company founded by the Leader himself so of course it was a success and of great importance to the Region.

     The beginning scene started, depicting a bloody battlefield and hundreds of corpses.

Famine, sadness, devastation, disease... These were the things that plagued the human race. In the past, people would have been doomed to lead unhappy lives and then suffer painful deaths. Happiness was nonexistent and this crushed the hearts of many, but no one was strong enough to do something about it...”

     The scene of death ended and cheerful music began playing along with clips of present day Region 29. The clean white buildings that housed all the citizens, the beautiful parks and happy playgrounds, the litter-free lakes and excellent schools. Region 29, the ideal utopia...

“Thankfully a small group of men and women had the courage to stand up and say that enough was enough. These courageous and inspiring people worked together tirelessly to create a new age; a new world without sadness, hunger, or disease. These thirty men and women succeeded in bringing the once dark and dreadful world into a new time of light. These admirable few were dubbed the Thirty Noble Leaders and each given their own Region to better.

     The monitor now went through all the photographs of the Thirty Noble Leaders, showing powerful young men and women sitting in grand offices and smiling a little too perfectly.

After the countless tragedies, the numerous wars and the millions of deaths, mankind was saved by The Leaders. You, citizen had the honor of being born into Region 29 where the Leader himself founded the S.R.U. Corporation. This company runs Region 29 and ensures that it remains a peaceful city.  No amount of work will ever repay The Leader of Region 29 for his great courage and sacrifice, but you must try your hardest for as long as you continue to live. Do you understand citizen?”

     The video ended and I pressed the button I pressed every single day.

     “I understand. I live for Region 29.”

     The screen went green for the third time and finally the doors opened. I shoved my hands into my pockets and walked forward.



 

     “Hey, Jackie!” a familiar voice called from down the hall.

     I turned around and saw Derek, my supervisor headed towards me with a stack of papers in his hand. He waved at me.

     “Good morning, Mr. Iza,” I answered. Unfortunately, being the youngest person in the building meant I was obligated to refer to everyone formally or by title.

     “Yeah, whatever. Listen Jackie, I hate to tell you this, but you’ve been reassigned.”

     He handed me the stack of papers and sighed. I flipped through them, trying to find my new assignment. It was about time I was given a new job. What could it be? Landscaping Services? Parks and Recreation Worker? Obviously, I wasn't expecting anything grand...

     “Last page,” Derek muttered. I turned to the last one and read down the sheet.


 

By The Order of Region 29 and the S.R.U. Corporation:

-New Assignment: #7905 Jack Taylor

-Department of Correctional Behavior

 

     “D-department of Correctional B-behavior?” I stuttered. Derek nodded, placing a hand on my shoulder.

     “It’s for the good of the city. I’m sure you understand. You have a lot to make up for, boy. Best of luck to you.”

     He patted my shoulder once and then took off in the opposite direction.

     I stood there motionless for a while rereading the Order over and over. There had to be a mistake. The Department of Correctional Behavior? There was no way. No way...

Of course, Jack. Of course you’ve been sent to the DCB. Have you forgotten the offenses your family has committed against Region 29? Did you think you’d get off easy? You have to work harder than the others to erase the mistakes in your past. 

     Thinking about it at that moment, I was actually surprised that the transfer hadn’t come in sooner. I’d been lucky that I had had all these years of peace. But, my luck had run out. It was time to repay Region 29.


 

     Clutching the papers in my left hand, I quickly made my way to the end of the hallway. The scanner there read my I.D. band and the metal elevator doors slid open shortly after. I stepped into the lift and waited for the panels to close again.

     “Employee 7905, what is your destination?” a voice asked from above. I took a deep breath.

     “Department of Correctional Behavior.” I answered firmly. A ding emitted from the speakers and the elevator began descending.

     I took a seat on a small bench against the wall and closed my eyes. The Department of Correctional Behavior...

     There were countless rumors about what went on in that division. As a child, I remember hearing it was a prison for punishing those who were disobedient to the S.R.U. Later someone mentioned that it was a laboratory for finding cures to new epidemics and that they used citizens as test subjects. Once I even heard a tale about the department being a training facility for the S.R.U. officers, with live prey to practice on. All the stories about the DCB were different, but they had one thing in common; those who went into the department, never came out.

     My fingers gripped the edge of the seat so hard, my knuckles turned white. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, the rhythm increasing rapidly. Whatever was down in the Department of Correctional Behavior was going to be my life from then on. Good or bad, I had to continue living for Region 29 and the S.R.U.


 

     “Department of Correctional Behavior,” announced the voice. The doors opened and I stood up reluctantly. The Order still firmly in my hand, I walked out of the elevator and into the department.

     There was nothing but a small lobby space fitted with a receptionist desk and a few chairs. A small blonde lady sat behind the desk, her attention fully focused on me. She smiled as I walked into the room and towards her.

     “Hello, I’m-”

     “Employee 7905. Yes, welcome. We’ve been expecting you,” she answered cheerfully. I gulped.

     “We?” I asked. She laughed.

     “The director is right through there. Make a left at the end of the hall and it’ll be the last door down.”

      The woman gestured towards the adjacent wall, to a door I had failed to see before. I gave her a nervous smile and crossed the room. Automatically, I held my hand out for my ring to be scanned, but found no scanner on the wall.

     “Just go right in,” the lady said from her desk. “There’s no security. Believe it or not, there aren’t a lot of people who want to go inside this department.”

I can’t imagine why.

 

 

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