26 March 2052

“Okay, class. Your essays are due today. Remember that they should be written completely in English, not ArchaicStyle,” the teacher looked up. “First up, Cara Newman.”

Cara stood up. “First up? Why?” 

The teacher sighed. “Cara, that’s another afterschool stay for you. You will be reading your essay first.”

“Fine,” Cara said dryly, standing up.

“Actually, I changed my mind. Rachel, you’re up first, oh–,” the teacher clapped her hands over her mouth.

The class held their breath. Everybody knew what happened to the adults that dared to change their mind.

One. Cara counted off the seconds. Two. Three. Four. Five.

The door smashed open, and several robots charged in. A muscular man in his early thirties lead the charge, and he looked around. He spotted the teacher, who was cowering in the corner. “You!”

“Sir, it was an accident. Sir–,” the robots picked her up.

“You dared to change your mind! You must be washbrained once again to teach!”

“Yes sir!” The robots dragged the teacher away.

Cara wondered if the teacher truly was being “washbrained” or if she was simply going to be thrown into the void of space, never to be seen again. After all, the other two teachers that year hadn’t returned. “I will handle your teaching today,” the inspector decided. 

He wrote his name on the whiteboard, writing “Chief Inspector De Lastre” in blue marker. “Read your essay, please, Miss Rachel.”

Rachel took a deep breath and picked up her essay. “The Government of Zealandia.”

Cara had to admit that Rachel was a confident orator, one of the best she had seen. Perhaps she was just like Cicero delivering a speech to the people of Rome. That is, if Rome had actually existed.

Rachel continued on: “The Zealandian people hold elections once every five years. There are two major parties, one of which is the Zealandian Public Party, and the other one is the Cipher Party. The Cipher Party has won the elections every single time. They mandate that all people must be washbrained at age 13, and be educated about political parties.”

“Good essay,” De Lastre approved. “Now, we move on to geography. Repeat after me the three continents: Eurasia, Americana, and Zealandia.”

Cara sighed. The school was a dull environment, one that taught nothing at all. Or rather, it taught everything that the Cipher wanted children to learn.

The class was signed up for a “group washbraining” in 2 weeks’ time. Those were the last weeks that this class had as a “junior”. Anybody 13 or above was a “senior” and would be held criminal for actions against the Cipher. 

Two free weeks. How much damage could the class do within them? After all, they had 13 days left. . .

* * * * *

You can read the next part here: Part 2

 

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Rishi Sridhar

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