One: Of Explanations

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"We both know there's no one out there. You gotta stop looking," the voice says, and I shoot my friend a glare. With red hair spilling down over her shoulders, reflecting the morning sunlight, Callista shoots me a cheeky grin.

"You're gonna kill me for watching the sunrise?" I ask, hiding the laughter in my voice. The glass dome not ten feet away lets only the safe part of the sunlight outside to filter through, and right now it feels good.

"Not kill you. Just bug you about it," she teases, stepping closer to the stone stairs upon which I sit, her boots pushing against the concrete.

"Shouldn't you be with Felix?" I ask her, pushing her shoulder slightly as she takes a seat next to me. I was always jealous of Callista's good looks and spitfire personality, even if I would never admit it.

"He's asleep. Butthead," the ginger tells me, raising an eyebrow at me.

I laugh, letting my head tilt backwards slightly with the sound. We are silent for a few moments as the sun rises higher into the sky. Beyond the glass wall are endless miles of reddish brown dirt, stretching as far as the eye can see with no life in sight. I push a strand of dark hair from my face, and look down at my boots before deciding to restart the conversation.

"You have work today?" I ask my friend, and she lets out a snort.

"Always. At least you get to work in air conditioning," she sasses, and I roll my eyes.

"Yeah, Callie, because taking care of bloody, burned, beat up people is just a walk in the park."

She laughs at my medical job, taking care of people in the injuries part of the sickbay.

"But I get to climb buildings and patch them up," she deadpans, giving me an exaggerated, doe-eyed glare.

"You got a boyfriend out of that job. Stop complaining," I laugh, and she shoots me an evil smirk. It's probably somewhere around 7 in the morning, meaning the Skywalkers will be out and about soon. The men and women who maintain the glass dome we call home are tethered to a ropes system every morning, and they scale the massive dome to make sure all is well. Some of the ones that work higher up wear a weird sort of mecha suit to keep them attached to the ceiling. Callista works as one of the Builders, repairing our homes and workplaces. After centuries upon centuries of living under this dome, staying alive has become a routine rather than a struggle. Everyone fulfills their jobs, from the farmers who care for our food to the Guardsmen who keep everyone in line. My mother is one of the head surgeons at the sickbay, and I spend my days helping her in the injuries department. My older brother works with my father as a Guardsman.

"Hey! You two! Aren't you supposed to be at work?!" a voice shouts, filled with sarcasm, and I see Callista's eyes light up.

"Oh, shut up, Felix." she yells, trying to hide her joy at his arrival.

"Come on, Cal. Time to go," he grins, kissing her cheek before sitting next to us for a few moments.

"Oh. And Ari? Your mom's looking for you," he tells me, and I nod in acknowledgement as I stand up. After a completely unnecessary display of affection on their part, we decide to head to work. The three of us walk back into the center of town, greeting friends and acquaintances as we pass. We all split up as soon as we hit Callista's house. My boots strike the concrete ground as I walk past the city streets, and before long the familiar scent of cleaning products attempting to mask the stench of death fills my nostrils. With a sigh, I take my scrubs and head into the changing rooms and begin to undress. Footsteps fill the room, and a familiar voice calls my name.

"Ariadne? You in here?" my mother calls, and I shout out a reply.

"Yeah."

"We need you out there," she informs me, just as I walk out. My mother bears the appearance of a woman who has been through hell, but also bears a broken kind of softness in her gaze. Athena Simon was the wife of a Guardsman who was rarely ever home, who raised her children almost alone. She still is very beautiful, chestnut hair tumbling over her well defined shoulders and a prim, sharp gaze is often displayed on her features. Her face, while weary, is still youthful enough, and only the very edges of her hair have begun to gray. Her small figure, dwarfed in the teal colored scrubs, is deceptively frail-looking; my mother is tough as nails.

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