Chapter 1: Elisa

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"Some people are born to be a burden to the rest."
- American Eugenics Society (1926)

The air was thick with anticipation as everyone filed into his or her respective sections. Men dominated the farthest right section, children eighteen and under took possession of the middle section, while women were cast off in the left wing. President Steel's Panel Leaders were seated in a straight horizontal row dressed in either a red, white, or blue blazer depending on the level they belonged to. Behind the wooden podium was a giant New American flag: 50 stars in three tight circles with a star in the middle, and the red and white stripes remaining the same. A microphone was ominously positioned at the podium as a prelude to the speech that would be given to all today. President Steel's supporters were given priority seating at the front. They all still wore his campaign buttons as a badge of honor to have voted him into office.

Television cameras were lined at the bottom of the stage in an upward direction while soldiers bordered the entire area with their guns held firmly at their sides. I walked along with my twin brother, Erik, and younger sister, Emilia. She was holding tightly onto my hand, sticking close to my side like a frightened deer. The last of us were herded into our designated sections, before a trumpet sounded at the right end of the stage, earning everyone's attention. The Red, White, and Blue Blazers rose to their feet in perfect unison as President Steel's emerging figure climbed the small steps up onto the platform. His supporters whistled and cheered, falling into their favorite chant: Restore the Greatness. They repeated that over and over until President Steel offered them a charming smile and raised his hand to settle them down. Almost immediately their vocal cords seem to shut, silencing their voices.

Men in black suits poured out from the side of the stage forming a solid barrier between the crowd and the stage. We called them the Black Cat Barrier because just like felines, they thought they were above you, and were incredibly skittish when it came to their President. If they so much as thought you intended to hurt him, they'd scratch and hiss. President Steel tapped on the microphone and a sharp screech blasted through the speakers killing nearly all of my brain cells. "Good morning, my beautiful butterflies, those present and those watching from home."

He called us his butterflies because before him we were just fuzzy little caterpillars, but now, now we were beautiful creatures. "We have come so far since the 2016 election." He began. "It's been a divine three years, running this country and restoring the greatness as was promised in my campaign. It was not easy to rid our gorgeous country of the people who leached from us for all those years, but do we not all agree that life has been much better since we booted the criminal aliens? Has life not been more pleasurable since we closed the borders of our nation?"

His supporters rallied before him, giving into their chant.

"We have restored the greatness! We have slipped back into a golden age! We're producing at record numbers. We have become the number one cotton exporters in the world. We have beat out our competitors... everything is perfect... but, success always comes with a price."

The atmosphere suddenly turned stale as President Steel gave into a dramatic pause and the audience leaned in to hear what he was about to say. "Government spending is still at an all-time high.... Even with getting rid of a major problem, one still remains. After much debate and discussion with my panel, we've reached a decision. Our proposition is to end the welfare, social security, and health care programs. We will be removing able-bodied boys and girls, young men and women from the lower class of our society, and transplanting them to our agricultural areas. You will follow the orders of your respective superiors and live in quarters assigned to you. An overseer will accompany and supervise you each day. They will have the authority to punish you if you disobey."

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