Episode 2: New Boy Part 1

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"We have very strict behavioral standards here on Tenacity."

A smooth, pleasant voice filled the air as Benjamin Westley entered the kitchen of his family's new living quarters. It was the morning of his first day of school on the space station. Dean was lounging on the soft white leather couch in the living room, nursing his coffee, watching, "Welcome to Tenacity Prime" for the third time.

"Please keep in mind that any citizen over the age of ten can be deported, along with their guardian, for disturbing the peace. However, rest assured that these decisions are not made lightly."

The voice went on about legal resources, accompanied by bright, animated visuals.

"How many times are you going to watch that, Dad?" Ben said as he served himself breakfast that his mom had delivered from the dining hall.

Dean gave Ben a weary look and turned back to the screen. "The first two times I watched it to retain the information. Now, I just don't know what else to do with myself."

"You nervous?"

Dean sighed. "A bit. I've only worked 15 years to get here."

"That's all you want?" Alicia said as she eyed Ben's meager plate of food.

"I'm not very hungry, mom."

Dean paused the video.

"Come over here and tell me about school."

Ben reluctantly made his way over to the couch. He sat down next to Dean and started picking at his food.

"So? What are you taking?"

Ben hesitated. "Founding of Tenacity Prime, Accounting, Advanced Lit-"

"What's your concentration?"

Ben paused, trying and failing to think of a convincing lie or half-truth.

"Um, law enforcement and military operations."

"Law enforcement? and...Ben." Dean sat up and leaned in. Ben braced himself for a lecture.

"That's what he wants to study, Dean," Alicia called out from the kitchen.

Dean pressed his lips together and closed his eyes.

"I just can't... listen, you know how I feel... but you have to study what you're interested in, your mom's right."

***

Bens stomach twisted in knots as he made his way to the education wing. He was terrified of getting lost. It was late Saturday night when their onboarding specialist, Henry, had led them through the corridors to their home, and they hadn't ventured out since, spending all of their time unpacking and resting. The corridors of Tenacity Prime had been all but deserted on Saturday night, but now, on Monday morning, there were people everywhere, people who knew exactly where they were going.

To avoid standing out, Ben did his best to look like he knew where he was going as well, which got him completely lost. The map on his phone was easy to follow, but he began to panic and couldn't decipher it. He stopped at a row of benches by a bay window and called his mom.

"What's up, Benny?"

"I'm lost," Ben said as quietly as possible.

"Well, where are you?"

"I don't know. I'm lost."

"There are directions on your phone."

"I can't understand them, Mom." Ben's throat tightened. He glanced around to see if anyone was looking at him.

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