A startled Ben turned around to find his sister Molly, who had crept up behind him as he relaxed on the couch Saturday morning.
"Stop creeping around." Ben quickly navigated off of Ebony Belafonte's social media profile.
"I thought I caught you staring at her in the dining hall. What's her name, again?"
Ben ignored her.
"Hey, brat." Molly took Ben's ear between her fingertips and tugged gently.
Ben reached back and batted her away. "Leave me alone."
"Let's go out today."
"Around! Lets go explore the station. We might run into that Belafonte girl."
"I hope not."
Ben had spent his first week on Tenacity Prime cultivating two new interests: Tenacity Prime Elite Force, and the Belafontes. Lauren and Stephanie were so insistent that the Belafontes were horrible, others practically worshiped them. As much as Ben wanted to find out more, the prospect of actually speaking to Ebony, or any of the Belafontes, terrified him.
The Westley siblings found their way to the mall and spent the morning browsing the shops. The Interior Mall, open only to Tenacians, contained the highest end shops on the station. It was modeled after a charming European high street.
Ben looked up, marveling at the illusion of a bright summer's day. "I'll never get over the virtual environment here. You could never tell this wasn't real just from looking at it."
"It is amazing, but honestly, it creeps me out," Molly said. "It will never be the same as Earth, no matter what they do, but it's unsettling that they've gotten so close."
"It's the feeling that reality as we know it ceases to exist?" The Westley's onboarding specialist, Henry, appeared out of nowhere, as he often did.
Molly smiled. "Yeah, something like that."
"You wear a suit on the weekends, too?" Ben asked Henry.
"Always, during the day. After five, I ditch the tie, at the very least."
"Well, you look amazing in them, I don't blame you," Molly said. Henry failed to suppress a flattered grin.
Ben looked around while Molly and Henry discussed his custom tailored suits. He spotted three boys from his Intro to TPEF class hanging out on a bench. Ben felt he was beginning to build a rapport with his classmates, but he still felt like an outsider, being the youngest, smallest, and newest citizen in the class.
Fortunately, one of the boys spotted Ben and waved him over enthusiastically.
"Who's that girl you're with? She's hot."
"Oh, sorry. But, she is hot. Is she single?"
"Yeah, but she's nineteen. She's not interested in high schoolers."
"You're right, looks like she's interested in Henry," one of the boys said with a smirk.
"He's married, isn't he?" Ben said.
Ben watched Molly scan the crowded mall, looking for him, her brow furrowed. When she spotted him, she and Henry came over to the bench.
"Don't disappear like that," Molly said. "At least tell me where you're going first."
"I'm not five."
YOU ARE READING
Tenacity PrimeScience Fiction
The Westleys just moved to Tenacity Prime, a utopian space station founded for the sole purpose of cultivating exceptional talent and advancing the human race. Follow the Westley's struggle as they integrate into the highly regulated, hierarchical s...