Day 1

“Regular routine initiated, good morning KEVEN STEVENSEN” The bed frame tilted with a very slight creak and I was tossed into my casual morning attire. Yes, I was tossed directly into it, haphazardly if not for the specific calculations done every single morning. This is my life, everything is done for me. Next I am dragged by machinery to the restroom where my teeth are brushed as white as the walls in every room and am thrown through sanitation powder as white as, well, yea. To remove any excess bacteria, oils, or unwanted food particles the powder cleanses my pores and brushes off my shoulders. I am placed upon a conveyor belt that will radioactively annihilate any specimen directed to inconvenience me. Truly, I am in control of my life, destined to direct myself to blah blah blah you get the picture. I am propped up onto a chair and breakfast is ready. Time to finally move for myself.

I’ve read through some old books in the library that at one point, our society was more ‘cut-throat’. This society was dictated by skill, those without tended to die off in the streets. Wars were fought, civilizations were torn down. All nations but one. I assume the one was mine. The one thing the book doesn’t explain is why and how this changed. Something I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get an explanation to. I just wanted a moment to further digest that thought and funny enough eating is where I like to digest. In such a simple life it’s hard to have that moment where you get to question what was. What people came before me? Everyone nowadays either give me odd looks when I try to talk to them or don’t talk back just letting me babble. Speaking of things that, to be ironic won't speak back, I get pulled into reality again.

“MAY I HELP YOU WITH ANYTHING FRIEND?” Ah yes, my least favorite friend: buddy-bot. The advertised ‘best bud in the entire world’ fitted with real action grippers that make him almost able to control and manipulate. Ironically, this allows him more control than I have. He cooked breakfast. He controls the house through the network. In essence, he controls my life. Of course, that’s not his main function. His main function is to be the best ‘friend’ I could ever have. Honestly that’s a bleak statement once you ‘get to know him’. The bot isn’t much for conversation but loves being given a small task like “go die” and “leave me alone you waste of tin”. Oh how we play.

My neighbor is a stubborn old fellow with a glare that could shut down a raging bull. He never seems to leave his house, but that may be because our bots bring us in opposite directions for our assigned jobs, which the robots end up doing for us anyway. Nevertheless, that’s probably why I don’t see him. If it were true that he was skipping out on ‘work’ then I should be able to find him easily. He must still be home. I will try to meet with him.

Day 2

His name is Steve. Steven Stevensen, no relation to me. Everyone has the same last name to prevent any...differences. I’ve read that there was a time when people had different names then Keven, Bob, or Steve. Our society was based on an ‘old-English’ style of naming whatever that specifically means. But that was a long time ago. Anyhow, Steve and I chatted for a while. I told him about my thoughts. About Buddy-bot, about work, about everything I have no hand in. Now Steve is a very mannered fellow, he listened the entire time without interruption. I chose my words very carefully, avoiding any negative language that he could have construed as aggressive. It was a pleasant conversation. That is, until I asked him about his life. He answered only a few questions like ‘why don’t you work’. His answer was that he does every other day on account of some medical condition he told me the name of, but I honestly couldn’t remember it for the life of me. On account of if I could come in he refused. I continued to ask questions based on that like ‘Why not?’ Steve informed me that I would rather not hear about it, I disagreed, arguing that it may well be very interesting. He told me.

“Well, that’s exactly the problem.” I was befuddled to say the least. How can something interesting be a problem? I furthered my investigation by inquiring about his Buddy-bot, which seemed to be missing. He declined to answer, waving the question off. He then stated that he was tired and needed me to leave. I did not want to but by law I could not refuse him. So I went home dejected.

Day 3

Same old process again and again every single day. It’s simple and that’s what drives me absolutely bonkers. I have to know what Steve spoke to me about. What was interesting and why is that the exact reason I cannot know what it is? But how to go about it...what can I ask? I don’t believe I could ask anything after he denied telling me without infringing on the law.

“MAY I HELP YOU WITH ANYTHING FRIEND?” Buddy-bot asked for the 14th time today. I attempted to tell him of my issue, but conversations with him are always cut short by his programming. You can bring up a deep conversation about humanity and the past and the best he’ll come back with is a simple “DIRECTIVE NOT FOUND, WOULD YOU LIKE TO RUN A DIAGNOSTIC?” followed by a pause where he waits for a command. I don’t think I’ve ever ‘run a diagnostic’.

After a lazy morning or letting my house do everything per usual, I had a minor debate with myself. The man won’t tell me what I want to know. Do I want to keep asking? If I keep asking he might cave in and tell me, but he might also not. If I lose the lead I’ll be left knowing nothing without a way of speaking to him. What are my other options though? Break in and see if I find anything? Would I find anything at all?...

I concluded it. I have to break in before trying anything else. Why? If I'm sneaky enough I’ll still have the other options to fall back on. Yes. I have to get in while he’s away. Is there a way I can go to work and at the same time… not? Wait a minute. What happens if I don’t show up at all? I suddenly realized how little it matters. If I don’t show up? What will they do? Fire me? And? If I'm fired that means nothing. If the work is redundant I'm not doing it to survive like the old-times, I'm doing it because it’s something to do. If I don’t do it there won’t be any consequences. At least I thought, at this point certainty was out the window. I won’t go.

“Buddy bot, cancel my 4 o'clock, I’ll be out. Take my messages” I called out.


“You know what? Yes!” I call to him. He doesn’t move at all, no response. He kind of just sits there.

“Welp, I guess I'm off.” I say to myself. Whatever comes I’ll be ready.

I waited outside his house for what seemed like an hour. I was off to the side in between the wall and the fence. I had the fortune to be in the shade, that way when he passed I’d be fine to assume he wouldn’t notice me. Of course when the time came he glided by on the rail, not even looking back. I had a moment of ‘stealth’ where I sneakily stepped around, the shadows and into the doorway. I'm sure I looked like an idiot but the thrill of making it this far was keeping me going. The door wasn’t locked, much like every door in the city. There aren’t burglars. Why would there be? Anything you want to have you can easily get by just asking.

The door despite being unlocked however swung upon heavily, being hard to move on it’s hinges. I had the realization that the only thing opening these doors is machines. His house was bleak. Instead of having the normal all-white bright interior of few but functional furnishings, he had basically nothing. The house was sparse at best, and bleak and dark throughout the entire place. The lights were on, triggered by movement yet the place was covered in darkness just by the lack of anything bright or vibrant. I questioned why he’d choose such horrible coloring, but I wasn’t here to interior decorate. The first place I checked was the side-room. I assumed this would be a bedroom but the lack of bed was of course not helping the thought. There was a basic oak table off to the corner with nothing on it at all, complementing the almost spruce colored walls. I didn’t take long before deciding to make my way over the next room, directly across the entryway hall. The next room was the exact same color, this time with a simple bed. In the opposite corner of the room there was a similar looking table. This table meanwhile actually had some stuff on top. A simple lamp, bright golden colored and still on despite his leaving. Beside the lamp was a simple pen and journal. The journal seemed to be stitched together, something handmade as opposed to gotten from a store. If I had anything to go off of this would be it. The journal wasn’t easily opened, this is what happens when you don’t just get the professional version. The poor book had to be bent to open properly. The opening page was headed with date, going back to about a year ago. I spent the next hour or so just reading the book, taking my time to digest what it said.

The entire thing was a recollection of Steve’s life BEFORE coming to sanctuary. Steve wasn’t always a member here, he snuck in. Why? To help. Steve had a family outside, they are depending on him. They need food, they need anything they can get. Steve plans on leaving when he can. When he can? He’s waiting. Waiting on what? Steve expected to be able to get the food and leave a while ago. The only thing keeping him in is his realization that he can’t get more rations than assigned.

I got what I needed, so my new goal of course was the get the hell out. I bend the book back the opposite way so as to cover up my snooping. I then slowly and quietly snuck out of the house. I was listening for movement, but heard nothing as I crept out the door to the fading sunlight. Mission accomplished. Now I have closure.

Well, on a chapter. This isn’t a full story yet. I need to do something more.

Day 4

Routine aside my morning was spent thinking. What do I want to do? I could easily just not care, stop talking to the man and continue on with my life, but where’s the adventure in that? I didn’t break into a man’s house just because I need to hear the middle of the story, I want the end. If I can’t just sit back and wait for someone to write the end for me I need to go out and make it myself.

Another round of contemplating. What do I do? I can’t do nothing. That’s certain, I need to do something.

What can I do? I’d give my rations but I also do enjoy eating and not being a dead brick. That leaves me the options of do nothing and steal the food. Well, looks like I'm stealing food. Okay, how do I go about stealing. I’ve never known a theft to happen here. It’s something no one ever thinks about, you get as much as you need in food, the fatter you are the more you get (if you want it that is, they probably shouldn’t) because you’ll go hungry without more and that would be a minor inconvenience.

The ration hut is toward the edge of the dome. The gate to the dome meanwhile is not too far away, about a block behind buildings. If I can get away with the food I’ll have no problem just leaving. I think at least, I’ve never tried leaving. I don’t think anyone ever has ‘left’. So then, my plan is set, but when do I strike? I want to go out, get the food, and get it to the people as soon as possible so I can just return knowing they’re alright, have a nice chat with Steve about this.

Day 5

I left early in the morning, earlier than my clock would normally be set. They let you change the time you wake up but given most people just need to go to work and nothing else there’s really no point in changing it. I did though, getting up before the sun even got up at 5am. I was miserably tired, but the darkness would help me get out undetected. I grabbed a coat expecting the worst for the outside. From what I’ve heard in the past the sky changes out there, sometimes dropping large amounts of water down, even frozen water at times. Lightning whatever that is, plenty of hurricanes and tornados all over with names like ‘George’ and ‘Katrina’.

I wasn’t going to risk getting cold and lucky enough the aesthetic coats you can get do actually make you warm, so that’s a plus. I turned off the routine system and headed outside. The morning was more quiet than I could imagine. There was no noise in the slightest. What little light was reflected off of the buildings making everything still visible, but in some way more… How do I put it. I’ve never known a feeling of dread from darkness, but I’ve only known darkness in my own home. Seeing it on this scale is… alarming.

I hopped on the rail line seat and set it to go to the ration hut. I was expecting this to work for a reason I may never know. It’s too early for these things to take commands, no one is up. After hopping back down I began walking the way I believed I needed to go. There was no movement in the darkness, at least none I could see. There was no sound in the darkness aside from my footsteps against the pavement. The darkness did however smell of eggs, which I honestly think wasn’t the darkness as much as my breakfast leaving a scent. I passed a multitude of buildings, all looking like the same blocks of white, no windows, no lamps, no lawns. The people in this area didn’t request any kind of outside piece. These people might be in-home workers I figured wandering by.

Eventually I came to the edge of the dome where it rounded off to the ground perfectly. The ration hut of course had yet to open. I lifted the grate over the service window and hoped through. On the inside was shelves of food. Chisps, Bean Genie Brand Beans, Gruel in a Cup, Noodles in a Cup, Cups in a Cup! which conveniently was a cup of cup shaped cereal. I came to a sudden realization that I had absolutely no way of carrying this, but luckily at the ration hut are bunches of bags for carrying the groceries out. I stuffed several in my pocket, immediately realizing I should be opening the bags so as to shove the food into. I methodically and neatly poured the shelves into one bag after another. The only one being an issue was the Bean Genie which was in a metal can and thusly just crashed through the plastic bag. I triple bagged the floor beans and went on the clean up the rest. After what I’d call a half hour I had the entire store’s stock on my arms in bags. I wanted to die the second I lifted my arms.

“God, how am I supposed to carry that!?” I called to what I thought was no one.

“BUDDY BOT IS PROGRAMMED TO LIFT!” I get yelled at me from the back of the shop.

“Jesus Christ buddy bot way to announce yourself!” I said after my miniature heart attack. You know what buddy bot? I’ll take that offer.

“Buddy bot, can you help me lift these out?”


“Uh, I’d say just follow me.” I said, opening grate again to jump out. I didn’t know if this would work, buddy bot is afterall a small robot not keen on taking so many things at once, but to my dismay he picked up the entire bunch no problem by extending his arms out like a net.

“Well then, I guess let’s get to the gate” I said, letting buddy bot through the grate. I think I'm just lucky buddy bot is fit for stealing. He extended out his legs to almost be human sized, crawling through the opening to the outside with me. I closed the grate as best as I could so it wouldn’t just sit on it’s hinge giving away that someone isn’t as it seems.

We walked for another ten minutes behind the sparse buildings. They cast massive shadows than almost distracted from the neon yellow grocery bags buddy bot was toting through. The gate was very large, being made out of what seemed entirely to be metal. I tugged on the left side to test the waters, but it swung open with that alone as I got my first look into the unknown world in front of me. The gate also swung back hitting buddy bot into my back, which sent us both down the massive hill the town apparently sits on. I don’t remember much of this part however, I think I hit my head to many times tumbling down the hill. I remember looking out to see a tree, then getting hit in the face with said tree. I kept tumbling, looking once again off to the side to see another tree. I hit this one too, blacking out.

Day 6

I met a fellow, rather he met me. When I awoke I was being dragged away by an angry bear. This fellow decided that he would tango with the beast and felled it quickly. Utopia was right when they classified these people as barbarians. The man was grizzled, seeming to be in his late 30’s. He was adorned in a fur coat made of what seemed to be a bear pelt. His bottom half meanwhile was a long loincloth and pretty much nothing else. I'm honestly glad at least he’s covering it up. Nevertheless I still find myself appalled with his appearance. As any gentlemen would.

“What is a ‘Bean Genie?’” called the barbarian.

“It’s food, you eat it.” I said

“I know what food is ya bastard. How is this thing food?” He called attempting to chomp on the can. “ARE YOU IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE?” Called buddy bot, startling me. I forgot he was holding the food.

“Okay, what is that and why can it speak?” He shouted, raising off the ground and keeping his eyes on his new target.

“He’s buddy bot, he’s a helper droid.”


“Robot, metal, he’s moving metal that does stuff.” I tried explaining. Even from what I’ve read they had robots. They must of fallen far.

“Alright.” He puts his guard down, still eyeing buddy bot down.

“I could use this assistance whatever you’re referring to.”

Buddy bot snatched the can from him, making him go on edge ready to fight. After buddy bot opened the can however, he calmed down again and took the can. He stared inside uncertain.

“There, that’s the food”

“What food is this?” he questioned putting his finger in.

“Beans, that’s why it’s name is Bean Genie”

He put the finger in his mouth, gave a look of concern, then kept eating. I’d assume he’s not a fan of the taste but honestly no one is. Bean Genie is mostly for cooking and idiots who think unheated generic bean paste is a good meal.

“Why do you have this? Do you trade?” He said scarfing down the bean mush with a face of disgust.

“No, I'm bringing this to the, uh…” I had a sudden realization I had no call card on what the tribe’s name was or anyone in it.

“Do you know a man that may or may not of left all of the sudden?”

“What kind of leave?”

“I know a man who snuck into Utopia looking for food, do you perchance know the man?”

“Is this some riddle?”

“A man went to go get food, never returned, I know the man.”

“Why do you bring up this man?”

“Because I'm bringing this to the man’s tribe.”


“Because the man wanted to do it, so I'm doing it for him.”

“Why did he not do it?”

“Let’s not have this conversation right now. Do you know of a tribe nearby?”

“Yea, there’s only one around. Why didn’t you ask about them earlier instead of assuming I know some random disappearing man.”

“Okay, now that we’re on the same page, where is this tribe.”

“If I gave you directions would you even know what they meant?”

“Depends on the direction.”

“Why don’t I just take you, and in return take a little bit more Bean Genie. It tastes like moss but if it’s food I want it.”

And with that, the man escorted me through the land till nightfall, where we camped toward an area he described as ‘on the border of their land’. That night I slept horribly. The ground was hard and the moonlight was glaring. At least this’ll only take another day.

Day 7

We finally made it to the tribe, this has been the most taxing adventure of my life. Though, considering my life has been by the books from the very beginning it's easy to see why i’d think so. We had to go through half beaten paths that supplied many obstacles that made the easiest task of walking a chore. As we came across a generally more clear area I saw structures that I guess you could say resembled houses. They lacked sound structural integrity and each one made with various materials from scrap metal to half charred logs. The people, their clothes were mismatched with whatever spare cloth they could find. As I approached them they gave me looks of puzzlement and curiosity. I must admit, I haven’t enjoyed this. I miss my bed and the ease of living. Travelling is difficult work. Luckily, work is always rewarded, spoils to the victor as they say. So press on I shall. Furthermore, these barbarians need me to help them. I can plainly see that their primitive society needs some supplies lest it collapse from the inside out. It’s disturbing to me to know that people are actually attempting to live out here. People are talking to the man that led me here. They are all covered in mud and scars. Yet they feign smiles. I suppose life is filled with more happiness if you never know anything but misfortune on the principle of living be a blessing. What positive qualities can I attribute to them? So far I see nothing but optimism, which can very well also be their downfall. They walk over to me, the man states I have many ‘gifts to give’. He isn’t wrong, I have Bean Genie by the ton, many cups of generic whatever, and even some fresh-ish bags of potato I think. I give one can to them and they gawk over it. I give them a few more and their eyes light up. It’s… Bizarre. I’ve never had someone pay attention without being more concerned than amazed. I guess it took brutes and mud-rats to appreciate the mind. Go figure huh?

I left early the next morning. I think I’ve had just about enough of this filthy place. If I ever come back I think I need to bring towels and actually clear water. Hopefully however, I won’t ever need to come back.

Day 8

I stumbled up the mountain, falling to my knees time and time again. All the injuries I suffered out here have finally caught up to me I guess. But soon, oh so very soon. I’ll be back home. Back to my cushiony bed and breakfast. No more Bean Genie, no more hunting. Just me and buddy bot. He meanwhile seems to be having a great time for a mindless piece of hardware. I tripped over another rock, just another bruise that’ll heal I guess. I’ll have that time. I’ll have it once I'm inside.

I'm crawling through mud at this point. I can see home. It’ll only be a few more hours now. I checked my bag and I'm entirely out of food. I regret giving it all at this point and remembering I have to still get back. My good deeds were a bit un-mediated. It’s a shame I didn’t take more. But no, I cannot focus on that. If I just think of food that’ll be the end of Keven. And i’d very much like to keep Keven alive. Because Keven isn’t a barbarian, he is a civilized gentlemen who understands what’s right and what’s wrong as well as the importance of giving. Keven unlike so many others living in perfect society knows people need help. Keven will do everything he needs to do to get them help. I shall return and be greeted by a comforting bed. At least I’ll have Steve to tell. He’ll surely praise me as a selfless friend. Yes, that’s exactly what will happen. Oph...another rock. Come on Keven, pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You have to walk the walk to even get the chance to talk the talk.

I’ve found a fairly flat spot to rest for a while. I coughed. I never coughed back in the dome. Soon enough Keven...Soon enough. This has been quite the journey. It’ll be studied for generations to come. But for that to happen I need to press onwards and mostly upwards. Looking forward I find that I may have two more hours or so left to scale the cliffside. And since I'm out of food there really isn’t much sense to just sitting here. Alright, up and at ‘em boy. You carry the connection of humanity. Bring it home. Tell them all of the horror just outside the skyline.

With one foot in front of the other I have finally made it to the top. A celebratory jump for joy! Ha ha! I turn back to the land below me and shout at it. Victory finally to those who fight. Very well… that’s enough of that. This land has taken an exceptionally large bite of out my pie as is. I need not feed the glutton any more. All I need to do is turn around and go home. And so, for the final time, I turn my back on this corrupted land and march towards Utopia! The walls of my precious dome appear to reach heaven itself, perhaps it is heaven itself...anyhow, I get to the door and press the button on the intercom.

“Hello and welcome, how may I help you?”

“I have returned! I am Keven Stevensen, and i’ve returned! I’ve become a hero and return triumphant...

...Please let me in.”

“Let me check the charts…”

“Sorry, we are only accepting artists this cycle.”

I pushed the button on the intercom

“Hello and welcome, how may I help you?”

“My name is Keven. Keven Stevensen. I live in block 312…”


...Please let me back in...

...I laid my hand on the door. Tears fell from my cheeks as I remembered the land I cursed stood behind me, breathing down my neck. It whispered to me. My safety was not assured. I clenched my hand into a fist and punched the door out of frustration.

My world had become more lonely than ever before. I hadn’t even the courage to cry anymore. Fear brought me to my knees. I lay my head upon the door and let myself all pour out. There was a moment of hope followed by nothing. How do I get back in? Can I get back in? Will I ever get back in?

My mind swarmed with ideas but every question unlike any other time was met with ‘there’s no hope’.

With a slumped over turn I faced the hill I once fell straight down. It’s funny how in this plan I expected everything to go right. Every moment I progressed was step by step. The next step: there isn’t one. For the first time in my life I drew a blank. The tears kept coming, but so did one other thing.

“MAY I HELP YOU WITH ANYTHING FRIEND?” Buddy-bot’s words echoed throughout my head. At that moment I began to chuckle. I cackled. I laughed my heart out as I bunted Buddy-bot off of the mountain. This. This. Mistake. It’s nothing. There’s nothing that can get me. They don’t deserve me. None of them deserve me. I'm a hero. An unmatched hero who did what no one ever could. This is how they treat me? To hell with them! They’ll regret shutting me out when they can’t let me in.

With that, I sprinted down the hill.

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