family separation, abuse of power 

Every day I would get off the bus from school to the prefabs — trying to orient myself among the gray-white 3D-printed refugee habitats, all somewhat alike — but that evening, I was being brought back home in a car rather than a bus, and that was enough for me to feel lost.

I had been at school only briefly; I was called away, and then brought into a lower level at the Tower, a medical bay. Measured. Electrodes everywhere, X-rays, sensors. Invasive questions.

family separation, abuse of power 

"Do what they need, honey. We're held at work but I'll come get you soon as they let you out."

I remember her face talking with the chapel guide and the doctor, two rooms away, through the closed glass doors. She knew me; I knew her. I knew she was scared, trying to hold it together.

I was, like, fifteen, sixteen. Just started adjusting.

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family separation, abuse of power 

They wouldn't tell me what was going on; a nurse said something reassuring and I looked at her and I told her I felt better, lying.

Mom didn't speak while she drove me back home. After a couple questions she pushed all explanations to 'tomorrow, honey'. She promised I was fine, things were okay.
She promised.
She sent me upstairs, at home. "Do homework, dinner will be in a bit, okay?"
But I couldn't stay in my room.

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family separation, abuse of power 

(They didn’t explain their arrangement to me until much, much later. I have no idea why. Was it Dad? Was it his fucking ever-present shame? I bet, I bet it was. But she told me to call her ‘aunt’, and she never asked me not to, and so it stayed.)

family separation, abuse of power 

I remember peeking from the stairs and seeing aunt Ala, struggling to keep her volume down:
"You're telling me, they'd be sent to war—"
"No one is sending anyone to—", mom.
"It's a privilege to—", dad, at the same time.
"Don't you _fucking_ start now with—", mom, again
"Athe—", aunt Ala, trying to calm her down.

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family separation, abuse of power 

She was sitting at the folding dinner table. The Temple sign was embossed in the hard plastic. So precious little from back home. I barely remembered that day; I mostly remember the fear.

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family separation, abuse of power 

I was looking at it when Mom started speaking, fast, frustration out the broken dam. Tears streaked her cheeks but she didn't stop, nor for a while. I could t make out what she was saying, and then no one could, and it devolved to quiet sobbing. Aunt Ala sat by her and hugged her, cheek to her forehead.

I slept in fits and starts that night.

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family separation, abuse of power 

The following day, a Temple car whisked me away to pilot intake. My three parents were there, aunt Ala and mom holding me close.
I only learned later that that night they had left the house, stayed away for a month or so before going back.

It was a full year until I saw a familiar face with any regularity. The Temple wanted me to learn to pilot; so I did.

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