A handful of Teeners straggled along the copper walkway, following the guide’s bored voice around corners. It was the Festival of Origins; the time when all good Members paid tribute to the past by visiting the Museum of the Ages. Weeks of cybershocks leading up to the Festival were supposed to generate excitement, and holos dressed every portal glorifying the rise of Cybercorp from primitive Ancients.

It was a yearly ritual, one that no Member would even consider skipping, one that hadn’t changed in the memory of the Pensioners. Sixty years! Teener Jarrell was more awed at the thought of such age than the useless metal monstrosity his apprentice group were touring for the tenth time. How anyone could have lived like this escaped knowing; why anyone should be forced to know about it defied understanding.

He tuned his implant to a soothing pulse; he would pay attention again at the Closing Ceremony, when the year’s Decanames would be promoted. This was his Decayear; he would receive the blue uniform of a Laborer. Juvie Jarrell would take his place as Teener and a new Juvie would be Named from the year’s births. The current Laborer would wear Journeyman yellow, the Journeyman would receive a master’s white, and the Master would retire to be honored with Pensioner purple.

As newly promoted Laborer, his first duty would be to pass the brown to his successor, just as the Pensioner would pass the purple to his. Teener Jarrell wondered what it would be like to don the black of the Ancestor and Exit alone. He supposed after forty years in Cybercorp it must feel strange; instead of having one’s implant programming updated, cyber identity would be returned to basic setting and transfered to the new Juvie. Instead of Jarrell, one would be no one, just another bit in the code to be recited at the Opening Prayer to the Origins.

A beep in his implant yanked his attention back to the museum guide. With a sigh he turned off the pulse and trudged off to catch up with the group.

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