• Alone on the cold, metal bench of the Central Bus Station sat Drake, an eighteen-year-old boy not known by many. Those who knew him called him "Chrome," in reference to his heterochromia [one brown eye and one blue], but knew absolutely nothing else about him, which, if you asked him, was great.

    But Drake's personality was a strange one, having grown up in near-solitude in the basement of his metropolitan home. His parents, old and unable to care for their son properly, mostly sat in the living room watching their old-fashioned 24", 2-D television at a volume the people up north could hear with clarity. As a result, Drake was unaccustomed to the ways of the world of sociology, and a complete idiot when it came to basic conversation. In addition, he spent so much time studying Astronomy and Physics, and so little reading up on current affairs, that he knew very little of life outside of his city. But all that was about to change.

    You see, the reason Drake found himself at the bus stop that morning was that, after emerging from his hold to make breakfast for his parents, he learned that his mother had a cough, and since father was in no better condition, it was his job to go out and get medicine. So, he threw on some decent clothes, grabbed his identification card, and walked into the city.

    Fifteen minutes later, he was sitting at the bus stop at the corner of 309th and Hill, the center of Downtown. Another five or six people wandered through the grubby, crumbling shops lining the street. However, it seemed none of them had the money to buy anything. Drake doubted that they all even had their identification cards. In a town like this, if you had no money to renew your card every six months, you had it confiscated, and therefore didn't exist, rendering you homeless, starving, and unable to buy a thing because everything had to be bought with a card. For this reason, Drake avoided these people, lest they beg him to buy them something.

    This, too, was why he was not going to buy any medicine in this town. Not only would he be confronted by several homeless beggars at once, but it would be a waste of time in this area. The pharmacy rarely had anything to sell, and when they did, only a fool or a someone desperate with no alternative would trust anything in there. Same goes for the food store. No, Drake would have to travel across the country, all the way to Violette, where the population was enormous and the stores were bigger and more sensible. Thanks to his father's retirement fund and his grandparents' excessive inheritance money, even without a job, Drake was able to buy food that wasn't rotten and medicine that would actually do what it promised to do.

    Luckily, he had made it to the bus stop just ten minutes before 9:00; the estimated arrival time of the next bus out. At this rate, he could make it back home before nightfall, which was optimal, because he didn't like the idea of roaming these streets again at night.

    At 9:05, the old, gray bus eased around the corner and came to a stop right in front of him. The driver, an old man Drake had seen a few times before on his voyages out of town, smiled and pressed a large red button, and the doors hissed open. "Mornin', " the old man greeted, to which Drake didn't respond. Instead, he merely pulled out his identification card, and fed it to the machine to the right of the open door. Drake then pressed his hand to the bottom portion of the device to let it scan his hand print. Once accepted, an automated voice informed him that the money would be taken out of his family's account, and he was allowed to board.

    He passed a yellow, egg-shaped robot in the front row. It hovered silently above the seat it was in. Drake could tell by it's exterior design that it was a messenger bot. A very old one by the looks of it, but still in working order. In the world that Drake lived in, computer hacking was something a 2nd grader learned to do, so they were seldom used to carry out messages. Trees were still around but in scarce amounts, and although it was now against the law in this part of the world to chop down a tree unless authorized by the government, air pollution had taken its toll on the once mineral-rich soil that filled the place. It would be a safe bet to say that the trees weren't ever coming back. Letters were out of the question. Messenger bots, much harder to hack into than an old-fashioned computer, were used primarily by big businesses, and were now the safest way to ensure that they were able to communicate from long distances without the message being intercepted.

    Technology was another thing Drake took interest in, which is the only reason he knew so much about the simple machine. Being secluded throughout most of his life, if he hadn't read up on these things, he wouldn't have been able to make it out of town, let alone hundreds of miles away.

    The seats were bigger at the back of the bus, at the expense of needing excellent eyesight to see the projection screen at the front of the bus. But nothing they ever showed on the screen interested him, anyway.

    The same automated voice from before spoke again. "The next destination is Temple, Highsmith Parkway, approximately two hours from this location."

    Drake leaned back in his seat. He enjoyed long bus rides.