Something Better
Teaser #1 - At the Biodome
By: Jim Bates

When they were seated on the Carrier, Matt said to his dad, politely, "Thank you, Daddy for taking me. I had a really fun time."

Quinn smiled. He loved his son, and he was glad he'd been able to spend time with him. Once a week wasn't often enough. "I had fun, too."

The first stop was the building where children Matt's age were kept. Quinn wanted to hug him but knew the World Order frowned upon signs of affection. After a brief hesitation, he thought, what the hell, why not? and grabbed Matt in a big bear hug, knowing the surveillance cameras would catch him and punish him accordingly, taking a day off his LifeLine. Too bad, he thought, holding his son tighter. Matt hugged him back. He felt his son's sweet breath on his neck and it made him smile. The hug was worth it.

Finally, Matt squirmed away, giggling. "I'll see you next week, Daddy."

"Okay, son. The History Center, right?"

"Right."

"See you then. Bye, bye." Quinn waved.

The Transport Carrier then headed for the concrete building where Quinn and his wife lived. He watched the landscape passing by outside his window, featureless and gray with dust and ash everywhere. Relentlessly depressing. His mind drifted back to the exhibit he and Matt had seen. He loved the colors: the green trees and the blue pond. The red cardinal. Not the gray decay he and his wife and son lived in every day. It'd be a week before he'd see Matt again and he was already looking forward to it. In fact, at that moment he made a fateful decision. When they got together next time, he was going to hold his son again. Tight. No matter what the consequences. LifeLine be damned. It'd be worth it.

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