Renu-Island
Author: K.M. Paxton

Chapter 3
Orientation

Sitting in the Plaza, surrounded by 89 other teenagers with Caleb to my left, I abruptly realized how real and terrifying this whole situation was. I'd never get to see my family ever again. I'd never get to be in high school or go to prom with the quarterback of the football team. I'd never live a normal life. It was depressing, really. Yet, it was life-saving. I should be grateful for this.

Shouldn't I?

My right hand was clutching my Renu-Pod and my left was intertwined with Caleb's hand. As I was absent-mindedly comparing his tan arm to my pale one, the jumbotron screens lit up with the same familiar face that had spoken to us via Renu-Pod earlier today. Of course, with my luck I had ended up sitting next to the bitter nerd girl I'd encountered many other instances in the short time we'd been on the island. She jumped out of her seat for joy when she saw the huge screens start working. The face started to talk.

"Welcome, future only citizens of the world, and welcome to Renu-Island. If you turn on your Renu-Pod, you'll see a map of the island. For you auditory learners, I'll explain the island for you.

The entire island is surrounded by a monorail that also branches off into parts of the island. There are no official monorail stops; if you want to get off you press
the button and an elevated platform will pick you up and take you where you want to go. In the center of it all where we are now is the Plaza, which has four jumbotron screens on
every side that broadcast daily news and announcements. To the north of the Plaza are eighteen smarthouses where you will live five to a house.

To the east is the university where you are offered classes in any subject you can think of. Instead of books, each of you have your Renu-Pod that you can use to read
texbooks, recieve Renu-Mail from other residents, and make hologram calls. The university also has a medical wing that is run by the med students or by machines that can test blood samples for thousands of known diseases. This is where you will go if you are sick or hurt.

To the further east is the crops field, the beach and lake, the field for outdoor sports, and mountain, and the sports shop. South of the Plaza is the arena, where major sports games and large musical shows and performances are held. The top floor of the arena has a news broadcasting studio, a recording studio, and a dance studio. South of the arena is the monorail central station.

To the west is the food court and pavilion where you can buy and eat your meals, the grocery store, and the clothing mall that also has a salon. The Western
most part of the island has the town hall where town meetings are held. The town hall also has a post office that can mail things to other residences on the island."

The voice ended her monologue and paused momentarily for us to absorb what she'd just rambled about.

"Sounds awesome." Caleb breathed.

The voice started talking again. "By the way, I am Cindy Maren, CEO of Renu-Corporations. I'll be delivering you announcements form the mainland every day. I'll also keep you up to date on how your show's ratings are doing." She winked and continued.

 "Speaking of which. You should completely ignore all the cameras on the island and act like you would as if they weren't here. There are thousands of them, believe me. We take the footage, edit out the boring things, and play it directly to TV sets across the mainland! You're being recorded right now. In fact, you're being recording everywhere, except the bathrooms of course."

A nervous giggle rippled through the crowd anxiously.

"Now, you'll take out your Renu-Pods and follow the directions to design your bedrooms! This is Cindy Maren, signing off."

The huge screens went blank and everyone rushed to take out their Renu-Pods. I did the same and noticed the screen said "Design-Your-Room!" as the heading. I clicked through the options like "Pick your flooring!" (I had picked the trampoline material as a floor) and "Pick your wall!" (whiteboard all around so I could write on the walls) and "Pick your furniture!" (I picked the bed shaped like a rocket ship along with a boat shaped table and few other items I had tapped the screen to arrange). 

I seemed to finish before everyone else and spent the time by watching Caleb think through every little choice before picking something. By the looks of it, he had wood floors, navy blue walls, and wooden furniture. It looked like my dad's office back home. I tried to push away the memory as the jumbotrons lit up with Cindy's face again.

"Time's up! Board the monorail to take you to your house so you can meet your roommates! Smarthouses one and two board car one, two and three board car two, three and four board car three, and so on. This is Cindy Maren, signing off again!"

Everyone stood up at once and raced out of the Plaza to the waiting monorail. Caleb and I stood up slowly and he looked at me through those perfect hazel eyes.

"I guess I'll see you later..." He mumbled, looking down.

I swallowed hard. "Yeah..." Giving in to the urge, I reached up quickly and hugged up tight before letting go and running towards car one. Climbing the stairs for the first time without Caleb, it seemed to take a lot a lot longer.

A familiar voice screeched out. "Always the last one, huh?"

I just couldn't shake off this nerd girl.

"Sorry," I managed to choke out, but it probably didn't sound very convincing considering I really didn't feel that way. "So um, what house are you in?"

"Oh, you mean Smarthouse? I'm in house two. What about you?" She pushed her thick-framed glasses up on her nose and swept her straight-across bangs to the side.

"Me too." It took a lot to force a smile.

She sniffed. "I just hope you won't bring down my potential by making me late to everything, which you've been doing since we got here."

"I'm Casey, nice to meet you."

"Julia."

I seemed to be so absorbed in annoyance of Julia that I forgot to look around my my other potential housemates. Before I got the chance, though, the monorail stopped in front of the sphere-shaped houses. I jumped right off onto the platform and down the stairs. Locating house one just seconds after Julia, I followed her up the sidewalk to the front door. She just opened the door and walked in, revealing what looked like a home out of a magazine.

The floors were marble, white, and shiny and the walls seemed to be the same. All the furniture and decorations were white as well, except for one single red rose in the white vase on the white coffee table.

"Wow," Julia screeched. "This is pretty cool."

"It'll work I guess." A voice I knew but couldn't place said.

I turned around and saw a girl with big black sunglasses, a furry white poncho, fake yellow-blond hair, and red lipstick. She had a stuffed dog tucked under her arm and a boy followed in behind her.

I instantly recognized her as Alexis Diamond, the former star of a popular kid's TV show and "singer". The girl couldn't sing to save her life. They just recorded what she thought was singing, added a bunch of crazy effects to it to make it sound decent, and let the records sell themselves like crazy. She was super-popular and known for her amazing shows with flying cars and such.

I didn't like her.

The boy following her, however, had black hair, pale skin, and haunting blue eyes. He wore a leather jacket with jeans and a guitar case hung over his shoulder. He looked effortlessly perfect.

Alexis cleared her throat and the guy stood up straight.

"This is Alexis Diamond. I'm Jesse." He flashed a smile and extended his hand. I shook it and was surprised by coolness of it.

"Casey. That's...well, that's Julia." I stumbled on my words.

"We should go see our rooms!" Julia called.


And that's exactly what I did.




 

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