Men and women stood in a line. It stretched across barren land and ended, quite abruptly, at a white tent. No birds flew overhead. No creatures scuttled for undergrowth. There was no undergrowth. Only the dirt. Only the harsh glare of the sun.
Gabriella shuffled forward. The man in front of her disappeared into the tent. Soon, it would be her turn. She waited three breathes and then Gabriella stepped out of the harsh light and into the dim interior.
Before Gabriella could prepare herself, a syringe plunged deep into the tissue of her upper arm. Gabriella sucked in a breath. Dark green liquid left the vial and seeped into her veins. The syringe wielding woman ushered her forward.
Another woman waited. She pressed a rapid succession of devices to Gabriella’s person and then, satisfied that everything was as it should be, she nodded.
“Fully synthesised. Please move forward.”
A shattered cry echoed from behind and Gabriella clenched her eyes shut. Sometimes the body rejected the serum, but that was only the first of a list of things that could go wrong. Gabriella moved toward the next station. A man waited for her.
“Arms forward. Palms up.”
Gabriella complied. A needle jabbed into her thumb. Pain jolted and something new awoke. A tiny lick of flame spurted from her hands. The man recoiled, but Gabriella stared in wonder.
A Firesage then. The military was not what Gabriella had intended, but it would do. Firesages were granted asylum.
The man gestured her forward. “Gate seven. Report to Commandant Alyssa on arrival.”
The portal was a mass of swirling darkness. Gabriella shuddered at the thought of stepping through, but there was nothing left for her here. She shed one last tear for her dying world and then, Gabriella stepped into her future.