The year is 3140, New York. Or, what I think used to be New York. School books have long been destroyed since the Zeros took over in 2967.
Who are the Zeros?
Oh, right. If you’re reading this, maybe the world has restored some hope. I mean, you’re allowed to read so it must have.
The Zeros are what we call the government, if they can even be called a government. They were what you might call ‘billionaires’. You know, people who were so rich that their great-great-great-great grandchildren didn’t even have to worry about feeding themselves.
Well, when the government decided to start taxing them a higher amount because of their filthy overload of cash, it wasn’t taken too well. People of the highest ranks started revolting, refusing to pay what would be pocket change to them. Apparently, it wasn’t fair. So, they decided to overthrow democracy, creating a world that I know and live in today.
States ceased to exist and were turned into ‘Zones’. Each Zone had a number to identify it. The northeast, my Zone, is referred to as Zone Four. The west is Zone One, where people deemed as elite are allowed to live. The south is Zone Two; what would be considered as the ‘upper-middle class’. Zone Three is the ‘lower-middle class’, and then there’s my Zone. I’m sure you can guess what it’s like here.
When people were rounded up back in 2967 and put into their collective Zones, they lost all sense of individuality. Last names were replaced with Zone numbers, clothes and fashion were stripped in return for uniforms, and every Zone had a job. My Zone are the scrap collectors. We take the scraps and garbage of the other Zones and salvage them to create somewhat of a sustainable lifestyle. Zone One creates housing, the Twos create our uniforms, and the Threes build machinery.
Finally, there is Zone Zero. A place so rich that not even the Ones can compare. And where do the Zeros live? Well, they live in what used to be called the state of Washington. Everything there drips in gold. It oozes with pelts made of the rarest animal skins and stockings made from silk. The houses are constructed out of marble and the streets are lined with souped up autojets. They were called ‘cars’, but I don’t even think that word suits these machines. Autojets are gold plated with leather interiors, hovering about 5 feet off the ground and traveling at what would take an hour by train to 2 minutes. Wheels were scrapped in 3098 when technology became too advanced.
Anyways, I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Ruby. Ruby Four. I don’t even know what my last name would be if the world was normal. It was normal before this, right?
I’m about as average as a Four can get. I’m about 5 foot 6 inches with dirty blonde hair that goes down to my hips (on a good day when the showers are running) and dull, brown eyes. My face is freckled, my skin is pale and ghostly, and my lips crack when I smile (which is rare). I guess my only redeeming quality is that I have a knack for shooting. My father taught me when I was 10, which would have been about 5 years ago now. I guess someone from Zone One decided they had no use for that old rifle. Yeah, those were good times. Sometimes I still think I can smell the gunpowder, but it’s wishful thinking. My father died the year after that. He was drafted in the Zone War, when the Ones and Twos fought the Threes and Fours over collectivism. Guess what, we lost. The Zeros organized it, I know it. I also know that speaking about it will get you killed, but what have I got to lose? My mother died giving birth to me, so now I have no one. The world is cruel when you finally figure out that no one is going to be there for you.