Theta sits at the transport hub waiting impatiently for the number 73 transporter . Frustrated, she starts to fiddle with her watch and taps ‘ostrich’ ‘sand’ and ‘bury’ into the Agnitio search engine. 10 minutes later, standing on the 2nd deck squashed between two young men from the Ybur Mine with the smell of dried sweat hanging over them, she holds the screen close to her face and reads that apparently ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand. Instead when danger is imminent, they lie with their head and neck on the ground – giving the appearance of a mound of earth from a distance. They can run fast and have powerful legs

Theta sighs, enough of ostriches, burying her head in sand is not an option right now and would be extremely impractical. She thinks about her dilemma and decides that although it is in her DNA to try and avoid conflict, to move away from all that is unpleasant, she has to face facts and come up with a plan of action. She needs a battle strategy, a pre-emptive strike. It’s fighting talk but it needs to develop into something tangible.

One option is to acquiesce to the demands made of her. Just agree, sell her soul and live with a superficial peace but internal anguish. Theta is not sure she could live like that. The second option is to stand her ground, stand up for what she believes in. Live a principled life. That would of course be the best thing. She could then walk in truth and integrity and of course be ostracised from her sect.

She scrunches her nose and looks at the man on her right, his red and silver overalls, covered in grime. His number and sign tattooed to his neck stating his place in society. His hands rough and dirty with which he grips his regulation standard issue blue holdall. She subconsciously rubs the same place on her neck and wonders if she could be part of the millions of people that lived in the Ergates zone. She thinks about her privileged position – can she give that up? The transporter lurches to a halt and half the occupants leave. Theta looks out of the window as she sinks into a now vacant seat. Rain is starting to fall heavily. She feels bad for her fellow human beings scurrying towards homes that she knows are inadequate for this type of weather. It is not right. She has told her directors but they would not hear her arguments.

She pulls her tablet out of her bag and flicks through the presentation she has been ordered to give to the delegation tomorrow. She sighs. It is just not right, it is not just. She opens a separate password protected file – this presentation contains her ideas, dreams and vision of the future. A fairer world. Theta’s partner, a man who has somehow escaped his apparent predetermined fate in the Ergates zone, had read it a week ago and had just laughed. He had then looked at her with sad and serious eyes and told her that it would never work. He had held her hands and told her that they did not live in the world that she wanted. He told her that she should be thankful for her position and do nothing to jeopardise it. “You have no idea” he warned .

But she did, that was the problem.

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