Blanks was a town on a dry river. That’s where I lived until transferred to Noise. Once a year, at New Beginnings Day, I go back. My body models were vaporized there. I breathe the orange air. I am transported along the moving sidewalks. I sleep long hours in the stack. What can I say: it’s a change.

Usually, though, I am here at this wall screen doing my life, mentoring all of Nord Americana. 300 million students currently. The screen picks out the Jerkuses who are not Systematic. This one in front of me now, for example. Smashed her terminal and is missing. Easy solution: I click on her name, Gertrude X1X23+, and there she is. She’s sleeping in a bush in the Noise Green Arrondissement. The drop down menu appears. I click on Death, double click that, and it goes to my Supremo. Once he she or it approves—I have never seen my Supremo—her brain implant will explode and there is one more bad student vaporized. In a typical Wake, I kill maybe 50 bad students.

My official title is Mentor/Executioner.

The good students flow in a waterfall display. They do their assignments, give the right answers expected by the Life Laws, and prepare themselves one more number toward graduation and the standard 20 years of Service to the Planet. I have three more years of Service to the Planet before I am vaporized, too.

Life is a system, as it should be. Life is scheduled down to the week. There is talk in the news feed to the brain of scheduling down to the day or even hour, but that is a future guess.

On my screen appears the Unwanted picture of an eagle. Three D, of course—I have put in for one of the new holographic screens-workrooms, but with my only three years left it has not been approved. The eagle is so realistic even with the old-fashioned screen that I twitch. The bird image squawks. It stares at me with those black eyes. It opens its beak, five image feet long.

I recover and push the red button on my desk, aluminum. A tech drone appears. It vaporizes my wall screen and flies away silently.

Now what do I do? I sit in my chair before my desk with no Dataflow. It’s like death. We all know that after death we will be data and live on forever. Thank you, Planet. Nothing new comes from me. I sit with my hands on my legs. I sleep sitting up.

Three days later, a construction drone appears with a new screen. Noise, noise, noise.  And I am back in work flow. The waterfall of good students appears again, this time in three D. A bad student appears; he stood up from his screen and beat the student in the chair next to his. He beat other students at their screens for two hours. The thousands in the School Aud were in danger. Click. Click. And he is gone. A cheering noise erupted from the new screen. New new new. I had to adjust, which was a horror. Why the change? My thought would be added to the Suggestion Queue.

The eagle was from a revolutionary group, the Individuals. They were evil. They hacked into the Unit from time to time, more a nuisance so far than an action threat. Security would protect me. Security would kill the eagle. Security would build a virtual fort for me.

I killed 238 bad students that day, a record for me. They had backed up during my three neutralized days. The harm they had done was sad. One went around Noise smashing gray walls with his Emergency Cane. Windows weren’t allowed or he would have smashed those. Another killed her Body Models and was headed for the Screen Aud where I worked. Vaporized all.

“Mentor Archy ZB3J*, good job. You are promoted to Hemisphere Mentor/Executioner. Congratulations.”

The screen gave me good news, although it meant the Sud Americana mentor/executioner had been vaporized. Saved money for the Planet. My work load was doubled.

“Thank you,” I thought. “I will serve.”

My sleep shelf was not going to feel me recline for a long time. My wife-pillow was not going to be warm foam.

“Plus, your life span has been expanded two years. Congratulations.”

Wow. Five years left. I was a lucky man.