Chapter 1

The city of Soluna banqueting hall was one of the most aesthetically pleasing constructions in the whole System. It was a huge, white and silver jewel set in the middle of the Major Sector, which was a beauty in it's own right. Soluna itself was a place of sharp contrasts, very distinct contrasts. The Major sector was well named as it was the biggest sector, and the one that contained all the most important amenities. The seat of government was in the Major Sector, as was the Great Library, the University, the Military headquarters and just about every form of legal trade there was. The contrast to this was obvious and stark. The Minor Sector contained nothing official or legal at all. The Major Sector had gleaming white buildings and lush green lawns, the Minor Sector had dingy, ramshackle huts and dark, dirty streets. The Major Sector had politicians and businessmen, the Minor Sector had gang leaders and illegal traders. The Major Sector had a comfortably numbered, educated population, the Minor Sector was overcrowded and self-educated. Three quarters of Soluna's population lived in the sector that was only half the size of it's rich cousin.

The banqueting hall held quite an important selection of people. The Education board and the University staff were celebrating a one hundred per cent pass rate for the end of year. This actually wasn't as remarkable as it seemed, in fact it was a forgone conclusion. The Major Sector only had it's own affluent and knowledgeable population to cater for. Highly educated parents putting their already highly educated offspring through the established educational system. It was merely a routine procedure. These offspring, in turn, passed exams and went on to fill jobs in the Major Sector vacated by the aged portion of the population.

“Young Tyson Block has already forwarded his application to the Military.” Dean Archibald Figgis said proudly. “He'll go far, will that lad.” Naturally he would. Tyson Block senior was already a very respected part of the Military, as his father had been before him.

“Juliet Styles has all but sealed that job in Health and Education.” Professor Shania Twigg added. Juliet Styles who's father was in the Chamber of Commerce. “You'll have her brother, Toby, in your group next year, Daruis.”
Darius Hawk was the youngest person there and this was his first celebratory banquet. Darius taught a bit of everything to the younger students, before they opted for their specialised fields.

“I'm sure he'll do every bit as well as his older sister.” Darius was sure he would. He looked at Dean Figgis, who was wading his way through half a pheasant and wondered if he'd ever end up like that. The Dean was fifty five, twenty five years Darius' senior. He always reminded Darius of images of Emperor Nero. He had curly hair that had been silver for as long as Darius could remember and his portly frame accentuated his short, five feet three height.

“Oh he will.” Dean Figgis said, pouring himself more wine. “Runs in the family.”

“If it was all genetic, we'd be out of a job.” Daruis smiled.

“Not necessarily. They still need nudged in the right direction.”

“So you think their intelligence and success rate is innate?”

“I think they have something that marks out the quality, Hawk. That's why they're here and not down there with that rabble.” The Dean waved a fork full of fowl around, indicating the Minor Sector. “There are those who are teachable and those who are not.”

“Interesting.” Daruis mused. “So the rabble down there don't actually have the capability to learn. Is that what you're saying?”

“That's exactly what I'm saying.” Dean Figgis nodded. “If the capability was there, then so would be the curiosity and the motivation to fulfil it. Do they look motivated? No, Hawk. They're down there and they'll always be down there.”

“Doesn't opportunity come into it?” Darius asked. “I mean, if one of them had the opportunity to learn, would he be capable of doing so?”

“Doubtful. They're genetically incapable of advanced education. All their environmental surroundings do is compound it. You can't develop what isn't there.” The Dean said flatly.

“That's a huge generalisation, Dean Figgis.” Daruis smiled. “Imagine if we could get one of them through our educational systems and into our society. Just one of them. Now that would be an achievement.”

“Achievement? It would be a miracle!” Dean Figgis roared with laughter. “It can't happen, Hawk. Not now, not ever. Those people made their own society, we made ours.”

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