They repurposed I-90 into a massive people-processing line, putting you through checkpoint after checkpoint. This one for DNA scan, the next one for ID verification, the next for health assessment–the list seems endless. You stand under the afternoon sun, sweating (is the sun getting hotter already?), shuffling with the line and lugging your allocated 50 kilos of personal belongings that you quickly stuffed into a backpack.
Your first real glimpse of a K’toaran is when you get to the destination allocation desk. You’ve seen them on TV, but that’s different. Seeing one up close is kinda … freaky. You try not to stare at the big flat head–does this thing even have eyes?–as the big, sewage-colored alien silently offers you a token with one of its many hands. You take it and trundle on, a little shell-shocked. Maybe the extra hands are what make the K’toarans so efficient. Maybe the big head contains a really big brain. Or maybe it’s just because they seem to breathe out their ears.
You turn the colored token over in your hand. It’s made of a dull red metal and shaped like a house, and stamped in some language you can’t read. You shuffle off toward the next checkpoint. Not too far ahead of you, where the toll booths used to be, are the Bridges. It looks like someone built a Roman acqueduct across the highway and put a different world in every archway.
Another K’toaran takes your chit and puts it in a brown blob that you assume is a computer. It spits out a wrist-band made of that same dull red metal which you strap on. The word “REFUGEE” is embossed on it in several languages, some of which you don’t recognise.
A warm, female voice comes out of the blob. “Please ensure you wear your wrist-band at all times. In addition to carrying all your identification and biological data, it maintains your credit balance and any other information needed by your adoptive government. Please follow the red line.”
Looking down at your feet you see a red line painted on the ground leading to one of the archways. As you approach, you can see a room through the Bridge, much like a waiting room at a hospital or a government office, with people sitting half-bored, half-expectant on moulded benches. You take a deep breath as you have one last look at the Boston skyline, then step through the Bridge to your new home.
On another planet.