With that said, let's begin, shall we?
We begin our tale in Hidden Valley, a small community in the far east of Halcyon.
Hidden Valley is the last stop west for anyone taking the A-37 (running east-west) out of Halcyon. The service station runs a rescue truck for those who forget to buy petrol or suffer some sort of car trouble within 100km of here. Beyond that, however, you're more or less on your own until you get within range of one of the other services run by the small towns sparsely scattered throughout the dry interior.
The people of Halcyon are nice enough. Most work on the farms surrounding the town, in the petrol station, or in the larger town down the range to the east. Life here is simple, each day much the same as the last. For some this is perfect, for others, however...
Juliet rolled over in her bed, the persistent buzzing from her alarm clock telling her it was 6 AM. She lay there for a few minutes, watching the dust floating in the rays of light coming through the window. Another day. She sat up slowly, yawning widely. Another day.
After a short shower, she shuffled into the kitchen, turned on the radio, and made herself breakfast.
"... legislative assembly is expected to debate the bill by Friday. In other news, Prime Minister Marfan's week long trip to the third annual meeting of the Pacific League, this year held in Chicago, got off to a good start yesterday. Melissa Jones is reporting from..."
Juliet gazed off into the middle distance. Alexis Marfan was originally from Hidden Valley herself. Even during high school she was preparing for politics. While others were busy following the latest trends in fashion, she was following the latest voter trends. While others read about the newest celebrity scandals, she read about the newest legislation passing through parliament. Others, of course, made fun of her for this, but it was almost as if she was in a world of her own. Juliet got her fair share too, but being the only girl taking an apprenticeship as a mechanic gave you a tough skin.
After glancing at the wall clock, Juliet washed the dishes and got ready for work. Brendan was about to come off the petrol station night shift, and Juliet's day was about to begin. Checking she had the keys to the store and the rescue truck, she locked her door and walked down the street. A cool southerly was blowing, and clouds were gathering to the east. The forecast was for thunderstorms this afternoon, continuing through the week.
Juliet opened the door to the service station and walked in. Brendan was sitting at the counter, reading. Placing a bookmark between the pages, he looked up and smiled.
"Quiet night last night, Jools. Not a single call."
"Plenty of time for you to catch up on your reading, then. What book is it this week?" she asked, as she poured herself a cup of coffee.
Brendan looked at the cover. "The Life and Times of Harold of Saxony. Historical thriller." Putting the book in his locker, he gestured to the stack of newspapers.
"Have you heard the news? Lil' sis is off in Chicago for a week."
"Yeah. You ever think she would end out like this?"
"What, a politician? Well, she always had the brains for it. I'm just sad I can't protect her any more."
Brendan was always close to his sister. One particular time, after three boys had teased her enough to force her to tears, they needed three months to recover fully from their injuries. It was never proven that Brendan was the one who visited revenge upon them, but any time they were within sight of him they kept their distance, and they never teased Alexis again.
"Well, I'd better get myself home and have a good long sleep" yawned Brendan, looking at his watch. "See you later."
"Bye Brendan," responded Juliet, taking a sip of her drink and her place behind the counter. Opening her own locker, she got her book out, turned to the page she stopped on, and began to read.
Another day had begun, so far the same as any other day.