There would have to be a system of compensation. Thirty-six young people every six months for fifty-two years equalled hundreds of millions in payouts. It would have to come from the authorities in every country whose citizens had been taken. The only way they could reasonably do it would be to stagger the payments over years, but still, some lump sums would no doubt have to be paid out.
Some residents would want to stay, for them, money was not the issue – travel fares home on occasion and money to spend whilst there, but in a country with no currency they would want for little else. Their families would need compensation, of course, but the urgency wouldn’t be the same as for those leaving who would need help to set up homes or find work or travel, or study.
And those whose compensation would most need to be substantial were here, in Lightwood. Telling families their loved ones were sick was hard enough; if it came out that, for some of them, that sickness was really a sense of dissent medicated away by years of drugs, that would be an enormous scandal.
Already they had begun decreasing doses. The stronger patients had been told things – drip-fed until they were sure they could take it. And so some sat in groups, demanding their rights and threatening to sue, whilst others remained doped out of all consciousness of the seismic shift that had occurred around them.
But for some, the most important thing was that once again they could have an identity.
Mijn naam is Susie. Mijn naam is Susie Somers. Ik kom uit Brugge. Ik ben Belg. Ik wil spreken in mijn moedertaal. Ik wil mijn familie zien. Ik wil naar huis.