ARCPOINT CHARACTER | ARCON ~ Arcon Franklin was born to elderly parents in the year 2138. In their mid-sixties, Zoreb and Sasha Franklin had given up on having a child. His birth brought new hope to the ArcPoint Community—the Franklin family would not die with Zoreb.
At age five, Arcon's parents taught him the facts of life—ArcPoint life, that is. Their community was separated from the outside world. He was shown the Room of Remembrance for the first time, and saw images and stories about what was outside the forest that surrounded them. It was at age five he asked the question that would shape his life: "Can we go visit the outside world?"
Arcon grew up with the stigma of inheritance—he was to be leader of the ArcPoint someday. His great-great-grandfather Lee Franklin was the Patriarch of the Community. When Lee passed, Zoreb refused that lofty role, and the Community began voting on its leaders. Arcon’s miraculous birth was considered a sign from God to return to a Franklin dynasty.
Arcon was a highly intelligent, eternally curious child. His greatest joy was digging through the boneyard of discarded electronic equipment. He’d challenge himself to find out how an item was supposed to work, then try to make that happen. He briefly worked with his parents in the chemistry lab, and often played in the metal shop. He loved watching people work, and pestering them with questions about it. His parents encouraged him through it all—until one fateful day.
A common visitor in Arcon’s home was a man named Jarden. He told fanciful stories about climbing trees, walking branches, and swinging through mid-air. One day, Arcon had to see if any of it was true. He secretly followed Jarden into the dark forest that surrounded ArcPoint. He watched as Jarden climbed a tree, then calmly walked a branch to another tree and was gone. Arcon found a low branch and practiced. When he’d conquered his fear, he found a higher branch. One day, he disappeared into the forest behind Jarden.
He followed cautiously past numerous trees. Then suddenly, Jarden was gone. Arcon scanned the trees in a panic. He wasn’t sure how to get back home. His plan was to follow Jarden, but that was impossible now. He walked back the branch that got him where he was, but nothing looked familiar. As he scanned the forest, he saw movement. Far in the distance he saw Jarden sailing through the trees. He hid behind a tree trunk and watched. Within moments, Jarden was standing on a branch not far from him, attaching a rope to that tree. Arcon then followed Jarden back out of the forest.
Over the next few months, Arcon watched Jarden. He eventually followed the branch trail alone, daring himself to grab the rope and swing. One day, he did it. He swung out, but was too afraid to jump off at the other end. Returning to the tree he left, he didn’t have enough momentum to reach the branch. Back and forth he swung, staring at a sea of needle-brush beneath him. He slid halfway down the rope, before crashing through the briars. He screamed—as much from fear as pain—but no one could hear him.
He struggled to free himself, but the thorns poked and tore at his flesh. He yelled, he prayed, and he cried. It seemed like an eternity, but Jarden eventually found him. With the help of two other hunters—Derik and Chad—he got Arcon out of the needle-brush and to the Med shack.
Arcon confessed to everyone about his forest excursions. His parents were furious, but Jarden was impressed. It had taken months to train other hunters how to travel through the trees. Arcon had taught himself, with nowhere near the number of training hours. When Arcon begged to be taught how to land after a swing, Jarden agreed. But Zoreb wouldn’t allow it. The Community could not risk losing Arcon—end of discussion. After months of pleading, Arcon was allowed to try swinging, but only with Jarden at his side. Zoreb put his foot down though, when Arcon asked to become a hunter.
When he couldn’t be with Jarden, Arcon retreated into books. He read technical manuals about every device he found at ArcPoint. He spent more and more time in the Room of Remembrance. In that room he found information about things he couldn’t find anywhere within the forest his people called home.
One day, while alone in the trees with Jarden, he asked the question—What’s out there? Jarden had been beyond the ArcPoint trees. He’d seen houses built by others, and walked on an auto-path that was wider than the Facility. He’d seen cracks in the ground that could swallow a person whole. And he’d seen a canyon that was impossible to cross, that stretched as far as you could see in both directions. He never ventured beyond that, or saw another human. All of that happened before Arcon was born. Now the forest and needle-brush are too dense to attempt it. Arcon thought different. Someday, I’ll try.
He was still a teenager when he took the problem to God. Lord, if this is something I should do, help my parents understand they need to release me to do it. If it’s not, then take this desire away from me. Help me be content in this place. In less than a week, his parents were gone—killed in a horrific chemical explosion.
Jarden blamed himself, but Arcon blamed God. His grandma tried to comfort him, but Arcon was no longer the child who could be calmed by a hug and a bedtime Bible story. For years they had shared the large Franklin log cabin. He was closer to her than he was to his parents, but this tragedy changed everything. It took two years to restore their relationship. Within another year, she was gone.
After the loss of his grandma, Arcon offered the family home to the Community. They, in turn, offered him Lee and Victoria Franklin’s original tiny home. They expected him to move into it when he married his childhood friend, Brina Ashford. He rejected both ideas. He asked for a specific apartment within the Facility—and got it—thanks to the clout of the Franklin name. He didn’t tell them why. He’d already built and tested a crystal radio set, and had better reception in that particular apartment.
The rest is his story.