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Before: Twenty-Three

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Agent Harris slides a stack of paperwork across the table. “Have you decided on a name?”

“I was thinking… Isaac,” Finn says.

Agent Harris moves his head side to side in a way that reminds Finn of Kurt. “Do you have any family members named Isaac? Father’s first or middle name, mother’s maiden name, uncle, brother, deceased grandparent, childhood pet?”

Finn shakes his head. “None of those,” he says. It’s true, too. The name is none of those things.

“Can you remember it?” Agent Harris asks. “That’s why we usually recommend keeping the same first name, or a variation on it, or the same initials. It helps the placements remember.”

Finn nods. “I can remember it.”

“Isaac, then,” Agent Harris says, tapping a blank spot on the top sheet of paper. “Isaac Hansen. Should be easy to remember. It’s a good last name for the area, too. Common but not too common. No prominent families with that last name, but definitely several unrelated families, attending various churches.”

“Isaac Hansen,” Finn repeats.

“We’ll provide a birth certificate, social security card, work history, high school diploma, out-of-state driver’s license, credit history. You’ll have to take the driving test again in-state,” Agent Harris explains. “Provisional housing is lined up for you. You can stay for up to six months before you’re responsible for the rental or purchase of new housing. We have an agent we can recommend if you decide to go the purchasing route.”

Finn nods, taking it all in. “Same birthday?” he asks.

“Same day and month, but a 1990 birth year,” Agent Harris says. “When we’re placing people alone, with no family or partner, we like them to be at least 21, so we aged you up as far as we thought you could reasonably pass.”

“So I’m gonna miss some birthdays, huh?” Finn tries to joke, but then he thinks about not having anyone to celebrate birthdays with, anyway, and it doesn’t feel funny. Agent Harris must agree, because he doesn’t laugh or smile.

“If we need any further testimony, we’ll provide 24-hour security, of course, but otherwise, that’ll be phased out once you’ve been placed,” Agent Harris says. “You’ll be a free man again.”

Finn smiles faintly. “Yeah, I guess I will.”